In my new role, although I am travelling a fair bit, I am based from home and the train links from Stafford and Derby on the West and East Coast main lines are great to get to nearly everywhere I need to go. One of the drivers for a career crossroads was my old bonkers commute which was only sensible by road. Well I am glad to report that although I have, in my first 6 weeks been to Switzerland and Hong Kong, Manchester, Newcastle, London and …. Uttoxeter… my annual car mileage looks to have reduced by at least 16,000 a year!
With so much train travel it seems a little mad to be driving the 4 miles to the station and then catching taxi’s, tubes or leaving extra early for long walks at my destination so I looked into folding bikes.
After looking at Dahon’s and other makes I kept coming back to the British Brompton – practical yet very cool. I kept an eye on ebay and luckily I got one for a snip and on delivery realised I had bought one that had obviously hardly been used. Its a 2 speed apple green with brooks saddle and grips and the flat bar. Not for the shy!
I could talk about the fact that its light and folds down small, has 4 ickle wheels to push it about at stations but that’s boring! whats it like to ride?
Well small wheels are definitely twitchy and getting back onto a 26 inch wheel afterwards , you can really feel the heaviness of the handling. With only two highish gears it needs some grunt up the hills and steep slopes are a real challenge but the higher of the two means you can really fly on the flats and downs. Ill put a GPS on at some point and get some stats but it feels really fast. At those speeds its not for the faint hearted but great fun.
The rim brakes are excellent, and as long as the rear bushes are done tight the frame quite stiff and responsive.
I am keeping a log on the number of car miles I am saving and how much I am saving in car parking fees for the year but I have to balance it a little with safety and comfort and the practicalities of turning up at a client site soaked to the skin as the winter quickly approaches.