Well, after much debate, humming and hawing, to-ing and fro-ing, shall we, shan’t we, the decision was made and we placed our order for…. two Brompton bicycles! ‘What’, I hear you say, ‘are they MAD, you can’t go cycle touring on a Brompton!’. Chris felt exactly the same – she was worried that the cycling would be harder because of the little wheels; we have heard people say that they are ‘twitchy’; how can you possibly get all your touring gear on a little Brompton?
Our local cycle shop http://www.pedalscyclecentre.co.uk is a Brompton B-Spoke Centre, this is the highest level of retail categorization of a Brompton dealer. Sharon, the owner, has herself just bought a Brompton and is so enthusiastic about them – as are all the staff – that you can’t fail to be impressed. They have demo Bromptons that you can hire for the day, so a couple of months ago, we did just that.
We took the folded bikes out of the Landie and then spent the next few minutes trying to remember the sequence of unfolding! Fortunately, there were no onlookers and we eventually managed to get the bikes up. We wobbled off down the road – people were right, they did feel twitchy, but we had gone no further than 100 yards when they stopped feeling strange and we felt in full control. We cycled about 10 miles and were really surprised at what fun they are to ride and how nippy they are. Chris was loving it! Decision made… the order was placed and we had to wait patiently for our B-spoke Bromptons to be made up.
We had done a lot of trawling of t’Internet to look for people who cycle tour on Brompton bikes. Surprisingly, there are quite a few: http://www.travellingtwo.com, http://www.pathlesspedaled.com, http://www.shanecycles.com, http://www.heinzstucke.com. They all rave about their Bromptons and, really, it seems to make perfect sense. No more problems about trying to get your bike on a train – just fold it up and carry it on as luggage. (This was one of the reasons we starting thinking about getting Bromptons – we wanted to do a cycle tour of the Outer Hebrides but getting our bikes from Bournemouth to Oban seemed a logistic nightmare.) No more cycling through boring parts – just fold your bike and jump on a bus. No more getting caught in bad weather – just fold your bike and travel by public transport until the weather improves. If you’re not on a mega tour to remote parts – and perhaps even if you are – the Brompton seems to be the ideal solution.
The weeks passed slowly, we were counting the days and then we finally got the call we were waiting for, ‘Your Bromptons are in!’. We couldn’t get to the shop quick enough! Chris was delighted with the colour she had chosen and promptly named her bike Betsie (she’s called mine Billy)! So, we are now the proud owners of four bikes.
We have had our Bromptons for a week now and have been out on them almost every day. They are such fun to ride and we absolutely love them. We have yet to pack them up for cycle touring – that will take a bit of practice, some major rearranging of how we pack and some trimming down of our gear (which isn’t a bad thing).
Unfortunately, I’m still suffering from the bad back (trapped nerve) I acquired on our last trip a month ago and can only walk a few steps before suffering excruciating pain :o(. Very frustrating, especially as summer seems to have arrived in the UK at last. I have a physio appointment booked for next week, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed as we have an idea for a short cycle tour in the UK to try out the Brommies.
I have also been testing out my new GoPro Hero 3 camera (which I also purchased from http://www.pedalscyclecentre.co.uk, who stock all the GoPro cameras and accessories). Here’s my first attempt at a short video with the GoPro camera – I should improve with more practice!
(For full screen viewing of the video, click on HD in the RH corner to get the best quality.)