Sunday ride to Williamstown

It’s been a little while since we’ve had a quiet, social ride just to ourselves… so I was wondering; are you free this Sunday, 9th July?

The Plan is to meet at “Cow Up A Tree” (Docklands) at 10am and ride around to Williamstown. A pretty cruisey affair, and great if you’ve just bought a Brompton, joined the group, or haven’t been riding much since it’s turned a bit nippy of a morning.

A stop for brunch/lunch at a cafe is definitely on the cards so bring something warm for when we stop.
If we decide to catch the punt back across to Fishermans Bend on the return leg (as we have previously) you’ll need $5 for the fare. 

As always, the route is subject to change on the day as decided by consensus agreement between whomever turns up.
Looking ahead to our end of month ride, the suggestion penciled in for Sunday 30th July is to venture out of Melbourne to Castlemaine (not far from Bendigo). There we catch the Victorian Goldfields Railway (steam train) to Maldon for lunch before riding back to Castlemaine.

This ride may be weather-dependent. A large portion of the ride is through a forest area on unsealed gravel tracks, and can get quite boggy.  

As always, if you wish to contribute a ride suggestion, please feel free to comment below. 

Happy Bromptoneering!

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Brompton Circuit – Get in the saddle and go!

Cory's M6L at Brunswick Velo

Cory’s M6L at Brunswick Velo

As a part of celebrating the 200th birthday of the bicycle, Bicycle Network are having a party at Brunswick Velodrome, (off Harrison Street in Brunswick East, or accessible via the Merri Creek Trail) on Sunday, June 11th from 11am until around 2pm..

There will be heaps happening, including something completely Bromptonesque.

Any Bromptonauts can rock up and participate in a ‘fun event’ we’re calling the ‘Brompton Circuit‘.  It’ll be a Le-Mans start, run and grab your bike, unfold, and then do a circuit of the velodrome.  It all depends upon how many we get, but if there’s more than around ten they’ll probably have multiple starts in waves – it’s mainly just to show off the wonder of the Brompton, than racing for glory.  So don’t be concerned if you’re worried about people taking things to seriously. Dress up, dress down, just bring your Brommie. We’ll all be winners on the day!

If you can make it, and you’re Facebookish, please add your name to the list on this event. Otherwise, we’ll see you there!

(Oh, and if you don’t mind hanging around after the ‘Circuit’ event and talking to people about Bromptons in general, head over to the Velo Cycles/Velo Electric & Folding marquee).

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Brompton bicycle 6-speed rear wheel removal and gear adjustment in pictures

You unfold your Brompton only to discover it has a flat rear tyre. You can get yourself and your Brompton home easily enough (public transport, a lift from a friend or family, taxi, uber) but what then? If you don’t have the skills or confidence to change your rear tyre, are you simply going to leave it until you can get to your local dealer? What if that’s not within 24hrs? You might need your Brompton before you can get it fixed by someone else.

I dunno about you, but even a day without my Brompton is just not worth contemplating.

Learning how to remove and refit your rear wheel and adjust your hub gears may be daunting at first, but once you’ve done it successfully for yourself, it’s quite straight-forward.

Now before you scroll straight to the comments to tell me this; yes, I know Brompton have You Tube videos showing you exactly how to do this. If you haven’t viewed them yet, it’s worth having a look:

Removing and refitting a rear wheel

Adjusting the three-speed gear hub

Keep in mind the 3 Speed Gear Adjustment also applies to your 6 speed Brompton because the video is only referring to the internal hub gears.

So why am I bothering with this post? Too much spare time? (That could be part of it.) But the main reason is I meet so may Brompton riders who claim they are not ‘mechanically minded’, yet they all acknowledge the value in at least knowing how to change a rear tyre should they ever have to. Although I find removing my rear tyre and adjusting the gears bothersome (because it generally means I’ve got a flat) it’s definitely not the feeling of dread or helplessness that it means for some.

This post is – hopefully – a slow walk-through of the steps required to take off your rear tyre, put it back on, and adjust your gears so they function properly.

NOTE: I am assuming you know how to check your tyre and patch your tube if you’ve got a flat. If not, watch this. Not everyone does it exactly the same way, but it’s a good one to follow if you don’t have prior experience. The Brompton toolkit comes with easy to use patches. Tucked away inside your frame,  the toolkit will be there when you need it.

BEFORE YOU START

You will need a 15mm spanner. The one in the Brompton toolkit is very handy. If you’re at home you might have another one you prefer to use.
A clean rag or paper towel to place parts on. I always carry a few folded paper towels in my bag – very handy for putting parts on or, indeed, wiping your hands afterwards.

