Archive for the ‘Folding bikes’ Category

Brompton announced that this year’s Brompton World Championships would involve a crowdsourced photo competition with several themes, rebranded as the “Brompton world challenge”. This was an excuse to put out the word for a group ride for local Brompton owners.

Here is the first in a series of group shots at our meeting spot (Nicol Macnicol Parkette)

Have to sneak in this photo of the very fancy saddle on Paul’s new e-Brompton.

Riding down the Beltline.

Yes, there was one big wheeled bike with us, but it was a state of the art Cervelo gravel bike, and Carol assured us that she also has a Brompton.

Trying to get a group shot on the bridge over Yonge, which didn’t turn out to be such a good idea.

However, this view of the Yonge bike lanes made me very happy.

Since the regular exit from Mt. Pleasant Cemetery at Moore Ave was closed, we entered at Heath Ave, which is something I’ve never done. A bit of a steep gravel incline after this bridge.

Into the brickworks for a snack break.

A few of us chose to ride up to the viewpoint on the ridge overlooking the brickworks. We will have to do this again when the fall colours are out.

photo: Carol

Lunch break.

Paul shows us his battery pack.

Seventeen Bromptons, all in a row. We’ve decided that the official term is a “fold” of Bromptons.

Our photographer had a nifty tripod that I’m going to have to look into.

Off we go again.

Taking over lower Bayview.

I think Pier is saying that I’m blocking his shot.

Final destination was Corktown Commons.

Thanks to Heather and Pier for organizing today’s ride. You can read about their Brompton related adventures at Bromptoning.com. Nice to see so many people!

As people post pictures and videos, I’ll link to them as updates.

The Bromptoning report.

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Today there was a walk to honor and support former students of Residential Schools. The starting point was Parliament and Dundas, and it was to end at Nathan Phillips square. I had never seen so many orange shirts in one place.

The view from Dundas, shortly before we are to start.

Here we go.

Hey I know those people.

Orange shirt and helmet today.

A pause at Yonge and Dundas. Interesting how rhythmic clapping in a large crowd inevitably speeds up with time.

Headed down Bay.

At Nathan Phillips Square. The scent of burning sweetgrass is in the air.

Heartening to see such a massive turnout.

With the steady drip drip of the discovery of more bodies, it is a time for me to learn more about this aspect of our country’s past, and to pause and reflect on how I can do better.

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This weekend is an online version of the Brompton World Championships. To mark the occasion, we had a socially distanced group ride this morning. Here we all are at Inukshuk Park.

Here we are without masks while maintaining social distancing.

Off we go.

At the turnaround point.

This time with Michael.

Trying to get everyone to ride abreast.

Here we back at the starting point.

Someone insisted that my outfit be documented.

Riding back towards Ellis with Christine and Janet Joy.

Thanks to everyone who came out. Enjoy the remainder of the summer, everyone!

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Look what came in the mail today from Condor Cycles.

Early reports on an early production run of these tires reported that they didn’t quite fit under the rear fender of a Brompton. This was actually music to my ears since I was looking for a higher volume tire that was similar to the Greenspeed Scorchers. Word was this production run would have smaller dimensions to avoid this issue.

Time to take out the calipers. My comparators were the Schwalbe Marathon, and the original old OEM Brompton tires that were an emergency replacement during RSVP.

TireWeight (g)Height (mm)Width (mm)

The height was measured from the edge of a stock Brompton rim to the top of the tread. The width was for the tire mounted on a stock rim as well. Surprise: the old Brompton tire has the highest volume. The Conti is only slightly larger than the Marathon, and so it should have no problem fitting under a standard fender.

The Conti is similar in weight to the Marathon Racer (nominally 240 g), and heavier than the Kojak (190 g). The claim is that it is more flat proof than the competition. We shall see. I do appreciate that it has a reflective stripe on the sidewall. Also, it was much easier to mount on the rim than the Marathon. It also easy to get it concentric to the rim. The other difference from the Schwalbe tires was that the inner surface of the tire was a very slick plastic lamination.

