Since that other blog post with most of the details, I’ve had the rest of my little finger amputated (in December 2020) and I’m left with constant pain and a sufficient degree of disability to have qualified for a “blue badge” here in the UK. Part of the pain management has been for us to move for part of the year out to Corralejo on Fuerteventura, one of the Canary Islands off the coast of Morocco with its low rainfall and warm temperatures all year round, which definitely helps reduce the pain in my hand and pelvis.
It also means that I am more able to go for walks and cycle rides to try to loosen up my joints, lose weight (to lessen the duty on my pelvis/hips) and to work on my ‘wellness’ generally.
The aim is still to try to run but I try to avoid painkillers and running piles that pain on! So it’s a slow and steady race to reduce weight for less strain on my joints – my consultant years ago told me to avoid running because of my knee gradually wearing out – by exercising and eating healthily, especially as I hit 60 years old this year.
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.
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.
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.
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.:
Edition: Nine Streets Edition
Handlebar Type: H
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
Lighting: Shimano Hub Dynamo
Saddle: Brompton Standard
Tyres: Schwalbe Marathon Racer
Front Luggage Mount: Yes
Bike Cover: 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.