A Getaway with Bromptons

Brompton Getaway

We’re up on the North Coast, taking a few days to celebrate an important anniversary while recharging our batteries before starting the new year. This is one of our favorite areas, and for us, there’s no prettier place on the planet.

Brompton Getaway
Brompton Getaway

Unfortunately, the only way to get up here is by driving an automobile or taking a very long, difficult, and time consuming bike ride. A 225-mile bike ride was out of the question for a weekend getaway, so we threw the Bromptons into the back of our little economy car and drove up. Now that we’re here, we’re using the Bromptons to get around and enjoy the area.

Brompton Getaway
Brompton Getaway

These little bikes are absolutely ideal for this kind of travel. They take up very little room in a car (or a train, which is our preference), they ride like a dream, they store well in a cabin or hotel room, and they can come with us into restaurants and other businesses. When packed in a pair of Brompton “B-Bags”, they take up no more room than a suitcase (see photo).

Brompton Getaway
Brompton Getaway

These bikes allow us to use transit or an automobile to get to a destination, then free us up from the confines of a car once we’ve arrived. They make it possible to explore an area in a way that is just not possible on foot or by car. They totally immerse us in the local environment while providing much more reach than walking.

Brompton Getaway
Brompton Getaway

I think it’s obvious by now that we’re all about minimizing automobile use. Truth be told, we don’t like the amount of driving involved in a trip like this, but once in a while the alternatives just don’t work out. When we do choose to take the car, the Bromptons certainly take a good portion of the sting out of it.

Brompton Getaway

26 Responses to “A Getaway with Bromptons”

  • Bob B says:

    Looks like a beautiful place — have fun!

  • SM says:

    Lovely scenery and lovely bromptons.

  • Clutch J says:

    Beautiful images, as is par for the EcoVelo course.

    There is an Amtrak train-bus route that connects to many North Coast destinations. I’ve yet to take a bike on that particular connector bus, however.

  • Alan says:

    @Clutch J

    Thanks for the heads up on the Amtrak bus; we’ll look into it for next time.

    Regards,
    Alan

  • Alan says:

    @Bob B and SM

    Thank you!

    Regards,
    Alan

  • Dean says:

    Don’t beat yourself up…the automobile has it’s place…and this is it…long trips. Just think how much of a better world it would be if everyone thought like this.

  • voyage says:

    Makes me all the more anxious for my Cannondale Hooligan 8 to get to the LBS/Cdale dealer so that I can build it into a proper micro-commuter micro-utilbike. Hadn’t thought of it as a micro-intermodal tourer. It doesn’t fold…unless, unless FedEx figures out a way. Shit. Hurry up and get here!

  • Alan says:

    Thanks, Dean… :-)

  • Alan says:

    @voyage

    I like that: “micro-intermodal tourer”… :-)

    That looks like a fun, fun bike!

    Alan

  • Lim Soo says:

    Hi Alan,
    I have an arctic blue Brompton M6R as well, mine one is the same colour for the whole bike. Guess what ? I have thought about combined yellow and apple green as well.
    How’d you make Brompton stood nicely in the first picture ?

    You took pictures very nice, esp the one seeing you backs. That self-portrait is really nice.

  • kevin says:

    Hi Alan.
    My wife and I have been looking to go up north and poke around the area over a long weekend. This town looks like a great place to visit – where is it?
    Thanks,
    Kevin

  • Alan says:

    @Lim Soo

    Hi Lim,

    My wife picked the blue/black combo. I thought the yellow green nicely matched our logo, so I went with that one. It’s fun, mixing and matching colors.

    “How’d you make Brompton stood nicely in the first picture ?”

    There’s a log hidden in the grass that the bikes are leaning against.

    Thanks!
    Alan

  • Alan says:

    @Kevin

    The town in the photos is Mendocino. We stayed just south of town at the Stanford Inn (highly recommended – http://www.stanfordinn.com ). Here’s a photo from our balcony overlooking the grounds:

    It’s a beautiful spot and there’s lots to explore. If you prefer, there is also lots of camping available in the area (though some of the campgrounds are closed or partially closed for the winter).

    Alan

  • Bert, folding biker says:

    What a wonderful trip, what a great way to ring in the new year.

    Al the best and keep that eye-candy coming – love your images.

    Bert

  • Daniel M says:

    Hi Alan,

    I’m with Dean here. No reason to beat yourself up; you’ve eliminated the car from your daily routine. On your round-trip, you’ll probably use less gas than you would have in one week’s commuting by car.

    I’ve been using Amtrak train/bus combos the last few months to get from Berkeley to Monterey, taking my Dahon folding bike with me. It is really nice not to have to drive, but it takes over twice as long to get there, which is not always an acceptable trade-off. On the Coast Starlight, I’ve been hassled by the staff because I didn’t put it in a bike box, despite the fact that it’s smaller when folded than many suitcases! Amtrak should better educate their staff about folding bikes. And the Coast Starlight should allow unboxed bikes for those of us who ride to and from the stations.

