Friday, March 12, 2021

Bromptons in the house!!!

It seemed like it would be forever until we receive our Bromptons, but they are finally here.

I can't begin to say how great it is to have these iconic bikes sharing our home.

Today's video explains how a pair of House Red Bromptons wormed their way into our home.

It all began... well, no. That would spoil the video.

We haven't really begun to enjoy them. Well, that's not quite true.

Yesterday I took mine out on its first little trip in the real world, a modest jaunt down the street to Starbucks at Mel Lastman Square to share a coffee with my friend Glenn. I realized that I hadn't seen a friend since last fall when I dropped in on Ed. The full sense of the deprivation sinks in when you meet that first friend in many, many months...

Not quite unexpectedly, my Brompton became an instant star of the encounter. Glenn needed to see it unfold, and fold, no surprise there. But the only passer-by stopped to marvel and ask twenty questions about my mechanical jewel. I guess that's something I'll have to get used to. Imagine when someone spots my Brompton riding pillion on my Vespa, because that day is near.

If you think that yesterday was my first time in my Brompton's saddle, think again, and watch the video, it may just amuse you.

If you are reading this and you are intrigued, and a little unsatisfied and frustrated that I am not really providing nearly enough detail, having perhaps piqued your curiosity... watch the video and be prepared to take notes. Actually, put the pencil down, the details are in the show notes, or... well, that's not fair because the video says that there are show notes here, as well. 

So here goes:

We bought our beautiful Bromptons at Curbside Cycle at 412 Bloor Street West in Toronto. They had to be special-ordered from the factory in London, because there is no such thing as Brompton inventory. Just as well, because there are many, many different configurations. You can occasionally find one for sale, second hand, but be prepared to pay double the retail price, no kidding!

The life-changing eleven best YouTube channels for everything you might want to know about Bromptons but that you didn't learn just by watching my video, are, in no particular order [drum roll]...

  1. Brian's i bike unfolded
  2. Gianni's Brompton traveler
  3. Christine's Chris by bike
  4. Victor's Everyday cycling
  5. Hannah's Brilliant bikes
  6. Pam & Gilbert's 2bikes4adventure
  7. Peter's Petrelli on wheels
  8. Susanna's Susanna Thorton
  9. Heather and Pier's Bromptoning and their blog
  10. Michelle's One car less (was called Ride on cycling)
  11. and the Brompton commuter channel Cycle every day

Be prepared to be amazed, and maybe even tempted!. If you want it all in a brilliant nutshell, then click here to watch Victor's brilliant summary "What makes it so special".

The special music for this episode is Jazz in Paris by Media Right Productions, and my favourite outtro track, Minor Blues for Booker by E's Jammy Jams, both courtesy of the YouTube audio library.

Be prepared, there will be more Brompton content, and Vespa content, and even Vespa-meets-Brompton and Brompton-meets-Vespa content. That is not a joke. You'll see.


SonjaM said...

Your enthusiasm about the bike is contagious, David. First thing coming to mind was, that you probably have a parking garage for testing purposes, and voilĂ  I just watched you riding in said garage. It's amazing how the muscle memory never forgets how to cycle, eh? You did good! Looking forward to your Brompton-spiced adventures. Enjoy the riding and the farkling, and watch out for Diesel or oil spots while exercising in the underworld.

bocutter ed said...

When you do get out & about note that there is access to my (coffee)shop from both Serena Gundy & Wilket Creek Parks ...

David Masse said...

@Sonja Wow the Brompton content has a lot more traction than all my previous content.

Making videos can be exquisitely complex. The computer universe did its best to prevent this video from seeing the light of day (my iPod studio camera sel-destructed, the video editing software crashed repeatedly damaging the source file, the computer crashed multiple times, and the list goes on...). Glad I persevered.

Thanks for your encouragement and kind words Sonja.

David Masse said...

@Ed next time I’m there I expect a guided tour.

bocutter ed said...

Bring a lazy susan. One spin and tour is done.

David Masse said...

@Ed I was looking at the map, and wondering if there is a hidden way to get from your shop into the Don cycle path network without having to use major thoroughfares.

bocutter ed said...

As I recall you can walk to Rykert Cres from Serena Gundy. Not sure about bikes. There is a trail from Wilket Creek to that short section of Leslie between Research and Wickstead, but again not sure if it's bike or walk.

Steve Williams said...

I just finished watching the video and have a confession and a complaint. The confession first -- the video was inspiring and infectious with your passion (or obsession) apparent. As you wound through the information I was glued to the screen until the end. Excellent stuff.

And now the complaint -- just what I need, another interest inspired and active which will no doubt consume time and thought. As I began watching I was thinking I can just clean up my old mountain bike and ride out of the driveway into the rolling, winding roads of central PA. By the end though I was thinking I need a Brompton. Damn.

One last observation -- your Brompton video has inspired a lot more interest than the Vespa ones. Not sure why that's the case. I can only imagine that there are far more people interested in those folding bikes than they are in scooters!