It’s a nice looking tire. We’ll see how they do in the long run.

Of course I had to do a few laps of High Park to make sure everything was OK.

The sakura are probably about two weeks from blooming. It will be interesting to see how they are going to control the crowds this year.

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Good friend and riding partner Steve and I decided this summer that rather than doing STP for the third time, that we would do the other north/south ride run by Cascade Bike Club: Ride from Seattle to Vancouver plus Party (RSVP).

We were are leaving the house before dawn. Since it is one month later than STP, it was quite a bit darker than last year.

Here’s a crappy picture at the start. Not as elaborate set up as for STP since there are only 2500 riders on this one.

Heading north on the Burke-Gilman trail.

Dawn breaks over Lake Washington.

Approaching the first of three major climbs for Friday, the one that starts in Woodinville.

About a third of the way up the hill: DISASTER. The rear tire on the Brompton seemed OK the previous day, but riding to Steve’s from G&O, I noticed some out of roundness in the rear tire. This was also apparent riding to the start line, but I couldn’t see anything in the dark. However, it was clear now that the rear tire had worn clean through. Forget all the good things that I’ve said in the past about Greenspeed Scorchers.

Tried to boot the tire with a combination of some tire patches on the inside of the casing, plus a $5 bill.

At least Wilfrid Laurier got me the rest of the way up the hill, but then the tire was flat again. There was a bike shop at the corner, and Neil from Eastside Ski& Sport was very kind to let us camp out there for a while until we decided what to do, but of course he didn’t have a ETRO 349 tire.

We sent Peg to pick up a tire from a shop that will go unnamed. The person at the shop swore up and down that he was sending us a 349 tire, but when it arrived it was a 305, and we were back to square one. In the end, we drove back to Seattle, and I went out to G&O Family Cyclery again where they would have the tire for sure. They had plenty of take offs from owners of older model Bromptons who had swapped them for Schwalbe Marathons. Davey kindly let me use the kid zone to repair my bike.

I swapped out both Scorchers for good measure. To be fair, I got about 4000 km out of them, including STP on both a tikit and the Brompton.

Steve’s wife Peg sacrificed the rest of her day off to drive us up to Mt. Vernon where we could rejoin the ride. Ironically, there was a sudden rain squall while we were driving (that wasn’t in the forecast) and it ended just as we were dropped off. Thanks Peg!

Just out of Mt. Vernon, we pass by the I-5 bridge over the Skagit river that fell down some years ago.

A long flat ride towards some hills that we will eventually skirt to the west before getting to Bellingham.

Just past the turn for Chuckanut Rd, this bakery is highly recommended.

Approaching the hills now.

No really serious climbs on this part of the route: just a series of rollers.

Us getting in the way of some pretty, but hazy, scenery.

Another picture.

Hey, we’re in Bellingham.

One last hill before town had a series of signs talking up pink lemonade.

These lovely ladies have been serving at the top of “lemonade hill” for the past 22 years!

They also had a cowbell for first time RSVP riders. Of course no ride is complete without more cowbell.

Drat, once we reach town, there is still more climbing to do.

This fellow was not part of our ride but had left Redmond on his way to Vancouver, and then the islands.

One last turn before the luggage drop at the Days Inn.

After a shower and a change of clothes, some well earned beer at the Boundary Bay Brewery.

Leaving our accommodations bright and early the next morning.

Luggage drop off.

Very gradual climb out of town along Northwest Avenue.

Steve cruising along

Can you tell I’m riding a Brompton?

Approaching the Lynden rest stop.

Plenty of snacks were provided.

However, given the Dutch theme of the town, I was disappointed by the lack of Stroopwafels, and I had to make do with a cookie.

Heading north for the border along aptly named Double Ditch Rd.

We guessed that the line of trees that we were looking at for a while would be the border, and sure enough, we turn left just short of it.