In the photos below I’m using a bicycle stand. If you don’t have one (or you’re out and about) I prefer to work on my Brompton like this, as opposed to upside-down and resting on the gear levers:

REMOVING THE WHEEL

Step 1: Completely deflate your tube (if it isn’t already completely flat)

Step 2: Make sure your hub gear is in third (i.e. highest gear using the right-hand gear lever)

When your hub gear is in third, the indicator chain should be slack like this:

Step 3: Loosen this lock nut just enough so that you can unscrew the barrel nut (tubular thing) above it.

Step 4: Don’t move the lock nut too much as it’ll be a guide for later. Completely unscrew the barrel nut, disconnecting the indicator chain (the bit I’m holding) from the gear cable as shown.

Step 5: Unscrew and remove the indicator chain from the hub and place somewhere clean. The end should be greasy, not dry – do not wipe it clean. Try to keep it clean as you don’t want to introduce anything (dirt, grit, water etc) into the hub.

Tip: If the grease on the end of your indicator chain appears dry (assess this without touching it), take your Brompton into your local dealer to have a look at your next opportunity. 

Step 6: Remove the nut (15mm spanner) while holding the chain tensioner (the black thing with the moving arm) in place. Do NOT lose the washer. (I’ve done that. Your Brompton will not work without it.) Put the washer and the nut on your clean rag / paper towel.

Step 7: Firmly hold chain tensioner in both hands and gently disengage the chain tensioner from the frame and the chain (you might need to wiggle it a little). Be prepared for the long arm of the chain tensioner to spring back – the internal spring is quite strong. You don’t want to lose your grip and have it fly up into your face.

[No picture because I’m using both hands to remove the chain tensioner]

Step 8: Loosen and remove (on each side) the 15mm nuts that hold the rear wheel on your bike.

Step 9: If the washer unhooks while you’re taking off the nut (see right photo), just slip it back into place until you’re ready to remove the wheel. The washer in the left photo is still in place.

Step 10: To loosen the washers, jiggle or bump the wheel gently from underneath.

Because your tyre is completely flat, the wheel should just slip out from between the brake pads and from the forks once the washers have been released. If you have a new tyre, or a Marathon/Marathon Plus tyre, you may need to pinch the tyre near the brake calipers to squeeze the tyre gently past the brake pads.

Disengage the chain from the sprockets and your wheel is free. If the chain wants to ‘stick’ to the sprocket (and you’re not twisting it) you should give your chain a clean and lubrication when you’re done with the rear wheel.

These are the parts on my clean rag/paper towel once the wheel has been removed:

REFITTING THE WHEEL & ADJUSTING YOUR GEARS

Step 11: Repeat Steps 8 to 10 in reverse order to refit the wheel to your rear triangle/forks. The nuts should be tightened very firmly – you don’t want your wheel coming off, but at the same time you want to be able to undo those nuts again should you need to.

Step 12: Inflate your tyre and put the valve cap back on. Now is a great time to do this especially if you’ve just repaired a puncture; occasionally a patch doesn’t hold and it’s better to find out now, not after you’ve put everything back together again!

Step 13: Your first time re-fitting the chain tensioner can be an interesting experience; just remember that the axle goes through the round hole in the chain tensioner:

Which means that long arms needs to be turned around to point in the same direction as the short arm. Use two hands to get it in position as the internal spring is quite strong. Then follow the next six photos as captioned below:

Step 14: Replace the remaining washer and nut which hold the chain tensioner in place. You may have to lift the washer slightly to help it centre around the nut properly before tightening the nut with a 15mm spanner. Don’t over tighten – this nut is simply holding the chain tensioner in place and does not need the same amount of tightening as, for example, the nuts holding the wheels on do.

Once secured, try gently turning the pedals to make sure the chain moves freely in both directions before moving on to the next step.

Step 15: Guide the indicator chain into the hub through the nut and twist (to the right) until fully re-threaded into the hub.

Loosen/unwind the indicator chain by half a turn (180 degrees) and ensure the chain links are positioned to easily bend up towards the gear cable. Also check that the chain is moving over a flat surface – I’ll loosen the nut just slightly in the picture below to achieve this:-

Step 16: Screw the barrel nut back onto the indicator chain

If the two parts won’t reach, check which gear you’re in. You need to be in third (hub) gear. To demonstrate, the photo below was taken in first gear – clearly the two parts aren’t going to connect:-

Step 17: Tighten the barrel nut to roughly where the lock nut is. (Don’t get too excited and tighten the lock nut yet.)

