REVIEW: Bike to Work with a Brompton

Bike to work is not a popular choice among urbanites. No denying that, there are several barriers that make it less popular, such as hot weather and safety. Find out how to break these barriers at the end of this article.

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I was loaned a 3-speeds Brompton by Van’s Urban Bicyce Co. and use this opportunity to bike to work on Global Bike to Work Day (May 10th), from Ampang to my office in Brickfield. Cycling from my house to Ampang LRT station takes less than 10 minutes. I use my Touch ‘n Go card so I can go out at any stations. However, make sure your card balance at least RM10 before traveling because not all stations have topup services for Touch ‘n Go.

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Ampang LRT station is the first station, so it was not crowded. Unfortunately LRT only allows foldable bicycle and not during peak hours which is 7am to 9am and 5pm to 7pm. So far there are no difficulties for me to ride the LRT with my bike even during peak hours. Just make sure your bike is properly folded before entering the train.

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There will be more and more people are coming in, so be sure that your bike does not disturbing any passengers. It’s fun watch them observing me and my bike especially because I wanted to show them that it’s possible. Most of them asked me about the bike price. Brompton is not a cheap option but there are many affordable folding bike, ranging from RM500 to RM2,000.

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In order to get to Brickfield, I chose to stop at Masjid Kamek LRT station and cycle to Brickfield. The fee is RM3.20. Please note that Masjid Jamek LRT station is known as one of the busiest station, so you might having a difficulty getting out of the train with a bike and I advise you to take your time getting out of the station due to a lot of people.

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I am thankful for KL’s first dedicated bicycle path but I must say, it was not well-maintained. Currently at some section (Jalan Tun Sambathan) have been closed for some construction but no other alternatives for cyclists or pedestrians.

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At the office, I put the bike beside me and do my works as I can easily access my stuff in the Brompton’s Mini O-Bag by Ortlieb.

My verdict.
Finally, I have done it. It’s possible and cheaper! I don’t have to spend money for parking and petrol, and was also able to pay more for my meals! Yes, I’m sweating but not much. You can still control your sweating level by cycling at chill pace and choose the right weather if possible. Thanks to LRT/KTM for allowing bikes (foldable) on train. Hopefully we will have a special coach for cyclists in the future.

One way to avoid hot weather or rain, by cycle at the right time. Getting weather update from your smart phone is good way to plan your trip. For inexperienced commuters, they will concern more on safety when riding a bicycle on the road with motor vehicles. So I would say that the more you ride, the more confident you will be. You can start practicing by joining a weekly group ride around KL.

The bike.
I’ve long had an interest in getting a test review of a Brompton. There is great pride and loyalty amongst Brompton owners and I can understand why. I’m all enthusiasm for foldable bikes at the moment, but riding on 16” wheels is still a shock (and syiok!). It may feel small, but it also feels solid and responsive on the road. I felt instantly at ease riding through the city. Brompton are slower than a standard bike, but once adapted to the riding style it felt reasonably fast with only 3 gears on my model.

But will I buy a Brompton? If a folding bike was my main commute, I would want the best. I am willing to save money for this bike, just like I did for my other bikes.

Check out the rest of the Brompton photos:

To learn more about Brompton bikes, please visit Van’s Urban Bicycle Co.

Tested, words and photos by Shidi of Pedal Malaya

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