Tag Archives: brompton bicycles

Riding up Mt Teide on my Brompton

I make no secret of the fact that I am a big fan of my Brompton Bicycle.  So I was delighted that this year, the family holiday destination was to be Tenerife (one of the Canary Islands).  Tenerife is also home to Mt Teide, the volcano made famous in cycling circles by the likes of Team Sky, Bradley Wiggins, Chris Froome and a whole host of other professional cycling teams who take advantage of the mountain’s altitude and the training possibilities that it provides.

I was fortunate enough to be staying on the north of the island in Puerto de la Cruz by the sea.  This meant that I had a 40km uphill ride from sea level to 2300 metres before free wheeling for another 40km downhill back to my hotel.

It goes without saying that my Brompton performed faultlessly.  This bike really can do it all.  This is link to my Stava file if you are interested.

And some photos to record the memories…..

Mt Teide – view from the plane
The start of my ride at sea level – Puerto de la Cruz
Mt Teide National Park
Views form 2300 metres above sea level

Thanks for reading.  If you would like to get in touch, please follow me on Twitter and contact me via this social media channel.  If I am mentioned in your Tweet, I will always get back to you.  Thank you for taking time out to read my post.


Chamber Rachet Multi-tool by Fabric – product review

Fabric Chamber Multi-Tool
Fabric Chamber Multi-Tool

I don’t think that I have done many product reviews, but this latest purchase is really rather clever and I thought that I’d share it with you.

So the product is the Chamber Rachet Multi-tool made by Fabric. I have to admit to liking clever design, and this ticks almost as many boxes as my Brompton Bicycle on the clever design front.

First off is the smooth finish of the Chamber itself….. this means that it will not snag on your expensive cycling clothing or equipment.

Smooth appearance.
Smooth appearance.

Second is the functionality. Not only does it contain a multi-tool with 13 functions, it builds into an efficient rachet T-bar head. Each of the tools also has 3 different grooves to locate it in the best position for the required job.

13 functions
13 functions
And 3 different positions for the rachet
And 3 different positions for the rachet

Lastly, its aluminium casing and overall look is just cool. Who could ask for more? And weighing in at 168g, the Chamber packs in a lot of functionality.

All weighing in at a respectable 168g
All weighing in at a respectable 168g

Fabric also produce a fixed, non rachet version, which is similar design and slightly cheaper.

List of tools/ functions:
2mm hex
2.5mm hex
3mm hex
4mm hex
5mm hex
6mm hex
8mm hex

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Mt Ventoux on a Brompton Bicycle – Three Times in One Day

All three ascents of Mt Ventoux in a day
All three ascents of Mt Ventoux in a day

So I have been given the go ahead by my other half to go and ride Mt Ventoux on my Brompton in June.  With an opportunity like that, it would be rude not to take full advantage and ride all three routes to the top in one day, (from Bedoin, Malaucene and Sault) and thereby become a member of the Club des Cingles du Mont Ventoux.  So that is the plan.

I have to say that Mt Ventoux is one of my favourite climbs and I have completed it a number of times on a regular road bike.  I wrote about my last exploits on the mountain a while ago.  Riding up and down it on a Brompton bicycle will certainly add to the challenge.

This could be a good test for both mine and the Brompton's hill climbing abilities.
This could be a good test for both mine and the Brompton’s hill climbing abilities.

Wish me luck, and I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

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The Rapha Festive 500 on my Brompton S6L-X

The Brompton Lift to celebrate completion of the Rapha Festive 500, 2015 Edition
The Brompton Lift to celebrate completion of the Rapha Festive 500, 2015 Edition

Since 2010, the Rapha Festive 500 has challenged cyclists to ride a total of 500km on the eight days between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. This year, I decided to complete the challenge on my Brompton.    This is my journey……

So I am fortunate enough to have a very smart white Brompton S6L-X.  For those of you who don’t understand the S6L-X bit, the S represents the type of handlebars (there are other types available, known as M, P and H types), the 6 represents the number of gears (1, 2, 3 and 6 speed are all options), the L represents that I have mudguards (E is without mudguards and R is with mudguards and rack).  Finally, the X means that I have the extralight version with a  titanium rear triangle and forks.  If you want to have some fun building up your own dream Brompton, their  Build A Brompton tool on the website is very cool.  I added some Schwalbe Marathon tyres for maximum puncture protection, a bottle cage and my Garmin 810 to record my rides, and was all set to take on the Festive 500.

