In most big cities in the UK the Brompton is a very common sight indeed. For many people these plucky little bikes perfectly personify the ultimate achievement in cycle to work technology. We’ve never owned a Brompton, or perhaps ‘not yet’ have we owned a Brompton, so we’ve drafted in someone who really knows what they’re talking about. The photos and words on this bike to work recommendation were kindly provided by the awesome ‘Trikeman’ who can be found over at http://www.beautifullytold.com/
Brompton bikes – far cooler than sweating on the tube!
For utilitarian cycling, which includes most of my cycling in central London, the Brompton is king. Hop on when you want to ride it, hop off when you arrive and 20 seconds later you have something that you can put under a desk, take into a restaurant or jump straight onto a train.
There are folding bicycles that are pleasant to ride. There are folding bicycles that fold down into a very small space. And there are folding bicycles which fold quickly & easily. If you want all three, however, there is only one choice.
If you’re wincing at the four-figure price, it’s true that they’re not cheap. But there are three reasons they are much better value than you might think.
First, they basically last forever, and if you do sell, they hold their value incredibly well. You can expect to get two-thirds of the purchase price back even ten years later. Buy secondhand, and they are essentially free: you’ll be able to sell them years later for the same price you paid.
Second, if you commute from Zone 3, an annual season ticket is costing you £1424 a year. A standard M3L with luggage will cost you around £1000, paying for itself in 8.5 months. Even if you wimp out on rainy days (and remember, you can take the Brompton on the tube with you, so you can cycle in and still wimp out if it’s raining when you go home), it’s still going to pay for itself in a year. After that, you’re quids-in.
Third, there’s next to no theft risk as you don’t ever have to leave it outside. Just fold it up and take it in with you: offices, shops, banks – even restaurant cloakrooms. When I commuted to work, it lived under my desk in the day, and I’ve taken it into every type of eatery from workman’s caffs to Michelin-starred restaurants without so much as a raised eyebrow.
If you’re worried about getting sweaty, believe me: you’ll be far cooler whizzing around London on a Brompton that you will be stuck on a rush-hour tube in the summer! It’s also brilliant being able to enjoy being a tourist in your own city, seeing the sights rather than the inside of some stranger’s armpit.