My commute has a few weird sections of awkward that need a bike (and I can't ride my cx bike because of the bike ban hours on the Metro (D.C.) soooo, I took the plunge and ordered a Brompton. Any advice? Any must-have accessories?
They didn't have what I wanted in the U.S. (I must be SUPER picky) so I have to wait 8 weeks for my bike to built custom in the U.K. and shipped here. Same price but it will be exactly what I want (Turkish Green, need gears for D.C. hills). Also, how many miles can you do comfortably? Thinking of getting off the Metro in Bethesda when it's warmer and taking the path back home to get more miles in.
Here's the color (not the build, but you get the idea):
What kind of commute are you doing in DC?
I was briefly commuting from West Falls Church in Virginia to near the Mall. This was before I started biking. Looking back, I wish I had gotten to use the rails-to-trails path that would have taken me almost door to door!!!
Virginia has some pretty beautiful trails. I'm in Maryland which is also beautiful but still learning the best ways to get around. I'm going to use it to bridge the gap (right now I'm taking a bus that doesn't run that much) to the metro. So I'll need it for ~4-5 miles a day. Once the weather gets warmer, I'm hoping to ride from Bethesda for the home commute on a really nice (mostly downhill!) path for about 10-11 miles.
My commute to work would be 20+ miles (one way) from my apt. in D.C. so I'm not planning on doing a full bike commute. Plus, I'm not sure there's a path that would take me back home (still need to research).
Congratulations! I love my Brompton!!
I recommend the T bag. In retrospect I should have gotten that both for grocery runs after work and traveling.
The Black bag that covers the brompton while folded is very convenient and sometimes necessary for being able to bring your bike into some office buildings and theaters.
It is easier to carry the bike unfolded rather than folded. Fold at the last minute, especially when going up and down stairs.
if all goes well you rarely need a lock. For the few times I do, I use the Tigr mini lock.
Thanks so much for the advice and the mileage info. I'm a little worried about how many hills I'll have to tackle daily but hoping it makes me a stronger cyclist. I love this pic with your Brompton at the airport! Life goals! :-)
I comfortably go 6-10 miles at a time. Not the bike’s fault; I get tired!
The brompton is incredibly forgiving and compassionate, you will be fine (and have fun while doing it)!
The EZ wheels are much nicer for rolling the bike along as a grocery cart. Also I like the (relatively) cheap grocery basket. I can load it up quite fully, and use a little cargo net to keep things from bouncing around, if necessary. Also, you don't need an expensive bag to cover the bike - I use a $4 DIMPA bag from IKEA. The saddle sticks out the top, but otherwise it covers the entire folded bike. When the bag gets dirty or torn, just break out a new one.
I chose not to get the rear rack, and opted for the 2-speed for flat Chicago - both to keep the weight down a bit. A bag in front carries as much load as you will generally want on a folder.
I find the bike comfortable enough, though the steering is twitchy. Since you have almost no adjustment of the distance from saddle to handlebars, proper saddle tilt is important - and may be quite different than on your other bikes. For longer rides, I prefer a real bike. The Brompton is IMO a great folding bike. But it's a FOLDING bicycle, not a folding BICYCLE.
Have fund with your new tool/toy!
I love my Brompton!! I spent a week riding a friend's in Portland last summer and then got my own after I got home. I don't know what my daily mileage was, but I was happy putting probably up to 20+ miles a day on her bike in PDX and also doing a long ride on a trail outside the city. I have not taken mine longer distances here because I have a bunch of other bikes I'd rather use for that, but if for whatever reason it made sense to, I wouldn't hesitate to do it. A few thoughts:
-I have a medium-sized bag that came with the bike (I forget which one) and regularly fill it with shopping; I wish I had a T bag or a basket bag, and I'll probably get one from Cosmic Cycles soonish.
-The one thing about the riding position that gave me pause was the angle of the handlebars, which, along with the stock grips, I really disliked. Another Brompie owner in PDX told me that just a slight rotation backwards of the bars (from slightly forward to slightly backward) makes a surprising difference in comfort without affecting the fold. This and putting Ergon grips with stubby bar ends (anything longer will hit the floor folded) made all the difference in the world for me.
-Mine doesn't have EZ wheels, but my friend's does and I do find that it rolls a lot easier when used as a cart. The fendertop wheel doesn't have a very good bearing and sometimes sort of locks up, making it intermittently hard to roll. I do find when I'm loading it up with shopping that keeping the weight a bit to the right makes it more stable.
-The steering feels odd if you're not used to it, but it handles better the more weight you put on the front.
-You will get a regular dose of attention using it, especially folded or shopping.
Congrats on your Brompton! Last year, I got one for me and one for the lady. Longest distance on them in a day so far is about 40 miles.
I'd highly recommend the Ortlieb/Brompton bag if you plan on doing anything aside from work stuff on it. Those bags hold a bit and work well in any weather. It comes with two rear mounted pouches, but there's also a water bottle attachment that you can mount on the back of the bag as well. The only thing I would do different on mine is order a rear rack, but I plan on doing that this summer.
The Brooks B67 is a great seat, I only used the stock saddle on a test ride. There are a few special parts I got that make it a little more easy as well. The bell that is on there is a bit quiet, I added a Spurcycle bell so now I've got two. The Brompton toolkit is great to have, for piece of mind. I've only used mine for adjustments and tightening things though.
Below are the additional parts I put on...as for the chainstay protector, Mine is still on the bike, hers is not. I've flown three times with both bikes in Ikea Dimpa bags with Coroplast sheets. As well as it works, I'm probably going to buy actual Brompton bags. One of the clamp bolts was slightly bent on the last flight.
Brooks B67 (For an extra comfy ride.)
Brompton Magnet Clamps (They help keep your clamps straight when you're spinning the bolt.)
Brompton Chainstay Frame Protector (Helicopter tape or something similar will work)
EZY Compact Quick Release Pedals (More comfortable than stock pedals, easier to remove.)
Spurcycle Bell (For those "I need you to hear me" moments.)
Ortlieb/Brompton Bag (Great all around bag.)
*Funny moment: I met David in Portland at the St. Johns Beer Porch when he was riding around on the loaner Brompton. It was a few weeks after we got ours.
What a riot! Indeed, Jaik was the one who gave me the tip about the handlebars when we were at the St. John's beer porch. I randomly ran into them on Milwaukee a few months ago when I was riding the other way and recognized them out of the corner of my eye.
As for miles, I have other bicycles so if it's over 20, I don't ride the Brompton. It's perfectly capable of more miles though.
Asseccories I enjoy: Off Yer Bike handle, Ergon grips (with small nubs), Brompton O-bag, Brompton cover/bag and Schwalb Marathon tires. This bike has been trouble free for 3 years now. Its compact size and (still) innovative design make this bicycle as much an object of wonder as a practical tool.