“Does your bike fold up?”

I once heard that you could tell a lot about a person by the kind of shoes they wear. Well, I kind of feel the same way about bikes. What you ride says a lot about your personality, especially if you give your bike a little special touch (flowers? colourful grips? fixed versus freewheel?).

At one point I owned 5 bikes: my hybrid for touring, an old roadie for city riding, my winter bike, my polo bike (that’s another blog post!), and my dumpster bike. Yeah, I pulled a bike out of a dumpster behind a cycle shop and fixed it up – one of my favourite rides ever. But now that I’ve just moved to New Zealand I only own 1 bike – my folding Brompton. And I’m loving it!

Unfortunately no cycle shop in New Zealand carries Bromptons so I brought mine over from Canada with me. They are made to order in London, England and they’re a most beautiful piece of engineering design. The Brompton folds down to a very compact size that I can take on the bus, up the stairs, or even in the pub. I don’t need to worry if I forget my lock because I can just fold up, walk inside and my bike will fit under the table out of the way!

Like my dumpster bike (which was quite the looker!), my folding bike starts many conversations. I’ve made friends because of it (including another Canadian Brompton owner) and folks are constantly asking me how it works. In fact, I was asked about it today as I was leaving a pub after watching the NHL playoffs.

“Does your bike fold up?”

“Sure does, want to see?”

“Yeah!”

I’ve folded and unfolded my bike so many times that I can do it in my sleep. With the wide wheel base and internal gearing, it feels surprisingly stable and rides like a dream. I’ve only seen a couple other Bromptons in Wellington and I can be reasonably sure that mine is the only purple Brompty in the city. So thieves beware – if you steal my bike, it’s one of a kind and easily recognizable. And to all you cyclists – if you see a little purple Brompton, feel free to leave a note! You can be pretty sure it’s me.

The Bromptosaurus is friendly and does not bite....

 

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16 thoughts on ““Does your bike fold up?”

  1. Lesley

    I have a Brompton too. I got mine from Epic Cycles in Brisbane. Mine is turquoise and yellow, and I wish I’d gone for something nicer, like the purple.

    It took me a while to get to like the feel of the ride. Now I love it. I love the acceleration you can get from those little wheels. It’s usually the first bike out of my 4 bike shed.

    I’m not sure about my gears though. I ordered the standard 6 speed, but I wish I’d ordered the 6sp lower geared set up. It’s a bit too tough on some of Wellington’s hills.

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  2. Keely

    Yay another Brompty!

    I have a 6 speed and I had it geared down 12% (in anticipation of Wellington’s hills). I’m able to climb most of the monsters and I’m not spinning out going downhill so that’s a good sign. But it is nice to be able to just fold up and grab a bus/cable car when I don’t feel like tackling a big hill.

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  3. Pingback: Sunday cycle sweetness – Straight Outta Brompton : Cycling in Wellington

  4. Hi, Lisa! I will be studying in New Zealand next year and will be bringing my Brompton with me. Have you found a local bike shop there that can tune-up and repair our Bromptons? Thanks!

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    1. Simon Kennett

      There are no Brompton agents in Wellington, but one of the guys at Bike Barn (Nathaniel) owns a Brompton. You could try him. If he’s not there, Burkes Cycles have the most experience with folders in general in Wellington.

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  5. duncan ecob

    I’m in Auckland and there are quite a few about. I am a recent UK emigrate, mine is British Racing Green with a Brookes saddle and 3 speed sturmey archer. This seems to cope with the Hills OK but then I guess they are nothing compared to those in Wellington. Quite often I would like to have a bit more top end but generally it is good for my commute to the ferry and along the Waterfront. always a talking poin. When I speak to others owners there is a mix of kiwi and UK. I used to live around the corner from the Chiswick factory and could get spares from there although all I ever needed was the chain guard.

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  6. My husband and I have Giant Expressway 2 Folding Bikes, and we’re very happy with them. They may not be as stylish as the Bromptons, but they’re not as expensive either. We recently rode the Otago Central Rail Trail on them, and a further 150 kms in other places (Queenstown and Arrowtown trails, bits of A2O) and the bikes behaved perfectly. No trouble at all.

    To read the technical stuff about the bikes, check out John’s website: http://www.jepspectro.com/htm/folding-bike.htm , and to read about the Otago Central Rail Trail, check out my blog: http://dizzysfoldingbike.blogspot.co.nz/2014/04/otago-central-rail-trail-day-1.html

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  7. Simon Kennett

    The Giant Expressway’s appear to be very good value for money, but they do have one weakness that might be of relevance to prospective buyers – they don’t fold down as small as a Brompton or Tern. In fact the Expressway is pushing the limits for the maximum size allowed during peak periods on the Wellington commuter trains.
    If looking for an inexpensive alternative to use frequently on public transport, try the Tern C7 (one of the few folders to come close to the Bromptons for its compactness). If riding in hilly terrain frequently, I’d recommend the Tern D8 for its wider range of gears.
    Note: I have no interest in Tern sales, and am not a Tern owner (I did own a Dahon for a while).

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