All the Gear no Idea

I like to boast about the fact that in my younger days I was the Royal Navy Mounting bike champion 3 years running. Because I don’t have a big head nor am I boastful I am quick to follow up on the fact that I only won because I was the only one entered in my category!

It was during the days when I had no home, only a Pit. This is naval talk for a bunk, which in bunk translates to a it will do 75cmx190cms mattress which was located either in the top, middle or bottom position in a space that could accommodate 30 other soles.

I did not have a car nor could I drive for that matter so my bike was everything. As I had no home, no car, no outgoings and a fairy average wage I had the luxury of indulging in the most top of the range latest edition bike out there And once you own a reverse shift XTR there is no going back.

My bike was everything to me. It was my escape at the end of the day. My opportunity to jump on it and get away, explore. It would get me to the nearest train station where I could head the hell out when I was allowed.

I liked parking the bike near the sports centre and when I’d come out (from a swim, sauna or steam, nothing sporty of course) there was always someone crooning over it and I feel nice and smug. On top of the fact

YES IT’S OWNED BY A GIRL! And have you seen the V brakes (over 27 years ago, they were the in thing then!)

My pride and joy used to be a DNA which no one has heard of, it was an early Titanium frame and it was so light I swear it could float!


But after it got nicked


I settled for a light weight Trek Aluminum frame and its going just well 20 years later.


So after smoothly integrating the husband into the fact we should be a two Brompton Family and not a one Brompton family, plus it’s me paying for it all. I had to have the titanium model.

Now despite what you think I didn’t rush into it. I’ve been thinking about it since the first ride out with a fully loaded IT Chair and only 3 gears and a hill every what you turn.

I looked at the stats and between the Titanium and Steel you only save 700g which was a bit laughable.

Excuse me while I have a quick day dream about packing up the Brompton ready for a future flight and that’s a whole 700g extra in supplies I could take! Also thinking how harder it would be to climb up Candem Tube steps with the steel frame rather than Titanium. And remember in my racing days I once refused to carry cable ties as I was worried they would add unnecessary weight!

I even popped into a local shop and picked up steel and picked up titanium and did this a few times until the shop attendants started to frown at me. So it wasn’t a rushed decision, just a rather quick one that was totally decided a long time ago

And of course it had to be the raw lacquer, looks splendid.


When in truth, a used steel Brompton would do as long as it had 6 gears.

But who does “will do” these days – and look interest free credit!


What a mug.

Get Lost

Another hurdle to overcome was the adventures to come. Back in the day when I threw my bike on the train off to some random place in the country side armed with a camel back, spare inner tube and pump and an OS map I used to threat about being lost despite planning my route on the map I would ride a few meters check ride a few more check, ride some more, where am I? What way now? I’m lost, I’m going to die out here.

I hate being lost

True story I got lost in Brewbush once I stopped and asked a local for directions and even she didn’t know the way out!

There has also been many various occasions when I have been out, even just for a walk, what way now, well, let’s go this way, as we came this way, we won’t get lost if we go the way we came.


Its GPS time.

Not only are Bike GPS extremely expensive, a lot of them are only jumped up bike computers which will only direct you a set way only if you have spent the time and effort in front of a computer plotting a route which you have never done before and completely defeats the necessary of owning a GPS which is what I found out when purchasing a Garmin 520.


Garmin 520 – Did not like this

Where does the post code go, oh, you can’t navigate anywhere? What if I get lost, what good is that?

The point of this is you ride around, it plots your route you can then add it to you around and see how well you did you can down load the route and share it and edit it (more on this later!). This would be no good for me in a highly expectant anxiety laden“Crap I’m lost!” moment.

Might work very well for someone who likes lost adventures and monitoring their stats and measuring their thighs.

Back to Halfords, let’s give the 820 a go, a bit of an improvement, you can put in a post code but not the whole postcode, you still have to know the house number and road name?!


Garmin 820 explore – An improvement

Call this technology there is no hope for those who don’t possess a smart phone with data roaming!

However, there are points of interest so if I am lost I can find out where the nearest Tescos it and it can take me back to normality.

Let’s plot a route can’t plot a route, what’s going on, I could do it with the 520 but not the 820. 2 hours later and luckily no angry emails to Garmin I found out that you need to use the web based Garmin connect and not the windows 10 Garmin connect app I down loaded.

And turns out that has a better GPX builder than the Garmin one.

Garmin Connect also refuse to import any new files so you have to plug in the Garmin its self into the computer open up the file>Garmin>newfiles and drop them in this way. And when you get comfortable doing this it suddenly stops working.

I find another link on Garmin express to take me to the web based Garmin connect where you can create a course. However on completion of creating this course good luck sending it to your GPS as when you go send it says you have to open the app and the app just sits there like a wet duck in the rain with no clues on where to go to blow it in to your device.

After a lot of shouting in my head as the husband is chilling out with Jamie Oliver on the sofa (man crush) it eventually gets into my devise via some unknown means possibly osmosis and has renamed its self Tonbridge Uncategorised as opposed to Tonbridge to Penshurst.

And another thing! If you have a rather linualar route, don’t expect this rather expensive and overrated device to reverse it for you.

No, you have to do that before you go! Yes I can appreciate that if you ride it one way you’re going to know the way back, but I always like belts and braces. Plus it’s not hard is it.

It could be that my expectations for this device were rather high and I’m sure that it’s just teething issues however, if you are easily angered, miffed by tech don’t get one! And this is someone who works on a daily basis testing and commissioning technology. I am also well aware that all my SatNav experience so far has been for the use in cars where the route is rather predictable and there are huge restricting to adhoc it down a chalk hill so I’m sure I will discover its full potential once I take it out.

But a good moan helps and it may for some bring back some happy memories of their early days when they too hated their Garmin.

There we go, moan over; with use it can only improve.

On the plus side in reality, I would arrive at the destination, spend a stressful 20 minutes getting out of the car getting the bikes ready organising the children having the same “YOU SHOULD OF BROUGHT A BOTTLE OF JUISE WITH YOU!” Argument then set a reference on the GPS and this way if all fails in the hills I could at least navigate back to the car and drive home, with a big smile on my face trying to convince myself that it’s good to get out.

Tool Up

I’m being a bit slack at the moment in the fact I don’t even have a spare inner tube yet. And also scratching my head a bit with the 15mm nuts that hold the wheels onto the frame. Oh how I miss quick release.

The next major buy will be a tool kit, I’m trying to avoid the Brompton tool kit as it is with most things Brompton hideously expensive, however, it fits in to the bike, using magnets and well, it looks rather awesome. I may feel more proud of myself if I got my own one together.


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