Brompton Takes on Acadia

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Brompton folding bikeIf you are a cyclist who also happens to love National Parks and thought you couldn’t combine the two, look no further than a Brompton.

My most recent adventure with my Brompton was to Bar Harbor, Maine and Acadia National Park. There is no better way to enjoy the scenery of a quaint New England town and National Park.

When asked if I would be willing to help drive three exchange students to their destinations, I had one stipulation. I would help but only if I could bring my Brompton folding bike and explore the area. My request was granted and the bike was packed. After folding the brompton bike I stashed it in the back of Toyota Rav4, surrounded by luggage and ready at a moments notice.

I normally take my Brompton touring bag, but opted to leave it behind for this trip. I must say, I missed that handy bag.

I arrived at the starting location with my bike neatly tucked inside the bag I use for transporting it and had it slung over my shoulder. The first question was, “I thought you were bringing your bike?” My answer, “I did, it is right here.”

Brompton BikePeople who have never seen a Brompton are always amazed at how compact it is and that you don’t need to disassemble anything when you take it somewhere. Curiosity always leads to unpacking, unfolding, and folding along with a brief history of Brompton folding bikes, where they are made, and the quality and craftsmanship in each bike. Inevitably I tell the story of what played into my decision to search for a folding bike and ultimately decide on a Brompton from the great staff at NYCeWheels.

Riding in the Bar Harbor area was amazing and soon I was off to explore Acadia with some friends. I have to say, I did look out of place next to the mountain bikes and road bikes. Cyclist are a great group of people, so out of place or not, everyone smiled and commented on my cool ride. You may think that a Brompton can’t handle the hills, I have the 6 speed and it does surprisingly well. I didn’t have to work too hard to climb and the downhills are a blast.

After having so much fun riding in Acadia, I have decided I need to add some of the other National Parks to my “must see with the Brompton” list. At this point, I have visited gardens, trails, farms, small towns, big cities, and even taken the Brompton on planes (see this great blog by the Path Less Pedaled). I have ridden my Brompton for long stretches and short trips. It is by far my favorite bike and I have owned many.

If you are considering a bike to take when you travel, there is no better choice. Brompton folding bikes are compact, easy to fold and unfold, and fun to ride.

Brompton Bicycle – First Impressions

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For quite a while I had been considering on investing in a folding bicycle. One of the main reasons I wanted to buy this type over a regular full-sized bicycle is the convenience to take your bicycle anywhere with very little hassle.  The thought of having a compact bicycle that is easy to transport, functional and sturdy were features very appealing as a commuter from Long Island to the city. I had researched into many different companies before deciding to choose Brompton.

Before choosing the type of bicycle you want, it is important to visit a bike shop to view and take the bicycle in question for a test spin. With the convenience of the internet these days, some people are lazy to go into a bike shop to get a closer and hands-on look of the bicycle they want to invest in. Yes, the reviews online of the bicycles may help you make a decision, but without testing the bicycle before purchasing, you are flying blind. When visiting the bike shop to investigate what bicycle is perfect for you, there is always staff around to answer your questions or help suggest a model that would perfectly fit your lifestyle and budget.

Brompton bikes in NYC

Brompton bike NYC

Last year I came across NYCeWheels during Summer Streets in Manhattan. My eyes were instantly caught by the Brompton. I was intrigued by the amazing construction and design of the bicycle. It is quite impressive how it takes only a couple of clips and hinges to bring the bicycle from folded to the riding position. The folded position of the Brompton bicycles is very striking in how compact the fold is in comparison to their competition. The bicycle can be easily carried or towed using the small rollers. The weight of the bicycle is significantly lighter than a full-sized bicycle, therefore making it easier to carry up and down flights of stairs.

My friends and I were able to take the Brompton bicycles for a spin down Lafayette Street for a few blocks. I was impressed with the speed that the bicycle provided without adding extra effort to pedal. The bicycle easily kept up or even passed by the regular full-sized bicycles. I also enjoyed the smooth transition in gear shift of the bicycle.

Traveling to London this past May I saw many bike commuters using Brompton bicycles as their means of transport. I was excited to return to New York to go for one of NYCeWheels’ free Brompton bike tours. The bike tour, led by Jack from NYCeWheels, was fun getting to ride next to the East River and going around Randall’s Island. My favorite part was going through the section of Hells Gate that has impressive arches and the perfect place for a photo op.

A Brompton of my own

This past September I picked up my very own custom Brompton bicycle from NYCeWheels after ordering it online using the helpful video based custom Brompton folding bike builder. In the videos Peter gives a very detailed explanation to each part and accessory you can select for the bicycle. At the shop Steve gave me a refresher on how to fold the bicycle and I was off.

It has been just about under two months since I had the Brompton bicycle, and I have been loving it ever since. My Brompton is a P3E with a claret main frame and cobalt blue extremities. I like that the P-type handlebars give you the option from an upright cruising position as well as a more aerodynamic position for those long straightaway stretches.  I also have a Brooks B-17S Ladies Saddle that I am currently breaking in. It is slowly softening and building character. Now that I have the Brompton, I have been biking more often than before. So far I have biked about 113 miles enjoying the waterfront views on both the east and west sides of Manhattan as well as bike paths in Long Island every week.

