London, part the first

Cleverchimp is in London with Dean Mullin of Clever Cycles, on business. After London, Amsterdam. It’s a secret mission.

We arrived yesterday on a redeye flight. Our greasy head-achey exhaustion was lightened by Paul’s welcome. Paul’s got the UK’s only Stokemonkey so far, in Dorset. He traveled two hundred miles to meet us at our hotel, arriving by Brompton with his 18-month old son Jo in a backpack. He came bearing gifts from his small farmstead: four small loaves of bread, a hard sausage from his pigs, a large bottle of hard cider from his apple trees, and a round of cheddar. Of course I didn’t break into it right then, but I was left feeling doubly, trebly grateful after tasting it later that evening, before I slept. The cheese in particular!

Paul led us through the maze of west-central London to a coffee shop in the direction of Bikefix, a shop Paul knew that we meant to see, partly along Brompton Road, whose name had been given our bikes. Over coffee we watched Jo play and studied the bike map Paul later gave us. Paul also presented the copy of A to B magazine in which Stokemonkey had received an introductory blurb. A full review is rumored to follow. Paul, I can’t thank you enough for your hearty, touching kindness!

Paul bade us farewell as he and Jo made for their return train. We arrived at Bikefix too late to attend to the broken spoke I had, and we were too tired to introduce ourselves. It was growing rapidly dark and we had about twenty or so turns to find in the harrowing traffic on the way back to the hotel, so we set off. We’re not accustomed to riding left, it seems more than half the streets are unmarked, and there’s nothing resembling a grid. We made a cue sheet. We had been lost only a little while when Dean spied Velorution, another shop we’d meant to visit. A look in the window drew us in. The bikes! “Are you Andrea?” I asked of the man busy at the rear of the showroom. Yes, he was. I introduced myself as we’d been corresponding very briefly for a few years, and I had told him we were coming. He had to go, but if we were heading his direction we could ride with? He hopped on a Christiania and made off at a speed I had supposed infeasible, darting the wide trike into every space it would go. I shouted ahead something about how we’d better stay behind as his fat ride left a nice wake. He shouted back something to the effect that his trike wasn’t fat, rather it was the cars and trucks, “fat like swine!” he sneered with Italian flourish. That’s the Andrea I recognized from his venerable blog.

He set us securely on a heading for Hyde Park. The moon was full and the sky clear. We rode by Albert Hall and broke into McCartney/Lennon. Later we got lost again, and again, and again, but at the hotel finally there was a shower, cider, goodness and sleep.

8 thoughts on “London, part the first”

  • Ernesto Garcia (in Niigata)
    Ernesto Garcia (in Niigata) December 5, 2006 at 11:29 pm

    Ah…there is nothing quite like a nice bottle of hard, scrumpy cider – especially if it is home-made and (( am guessing) organic. You don’t know how lucky you are!

    Reply
  • DaveW

    I am very interested in the legality and availability of a stokemonkey in the UK. So I hope you will be able to provide details after this visit.

    Reply
  • Ludwig

    Welcome to the London Streets! If you’re here for a few days do some riding along the Regent’s Canal or the Grand Union Canal.

    Reply
  • Todd

    DaveW, Stokemonkey presently conforms to neither UK nor EU regulations concerning assisted bikes for road use. I’m investigating ways to hobble it into conformance without ruining what’s good about it. I’d say that’s at least 6 months off, and then some period before some sort of European distribution might be established. I can dream of regulatory reform for cargo/passenger bike applications, can’t I? In the meantime, Stokemonkey can be had direct from Portland most anywhere, albeit at high shipping cost and greater delay/cost in any follow-up support required.

    Reply
  • Johan Declercq

    Hi guys, I hope that you are having a fun and useful trip. For your stay in Holland I have sent you by mail 3 maps of the Amsterdam area. They contain nice cycling routes, a part of the LF routes that span the whole of Europe. If you did not receive them, just say where you are staying in Amsterdam and I can have them delivered at your hotel if need be. I hope the weather will improve a bit by then�

    Reply
  • vj

    I am so jealous of your travels, Todd, and wow, farm-made sausage, scrumpy and cheddar! Impressive. Can’t wait to hear more.

    Reply
  • DaveW

    Todd,

    re EU/UK.

    For UK is the issue the actual power output or that it still pumps out power at high speeds? If the 2nd then could it have a bit of electronic stuff to override the throttle so that above 15mph (for example) it does not contribute? I would be happy with a stoke monkey that only contributes below 15mph.

    I would be interested in importing myself, but not if it is illegal to use (too dangerous in case of an accident or insurance claim).

    Waiting for a change in the law is likely to be slooooow.

    I would love to see a stokemonkey on a Mike Burrows 8 Freight see http://tinyurl.com/yd47zd

    Reply
  • Todd

    Dave, it’s both the power and the speed potential. UK/EU limit is 250W. In principle both speed and power can be limited electronically, yes. Working on it.

    Reply
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