David Masse said...

Well Steve, my last intention was to cause grief. That said, I have to say that the Brompton cult is a very real thing. Even a brief dabble with the 11 channels I listed quickly underscores the genius of the Brompton as a means of travel. They are just so well conceived and executed, it almost boggles the mind.

The true genius of it is that they just go anywhere, and fit anywhere, and they spark conversations, even more reliably than Vespas do.

As for the impact on the channel, it is truly bewildering.

Steve Williams said...

I watched a few Brompton videos and could hear the reverent tones used to describe the machines and their experiences on them. As I watched I realized I don't share many of the concerns driving the need for a Brompton -- portability or space being the main ones. My riding, if I ride, begins at the end of the driveway. And even if I wanted to go somewhere far away, I can easily put my mountain bike in the minivan.

What surprised me though was when I looked at a pricelist at a local bike shop that carries Bromptons in stock and the prices were shocking. Until I looked at the prices of the full sized bikes. Geez. I haven't bought a bike since that late 70s. This particular shop was only selling expensive stuff. I couldn't find a full sized bike under $2400. Some at $5K.

Kim was looking at me as I talked about Bromptons and said, "Maybe you should try riding the bike you have now." Reading her tone I could hear "idiot." She's a smart one.

So maybe on one of these warm days I'll take it out for a ride.

WhenIRide said...

I find it funny how bicycle people, myself included, get all giddy about a particular bike they ride, own or want to. Back in the 90's I was salivating over Softride bicycles and eventually owned two. Then the company stopped making bikes. When I finally sold my last Softride and moved on to a significantly lighter performance bicycle, that I was also giddy over, and I would go on to log more miles than I have ever done. As an avid cyclist and a man of modest means, I don't think I could ever own/ride a Brompton, I'm just not that kind of rider. But I still appreciate your enthusiasm and love of your little foldable steed, it makes me smile. Bicycle people are awesome.

David Masse said...

Thanks for the very kind comment Ted. These Bromptons, believe it or not, are the first bicycles I have bought. All my other bicycles without exception, have been gifts. The first four (a brand new Raleigh 24" coaster brake bike, a 26" Raleigh Sturmey Archer twist-grip three speed, and a 10-speed derailleur second hand bike that I think was quite high quality but I can't recall the brand, and a really good Norco 18-speed super lightweight road bike - that last one a gift from my law firm when I left to work in-house at a major corporation and the only previous bike that I still have) were gifts. The remaining one, a Specialized road bike I inherited from my father. My Brompton is bike 6. The only reason I could spring for two Bromptons was because part of my government old-age security pension was deposited in a new bank account and my wife and I managed not to notice for like two years or so. We only found the money after enquiring with the government pension office to track my wife's payments that we thought weren't being made. When we finally found the money, it was tagged by us as 'mad money'. It has served to replace our AC unit that gave up the ghost last year, and these two darling Bromptons. But for the mad money we wouldn't have those bikes. God works in mysterious ways. The fact is that I haven't ridden any bikes since 2009 when I spent ~1K kilometres in the saddle of Montreal bike share bikes. My Norco that I received in 1986 hasn't had my bum in its saddle for longer than I care to admit. That said, the amazing thing is that, in the Brompton's saddle, with my eye on the bike path, or doing shoulder checks, The feel of the Brompton is more like a regular bike than what you might expect. The key differences are a) more maneuverable (almost but not quite twitchy) in the same way that my Vespa compares to a cruiser like the Honda 750 ACE that has gone off to a new owner, and b) the quirky transmission - 2 sprockets with a derailleur, mated to a 3 speed Sturmey Archer hub. Shifting gears requires some gentle pedal work (pedal for the derailleur, hesitate on the pedals for the hub shift). The huge exciting thing for these bikes is that they can literally stay right by my side no matter where I go - indoors or out, in the car, on buses, subways, trains or planes. And that is where the total game change happens. Finally, I agree that bicycle people are awesome, sometimes a little crazy. When I rode the Bixi bike-share bikes on my lunch hour, I had a Fox40 whistle hanging from my helmet at my means of self defence against the lunch time crowd and traffic. Montreal's then brand-new de Maisonneuve bi-directional bike path on a busy one-way downtown street was crazy because the pedestrians would only watch for westbound traffic and would step into the busy eastbound bike lane without watching. That horribly aggressive whistle saved me from countless collisions. Thank you so much once more for a very thoughtful comment.

David Masse said...

Steve, yes they are pricey, that's for sure. But I had begun my folding bike search looking at e-bikes, specifically RAD Power bikes. Those are truly pricey. I also checked out traditional bikes, and while the Bromptons were pricey, they weren't that much more expensive. When you factor in portability and discount for not needing a bike rack, they are equivalent or slightly cheaper. All in all, so far, I am still thrilled with the purchase.

The copyright in all text and photographs, except as noted, belongs to David Masse.