London

All posts tagged London

This morning was my first commute into the office on the Brompton.

I dressed as normal in a suit, shirt and tie (but still wore my Nike walking/running shoes as I keep formal shoes at the office) and then rode in. The weather forecast was for showers and indeed a little over halfway there the drizzle started, enough to leave a trace on my Garmin and to feel it, but not really enough to make me wet, fortunately.

But that does raise the question of what to wear as winter draws in: when I run, I wear clothes including waterproofs/water resistant jackets that are fine for warm, cool or cold weather. I wear a different suit every day for work, so simply leaving one at the office won’t work for me. So my choices are either to wear the suit into the office and risk getting it wet or carry one in every day and change when I get in. But how to carry the suit? I looked at some of Brompton’s luggage that clips to the block on the frame of the bike, but none really looked right as a suit bag.  I already have a number of suit carriers but none would be suitable to sling over my shoulder without them falling off again or they’d be flapping in the breeze. No, a better alternative was needed, so off I went to the Internet.

The first decent one – according to all the reviews I read – was the Henty Wingman Backpack which rolls the suit to prevent creases rather than the normal folding suit bags.  In addition, some stiffeners in the bag prevent it from folding and hopefully leave the suit and shirt crease-free.  The garment bag takes a suit and a couple of shirts max and is zipped up and a second roll bag then clips in front of it, intended to take your shoes and toiletries, etc. before the whole lot gets rolled up.  I preferred the backpack design to the messenger bag version.  I’ll probably just use the roll bag for waterproofs and additional layers, I expect, plus my wallet, although that can go in the outside pocket. So I’ve ordered one to pick up today and try out tomorrow.

Wingman Backpack Final 20161223 1080p from Henty on Vimeo.

And here’s today’s ride. I forgot to set the Garmin off early enough so it took a few metres until it had located me, so it was actually slightly longer.

Yes, I’ve gone and done it: I’ve bought one of those ridiculous-looking folding commuter bikes, but in my case a strictly limited-edition one with a rather nice paint finish.

When I say “ridiculous-looking” it’s not been one of those bikes that lends itself to too much in the way of ridicule unlike the MAMIL (Middle Aged Man In Lycra) shots or at least that was until the BBC’s “W1A” satirical show featured them:

Anyway, I’d long thought about riding in to the office on my Carrera Kraken 09 20″ mountain bike but its lack of mudguards, our lack of a shower at the office and more particularly my lack of anywhere to keep a full-sized bicycle safe whilst I’m inside had put paid to that idea so instead I’ve been walking both ways, which is fine in itself other than arriving a tad sweaty in a suit and spending around 35 minutes each way walking the 3½km each way.

The downside of that is my getting through a pair of Nike shoes every year and it taking so long.

By chance a review of Brompton’s new electric bike appeared on my Twitter feed the other day and that got me to thinking about a Brompton as a sensible choice for the short journey, given I can fold it and bring it into my office each day… a la W1A.

So I had a look on their website and decided that they looked quite good, but what colour to specify? Easy: when i saw the Nine Streets limited edition, I was sold.

“Originally launched in 2017 to celebrate the opening of the Brompton Junction Amsterdam.  Nine Streets sports the never before seen, special fade finish. The effect is a special fade finish of Red and Blue lacquer which is created using a hand sprayed [sic]. The process leaves a unique finish on each Nine Streets bike, meaning no 2 bikes are the same.

“Nine Streets is produced in the Brompton factory in London. Each bike is handmade with the highest quality craftmanship to create the Nine Streets unique finish.

“Inspired by Amsterdam 9 Straatjesis well known for it’s stylish shops and creative influence, Nine Streets is a nod to the iconic canal-district area in the Netherlands.

“Only a small batch of Nine Streets Edition bikes have been produced…”

Brompton Nine Streets

The paint job is fantastic, starting with blue at the front and fading into red at the back:

Red at the back…

and blue at the front

Click on the first image to see it at larger scale.

I’ve gone for the higher-barred H-series handlebar version and a longer seat post for my 33″-34″ inside leg measurement. It comes with the 6-speed set of gears: 3 internal hub and 2 external rings.

H-type handlebars

Gearsets

It also comes with dynamo-driven front and rear lights powered from the dynamo mounted in the front wheel hub:

Front Wheel Hub

As it’s limited in numbers, I couldn’t order one direct from Brompton but found one at Evans Cycles near Waterloo; I pick it up tomorrow. This is the spec.:

  • Model: H6L
  • Edition: Nine Streets Edition
  • Handlebar Type: H
  • Gears: 6
  • Mudguards / Rack: Mudguards, no rack
  • Frame Material: Steel
  • Main Frame Colour: 2-tone fusion of Red and Blue lacquer
  • Extremities Colour: 2-tone fusion of Red and Blue lacquer
  • Gear Ratio: Standard
  • Seatpost: Extended
  • Lighting: Shimano Hub Dynamo
  • Saddle: Brompton Standard
  • Tyres: Schwalbe Marathon Racer
  • Front Luggage Mount: Yes
  • Luggage: No
  • Bike Cover: No
  • Toolkit: No
  • Additional info: Unique Serial Number plate

I’ve also ordered a cadence sensor from Garmin to grab a few more stats like on the Carrera onto Garmin Connect.