So Sunday was a glorious day, not just for the yellow disc in the sky, shining great heat and sunlight upon the great and the not so great or good but it was also the day of the Brompton world championships…held at blenhiem palace yearly, this year it has formed the mainstay of a 2 day festival of cycling….
What a day we had..i awoke at about 6 to a glorious sunrise, made my peanut butter sandwiches, fed the chickens to keep them quiet and was picked up promply at 7 by my good friend Mr Gary Lovell, enthusiast and lover of Brompton and dutch bikes and a good all-round level head on the use of bicycles everyday…We arrived in oxford in good time, R.U.B conspirator and co-founder Mark Forster had entered for the Brompton Marathon which kicked off at 9. After a quick expresso he headed off to the start line slightly worried about his tyre pressures…that was the 2 stage race preparation he had planned for his bike …the first bit of race prep was to remove two huge bags of his travel stuff, stage 2, think about tyre pressure…we fitted marathon plus’s a few months ago after Mark had suffered a few punctures, not uncommon with the little wheels…so tyre race trim was to pump 100psi into them….but no track pump was available so 80 psi ish had to suffice. The lack of more elaborate race prep is might have contributed to the lack of a winners cup, or perhaps it was something else……it could have been the stopping to assist fellow brompton eer Dave Haliday with mending a puncture or it could have been the lack of an aerodynamic hat but that’s what sensible bicycling is all about… and what’s so jolly nice about this event, good people ,simple pleasures and a bit of a jolly jape feel to it. We saw Dave H a bit later joining the championship race (morel of the story appears to be hot weather and instant puncture repair patches do not mix), the other moral of the tale seems to be, if you want a brompton to be fast and funky, fit folding kojaks and carry spare tyres/tubes, if you want no hassle, then fit marathon plus’s…(free fit onto loose wheels when you buy tyres and tubes from R.U.B).
So that was Mark off and riding…gary and i wandered around the much larger than last year exhibits/tents..the Warlands guys were very chatty as ever, they also sell the Scottish built Paper bicycle, deal a lot with hub gears. as do we, they are great for Brompton of course …so a very good shop if you are near Oxford..We saw the fat bloke who isn’t actually that fat from 3 sailing blokes?! (i could be his stunt double if he put on a few pounds) and that Will Mellor doing a channel 5 thing about championships….? The chap from Schwalbe was very interesting. he had tyres cut so you could see then in cross section and for those baffled by the science around puncture protection strips it was ace….it might be my age but i had to take pictures….i do like schwalbe tyres..good style, great range and reliable..i’ll do a separate blog bit about it, tyres are an underated bit of the bike…not enough thought or money goes into choosing a tyre..As Mark on his Brompton knows, the right tyre can make or break an ownership…the dreaded shed effect can happen if you get too many punctures or if your bike is not comfortable enough, tyres can make or break your bicycle relationship.
Then we met the very lovely Betty and her equally lovely colleague from www.velo-re.com lovely ladies who know the value of a nice watch and make belts and wallets from old tyres, bags and other ‘scrap’ materials. I will treat me to a belt i think…individual and very nicely made..i think i’m a 700c man….perhaps a Brompton tyre belt for your 5 year old..
From there we met stolen goat, nice young chap with a very new business…some nice prints and clothing…onto Milk bikes then, mark is a great chap..a kindred spirit, he builds lovely bikes with practicality, commuting and style in mind..www.milkbikes.com a small scale manufacturer, he has the ideas and functionality that is lacking in so many of our mass produced everyday bicycles.. next door to Milk were the wonderful Paulus Quiros, whose bikes might not carry a weeks shopping…but oh my they are a lovely thing to behold…and from South Wales too..we need to make the most of our local Industries and they are out there if you look… they had a nuvinci hub mountain bike there…a hub which we have built into a few big dummies and works very well…a great hub for cargo bikes..a good reason to visit Bespoked the Bristol handbuilt show in 2013 is to see both Paulus Quiros and Milk and more of our home grown builders..
There was an energetic American showing his Bromfoot, http://www.bromfoot.com/ it looks a good product but what was great was to see a Burley Travoy trailer out in the wild, we sell a few and it’s great to see one being used and very successfully too….and nice foldable unit with a Brompton…it came all the way from the USofA and it facilitated his trip, which is what all of R.U.B’s products set out to do…
So that is a potted history of our day, Mark conquered pain and adversity from the previous weekends skateboard injury, attempted to save travel guru Mr Halliday from deflation, Gary met few old friends, i met a few newish friends, saw TV stars, lots of sweaty Brompton riders and drank a little bit of cider, it was just like a day back in the big smoke……
Bromptons are great, this Brompton event is developing into an interesting day out with a very nice vibe…We had a good time, so do i enter for next time?….i might just check to see if they have defibulators on site…better get in quick though, entries are strictly limited..