I Shredded a 70-Mile Dirt Ride on a Brompton T-Line Folding Bike

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When we crossed the finish line after just 9.5 hours, the other riders who had already finished applauded. I tried to bow, but I staggered, everything hurt. Andrew admitted he hadn’t thought we would get it.

“So what happened when you got to the descent?” asked a rider. “You just sent it?” Yes, I did. I sent it. I just wish there were some pictures of that.

Brompton had supplied me with three additional tubes in case I wanted a plan. I was worried I would need all three of them, but I didn’t break a single tire during the trip. Instead, Karin and I kept whistling with men changing tubes on their bikes right on the spot. It made me feel powerful to know that not only were we two of the few women, but we were crushing this trip with two of the dumbest bikes in the field. Overall, Brompton held up better than I did. I came out with more scratches and damage (and exactly three bugs in my right eyeball) than this beautiful piece of engineering.

Me too to spend $ 5,000 for Brompton Titanium?

Ironically, borrowing it made me feel less tempted. I used to have back problems when I was little, and a week of riding at Brompton reminded me that I’m not invincible. I have a longer torso and shorter legs than most people, so the bike may not be optimal for my awkward proportions. Two days after our epic trip, I boarded a plane home, which could have had more of an effect on my back than the trip itself. Also, as I mentioned, this bike is designed for commuting, not for long distance road trips or excursions. Yes, it’s shocking, I know. It turns out that the bike works best by doing exactly what it was designed for.

The Titanium T-Line costs twice as much as you’ll pay for the steel-framed version of the essentially same bike, and in return you get a five-pound weight saving. If you have $ 5,000 to spare, the Titanium Brompton is a very interesting toy. It certainly feels more zippered and is much easier to carry together than the steel version. But what I really want is a titanium Brompton designed especially for my unusually proportioned body that can travel over 20 miles without hassle. How much would it be that it cost me?

Photography: Karin Christenson

So maybe I’ve decided I don’t want to ride a super lightweight Brompton around the world after all. And I have the steel version for any adventure I want to do, so I don’t need the T-Line. Why buy a Ferrari when a Ford does the job? I removed the mud from the T-Line and returned it without any remorse. Instead of changing my own Brompton for a titanium version, I intend to fix these two broken gears and grab my beautiful red clown bike, that was cheap (It’s a joke, I paid $ 2,200) on my next trip.

Two months after the North London Dirt, I signed up for the Tour de Paris, a bike rally in Paris, Texas. Organizers had included a 24-mile “all-terrain” option, which sounded like the perfect duration for a trip to the hot July of Texas. Excited, I told my friends.

“Ask me which bike I’m going to take,” I smiled.

“My God. Please don’t say Brompton.

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