Sunday, May 04, 2008

Brompton breakout

Out on the Brompton bicycle early Sunday morning in Toronto. Down along Wendigo Creek, past Grenadier Pond, with a bunch of Cormorants spectating. An Asian guy is photographing the birds with a telephoto lens. Out onto the Lakeshore where it is quite cold, turn left toward the city and I'm soon bombing along. I take the hill up past the Canadian Legion in top gear. What is going on? I've got the saddle jacked up so I'm dancing on the pedals. The Brompton has been into Curbside Cycle for a service. The gears have been playing up for some while, so time to get some expert help. They cleaned the Sturmey-Archer gears, new grease, adjust and we are good to go for $30 plus tax. I was impressed by the service at Curbside - "bring it back if you have a problem and we'll fix it for free" - well a proper test ride proves they have done the business. The bike feels like new but is in fact a 2000 L5. The bike mechanic spots I'm struggling to fold the Brompton outside the store to pack it into the back of the smart car. He is there in an instant and a quick tweak of the handlebars and the Brompton is folding up a treat.
I cycle on to Queen's Quay and stop at Tim Horton's for a coffee - it is quite cold so I fold the bike and go indoors, sitting on a bench which has a niche that could have been made for the Brompton. There is a new Sobey's groceteria indoors bringing another outlet to the downtown. Unfolding the bike outside I strike up a conversation with Harry who is from Vancouver and riding a battle-scarred mountain bike. He says he's heading for Ottawa and I bung him the price of a coffee. Back along the Quay and I spot a smart car with a bike rack containing two racers.
Home via BMO field where eleven trucks are parked for the WWE wrestling show. I head north crossing King and then Queen Streets and back to Bloor. About twelve miles in all, two hours including the pitstop at Tim's.
Earlier I went to Midtown Mercedes to get the smart car serviced. There was going to be a transit strike in Toronto that day. In the event it didn't happen until later but I stuck to my original plan and stowed the Brompton bicycle in the back and cycled home. Nine miles in 70 minutes. Usual list of extra items to be serviced - "they haven't done this, this, this and this!" They called to say the smart was fixed at 16:00, having said it would not be ready until next day. So I hopped on the Brompton bike and did another nine miles, in busy city traffic, to pick up the car. $1,353.12 for service and a new set of boots all round. The smart is now good to go for the summer trip out west.

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