Yes that is the border, and the road to the right is in BC. We were told by CBP that there were sensors and cameras for security.

Lining up to cross the border.

This is one of the more interesting ways that I’ve crossed into Canada. They set this up especially for RSVP.

Steve was admitted into Canada without having to answer too many questions.

We continue west along on the border, but this time in Canada.

We started seeing a lot of cyclists going the other way on Zero Avenue. It turns out that they were on the BC Ride to Conquer Cancer. Unfortunately we saw two riders in a pack go down, but by the time we got close, it seemed that everyone was on their feet and OK.

Heading north now on Otter Rd. These people look serious.

The one big climb for the second day up to the Langley area. I will say that in the middle the grade went up to 13% which was no fun on with my standard 6 Spd Brompton gearing.

Who says recumbents can’t climb?

North Otter Elementary rest stop.

I had a nice conversation with the owner of this bike. 650B, Ti, S&S couplers, etc. His partner had a lot of questions about my Brompton.

A bit of a break in Maple Ridge.

Preparing to cross the Fraser River on the Golden Ears Bridge.

We use a spiral ramp to ascend to the level of the bridge.

Approaching the bridge span proper, we hear our names being called out, and it’s Joel and friend Josh from Minneapolis. Joel had done STP at the same time as us in the past.

I actually found this crossing to be a little unnerving given the fact that the span was very high, and the bikeway rather narrow and right at the edge.

Waiting to cross HWY 7, just at the Pitt River crossing.

This bridge was not as high or long, and the bikeway was wider.

It’s pretty much city riding after the second bridge, but it helps when you are in a huge pack of riders.

Rest stop at Port Moody.

Now we have to skirt Burnaby Mountain before reaching Vancouver. We see a road that looks like it heads straight up the mountain, but we turn right before it.

Now a little over five miles on the Barnett Highway, but at least there is a very wide shoulder.

Who knew that there was a velodrome tucked away on this side of the mountain?

Hopefully this is the last climb. It was a long one, and the shoulder was a little narrow during the climb.

There was no sensor at this left turn, so we were waiting to cross with pedestrians, which was not ideal.

We take the Frances/Union bike route into town, which joins the Adanac bike lane. Although there is this Vancouver sign at theHWY 1 crossing to fool the tourists, we know that the city limit was actually a few blocks back.

The finish line.

A less fancy set up than at the end of STP, but there was a bike corral, and a finish gate that you didn’t ride through, but you could line up to take your instagram photo. We didn’t bother.

Here is the real momento. Note that it says “Vancouver BC”, since if you rode to Vancouver Washington, you’d be going the wrong direction.

Overall, I’d say that the scenery on this ride was better than STP, although there was more climbing to do. I imagine that the border crossing makes this ride less popular than STP.

I got lots of positive comments on the Brompton, and a few on my Palo Alto wool jersey as well. The weather was pretty much ideal.

Why 61%? Well with the disaster the first day, we ended up with only about 61% of the nominal total ride distance. Still, given that I was a little undertrained for the event, it was perfect. Thanks to Steve; always a pleasure to be riding with you. Once again huge thanks to Peg who saved the day by driving out to Woodinville after I sent her to get the wrong tire, and for making it possible for us to rejoin the ride at Mt. Vernon.

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In a couple of days, I’ll be flying out to the left coast again in order to join the Ride from Seattle to Vancouver plus Party (RSVP), which is put on by the Cascade Bike Club. Last year, I did their Seattle to Portland (STP) ride, and this time, Steve and I decided to mix things up a bit and do their other large ride along the coast.

Got my bib number!

As per my previous STP, I’ll be using the Brompton, and so it was time to make sure it was ready.

First order of business: replacing the Ti rack with a half rack. The hope is that it will make the fold a bit more compact, given that I’ll never use the full size rack. I got a very inexpensive half rack from eBay.

It is aluminum, rather than titanium, but given the fact that it is basically a mounting point for two EZ wheels, and the fender, it doesn’t have to be very strong. Here is a comparison of the two racks. You can see that the half rack is much shorter.

