Since I’ve now established the electric system NYCeWheels has for the Brompton is a smooth way to get around I have moved on to conduct a series of real-life tests.
The tests have only one rule: no bike locks and no bike racks. I wanted to keep the eBrompton in the same room with me at all times because, well, that’s the central premise of a folding bike this tidy.
So if you know how to fold a Brompton, you can take it with you on a train. The eBrompton fits easily in Amtrak’s carry-on bag gauge, so if you Joe Biden to work every day, you’re covered.
Take your folding electric bike on Amtrak!
If you do Metro North, you’re fine no matter what because folding bikes are allowed on trains at all times – even peak hours. This was the nature of my first real-life test: I wanted to go to Greenwich, Connecticut to attend a town hall meeting where the state DOT was presenting the findings of a feasibility study of a proposed bike and multi-use trail along the Merritt Parkway.
Now I’ve never found Greenwich to be particularly bike friendly, but I reasoned if the Brompton - which I had always likened to the Rolls Royce of folding bikes – wouldn’t be accepted here, it wouldn’t be accepted anywhere.
I used the electric motor without pedaling to go the 1.7 miles from my front door to the Stamford train station. Rolling it onto the train was easy, and at Greenwich I had to carry the bike down a flight of stairs to get to the main road. At about 40 pounds, it’s a bit like carrying a normal bike with panniers full of groceries into my house, but I found by gripping the eBrompton close to the headset (since the motor and battery are in the front that is about where the center is) I could gracefully and comfortably carry it down the steps.
Fast and easy commute on the E-Brompton
Up to this point I had tested the eBrompton on mostly flat roads, and the stretch leading to the town hall is very steep. I switched to low gear and pedaled that stretch so I could get to the meeting at a reasonable time. To the electric assist system’s credit, I wasn’t really tired upon my arrival and wasn’t sweating.
I folded the bike and carried it in one hand and the bag (with the battery in it) in the other. I set both down in front of me in the front row of the room. Not only would it not get in anyone’s way, but it meant that everyone in the room would see it as they looked at the slide presentation.
And the bike – the only one in the room – got some attention. Not just from some people who were sitting next to me that asked admiring questions about it, but from a reporter at Greenwich Free Press who stayed long enough to get me and the bike in the shot she used for her story, which is here.
So the eBrompton: it draws respect.
During the meeting, one of my Stamford neighbors recognized me and, with a smile, asked if she could give me a ride back in her car once things broke up. I accepted. The meeting ran so long I didn’t have many Metro North options to go back anyway – and I wasn’t crazy about sharing the road with people who reminded me of the town leaders from ‘Footloose.’
My neighbor didn’t know it, but her offer became part of my true-life test: if the Brompton’s fold wasn’t so friendly and didn’t put the dirty parts out of reach she may not have offered me a ride. As would be expected, the eBrompton didn’t mess up her upholstery at all and fit easily in her backseat.
Carrying it all the way from the front door of the meeting hall all the way out to her car did tire my arms, so if you think your relationship with an eBrompton involves carrying it the equivalent of a city block or two double up on your arm exercises at the gym. Other than that, the electric brompton passed this true life test.
Now it is time for some other real life tests – and I’ll share those shortly.
By Mike from DIYBIKING.COM