The cockpit
The cockpit

I am staggered by how well this bike performed.  You have to remember that this bike is designed for city riding, its small, 16 inch wheels allowing it to be ingeniously folded into something that you can take into cafes, the office, on the train or on a plane.   My experiences over the last few days have proved that it is a very capable contender for long distance cycling.

I completed the Rapha Festive 500 in five rides, finishing on 29 December (still with two days to spare).  If you are interested in the details of my rides, you can follow me on Strava by clicking on the “Follow me on Strava” tab at the bottom of this post or by clicking here.  Alternatively, you could look at the right hand side or bottom of this blog (depending on whether you are viewing on a desktop or mobile device) to the section entitled Rides.

Ride #1 – 24 December

A short one to ease myself into the challenge.  Just did 51km (32 miles), after all, it was Christmas Eve.

Yes, Brompton's go up hill quite well
Yes, Brompton’s go up hill quite well.

Ride #2 – 26 December

Decided that a nice round 100km (62 miles) would be a good idea on Boxing Day.  Found some new roads that I hadn’t been on before and generally had a nice explore on my Brompton.

Brompton shadow - this bike is capable of anything.
Brompton shadow – this bike is capable of anything.

Ride #3 – 27 December

Rode 81km (50 miles) with a buddy.  He was out on his road bike and was amazed that my Brompton had no problem keeping up.  Infact, towards the end of the ride, I dropped my buddy off and then continued for a few extra clicks, just because the Brompton is so much fun to ride.

Ride #4 – 28 December

The big one.  Rode 162km (100 miles) today.  It’s no secret that I like to ride long distances whenever I get the chance.  I rode all the stages of the Tour de France over a 3 week period last summer (admittedly on my road bike) and have written about how to complete a century ride and what to eat during that ride in previous blog posts.  Today was the day that I was going to test out whether my Brompton was up to the task.  And it most certainly was – 100 miles in 5 hours and 40 minutes is a very respectable achievement.  I averaged at 28.5kph (17.7mph).  It was during this ride that I think that my love of the Brompton evolved.  Not only could it do big distances at decent speeds, it was also comfortable for long days in the saddle.  What is not to like?  I also really like the way you can fold the rear wheel to create a stand, very useful for any comfort breaks on long rides!

Very convenient stand arrangement.
Very convenient stand arrangement.

Ride #5 – 29 December

This was the last ride of my Rapha Festive 500 and all I needed to do was 106km (66 miles) and the challenge was complete.

Oxfordshire countryside.
Oxfordshire countryside.

I planned a lovely route through the Cotswolds and as expected, the little Brompton kept on giving.  I stopped in Bibury, which is a fairly popular tourist spot in the Cotwolds and the bike certainly attracted some attention.  People always want to come and talk to you about the wonderful bike and I had to demonstrate the fold to a number of people.

Posing in Bibury before the crowds arrived.
Posing in Bibury before the crowds arrived.

So there we have it.   My average speed for the 500km was 27.44kph (17mph).  The Rapha Festive 500 completed in style on my Brompton S6L-X.

If you would like to get in touch, please follow me on Twitter and contact me via this social media channel.  If I am mentioned in your Tweet, I will always get back to you.  Thank you for taking time out to read my post.


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My 2015 Strava Adventure


Strava have created really cool little animations of your year.  Here is mine:  My 2015 Strava Adventure

Thank you Strava.  See you out there in 2016.

Bike friends

In Paris!
In Paris!
Burning some matches on Alpe d'Huez in July 2015.
Burning some matches on Alpe d’Huez in July 2015.

Oxfordshire countryside in December

Nutrition – What To Eat On A Century (100 Mile) Bike Ride

Jeremy's iphone photos 442

A Century – also known as The 100 Mile Bike Ride, is often considered as a rite of passage for any cyclist.  The Century Ride (100 miles or 160.9km) is considered by some, to be the distance, that if you can complete it in a day, then you are a “good rider” and can call yourself a true cyclist.  I, personally, do not buy into this belief, for a couple of reasons:

First, I quite regularly ride centuries, and don’t consider myself to be a particularly “good rider”.  In fact, in 2015, I rode 23 Century rides, which included riding the whole of the Tour de France route.

