Tuesday, November 10, 2015

A short adventure I have been dreaming of for years became wonderful reality and, in the best way, ended exactly where it began. It might seem sad. Actually I am, like today’s autumn wind.
But the sun slowly rising up behind the Attican mounts and ambushing them, is reminding me that there is always something good when a dream comes true and reaches an end, like a happy day finishing. Read the full report of a Brompton touring adventure covering 14 different islands.

Read full report here


Thursday, September 3, 2015

Watch the video of a 1400 kilometres bike tour with a Brompton Folding Bike completed in July 2015. The tour starting point was Lake Louise, heading north to Jasper along the Icefields Parkway then returning on the same road back to Lake Louise before heading West to Vancouver via Whistler. The Brompton again was a joy to ride and made it a hassle free adventure.


Wednesday, September 2, 2015

The T-Bag is a must have for anybody considering a cycling tour with a Brompton bike. It is the largest and roomiest of all Brompton front bags, which include the Folding Basket, the leather attache case or A-Bag, the small messenger bag S-Bag and the medium messenger bag C-Bag.
Having toured on a Brompton for a few years, I find this piece of equipment something I could not do without.

It has a capacity of over 30 litres but thanks to its roll-up closing system it can store much more when you leave the top unrolled and open. This is something I do for example when I go to the grocery store at the end of my cycling day and need to stock up on food. Simply leave the bag open and just put the strap on top across to secure your shopping and you are guarantee to be able to carry a large load! Bear in mind that according to Brompton the bag weight should not exceed 10 kg.

The greatest feature to me is the fact that the bag seat on a large clamp attached to the frame. This ensures that the bike stability is not affected and I personally feel that it gives my Brompton more stability than when I ride it unloaded. There is small zipped compartment inside which is convenient to store valuables and documents. When touring the clip system ensures that you can quickly remove the bag and always take it with you when you have to be away from the bike.
On the rider side there are two small compartments. The one to the right has an elastic closure and is an ideal location to store your water bottle. The right one has a waterproof zip and can securely store gadgets, your wallet your mobile phone or anything else you might want to have regular access to.
The surrounding mesh gives a lot of extra space. I normally use it to store the waterproof cover for my backpack, the bike lock and all the food I consume while riding.

The clamp system is very sturdy and having used it for over 4000 kilometres so far it does not show any sign of deterioration.

If you are considering touring on a Brompton folder this is the only option to store luggage at the front of the bike and an excellent solution at that.


Thursday, August 20, 2015

Starting from our very first ride, Dmitry and I were excited to think about what we would do differently and better. We are traveling fairly minimalist (at least compared to bike tourists who have full size bikes, camping gear, and so on ), but we were both excited to lighten the load even more. After the first few weeks in Thailand, our main topic of conversation while we rode turned to re-packing, what we could leave behind, what we would acquire, how we would reconfigure our bags. We weighed ourselves and bikes outside a 7/11 in Thailand: Dmitry+bike+luggage was 97 kg (214 lbs), Mila+bike+luggage was 102 kg (225 lbs). Meaning that since Dmitry is a little heavier than me, I was carrying way too much stuff. (My bike is also about one pound heavier than Dmitry’s bike – 28 pounds as opposed to 27 because my handle-bars are a little higher).  Luckily, our two weeks in the US for the holidays allowed us to completely change up our rigs – paring out some things (mostly clothes), adding a few others (mostly bike repair items).

Read full story


Thursday, August 13, 2015

Blog account of a loaded Brompton bike tour starting with the mountains in Banff and Jasper National Park before heading west to Vancouver. A total of 1400 kilometres, including several mountains passes over thousand metres.

Read the full story here

Friday, August 7, 2015

You cannot climb mountains with a Brompton

I was the first to believe this. When I decided to use a Brompton Bicycle for touring I was extremely careful in choosing a route that wouldn't entail much climbing. Cycling the US Pacific coast on a couple of occasions I limited my efforts to uphills that never took me over 1000 metres and grades that seldom exceeded 6%. The reliability and total fun of touring with this bike brought me this year to do something a little more daring, cycling in the canadian Rockies and in the end I was able to tackle pretty hard climbs that I would be hard pushed to climb on any other bike I could chose. I cycled along the Icefield Parkway both ways,  climbing cols over 2000 metres and more challenging even,  Duffey Lake Road from Lillooet to Pemberton in British Columbia ascending 1500 meters often as steep as climbs in the european Alps. All it took were a few minutes pushing the bike where the road was just too steep but these were out of well over two hours of climbing time. I am by no means a strong cyclist, I don't necessarily train before my tours. I get fit as days go by so a sensible first consideration is to not plan the steepest of climbs on your first few days when your body needs to get conditioned to the effort needed to cycle long distances.
 I reached the conclusion that it is indeed possible to climb mountains on a loaded Brompton and the limitation are not that much different from those you have to consider when touring on a heavy loaded bike.
On a Brompton you can chose ( and you should! ) the six reduced gearing option and if this is not enough to get you going, walking is more efficient! On my softest gear while climbing the most difficult sections on Duffey Lake I would cruise at  5 or 6 kmh just above walking speed. Should I need lower gearing I would be better off pushing the bike up when I needed.
I believe this is the same on any bike loaded for touring; you end up using the softest gear and should you go below the five kilometres threshold it hardly makes sense pedalling and it becomes easier pushing the bike to get over the toughest parts. Of course it goes without saying that tourers on touring bikes or mountain bikes will in the end carry much more weight than you do and I often found that to the contrary I was faster while climbing than they were!

