Basil’s Got a Brand-New Friend

His name is Argyll, and he’s an H6R Brompton.

Here he is, in the late afternoon, with Basil’s Mini-O bag on his luggage block.  (He’ll have one of his own soon enough, I expect).

Back in December, Dr. Diarist and I took a whirlwind trip to New York, and stopped in at NYCeWheels so that poor Dr. D, who had been chained to his desk just about 24/7 for the previous year,  could test ride a couple of Bromptons.

Yes, sad though it may seem, Dr. Diarist has never ridden Basil.  There was never a good moment, and, at this point, Basil is so completely identified with me (and his fittings scaled to me) that it was just never going to happen.  Happily, NYCeWheels always has a stable of Bs on hand for any similar situations.

That’s Dr. D above, on an M3R. He was dubious at first, and I briefly wondered if I’d been mistaken about how right a Brompton would be for him.

Then he tried an S type — he rides a mountain bike, and thought the straight bars might work for him — though he was pretty sure that he’d want to travel with a T bag, which the S type does not accommodate.  But the S set-up wasn’t right for him.

The he tried this M6R, and it was just right.  Dr. Diarist came back from this trial run grinning.  He loved the 6 speed gearing, and said that he couldn’t understand why anyone would settle for the three-speed hub when they could have the six.

In no time at all, we’d ordered his Brompton-to-be.  Argyll’s color scheme  — racing green frame, sage green extremities — had been previously debated, and then clinched when we saw a photo of a the same scheme on someone else’s B.

When it came time to pick up Argyll, we  had thought that we were on a tight schedule between trips, so Dr. Diarist made a quick one-day turn-around trip to New York to pick up Argyll.  Unfortunately, the only available time slot turned out to be another Snowmageddon day.

He and Argyll fought their way back to Penn Station, and then homeward through a paralyzed NYC and some pretty serious snow at home, too.

As it turned out, the expected upcoming trip was cancelled, so that unseemly haste turned out to be unnecessary.  We were just as happy to have Argyll home, but as a result of the rather sketchy adventures on the day in question we don’t have any good pictures of Argyll’s arrival. We did manage the above shot of how he looked right after he got here.  Immediately after, though, everyone was busy brushing snow off both Argyll and Dr. Diarist.

Here he is, later, a lot less snowy. And drier.

One of the coat closets has now been appropriated as a full-on Brompton Garage.  Basil and Argyll fit quite nicely, along with cycling garments, helmets, and the expanding collection of Brompton bags (which are above, on a high, dark, shelf).

Argyll arrived nearly a month earlier than expected (!), which meant that his own saddle bag is still in the works.  The fit in the garage will be a little chummier once he’s wearing his, but I don’t think either one of them will mind.

Indoors or out, two Bromptons make a very compact package.  None of us are really cycling yet — un-iced and un-snowy blacktop is quite the rarity around here these days — but all four of us are ready to go.  It’s already pretty cool to be a two Brompton family.


Fit Desk Assembly

(This is a pick-up post, written long ago, and now published as part of the process of getting back on track here . . . in a bit, I’ll write about how well the Fit Desk worked for us.  In the meantime, this is how it arrived.)

A Fit Desk is what I’m using to “cycle” during the time I’m not able to ride my Brompton outside.  Here’s how I put it together after it was shipped to us.

It arrived in a long, skinny box. The poly straps had cut through the cardboard in several places, which was worrisome, but there didn’t appear to be any damage to anything inside.

I forgot to take a photo before I’d partially unpacked; by the time I remembered, the Fit Desk looked surprisingly like a preying mantis when lying in the partially-unpacked carton.

Along with the more obvious stuff, there was a large bag of hardware; these tools were included in the kit. These three items are truly all you need to do the job, but the process is enhanced if you use a socket wrench.

The basic frame is already assembled; the first step (after putting something down to protect the floor) is to add the stabilizers to the chassis.  They are the crossbars that hold the device upright, and keep it that way while in use.

All of the nuts and bolts in the chassis and cross bars are already set into their appropriate spots — a huge time and confusion saver.  There aren’t any IKEA-like bags of hardware to sort out here, and the main frame comes completely assembled, too, so there’s no guesswork about how things go together — and no lengthy set-up time, either.

It was love at first sight as far as our buff Maine Coon was concerned.  Assembly was so simple, though, that Maine Coon assistance was no problem.

The pedals bolt on easily, and the adjustable straps snap into place.

Then the seat just slips into the frame.

The “desk” bit also just pops into the frame, and then the arm support attachment is bolted onto the underside.  Adjusting the arm support was the only tricky part; notches in the side bars are used to adjust the position.  The notches look fairly primitive; I wondered if they’d prove sturdy, or be responsive to tightening.  No worries, though, it all worked out fine.

The last step is attaching the meter.  This is the only cheesy-looking bit; it’s plastic and looks as if it would be fragile, though it doesn’t seem to be.  It just lacks the same sturdy, well-thought-out look of the rest of the device.

Unpacking and assembly took about 45 minutes (!) and was incredibly simple. Heartening, too — the Fit Desk people really thought about what this experience was going to be like for the consumer and made putting it together as quick and as easy as possible.

The room ours is in is too small so show the Fit Desk fully set-up, so here’s an official Fit Desk photo showing what it looks like fully assembled (and yes, mine looks exactly like this):

Well, not exactly.  The Fit Desk comes with an exercise band, and there are hooks beneath the seat to store them; the idea is that you can work your arms while cycling.  This didn’t work for me — the bands pull right up against my hips, which is uncomfortable and irritating, so we don’t keep them on the Fit Desk, though you can see how it’s done in this photo.

A huge selling point for the Fit Desk is that it folds for storage, so I was pleased to see that the fold knob is easy to reach and use, though does take a bit of practice to learn to do it smoothly.  Also, it’s important to remember that you can only grab the unit by seat and handlebar when folding and moving it. (Physics, you know).

When folded, the Fit Desk is surprisingly compact, and rollers on one of the stabilizer bars make moving it pretty easy. Here is the device in a tight corner between two bookcases:

Two pieces of hardware were missing during assembly: one of the two screws for attaching the meter, and one washer. I pulled workable substitutes from my toolbox.

Several people had mentioned in reviews that they had found missing screws or washers in the seams of the box. Sure enough, when I finally broke it down, the missing screw fell out. The washer never showed up, though.

The verdict so far:  The Fit Desk looks great; the packaging could use some work. Also, according to this Maine Coon, whatever was out-gassing from the rubberish bits was better than high grade catnip.

It’s a bonus. (Humans, even the one with the very sensitive nose, were unable to detect any odour after the first hour.)

The butterscotch cat

and the other Maine Coon

preferred the box.


We’re Back! (Well, Almost)

At least, Basil’s blog is back . . . although  it will still be a short while before Basil makes his usual, regular, appearance here.  I’ve got wings on my cycling shoes to celebrate, even if there’s still precious little actual cycling happening:

In the meantime, I’ll be doing some catch-up posting.   A lot has happened in the past few months.  Among other things, Mr. Diarist has become Dr. Diarist, and someone new has joined the family:

But that’s all I’m saying for now.  Next up is the FitDesk assembly I should have posted months and months ago, and then it’s onward ho!

(The goofy wings?  They’re Shwings.  I found them at the Strong — “the national museum of play” — in Rochester, New York.  After months and months of no cycling, wings on my feet seemed just about right.)