The Brompton ‘drip tray’

The Brompton bicycle’s greatest attribute is its ability to be folded up, and then tucked out of the way next to your desk, or under the stairs at home, etc. However, on rainy days, or having ridden on muddy tracks, the last thing you want to do is park your dirty and/or dripping bicycle on a smart floor.

Enter the Brompton ‘drip tray’:

IKEA’s Baggmuck shoe mat (a.k.a. The Brompton drip tray)
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Bike Nation: How Cycling Can Save The World

Bike Nation, by Peter Walker

I play with the traffic every time I cycle to and from work. About 20% of my return journey is on segregated cycle path, but another 70% of my journey is on cycle lanes, all of which leave just a line of white paint between me and the traffic passing me. 10% of my journey requires me to cycle alongside all other road users.

To be fair, my commute is relatively safe, compared with those that others face. However, there are two places – a roundabout and a turn-right junction – which leave me feeling vulnerable and exposed. I could ride on the footpath and cross three roads, acting as a semi-pedestrian (instead of cycling around the roundabout), or use three pedestrian crossings (instead of using the turn-right junction), but I shouldn’t have to do that, and I do not do so. Instead, I make sure that my road positioning is ‘assertive’, I wear a high-viz vest in the dark, I display two lights back and front, and I make sure my hand signals are as clear as possible. Most road users respond well to this approach, but there are others who ‘buzz’ me as they overtake, and/or they simply drive past too close.

Peter Walker’s premise in his book is that I shouldn’t have to be exposed to the dangers of motorised transport in this way, that I should feel safe on the roads, and that transport planning has to change, such that more people feel safe enough to choose cycling as their ‘go to’ everyday transport . But how do we change minds?

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Laser Stubby Spanner (15mm)

Laser Stubby Spanner (15mm)

You will need a 15mm spanner to remove and refit your front or rear wheel (e.g. if you need to repair a puncture). You could use an adjustable spanner, but carrying one with a large enough jaw would require a rather heavy adjustable spanner.

My preference is to carry a much smaller and lighter adjustable spanner for the smaller nuts and bolts holding a Brompton together, and carry a 15mm spanner dedicated to wheel removal and re-fit.

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Lost Lanes West (first impressions)

Lost Lanes West, by Jack Thurston

‘Lost Lanes West’, by Jack Thurston, is an excellent resource, describing thirty-six circular tours, which cover many of the most scenic areas of the south-west of England.

I came across it when browsing the shelves of Mr. B’s Book Emporium (an independent bookshop in Bath), but you can buy signed copies direct from Jack Thurston’s own website.

I was initially drawn to the book’s eye-catching and retro-look cover, which is reminiscent of travel posters from the early decades of the 20th century (cycling’s heyday in the UK?).

Jack commissioned Andrew Pavitt to illustrate the covers of all three of the Lost Lanes books he has already published, giving them an attractive, coordinated look (the other two are ‘Lost Lanes South of England’ and ‘Lost Lanes Wales’). However, one shouldn’t judge a book solely by its cover.

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The £59 Sat Nav with a 4.5″ colour screen

The Nokia 1 smartphone Sat Nav

Having spent a ridiculous amount of money over the years on several incarnations of the Apple iPhone, I finally decided enough was enough. I had purchased an iPad, which has a great screen and plenty of processing power, and I now decided that duplicating so much of its functionality – by buying another iPhone – was just plain stupid.

Therefore, when my 24-month contract for my last iPhone finished, I switched to a SIM-only 15GB/month phone contract, and opted for a bargain basement smartphone, buying a SIM-free Nokia 1. This cheap marvel is now my bargain basement cycling sat nav (and a serviceable enough phone on the side).

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