Category Archives: Misc

2015 Best wishes

Christmas has come & gone & best wishes for the New Year that’s now with us. News from the Aussie household is that Mrs Aussie has been back on a bike since her broken arm in late October. In fact, she’s had a short bike ride each day this year & seems to be coping well, aside from some pain/difficulty from rear wheel braking with her left hand? Any day now we may even be able to get out on our bikes together, as I’ve been rather restricted with my own left elbow ailment; a severe infection. My energy/motivation level has been down a bit, just as our outdoor temperatures have been too warm lately. Sounds like a coastal cruisey-ride is in order & coming soon?

Even though my recent endeavours to make my Brompton C bag fit well onto our flat-bar S type Bromptons have worked out well (see the recent “Bag & frame flexibility” post), I couldn’t resist picking up an S bag at Belrose Bicycles’ Boxing Day sale. The Barcelona model bag will readily avoid any confusion with Mrs Aussie’s standard S bag (& maybe spur her on to produce her own S flap?) Here’s Clarence with the Barcelona bag –
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News from the Brompton world can’t get much better than an OBE in the New Year honors for the Brompton MD, Will Butler-Adams. I’ve had a few meet-ups with Will & an award for “Services to UK manufacturing” is typical of the man; his enthusiasm, passion & leadership goes far further than Brompton & is first class. Here he is inspiring some Sydney-siders during a visit –
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2014 Seasons greetings

Seasons greetings to all from the Aussie household – & may you all ride long & safely

Some of our Christmas lights courtesy of Clarence & Peregrine’s Bromptoncase
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Local flavour

Announcing today, the setup of a new Facebook group, the “Sydney Brompton Club”. Having been a member of the London Brompton Club on Facebook for some time, I’ve come to appreciate the updates from many hundreds of Brompton Owners in sharing their tips, comments, questions, stories, adventures, photos & videos about Bromptons. So, I’m expecting the Sydney Brompton Club (SBC) to operate along similar independent lines to the London group & aim to provide a local flavour to Brompton matters.

From my observation of the London BC, owners sharing their experiences helps to grow their knowledge, abilities & confidence. To have a local group ensures that the news, tips, questions, etc have local answers.

Membership of any of the Facebook Brompton groups is available to all & you could even do as many others do, & join them all (eg Sydney Brompton Club, the London Brompton club & many others such as those from Brisbane, Melbourne & other localities). I think the Sydney Brompton world has grown substantially & we need to ensure ready communications between owners, regardless of shop ties or loyalties. Sydney’s original Facebook group was started by the long-standing Brompton dealer, Cheeky Monkey, at Newtown & this group has been tremendous for providing a media connection (albeit initially for their own customers). With the Brompton growth in Sydney, I’m hoping for an independent group for owner conversations – even if the various shops do wish to provide connections & information for their own purposes.

Please check out the new “Sydney Brompton Club Facebook group page” & press that “Join Group” button.

BTW, receiving news on Brompton happenings by you joining the SBC group may be the only step you need to take. On the other hand, if you want to dig further then all the forms of social media have links with Brompton info. For example, my regular checks of sources via Facebook groups, Twitter, website Forums (such as BromptonTalk & Folding Fanciers) & Brompton Blogging sites provide a lot of info by itself, but also provide links to all aspects of the Brompton world.

Recoveries

Our recoveries seem to be progressing well? In light of so many kind queries on Mrs Aussie’s status I feel an update is called for… (as well as many thanks)

The broken left arm & sore right hip that has been with Mrs Aussie since our BAC escapade in late October have progressed to the points that Mrs Aussie is back driving our manual change car (although not the Tardis, with its manual shift & long stretch to the handbrake) & I’m once again left in her wake while out walking? The surgeon has been happy with his bone-pinning handiwork (& impressed with Mrs Aussie’s job at damage?). Regular self-administered physio will be required for some time yet & I expect that an attempt to ride Peregrine again may happen early in January? (refer pic of Peregrine sporting a new set of Ergon Biocork GP1 grips – & a set of mudguards)
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Another recovery seemingly going fine, is for me – after undergoing Cataract surgery! (wonderful to have Mrs Aussie back driving & able to chauffeur me for a change?) A recent annual opthalmological test had highlighted the rapid development of a Cataract. I was rather surprised at the examination but progressive deterioration can be hard to pick. Certainly understandable with my unusual issue of short sight in one eye & long sight in the other. With spectacles to adjust my vision & my short sighted eye being dominant, the Cataract in my long-sighted eye wasn’t noticeable for me (until being made aware of it),

The surgical process was quite fascinating (as explained with computer visualisation beforehand): a teeny cut in the Cornea, ultrasound to pulverize the Cataract & then the pieces sucked out, before an implant is inserted. The cut is far smaller than the implant, as the implant expands upon insertion. Anaesthetic to have me awake but unaware of the activity & then a patch over the eye until the next day. Eye drops for some weeks but vision already fine – & I’m advised it will improve as the eye heals! Because I’ve had the short/long sight my whole life & can see well without spectacles, the specialist suggested a new lens to return vision to what it was before. When viewing things, I automatically use whichever eye is needed & the brain then processes the image. My use of spectacles was really forced on me by the eye testing requirements for 50+ years of driving licenses, but now the specialist has surprised me by recommending that I go without spectacles for most things!? – & he’s to supply me with a letter to the licensing people for an exemption!

