Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Close Encounters Of The Brompton Kind

I met another local folding bike enthusiast at a neighbor's party last weekend and -- finally -- got to put my paws on an oh-so-British Brompton origami cycle.

First impression? WOW, that is one compact fold. In its fully-folded state, the thing looks like a bicycle that's been squashed in a trash compactor. It's just a little rectangular block of twisty metal with the occasionally recognizable bike part showing through. But in a few simple motions, the owner turned that little block into an actual bicycle. And, zip zip zip, just as quickly, he had it back in "cube" mode. Even better, the rear rack (which ends up on the bottom when the bike is folded) is equipped with wheels so the package can be rolled around instead of carried. So elegant.

Even more impressive, he was able to teach me the folding sequence -- despite the fact that at that point in the party, neither one of us was in any condition to operate machinery of any sort (lest there be any concern for our safety/responsibility, I walked home while he and the bike got a ride from a designated driver). Once I'd mastered the fold, we had to head over to my garage so he could geek out on my Swift and my wife's Raleigh 20.

I obviously have no ride report, considering my state at the time, but we did promise to get together again under less festive circumstances and play Musical Folding Bikes. I'm crazy excited about this prospect, as the Brompton has always fascinated me. My only fear is that I'll feel the need to own one after riding it.

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