And second, I believe that with the right preparation, a sensible pacing strategy, good route selection and an excellent nutrition and hydration plan, the century ride is manageable by most people.  Please do not think that I am belittling the Century Ride, far from it in fact.  But some prior preparation will prevent poor performance and part of that essential preparation is eating and drinking, before, during and after the ride.

So here is my nutrition strategy for a big day in the saddle:

Pre Ride:  I eat a bowl of porridge every morning, whether I am riding or not.  Sometimes I add a banana, and I always have a cup of coffee.  Some nutritionists would say that you may need more, and toast, yogurt and eggs are popular choices.  Experiment to see what suits you best.  Top Tip:  Do not try something new on the morning of a big ride, experiment on shorter rides first!  Whatever you decide, I try and get all my eating done 90 minutes before the start of the ride.  I also aim to drink a 500ml / 16oz bottle of water an hour before hitting the road to ensure that I am properly hydrated to begin with.

During the Ride:  The picture above shows what nutrition I carry in my jersey pockets.  From left to right there is the following:

  • Emergency High 5 Energy Gel – I always carry this gel with me, just in case I need it.  Touch wood, I never have so far, and it is probably now out of date!
  • 2 x GU Energy Gels.  Each 32g pack contains 20g of carbs.
  • 2 x Clif Energy Bars.  Each one contains around 40g of carbs.
  • 2 x Mini Soreen Malt Loaf.  Around 40g of carbs in each one
  • 2 x Zipvit ZV Energy Bars.. Each 55g bar packs in 37.2g of carbs.
  • The red at the top right is my tube of High 5 Zeros (electrolyte and magnesium drink).  I carry a small tube (10 tablets) and can easily pop one in a water bottle if and when I refill.  Incidentally, I usually carry 2 x 750ml / 25oz bottles on my bike.

I am aiming for about 40 – 50 grams of carbs per hour, and some riders would consume this through energy drinks and gels alone, but I am not a big fan of this personally.  I prefer some solids and aim to drink a few gulps of High 5 Zero electrolyte drink every 15 minutes to replace minerals lost through sweating and eat a small quantity of food every 30 minutes.

So my nutrition strategy for a Century Ride would look something like this, based on a 5 hour ride time:

  • 15 mins – a few mouthfuls of drink.
  • 30 mins – half a Clif Bar and a few mouthfuls of drink.
  • 45 mins – a few mouthfuls of drink.
  • 1 hour – half a Clif Bar and a few mouthfuls of drink.
  • 75 mins – a few mouthfuls of drink.
  • 90 mins – half a Soreen and a few mouthfuls of drink.
  • 105 mins – a few mouthfuls of drink.
  • 2 hours – half a Soreen and a few mouthfuls of drink.
  • 135 mins – a few mouthfuls of drink.
  • 150 mins – half a Zipvit Energy Bar and a few mouthfuls of drink.
  • 165 mins – a few mouthfuls of drink.
  • 3 hours – half a Zipvit Energy Bar and a few mouthfuls of drink.
  • 195 mins – a few mouthfuls of drink.
  • 210 mins – Gu Energy Gel and a few mouthfuls of drink.
  • 225 mins – a few mouthfuls of drink.
  • 4 hours – Gu Energy Gel and a few mouthfuls of drink.
  • 255 mins – a few mouthfuls of drink.
  • 270 mins – full Zipvit Energy Bar to see me through to the end of the ride and a few mouthfuls of drink.
  • 285 mins – a few mouthfuls of drink.  At this point, you may want to consider eating a protein recovery bar to kick start the recovery process.
  • 5 hours – Bask in the glory of finishing your ride.

Top Tip:  If you have a bike computer or watch with a time alert facility, set it to beep every 15 minutes to remind you to either drink or eat, or both.

You will note from the above that I still have a Soreen and Clif Bar, along with my ever faithful High 5 Gel in reserve.  There are surplus to my requirements normally, but I take them just in case it is a particularly tough day in the saddle.

Post Ride:  Try to consume a recovery shake as soon as possible post ride and get some protein on board so that those muscles can start to recover.  Even better, if you have room in your jersey pocket, put a protein bar in there to eat during the last few miles of the ride and really kick start the recovery process.

So there you have it.  That is what I do.  Others will do it differently, and this is only a general guide.  The most important thing to do is to get out there and enjoy it.

P.S.  If you live in the south of England and are worried about riding a century, why not get in touch with me, I may be able to help out.