New Year Gear

One of the things I seem to do each year is replace my tyres (tires? always confused about the spelling there…) on the Brompton for another year of cycling around the city (often in combination with public transport).new_shoes_for_brompton_2 The beginning of the academic year seems to be about when I do it, which feels right somehow. It reminds me of my youth, when the night before the school academic year started there’d be frantic sewing of new school uniforms, or adjustment of old ones, to be worn the next day. I remember that always being a last minute thing, although I could be wrong, but I am sure that there was at least one occasion when one of us had gone in on the first day with safety pins holding in place an unfinished hem…

new_shoes_for_brompton_1Anyway, usually I order such things online (from Folding Bikes West on Seattle) since your garden variety bike store does not usually have kerlar lined tires for 16 inch wheels and LA is too far behind the curve in the bike world to have much else. However, things have changed! There in now a store in the greater Los Angeles area that sells Bromptons. Electric Bikes LA is in El Segundo, a hair’s breadth away from LAX and right on Main Street. Just like Eric Sundin up in the Seattle store, they (Andrea Busch and her brother) are enthusiastic and friendly. Moreover, they saved me from doing something crazy – opening a Brompton store myself. They also sell electric bikes (as does the Seattle store) and Andrea says that there is growing popularity for those too…

electric_bikes_la brompton_line

(Now that was a weird coincidence. I am writing some of this on the bus and the bus driver, seeing mine, just engaged me in a conversation about her interest in getting a folding bike. I will write down for her the websites of both stores and hand it to her, I think.) On Saturday I went down to visit them and say Hi and pick up my tires, inneer tubes, and a few other things. It is good to have new “shoes” on again. Makes for a stiffer more secure line, and a sweeter ride. Will I stop using the Seattle store? Probably not. I like the friendliness and openness that Eric’s store offered over the many years and will continue to use them for some purchases too. I’ll try to support both stores. By the way, here’s a video I found on the Seattle store’s site, which is a news report on using bikes of my type in LA. I hope a lot of people saw it and got ideas. Send it around it you like. Along with the video I mentioned here.

So it is full steam ahead on the new year at USC and of the commuting and exploration of LA on the Brompton. One thing that is worth mentioning is that along with the steady increase in bike use I still see all over the city, there is more folding bike use too (along with a pleasant variety of other forms such as fixed gear bikes, etc). I think there are now several in use on the USC campus, which is excellent, and I see all sorts all over the city on occasion. It is not nearly as you might expect for a city as international and a huge as this one, but compared to four or five years ago, seeing more than two or three in one day is a bumper crop…

-cvj

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