I am looking forward to taking my Brompton when I travel out of state or on bike tours. Next summer I am hoping that I will have a chance to return to Maine’s Acadia National Park to ride the Brompton on the carriage roads. I did not have a chance to finish since my group was half beginner bikers who felt fatigued about three-fourths of the way on the trail. I am also currently training myself to do the TD Five Boro as my first bike tour. Riding the Brompton bicycle is fun, great for the commute and for leisure rides. I would highly suggest it for the biker that is looking for a great quality folding bike.

-Tracy Dong

Click here to order your own Brompton folding bicycle!

Brompton Upgrades and Accessories, By Turbo Bob

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Love your Brompton? Soon there will be even more to love. I got a chance to see these new things at Interbike last month and I am quite excited. My contact at the Brompton factory couldn’t confirm if or when these will be on the new bikes, but from what I saw and heard, it won’t be long.
I was really impressed by my reception at Interbike by the Brompton reps in attendance. Although my time in their booth was short, it was fruitful, filled with great Brompton info. I got to touch and feel the new parts and I can tell you they are very nice. In no particular order, here’s what I saw.

The New Brompton Brake Levers


The great new Brompton brake handles

The great new Brompton brake handles

These new smaller and stronger levers look great on the Brompton, but it’s not the looks that make the difference. With all aluminum construction, they will ramp-up the power of the brakes. They changed the cam profile not only to increase the power transferred to the brake pads, but to allow them to come further from the rim surface when released. Taking up less room on the bars, looking cool and working better are three very good things.

 

I think having stronger feeling brakes will make many Brompton owners happy. Many people I have let ride the two Bromptons NYCeWheels has sent me have mentioned this need. They all agreed the brakes worked well and were plenty strong, but as you first apply them, you don’t get that initial impression. I am sure these will be available as up-grades for the Brompton you already own.

Brompton’s Front Chain Ring


The stronger, better designed front chain ring

The stronger, better designed front chain ring

The new cranks use a regular 130 BCD 5 bolt attachment for the front chain ring. This way if you want to under gear or over gear your Brompton bike it will be easier and less expensive. It also allows the option of specialty or fancy looking chain rings to be used. The cranks are stiffer and should be well received by the Brompton rank and file. Here’s why I really like this improvement.
For me, the standard gearing is just too high. The only reason I ever used third gear was just to know it was there. An easy under gearing change would allow my riding style to fit the Brompton way so much better. I have friends who have already changed their Bromptons to this style of crank, but having it come this way from the factory is a great idea.

Rims and Hubs on the 2013 Brompton Bike


A double-wall rim will replace the single-wall units previously installed. Not only will this increase the strength of the rims, but it has a great side affect too. If you have ever gotten a flat on a folding bike and changed it yourself, then you will see the benefit here. The new rim has a deeper well inside that makes getting the tire on and off much easier. Sound good?
On the rear hub they made some minor changes to the angle of the spoke holes. This will allow less stress on the spokes for a stronger and more durable wheel. With small wheels this can be a problem and the change here seems to address it well.

Miscellaneous Brompton Upgrades


Although I have been happy with the handgrips, I have heard from and read about many people who aren’t. The newly designed ones should quell those thoughts and make for more smiles. It seems that some changes in the supplied tire might be on the list too.

New Brompton Accessories


Brompton water bottle

Brompton water bottle

The long awaited tool kit should be available very soon. I got a full demo on all the pieces included. Very nicely done and finished, it should be a big seller. Each item in the kit has a specific purpose and fits the bike’s fasteners well. It comes with tire patches too, so any little problem on the road can be taken care of with little fuss. Fitting right into the frame tube, it will be invisible when the bike is in operation. I do wonder about its security when your bike is folded though.
The new water bottle is designed just for the Brompton. The clamp is fairly sleek and the bottle is retained with a very strong magnet. This is just what the doctor ordered. I don’t think it will be long before this item (with the Brompton logo stamped on) is on your dealer’s shelf.
I am still waiting to get the word on when these new parts will be on all the factory bikes. There might even be more up-grades too. I know when I visited the Brompton factory last year they had a team working on new ways to make their bike better and stronger. This is what any good bike company does, and Brompton is on top of it. Let NYCeWheels know if you want these pieces and when they are on the market, you will be first in line.
Love your Brompton Bike? Of course you do, Turbo Bob.
“Whoever invented the bicycle deserves the thanks of humanity.”—Lord Charles Beresford.

Read more Blogs by TurboBob

 

A Brompton Holiday

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What is your idea of the perfect bicycle holiday? A perfect bicycle holiday for me is any holiday I can spend cruising along on my Brompton Bike. With the versatility of a folding bike the possibilities are virtually unlimited. I’ve spent holidays by the water, riding a trail, and just cruising down a country road. My dream is to make sure that I hit every continent and at least 28 countries with my Brompton in tow. I know that may sound like a crazy dream but it is totally possible with this amazing folding bike.