You can't ride too far with a Brompton

Another myths I used to believe. Ideally a day ride on my tour will not be so long that I am not able to stop frequently, eat loads and take all the beautiful pictures and videos and still make it to a campsite by 4pm. Talking about distance on average I find that 70 or 80 kilometres is an ideal distance.
Of course sometime we have constraint on times or it is necessary to ride longer to get from point A to B, so what then?
Surprisingly, I found that covering long distances on a Brompton is not impossible either. On a recent tour where I had to cover longer distances than I would have liked I completed several days where in the end my speedometer was just short of 130 kilometres. Indeed this is on par with the longest distances I ever covered on tours with my mountain and I was twenty years younger too!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Taking our fully-loaded Brompton six-speed bikes from sea level up to 1700 meters (5600 feet) required us to briefly engage the Brompton "super-power" - a quick fold, and into the back of a three-wheeled taxi they went. We have been traveling the world on our Brompton bikes for four months, through Thailand, Sri Lanka, India, and Nepal, but the ride up to the Indian Hill Station town of Munnar, nestled amid emerald tea plantations, was our biggest challenge yet. The route took us to the peaks of the Western Ghats, a mountain range that spans the west coast of India.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Just when you start thinking that pretty much everything that can be done with a little folder has been done think again... Six days bicycle tour across the ice of Lake Baikal,  the deepest freshwater lake in the world. This 183 kilometres journey in extreme conditions was carried out in March. Temperatures during the day were 0 degrees but reaching a -20 degrees celsius at night time

View the pictures here


Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Alvin Wong has produced a 'Quick Visual Guide To Basic Brompton Maintenance'. It is a friendly guide by a bunch of Brompton fans. This guide was put together based on knowledge acquired in technical workshops, personal research and experience for the purpose of sharing some Brompton maintenance tips with Brompton owners. Some of the content in this guide are also available on the internet which may or may not be Brompton specific.

View or download the pdf here


Saturday, February 28, 2015

Winter offers special challenges for my Brompton folding bike as it’s not really built to handle snow. I have to disassemble and clean the derailleur at least every two weeks. Yet considering that I have no real treads left on my tires, I think the bike is handling quite well, and the snow is just about over.

Read full story here


Sunday, February 15, 2015

We started at 7:30 in a chilly misty rain. There were some really steep hills out of Carmel and Dani had some early doubts about the wisdom of taking on the hills of Big Sur on our Bromptons. For the first few miles out of Carmel, highway 1 was a busy multiple lane highway. It subsequently narrowed to two lanes, but it didn’t get much less busy.

Read more here


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Sri Lankans love to honk as their vehicles pass us on the road – some of them are clearly “hello” honks (often accompanied by a wave, a shouted “hello” or just a head wobble). Others seem more like a “get out of my way” honks or “just so you know, I am right beside you” honks. Most are obnoxiously loud, some are startling enough to almost make me ride into the sandy shoulder. Honestly, despite the obvious good intentions behind it, all the unnecessary honking gets old extremely fast. But once in a while, you hear a tuk-tuk approach from behind, brace yourself for the inevitable blare of the horn, and instead (or in addition to) you get a vehicle packed with children shouting hello, waving, and giving big smiles. Oh, Sri Lanka, we can’t stay mad at you.

Read the full article here


Thursday, January 22, 2015

I would do this again with my Brompton. It complements bike touring the Netherlands very well. Because it’s flat and easy to ride around, I didn’t have any difficulty with 16 inch tires and 2 speeds. Some hotels have very small and some even don’t have elevators with steep narrow stairs to climb, but I didn’t have trouble managing it. Flashing bike lights are illegal, so bring spare lights, extra batteries, chargers, etc. Bring music too! The only complaint I have about the trip was that my baggages were too heavy to go any faster and longer.

Read full article here


Monday, January 12, 2015

A twenty days and 1300 kilometres ride from the northern California border to San Luis Obispo. Like last year the Brompton proved an amazing and reliable bike. During the trip I had to take one bus transfer to cut about hundred kilometres of busy roads. I just pulled aside once I reached the bus stop and in less than ten minutes the bike was neatly packed and ready to board the bus!


Cyclopolitan have used 2 Brompton folding bikes with a trailers and traveled around Europe for a year. To see how they pack their things and carry them they posted an interesting youtube video detailing all their equipment.

View their video here


Sunday, January 11, 2015

Russ and Laura's blog The Path Less Pedalled was my first personal inspirations when considering the Brompton as a feasible touring option.  As they say there isn't such a thing as a perfect touring bicycle but after a month on the road they felt Bromptons do fit their traveling style perfectly and are as perfect to them as they could have hoped to find.

Read full article here



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