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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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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.

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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A bottom view.

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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.

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

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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).

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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.

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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.

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

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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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This is a follow up post to an earlier one about putting wider tires on the Brompton, and so it will be irrelevant to 99% of Brompton owners. As part of that process, I replaced the stock fender with one from Planet Bike. However, with the new fender, during my first ride in the rain, it was immediately apparent that my butt was getting very wet, despite wearing a rain cape.

As it turns out, the new fender is just a few inches shorter than the original, aside from lacking the stock mudflap. If you draw a tangent line from the outside diameter of the tire to the mudflap, you’ll see that the line is more or less vertical, and this is what gives adequate coverage in the rain. The new fender falls very short.

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On some of my other bikes, I’ve used Buddy Flaps, and so I ordered a pair to see if I could fit them onto the Brompton.

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Initially I just zip tied the short one onto the back of my rack.

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However, this being a Brompton, and wanting the solution to be a bit more aesthetic, I eventually cut up the rear one and used the existing fender hardware to fit it into place.

(side note: the tabs on my Ti H&E rack have gotten bent a bit which is why my ez wheels are not quite straight.)

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You can see that the flap also does not interfere with the fold.

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Next step is to figure out a long term solution for a taillight, since I swapped my 2017 saddle with the integrated mount for a Selle Anatomica.

I’ll also include a few shots that I took at Curbside on Saturday. Here is an interesting e bike with 406 wheels.

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The Pure Cycles branding is very subtle.

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This is their Volta model. They were recently featured in an editorial about the impact of tariffs on the e-bike market.

Here is the 9 cities model of the Brompton. The paint is even prettier in person that it appears in photos on the web.  Looking forward to seeing one in person this Saturday if the rain holds off.

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The Hamilton Glowriders is a group that rides around downtown once a month during the summer after darkness falls. Everyone shows up with bikes decorated for the occasion. I’ve been reading about this group for a while and decided to hit the QEW to check out their August ride.

The ride starts at Durand park, and the route takes full advantage of the scenery around Cootes Paradise and the harbour front.

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This picture gives you an idea of the age range of the riders. In actual fact, the great majority of the riders looked to be in their twenties or early thirties. I can’t remember the last time I was in a group ride where I was decades older than the average. When many bike clubs bemoan the aging demographics of their membership, these people seem to have done something right.

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The other thing that I didn’t expect was to see was the diversity of interesting bikes. Two small examples. Firstly a Hase Pino that the owners got used, and they also added a Rohloff hub to the back. This is the centre stand with lowrider pannier mounts.

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Another fellow had an immaculately detailed 650B gravel bike, and this was his girlfriend’s bike: a vintage Nishiki mixte with interesting Nitto bars that he had ordered from Blue Lug.

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Meet up time was 8 pm, but we didn’t really get rolling for about an hour. As darkness fell, more and more riders showed up. Here is Don, one of the ride leaders, taking pictures of people.

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More lights.

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I was told these fiber optic lights were from Dollarama.

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In total, there were probably two or three hundred riders at the start.

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Lining up to get ready to roll.

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On King St, crossing the QEW. Note that a full lane of traffic has been given over to bikes. This is the main westbound thoroughfare in the city. Imagine the Bloor viaduct having one full lane reserved for bikes.

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This couple was asked what they would do to top these costumes at Hallowe’en. Yes, that is a cat skeleton.

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The leaders did a great job of having enough regroups to give this very large group together. There was no corking at traffic lights, but at these pauses in the ride, everyone was able to get back into one large group.

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Skirting the harbour front.

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Now riding through downtown on James St. Lots of supportive calling out from pedestrians.

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The ride leaders. That’s Tyler in the captain’s hat.

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Another surprise was the large number of riders on Sobi bike share bikes. The Sobi system seems to be doing very well.

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Turning the last corner onto Augusta.

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Captain Tyler thanks everyone for coming, and suggests we all have a beer. Unfortunately, given that it was past my bedtime and the fact that I had a drive ahead, I was not able to stick around.

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At any rate, it was a spectacularly fun evening for me. I got to geek out on bike hardware, met lots of friendly people, and soaked in the laid back vibe of downtown Hamilton on a summer Saturday night with several hundred new friends. Thanks to Tyler, Don et al for a great event.

You might get a better impression of the ride from this video, minus the occasional whiff of cannabis.

The final glow ride of the year will be on September 22, and you should watch their facebook page for details. I heard that the start time will be moved earlier as we would be at the equinox.

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The bike friday Haul a Day comes with an integral centre stand that is quite sturdy.

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However, last week I suddenly noticed that one of the legs had dropped off. How it happened without me hearing it is beyond me, but I improvised a quick replacement, using 5/8″ threaded rod, which was the only thing available at the local hardware of the appropriate diameter.

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By the way, the M6 allen screws that secure the legs have special heads that have a reduced diameter, so it was not easy to find replacements. I ended up reducing the diameter of regular socket head screws with a belt sander. Bike Friday should up the price of each bike by $20 and use all stainless hardware.

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After looking for a more suitable replacement, I found 12″ long SS tubing on Amazon. Here’s a picture of the tubing, along with the one remaining kickstand foot.

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After a few minutes with a tubing bender:

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and here is the final product.

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Note that the 0.065″ wall tubing I ordered was definitely overkill. I would have been better of with the 0.049″ wall tubing instead. It would have certainly been easier to bend.

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