Step 18: Change to SECOND hub gear

Step 19: Use a torch (phone, front bike light) to check how far the rod part of the indicator chain is sticking out. Brompton’s Technical Guide say you should see 1mm of rod when you’re in 2nd gear. In my photo I’m a little over 1mm so I need to loosen the barrel nut slightly.

Screenshot from Brompton’s Technical Guide showing the adjustment of the indicator chain in second gear for proper gear adjustment

Step 20: Adjust the barrel nut until the indicator chain is correctly tensioned.

Step 21: Once I’m happy it’s right, I’ll tighten the lock nut (use two hands to make sure the barrel nut doesn’t move). I only ever make this finger-tight, but I do it up as tight as I can with just my fingers. I never use pliers or any other tool to tighten the lock nut as I may not have tools available when I need to loosen it.

Step 22: While your Brompton is on the stand (or resting on it’s back), test all the gears (including the derailleur) to make sure they’re working smoothly.

Step 23: Take it for a test ride. Even when using my bike maintenance stand, no matter how well I think I’ve put it back the way it was, I never get it quite right. When I’m out on the street and need to adjust my gears, I find putting my Brompton into the ‘parked’ position makes is the most convenient and stable way to go about this task.

So if you’ve followed all the steps above but those gears aren’t quite working correctly, here’s how to troubleshoot adjusting your hub gears…

TROUBLESHOOTING

  1. Double check that you can see 1mm of rod (using the peep-hole of the nut that your indicator chain slides through) whilst your Brompton is in second gear (refer back to Step 18).
  2. Remember how the indicator chain looks in each of the three gears:
    -> Tight in first gear
    -> Some play in second gear
    -> Loose in third gear
    Therefore:
    If you’re having trouble moving down gears, you should tighten your indicator chain, and
    If there’s a lag when changing up gears, you should loosen you indicator chain.
  3. Make sure you’re in third gear before trying to adjust your indicator chain, or there will be too much tension on the indicator chain to allow you to do this properly.

Keep in mind that you may only need to turn the barrel nut on the indicator chain only half, or even a quarter or a turn to achieve the desired result. If you find you’re not able to get into ether first or third gear at all, you will need to tighten/loosen the barrel nut a whole turn (or perhaps two) before fine-tuning it.

: )

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Melbourne Brompton Club – ride calendar May to June 2017

While we try to have a MBC social ride at least once a month – usually on the last Sunday of the month – there is nothing currently planned for April.

To make up for it, we are piggy-backing on three family-friendly events in May that are open to the public.

BALLARAT AUTUMN DAY RIDE
Sunday, 7 May 2017

“BAD” by name, but not by nature. The Ballarat Autumn Day Ride is open to all bicyclists.

Registration fees are very reasonably priced, at $30 for an adult early bird registration (this increased to $40 from 27 April). There are also concession and family registration options, and lunch can be pre-purchased as long as you register prior to 27 April. Click here (or above) to register to ride.

There are two route options; 50km and 100km – I expect most, if not all, of Melbourne Brompton Club will chose the 50km option. The route is not expected to be excessively hilly, and you can ride at your own pace.

 

The ride starts early on Sunday, so if anyone is planning to make a weekend of it and wants to catch up for dinner at The Forge on Saturday night, let me know by Saturday, 29 April.

MELBOURNE TWEED RIDE AT THE GRAINGER MUSEUM
Sunday, 21 May 2017

Ballarat Tweed Ride – 2016

Tweed rides are a lot of fun! If you don’t have actual tweed to wear, search online for inspiration and maybe visit a few op-shops to help you get close to the right look. They also tend to be easy rides because the vintage bicycles – while fabulous to look at – are not the sturdy or comfortable ride your Brompton is.

The Grainger Museum is within the grounds of the University of Melbourne. The event website provides a map as well as written details on how to find the museum.

Start time is 9am. Registration is free. Attendance is indicated via the ride’s Facebook page, which confirms this the 2017 event will follow “the same format as last year, starting at the a Grainger Museum in Royal Parade, Parkville, riding through the parklands and behind the zoo to the river, them along the river into Dockland, into the city along the Yarra and finishing at the Mitre Tavern in Bank Pl”

FEDERATION UNIVERSITY TWEED RIDE (BALLARAT)
Saturday, 27 May 2017

Melbourne Tweed Ride (official photo)

Previously held on the same weekend as Mother’s Day, this year the Ballarat Tweed Ride is at the end of the month, amongst the Ballarat Heritage Weekend (“BHW”) festivities.

