That’s right! Tiny wheels and all, the Brompton is a perfect touring bike!
I recently did a short and sweet camping tour through the Wairarapa with my Brompton – my first time touring on a, shall we say, non-standard sized bike. And it was beautiful! I was fully loaded with tent, sleeping bags, mattress, etc. and I was incredibly impressed with how easily I could pile the weight on my folder frame. Although standard panniers won’t fit on the 20 inch wheels, I have a rear rack that is super tough (it even let me transport a friend to the campground!) and the touring bag that clips on the front is extremely spacious and waterproof. A wide wheel base means the Brompton handles similar to a standard bike, and the steering was not affected by my heavier-than-normal luggage. I think I may have been traveling a teansy bit slower than usual – it’s hard to tell though because I don’t have a cycle computer and my timing of our distances wasn’t spot on. But if you’re not out to race (and who would be fully loaded?), and don’t mind cruising at around 15 km/hr, a folder makes a great choice. And the best part? When you arrive and set up your tent, the bike just folds up and sleeps in the vestibule next to you! No locking up and worrying about it disappearing in the night! And if you get given a rough time on the train, just fold it up and bring it on board – problem solved!
Cycling through the Wairarapa is a great way to get out of the city for a short camping trip. You can take the train from Wellington to Featherstone for around $13. From there, it’s a short 18 km ride out to Martinborough where you can cycle around tasting wine and olive oil all afternoon. The holiday park is a little pricey but just 30 km down the road is Carterton with a nice campground around half the price. And on the way to Carterton, take the back road up to Stonehenge Aotearoa for an interesting and scenic stop. From Carterton, it’s a short train ride back in to Wellington, making this trip a lovely weekend getaway for any cycle tourists.
And if you haven’t tried cycle touring yet, just strap a tent and bag onto your rear rack and hit the road – you won’t regret it! I’m very excited that my husband has just scored a used Brompton off Trademe – so bring on the New Zealand summer! Bring on the folder cycle touring!