Folding Bike

Riding to Portsmouth

My trust steed (the one with wheels)

I did a huge bike ride yesterday, about 80km to Portsmouth. My route took me over the South Downs - and this was very hard going. More than once I had to walk it.

The downhills were great though, some of them just seemed to go on and on - and I got a new top speed of 62.2km/hr.

The ride itself was done at a lowly average of 11.5km/hr, as I say, the hills really affected things.

This represented a huge undertaking for me, and I gratefully staggered onto the train at the end of the day.

Unfortunately, unlike saturday, there was no medal for me. I think I deserved one!

I had arrived in Portsmouth

I completed the ride on my New World Tourist. It's developed an odd squeak when being walked (not ridden) - I think the brakes need a little adjusting - I'll try and do that soon.

My train got in after dark, and I did find myself befuddled again that Greengear saw fit to make a bicycle rack without a standard attachment for lighting. Let's hope that they can come up with a bracket which can bolt on to provide a standard light plate (with 50mm and 80mm spaced holes). This'll then accept a cateye adaptor (or similar). I have asked them directly if they had a particular brand of light in mind when designing the rear fitting - to my surprise they could not recommend anything.

I got home using a light attached to my under-seat tool carrier - but this isn't ideal.

Odd Rack FittingRear Rack Lighting Bracket Design

Bikeathon Completed

My Bikeathon Medal

So, I did the 26 mile (46.2km actually according to my cycle computer) Bikeathon, having cycled some 20km to get to the train in the first place due to engineering works, another 8km at the other end to and from the station, and then 5km from the train station home (I used a different station).

My New Bike and the Thames Barrier

It was a nice route, well signposted, with only one unclear part on the return leg. The route took me from Chelsea, up to Smithfield Market, around the Isle of Dogs, then to the Thames Barrier. Evans cycles were there, and they did a 'tune up' of the bike (a new bike should be checked after some distance, and this was a free check!).

The route returned through the City (I stopped in Evans Cycles' City branch as I'd lost a bolt on my cycle rack, the tuneup people didn't have a spare. The guy in the City branch gave me a new bolt in goodwill). Kudos to Evans Cycles for being helpful without fuss or bother. This earned them a lot of goodwill. Okay, admittedly that was the point of them sponsoring the event and doing their 'surgeries' - but the guy in the City branch didn't have to sort out my rack for me.

As the end of the course approached, I did feel weary - but Monica was there to meet me, which was most welcome.

Returning home, she wasn't on a bike, so I cycled to Clapham Junction whilst she walked and took the bus. I got there in plenty of time, allowing me to refuel with a pastie. She arrived in the nick of time and we both got the same train home.

There were engineering works for our station, so Monica got off 20km away and used the train replacement bus service. I was tired and so stayed on the train (which went down a different branch) and cycled 5km back. She arrived just before me, I was slow.

On the way back, I was almost taken out by a guy in a black estate car who decided to emerge the wrong way from a one-way street at a high speed as I was about to cross it (having looked that way and then, seeing it was one-way, concentrated on the cars coming from the right). This wouldn't have been a good end to the day - but fortunately, he missed. There are some real dangers out there. This wasn't a function of the bike though, he was at a speed to have been a danger to crossing pedestrian or any other road-user.

Anyhow. I've got a medal... I wore it all evening as I dozed. That's not tragic, is it?

My sponsorship site is still open (until October this year), so please visit it to help Leukaemia Research.

My Charity Ride is tomorrow

I'm about to turn in as I have an early start tomorrow for my Charity Bicycle Ride.

I have to cycle for about 10 miles in order to catch the train into London (there are engineering works). I will then get off at Clapham Junction and Cycle to Chelsea.

At 10am, people will start to head off. We'll be going east, over the river, back over at Blackfriars, then via a diversion to Farringdon, we'll head east, around the Isle of Dogs, and then turning around at the Thames Barrier to head back west.

It'll be 26 miles in total - for the offical event. I'll then cycle to Clapham Junction, get off the train and cycle another 10 miles home.

All told, I'll be surprised if my tally for the day is under 50 miles.

This will be the first serious outing for my New World Tourist, though I have been out on it for about 20km before.

I can be sponsored at this site - all proceeds to Leukaemia Research. Go on, click the link, you know you want to...

New World Tourist is here!

My new bicycle arrived today.... My new bicycle arrived in a big white box. It was hard to guess what was inside, what with the big logo and all...

My new bicycle

The bike came in a samsonite case, but I soon opened it to reveal it in all of it's glory.

My new bicycle, mid assembly

I soon had the bike partially assembled, I need to tweak things more carefully before I go out on a big ride, I'm trying to treat the bike well from the get go. After all, I do have big plans for it! (To be revealed after the event, that way I don't have a hostage to fortune.

My new bicycle, folded.

Here's the bike folded. It doesn't fold as neatly as a brompton or similar, but that's not the purpose. The fold is a 'if you have to' thing - it's primarily a touring bike which can be disassembled for packing in a case for flights etc.

I'm not sure I've folded it right - the velcro strap didn't have enough play to attach back on itself properly, and in the end I tied it to secure. Also the front wheel wobbled about a bit as it wasn't fastened. I'll have to look at this again.

Bike Friday Badge

Built for me!

I'm quite pleased with it so far. I showed it to a few work colleagues, one of whom is very knowledgeable about bikes, and disparaging about folders - he was impressed with the overall quality.

The hinge attaching the back wheel to the frame caused some interest as, in order that the rear wheel misses the frame when folded, it is at a slight angle. This looked odd at first sight, as if it hadn't been brazed on properly, but it was fine.

The routing of the cabling for the rear brakes seems odd (the brake is very low on the wheel) - I'm a little concerned that it'll snag on the cranks - and there is a little tube which suggests that the rear brake cable should be routed above the bottom bracket - but that'd interfere with the fold. Also the shimano dual-drive only shifts between 2 and 3. I read the 'how to assemble manual carefully before getting short on time. I'll have to read the other manuals more carefully before taking it out for a proper spin. I want to ensure it's set up right first - more haste, less speed and all that. I'm not concerned right now, I know I've more reading to do, and I hope the answers are in the books.

Oh, and it's ninja black (or 'stealth' black - but I prefer thinking of it as 'ninja').

A followup post, in which I solve the hub gear issue, is here.

Bike Friday

There are several occasions where I will need to take a bicycle on public transport. For example, if I want to cycle in London, taking my regular bike is inconvenient, and could mean that I'd have problems with bike security. With this in mind, I've started thinking about a folding bike, which have moved on a lot in recent years.

I've thought about a Brompton, as they are pretty ubiquitous in the UK. I find myself drawn to the 'Tikit' - these are made in the USA. They have a fast fold and can be custom built to fit the individual (to my mind, folders need to be much more mechanically sound that a fixed bike - and I'm not a small bloke, so this is to be desired).

See the Fast Folding Tikit

They can be bought 'off the shelf' but to do that removes the 'custom' attraction, and makes the Brompton more attractive again. There is a newer version with a slightly slower fold (as it involves a twiddle-knob instead of the hyper-fold mechanism) - but the hyper fold looks like a great piece of engineering, and that's always a good thing for me. Elegant solutions are good.

I'd like to get a folder prior to the London Freewheel - though not essential, the transportation into town will be much more pleasant.

With the dollar being depressed at the moment, it seems like a good opportunity to seriously look at the tikit. The trouble is that I can see the need for other bicycles, a good tourer for instance - I would like to try getting on my bike, loading it up and just going this summer.... and I wouldn't trust my creaky Halfords bike for a long distance reliability....

Bikes are addictive things, the current one is never quite right...