There is no registration fee, and as yet nowhere to indicate your participation, but keep an eye on the Facebook page for further updates. The start time (10am) and starting location (the street behind the art gallery) are the same as last year. This even is very easy to do as a day trip from Melbourne by car or train, or stay the weekend and check out some of the other BHW events while you’re there.

The 2016 Ballarat Tweed Ride was quite short, but there was an unofficial ride around the lake afterwards. As per my comments above regarding the Melbourne Tween Ride, the group is not riding at a fast pace due to the social nature of the activity and the tri/bicycles themselves.

MELBURN ROOBAIX
Sunday, 25 June 2017

Exiting the last (and easiest) cobblestone section

In contrast to the social, family-friendly, fun rides in May, riding Roobaix is designed to be a challenge. The tag line isn’t “The Hell of The Northcote” for nothing. However, unlike the Paris Roubaix which inspired this event, Melburn Roobaix ISN’T a race… but it does still have a number of cobblestone sectors which, on a cold (and possibly wet) mid-winter morning can be very slippery. The official route will take you down dirt tracks which are likely to be deep and slippery mud by the time you get there. There will be steep streets, tree roots and traffic.

So if you’re up for a challenge register online ($80 per rider, includes insurance) and let us know you’re coming along. The start is frequently at Hawthorn Velodrome and last year the finish was in a park near Brunswick Velodrome (because that was obviously the perfect weekend to start resurfacing the velodrome…)

Dress up or dress sensibly. In the end, it’s all for fun.

And either way, you’re gonna get dirty.

: )

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February MBC Ride – Bellarine Rail Trail – Sun, 26 Feb 2017

Meaning “elbow” in a local aboriginal language, Bellarine is the region neighbouring Geelong, the peninsular forming the south-western side of Port Phillip Bay (the Mornington Peninsular forms the south-east side).

The "elbow" of the Bellarine Peninsular juts into Port Phillip Bay from the west.

The “elbow” of the Bellarine Peninsular juts into Port Phillip Bay from the west.

Bellarine Rail Trail map (source geelongaustralia.com.au)

Bellarine Rail Trail map (source geelongaustralia.com.au)

Our end of month ride is a multimodal adventure along the Bellarine Rail Trail (pictured above), which connects Geelong and Queenscliff.

Overview
The plan is to catch a train from Southern Cross Station (Melbourne) to South Geelong, then follow the Bellarine Rail Trail (“BRT”) to Drysdale, roughly half way along the route. From there we’ll catch a heritage (steam?) train the rest of the way to Queenscliff where we’ll stop for lunch and photos. We’ll retrace our route, departing Queenscliff at 3pm on the heritage train, and riding from Drysdale back to Geelong.

‘The Plan’ in detail

Meet at 9:00am at the latest at Southern Cross Station. We will catch the 9:10am VLine train to Waurn Ponds. This train will take 1h 4min to reach our stop of South Geelong Station.

VLine train from Southern Cross Station to South Geelong Station

VLine train from Southern Cross Station to South Geelong Station

Arriving at South Geelong Station at 10:15am, we have two hours to ride 16km to Drysdale to catch the 12:10pm Bellarine Heritage Trail to Queenscliff.

The BRT’s fairly flat gradient is had some gradual climbs in places. There’s a very good gradient chart here – as you’ll see, there’s hardly any climbing at all, with the highest point we ride to (i.e. Drysdale) a mere 63m above sea level. We should have plenty of time to ride to Drysdale at a comfortable pace.

The town of Drysdale was originally known as Bellarine. Its Post Office opened in 1855, and the railway reached it in 1879. The station was closed nearly 100 years later, but while Drysdale may no longer be connected to Geelong by rail, it the station has since been re-opened and Drysdale remains a railway town thanks to the Bellarine Railway.

As mentioned before, we will catch the 12:10pm Heritage Train (which I think will be pulled by a steam engine) the rest of the journey (roughly 17km) to Queenscliff. Tickets may be purchased online prior to the day of travel, or at the station on the day. If you intend to join the ride, I recommend buying online as I’m not sure how packed the service will be and I don’t want some of the group to be left behind.

Heritage Rail tickets are $30 return for an adult. (We will return from Queenscliff on the 3:00pm train.)

The Heritage Train will arrive at Queenscliff at 1:00pm, which allows us 2hrs to have lunch, explore and take photos.

Departing Queenscliff at 3:00pm, the Heritage Train does the hard work in taking us back uphill to Drysdale as we sit back and digest lunch. The train arrives back at Drysdale at 3:50pm.

