Monday, 29 September 2008

Brompton World Championships - 2008

This weekend the Brompton World Championships were held at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, England. A Brompton is a folding bicycle made in London and is considered by many to be the best of its kind. It's of very high quality and folds smaller than other bikes with the same wheel size, making it a very useful bike for urban riding and international travel. It's so easy to fold it up and take it on a bus, train, taxi, or airplane. I should also mention that it's a lot of fun to ride too! I have been riding a Brompton for four years now and often take it with me on trips within the UK as well as abroad. For the complete post with photos click here.

This first photo is of my trusty two-speeder and was taken at the Serpentine in London's Hyde Park while I was on my way to meet the busses which took us out to Blenheim Palace.

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This next photo is of a Brompton that has been folded up.

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On Saturday, Brompton organised a casual ride out to their bicycle factory in Brentford. This is Will (the managing director of Brompton) wearing the official world championship jersey at Horse Guards Parade in London.


On the way out to the factory we passed by several famous London landmarks.





Unfortunately my batteries ran out before we made it to the factory - but one of the other photographers who was there, Marcus Jackson-Baker, has kindly let me use his photos here. In the first one we see one of the mechanics assembling a Brompton. Each Brompton is assembled by one person and this particular worker can assemble 22 bicycles in a single day.

A bike assembly station

And in this one we see one of the workers brazing the frame together.

Brazing a main frame

On Sunday morning Brompton organised two coaches to take us out to Oxfordshire for the Brompton World Championship race. About a hundred of us met at Victoria coach station at 8am. Who would have thought that you could fit 50 bicycles in one bus: with Bromptons you can!

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This year the race was officially sanctioned by British Cycling and the rules set by Brompton were very specific on the dress code:
All participants, both male and female, must wear a suit jacket, collared shirt and tie. Shorts and three-quarter length trousers may be worn if preferred, though sports attire (e.g. Lycra shorts/leggings, tracksuit pants, etc.) is not permitted.

Here is a selection of shots of participants in their chosen outfits.

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I placed 171st in this year's race. I think I could have done better if I hadn't been photographing from my bike during the race. I never did stop, mind you! My goal is to jump 100 places in next year's race (time to start training!).

These are all the bikes waiting to be unfolded by their respective riders at the start of the race.

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Here are the riders crossing the start line on their way to unfold their bikes.

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Here they are unfolding their bikes.
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And they're off!

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. . . towards the palace . . .

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. . . then up the hill . . .

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. . . then down the hill . . .

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. . . then up another hill. The winning Spanish team speed by . . .

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And a few shots of the other competitors.
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This is Piers Benton, winner of the junior category.

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This is Blenheim Palace.

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And here are my new friends from Curbside Cycles in Toronto, as we did one last lap before catching the coach back to London.

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Click here to see a photoset of all my 80 favourite photos.

Follow this link to see a photoset of the rest of the photos from the weekend. I feel these photos are good but not my best work - but I have put them up so my new Brompton friends can see pix of themselves.

Visit the Brompton website to see the all the results from the race.

To find a Brompton dealer near you visit the Brompton website.

To see more of Marcus Jackson-Baker's photos from the factory day go here and follow this link to read Marcus's blog post about the Brompton World Championship weekend.

Friday, 26 September 2008

Manhattan with the Kirkwoods

Last Monday I spent the day in Manhattan with my mom and the Kirkwoods.

For the full post with photos click here.

We took a taxi from Chelsea up to Midtown. Carol kindly hailed the cab while I snapped away . . .



Then we got in and had a ride . . .



. . . up to midtown where we ate in one of my favourite Japanese noodle joints, Larmen New York, on 57th between 5th and 6th Avenues . . .


After lunch we headed a few blocks downtown to the Museum of Modern Art (aka MOMA). I love this museum not only for the art but because they allow you to photograph the art as long as you don't use flash . . .





And I saw this guy standing in front of a Botero sculpture and it reminded me of an old Jamiroquai album cover . . .


We then took a taxi . . .



. . . back to John Kirkwood's flat where we had some beers on the roof . . .




Monday, 8 September 2008

Tuscany in August

Back in August Rachel and I went to Tuscany to stay with some friends in their rented villa. Before seeing them we spent a few days on our own in Volterra. Click here to see the full post and all the photos.

There was good coffee . . .

And bottled water . . .


Imposing (and ancient) municipal architecture . . .

Bored tourists and locals. . .

A nice sunset over the Tuscan hills . . .

After two days in Volterra we spent another two days with our friends the Welch family (Susan, Colin, CJ and Peyton) at their rented villa. Their children were very willing to be photographed.


Also in attendance was Colin's dad, Mike from St. Louis. . .

Colin and Susan's friend Greg from Dallas . . .

Fun was had by all in the pool . . .

We even managed to squeeze in a day trip to San Gimignano and I took this group photo . . . 080813-45

. . . just before this motorbike whizzed by . . .

When we got home Colin cooked us the best ribs, ever! Perfectly timed . . .

Then the next morning we had to get up really early to catch our flight back to London from Pisa. This was the scene at 6am as we left the compound . . .

To see more photos from this trip go here.