I’ve been pondering getting a new bike for a while now.
I came to the conclusion that what I really wanted was something that I could use for the commute to/from the train station. It’s not a huge distance by any standards – about 2/3 of a mile from home to the station, then (weirdly) exactly the same again from Leeds station up to where I work near the Merrion Centre.
However, it’s downhill from home to the station – the time when I’d be looking to get there quickly, and downhill from work to the station – again, a time when I’m usually in a rush to catch the train home.
I see various people at the station with various flavours of bike, from the full-size, full-suspension mountain bikers to the fixie hipster racers. Then there’s the folding bike tribe – usually Bromptons - they’re the ones which interest me the most. My usual trains are usually fairly busy and taking a full-size bike on there, whilst an option, is risky and a little inconsiderate, squeezing it into the vestibule amongst all the other passengers, or worst-case scenario, not being allowed to take it on the train at all.
So, I’ve been looking at folding bikes.
In an ideal world, with a suitable bag of cash, I’d go for a Brompton M6L, in bright orange. But the price tag is just so utterly vast that it’s just not an option. Brompton owners swear by them though, and there’s almost an Apple fanboy-esque adoration of them amongst their owners. Second-hand Bromptons also hold their value incredibly well, with bikes going for virtually what they cost new. There’s a lovely orange Brompton in the shop window of Evans Cycles in Leeds, on my way to the station, and I pause and admire it rather too often.
There’s also a great blog called My Orange Brompton, which I love reading, and has whetted my appetite for a folding bike.
I decided that what I really ought to do was check out eBay and Gumtree. Going second-hand for my first folder is a sensible option, I figured. It’d give me a chance to see how practical they are on a day-to-day basis. They might be a bit heavier, and not fold quite as small as the Brompton, but they’d give me a good idea.
An hour on eBay later, and it seems there are a ton of folders for sale, often at entirely reasonable (if not ridiculously cheap) prices. I’ve currently got my eye on this Raleigh Stowaway 3-speed which has the advantage of being local for pickup, should I win the auction.
I also saw this one which I really like – the Oyama Manhattan. It’s rather nice to look at, though on a more practical note, it’s only a single-speed. That said, there’s less to go wrong on a single-gear bike, and it would build up the leg muscles!
Do you have a folding bike? What kind is it? Do you have a folding bike story to share?