Given we’re now riding downhill, we could make good time and catch the 4:43pm train from South Geelong Station back to Southern Cross. If we’re not in so much of a hurry (or miss it) the next service is at 5:43pm. Both services take 1hr 11min to reach Southern Cross Station.

As this will be a full day out, please ensure you are adequately dressed and prepared for the weather. Bring a water bottle, suncream, sunglasses, a snack if you think you’ll need it as morning/afternoon tea. Please ensure you have checked your tyre pressures the day before, and that your Brompton is in good working order (as usual).

If you have any questions or comments please post them below. Hope to see you along next Sunday!
: )

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MBC calendar of events – 2017

Our calendar of events as it is currently:
 – – –
FEBRUARY
Sun 26/02 – MBC Club Ride (details TBC) Suggestion: Some of the Bellarine Rail Trail (Geelong) https://www.railtrails.org.au/trail…
  – – –
MARCH
Labour Day (Mon) 13 Mar
Sun 26/03 – MS Melbourne Cycle – fundraising event – Please register with the MBC team if you also riding
  – – –
APRIL
Easter long weekend 14-17 Apr; ANZAC Day (Tues) 25 Apr
Sun 30/04 – MBC Club Ride (details TBC)
  – – –
MAY
Sun 21/05 – Melbourne Tweed Ride (TBC)
Sun 27-28/05 – Ballarat Heritage Weekend (including Tweed Ride)
  – – –
JUNE
Queen’s Birthday (Mon) 12/06
Sun 25/06 – Melburn Roobaix
  – – –
JULY
Sun 30/07 – MBC Club Ride: Castlemaine to Maldon (by VGR steam train) and return (by Brompton)
 – – –
AUGUST
Sun 27/08 – MBC Club Ride (details TBC)
 – – –
SEPTEMBER
Sun 24/09 – MBC Club Ride (details TBC), or Sun 01/10 – MBC Club Ride (details TBC)
 – – –
OCTOBER
Grand Final Friday 06/10
Sun ? – Around The Bay in 2016 was on the 9th. Entries open April. Early bird registration cut off early July.
Our MBC teams (fast vs social) completed the “50km” route.
Sun 29/10 – MBC Club Ride (details TBC)
 – – –
NOVEMBER
Melbourne Cup Day (Tues) 07/11
Sun 26/11 – MBC Club Ride (details TBC)
 – – –
DECEMBER
Sun (TBC) – MBC Xmas/End of Year Party
 – – –
Please note that the above is just a draft and any events organised by Melbourne Brompton Club (“MBC”) members are subject to change. I will do my best to advise in advance ride details on this blog, but for the most current information and conversation, please request to join our FaceBook group.
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Riding The Night Away On A Brompton

Some months ago I registered for Ride The Night, a public event organised by Bicycle Network held on the last Saturday in January, where participants decorate their bicycles (and sometimes themselves) as brightly as possible with lights, glow sticks, glow in the dark paint, sometimes funny costumes, and ride a set course around Melbourne from midnight Saturday to the wee hours of Sunday morning. The event is run in a few of our capital cities; in Melbourne, the charity participants are encouraged to fundraise for is Youth Support + Advocacy Service (YSAS).

This year I didn't see anyone quite as OTT as this gentleman from last year's Ride The Night, but there were still some spirited efforts made!

This year I didn’t see anyone quite as OTT as this gentleman from last year’s Ride The Night, but there were still some spirited efforts made!

With a fine and warm weather forecast, it looked like an awesome weekend… but the fly in the ointment came in the form of the dregs of a recent cold, and accompanying cough. Urgh. It would probably have been sensible not to have a late night out, but a commitment had been made, and donations paid, so off I went to ride the night away – or at least as much as I could manage!

2017 Ride The Night - Melbourne route

2017 Ride The Night – Melbourne route

Was this year’s good weather simply “third time lucky” for Ride The Night’s organisers? It’ll be a long time before I forget the thunderstorm that passed over the start line last year, our group huddling and shivering together over our bikes – along with hundreds of others – using my cape to try to shield my chain from having all it’s lube washed off, and praying no one got struck by lightning. No, thankfully this year was dry!

Thankful that the storm had passed and we were about to start - and that I had a Cleverhood for protection for myself AND my Brompton!

Very thankful last year that the storm had passed and we were about to start – and that I had a Cleverhood for protection for myself AND my Brompton!

