Archive for the ‘Gear’ Category

Glo gloves 2018

I got a new pair of glo gloves this morning. I have several older pair, dating back from 2011, and they are pretty worn out. You can see one of the older pair below the new pair in this picture

The new pair are a stretchy material, and they only make one model now with the red stop sign on the palm. The older ones had a pad on the palm, but as you can see, the pads gradually wore out. To be fair, after seven years of intermittent use, they held up pretty well. You can see that the new ones stretch easily over a pair of M size ski gloves.

Unfortunately, I don’t see a Canadian dealer for these any more. You can order them from their website, or through Amazon.com.

and why the ski gloves? Well, it was a bit chilly this AM.

Still we ride….

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It’s been about a year since I got my Brompton and I’ve found that it is a great folding bike for the city. This past year I’ve ridden it over 190 times with total mileage of just over 1800 km. The most telling statistic is that this is more mileage than I did on the Tikit over five years of ownership. The compact nature of the fold makes all the difference.

Some of the adventures that I’ve had included:

Biking across the Ambassador bridge.


A trip to Battle Mountain for the WHPSC. (photo: Danny Guthrie)


A gathering of Toronto Brompton Owners


Seattle to Portland


A pie ride with the Vancouver Bicycle Club.


Riding with 10 year old James who was riding from Whitby to Coney Island to raise money for Autism treatment


and squeezing in a Brompton ride on the same day.


Unfortunately a couple of ghost bike rides as well, like this one for Colin Patrick Sztronga


I also have to throw in a fun day in Minneapolis on a borrowed Brompton. (Photo credit: Perennial Cycles)


Over the past year, I’ve also made some modifications to the bike, including:

new handlebars


Greenspeed Scorchers



  • a Ti rack and EZ wheels
  • cane creek barends
  • a water bottle bag from Randi Jo Fabrications
  • detachable pedals with the MKS EZ-Superior system
  • a Ti seatpost
  • a broken in Selle Anatomica saddle
  • the Brompton specific Cateye Volt 400 headlight
  • A Brompton front basket

On the basket:

It has worked out really well. It is the perfect size to carry the shoulder bag that I use at the office, along with a few odds and ends.


Before I got it, I had some concerns as I was told that it doesn’t fold flat, and I wanted to make sure it would fit in the same suitcase with the folded bike. As it turns out, the frame that defines the shape of the basket is easily removable.


Here you can see the basket packed with the bike.


and a close up showing the basket frame tucked along the left hand side.


Here I am off on another multi-modal adventure.


For now, when the city starts salting the roads, I’ll put the Brompton away for the winter.

I wonder what I’ll be doing to the bike, and with the bike next year…..




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Given that there’s a chance of a non-trivial amount of snow this Tuesday, I decided that it was time to pull the winter beater out from the back of the garage. It is a Norco Sub Zero I got back in 2013 that came complete with studded tires.


The fenders are definitely looking the worse for wear. Generally, a lot of the hardware that came with the bike was definitely not stainless. However, the frame itself is aluminum and is holding up really well.


It took a bit of using penetrating oil and grease to get this Japanese kickstand back in working order.


The chain is fine. I replaced it with a stainless one a while back and after wiping off the worst of the grime, a little coat of Chain-L and it is good to go.


Here you can see that I’m losing studs from the rear tire. This shows that the Kenda Klondikes are not as durable as the Schwalbe Winter Marathons I used on my former winter bike.


I’m a bit concerned about the rear drum brake sticking, but we’ll see how it goes.


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Due to unseasonably warm weather, I decided to ride into work with shorts, and to commemorate the event, I took this selfie. Upon reflection, I’m posting it here since there is so much Fred in the picture.

… in other words, pretty much everything you see in the picture.

Some might argue that riding a folding bike to begin with is the epitome of Fred as well, but I won’t do that as it might get me in trouble with Brompton fans.

Update: I see that I posted more or less the same thing five years ago.


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What bike bell works in the rain?

