Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Brompton Urban Challenge Toronto

I convinced my ladyfriend to enter the Brompton Urban Challenge in Toronto, which was held this past Saturday.  She did a fair bit of grousing as we drove into the city just to make sure I'd know just how much I owed her for this favour.  I'd arranged for a loaner Brompton for her from Curbside, the sponsor of the Challenge and where I'd bought my Brompton last year.

The Challenge is basically a scavenger hunt featuring you, your teammates, and Brompton bikes.  Every image fulfilling a challenge had to have at least one team member in it as well as at least one Brompton.  Teams averaged four members (it seemed); ours had three.  For our third member, I turned to the guy standing next to me for our first group picture, asked him if he had a team, and when he said "No," I asked him if he wanted to be on ours.  Easy peasy.

We had to complete at least 10 out of the 18 challenges (see image below).  If you completed more than 10, they'd drop your weakest image and replace it with a better one.

This was our first upload (via Twitter) to make sure the judges could see our images and associate a team name with us.  We were Straight Outta Brompton; not terribly original (as it was used for advertising, I believe, but I'd forgotten that at the time).  Our initial idea was 2 Dykes and the Engineer since our third member is an engineer for Mozilla.  I think the name made him a little uncomfortable.  So Straight Outta Brompton it was.

Here are the ones we did to fulfill our chosen challenges:


#DoubleDown (can you see me and the ladyfriend reflected here?)



#BromptonProud (got a thumbs-up from a dude sitting on the steps after we finished this one)


#SuchGreatHeights (see the CN Tower way in the distance?)

#VIPs (valet parking at Holt Renfrew)



At the finish line we had lunch, and there were some individual challenges like a folding & unfolding a Brompton blindfolded as well as a tire toss (ring the seat & seat post).  Everyone received Lucetta magnetic lights for participating, so everyone got a prize, but really, it was the big prize we were all after - Ortleib Mini O Bags.

Finally, it was time to announce the winners.  There were four places, and with 92 out of 100 points, our team won first!

But wait! There's more.  With our lights we got a 15% off coupon on not only Brompton accessories but actual bikes.  I thought I might like to see what kind of Bromptifications I could make (new clamps!), and the ladyfriend, buoyed by our success, the discount, the additional Brexit discount (10% for the falling pound!), and having had such a great time riding around Toronto on a Brompton, thought that perhaps she'd like to have her very own Brompton.

And after a few hours, this is what was in our trunk -
They even let her exchange her O bag for one that matched her Berry Crush bike.  I took the green one.

It was a great day, and we talked with our teammate about reconvening for next year's challenge.  His girlfriend has a Brompton as well, and I think we'd make a pretty awesome team of four!

Friday, August 26, 2016

Summer Summary

Let's skip the lengthy narrative and rely on images (okay, with brief captions) to summarize the rest of the summer in Nova Scotia.  Oh, summer ain't over yet, but we're back in Ontario (at least momentarily) and onto another chapter.

Things we did -
On a boat tour at Peggy's Cove.
The ladyfriend and I visit Caldera, a whiskey distillery in River John, with friends

Things we found or had made for us:

Local woodworker made this table for us.  An amazing addition to our kitchen.

New cottage; new couch (thanks, EQ3) with pillows woven using local wool (Lismore Sheep Farm) and natural dyes.

Jelly cabinet (more kitchen storage!) made locally in Stellarton

Sideboard/hutch found at a secondhand place.
Needlepoint from a yard sale.  The ladyfriend thinks it looks like David Suzuki, and I say, "Dressed as an Tyrolean."

And, of course, food -

Local oysters; no one had a name for them.  I called them "delicious."

And a shload of canning!  Ended up making three types of strawberry jam, raspberry jam, blueberry preserves, sour cherry preserves, lobster stock, and chicken stock.

Wondering about the crafting?  Yes, there was that, too (plus swimming, reading, biking, etc.).  Images of the two FOs plus my new swift (!) to follow.

Hope your wind-down from summer is good and prepares you well for the fall ahead.  Carry on.