There were a few changes from last year; Albert Park was the only start/finish point this year and the start time had been brought forward from midnight to 11pm, which caught myself and a quite a few others out. This wasn’t a bad thing, as it meant riders weren’t as bunched up along the route, the queues at the rest stops were shorter, and I think we felt more comfortable riding at our own pace.

Fund raising and ‘novelty’ events such as Ride The Night attract many people with a wide variety of experience, who ride all manner of bicycles. Not all participants are used to either night riding or riding in groups, but thankfully the roads are generally quieter in the middle of the night and there was also plenty of support in the form of WARBY’s (the “We Are Right Behind You” volunteers dispersed along the ride), mechanics at rest points, and emergency services for people who came off their bikes.

While I have reasonably regular practice with both night and group riding, my plan was to pace myself (to keep my coughing in check), and try to last the distance. Although I’d headed out on this ride alone, I was hoping to see one or two others I knew who were also riding. I was doing well in keeping to my plan until I reached the turn around point at Luna Park, St Kilda – that’s where Jane, another member of Melbourne Brompton Club, and her friends caught up with me. Coughing be damned! I traded longevity for company and increased pace… and enjoyed myself immensely.

Quick stop for a photo at Luna Park, just before meeting up with Jane and her friends

Quick stop for a photo at Luna Park, just before meeting up with Jane and her friends

Despite being part of a small group, despite the ride being strung out this year, we still managed to lose someone at the first rest stop – they kept going, we thought they were behind… you know how it goes. On the up side, in our race to catch-up and re-group I guess we showed a few people that small wheels aren’t at all limiting. Quite the opposite, as we proved to a group of riders who were grumbling about the “hill start” on Southbank Boulevard, turning onto St Kilda Road. “Blimey” was the comment I heard from somewhere behind as we shot off the mark, but I guess we had an unfair advantage, what with our small wheels and all…

The first rest stop at Port Melbourne was mostly spent wondering where the rest of our group was!

The first rest stop at Port Melbourne was mostly spent wondering where the rest of our group was!

The next rest stop after Port Melbourne was at the Burnely Bouldering Wall (under the Citilink motorway). I’d always wanted to check out this place on our many rides past. Tonight it was dominated by bicycle riders and live music.

Pushing on, we rode back downriver to the CBD, and up to the Melbourne Museum. By this stage I knew I was reaching the end of my ride. Was Exhibition Street hill the final straw? Or was it just a steady burn out? We hadn’t ridden very many kilometres, but it was quite a few more than I’d managed recently and I was hoping to snatch a couple of hours sleep before my next ride – a Melbourne Brompton Club ride to Brighton and back!

As we glided to a halt at the rest stop beneath the sheltering wings of Melbourne Museum’s front entrance, I felt the love I always do for two of Melbourne’s most iconic buildings; the majestic UNESCO World Heritage listed Royal Exhibition Building, and the distinctly modern, glass and metal Melbourne Museum adjacent to it. Tonight the illuminated words #RIDETHENIGHT were there so that everyone with a camera (i.e. everyone) would be able to show their slumbering family and friends what fun they’d missed out on.

(And because I love these buildings so much, here’s a couple of them in daylight:)

As the ride continued north along Canning Street towards the Capital City Trail, it was time for me to turn off and make my way home. It had been fun, but I was too pooped to pop, as the expression goes.

My favourite moment of the night was probably hearing a grandma participant giving a sharp retort to someone on the side of the road. He was being a… twit, let’s say, and she wasn’t going to take any nonsense (to put it politely). Never mess with a granny! They know how to bite back! She was one of three or four grandma’s riding along in their pink tutu’s – undoubtedly putting others more than half their age to shame! #GoGranny!

A huge THANK YOU to everyone who donated to my ride. Without your donations I may not have ridden out. I stuck with it because the physical representation of the community’s support for assisting disaffected youth is just as important in some ways as the money we raised.

: )

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Bonus ride for January! Sunday 29 Jan 2017

Apologies for the short notice, but with two Bromptoneers visiting from overseas this weekend, we have to offer another ride!

Our starting group from last weekend’s ride – we welcomed Marcus (a new MBC member), Pam (who travelled from near Bendigo to ride with us) and Kin (who’s visiting from Hong Kong)!


The route choices are:

  • Brighton Beach Boxes
  • Williamstown
  • City sights (Botanic Gardens, maybe a punt on the lake), riding by the sporting venues etc
  • Half Capital City Trail including Melbourne Uni and Royal Park

The poll is currently live on our FaceBook page. If you’d like to join this ride and aren’t a member of our FB group, please comment below! 

I’ll update this post with the winning option by Saturday. 

As usual, the start of the ride will be 10am at Federation Square, opposite Flinders Street Station. 

