cycling · fitness

Brompton meet hills, hills meet Brompton

One question that everyone asks about my new Brompton is how it handles every cyclist’s favorite landscape feature, hills. The answer is, not as bad as you might think. The bottom gear is pretty spinny. I took it to Vancouver this week for Congress and enjoyed riding it around town. The ride to the University of British Columbia was 12 km. There and back twice equals 48 km of Brompton riding, plus some bonus “getting lost/exploring” kilometers. I was super glad I brought it because even if I’d taken the bus to campus, it’s a huge sprawling campus and things I needed to get to were kms apart.

💖Highlight of riding Brompton in hilly Vancouver: Chasing road cyclists up a hill and staying with them for longer than I thought possible. They looked around and smiled. I think my helmet might be the giveaway that I don’t usually ride the Brompton.

Image description: Bright pink Brompton bike resting against a wooden fence at the top of a hill.

😞 Low point: When my heart rate finally recovered after the hill chase effort I was passed by a runner going uphill. He also smiled and suggested a race. I declined.

It’s true that on hills I was working hard. My heart was pounding and I could feel my legs working. That said, I was able to climb everything I encountered and even passed some people going uphill.

Four more random thoughts about riding the Brompton about town. First, it’s not an introvert’s bike! People love to stop and admire the bike and ask questions about it. Second, I had no problem bringing it in everywhere I went. It’s small and cute enough enough that it doesn’t get that immediate “no bikes allowed” reaction. Third, I love being in a city with bike lanes and so many cyclists. Fourth, so many e-bikes on the road here and I totally understand why, The commuting distances are big and then there are the hills. For many people it would be 20+ kms to work. I can see wanting an e-bike to extend the range of what’s commutable and also not arriving at work tired and sweaty from the hills.

Here are some more photos of my very scenic Vancouver commute.

Image description: The top of a hill, looking down, with the ocean in the distance.
Image description: Trees, beach volleyball, and sailboats.
Image description: Me in the mirror with my pink Brompton and pink toenails, all dressed in black with a white helmet.
Image description: More beach, with logs for sitting.
Image description: More beach views with trees and flowers.

2 thoughts on “Brompton meet hills, hills meet Brompton

  1. I miss Vancouver. That hill you went down in lst photo, I usually go up the hill by the ocean to UBC from Spanish beach when I visit home which was this past spring.
    My Dahon folding bike has bigger wheels but still folds. Seriously for riding hills, etc., it’s just fine. We have bike toured with our panniers in Europe several different years on folding bikes –France, Germany and Denmark.

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