Traveling with the Brompton Bike

Brompton Traveling Suitcase: Grab and Go!

I have traveled by train, by plane, and by automobile. Brompton is by far the most compact folding bike on the market. I use the Brompton Traveling suitcase and gate check it on domestic flights so that I can grab it and go when I get off my flight. On the train it fits right in front of my feet or at worst in the over-sized luggage area. In a car it will fit almost anywhere, behind the seat, on the seat, or in the trunk.

No need to rent a car, never have to wait for a ride, I just grab the Brompton, unfold and go. It doesn’t matter what my destination is, the big city, the country, a paved road or a gravel trail, this little bike can handle it all. The Brompton offers big freedom in a small package. If you love to ride bikes and you enjoy the freedom that can only be found in cycling then why not expand that freedom and make it easy to go anywhere with your folding bicycle?  And if you don’t have a folding bike of your own, many cities, New York for example, have Brompton bike tours where you can try out the Brompton for free.

Brompton for the Holidays

We all need to do something nice for ourselves and what better time than at the holidays. Someone else is bound to buy us socks and gifts we really didn’t want or need. There is no better way to get what you want for the holidays than to buy your own gift. The perfect gift is the gift of freedom that a folding bike can bring you, at home and on the road.

Brompton Folding Bike: Picture Perfect!

Fun is where it’s at! Every time I ride my Brompton I have fun and many times so do the strangers who see it and ask if they can take it for a spin. It handles as nicely as any bike I have ever owned and I have had many in my life. I’ve owned as many as 6 bikes at a time and several different brands. This bike is by far the most fun to ride. I’ve taken it shopping, folded it and put in a shopping cart. I’ve pushed it through a museum in cart mode and I love taking pictures everywhere I travel. There is no kickstand to worry about, put it in park and snap away.

You don’t have to take my word for it, head to NYCeWheels and try out the Brompton Bike for yourself. There is no telling where you may go, the only guarantee is that you will have fun. The staff at the shop are amazing and you will learn everything you need to know to make an informed decision on that big gift to yourself.

Happy Holidays!

Vicky

Back On Two Wheels With A New Brompton Folding Bike

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I left New York City a year ago to backpack around the world, which involved selling off most of my earthly possessions at the time. That included my folding bike. It was odd to realize how much I missed riding.  There was that small island off the coast of Bali where I could have roamed for miles off the beaten path. Tokyo was a bicycle heaven, but I was stuck taking the train. And Milan would have been a dream on two wheels, instead of too tired feet. So when I finally settled into my new home in San Antonio, it was a dream come true when I received my new Brompton Bicycle.

Brompton Folding Bike

Brompton Folding Bike

Choosing my new Brompton Bike

I knew this little English folding bike well from my time in New York and even wrote a decent Brompton bike review. The decision wasn’t easy, though. There are a lot of great folding bikes out there, but deep down I knew none of them could compare. After a lot of back and forth, I went with the M6L Brompton Bike. I struggled with the gearing most of all. Did I really need a six gear Brompton bicyle in Texas? It turns out that I did. The standard three speeds are great for cruising around and the occasional burst of speed, but San Antonio drivers are still adjusting to having bikes on the road. The high/low option with the Brompton gears allows the fast, steady acceleration I needed to compete in downtown traffic.

First ride on the Brompton

I actually felt goose bumps the first time I unfolded my new Brompton bicycle and had to immediately take it out for a ride. I cruised North a few miles from my downtown apartment along San Antonio’s famed Riverwalk. The Brompton bike was already turning heads. Folding bikes are rare here, but under Mayor Julian Castro’s leadership San Antonio has refocused on developing its downtown. Industrial loft conversions are already underway and thousands of new downtown apartments are set for construction in the coming few years. Folding bikes could become a lot more common as more and more residents embrace downtown living.

My new Brompton bicycle was still getting a lot of attention as I pulled up to the CIA Café (Culinary Institute of America-San Antonio). Over an incredible cup of coffee on the patio, I entertained questions about the Brompton folding bike and happily demonstrated how easily it folds. By the time I finished folding the bike to its super compact size, jaws were inevitably dropped in amazement. A few even wanted to know where they could get one.

Brompton Folding Bike

Brompton Folding Bike

What would it be like to travel with a Folding Bike?

As I finished my coffee, my mind turned back to my recent travels as well as my adventures ahead. A folding bike opens up so many new opportunities for the traveler. Not only can I explore my new home in San Antonio in a whole new and enjoyable way, but there’s nothing stopping me from exploring other cities or small towns as well. I’ll soon introduce my Brompton to the Texas Hill Country and its small towns. Bike friendly Austin, Texas is just an hour’s drive away. And then when I get the itch to truly roam far and wide once again, my new folding bicycle will fold down and fit inside the Brompton travel suitcase. That means I can easily take my Brompton bike from Texas to explore the small villages of Southern France, the Irish countryside, the California wine country or New Zealand’s bike paths. And I can know that wherever I go, I’ll have my reliable Brompton folding bike right there with me.

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