This weekend I grabbed a camera, hired a Brompton and tried to explore a different side of London as the pandemic restrictions lift. In this week’s blog I explore a little bit of our Capital. Over the coming weeks I will be aiming to look at different cities, towns, and speaking to our customers about their commuting journey.
Seeing your city through a lens gives you a different view, a different experience and will challenge your thoughts. You start to notice things you've never seen before and photo opportunities that you normally wouldn’t. You also don’t have to be professional photographer to enjoy the experience, just getting out and really seeing your city is the key. I have included my images throughout the blog, and I would be very interested to hear what you think of them so please comment below or on our Instagram images.
It was an early alarm at 0500 on Saturday 18th July but I wanted to capture first light against the epic buildings of London. I wasn’t going unprepared. I had done some research on the ‘best areas to photograph in London’ and thought that I could get some good shots around Waterloo and then on to Canary Wharf stopping somewhere in between for lunch and having a full day riding around on the Brompton which I had hired from Twickenham Station.
The whole experience of hiring the bike was a simple and enjoyable experience. Using the Brompton app, checking availability, booking a bike the day before and taking it out the locker was conducted with British efficiency. Is there such a thing? There seems to be with Brompton. Everything just worked.
This was my first experience on a Brompton Bike, and I was extremely impressed. The robust yet elegant construction was a joy to use on and off the train, in and out of cafes and on the road. At all times I felt safe. Even though it was a sunny day, I was also thankful for the Torch helmet as a few tunnels left me feeling a little vulnerable with visibility and being seen by passing traffic.
What is behind Waterloo Station?
As I said previously, I googled ‘best areas to photograph in London’ and a street came top that I had never heard of. I have lived in London for a few years now and have travelled into Waterloo Station for at least 10 years and never heard of a street that is a stone’s throw from the grand station entrance – Leake Street.
Leake Street (also known as the Banksy Tunnel) is a road tunnel in Lambeth, London where graffiti is tolerated regardless of the fact that it is against the law. The street is about 300 metres long, runs off York Road and under the platforms and tracks of Waterloo station.
The walls are decorated with graffiti, initially created during the Cans Festival organised by Banksy on 3–5 May 2008. The festival ran again on the August Bank Holiday weekend 2008.
I managed to grab a few images in the early hours, but my skills let me down a little here I think with lens choice and settings. I am not experienced enough just yet to really take advantage of low light environments.
The Millennium Bridge
Heading over to St Pauls I wanted to catch an image over the Millennium Bridge. I had seen this at night previously and this is definitely an area that speaks to the Torch Brand – innovative, futuristic, a commuter staple, exercise track etc. At night the bridge is lit with neon blue lights depicting some kind of futuristic scene from Tron mixed with the historical architecture of St Pauls Cathedral in the background. I am sure we will be here again to film a video later on in the year. Perhaps for a new product? Time will reveal all!
The best thing about London is that you could spend the whole day in 100m by 100m square and find so many things to see and do. Racing past streets (now up to 3rd gear!), I could see a number of great photo opportunities, so I kept turning back on myself to take advantage of the moving light and shadows. I am learning that photography is all about light or the absence of light. The contrast can be powerful. I tried to get the shot below with contrasting light and no light along with the helmet to show how it can be used in night or day to equal effect.
By early afternoon I was getting a little weary after my early start so decided to grab some lunch before heading over to get a shot that I had seen in The Square Mile once; in between both Canary Wharf signs on the lower platform with the lights of the ceiling and escalators in the background. The platform station was empty, and I thought that with no-one around I would never have a better chance. I thought that I would be ultra-professional if I managed to get it in one take. I tool 57 shots. I think I need a lot more practice.
Returning home after what seems to be an extremely long day on the bike, I realised that I had covered around 13km on the bike in the city. No wonder I was tired. Lock-down has not been kind for general fitness and I was truly exhausted by the time I got back to Twickenham to return the Brompton. This was just as easy to return with total cost of approx. £5 for the day. Bargain. At that point, I had also realised that I had spent no more than £20 for the entire day. A whole day of photography, exercise and exploration for £20!? When can I go again?
Over the coming weeks, as you return to a more normal way of life, tag us in with your images of your own city and/or commute @Torch_Apparel on Instagram.
Come and check us out in Belgium if you are close by.
Bernard will be looking out for you!
We’re proud to be sponsoring Love To Ride with their Cycle September campaign. It’s the final week, which means the last push to earn points now! If you haven’t done so already, register yourself and your workplace to start earning points here (18-24 September 2017).
Who knows you maybe with a chance to win one of our T2 helmets, everyone who takes part will go into the draw and there are some other awesome prizes to make you better equipped for getting on two wheels. Happy cycling!
First and foremost we would like to thank you all for supporting and backing our campaign.
It's incredibly painful to have to do this, but we will be canceling our Indiegogo campaign.
