Sunday, March 20, 2011

Folding, riding, fixing

In my previous post I reasoned why I bought a Brompton folding bike.

As this year`s winter is coming to an end and the roads are now free of snow I have been able to go on a number of short trips.

On my first short ride downhill I noticed that compared to a bicycle of a regular size the Brompton is a little less comfortable to steer.  It offers a little less stability. At first I did not dare to take one hand off the steering bar or to turn my head in order to look behind.  Riding downhill, though,was comfortable and just as fast as with a regular bike.  On arrival, people looked at me and my folding bike.  It is definitely an eye catcher and some asked me what kind of a bike it was and how it rode.

My Brompton M6 gives me nice rides, the gear shifting is easy and smooth, just right for the somewhat mountainous region where I live.

But soon I noticed that the cuffs of my pants where caught by the little wheels at the baggage rack.  These rollers help to transport the bike when folded, thus it rolls when dragged or pushed ahead.

After a while I got used to pedalling without having my cuffs catching the rollers, but I had to be monitoring my feet.  More adequate clothing are tight sport pants, and on my second ride they took care of the problem.

It was most enjoyable to ride the folding bike back from the mechanic`s garage where I had taken my old Mercedes for an oil change. I had put the folded bike into the trunk, left my car at the garage and went by bike back home:  about four kilometers more or less up hill.  It happened that I met another man on a folding bike who went the same way.  He was riding a Dahon and he said he was quite satisfied with it.  One of these days we will have to go into a detailed comparison of  the two bikes of different brands.

Later during the day I had to go back to the mechanic`s, this time a comfortable fast trip down hill through the forest, over some country dirt roads and then back onto paved streets.  No problems, nice ride.

Now, folding and putting it back into the car`s trunk.
They say you can fold it within 30 seconds.  I don`t think it matters whether it takes you 30, 40 or 50 seconds, as long as you feel safe and you know what you are doing.

Frankly, in the beginning I confused several times the various steps of the folding procedure. However, when I had achieved the task of folding it, I felt good because it looked so compact and small and was easy to pick up and put into the car.

I advise every beginner to carefully study the folding routine step by step and to practise before going on a ride.

Here is a link to youtube.  The video is fun and hardly any beginner will make so many mistakes as the protagonist in this clip.  Enjoy.

We owe this clip to a youtube publishment by Aestivaria.

On my second, somewhat longer ride following the county road about eight kilometers down into the Rhine valley, I felt my Brompton was just as good  a travelling companion as my regular touring bike.  But I noticed that there was a noise at the front wheel.  The fender was sliding against the tire. I bent it back into position. But why had it turned out of  place at all? 

Off on a nice trip from Gielgen via Vinxel to Niederdollendorf, then along the much loved bicycle lane by the river in the Rhine valley into the direction Bonn,  past the new 5 star luxury hotel Kameh at Oberkassel and to the bus stop at Ramersdorf.  Would the bus driver say anything when he saw me boarding with the folded bike?

Of course not.    The Brompton folds so small that you can put it like a small suitcase somewhere on the bus floor. I did not have to pay the extra fare for a bike.

What fun it is to go up hill by bus after a wonderful bicycle ride on a fine spring day down into the Rhine valley.  My folded bike on the bus saves me the sweat of pedalling back home  through the mountains.

When  I was back at home, ready to fold the bike and put it back into the garage, I noticed to my dismay that the front wheel aluminium fender (mudguard) had broken. I it was torn about five centimeters from the end.

A clear case of warranty?  Next time more about this.

Here are some external links in case you need to fix your bike
Brompton tire change

On youtube there are some very helpful video clips, for example this one:
Tire change

1 comment:

  1. The best-known brand name in the folding bike world is Brompton, but an increasing number of different folding bikes are available from a variety of manufacturers such as Tern. Yet, this is a great deal for your to have.


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