brompton bike hire with | hiccups

this posting is from january 2018. brompton bike hire immediately contacted me about this issue and in a very friendly way informed me that that rental bike box was slightly outdated and that within the next couple of months the whole rental system would be updated to suit modern standards.

brompton bike hire dock, turnham green, london

brompton is undoubtedly the best folding bike available these days. it folds wonderfully into a tiny packet, and it unfolds within seconds into a versatile, speedy city bike. the london based company intruduced a service a couple of years ago called → brompton bike hire. i have a brompton at home which i use every day, mostly in combination with tube or tram travel. but because the bike is slightly too large and quite a bit too heavy for taking it on board of a plane as handluggage, i’ve been an early adapter of the rental system in the UK. in 2016, when staying with my friend alison in pimlico, i had to travel quite far to get to the next rental dock. peckham rye that was, in the south of london. in the meantime we have rental hubs at king’s cross and several other locations around town. and not only around london: when arriving in oxford last year, i had googled for bike rental and made a reservation with → donkey bikes – but i was unable to find the bike in the bike parking lot in front of the railway station. instead i saw a brompton dock, canceled the donkey bike reservation, used the brompton rental app, opened box #9 and drove off to the university campus, quite far away, all across the old town. lovely ride with a bike i was very much used to anyway.

this time, when visiting friends near kew gardens, i chose the turnham green brompton hub depicted above. the app provides you with a long number which you punch into the keyboard on the left – and press enter. in most cases the UI did not show a green light after that procedure, so i had to repeat the process a few times. i think it has to do with the keys on the keyboard which react differently to pressure, and there’s no display which gives you feedback. nevertheless, the rental process is easy, i took the bike out of box #1, and off i rode.

what creates tension is when returning the bike. for only 3.50 pounds you can rent it for a whole day. i returned to the turnham green station a couple of hours later, folded the bike, punched in my reservation code, and nothing happened. then i remembered i had to do something in the app. the app, however, only showed me options to rent a bike, not for returing a bike. i phoned the service hotline. an automated reply stated: no avail, nobody to talk to. next i read the instructions on hub again. they are slightly confusing (rental, returning) and don’t tell anything about the usage of the app on the smartphone. in the meantime the app offered the option to return the bike and asked where i wanted to return it? i happily selected “turnham green” from the menu, and was thrown back to a page where i could make a new reservation or cancel a reservation. both did not make sense to me.

10 minutes had passed. so i followed the instructions on the box and sent a text message (xxxx now yyyy, where xxxx is the number engraved on/in the hub and yyyy is my personal pin; gee, where did i store my personal brompton bike rental pin?) to the given number. according to the instructions on the dock we should allow 5 minutes for the text message with the opening code to appear. nothing appeared on my phone. i rang the hotline again – with no help whatsoever. noone to talk to.

then i opened the app again, which, to my surprise, now presented me an opening code – which worked after the second time of punching the numbers in. box #1 opened, i lifted the bike in, saddle facing away from me, closed the box, and off i went. neither the app nor a text on the phone or an email informed me that the process was successfully finished. this is problematic indeed because you need to be sure that you actually checked out. when i rent a car2go smart car, i always wait until a green light shows in the window shield, which means, it is available for the next customer and done with me.

brompton certainly has to work on this. i’ll post their reply here once they’ve read this blog entry.

brompton bike hire oxford, screenshot

here’s my own tempest blue, → at 280 km/h. ;-)

the fine light by | 32bitStudios

more about → this discovery later. it’s basically a 3D scene with nothing but a pipe and several lights and cameras. you switch them on and off. i created mainly superellipse objects for these test renderings. each image took about 15 minutes to render using → arnold in → maya 2018.

test rendering with 32bitstudio intro light and some “super” objects


details from the above arnold rendering

second test rendering, same light

more or less the same objects, soft diffuse light setting

same scene, different light setup

another lighting setting for the same scene

detail from the picture above. took 19 minutes to render.

köln süd und ost von | oben

dank des krassen wetters heute lieferte die drohne schön kontrastreiche fotos ab. eine halbe stunde später wäre das ganz anders gewesen. bild oben: blick auf den kölner osten, mit deutz, der arena, bildmitte die severinsbrücke, rechts die kranhäuser. das foto besteht aus 7 einzelaufnahmen, die in lightroom (was jetzt lightroom classic heißt) sehr ordentlich zusammengebaut wurden. das foto darunter entstand beim runterholen der drohne – typische routine-dokumentation der baustelle rund um das eingestürzte historische archiv. dazu unten der metadaten-beschreibungstext für dpa.

köln blick von der südstadt nach osten. im original 6000 pixel breit. foto: ms/dpa

kölns teuerste baustelle: waidmarkt. foto: ms/dpa


dazu der dpa-text:

2009 stürzte das Kölner Historische Archiv ein. Im Januar 2018 begann der Prozess gegen die Betreiber des U-Bahn-Baus, die laut Staatsanwaltschaft dafür verantwortlich sind. Die Baustelle ist zwecks Beweissicherung seit Jahren Tag und Nacht bewacht. In der Aufnahme ist links die inzwischen frei geräumte Stelle zu sehen, wo das Archivgebäude und das angrenzende Nachbargebäude standen. Unten im Bild eine Stelle archeologischer Signifikanz: Hier sind seit dem Dezember 2017 Ausgrabungen aktiv, weitere Baumaßnahmen unterbleiben. Oben im Foto ist das Kaiser Wilhelm Gynmasium zu sehen, unmittelbar daneben der offene U-Bahn-Schacht und das so genannte “Besichtigungsbauwerk”, welches der Beweissicherung für die Prozesse dient. Aufgenommen in der Kölner Südstadt am 16.01.2018. Foto: Maximilian Schönherr