While we achieved our funding goal to pay for tooling expenses, we haven’t reached the minimum number required to launch production. This minimum number is set by our manufacturing partners and even if they agreed to make a smaller batch than initially planned, the production cost will be too high to deliver Torch M1 at the Indiegogo price.
We are very disappointed to not launch production right now but it’s more important to us to make sure that we can deliver on quality and at the best price.
We are immensely thankful for all of your support during this campaign and all the nice comments you made about Torch M1. We are extremely sorry to not be able to deliver this time around, but we have gained valuable insight that will assist in our continued development of high-quality products for cyclists.
The Torch Apparel team
We’ve been busy these last few months, back in development mode working on the world’s brightest bike helmet, the M1.
Ever since launching our first helmet, we’ve listened to our backers and our latest helmet is designed for trail, rural and urban riders. It’s the first bike helmet with an integrated 500 lumen headlight and taillight that lights your path and keeps you visible, with a 30 degree wide beam. The helmet has added ventilation, a removable visor and a front light capable of lighting your path.
The M1 is about those off-road biking experiences, and making sure you can max out on adrenaline highs by giving you a helmet to navigate night riding, or simply to help you light the night and be seen by others.
The rechargeable and removable light is integrated seamlessly into the M1, giving the helmet its unique sleek appearance as well as ensuring the positioning of the light allowing you to focus the beam where you need it.
Watch the video below to see the M1 in action >
Our crowdfunding campaign for the M1 is coming soon, to save up to 50% on the cost of one of these awesome helmets simply sign up via email or Facebook click here.
We headed to Copenhagen recently and were in awe of how cycling is a big part of city life. From our visit we understood why Copenhagen has been voted the best cycle city for two years running.
The Danes have got something right with their 350kms of cycle paths and lanes that are safe and easy to navigate, particularly as many of them are raised from the road. This has helped make cycling become a common and indeed preferred means of transport - you can often see people in suits, heels or skirts, even a man with a fridge in his cargo bike effortlessly pedalling past!
Being able to cycle freely meant we could easily explore places and sights in Copenhagen, as well as helping us feel more like a local.
There’s no need to bring your own wheels (we did take our T2 helmet though), as there are lots of bike rental shops around the city. You can expect to pay around 75kr ($8.50/£6.50) for one day’s rental and 350kr ($40/£31) for a week.
We’re already planning our return trip to get the most out of this bike-crazy city!
You can find out more and discover Denmark on a bike here >
We’ll be at the Spin Cycling Festival from Friday 12th – Sunday 14th May 2017 and we can’t wait! It’s one of our favourite urban and road cycling events.
There’ll be over 150 leading bike brands as well as a day-night test track, to see some live action and spot the cyclists in our T2 helmets on the demo track!
The event showcases a perfect mix of bikes, innovation, technology, apparel, art and music.
Use code EXH241 to get 2 for 1 tickets here.
Come along and pop by to see us at stand K10 to try on one of our T2 cycling helmets, or just for a chat.
With over a year since my last blog post and most of our updates going onto our social media platforms, I have finally listened to the requests of posting more regularly to our own blog, so here goes!
First, we have a new color to the line up, Hot Orange! It is available in Europe now and will be available once our inventory clears customs during the first week of July. You can see more views of it in the Shop.
Our team on both sides of the Atlantic have been hard at work adding new retail partners over the past few months so we have added a Store Locator section to our site that you may find in the footer of our site or here. We will continue to update this page as we add more retailers throughout the year. If you have a favorite store near you that you think would be interested in carrying Torch products, please let us know at email@example.com. If they decide to make a purchase we'll send you a 25% off coupon for your help.
This brings me to my next point and that is we would like to start a Torch Bearer program soon. We will be putting together some ideas how it will work and reaching out to those who have expressed interest. If you would like to be contacted when the time comes, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, subject Torch Bearer and we will make sure to include you when the time is right.
Our entire team are proud to announce we have received our second design award for the Torch T2 bike helmet. This is especially meaningful to me since design is my background and passion. To have others give us the respect and recognition of an international design award means so much and for that I am grateful, yet not quite as much as when I receive an email from one of you declaring how much you love your Torch helmet and how safe you feel while riding with it.
Lastly, the more. We are nearing the end of development of our next big launch, the mountain bike helmet. I had hoped to have some cool video teasers to share, but the Gopro just did not want to cooperate this week. Next time. Either way we will be making an announcement soon with some more details and our plans for launching. We will of course be looking to do a crowdfunder for it since that is how our brand was born, but mainly we have come to love the feedback and chance to improve our designs before they even go to production from your feedback.
Have a great weekend, have a happy Independence Day and ride on!
The Torch T2 may require resetting if it has not been charged regularly. After a time without charge, the battery gets disconnected from the circuit, meaning it needs to be reset. The following video shows you how to reset the battery charge circuit: