The minute I hear that folding pedal click my heart always flutters and a smile comes across my face. It could be said that it’s sad to get such satisfaction from a piece of steel that can fold into a compact suitcase, but if you know the journey to get to this moment you’d understand why.
I used to think people who owned a Brompton were just in it for the gimmick. Don’t get me wrong I love a gimmick, but for a base model just shy of 1000£ that was even to much for me. I also saw a lot of the negative side of Brompton owners. I saw many of a white, male, banker types arguing with the gate staff that they needed to fold their bike before coming through the barriers. Or wouldn’t even fold it up and take up the spaces for the full-size bikes and we would have to shuffle and struggle to make it work.
I used to be one of those with the full size bike on the train, or with my first folding bike which was a Raleigh Stowaway 7. Which I will spare you the details on that hunk of junk. I will say it is probably a brilliant bike when its not being folded and unfolded 4 times a day. But sadly it’s not meant for that harsh of a grind and is why mine fell apart after 9 months. It also didn’t help that even it could fold down it was still bulky and I got my fair share to good ol British ‘tuts” my way for being “in the way”
Then it happened. On the way down a massive hill to Brighton Station, the folding mechanism literally fell apart as I felt the bike starting to unfold beneath me. Luckily gravity and gracious bus driver behind me noticed I was in trouble and I didn’t have an accident. As I sat in the secure bike park in Brighton station, throat coarse from swearing and kicking my hunk of junk, I finally realised that maybe Brompton was on to something. That maybe my outside bias and a few bad apples of the community was clouding my vision on what could be an amazing piece of kit.
So I started to research and more importantly save up for the deposit. there was no way I could pay for this puppy outright but for the cost a month in bus fair (50£) that would easily be a payment on the bike. I did over twenty builds on the website and went back and forth on the colour combinations and handlebars. I knew I always wanted a 6 speed but it was the other options that were tricky. The next stop was Brompton Junction in Covent Garden.
Taking full advantage of being able to go to a factory store and try various combination was lucky (and made the daily commute from Brighton to London a bit worth while) The staff couldn’t be more friendly and helpful. No question was to simple and more importantly to see all the colours in person helped a ton. Working in the VFX industry I know screens can have a colour discrepancy so seeing them all in real life was a huge help. It actually caused me to change my initial colour choices.
Finally I decided on the Black and Berry Crush for my colours. Now I have to tell you I do not usually go for the pink option, its just not my thing. But this combination seemed to really stand out to me. the other thing is I really wanted a lot of the other features to be black, but didn’t want to pay the extra for a “black edition.” But after speaking with the sales team they even said I could swap out my silver handlebar and seat post for a black one and also buy black mud guards. I was over the moon because I was worried I would have to buy a separate parts down the road.
6 weeks went by and then sure enough she was ready to be picked up. She looked glorious and I was super stoked to try her out.
Of course I have to add my own personal touch to my bike. One of the the first things I got, even before I picked her us was a Head Tube Badge by Flower Studios to add that extra touch and having the black accents really made it stand out against the berry crush.
I also added I feel some of the best reflective stickers you can find on the market. by Ficks Reflective stickers. I love that you don’t really see them in the black until the light hits it just right! and also the adhesive is really strong
here is a good example (above) that you can see the stickers working in the reflective light.
with all the finishing touches added to my bike which I lovingly call “Erso”, I was ready to hit the streets of London. Of course the first week would be one of the worst snow storms in over 10 years that was lovingly called the “beast from the east” I covered some of this in my vlog which I covered a few months ago. My work colleagues where like “Why are you riding in this?!?” I couldn’t help but joke and say “I just bought a 1k bike, I am not about to keep her inside” but nothing like an extreme road test to push her to the limit
I’ve had Erso now for about 3 months now and I am still over the moon. the seat post needs little tightening because if I hit some hard bumps in road she does slide down a bit. but I think that is just a simple bolt tighten. Usually I can do that kind of stuff myself, but she is due a three month checkup anyway at Brompton Junction and might as well let the experts look at her.
So whats next? well I have mentioned before that I always wanted to do some bikepacking, and also I see part of the wonderful Brompton community take their bikes on long haul trips and strap various bags to it. With all that in mind in 2019 I am going to be circumnavigating Lake Constance (Bodensee) with my mom and of course will post all the adventure here and on my vlog.