Can you spot the Brompton?
Note: Basil and I are out-of-town again. (No more icy roads; making up for lost time!) Reponses to comments and email will be slow or non-existent (depending on conditions) until early next week.
. . . and it feels so good!
Basil and Argyll, together again.
Argyll has been sidelined for months, waiting for the moment when Dr. Diarist got the OK to ride again. This past weekend, his patience was rewarded.
Dr. Diarist was pretty happy to get his buddy back, too. (Actually, he was ecstatic, but this was a formal portrait, so they’re both standing tall and looking serious.)
Like so many other prospective Brompton riders, when contemplating acquiring Argyll, Dr. Diarist spent quite a bit of time considering what color he should be.
Naturally, Dr. D consulted the NYCeWheels configuator, but in the end Argyll’s colors were chosen after the owner of Click-Stand sent a photo to us, featuring a Brompton kitted out in Racing Green with Sage Green extremities.
In one of those wonderful quirks for which the Internet is well-known, it happened that the owner of that beautiful Brompton contacted me after I wrote this post about my Click-Stand.
Tom and his B are a bit more hardcore than we wimps here. He’s ready for touring, in rain, no less, above. (Note how well the Click-Stand works!) Below, you can see the gear without the rain covers: That’s the excellent Brompton T bag on the front, and the rack sack on the back.
Tom’s Brompton is a 2013 M6R, so it isn’t exactly a twin to Argyll, who is a 2013 M6H, but the close kinship is undeniable. Tom’s Brompton is unnamed, though, and he suggested that Diaries readers might come up with some suggestions. Anything, he says, but Cedric.
What do you say, Brompton readers? Who is Tom’s handsome M6R (other, that is, than Not Cedric!)?
(Can you say that fast?) Thanks to a generous friend, whose Brompton is now sporting the Biokork version, Argyll and Dr. Diarist are enjoying new grips.
Except for that horrible moment when the original Brompton grips go under the knife, the procedure is fairly straightforward, and not otherwise emotionally traumatic.
Surgery and Brompton bicycles: It just feels wrong. Nonetheless, the easiest way to remove the original Brompton foam is by cutting it. Don’t score deeply; you don’t want a mark on the handlebars, even if you can’t see it. Some standards should be observed.
Peeling the original foam slowly and evenly works pretty well. Argyll’s left grip had hardly any adhesive beneath, but there was a broad band under the right one.
Getting the adhesive off the handlebar is the only challenging part of this little project. The Ergons slip on pretty easily if most of the adhesive is removed. I rubbed as much off as I could, then used household alcohol, sparingly applied with a microfiber rag, to soften the adhesive.
Then I went over the surface with a nylon kitchen scraper. That got off most of the gunk; repeated applications of alcohol, and rubbing with the rag, did the rest.
There’s a 4mm bolt on the outer edge of the Ergon which will need loosening, but not by much, so that the grip can be slipped onto the handlebar.
Argyll’s grips are Ergon GP grips — probably the GP1 model. These have to be cut down to fit on a Brompton M handlebar like Argyll’s. You’ll want to measure carefully, but the cutting itself is easy to do with a utility knife, a mini-hacksaw or maybe a serrated kitchen knife.
On Argyll, a 2014 Brompton, the edge goes right up against the brake lever retention ring. That’s a nicer look than on Basil — on the 2012 models, the edge of the brake lever blocks an evenly cut Ergon. (The grips could be cut to fit around the lever, but that seems like an excessive pain to me, and wouldn’t allow for any future adjustments in angle..)
It won’t matter if the edges aren’t cut perfectly smoothly, unless you find that sort of thing completely maddening. (In which case, take special care when cutting, and use a pipe cutter to mark the line you cut along.) Once flush against the brake supports, the edge will not be particularly visible.
Getting the angle right may take some tinkering, and may vary quite a bit from cyclist to cyclist. Argyll’s grips tip just slightly downward (Argyll has an H-type stem, which is taller than the standard model):
But Basil’s are at a much steeper angle (Basil’s handlebars have been pulled slightly forward):
It’s kind of amazing how the simplest projects become something else. I had to remove Argyll’s Mirrycle mirror in order to install the Ergons. That was a pain; the bolt was bent and had to be teased out of the handlebar. Argyll had taken a fall in the past, and apparently there had been an internal injury we hadn’t noticed.
We bought a new mirror, and I replaced the bolt. The crash wasn’t sufficient to break the glass on the original mirror, but the “protected” bolt bent anyway. Curious, indeed! No matter; the issue was easily resolved. We like these mirrors very much; the Mirrcycle mountain bike mirror fits a Brompton perfectly, and can, if adjusted carefully, swing out of the way when the bicycle is folded.
Ergons come in various sizes; I’ve heard a rumor that there’s even a version that will fit Brompton M bars without requiring cutting. When buying a model off the shelf at most bike shops, though, what you should know is that the paddle portion of the grip is sized — Argyll’s grips are size large, and Basil’s are small, reflecting the considerable difference in size between Dr. Diarist’s mitts and my own. Choosing the right size will matter for optimal comfort.
Related, with a bit more detail about installation on Basil:
You know, there’s always that nervous period when someone joins the family. Is that new sister-in-law really going to be a keeper?
It took a while, but everyone was relieved once Argyll had passed the Maine Coon inspection.
I did a little fabric shopping when I went to New York City with Argyll. The next morning, he and I set out to take the bundle to UPS so that it could be shipped home.
This was another first for Argyll, and a Brompton first for me, too; I’d never used Basil’s rear rack. The built-in bungees worked just fine, and Argyll was easy to ride, even with a pretty heavy bundle on the back.