    This summer my girlfriend and I crammed our Dahons into two Samsonite suitcases (wheels and fenders have to come off) and spent three weeks on the East Coast. It was so liberating to have a bike wherever we went, particularly for a two-night tour on Cape Cod, where we saved money by staying at campgrounds and never once worried about parking. I may yet step up to a Brompton, but I never expected to use the folder so much when I got home. BART is no longer off-limits during commute hours, I can throw it in the car when I do take auto trips and not worry about bashing up my nice bike on a rack, etc.

    Enjoy your much-deserved vacation. Irode through Mendocino on my way down from Oregon this summer and enjoyed my short time there.

  • Micheal Blue says:

    Alan, thanks for this post. As always, juicy photos. How is riding Bromptons on dirt roads and other imperfect surfaces? I have a Dahon with 20″ wheels and can get rattled quite well sometimes…

  • Adam says:

    Isn’t Red Hawk beer made there? I had some at a family reunion (in the midwest) that was very good.

  • Fergie348 says:

    @Alan I’m sure knows about this, but if @Kevin or others travel to the Mendocino area, this is not to be missed: http://www.gardenbythesea.org/

    Have a good trip, @Alan. Weather should be great for the week..

  • Mike Sayce says:

    Nice getaway spot. Two bikes in the back of a Fit with seats up – good selling point for the bikes and the car. What are your thoughts on Bike Friday versus Brompton? (if covered in a previous post, please direct me there). We own two Fits and plan to buy two folders this year for exploring towns and cities in the USA. Thanks for the timely post. Mike

  • Alan says:

    @Daniel M

    “On your round-trip, you’ll probably use less gas than you would have in one week’s commuting by car.”

    Looking at the total mileage, I figure it was equivalent to around 7 days from my old car commute.

    I’m disappointed to hear about your negative experiences with Amtrak. I ride a commuter route which is very bike-friendly, but I’ve heard plenty of stories similar to yours regarding Amtrak’s non-commuter passenger routes. They have plenty of room for improvement in regards to their bike policies.

    Thanks for sharing your experiences with your Dahons. It sounds like you guys are really getting some good use out of them.

    Best regards,
    Alan

  • Alan says:

    @Michael Blue

    “How is riding Bromptons on dirt roads and other imperfect surfaces? “

    We rode some pretty gnarly pave/gravel rods, but not any pure dirt roads. The small wheels do tend to fall into holes more so than large wheels, but it wasn’t bad. Since the Bromptons have rear suspension, keeping your weight over the rear wheel and keeping the front end light does a good job of mitigating for the smaller wheels.

    Alan

  • Alan says:

    @Adam

    “Isn’t Red Hawk beer made there?”

    I’m not sure. There’s a Red Tail Ale brewed by the Mendocino Brewing Company. They’re based out of Ukiah which is in Mendocino County, but inland from the town of Mendocino by approximately 40 miles.

    Alan

  • Alan says:

    @Fergie348

    “@Alan I’m sure knows about this, but if @Kevin or others travel to the Mendocino area, this is not to be missed: http://www.gardenbythesea.org/

    I’ve been going there since I was a kid back in the 60’s. You’re right – it’s well worth a look.

    Thanks!
    Alan

  • Alan says:

    @Mike

    “What are your thoughts on Bike Friday versus Brompton? (if covered in a previous post, please direct me there).”

    A good friend is going to loan me his BF Tikit to review if I ever get my act together enough to take delivery of the bike from him (my fault, not his).

    Here’s a quick comparison from what I know so far..

    Brompton Pros:
    Most clean/compact fold on the market
    Industrial tough
    Refined over many years – zero bugs

    Brompton Cons:
    Essentially “one size fits all”
    Not a great fit for people over 6’2″
    Not cheap
    Uses many proprietary components

    Tikit Pros:
    Fast fold
    Adjustable handlebars
    Offered in multiple sizes
    Uses many off the shelf components

    Tikit Cons:
    Fold not as clean as Brompton
    Bigger than the Brompton
    There was one QC issue with the frame that required a recall, but it’s resolved now

    I hope to take possession of the Tikit within the next few weeks. Once I have it, I’ll have more information on the differences between these two excellent folders.

    Alan

  • Alan says:

    @Bert

    “All the best and keep that eye-candy coming – love your images.”

    Thanks, Bert!

  • Steve says:

    Folding and componentry aside, would love to read your opinion of the ride quality of the Tikit vs the Brompton especially in terms of all day rides.
    Looking forward to your comments in the near future!

    Thanks

 
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