Why Brompton?

Actually, why a folding bike at all?  Because I wanted to be able to go anywhere with a bike I could hide in the trunk of a small car or take on a train or a bus without inconveniencing others or requiring a bike rack, and one I didn’t have to worry about locking up when I was inside buildings.

I looked at Terns first.  The D8 is a terrific folding bike, and a joy to ride. At around 600 USD, it’s also reasonably-priced for a serious cyclist. The fold is compact, and the hinges are easy to use.

I almost bought a Tern.  The D8 is a fantastic bicycle, and hugely popular.  But I’m an older rider, and concerned about aging issues.  How much longer will I be able to cycle?  I’ve grown healthier and more fit over the past year (no accident, that), but I’m approaching those years when I can’t necessarily count on my body continuing to cooperate with whatever plans I have for it.

Instead of an adequate bike, maybe I needed a bicycle that was exactly right.  The Tern, though quite compact, has 20-inch wheels, making it larger than I preferred, and the sporty handlebars were not right for my hands.

Maybe I needed a lightweight folder that could be used for long rides of forty or more miles, but one that also folded as compactly as possible.  The perfect bicycle would let me grocery shop, run errands, take the train to new locations,  pop into my subcompact’s trunk so that I could get to distant trails with ease, and let me ride for forty or more miles in comfort.

Bromptons have tiny 16-inch wheels, and an extremely compact fold.  People commute on Bromptons, riding only a few miles a day, they’re taken on subways for “last mile” travel, and used for casual recreation, but people also tour on Bromptons, riding for hundreds of miles.

Brompton met all my qualifications, but Bromptons are quite pricey. They are manufactured and hand-assembled in the West End of London, not in China; if you buy one, you’re paying for skilled labor.

The argument against a Brompton was cost.  The argument “for” was everything else. My concern about cost was tempered by the realization that it’s very difficult to find a used Brompton for sale; mine was likely to hold its value if it didn’t work out. It seemed likely that I could recoup much of the cost, if my Brompton and I turned out to be incompatible.

Even so,  I didn’t want to commit to the whole process unless I was fairly certain that a Brompton was right for me.  I was concerned about handling, and about how it might fit my body:  I’m a considerably lighter-than-average woman, on the short side, with no length in my legs.  Vast amounts of reading on the Internet suggested that people of all sizes and shapes find a good fit on a Brompton, but would I?  And how would I find out before putting down a small fortune to own one?

The answer turned out to be easy.  Stay tuned. To find out more about Bromptons, see the website:  Brompton Bicycle.

4 replies on “Why Brompton?”

Dear Diarist

I just found out about your site after seeing a post you made on the Brompton Bumble B blog :o)

I am reading your blog with interest and have added it like I have with Bumble B’s & Cycling in Heels, to my Favourites.

Like the two bloggers above, I also live in the UK, but not in London.

I am expecting a call this week from my local Brompton dealer to let me know my new baby is ready for collection. I have been waiting for nine weeks. But just like waiting for a baby, it feels like nine months.

I borrowed one from work at the end of August and became hooked the moment I got it home and pedalled up my garden path then up and down the service road at the back of my house and well, I have been on adventures ever since. I know you will understand ;o)

You write a good blog and it is nice to see and hear about other parts of the world from a Brompton rider’s perspective.

Keep it up.


Hi, John — I hope your baby will be in your hands before the end of the week — those last few days can seem like months, themselves! I love my Brommie, and I’m sure you will too. They’re great to ride, and even better when you are on your own!

Thanks for your kind words about the blog. You know I’m a big fan of the Brompton Bumble B (and his buddy, Mr. Orange), and Cycling in Heels is another favorite of mine. Perhaps you’ll be inspired to write a blog, too? I love reading Brompton blogs and seeing how people all over the world ride them, and where. Best wishes, and here’s to many happy travels on your Brommie!

Thank you

I had intended to do just that, write a blog! I have saved up some photos of my travels so far and more will be taken when I get my hands on my own Brommie. And I love to write.

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