Touring on folding bikes. The Pros and Cons

I have been throwing around the idea of getting a folding bike for cycle touring. I took test rides on a Brompton and a Bike Friday but haven’t pulled the trigger and bought one yet. I have put together this list of pros and cons of touring with a folding bike to help me make a decision. Hopefully it helps you too. For an analysis of 8 of the best folding bikes for touring, skip to the second half of this article.

Read the full article here
Continue Reading

Charging Gadgets on your Brompton

When you tour with a Brompton bike you are probably carrying a mobile phone maybe a camera, a goPro to film your tour and other electronic gadgets that need charging. If your are planning a tour where you stay in hotels overnight all you need to take is adaptors and cables to charge at the end of the day. One thing I have done in the past if I needed is stop at restaurants or cafes asking if they wouldn't mind me charging my mobile while I had my meal.

If on the other hand you like more freedom and don't want to be limited by hotel bookings, you might find that access to electricity outlets is not always available. 

How to keep everything charged

The best way to keep your gadgets charged during a Brompton tour is to bring along a battery pack together with a solar panel. Every year these become more and more powerful and efficient in storing power. I carry two products from Anker that have been of great use on my tours. Anker PowerPort Solar and an Anker PowerPort

During the day while I cycle, I open the Solar Panel on top of my T-Bag like you see on the picture above. I use 2 carabiner to attach it to the plastic loops that are on the bag and carry the cable into the zip Pocket at the back of the T-Bag which is where I store my battery pack that gets charged. You will also notice from the picture that I have a registration plate hanging forward. The reason I do this is that the three panels of the PowerPort Solar should be on top of the bag to get a better exposure to light. This means that if you cycle fast and especially when riding downhill the wind will probably push your panels and often cause them to close. By putting some kind of weight hanging on the bag ( in my case a registration plate! ) you can prevent this from happening. If I do sometime stay in hotels of course I can charge the battery pack overnight but if your Solar Panel is open all day while you cycle I find that I am able to charge all my gadgets.

As I use my mobile phone for pictures, videos and to store my maps for guidance it is important to make sure that I have an efficient way to keep it powered. These two gadgets solved the problem.

For a video tutorial follow the link below.

Watch full video here
Continue Reading

Bike Packing Ladakh on a Brompton

Ten years before this trip, I traveled around the Indian Himalayas region of Ladakh and followed the Manali to Leh road by jeep. Confined in a car all I could do was catching short glimpses of spectacular mountains and vast plains. In the following years, every now and then I would remind myself that if ever there was a road I should cycle, it was this one. I envied the courage of those that did, yet I would have never imagined that one day I would do it myself on a Brompton bike.

View the full video
Continue Reading

Packing a Brompton for Travel

Are you looking for a complete and detailed description on how to pack a Brompton bike ready for air travel? I have posted a video on my latest setup on Brompton Traveler YouTube channel. I have used a similar system for over five years and about 20 flights and it has always allowed me to begin my tour without any problems to the bike.

View full video here
Continue Reading

River Danube on a Brompton

After my first big cycle trip about ten years ago, I can honestly say that in my mind there is no better way to see the world.  You have to problem solve and work together as a team and you are rewarded by seeing amazing sights and meet interesting people who have stories to tell.  If you have not tried cycle touring yet, get out there on a tour, start small if you want to gain confidence.  Trust me the only problem is you wont want to stop!

Read full story here
Continue Reading


Pushing his bike, body and equipment to the absolute limits, those limits were eventually found, frustratingly in the form of a non standard Brompton part. The Alfine hub which was fitted in order to allow enough range of gearing to summit cols of this race failed, leaving Roger to ride his final 250 km with drag equivalent to a brake being applied - not to mention a mind-numbing knocking sound.

Read the full story here
Continue Reading

Brompton Multi-Modal Bike Touring

Cycle touring with a Brompton folder makes a lot of sense when you want to take away the hassle of transporting the bike to your holiday destination. Furthermore I find it the perfect option whenever I  plan to take some kind of transportation as part of my tour. When time is a constraint, you can easily skip that not so interesting stretch and rather focus on the best bits to cycle.
The initial transfer whether by plane, train or bus will be made much easier using a Brompton as you won't have to drag a large bike box to the starting point of your journey or argue with staff at check in who are often not as sympathetic towards cyclists carrying bikes.

The way I do it, perfected after several trips with my Brompton bike, is detailed in carrying luggage on a Brompton, an article where I clearly explain how I pack each bag and what I put where. Follow the link above to read the article and get good tips on how to maximise comfort and ease on your tour.

    ( 1 )

    Carry your clothes, gadgets and other valuables in the backpack with you to the airport or station or wherever you need to start the journey from.
    Inside a large soft bike bag, put the bicycle folded inside an IKEA Dimpa bag or something equivalent that can fit a Brompton bike. Depending on the remaining space, you should be able to fit in a small tent, sleeping mat, bike tools, sleeping bag if you need, etc. All these will also function as padding and allow a bit of extra protection for the bike. As a further help to protect the bike it is a good idea to slide in some thick cardboards along the walls of the Dimpa bag.
    Once arrived, the large soft bike bag can be folded and carried with you when you reach your tour starting point and begin cycling. This allows a lot of flexibility in planning your tour as the starting point and end point can be in a different location if you wish to.

