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 –
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 –
Clarence, my new Claret colour Brompton S6L, has undergone some recent mods. Before I get onto telling what I’ve done to Clarence, I’ve got to thank Brompton Australia for their efforts. In my blog posts I’d previously mentioned my liking for the colour & that I’d been offered the stock bike currently on its way to Australia. What I hadn’t mentioned was that the bike arriving was an M6L & that Brompton Australia had offered to convert it to my preferred flat bar S model. With the cessation of the colour choice, it was a deal that I couldn’t resist.
So what have I done to my newly converted S6L? Some of the mods are simple additions or replacements that may or may not show up in the pic below? They include an AussieOnABrompton.com frame decal, Brompfication hinge clamps, front & rear lights, Cateye Strada computer, Brompton Eazy wheels, my Bidon cage setup, Presta-valved tubes & a Tiller Cycles 40T crankring.
For two of the important body-contact areas (bum & hands) I just had to repeat mods from other Bromptons: a Brooks B17 saddle & Ergon grips. It took some time to decide the saddle colour but I eventually settled for black. However, a set of Ergon GP1 grips was a harder mod than I expected. Whereas Mrs Aussie’s Peregrine setup with Ergons was straight-forward, Clarence proved difficult. The pic below shows the state of the original grips removed – & probably indicates that Brompton Australia’s budget for handgrip adhesive (used during the conversion from M to S bars) is far too high?
Finally, a comment on two mods that I haven’t made (for the moment). I’m sticking with the standard Brompton tyres (whereas Schwalbe Marathon & Marathon Plus tyres are used on our other Bromptons) & it will be an interesting evaluation/comparison? The standard Brompton pedals too are an experiment; my usual choice is MKS removable pedals where I use flat or clipless versions as required (mostly clipless). I have no idea how long this trial will last.
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
“Oh dear! That didn’t work!”, were my words for a little tweaking I was trying in my quest for the perfect luggage solution.
Robinson, my original (used) Brompton came with a C bag & by chance this bag also suits my second acquisition, Ralph, a flat bar S-type Brompton. Normally the C bag ought not to be used with the S model Bromptons (owing to bag handle clearance issues around the brake cables) but because Ralph has a set of Shimano brake levers, the brake cable angle raises the cable above the C bag handle & avoids any conflict.
Mrs Aussie’s Brompton, Peregrine, is a standard S model & we purchased an S bag for her use. With the arrival of Clarence (an S model again) there was likely to be a need for another S bag, this time for my use. However, it seemed a shame that the C bag couldn’t be used with Clarence, as the latest brake lever design seems to allow more cable clearance & the cables aren’t snagging enough to start applying the brakes when turning the handlebars?
Yes, I’ve seen some C bag hacks on the Internet, where the handle is cut off & maybe replaced with a strap or cord arrangement? Maybe I could do better? Maybe it just needed the handle to slope forward a little more & provide enough cable clearance? With the handle of the frame clamped in a vice, I tried a little flexing to see if the handle could be made to bend forward? After a bit more pressure I had my answer when the handle snapped off the frame! Oh dear, bother, etc… (apologies for no pics of the destruction – “too occupied”?)
The opportunity to fashion my own strap was “now available” & I started giving it some thought. Before long I had my resolution with a couple of large cable-ties & the original handle…
Once the “Aussied” C bag was fitted to Clarence it seems an ideal solution, with the new handle being nicely flexible (& strong enough?) Will it work out? We shall see…
Our hallway has a funny little glass-panelled alcove beside the front door. A hat rack has lived there for some time but very recently Mrs Aussie made the observation that “a Brompton would look good there”! With me grappling with the “Brompton storage” demands of late, it seemed to be an inspired suggestion – but not for just one Brompton! Those cube-structures that you see at all the best Brompton shops would be ideal but as yet I’ve not seen anyone producing them for sale? I started thinking that I’d need to construct something so took to measuring up the space a Brompton occupies & deciding on the optimum sizing (eg not too squeezy, as some shop displays seem to be?).
