In 8 weeks I will be the proud owner of a brand new Brompton M6R with a cobalt blue body and white accents. I have been looking at compact folding bikes on and off for a few months now, and after test riding a Brompton at my local bike shop I was smitten. I am literally bouncing with excitement now that it's been ordered!
The question is, was this just a impulse buy? Did I get so caught up in it's cute little wheels and the extremely enthusiastic salesman that I spent way more than I should have? To be honest, I'm not sure. I know I have a lot of reasons why I decided I wanted one, and a lot of them go right along with my plans to travel, but that doesn't mean this wasn't still an expensive impulse buy.
To go along with this new purchase I have been thinking about restructuring my year abroad in New Zealand. Originally, I was planning on spending somewhere between $9,000 and $12,000 on a Campervan or beat up RV to drive around the country. Now I'm leaning toward buying a cheap car (possibly a station wagon for sleeping in) and getting some camping gear and sleeping in a tent. I estimate I can save at least $5000 by doing it this way, not to mention the savings on gas/diesel when switching from a van to a car. This transition is actually where the Brompton comes in.
I had contemplated buying a full sized bike when I got to New Zealand and trying to stow it in the van. Now that I'm leaning toward a car, a folding bike is the only practical solution unless I can find a vehicle with a bike rack already installed. The Brompton has the smallest folded dimensions of all the folding bikes, and the company has been around for 35 years. While they are a bit pricey
(mine came in at just over $1,600), the fact that my local bike shop has started carrying them recently tells me that they are of good quality for the cost. I've also heard stories of people getting away with plane side checking them as well, which I intend to test if mine comes in before my trip to Portland. Not having to check a bag for flying is a huge bonus for me as I'm trying to pack ultra lite. How neat would it be to just walk out of the airport, unfold my bike, hop on and ride to my hotel?
To be completely honest with you, I have very little bike riding experience. The last real ride I went on was in 2009 in Calgary, AB when my friend David thought it would be a great idea to ride to the Zoo and back. Needless to say, I almost died, and I had to push my bike the majority of the way back! The thing is though, I felt absolutely amazing for the next couple of days. I've been wanting that feeling back, but having two flights of stairs and an apartment has also kept me from buying a full size bike. With a folder it will be much easier to haul it up stairs and store it!
So, maybe it was a bit of an expensive impulse buy, but I had many good excuses for getting it. Here's hoping everything works out like I hope it will, and that the United Airlines doesn't mind me wheeling it through the security checkpoint!
The colors I chose for my Brompton!