Until then, happy riding everyone!

UPDATE: By popular vote, our ride this Sunday will be to the Brighton Beach Boxes!

See you at 10am at Federation Square, on the steps opposite Flinders Station. 😀

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Next MBC ride – Melbourne’s Outer Circle Rail Trail – 22 Jan 2017

Welcome back, and welcome to 2017! It’s time for a Brompton ride!

mbc-at-federationsquare-melbourne-brompton-club-melbournebromptonclub-mybrompton

 

To kick off 2017 we’re going to try a new route – Melbourne’s Outer Circle rail trail.

As the trail’s name implies, we’re going to have to travel out into the suburbs to get to it; but thankfully not too far. This will be a longer ride than some of our past ones, but the pace will remain considerate for all who attend.

Where: Meet at Federation Square, opposite Finders Street Station (as usual)
When: 10:00am
Est duration: 4 hours
Est distance: 40km

From Federation Square we will follow Yarra Trail upriver to Burnley, then cross the river at Kooyong. From here we will follow Gardiner Creek Trail south-east to Malvern East. Gardiner Creek Trail is quite pleasant, pretty flat, and easy to follow.

Roughly opposite the East Malvern Train Station we will pick up the Outer Circle Rail Trail and turn north again. The trail leads us through the suburbs of Ashburton, Camberwell, Deepdene, and Kew East, passing several “ghost stations” along the way. There are a couple of hills on the route, but we will take them as they come!

If we haven’t found a place to stop for lunch earlier, lunch may well be at the Fairfield Park Boathouse, on the Yarra River. From here we will take Merri Creek Trail back to Green Park, and Canning Street back to Federation Square.

Should the weather not cooperate on Sunday we may consider postponing the ride until Australia Day – the following Thursday. All other details remain the same until otherwise advised.

Please comment below if you intend to join our ride but are not a member of our Facebook group. As most event decisions are made via discussions on our Facebook page, we will endeavour to keep you abreast of any changes.

As this ride will also be a great warm-up for this year’s Ride The Night (28 Jan) we hope to see all our Bromptoneers who are participating in that event. Click here to donate to our team and help our disadvantaged youth. Thank you ❤

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Summer, Sun and… Sweat! Ten tips on how to ride to work in comfort this summer

Do you want to ride to work, but the prospect of arriving drenched in sweat is holding you back?

Stephen chooses to wear suit and tie to work regardless. Jacket is in his game bag.

Stephen chooses to wear suit and tie to work regardless of the weather. Jacket is in his game bag.

So, what to do?

A good start is to make the most of the intermittent hot days in spring to prepare for your summer ride to/from work.

Here are my top 10 tips to keep riding comfortably through summer:

  1. Carry a water bottle
    I don’t bother with a bottle cage on my Brompton; my water bottle is down the side of my gamebag where I can reach it easily when stopped at traffic lights. I always take a water bottle on my commutes – winter or summer.
    Just as important as taking water with you, is not leaving home already dehydrated. Have a drink – even if it’s only a mouthful or two of water – before you leave home.
  2. Have a cold drink waiting at work/home
    The best way to start cooling down once you’ve stopped riding is to have a cold drink. Just chilled in the fridge, not frozen in a freezer. Everyone will be different, but on hot days I drink about 500mL of water in the first 15-20min after arriving at work, and as I feel thirsty after that. The hotter it is, the more you’ll consume.

    Cold drink

    Cold drink

  3. Don’t race
    When you ride, the muscles doing the most work are also the largest muscle groups in your body – so even though you might feel cool as you whizz along, the breeze generated by your pedal power stops cooling the sweat beading on your skin as soon as you stop pedalling. That is why it feels like there’s a sudden rush of heat just after you stop riding. So don’t race. Allow extra time for your commute and take your time. You’ll still appreciate your cold drink once you get to work or arrive home, but and “recovery period” will be quicker.

    Ride like you're trying to win the Brompton World Championship Final, and you'll get yourself very hot and sweaty! (Source: Brompton Bicycle)

    Ride like you’re trying to win the Brompton World Championship Final, and you’ll get yourself very hot and sweaty! (Source: Brompton Bicycle)

  4. Leave home earlier/Leave work later
    If you can, try to leave home earlier and leave work later to avoid as much of the daylight (and therefore direct heat) as possible. Depending on your schedule, you may find vehicle/bicycle/pedestrian traffic is less busy, too. On my route there is a noticeable difference in the number of cyclists I share my commute with if I leave even 10min later, and a distinct difference another 10min after that.
    Arriving at work early will also mean you have time to cool down and change clothes, if necessary.

