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Brompton US Championship

  • Jul 18 2014

    My Race on a Brompton [@ BUSC 2014]

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    Perennial Cycle has been the host of the Brompton US Championship for the past two years. Meeting all of the racers has made me want to participate, despite the fact that I'm not a racer (I must be a competitive commuter). This year BicycleSpace, a shop in Washington DC, hosted the event which gave me the opportunity to do this.

    Perennial Cycle has a lightweight, speedy demo Brompton that I rode quite a bit last summer. I felt this S2L-X would be a great choice for the event, so a few weeks before the race I started putting some miles on the bike with my sights set on losing a few pounds as well as getting in shape (I was taking my cues from Spencer Morse who is one of the strongest Brompton racers I've seen).

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    out on an extended morning ride to work before heading to DC

    I got in the best shape I can muster (I'm a 51 year old realist) and did in fact lose the 5 pounds I was aiming for. I made some tweaks to the bike, but didn't bother up'ing the gearing as the 7% reduced gears were pretty much all I could handle.

    Race day brought on a sickening mix of heat and humidity. This was certainly an edge up for me having been raised by two South Dakotans that were raised during the depression. They happened to be Norwegians as well, which meant that until it hit 100° the temperature was never mentioned and then only in a neighborly fashion ("I sure hope it's not so hot that the day lilies droop..."). I happened to be standing with my bike near Jordan as he called out for the racers to start lining up their bikes, so I went right up and set my folded bike in the front row.

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    turning on my camera before the race

    I envisioned myself running up and quickly unfolding my bike and heading out first, but running up the lanes with a lot of people was challenging to do without crashing. I patiently worked up to my bike and methodically unfolded it and hit the road with probably less than 20 people in front of me. All good.... Up and riding, feeling good on the bike with the seat height correct and even straight : )

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    Racing to my bike at the start

    The first half lap was a big loop through and around a couple of RFK Stadium parking lots. By the time I finished this section I was past almost all but the speed demons. The next section was cobblestone that wove through Congressional Cemetery. This started with a fairly steep climb and by the time I got to the top of this I could see a group of four racers that were in the lead. At this point I passed the last person other than the lead group and saw a big strong rider pulling up behind me. It was Peter of NYCE Wheels and I smiled and mumbled something incoherent. He drafted me for a moment, but was quickly moving past me nodding for me to grasp his draft. I managed it for all of about 10 seconds and then yelled "good luck" to him and in a flash he was gone. With the first of my 3-1/2 laps completed the race was feeling pretty lonely. Not a great feeling being that I had envisioned working with someone to break the wind with, but before the second lap was completed I had a lone rider ahead. I caught and passed him (Alex) for a while and then he caught and passed me, and this back and forth went on. At about lap 2-1/2 Alex and I caught a rider that had been holding with the lead pack, but now the heat was getting the best of him and he was dragging a bit. Alex and I passed him and continued our cat and mouse past lap 3. With about a mile left in the race I passed Alex for the last time. The heat must have worked him down, so I crossed the finish line in fourth place thinking I was done, but got no signs from anyone and I just wasn't 100% sure if I had done all the laps (duh). So without even thinking it over I went on to do one more lap. I feel pretty silly about that, but it just points out is how unseasoned a racer I am.

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    these are all the BUSC 2014 racers that were at last year's BUSC in Minneapolis

    The weekend was super fun and while I loved being part of the actual race, I have to say that all the weekend's events were an absolute blast. Being with a group of Brompton superfans is a ball : )
    Friday night at the British Embassy, Saturday's Brompton Urban Challenge, and Sunday's Championship race were all great fun to be a part of. If you have a chance to participate in the Brompton US Championship in the future, I'd highly recommend it. While my post talks about the race in a competitive tone, the majority of participants are out to ride with a large group of politely paced racers that are all connected by there lovely Brompton Folding Bicycles.

    Here are some links regarding the weekend:
    -my pictures on Flickr
    -gallery by Amy Ta
    -BicycleSpace's recap (with event video)
    -Washington Post article and video about BUSC 2014
    -Brompton US Championship website

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  • Jul 15 2014

    Tools I brought on my Brompton Adventure (#BUSC 2014)

    BUSC 2014

    I'm currently sitting on an airplane headed to Washington DC for the Brompton US Championship 2014. I'm not certain what I did to be fortunate enough to be going, but it must have been something amazing because BUSC is a Brompton lovers dream come true!
    We often are asked what tools are needed on Brompton folding bike adventures so I thought I'd lay out my own choices for all to see.

    brompton tools

    The Tools
    -
    Park IB-3 Multitool: a fully equipped multitool (14 tools) with a chain tool and a 8mm allen wrench
    -PDW San Wrencho: an elegantly practical tool you'll need to remove the Brompton's bolted-on wheels as well as removing the tires
    -Rema Patch Kit: along with a couple TB-2 Emergency Tire Boots (sharp road debris is a global phenomena... it's best to be prepared)
    -Schwalbe AV4 Tube: this inner tube will fit any tire that you are using
    - T9 chain lube: this lube is good on both the chain and cables, just 1 ounce of T9 goes a long way
    -shop rag w/rubber band, this is a nice item that all the tools can be wrapped up in. Mine happens to be a very sweet Tiny Bike Shop rag
    -15mm wrench: I will use this to tighten my clipless pedals at Sunday's race (this will be left with the clipless pedals as it won't be needed on the road)
    -Topeak Road Morph Pump: The biggest hazard with hand pumps is wrestling to get to full air pressure and ripping the inner tube near the valve. The Road Morph solves this by having the head of the pump on a rubber hose so that as you wrestle with the pump, the valve is not getting pulled and tweaked. Also an air gauge is built-in (bonus!)