    ( 2 )

    Keep the backpack on your shoulders as carry on luggage and check in the bike bag.
      ( 3 )

      Once reached your starting destination, fold the soft empty bike bag small and fit it at the bottom of the backpack as it won't be used until your final return journey. Pack all your valuables and items that you want to keep easily accessible and safe at all times in the T-Bag while leaving clothing and other less valuable things  in the backpack. With little practice this enables you to be ready to start your tour in half an hour or little more!

      ( 4 )

      If during your journey you need to take a train or a bus to get to somewhere else or avoid cycling part of your journey, simply remove the Dimpa bag folded flat at the bottom of the T-Bag in front of the bike, fold the bike and put it inside it, shift the backpack to your shoulders and ... bingo, in a matter of 10 minutes your set-up allows you to be ready to jump on a fast train, bus, boat or car!

        Continue Reading

        Filming your bike tour

        There are more and more options on the market to help us film our tours. GoPro and Sony Action Cam are only some of the most popular dedicated action cameras on the current market.
        It has now become easier to be able to document a cycling trip with a short movie, share it online and show it to family and friends but mostly together with the pictures, providing a wonderful record and memory of your trip.
        Traveling light can be a limiting factor on the things; gadgets nowadays have become so addictive and can add a considerable weight with their bundle of cables, batteries and chargers. As much as possible the rule is to bring things that have more than one purpose.
        My iPhone is something that definitely falls into this category and more. I use it to take pictures, videos, check email and maps, read books and the list goes on but most relevant here, I found it to be a surprisingly excellent tool to take videos while on the bike.
        A lanyard around my neck is attached to the mobile phone that rests in a shirt pocket and is ready at all times to be handheld without the fear of dropping it! Whether I am still or riding the bike I can easily access it and quickly be ready to shoot an interesting scene. As the picture above shows the best position I found for filming with the iPhone is on a Brompton Bag, simply sitting on top with the strap tight above to keep it in place. This position allows for great shots of the road ahead, tends to absorb some of the shakiness of the bicycle and you can start and stop recording from your riding position by quickly touching the screen.
        I don't want to risk breaking a phone and mostly losing all those videos I have taken and the best precaution I found is a lanyard (you can see the red string above) that provides extra security should the phone slip or fall while I ride. If the phone is handheld the lanyard goes around my neck or around my wrist, while the phone is on the bike I would wrap it around the bike handlebar.
        Another useful tool I found especially if you are traveling solo and want some of the shots to include your very self, is a Joby Gorilla pod that together with a clip can function as a great tripod to put on the road while filming or hang on a pole or a fence to provide new exciting clips.
        I find the extra advantage of using a mobile phone for filming is also the fact that I can preview and edit my clips in the evening, keep what is good and delete what is not interesting. This way at the end of the trip I won't have to sift through all the videos again to figure out what is good and what is not usable on my movie.
        I really enjoy filming my trips and therefore I have also purchased a GoPro action camera in order to provide some extra clips and different views. These cameras are dedicated to action filming and thanks to a multitude of attachments and tools can be used to get some views that would otherwise be more complicated with a phone. The most useful attachements I carry are the chest strap and a selfie stick that can be used with a bit of extra caution while riding as well as to film oneself commentaries etc.

        If you are interested in how I film my Brompton bike tours I have uploaded a tutorial explaining in details how I capture my shots while on and off the bike.

        Watch full video here
        Continue Reading

        Bike Packing California on a Brompton

        California has so much to offer when it comes to bike touring. You can be riding 2000 km along the Pacific Ocean, up 3000 metres mountains in the Sierras or cycle through incredible forest of giant Redwood trees. Or why not if you have Brompton you might be able to combine them all even if you are a little short in time. Some of the highlights are shown on this video and there are many more to explore.

        Watch full video here
        Continue Reading

        Icefield Parkway on a Brompton

        A video of a Brompton folding bike ride along the Icefield Parkway in Canada. Starting in Banff Alberta I reached Jasper after 232 km, before returning from the opposite side, arriving in the mountain resort of Lake Louise. It is one of the most beautiful journeys on the planet, winding along the Continental Divide through soaring rocky mountain peaks, icefields and vast sweeping valleys.

        Continue Reading

        Fixing a Rear Tyre Puncture

        Most important for any Brompton bike touring is to get some practice on how to best remove the back wheel on your Brompton something you will have to do each time you want to replace your inner tube or even replace your old tyre.
        A great 3 part tutorial from Brompton dealers at NYCE Wheels will show you in details what it takes and how to do this safely.

        Watch video series here
        Continue Reading

        San Francisco Ramblings on a Brompton

        A bike touring video of the San Francisco Bay Area on a Brompton folding bike. The tour was divided into two parts and included cycling in San Francisco itself then following the Pacific coast to Santa Cruz before heading up to Big Basin National Park. The second part was mostly spent cycling around Skyline Drive, Alpine Road, Page Mill Road, La Honda, etc.

        Watch full video here
        Continue Reading