Then we turned the corner.
Well! I couldn’t figured out what I was seeing at first. Why were all those vehicles covered in fluffy stuff? It reminded me of a conversation I’d once had with a woman on a train: She’d funded an “art installation” composed of a Hummer covered in crocheted cotton. That memory didn’t help; this was serious cognitive dissonance. The previous day had been all blossoms and greenery; today there was a fine dusting of snow all over the place.
We got to UPS just fine, where, in a first, I was thrown out of the store, but my Brompton bicycle was allowed to stay. There’s a rule, it seems, against packing a box inside the building. The UPS guy and I usually get along well; maybe he was having a bad day.
Argyll was just as happy to stay inside while I packed my box on the sidewalk.
Sadly, there’s nothing I want to buy here, but I love seeing this store front next to the UPS store. “Moscow on the Hudson”: Now that’s evocative!
Argyll and I went next door and got coffee before heading out for a ride. A Brompton bicycle tucks nicely out of the way, even in a cramped big-city coffee shop.
Outside, the sun was shining, but hadn’t quite vanquished the snow.
There’s always something new to see, even on familiar New York streets. Someone had added these airy boots to the landscape since the last time I’d been to UPS.
There was only a tiny patch of snow left under this tree. That wasn’t the case on the Westside Greenway, where Argyll and I headed next.
There was less snow on the train tracks below, but there it was, nevertheless.Riding the Greenway was another first for Argyll (and without his own cyclist, Dr. Diarist!); this was also his first trip under the George Washington Bridge.
The previous night’s snow hadn’t discouraged all of the blooms, though it’s possible that the real damage didn’t show up until later.
The temperature was much colder than I’d anticipated, and my hands were feeling it. I had fold-over cuffs on my cycling top, but the are a bit clumsy to use, particularly for braking, so I stopped in at Fairway hoping to find something to keep my fingers a bit happier.
Argyll in a Fairway cart: Made for each other!
Inside, we encountered one of Argyll’s distant kin. Bicycles are au courant, everywhere, these days.
In the cosmetics department, I found cotton gloves, which bought me some warmth — just enough — and some dexterity, when installed under my cycling mitts. Frozen fingers in mid-April: most unexpected!
Argyll still didn’t have his saddle bag, but I’d already attached the straps that would hold it in place, once I finished making it. They proved to be just the thing to use to tie the grocery bag under his saddle.
We left the Greenway at this point, and I got lost looking for Broadway. I ended up on Martin Luther King, but, hey, why not? It’s difficult to get so lost in New York that one can’t find a way out, and there’s always something interesting to see.
Later I realized that this station is at the intersection of MLK and Broadway. Sigh.
Once here, I couldn’t resist the lure of catching the subway above ground. Also, Fairway-on-the-Greenway didn’t have rainbow cookies, so Argyll and I headed for the East Side, via the MTA.
Argyll ended up visiting two Fairway Markets, on two different sides of Manhattan, in one day. Another first!
Rainbow cookies: I doubt they’re natural, and I know they’re unhealthy, but they are very like marzipan petit fours someone used to give me when I was a child.
Unlike the blue bag of the previous day, this orange bag didn’t stain my hands.
We rode over to a park next to the Museum of Natural History, where I snacked on tasty, tasty cookies. A day’s work, well done.
Back before the 5 Boro Bike Tour, Argyll and I went to New York. Subsequently, various events and circumstances overwhelmed the schedule, and I lost track of his adventures.
I did manage to chronicle the trip back to New York, but not our gadding about while there. In order to avoid giving Argyll short shrift, I’m backtracking a bit here, and recording our flitting about on that trip.
Once we were settled in at the Manhattanites’s in Washington Heights, we hopped the cross town bus, due to my reluctance to ride certain segments of upper Manhattan streets in rain, and headed to NYCeWheels.
That white beast appears to be a Pacific Cycles IF Mode, a full-size folding bike. I think it’s easily twice the size of a Brompton. Maybe three times.
Once we were in, Steve put Argyll up on the stand behind the counter. All that inventory is distracting, but it’s pretty cool to see a beautiful little Brompton suspended in mid-air. I wonder if Dr. Diarist would go for this look in our living room?
I paused to admire the fold of yellow Bromptons NYCeWheels uses for their free tours, and for loans to Brommie Yummie. Riding Brompton 1 of this fleet is what convinced me that a Brompton was the right bicycle for me.
That yellow imprinted, of course, and that’s the color of Basil’s frame. (Visibility, folks, that’s where it is for me!), but just about any Brompton color evokes a little frisson of glee. Look at that Arctic Blue! And that Apple Green!
I took a walk and got some coffee while Steve looked over Argyll. It was a beautiful day; the Upper East Side felt fresh and new in the rain.
I found goodies to take back to the Manhattanites, but they got saved for later. The Manhattanites got consecutively ill during our visit, which put a damper on enticing meals. Inside the container? Fairway’s incredible roasted artichoke hearts.
Less incredible were my blue fingers. How did that happen? Weeellll, it turned out that Fairway’s plastic bag bled.
Messy, and most surprising, since what goes inside a Fairway bag is almost universally excellent.
We cycled just a few familiar blocks, in spite of damp streets, and then returned on the subway. I was reading a Travis McGee mystery — a pulp paperback from the early 1960s; they’re a perfect size to stuff in a pocket.
Argyll’s ready for his next trip to New York City:
If we get lost, we know just where to look. (That’s a map, of sorts, of the subway system.)
(Basil — and Argyll — and I are out of town again this week, so response to comments and email will be slow — well, to be frank, non-existent — until our return.)