The only thing better than a puppy for meeting people is a Brompton. I’m stopped everywhere I go, the grocery store is where I get the most questions about my funky, cute little folding bike neatly stashed in my shopping cart. I can’t even imagine how many thousands of smiles and hellos this quirky little folder has made.
The first question I’m always asked is how does she ride, she rides like a bike with 16″ tires, exactly like she was meant to. The owners manual clearly says that Brompton is not meant for touring or aggressive riding. Barreling down the side of a volcano from eight thousand feet to sea level and I’m sure topping 40mph was only one of the many infractions I have made on this bike. Within a month of finding this little gem I had voided every single warrany Brompton has. Touring Hawaii was brutal in many ways but it had some the smoothest roads and widest bike lanes in America as long as I was actually on the main Hwy which was a rarity, “some day I may publish the real Hawaii story” heading to either end of the island was a different story with rutted roads, zero shoulder and more wind and water than is imaginable. My free advice is always ride the island clockwise so when, not if you are run off the road you will be pile driven into a cliff or roadside ditch as opposed to being hurtled off of a cliff. I stopped counting car bike infractions after the first few days when I learned it’s all part of cycling in the islands.
Eight months and serveral sets of tires down the road and my gearing is still perfectly tuned. Should it ever need adjustment it’s easy and takes about 3 seconds and your on your way again. Changing flats on the other hand can be a major project although a good set of tires will all but eliminate this issue. It took me at least fifty miles to really dial in my ride on this bike but now I can’t see ever owning any other bike again for any reason. Ive done the whole hucking myself off a cliff on my MTB thing for half my life and that part of cycling is behind me. Now I ride for fun or to get places which is also fun. I can easily see riding this bike around the world over a few years and that’s where her foldability comes in. The Brompton is bar none the best riding, easiest and most compact folding and highest quality folding bike on the planet. I’ve ridden many other brands into the ground but I must say I ride quite a lot, the average person could find a lower end folder on Craig’s list for a few hundred bucks and with basic maintenance it will last them a lifetime.
I’ve never been a fan of panniers, Infact I gave up cycle touring in favor of credit card touring on my fixed gear because I was so sick of riding a bike with panniers on it. The Brompton has many luggage options and all are centered and low, the front bag attaches to the frame and not the fork so the load never shifts although these bikes are not meant to tour with. While you pay a bit in comefort for small high pressure tires, climbing is a dream as is jumping a shuttle when you’ve hit your wall and hitching with a Brompton is as easy as it gets. My longest ride to date is a relative whimpy 83 miles although I could have easily ridden further on that day had I not found a nice little shore side park with lots of coconuts and no sign of the man so I called it a day.
Living on my little 22′ boat my Brompton is easy to store, I have also carried her onto a train, ferry, in a cab, a helicopter and float plane, hitchhiked, and she fits perfectly in the over head on larger commercial jets. Mainetnece is easy with a full list of how to videos on youtube and Brompton has the highest quality paint of any bicycle company on the planet. These bikes hold thier value very well. When I started shopping I was hoping to find a nice used S model in pink but I fell into a MR6 in orange and am very glad I did, I love the upright riding position and the little wheels are good on my wrecked knees, Infact since finding this bike all my cycling induced knee pain is gone.
What else can I say about a bike that while might seem a bit pricey upfront is worth every penny in fun. It will add 25 healthy years to your life, firm and tone your body, make you smile everytime you ride and generally is the planets fountain of youth and viagra all rolled into one, if you want mine you will have to pry it from my cold dead hands.
If it sounds like I love my bike I do, 7 years ago when I decided to try and live car free for one year I never could have imagined how much of a better quality of life I could have on my bike. The upfront cost at 2k might send you into sticker shock but compared to automobile ownership this bike will pay for itself very quickly and not just in monatary ways.
There is a slow life out there waiting for you. My morning ride is heaven on earth. A quick trip to the farmers market on a sunny Saturday morning affords me a pile of locally grown veggies and if I’m really lucky a scoop of the best Icecream on the planet. I can eat as much as I want as often as I want and never have to stoop to stupid exercise videos or going to a skanky gym. My Brompty is my health insurance, psychologist and amusement park all rolled into one, it also happens to be the most romantic form of transportation known to man.
Disclaimer, I have no affiliation with the Brompton bicycle company in any way shape or form.