My Brompton & me

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My Brompton & me

Back in March 2006. I bought a Brompton folding bike. I wanted a bicycle so that I could ride from my apartment on 90th Street down to the Greenmarket at Union Square. I did my research and decided on a folding bike so that it could easily fit in my New York apartment, and I decided on the Brompton - it seemed to be the best. Conveniently, I live just a few blocks away from Nycewheels - a specialist in folding bikes! I had extensive discussions with Bert Cebular, the owner, and bought my Brompton M6R-Plus folding bike. I bought mine with Eazy-wheels for rolling the Brompton when half-folded as well as the huge touring pannier accessory.

Let me just say that the Brompton is the greatest thing - BUY IT and make sure you get the Eazy-wheels and the big Touring bag. And get yourself a small camera and tripod to always take along.

The Brompton folds up very small. In fact, I keep it at home in a bookcase.

Who needs a garage, put your ride up on the book shelf!

On most days, I have been riding my Brompton bike to work. I work across the street from the Staten Island Ferry at the very bottom tip of Manhattan. It is about 7.5 miles each way. I started commuting at the end of March, and, in the first seven months, I have completed 99 round trips. As I was taking an express bus each way at $5 a trip, I have saved $990 in these seven months.

The commute has been pretty wonderful. The Brompton easily handles the 7.5 miles in comfort and is pretty darn fast. It takes me about 40 minutes each way, and I ride mostly along a bicycle path on the East River. I always have my cute little orange Casio Exilim S500 camera with me as well as my cute little Joby Gorillapod 1.6 ounce tripod.

Portable bike, portable tools

The light is always different on the river and the bridges can be quite beautiful. Here are some river pictures:

Our amazing City of New York, no better place for a folding bike

I carry my work clothes in my bicycle bag and sometimes my computer. When I get to my office building. I half unfold the bicycle so that it rests and rolls on its Eazy wheels (4 inline skate wheels connected to the rack over the rear wheel). With handlebars still upright, the half-folded bicycle is more like a shopping cart. I push it right into my office building (though unfolded bicycles are not allowed) and take it right to my desk.

Brommie in tow

I then complete the fold up and keep the bike behind my desk:

Brompton folded under office desk

Below is a picture of me in my riding regalia with the Brompton loaded and unfurled. Note my helmet which I always wear when I ride.

Steve on his favorite ride - the worlds best folding bike from the UK.

Brompton half folded. The greatest thing again is the Eazy-wheels and the big touring pannier. I can ride across town to the Fairway market, half-fold the bike in seconds, push it through the store using the bag as a shopping cart, checkout, roll out of the store, unfold in seconds, and ride off into the horizon. The bicycle is terrific. I thank you Brompton and I thank you NYCewheels.

Update Aug-07:
It's been 16 months and I am still riding the 15-mile roundtrip to work about every day and have completed 220 roundtrips. The bike has held up wonderfully after more than 3,500 miles. I take it shopping all the time, and I have been even known to push it the one block to the supermarket and back, just to use it as a shopping cart.
I am still amazed at how great this bike is. Buy it - with the easy-wheels and the big bag. It's the kind of terrific thing you would expect in a Hammacher Schlemmer catalogue, i.e., the amazing folding bicycle / shopping cart. But they don't have it.
Thank goodness that NYCeWheels does!!!

Update: September 2011

Yup, I'm still riding, and it's now been about 5.5 years of commuting the 15-mile roundtrip to work. (I now have 915 roundtrips under my belt.) I have put 14,300 miles on the Brompton through very rough and tough NYC streets; but yeah to improved & improving NYC bike lanes and the East River Greenway. I still pack my camera every day and am still thrilled to watch the sun come up over the East River. People still go slack-jawed when I push the Brompton in shopping-cart mode out of Fairway, unfold the bike, and ride off into the sunset. The only difference now is that there is a Fairway on the Eastside. The Brompton continues to ride like a dream. Once again, thank you Brompton; thank you NYCeWheels.

Update: April 2013

April 25, 2013 - My 20,000 Mile Brompton Update

A month ago, I celebrated my 7th year of Brompton ownership and "Bromptonphilia." It was also my 7th anniversary of almost daily commutes from 89th Street on the Eastside to the bottom tip of Manhattan across from Battery Park. Yesterday, I had another celebration, my little, incredible, wonder-folding Brompton clocked in its twenty-thousandth mile! Count them, that's 20,000 miles of pounding the famous NYC streets.

That's riding over the famous NYC pot-marked and pot-holed streets, through bumper-to-bumper traffic, and through all sorts of NYC weather. All of this while carrying huge loads in my large pannier - my computer, change of clothes and, when I shop, maybe a case of wine, maybe a six pack of beer. With my Eazy-wheel setup, I'm forever using the half-folded Brompton as a shopping cart - loading up bushels of kohlrabi, jars of pickles, and gallons of milk, in addition to that wine and beer. My Brompton has stood the test of time and the test of miles as well as the ultimate test of NYC riding.

Yes, I have had to replace a tire or two or three and a wheel, and have brought the bike in for a number of NYCeWheels tune-ups. But, I will tell you, my little Brompton still rides and folds like a dream.
- Steve Boss

All photographs: Copyright - 2006 Steven Boss