As we head into a rainy fall, one discussion that came up recently on the BOB list was the question of bike bells not working very well in the rain. I recently bought a Crane Suzu bell, which was reported to work pretty well in the rain. Since I also had a Spurcycle bell on the Brompton, it was time to do another comparison of the different bells I had. An earlier comparison looked at just the Knog Oi, an Incredibell, and a Cateye bell.

This video tells the tale:

When all the bells are dry, it is clear that the Spurcycle is the loudest and most resonant.

Once the bells are soaked, all are somewhat muffled, but the Crane is the loudest when wet, the Spurcycle still OK, and the other three are too quiet to be much use. The question as to why the Crane Suzu does the best in the rain is an interesting one, and probably has to do with the fact that it is relatively large and heavy, implying that it is not as affected by the damping effect of water droplets on the bell surface. However, the Crane Suzu is rather large, and takes up considerably more handlebar real estate than the others. Note that the Crane I tested was not one of their aluminum models, which I think would not do as well in the rain.

As a follow up, here is a video of the Crane and Cateye bells, taken while riding in the rain.

Update: In response to a comment below, I note that the Crane bell is easy to ring, even with my thickest mittens on.



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It’s been a while since I wrote about foot retention, and way back then I guess I liked Powergrips.  Since 90% of my cycling is for commuting, errands, and shopping, you could argue that I’d be best off with just flat pedals. However, in practice, three out of the four bikes that I ride the most use half clips. They are ideal for the city since they are easy to get in and out of, and they provide a little bit of support for correct foot placement on the pedals.

A little while ago, I found a pair of steel half clips in my bow of assorted parts, and I put them on the Brompton.


However, I was finding that they were a little hard to get into, and also they were scuffing up a new pair of Blundstones that I got around the same time. So off I went to my favourite LBS: Hoopdriver Bicycles. Martin always has a good stock of higher end accessories for the kind of bikes that I ride (i.e. not carbon fibre wonder bikes). I scored a pair of MKS deep half clips with leather wrapping. I’ll review the Crane bell when I get around to it.



Here is a side by side comparison of the old and new half clips. You can see that the deep version fits quite a bit thicker shoe. The standard ones seem best suited to cycling shoes, or similarly low profile shoes.


A bottom view.


If you’re considering a pair of these for a city bike, make sure you get the “Deep” version. You can also get it without the leather.

A much cheaper alternative is the plastic half clip, which you can see has a similar profile. They should be available at any non-racer type bike shop.IMG_9721

The plastic ones break in the long run, but in practice, I only have to replace them every two years or so. However, since the new ones were going on the Brompton, I figured there was no harm in having something a little fancier and shiny.

Here is the new half clip mounted on the Brompton.


Here is an action shot showing how happy my dressy shoes are not being scuffed up.


BTW the pedals I’m using on the Brompton and several other bikes are removable, and have the MKS EZ Superior system. This way it is EZ to swap pedals around. If you are going to go this route, make sure you are getting the Superior pedals, and not the regular EZ ones (that have little yellow plastic retention clips that are really EZ to lose).


Counterclockwise from top left: a clipless pedal that I used on the Brompton for STP, platform pedals with half clips, the flat Lambda pedals that are raved about by retrogrouchs that shun foot retention, and a sure sign of autumn. Switching from the Lambda’s to the platform pedals shaved a little weight off the Brompton; not something I really care about, but every little bit counts when you are suitcasing the bike and keeping the total package under 50 pounds.





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Brompton basket

I wanted to get a Brompton basket, but I consulted the internet to see if it would fold enough so that I could suitcase it with my bike. I got a variety of responses from the facebook collective, and from that information I decided to go for it.

Here is the basket on my bike. I am very happy with it.


It was pointed out to me that unlike the previous model of the basket, it doesn’t fold flat. However, it was easy to remove the aluminum frame from the rest of the bag.


Having done that, then it was easy to tuck the bent aluminum frame in a corner of my B&W case.


Here is a picture of my entire load: the brompton (with rack), a small saddle bag, some sneakers, and my helmet. With a tool kit as well, the whole thing came to 50.0 lbs. Perfect.


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