It’s been just over a year now since I picked up my Brompton M3L on a trip to London. Since then, more than any of the other bikes I’ve owned, it has become almost like a limb. Whenever I get on the train without it (a rarity) I inevitably have several “Oh crap! Where’s my bike‽” moments during the journey.
The Brompton was in a reasonable condition when I got it, although the previous owner had opted for the high-gearing option and the Brooks B67 which came with it was in need of a bit of repair. Over the past year the bike has had several modifications and upgrades:
- A C-bag and luggage block
- A Shimano dynamo wheel, Spanninga rear light and B&M Lyt front lamp
- A replacement bottom bracket
- Schwalbe Marathon Plus tyres
- Kool Stop brake pads
- A B&M Cyo T front light
- A T-bag
- A new chainset and sprocket
Whilst the DL-1 is still my first choice for local trips, the fact that I can easily take the Brompton with me on train journeys has meant it has seen as much, if not more use than the DL-1 in the past year. In the time I have had it, the bike has paid for itself in public transport and taxi fare savings alone. I have also used it for several longer rides, including on Boxing Day when I cycled from Macclesfield to Rochdale due to a lack of public transport. The Brompton performs extremely well on these rides, due in part to the fact that knowing it can be folded and taken on a bus. Knowing I can give up makes me more ambitious with the distances I ride, so far I have always seen these rides through.
The Brompton has been one of those purchases which makes you think, “I should have bought this years ago.” The many ways in which this bicycle makes its usefulness apparent has often left me wondering why everyone doesn’t own or aspire to own one of these extremely useful machines.