Wednesday, February 11, 2009

In Which Buying Another Bicycle is More Difficult than Expected

I've been taking the train all the way to work a lot more than I do normally, and this results in a walk of around 3 miles each way, in total. (Two miles to the station, a mile from the station at the other end to work, and the same journey in reverse in the evening).

As any fule kno, 3 miles is a distance that any bicycle laughs at, so I've been seriously considering a folding bike for those days when 28 miles a day of riding seems a bit much.

Why a folding bike? In their wisdom, Britain's railway companies offer little in the way of carriage for full sized bicycles, and will occasionally make you reserve in advance, pay a supplemental charge, &c &c. (A to B magazine provide an excellent summary of train operators' cycle policies here). The rail part of my usual commute is handled by the excellent and pragmatic Northern Rail, who will carry bicycles on a first come, first served basis, so long as they do not block exits &c.

However, because my "long train" commute is at a later time, I can end up travelling with different train operators, and at busier times, so my chance of being "bumped" from the service increases. Here's where the folding bike comes in - almost all operators will carry folding bikes without restriction. Plus, of course, on my later commute, I can unfold the bike at the other end, and cycle to work, an advantage over using a full size bike to get to the start of my train journey only.

Having read around a little, I'd pretty much decided upon the British designed "Mezzo D9" which looks to be a nice bike with compact fold and what's claimed to be "a big bike ride". (I think this is at least partly to do with it having a steering offset (it has a conventional stem on the fork, as opposed to a steering column directly above the forks).

(Mezzo bike Video)

Of course, no plan survives contact with a bike shop, so I've now convinced myself that the battle to be my folding bike has been joined, between the Mezzo, and the Brompton. Your take on either bike would be welcomed, but I suspect the final decision will hinge (no pun intended) upon a test ride, to be undertaken some time in the next couple of weeks.

(Brompton Folding Demonstration)

Useful Links;
The Folding Society
A to B Magazine
Mezzo Bikes

1 comment:

Woz! said...

Did you ever decide?
As you possibly know, I have the Brompton and I think it's a great little bike. The fold is extremely well thought out - the chain stays inside the package when folded so it's not likely to get oil on your clothes when you carry it.
I find the ride very good - I've ridden it over reasonable distances, at speed. The only thing is that it can be a little twitchy at the front, but this is a good thing in heavy traffic in my experience.