My Brompton

Basil Meets a Pal

Much to my surprise, I looked up on the train the other day to see a friendly gent, with Brompton, settling into the compartment Basil and I were sharing.

His is a titanium one-speed with S bars.  It’s five years old, and he originally acquired it to solve the “last mile” problem:  Getting to work from the train when walking wasn’t the best option.  He has another Brompton, also, and told me, happily, that his experience had convinced four co-workers to buy Bromptons, too.

My fellow commuter’s B has the same yellow body as Basil, but the extremities are titanium — a rather good shade, itself — rather than Basil’s Racing Green, or another of Brompton’s many color choices.  The Brompton name is inside an oval, as opposed to Basil’s rectangular decal.

We had a great conversation, and I was very pleased to learn that there are at least four Bromptons commuting on this stretch of regional rail.  Even with two Bromptons in the compartment, there’s plenty of room for more.

Only the day before, for the first time ever, I’d seen another Brompton in Philadelphia.  I was just getting off the train, and the fellow carrying his Turkish Green B was also heading for the stairs.  We gave each other knowing nods, and went our separate ways.

4 replies on “Basil Meets a Pal”

Nice, coincidental duo! Since Basil is in a social mood, is he by any chance taking on pen pals, as well? Bea arrived yesterday, ready to meet the Streets of Seattle! It’s going to take some re-arranging on my part (waaay different geometry from my heavy Dutch bike; brought me close to square one in The Balancing Act, but I’ll get over that very soon, I can tell…) and I now have to learn how to use a derailleur, something brand new. I don’t really know when to use it! She’s only been ridden three miles so far, all of them on nearby streets, while I try to decide what the best combo is. Hmmmm… I think this will take a bit longer than the balance bit; any hints?

Hurrah! Congratulations on Bea’s arrival! Here’s a link to Basil’s (and my) newbie tips:

The most important tip for Bea’s longevity? The guys at my shop said it’s this: Don’t put weight on the pedals — don’t be pedaling — when moving the right shifter. That can mess up the internal gears. (It’s OK to pedal/put weight on the pedals when you use the left – derailleur – shifter.)

The gears were new to me too; if you can find a spot that’s mostly level, but with a slight incline, use that to get a feel for the shifting. Can you use a park or trail? Much less problematic than figuring this out on the street . . . Then practice, practice practice! You’ll be amazed how soon you get it.

It took about 80 miles before I began to truly feel one with Basil (and gears) (minimal cycling experience), and at about 120 (if I’m remembering correctly) everything flowed in the way one wants it to. Be patient and work with your Bea, and you’ll both be rolling along as if it’s the most natural thing in the world.

Basil is not much of a keyboarder, but he is quite thrilled to be of service, and to welcome Bea into the fold — so to speak!

Thanks for providing the link; it’s those “little things” that nobody tells you that are so handy to know, like folding that pedal! That’s a very handy way to get it stamped into my head; glad you passed it along. I’ve thought of a plan for the shifting — think I’ll start out using the right side only, learn what the gears mean to me, and then add in the left (kind of like when I attempted to learn to play the accordion, except that my teacher didn’t approve of my method…). My thoughts exactly on heading to a trail; just haven’t been to carve out the time yet. ‘Til then I’ll be practicing in my head… Again, thank you. We’ll let you know as we make progress!

Your learn-to-shift plan sounds perfect, Seattle, and has an added advantage: You won’t believe how easy it is to manage the left shifter once you know the right! It will all come together far more quickly than you imagine. As for your teacher: the joy is far more important than the technique (as long as you are respecting the equipment)!

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