Argyll Brompton Duo

We Brave a Frozen World

With an initial success behind us, Dr. Diarist and I didn’t want to wait too long before getting out on our Bromptons again.  The weather was uncooperative, as has been its wont this year, so we jumped at the chance when a brief window opened.


Since our area was still covered in the white stuff and its hard, slick companion, we ended up on the Chester Valley Trail again.  Basil and Argyll waited patiently in the parking lot while we got our cold-weather gear around.


Argyll and Dr. D were off and running pretty quickly, though.  I don’t think Bromptons like this “sit around and wait” business much.

This trip, the trail itself was as clear as if it were high summer, in spots.  Not so the roadways, shoulders, and adjacent sidewalks.  The section of the trail in the photo below crosses a main road about 5 miles/8 km from where we started.

pdsnThat’s a pedestrian switch rising from the piles of ploughed snow at the intersection.  The button is just about at waist level on me.  (And that’s some dirty snow!)  Here in the mid-Atlantic states, we don’t usually get much of the white stuff; this year, there’s just no place to put the incredible amounts that have blanketed our world.


We were really impressed by how well-groomed the trail was, generally.  It’s narrower than when there’s no snow, but still completely usable by cyclists, joggers and pedestrians.

sldThe drainage channels beside the trail were filled with ice and crushed-ice-sludge, much of which flowed along surprisingly expeditiously.  That’s not a sight we see every day, either.

There were a couple of slightly more treacherous spots on the trail itself.


Above, that’s a layer of ice frozen to the trail, ice breaking loose above it, and water flowing over the asphalt.  There were only a couple of spots where this was an issue, though.


However, this stretch was a show-stopper.  That’s the trail — the entire trail — underwater.  Under a lot of very icy, very cold, rapidly-flowing, water.


Anyone familiar with these traffic cones will appreciate how deep the water is — the cones are marking the side of the trail, where the asphalt falls off.   That’s no place anyone would want to be, especially on a bike.  Flood, mud, ice and snow: a quadruple threat!

The open field next to the parking lot looked like a lost world: dead trees, flooding, and ice, lots and lots of ice.


It got late faster than we expected.  I had to get a solo shot of Argyll, though, to commemorate his second official ride.


This trip wasn’t quite as long as the last one; we logged about 14 miles/22.5 km, but it was still a good run — and a good save.  We’d first intended to ride the Schuylkill River Trail beginning in Phoenixville, but it was completely buried, with no access at all.  Chester Valley, you rock!

Argyll Brompton Duo

Argyll’s First Outing

And Basil’s, too, this year, now that I can ride again.  This was meant to be just a short ride, to see what kind of shape I was in after not cycling for so long.  I figured 5 miles/8 km would be enough for this initial run.

argbslThere was no way to ride where we live — too much snow, no place to put it — so we drove out to a trailhead.  That’s Argyll, in front, and Basil behind him, in the parking lot.

We stopped after roughly 5 miles/8 km and got a bite to eat.  Our Bromptons are small enough that we didn’t fold them all the way while we ate; the aisle was wide, and there wasn’t any need to.


This image below is a documentary shot; the light’s too low, but there’s an important question that needs raising here:  We noticed that our Bromptons automatically rolled to a stop next to the beer.


Is this just something that naturally occurs when two or more Bromptons gather? I don’t even drink the stuff, but maybe Basil’s trying to tell me something, now that he’s got reinforcements.


I’d thought that a short ride would be all I could manage, but it was so wonderful to be back on Basil that I just couldn’t stop.  We carried on to the end of the newly-opened extension to the Chester Valley Trail, which suddenly ends in King of Prussia, next to a small construction site.


It’s not picturesque, but I’m not complaining.  I suspect this lot is what we’ve got to thank for the trail extension, which means that it’s now possible to log over 20 miles/32 km by bicycle, round-trip, from King of Prussia** to Exton (or visa-versa), on the trail.  That’s a terrific development!

Dr. Diarist and I (and our Bromptons) logged 22 miles/35.4 km this trip.  That wasn’t the best thing for Dr. D, who isn’t yet used to his Brompton saddle*, but it felt like sheer bliss to me!  That 5 mile/8 km goal turned out to be piffle!

*Dr. Diarist isn’t used to any saddle; he’s a mountain biker.  This is a whole new world for him.  Fortunately, he seems to be adjusting well, and Argyll?  Argyll’s perfection . . . naturally!

**Yes, there really is a town in Pennsylvania called King of Prussia.  Go figure.


Portable Motor for a Brompton

Jeff Guida, inventer of the BromFoot, is running a Kickstarter campaign for a light, removable, motor for bicycles.


It’s designed primarily for major bike share systems in North America and in London, but Guida, obviously a Brompton fan, has developed an adapter so that the device can be used on Bromptons.

ShareRoller looks like a small briefcase, and can be easily removed when not in use, or to transfer from bike to bike.  At roughly seven pounds (3.1 kg), it’s not too heavy to carry, even if you’ve got a B in the other hand.

Fernando Ma, of The Dirty Brompton, gave a ShareRoller a test ride on his B recently.  His post is a thorough write-up, and it makes fascinating reading.

The ShareRoller is a very clever device, and brilliant for dealing with those 45 pound CitiBike clunkers — and would be especially so if the program ever extends into north Manhattan, or in other cities with hilly bike share environs.

Needs and requirements are different for Brompton riders, but anyone who has looked at the various e-conversions available for Bromptons might be interested in this sleek new entry to the market.

Details at Kickstarter; the campaign looks as if it’s gaining some momentum, but the fundraiser is only until mid-day March 30th.  If you’re in, move fast!

Errandonnee Events


So much to catch up on — and I haven’t even yet posted about Basil’s first ride since the end of our cycling hiatus!  That will come shortly, but in the meantime I’ll be writing about a couple of timely events others might be interested in.


First up is MG’s annual Errandonnee, in which participants run errands on their cycles, in the cold, bleak, final (or so we hope) days of winter, and report back.

There are categories!  There are rules! There are challenges!

Check it all out here, and let the errandonneuring begin!

Barring another week of Snomageddeon-like events, Basil and I will be participating.   Curious about this excellent event?  Here’s what Basil and I did last year:

Errandonneuring On A Brompton Bicycle, Part 1

Errandonneuring On A Brompton Bicycle, Part 2

Basil might have been the only Brompton participating in 2013, but according to MG’s note, that’s @MrTinDC on the official Errandonnee image above, on his Brompton.  Will it be a Brompton sweep this year??