Bike

A weekend full of Bromptons!

A weekend full of Bromptons!

Well, what a weekend that's been! This weekend was the Brompton World Championships.  It's the third year it's been run and the first time it's been run in the UK.

It's being held at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire and features about a 13Km ride around the grounds.  Brompton are hoping to have around 500 entries.  The rules are fairly simple - it's timed rather than based on position and you have to wear a suit.

Outer Hebrides trip Day 10 - Howmore to Castlebay - 37.21 miles

Outer Hebrides trip Day 10 - Howmore to Castlebay - 37.21 miles

Another very windy day - and they were, of course, major head winds.  Oh great. Still, on I went.  I got a pretty late start - not sure why, just seemed to be faffing around this morning.  I was aiming for the 1pm ferry across to Barra, so needed to get a move on.

Outer Hebrides trip Day 9 - Rushgarry to Howmore - 50.03 miles

Outer Hebrides trip Day 9 - Rushgarry to Howmore - 50.03 miles

My plan of camping higher up certainly worked with keeping the midges away, but it was a very windy night and I did not sleep that well.  I was woken early with a strong sunrise, but managed to finally get to sleep again and actually slept until about 9 - which is quite late for me on this trip.

Outer Hebrides trip Day 8 - Leverburgh to Rushgarry - 48.31 miles

Outer Hebrides trip Day 8 - Leverburgh to Rushgarry - 48.31 miles

It rained quite a bit overnight, but I couldn't hang around as I was going to get the first ferry across to Berneray and onto North Uist. There was another cyclist staying at the hostel and he was getting the ferry as well.  He was a retired German gentleman - he was spending a number of weeks in Scotland traveling between hostels mainly by bus (you can put your bike on a bus apparently!) and then cycling around the local areas.

Outer Hebrides trip Day 7 - St. Kilda - 0 miles (on the bike)

Outer Hebrides trip Day 7 - St. Kilda - 0 miles (on the bike)

Boy oh boy, was I excited when I got up this morning - I was going to St Kilda! I don't know how long I had known of St. Kilda - but it felt like somewhere I had always been aware of and this was just too good an opportunity to miss.  Although it was quite expensive (£160 for the day), it really is a unique place that not many people get the chance to visit.

Outer Hebrides trip Day 6 - Rhenigidale to Leverburgh - 49.04 miles

Outer Hebrides trip Day 6 - Rhenigidale to Leverburgh - 49.04 miles

A great morning promising sunshine.  However this of course meant the midges were out in force again.  So after a quick shower, I very quickly struck camp and headed off.  The fast descent into Rhenigidale meant that my first job of the morning was climbing out of there.  It was tough, but not as tough as coming in (and I don't think that is just because I was fresh compared to the previous night). 

I'm back and ready to tell all

Coming back into London this morning, I was certainly filled with fear and trepidation - not just for all the stuff I knew would be on my desk and I have to clear before I jet off next week to the US for a conference, but for all the crazy stuff that goes on here - how busy, dirty, hectic etc. it is. My ride home certainly proved those fears.  I suppose I will get into the swing of it all fairly quickly though.  However, I will not forget that trip as it will live with me forever.  I am looking forward to writing about it, just to remind myself of the great time I have had.  I know a blog is ideally meant to be a spontaneous, stream of consciousness and here I will have to write about stuff that happenned 2 and half weeks ago - but I will do my best.  I wrote a lot of notes whilst I was away - so hope I can write 'in the moment' and express my feelings at the time without anything that happenned later in the trip prejudicing that.

I will have so many photos as well to go up on my Flickr site.

It's going to take a while - so be patient!

Small Wheels - Big World!

Only found out about this through the (rather geeky)(but that suits me just fine)) BromptonTalk Yahoo group It certainly puts my little trip next week into perspective.

So, if you were planning to ride around the world, you'd probably choose some kind of expedition or touring bike from someone like Thorn , or certainly, I think I would.

This chap, however, is choosing to go around the world on a Brompton!

I was impressed the other week on the Dunwich Dynamo with people riding 120 miles on a Brompton (and secretly thinking I will do it on my Brompton next year!) - but around the world??!?!?!?

He looks to have a pretty cool set-up with a trailer etc. and a double chainring (manual) up front for the hills.

I think my biggest concern would be spares and the rough stuff.  A lot of stuff on a Brompton is pretty unique - for starters, there's the wheels.  If you've got a 26 inch wheeled bike - you can be almost anywhere in the world and find a tyre, a rim or even a whole new wheel.  Not so easy with 16 inch wheels!

Cables are really odd on Bromptons - they have to be exact lengths (mainly because of the folding) - so I guess if he's not planning to fold it then he'll be alright.

Just to highlight the problems with spare parts, here's an article in the Financial Times stating each bike has 1200 parts of which 70% are unique to Brompton.......

And then it's going to be a question of what happens when the going gets rough?  A Brompton is lovely on smooth fast tarmac.  Even on London's less than smooth, rough tarmac however, things can get a little jarring and hard work!  He might have a Pantour hub fitted - I do hope so, or he's going to have sore arms!

Anyway - I don't want to put him down at all - he's clearly a braver man than I and all the best of luck to him!  He's writing a very complete blog at the moment and it's worth a read.  I look forward to him getting further into his trip.

Have a read - all very interesting

http://smallwheelsbigworld.blogspot.com/

Getting ready

Getting ready

Okay - everyone else is doing it - so I thought it's time to try my hand at blogging. So what on earth am I going to write about?  Well at the moment, my mind is pretty much occupied with my forthcoming trip to the Hebrides.

My plan is to cycle the length of the Outer Hebrides (the wrong way it turns out) and then travel onto Skye.