Friday, February 18, 2011

From Bonn City to Bonn-Gielgen: Up by bus and down by bike

"Bicycle friendly city in Northrhine-Westphalia"

Several years ago I published my blog Fahrradfahren:  Bonn by Bike showing my daily route from Gielgen on the mountain, right hand side of the Rhine river,  to the university in Bonn City.

With a folding bike it is even more fun to skip the way up hill.  At Suttner Platz in the city you take bus number 608, your folding bike aboard.  The bus will take you on a 25 minute ride to Gielgen.
Get off at this final stop and go towards the Chamber of Agriculture (Landwirtschaftskammer). You you will be on the route outlined in my blog. Start at this welcome sign saying:  "Bicycle friendly city in North Rhine Westphalia". It shows a bike and the heraldic symbol of Bonn.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Purchase of My Folding Bike

Why a Brompton?
I wanted a new folding bike.  Why did it become a Brompton?

Two years ago I bought a low price folding bike - brand name "Born 2 ride".  It was fun to ride - at first.  But soon it became unreliable - in another posting I will talk about details.  Dissatisfied, I started to look around for a better one.

One thing for sure, I  was ready to purchase a high quality folding bike for several reasons
  • I was tired of hassels with the technical shortcomings of a low quality product.
  • I was looking for a good value product that might even outlive the annual inflation rate.
  • I wanted a  comfortable and  practical,  easy to handle bike.
  • I was looking for a brand with international recognition on the market.
  • I wanted a bike from a manufacturer with a good service record.
  • It had to be a bike whose looks would fit my life style.
My research on the internet narrowed everything down to two of the world`s best known manufacturers of  folding bikes:  the US American manufacturer Dahon with production sites in several countries and the British manufacturer Brompton in London.  One of the bike shop experts favoured a Dahon for its lower price and better riding performance, saying that a Brompton was more of a British cult befitting dark suited gentlemen  in the City of London.  Yes, the price was a strong argument:  About 700 Euros for a  Dahon that promised to be a bit more comfortable than a Brompton.  Next to the world`s best selling Dahon, the Brompton appeared  in the shop indeed as somewhat conservative - and rather dear, at a price of 1,159.- Euros.  But they say the Brompton consists of some 1200 parts,  over three-quarters of which are unique.

Finally, some bloggers convinced me saying that the Dahon is a nice American bike, but the Brompton  is its European counterpart:  sort of home made,  definitely the smallest folding bike, a great piece of traditional British engineering, stylish (It matches nicely my old black Mercedes Benz.) and in great demand on the German market.  There were not even any secondhands available when I looked on the internet markets.

So I said, I will go for the more expensive product which hopefully has not a single bit of  obsoleteness designed into it and which will be of very good value for a long time.

At the end,  my question was where to shop and where I would get the best price.

An internet dealer was willing to grant me a rebate of 30 Euros.
When I told this at my local shop,  they conceded me the same.
So the deal was made.  I had my new Brompton and could take it home.

We will see whether the new folding bike is really fun and truely practical.  The participants of the Brompton World Championship seem to be absolutely convinced as this video shows (External link, youtube):

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