I managed to switch racks without removing the rear wheel, which was a clear win. The only tricky bit was drilling a new hole in the fender without puncturing the tire.

You can see that the new rack is not nicely triangulated like the Ti rack. We’ll see how it holds up.

One other concern that I had was that the fender protrudes much farther to the rear than the rack, but it turns out that this isn’t an issue while folding the bike.

The other thing that I did was to replace one of my aftermarket EZ wheels with a new pair from NOV designs.

Also, hydration. For a while I had misplaced my Randi Jo Fab bartender bag, so I pulled out a monkii cage that I had bought a while ago. This version has a Brompton specific mount that fits well on the stem.

The bottle cage clips into the mount, and when you want a drink, you remove the bottle while it is still attached to the cage.

I used this for a couple of training rides, and while it worked well, I found that I preferred the older setup with the soft bag. Happily I found my bartender bag yesterday, and so that is what I’ll be using on RSVP. BTW if anyone wants the monkii cage for cheap, let me know.

I noticed that Sam had a similar beverage bag on his bike when we met at the DAS ghost bike refurbishment. His is made in Montréal by Atwater Atelier.

I’ll be flying into Vancouver with the Brompton in its usual hard case. I’ll be taking a bus down to Seattle, and so for that leg of the trip, I’ll use a soft case. My bag of choice is the one by Radical Designs. It has a shoulder strap that will be handy.

Here is the bag folded up.

The storage bag has saddle bag loops and is designed to be carried on the bike, although in actuality, it will be in my backpack which will be hauled to the midpoint (Bellingham) and to the finish in Vancouver).

So, Seattle to Vancouver, about 302 km, over two days with 1940 m of climbing. This on insufficient training. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

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Today was the first Open Streets TO event of the year, and the Toronto Brompton Owners group used the occasion for a group ride. Here we are by Bloor and Spadina.


Actually shortly before we took off, I had a chance to catch up with Angela, who is now also a Brompton owner. However, I was admiring her new helmet with lights, by Rock Bros.


Here’s a rear view with the control panel. It has lights on the side and rear as well as the front. She said that it was both cheaper and lighter than the Lumos.


If I didn’t already have two other helmets on the way via Kickstarter and Indiegogo, I’d be tempted.

She also had this sweet sticker that she had made in memory of her husband, Gary.


Here we go down Yonge St. The pavement has gotten pretty bad.


We stop to chat with Andy and Elise who are Bromptonless today, but had their new dog Teddy with them.


Pier showing off a bit. He was blasting some disco music from a speaker at his hip that we figured out was released the year before he was born.


Riding back up Yonge.


Where should we go next?


We decide to wrap up the ride at home base for Bromptons in Toronto: Curbside Cycle.


BTW didn’t know that Curbside now rents Bromptons.

and here we are at Curbside with a few more members.


Thanks to everyone who came out today, and thanks also to Heather who got us organized on Facebook.

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Today was the 30th annual City of Toronto Group Commute. Here we gather at the High Park start point on a brilliantly sunny morning.

Albert recruited a few of us to cycle in turtle costumes, in reference to the agonizingly slow pace of bike infrastructure construction across the city.

This year’s shirts are red/pink.

The TPS explains corking just before we take off.

Revved up and ready to go.

And we’re off. That’s Meri from Gord Perks’ office in the lead.

Turtles use hand signals too!
straight into the sun as usual

This bike dad was riding a nicely accessorized Costco cargo bike.

Climb, John, climb.

Corking, TPS style.

The lead group.

We were handed off to a bike based unit at Dufferin.

Bromptons well represented today.

This fellow was not on delivery yet.

Alberto always shows up with an interesting art bike.

He has a show of his work that opens on June 1 at 7 pm and runs for the month. Most of the artwork will be fish related. @the mezz, 1546 Queen St. W.

Turning south at Yonge.

