Sunday, July 29, 2012

Out and About

I took the B out this morning.  First, I rode to breakfast at my favorite place, Poco & Mom's (green chile sauce to live for).  This place is typically packed for breakfast, so space is at a premium.  I was eating alone today, so I was able to pack the B under my table and by C-bag in the open seat.

After breakfast I went to Target (a department store for those outside of the US) to pick up a few things.  When I arrived, I was able to pack the B into the shopping cart while I was picking up my items.

Even though it was a pretty warm day, I gotta say it was pretty nice not driving the car around today.  It was a lazy Sunday, so I was able to take my time getting around.

So I've put about 50 miles on the bike since I've gotten it.  Here are some observations I've made:
  • The Brooks saddle is definitely starting to break in.  It's happening a little sooner than I've anticipated, so it is a happy surprise.
  • The Brompton luggage system is worth the price of admission.  It's so nice to not have to carry your bag on your back, especially on a hot uncomfortable day like today.
  • The SON hub dynamo give great piece of mind.  The beam lights up the road rather well, and it's great peace of mind since most of my commutes will be before dawn or after dusk.  Not having to worry about batteries rocks.
  • I'm a couple of MPH slower than on my road bike.  I think this is due to the type of tire I'm using (Schwalbe Marathons with Flat Attack injected) rather than the wheel size or gearing.  I could also be out of riding shape.

Friday, July 27, 2012

How they're made

Found a recently posted video on the Brompton production process.  These shows always intrigue me, coming from an engineering background.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

GoPro Luggage Block Test Video

In my previous post, I gave a sneak preview of my hack for the GoPro to mount onto the luggage block.  I was able to go for a ride for a few minutes today and try it out.

What do you think (watch in HD)? I know it's a little shaky... I hope to reduce that with some super glue or epoxy.  What do you think of the perspective?  It should be similar to the video below by another rider (hint: hit mute).

And while I was out, I might as well take a pic or two...

Monday, July 23, 2012

Gopro Hero 2 Front Luggage Carrier Block Mounting Hack - Sneak Preview

I got a Gopro Hero 2 action video camera a couple of weeks before the Brommie, so I've been trying to think of ways to mount the Gopro... which was hard to do without being in possession of the bike.  Now that I've got it in my grubby hands, I took some measurements, looked for something around the house that I could fabricate or hack to fit, and came up with something.

Sneak preview of Gopro mounting hack (Hint: it will involve destroying something).
I want to try it out first and make sure it works well before writing a how-to post.  I'm hoping to do the write up and/or sample video this weekend.  Cheers!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

It's finally here!

I went and picked up my Brompton right when Portapedal opened this morning.  To my surprise, John McConaghay (one of the US reps for Brompton) was also there.  Anyway, I talked with the rep and Al & Donna from Portapedal and they answered questions I had as well as just talking about Brompton stuff in general.

John gave me the lowdown on what happened with the co-ordination of this year's Brompton US Championships - which I won't post in this public forum - but kudos to Minneapolis for stepping up!  After a quick test ride I high-tailed it back the 100 miles to Tucson (in a car - sorry) to take care of some urgent unrelated business.

When I finally got home, I took the bike out for a few miles (even though it was threatening to rain) along the Pantano Wash bike path.  The brommie felt although solid, it's gonna take me a little time to get used to riding it, particularly shifting.  The Brooks leather saddle is hard as a rock (as advertised), but I applied some proofide after the ride and it should break in nicely over the next couple of months.

On to the gratuitous pics!

Picking up the Brommie at Portapedal
Folded view from the other side
Another folded view 
"Parked" view with the rear third folded under
Ready to ride!
Take it outside!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Welcome to the USA!

Finally got the call / email today that my Brompton has finally arrived at Portapedal!  They'll be doing the final assembly and I'll be making the 100 mile trek to Tempe this weekend to pick it up.  Word.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Brompton C-Bag Review: Capacity & Visibility

Still no word yet from Brompton about my P6R-RL, but in the meantime I'll wax poetic about this pretty sweet messenger-type bag.

Brompton C-Bag.
Interior view of C-Bag.
Interior view of C-Bag with a DVD case for size reference.
Rear view of the C-Bag showing the two medium sized pockets that would straddle the stem post.  This is a cleaver way to increase capacity.  The pockets fit a normal sized water bottle and is a good place to stash your wallet and keys.
Small side pocket with pen slots.  This pocket is perfect for a cell phone.
The shoulder strap quickly cinches up so that it doesn't interfere while riding.

This is the larger Brompton messenger-type bag, with a capacity of 25 liters (the smaller S-Bag carries 20 liters).  How much is 25 liters?  Consider Exhibit A:

C-Bag with a change of clothes in a packing cube, shoes, rain cover for bag, body wipes and iPad with case.  The packing cube contains jeans, belt, a polo shirt, underwear and socks.

This is close to what I would carry with me on my typical commute to work, plus whatever is in my pocket (iPhone, wallet, keys, identification, etc.) stuffed into the back and side compartments.

Packed C-Bag.
Side view of packed C-Bag.

Even with the all of the above items jammed into the C-Bag, there was still some space left over for my footy jersey and shorts in case I was playing a game after work.

In the earlier photos you can see that the large interior compartment is has a sort of zippered pocket partition thingy.  It seems like a good place to put items that aren't need often (in my case it would be the rain cover).

The smaller inner partition perfectly holds my early 2011 13" Macbook Pro with protective sleeve case.

13" Macbook Pro with Tom Bihn Cache.
Macbook stuffed into smaller inner partition.
Another positive attribute of this bag is how incredibly reflective it is (and how visible you'll be at night).  Here are a couple of pictures of the C-Bag in my hallway:
C-Bag, no flash.
C-Bag lit up with the flash from my iPhone.  The trim is so bright that it actually created an artifact in the photo.
So far the initial impressions are positive.  I'll have more insights when I finally receive my brommie and a able to use the bag on a regular basis.  Hope you enjoyed this initial review!