    The later we leave, the more traffic we have to contend with - bicycle and motorised vehicle

    The later we leave, the more traffic we have to contend with – bicycle and motorised vehicle

  5. Consider changing your route
    Can you take a route that is shadier? Maybe one that involves fewer roads and more shared paths through parks. Not only will the ride be more relaxing, but there will be less reflected energy from trees and grass and even a concrete path than there is from buildings and bitumen roads where you’re also contending with heat radiating from the  road surface and being generated from the traffic around you.
    You may need to leave even earlier to take a less direct path, but you may find it pays off in a more pleasant, less stressful ride.

    This street is not fun in summer, with the sun right in my face. Time to find an alternative route.

    This street is not fun in summer, with the sun right in my face. Time to find an alternative route.

  6. Take a change of clothes
    It takes a bit of trial and error but you do get a feel for what to wear, and when. For example, I know if the temperature is over >18C (and taking into consideration what the afternoon temperature is predicted to be) I should consider wearing shorts and a t-shirt on my morning ride rather than work clothes. Below <18C I might wear my work pants and a t-shirt, and change into my work blouse once I’ve arrived at work.
    I don’t have change room facilities at my workplace, so changing clothes – or not getting work clothes sweaty – is something I’m quite conscious of.

    My work clothes folded and ready to pack in my Brompton game bag

    My work clothes folded and ready to pack in my Brompton game bag

  7. Wear wool
    The best way to not feel sweaty in your clothes is to wear wool. Yes, even in summer! No, not the kind knitted by grandma while watching daytime TV. What I mean is today’s superfine merino type of wool.
    Not only is wool very comfortable, it breathes, has legendary wicking properties, it’s biodegradable, easy to find online or in stores, and available in everything from underwear to outer wear, in men’s, women’s and children’s casual or formal garments.

    Wearing wool (top and bottom) keeps me comfortable in summer

    Wearing wool clothing (yes, all of it except footwear) keeps me comfortable in summer

    Superfine merino wool also doesn’t get smelly – and when you’ve arrived at work, sweaty (despite taking it easy), possibly with no locker or area to hang your damp clothes, the last thing you want is to stuff your riding clothes into a bag and have to face the stinky pile of it later – let alone put it back on! Or worse – have it stink out your area at work. Ew! Thank goodness wool won’t do that.
    No, it’s not cheap. But you can shop around and even buy Australian made, or at least garments from Australian owned companies. On sale you can pick up some basic items at cheaper prices than better known brands.
    Check out the following Aussie champions:
    Bluey Merino (basic items for active wear)
    I/O Merino (more range, getting creative, mostly active wear)
    Hedrena (fashion, some active wear. Sell ladies underwear in a style that’s more than just half a hankie of material!)
    Smitten merino (fashion, some active wear)

  8. Suncream, sunglasses, and visor
    If your route exposes you to the sun for extensive periods, especially if you’re riding directly into the sun, consider applying suncream (sunscreen) before you set off.
    Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from glare, not just insects flying along or things flicking up from the path or road.
    Buy a helmet that comes with a visor, or try a proper cycling cap. Wearing a baseball cap or visor beneath your helmet is not recommended, as explained in this article.

    Visor, sunnies and suncream. Check!

    Visor, sunnies and suncream. Check!

  9. Finish your morning routine at work
    Concerned about helmet hair? Sweat ruining your makeup?
    Allow time to fluff or re-style your hair, to put on make up, and feel presentable after you’ve cooled down at work. There’s no point doing all these things at home and then feeling like your efforts have been wasted by the time you arrive at your destination. Try new styles that will still look good when not every hair is perfectly in place. Be bold and adventurous!
  10. Be proud of who you are
    You don’t want to wear shorts because you haven’t shaved or waxed lately? I feel like saying “So what?”, but I admit I’ve had those thoughts and felt that self-induced shame many, many times too.
    But the truth is other people will only think it’s a big deal if you act like it’s a big deal – and maybe not even then. Don’t stop doing things you enjoy because of what you think others may think.

    Don't let a hair leg deter you from riding - or riding in comfort. Just do it. #ridetowork #commuting #leghair

    Don’t let a hair leg deter you from riding – or riding in comfort. Just do it.

So go on. Get out and ride to work this summer! Just make sure you plan ahead and ride sensibly for the conditions.

If you have tips on how to improve your ride or commute on those hot summer days, why not leave a comment below? : )

Posted in Member Stories | Tagged , , , | 14 Comments