A day in the life of my Brompton

My trusty Brompton started the day in Oxford with the local Freedom from Torture group and enjoyed travelling from Oxford Parkway station, with its easy access, café (for me, the Brompton doesn’t drink coffee) and lifts.  After a trouble-free trip to London, I used my new Garmin to get me to Kings Cross. That was a bit traumatic but is all part of the learning with this not-user-friendly Garmin. Then we both  (Brompton and I) had a lovely trip to Edinburgh, where our adventures began. Having safely ridden from Bletchley to Oxford the previous day and across London earlier, I had three near-death experiences in the 10 minutes it took me to ride home from Edinburgh Waverley. Welcome home!

I needed to get my PC to the repair shop and had the ‘good’ idea of taking it on the Brompton. It did fit, as you can see, but it’s not really a good idea to clatter a PC over the Edinburgh cobbles. It arrived safely but I took it home in a taxi, going back to the lovely PC Repairman (who fixed it on the spot) for the Brompton. An exciting day, even by my standards!

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Cambridge – ‘Bicycle capital of the UK’

Bike facilities at YHA Cambridge

I knew there were lots of bikes and cyclists in Cambridge but nothing prepares you for the reality of it. Even in the Artic conditions of this weekend, the streets are full of bicycles. Bikes are used to carry children (often more than one), shopping, dogs and anything else that needs to be transported. YHA hostels always have bike ‘sheds’ but the Cambridge one has a range of bike lockers AND a maintenance point – so I didn’t need to bring my pump or multi-tool kit.

Alternative antlers in the Old Bicycle Shop restaurant

There are so many bikes that the riders don’t need to be afraid of the motorised traffic. Bicycles were here first, after all.  However, some of the manoeuvres are startling – cyclists in dark clothing just dart across the traffic wherever they like. It’s even more hair-raising (if you weren’t wearing a hat to stay warm) in the dark where bicycle lights are clearly considered a waste of energy. Make a stand against climate change – ride your bike without lights. Eeek!

I was sad not to have adventures on my bike here. It is really too cold for recreational cycling – at least for this softie! But the city is beautiful and
the history so interesting. Bikes are not at all a modern invention, relatively, and so it should not seem so incongruous to see this bowler-hatted College porter behind all the bikes at this College gate. There is an ‘illumination’ festival on just now during which complex lighting shows are played on many of the old buildings in the city – gorgeous.

Note to self: come back with a bike in warmer weather!

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