Running into old friend Mikey of WHPSC fame. He didn’t have to ask about the turtle costume as he knows how slow I am.

Off we go.

This is an interesting low step over bike.

Arriving at NPS.

Friends with Bromptons. Rumor is that there is going to be a Brompton Ride during the August 18 Open Streets TO event.

Perhaps the youngest Brompton owner in town.

Picture time with Mary Margaret.

Albert and Joe Cressy after having a few words.

Nice to see Geoffrey working on a bike that is not painted white.

Turtles listening to updates about the Bike Plan.

Inevitably, they are somewhat disappointed.

Turtle video linked below.

Some of us wanted to remind people that cyclists are still dying on the streets.

photo: Geoffrey Bercarich

Bike Law continues to push for Vulnerable Road User legislation.

I was told that the legislature is voting on amendments to Bill 107 today, to bring in more in line with Bill 62, which was Jessica Bell’s private member’s bill (now tabled). Figures crossed.

Nice to see so many people out, but we still await the day when people feel safe commuting by bike without the benefit of police escort.

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Today’s Ride of Silence took place under highly variable weather conditions. Riding to the start point, it was sunny and warm to begin with, but in the next half hour, I experienced thunder and lightning, rain, and hail. A bit like this strip:

At the starting point, there were a few hardy souls gathered, shown here taking some shelter in an alcove. Look closely: those white streaks are hail stones!

What a day to be without rain gear, and wearing a T shirt.

As the appointed time approached, the rain let up a bit, and a few more people rode up. Here is Ben with his highly modified Brompton.

Fork and rear triangle made of Russian titanium, a Rohloff hub, and Hope disc brakes.

Joey lines us up to go.

Riding by the Dalia Chako ghost bike.

Approaching Bay, it is raining in earnest again. Hamish has joined us.

Surprise: Bill has appeared with our ASME winning bike.

What a day to be caught without my usual rain cape.

At Dundas and Yonge.

Getting ready to turn onto Queen.

Arriving at the peace garden. You can tell there’s water on my lens by now.

A few more people rode up at the Peace Garden, just as the sun came out again.

Here I’m reading out the names of the deceased. (Photo: Hamish Wilson)

Every year, the list of names of cyclists killed in the past ten years gets longer. This was the 17th annual Ride of Silence internationally. I’m not sure when these rides started in Toronto, but the first one I attend was 2010, so this was at least the 19th local ride.

Today was also the one year anniversary of the when Jonas Mitchell was struck and thrown ten meters through the air at Lakeshore and Colborne lodge. We heard about it the day before last year’s ride.

Thanks to everyone who helped us remember all the cyclists whose lives were tragically cut short while riding bikes on the mean streets of our fair city.

Update: Joey Schwartz’s video of the ride.

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A while back I installed a non standard fender on the rear of the Brompton in order to accommodate wider tires. However, I soon found that the mudflap was too long, and tended to get caught on the pavement whenever I folded the bike. As a result, it got bent, and started to look rather unattractive .

So I decided to see if I could install an SKS mudflap. The one I used was ordered from Thorusa, and it was the narrow version.

Widthwise it fit the Planet Bike fender perfectly, but it look a bit of hacking to get the fender mount to fit with the new setup. Fortunately, the tabs on the Ti rack were easily bendable.

However, the new mudflap extended quite far out, and thus was in danger of having the same problem as the previous one.

I trimmed it back so that it barely touched the ground when the tire and rear ez wheels were on the ground.

Here’s the finished installation.

Also note that the mounting tabs for the rear EZ wheels turned out to be easily bent, and as a result the bike was no longer rolling straight when folded. I straightened out the tabs, and remounted the wheels on the rack inboard of the mounting tabs. We’ll see if they hold up a little better.

All things considered, I can’t completely recommend the H&E Ti rear rack because of the issue of the EZ wheel mounts being easily bent. If I had to do it over, I would have gone with an aluminum half rack, such as these on eBay.

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