Thursday, February 25, 2010

Brompton Rolling Wheels Upgrade, Pt. 2

As you recall, I upgraded the original rolling wheels that come with the Brompton to roller blade wheels as covered here: In that post, I mentioned that I was looking for some larger diameter wheels because the roller blade wheels did not allow you to roll the bike. Well, I finally found some reasonably priced Razor Scooter 98mm wheels that I installed on the Brompton. I paid $3 for them. You can also get them at regular price at a toy store like Toys R Us for around $10.

The installation was pretty simple. Each of the Razor wheels come with two bearings. You simply remove one of the bearings since the Brompton screw is not long enough to encompass both bearings. I did not tighten the screw too much.

How did the upgrade work? Good. I am now able to roll the bike via the fully extended saddle seatpost, but only by pushing it forward. I had visions of pulling the bike like upright luggage with pull-out handles, but that doesn’t work. Pushing it forward also has its quirks as the bike wants to lean one way as the load is not evenly balanced. It helps to hold the saddle with two hands as you push forward so you can control it from tipping to the right. As with the other roller blade wheels, there is no interference with heel strike.

Overall, I’m satisfied with the new wheels. Pushing the bike forward saves you from lifting the bike say across a lobby or tight spaces where you can’t or shouldn’t ride. Looking at the wheels takes some getting used to since they are bigger and a lighter color than the old ones. Maybe I’m not used to them being on the Brompton. They just look huge.

Here’s the bottom line with this upgrade:

1) Able to roll the bike (only by pushing forward, though)
2) No heel strike issues
3) Low cost
4) Wheels can be found most everywhere

1) Bike wants to lean one way as you’re pushing forward

Monday, February 15, 2010

Dumped! By Snow, That Is.

Ugh! As I type this, I am seeing some snow flurries out my window. The forecasters have predicted 1-2 inches for today in the immediate Washington DC metro area. In years past, such a snowfall would have generated much excitement. This year, it’s just a nuisance. You see, we’ve gotten around 56 inches of snow this season.

I read somewhere that we’ve gotten more snow than Buffalo or Cleveland this year. Even more, it has not warmed up enough to melt some of the snow that has fallen. It hardens by the sides of the road or in mounds of ice on the street. These mounds are very dangerous to maneuver by bike so I’ve been relying on public transit to get to work. Only the major thoroughfares have been plowed/cleared and I mostly take the side streets to avoid cars breathing down my rear tire. Maybe I’ll consider studded tires next year if we have another winter like this. I’m sure if I order studded tires tonight, it won’t snow again this season.

This is what your typical residential street looks like 3 days after the last major storm. Only one lane is somewhat paved and it's only good for one car.