Saturday 22 June 2019

How far can you cycle on a Brompton?

This question is one I have been asked quite a few times. As I was asked this very question by another cyclist (on a road bike) at a set of traffic lights on High Street Kensington yesterday evening, it got me thinking.

In short, for me at least, I don't really know the answer to this question! Now I know that this is probably not what you want to read and thought I would have a full and detailed answer...but I do not.

The furthest distance I have ever cycled on my Brompton was a few years ago when taking part in the Dunwich Dynamo (which incidentally is only a few weeks away, with yours truly taking part). For this if I added the milage cycling to the start and then cycling home at the end - as well as the milage of the Dunwich Dynamo - I clocked up a few yards shy of 150 miles. Thinking hard, I don't think I have cycled further. For this particular event this was the limit for me but I remember taking part in the 100 mile St. Crispin's Day night ride thinking that I had many more miles left in the tank.

My night rides to the coast are typically 60-70 miles and these I can complete quite comfortably. Could I break the 150 mile barrier? Probably, but I would wonder why? I'll come back to this later.

There are lots of Brompton riders out there who cover huge distances. For example, James H took part in the gruelling 2500km 'Atlantic Way Race.' Roger Seaton participated in the Transcontinental Race. Lots of other Brompton riders have taken part in audax rides of 300km. I think, how far you  can cycle on a Brompton is down to the rider and how far they are willing to pedal.

Coming back to yours truly, could I break the 150 mile barrier? If the route wasn't constantly demanding I suspect I could. Saying that I don't think that I would want to. I really enjoy cycling distances up to 100 miles and breaking the 100 mile barrier now and then but even on a road bike, I am not sure I'd want to be in the saddle for the the several hours needed to cover 150 or 200 miles.

The wonderful thing about owning a Brompton is that many underestimate it. They regard it as a quirky commuter bicycle and little more. Lots of Brompton owners - and yes I am very guilty of this - actively look for routes, rides, cycling events that are more geared towards road bikes. Consequently, when rocking up to an event where everyone is cycling a specific distance, in others peoples minds it sometimes makes them wonder whether or not the person on a Brompton is at the correct event. The question, how far can you cycle on a Brompton is one that does crop up.

So at the traffic lights on High Street Kensington, when I answered the question with: London to Brighton, London to Whitstable, the Dunwich Dynamo...I was met with an incredulous look. I fancy that this was magnified further when the lights turned green and I was off a great deal faster than he was able to muster. Brompton bikes are very good at accelerating off the lights, but that is perhaps another blog post...

London to Brighton

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