Brompton Bikes. Turning over a new leaf.

Some time ago, I attended a Brompton Bike clinic at North Central Cyclery, and was intrigued.  Intrigued enough to try riding a Brompton.  This post is about the why…and a little bit about the what.

I don’t ride bikes anecdotally.

I don’t.  When I go for a bike ride, it’s lycra and water bottles.  I don’t ride for transportation.  I don’t ride to get somewhere.  I ride to ride.  I ride planned training rides…and recovery rides.  I’ll do the ever-infrequent fun ride with a group of friends, but for the most part, my riding is going out, warming up, riding hard, cooling down, and going home.  I ride a lot.  But none of my riding is anecdotal.  I use that term figuratively…none of my riding is short and narrative.  It’s always long, hard and usually out of breath.

I work as a professional, and frequently am replete with shirt and tie.  Sometimes, pants.  So biking really isn’t compatible with my day to day.  I live 23 miles away from where I work most days, and I often have days where I leave home before 7 and don’t get home until after 11.  Biking to work is rarely a reasonable option.  At work, I often have to travel to meetings that are distant, on a tight schedule.  So biking at work is rarely an option.

But there are times when it can work.  Today, I had to meet someone for lunch at a location about 1.5 miles away from my office.  Temps outside are around 70, overcast, but no precipitation.  I could drive, but if only there was a way to bike there…

Introduce the Brompton.

This is a M handlebar.  Raw/lacquer finish, to show the beautiful welds.  2 speed, fenders, easy wheels, front luggage mount, extended seatpost.  Generator hub and lights.

I’ll write more about the bike at some point, but the welds are amazing.  (I figured an urban parking lot was an appropos background).

Did I mention the welds?

Gotta keep your dress pants out of the chainring.

It’s too early to have any conclusions…I’ve done lunch runs a handful of times.  I’ll be curious to see what the social/professional ramifications of showing up on a bike are…and frankly, I’m going to try that in a rather timid fashion.  I don’t want to be the eccentric who shows up on a bike and isn’t taken seriously (if there is a cliche for that).  First thoughts:

  1. Extended seatpost is brilliant.  I’d look at the telescoping seatpost if I needed to fold smaller, but I cannot see a downside to the extended seatpost.
  2. Once you learn how to fold it, folding is no longer scary.  It’s simple.
  3. In retrospect, I’d probably look at a 6 speed.  2 speed is suggested as “1 speed to get going, 1 speed to keep going”, and on flat ground, it’s great.  Except when it’s windy.  Or you’re wearing a shirt and tie, and really don’t want to sweat.  Which happens to be a lot, for me.
  4. Being accustomed to riding fast(er), it takes conscious effort for me to ride at a relaxed pace that avoids getting the heart pumping (and the sweat pouring out).  I have to keep thinking…commuting.  Commuting.  Commuting.  Slooooow.  Slowwwww.
  5. Fenders and easy-wheels rock.  Definitely the way to go.
  6. The handling limits of tiny tires are surprisingly high…
  7. unless you’re on gravel.  She doesn’t like gravel.
  8. The chain lube that comes stock is great.  I’m kind of scared of ever lubing the chain…if there’s grease within 20 yards of me, I am bound to get it on the most expensive piece of clothing I’m wearing.  Long-term practical issue to look at.
  9. The ride is surprisingly comfortable, even in dress clothes, with the stock saddle and the ‘firm’ suspension block.
  10. I am enamored with the ability to whip it out of the back of my car, and pedal away.
  11. College-age dudes think I look like a douche.  (No really.  I heard one say it).  I probably do.  I think I’m ok with that.
  12. I wear a helmet.  A giant, white Bontrager that I can keep in my car.  It probably ups my douchey-ness quotient, but I’m definitely ok with that.  Helmet is non-negotiable for me.

We’ll see what happens.  More info over the coming weeks.  Will I be able to ride anecdotally?


One thought on “Brompton Bikes. Turning over a new leaf.

  1. Pingback: Brompton Update | ridingagainstthegrain

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