I live a busy old life. From dropping the kids to school to the daily commute, and from seemingly endless trips to the supermarket, and finally trying find the time to fit the odd spin class into the schedule, 9 times out of 10 it all gets a little too much. So, anything I can do to create a bit more time is worth a go.
The Brompton achieves such a feat, and it does so with ease. After practicing the unfolding, and folding away process a few times, the Brompton begins to work its magic on you. The innovative feats of engineering precision draw you in and we were soon hooked on this new way to travel in style.
If you’re just getting started on your Brompton adventure however, you might want to invest a bit of time speaking to, or watching a couple of Brompton veterans. The effortlessness of the fold and unfold is something to behold and you get the bug quicker seeing how naturally others around your daily environment mould to their bikes.
The great thing about a Brompton is that you don’t have to replace the way you travel, like you would with a road bike / car change. In fact, the Brompton bike blends seamlessly with your daily routine instead. So whilst you can drive with your Brompton snuggly in the boot, and use it for a lunchtime ride when you’re too far to ride all the way to work, so too can you park and ride in stations where you wouldn’t usually want to travel from because of the walk at the end of the line. With the Brompton you can take a train and simply unfold your bike for the last couple of km with ease.
Another use I found helpful was when dropping off the car to the garage for its MOT, I didn’t have to then get public transport to get me the rest of the way, or walk to a bus stop or station, but could just unfold the Brompton and I was away.
Being over 6 feet you do tend to find you get a few more looks on a Brompton than you do on a road bike, perhaps because despite their increasing popularity they are still the lesser known of the cycling community, especially by the odd arrogant boy racer.
You feel in a higher position to the road and perhaps more exposed than you do with an ultra-fast road bike. However, you can certainly pick up a decent speed on the bike although I didn’t immediately feel confident to pelt it down hills although the brakes were highly responsive and pleasant to use. There is an air of vulnerability to it but this changed over the few days that I rode the bike.
A couple of slight drawbacks were that even when tightened completely I noticed the seat slipped a little up and down after just a few rides which was especially tricky one day when I’d forgotten to bring my allen keys. Despite then tightening the saddle it happened again not too long afterwards. This could have been due to an issue with the threads though, and it’s not a widely reported issue, but it was on this bike.
Another issue for me was fatigue once I’d hit the 8 mile mark. Yes, it’s a beautiful and stunning bike, but the Brompton is more hard going on the legs if you’ve got a long and hilly commute twice daily. I found that it didn’t quite win me over for those long commutes to the city centre and back, but I’d be happy to recommend this for anyone looking for a smarter, fun and alternative way to travel.