My Brompton Tips

Basil Demonstrates Folding

A Bromptons’s fold seems mysterious until you learn it well, and rather counter-intuitive, though it soon becomes second-nature.  Here’s Basil, to start (pretend his bright blue water bottle isn’t there — I forgot to remove it, at first):

To fold, I press a release beneath the rear section of Basil’s top bar, then grasp the center bar (it’s yellow on Basil) at the seat end, and flip the rear wheel under the bar.  (You want to make sure the Folding pedal is Forward, with the pedals close to parallel to the ground).  Keep those Fs together.!)

Flipping the rear wheel requires lifting Basil, and then swinging the rear wheel forward.  After a bit of practice, this becomes one fast, fluid, motion.

This flips the rear wheel upside down.  See Basil’s rear rack?  It’s now resting on the ground — and supporting Basil.  The rear rack is Basil’s “kickstand”; this is how you set a Brompton upright as quickly as using a traditional kickstand — except that it’s a lot more stable, and keeps the bike upright on more surfaces.

There’s a clamp with a twist handle near the front of Basil’s yellow bar.  (It’s visible in the image above, below, and to the left of, the blue water bottle).  The next step is to open the clamp, grasp the handlebar stem, and move the front wheel next to the folded rear wheel.

This is really the only tricky part; you want to keep the front wheel as parallel as possible to the body of the bike, in order to avoid stretching cables.  Just go slowly at first, until you “get” it; then it, too, becomes second-nature.

This step is also known as “trolley mode” or “shopping cart mode”.  If I add a basked to Basil’s mounting block, this is the fold I use when shopping.  I pop the basket on the black block that is just above his yellow bar (and just below the green handlebar stem), lower the seat, and then push Basil around the store using the handlebars.  In this configuration Basil takes up less room than most strollers.

If folding Basil completely, the next step is to completely drop his handlebars.  If you’re a hot-dogger, you just undo the clamp on the handlebar stem, and give the handlebars a shove. They will fall satisfying rapidly, and clip themselves into position next to the front wheel. It’s also possible to do this less emphatically, with the same success.

The final step is to lower the seat.  Lowering the seat locks the frame so that Basil won’t unfold when lifted.  If you want to effectively “brake” your folded Brompton, lower the seat so that the rubber stopper in the seat tube touches the ground.  If keeping your folded bicycle from rolling isn’t an issue, the seat need only be lowered most, not all , of the way, down.

There’s a nifty, built-in, grip under the Brompton stock seat.  Basil can be lifted and carried using his seat, or simply by holding him by the main bar (it’s the yellow on Basil).

That’s all there is to it.  Whilst waiting for Basil to arrive, I obsessively watched Brompton’s own instructional video; it was very helpful, both as a distraction and as an instructional guide.

My Brompton

Reflective Sidewalls

I guess they work:

Had some flash issues with my camera recently, and this is one result.  If you’re coming at Basil from the side, at night, I guess you’ll see him!

Tours, Trails & Group Rides

A Tunnel

Eastern Pennsylvania is littered with opportunities to admire rock and shale; it’s one of the real beauties of the area.

This is a tunnel in Fairmont Park, in Philadelphia, on a day that was neither snowy, nor icy, nor particularly cold.


My Brompton

Cornering on the Bridge

This is the bridge I mentioned in my post about riding along the Erie Canal.  It’s a small version of the one being built in Perinton, New York.

One end has been constructed with plenty of room for a bicyclist to turn, but I’ve been wary of the other end.

This turn looks spacious in my photo, but it has seemed very tight to me, though it should be just fine for a motorized wheelchair.  After some practice, I am now negotiating it without difficulty — though I still think it’s a bit tight for cyclists.  Perhaps that’s why these bridges, though they are installed on multi-use trails, are called “pedestrian” bridges.

I’ve gone from being comfortable on Basil to being confident.  We’re moving rapidly into that exalted state where cyclist and rider move as one, and navigating this turn effectively is a symptom of that change.

My Brompton

Lunching with Basil

. . . is so easy:

And he isn’t even folded all the way!



My Brompton

Holiday Train Display

Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station hosted a small model train display for the holidays.

I took a bunch of photos, and, naturally, rather enjoyed watching the models race around the track.

Like Philadelphia, this village has a freight train running right through town:

Ersatz night shot, thanks to wonky flash:

It was difficult to get good angles for the photos, though, or even to view the display, because I had to reach up to hang over the edge of the construction.   The tracks and village were at my shoulder height.

See how tall the supporting structure is, next to Basil? And the height of the (taller than I am) adult in the background?  What this means, of course, is that no child could possibly see the trains.  The poor kids who happened by where jumping up on their toes, trying to get a glimpse.

What a strange choice for a toy train display.  Why make it impossible for kids to see?

My Brompton

End of the Day

In Philadelphia:

I took three different pictures here, at roughly the same time. It was fascinating to see how each differed from each other, and how all differed from my memory. I liked this image the best.


My Brompton

Basil, Under the Tree

. . . at 30th Street Station, Philadelphia.

Cute, no? What do you mean by pointing out that you can hardly see Basil?  OK, here he is:

That’s arguably a more festive shot, but it does lack the drama of the huge tree in 30th Street’s cavernous hall.

There’s a grinning nutcracker hanging just above Basil.  I thought he was made of the increasingly popular “faux-mâché” (that is, plastic meant to look like papier-mâché), but I think he may be the real thing.   Not from France, though, but China, from whence most material things spring.  (Not Bromptons, of course.)

My camera’s settings went a bit wonky, resulting in this shot:

Perhaps it’s just Basil, doing his bit for the holiday lighting.

Honestly, who wouldn’t welcome a Brompton beneath the holiday tree?  If you’re stuck for a last-minute gift, you could do worse!

My Brompton Tips

Brompton in a Closet

I keep Basil in a coat closet:

That’s a bucket of cycling accessories next to him, including a couple of helmets and a batch of various gloves.  His tire pump, and the current season’s cycling shoes are on top of the bucket  Basil’s shopping basket is behind the bucket.  Getting out the door is so easy.

My Brompton


Late afternoon:

Sometimes there’s almost a “Hallmark” moment.  (Not the silver kind — the cheesy-greeting-card kind.)

On the other hand, there are also the “cheesecake” moments:

I particularly like these!