Some downsides from the recovery guidelines are that I “do not play golf, bowls or tennis for a week” (bother! but no mention of not riding my bike? – probably related to the usual audience for the instructions?). Also that I don’t lift heavy objects for a week (is a Brompton heavy?) Oh well, time for some coffee walks & blogging…

100 up

Two years ago I had the thought that I needed somewhere to store the info & pics that I was accumulating during life with my Bromptons, Robinson & Ralph. An all-encompassing online system that would cater for a variety of media & be readily accessible by me? A blog system seemed to fit the bill – & maybe it would assist others too?

Accordingly, my blog named AussieOnABrompton.com was born & as of today, this posting is my 100th entry! It’s been a surprisingly pleasurable challenge, to gather material, decide what to do with it or what to say, & then concoct the blog posts. Of course, some posting ideas are difficult to convey but more often than not, it’s a challenge of what to leave out when trying to keep the blog “clean & simple” & not over-burdened with text or images?

I often wonder whether the blog is an effective storage/resource tool but every time I consider changes, I seem to impinge on my “clean & simple” preference – & I’m reminded of the backlog! That’s enough of this milestone malarkey; I’ve got a blog to run!

Folding tricks

Brompton Folding Competition

Another of the fun events of the Brompton Australian Championships is the Folding Competition, held after the BAC race. The challenge is to be the fastest to complete the fold of a Brompton; in our case a white demo M3L. Some hot times amongst the initial competitors & seeing the standard folding pedal to be part of the fold (something I’ve always fumbled in my limited exposures – all my bikes use MKS removable pedals) had me heading back to chatting with BAC attendants. Later, I mistakenly strolled too close to the competition area & Adam from Cheeky Transport suggested I should participate. My excuse about the pedal was to no avail & Adam gave me a quick tutorial.
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So, there I was: beside the unfolded bike & with the count-down starting. “How hard can it be?” came to mind (again) & I was off… Funny how a Brompton other than your own can feel “different”? With the M handlebar positioning feeling strange, in parking the bike I neeaarrly jammed the front mudguard between the wheels! Next I lifted the stem slightly & started undoing the mainframe hinge clamp. Wow, I forgot how my long-term use of Brompfication hinge clamps & springs eased the process. Here, I was noticing the extra turns of the hinge clamp bolts & the lack of spring pressure helping to open the hinge. A bit clumsy but I had the front wheel folded & mentally preparing for my next phase: flipping the stem/handlebar down while dropping the seat! Easy-peasy?
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Whoa! Disaster! I couldn’t undo the hinge clamp! Dunno if it was sabotage but with the previous competitor unfolding the bike after their folding attempt, they’d done up the clamp “very firmly”! Precious seconds ticking away & I persisted; finally getting it undone once realising I needed to use far more effort. Another clumsy undoing of the clamp bolt & the seat down I was ready to face my nemesis: the pedal fold! Ooh, quite good really, I was surprised!

The clock was stopped & there was the evidence: 20 seconds?! Not too good but some satisfaction/relief that the effort was over! Next time…

Thanks to Adam for the excellent tuition & providing the video on my phone. A even bigger thanks to Adam, Donald & others for running the whole competition & getting over half the BAC participants to challenge/embarrass themselves? Oh, & congrats to the winner of the final, held as part of the BAC presentations (sorry, can’t recall who won: too busy laughing?)

Finally, a YouTube link to the video of – My attempt

Fun & value weekend

WordCamp Sydney 2014

My attendance over the weekend at WordCamp Sydney 2014 was definitely interesting, fun & exceptional value. The organisers did a wonderful job & claimed an event cost of over $30K?! For this WordPress & many sponsors gave us great value, with a minimal charge & lots of goodies, food, drink & entertainment. Nearly forgot; WiFi throughout was great (my 3G provider lost the lecture room battle).
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With my WordPress interest centering mainly on my WordPress-hosted blog, I sensibly avoided the “Tech Track” portion of the 2 streams & concentrated on the “User Track” events. After all, PHP programming & Plugin expertise don’t really cut-it for me, when WordPress do all my heavy work & I just pump in tales such as this? Some of the User Track talks were still out of my range but who knows? A user-hosted WordPress site sounds very appealing & straight-forward if I were gravitate beyond my free (& mildly customisable) setup?

Overall, the user talks gave lots of food for thought (eg perils of PDFs, passions of WordPress support, pushing your Profile, etc) & also provided plenty of confirmation of my own operations – maybe “Keeping it clean & simple via iPad/iPhone updates” could be my talk next time?

Did I mention the food? Snacks every break & lunches provided
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My passion for coffee was satisfied by a WordCamp-funded coffee cart at the door. Indoors, “the Bearded Roaster” put on quite a show of how to do it right (with his own beans)
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Walking in to WordCamp on Sunday was accompanied by many extremely well-dressed motor bike riders. Their toots & waves were appreciated but probably aimed at this couple helping to guide them through the city?
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Many thanks to WordPress & all the organisers. See you at the monthly WordPress Meetups? (3 locations around Sydney)