    If I wasn't headed to DC to be at BUSC 2014 hosted by BicycleSpace (the BUSC clubhouse du jour) I'd likely want one more inner tube and a spare tire, but in this case I know I'll be in good hands if I should find myself in need : )

    Hopefully, I'll only need the pump to fully inflate the tires (I like to play it safe by letting a bit of air out of the tires before flying) and the wrenches to swap pedals on Sunday, but having the toolkit along is easy enough and has me prepared.

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    ADDENDUM: I'm back from the adventure and the tools I used on my own bike:
    -Air pump (I flew with the tires at about 60psi and then I aired my Schwalbe Kojaks to 110 psi with the Topeak Road Morph)
    -4mm allen wrench on my Park IB-3 Multitool to readjust my Ergon grips/barends
    -8mm allen wrench to remove the folding pedal, 15mm pedal wrench to remove and install the other 3 pedals (because I was using clipless pedals on race day)

    On Saturday's Brompton Urban Challenge I was in a group of seven (all on Bromptons) and we suffered two flat tires in the group (neither on my own bike). Both were from tubes that had gotten ripped near the valve (likely ripped from being rough on the valve when adding air to the tires). This made me all the more sure that the Topeak Road Morph is the best pump option to bring. I fixed both flats using the PDW San Wrencho, a spare inner tube, and the Road Morph hand pump. We were back on the road in about 10 minutes each time. Had our team won the Challenge I think I'd have been viewed as the Hero of the Day, but our team was less competitive and more about fun. In our minds we won...

    If you have any questions feel free to contact me

  • Mar 19 2014

    Save the Date! Brompton Racing Goes to Washington this July

    Mr. Smith Goes to Washington with his Brompton

    That's right, Bromptoneers! The 2014 Brompton US Championship will take place in our nation's capital on the weekend of July 11 through 13, 2014. After two great years of Brompton Racing in Minneapolis, Perennial Cycle is honored to pass the torch that is the Brompton US Championship to BicycleSPACE in Washington, D.C.

    We remain grateful to Mike McGettigan at Trophy Bikes in Philadelphia for the aid he lent us when we were handed the race in early 2012 and hope to be able to help in any way we can to the staff at Bicycle Space.

    Bicycle Space D.C.

    (Photo by Bicycle Space)

    If you're thinking of making the trek to Washington for the race, know that you're in good hands. BicycleSPACE is run by a great group of people committed to fostering a welcoming environment for everyone from beginner cyclists to hard-core daily commuters. The shop's interior is gorgeous and many of the same great brands you'll find at Perennial Cycle are at home at BicycleSPACE—including Brompton (of course), Brooks, and Linus. When it comes to planning the details of this year's Brompton race, manager Jordan Mittelman is on familiar turf. Take a look at BicycleSPACE's event calendar and you'll quickly see that the staff is busy every week with yoga classes, in-house maintenance clinics, and group rides.

    Looking for further details? The date is set, but many of the specifics surrounding the event are still in the planning stages. To be the first to know once registration opens, watch for news at bromptonuschampionship.com, join the mailing list, and follow Bicycle Space on Twitter and Facebook. As you begin making your plans for race-day, get inspiration for your race kit by checking out photos from the 2013 race on Flickr. While we won't be hosting the event this year, you can be sure we'll be re-tweeting any big news from BicycleSPACE and keeping you up to speed on the Perennial Cycle Facebook page as well. And, with any luck, you may just see a member of team Perennial at the starting line!

    The Brompton US Championship goes to Washington, D.C. in 2014
  • Jul 24 2013

    Brompton World Championship → Here We Come!

    This weekend is the Brompton World Championship (BWC) and Minnesota will be well represented:

    Spencer Morse: Spencer for 2 years has been the pace setter for the US Championship. Spencer took 2nd place this year (3rd last year) and is going in place of Stephen Reginold

    Beckie Alexander: Women's 1st place at the US Championship. Beckie's husband Wallace was the 2012 Men's Champion and Beckie was at the 2012 BWC, though was not a competitor

    Susan Todzy: Susan was the 2012 US Women's Champion and is going back the the BWC to defend her title as the winner of the BWC Treble Competition

    Sophie Breen: Women's 2012 US 3rd place winner and 2013 top 10 racer

    Luke Breen: I am the owner of Perennial Cycle and am extremely excited to compete in the BWC along with the group.

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