While considering design & manufacturing requirements, I noticed that our IKEA “Billy” bookcases seemed to fit the bill very well – suitable width for a Brompton & a good match to the alcove size (width & height). Billy bookcases are also exceptional value when you consider the price of the raw materials I would need & so before long I was unboxing a new unit & looking very hard at the pieces! The taller Billy design has three shelves (at top, bottom & centre) bolting to the sides & 4 relocatable shelves, as well as a back panel which gives the structure some rigidity – & keeps your books from sliding right through? I decided to re-drill the sides so that I could move the central fixed shelf down to “Brompton size” & to dispense with the back panel to allow the frosted glass alcove to do its job. An upper relocatable shelf forms a “Bag shelf” with a Brompton-size space below. Voila! – a new home for Clarence & Peregrine & 2 large luggage bags!
The lack of rigidity was resolved by screwing the supplied fixing strap to the top of the alcove. The one fault with the Billy bookcase however, is that the shelf-depth is not really ideal for a Brompton! While the Brompton “base footprint” is about 50cm x 23cm, the Billy shelf is only 26cm deep, which means the folded bars protrude in front of the “Bromptoncase”. Fortunately our alcove has an extra 10cm at the rear before the glass & so I was able to slice up one of the surplus shelves & mount the pieces to the rear of the fixed shelves that the Bromptons sat on. (I used aluminium angle strips under the fixed shelf to support the new extended shelf portion – & disguised the slight gaps (my sawing quality?) with adhesive white cloth tape.) Now the Bromptons can sit further back on the shelves, contained within their Bromptoncase.
In my recent “New decisions” post I mentioned that a Claret Brompton (one of the colour choices that have just been replaced in the new colours range) was on its way to Australia in the next shipment – & it would be coming my way! Well, it’s happened & after Brompton’s Elves prepped it, yesterday “Clarence” arrived via a special courier delivery to supplement the Brompton family!
This stock Claret colour Brompton S6L (already including Kobie’s standard items of firm suspension & luggage carrier) will now get some upgrades that I’ve been collecting! Keep watching…
Brompton Australian Championship preliminaries
The BAC weekend promised/included lots of tidbits & treats. The first was a “Welcome to Sydney” ride on the Saturday.
As the invitation email stated –
“If you’re travelling from interstate or overseas to race, or you’re a local, we’d like to welcome everyone to Sydney with a ride and get-together.
We’ll be meeting at Cheeky Transport, 3a Georgina St Newtown at 4pm on Saturday the 18th, and riding to Batty St Park at Rozelle for fantastic pizza from Rosso Pomodoro and drinks from the Bald Rock Hotel, and a glorious view over the harbour and city as the sun sets.”
I don’t know how Brompton Australia do it? Everything stated above came off well, on a day of lovely weather. We met at CheekyT, chatted & kicked tyres endlessly until Adam led us through quiet back streets, lanes, cycle paths & bush tracks (I kid you not! How does he find them?). A convoy of about 30 Bromptons certainly got some attention through all the trails, with people stepping back to watch us glide through. Knowing our destination, didn’t help me determine where I was at any time; we were on a Brompton magical mystery tour.
Arriving at the park just started the next phase of chats but this time on a grassy knoll overlooking waterfront sights towards the city. With such distractions I was oblivious to the beer delivery until an opened bottle was waved under my nose. Shortly after, a pile of pizza boxes appeared & we all tucked in. With a fine array of empty & near-empty boxes, it was then that I remembered to take some pics!? Sadly there seemed little appropriate for the blog post so I apologise for my limited selection from the afternoon/evening – but then, similar difficulties arose on Saturday so maybe we need a “nominated photographer” for such gatherings?
Sunset & a cooling breeze were successful in breaking up the party & we dispersed to all corners of Sydney, mindful of the big challenges that lay ahead for Sunday. Thank you Brompton Australia, CheekyT & all the entertaining Bromptonauts!