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Any Brompton rider knows just how seamlessly our folding bikes fit into city life.
Thunder and lightning burst through the clouds minutes before you are about to leave the office? Fold up your bike and jump on the tube instead. Impromptu after-work drinks on a Friday? Call a cab at the end of the night and pop your bike in the boot.
But with all of that said, what the actual rules are when travelling on the tube, train, bus or plane, or even just riding to your favourite restaurant? We’re setting the record straight to help you pack in more riding time, experiences and some bonus bike etiquette tips to make us all considerate Bromptonites for mobile togetherness.
After all we are a British brand - politeness is in our DNA.
On the Tube?
Being a Brompton rider has huge advantages and perks. Whilst non-folding bike riders face restrictions on which lines they can use and the times at which they can travel with their bikes, folding bikes can be taken onto the tube free of charge at all times.
They must be folded down before travelling on the escalator and must remain folded during your journey, but travelling with a folded bike allows you a more convenient journey with wider access to the city in a shorter amount of time.
On the Train?
As long as your wheels are smaller than 85cm, it’s free to travel with a folding bike on trains without restriction. The only rule is that you must be able to carry it on the train and place it on the luggage rack.
For solo travellers, the single seats at the end of the carriage are much more practical and will save you some awkward stares from fellow passengers.
With many train stations having long platforms and lots of stairs, we’d recommend that if you’re planning to make regular journeys with your bike on the train, you opt for a lighter model, such as our S2L which comes in at just 11kg.
And an added bonus of having a folding bike when using the train? If there are delays or cancellations, you can still take it on a replacement bus service, meaning you won’t be stuck in the lurch should there be any issues.
Tip: Before the train leaves the platform, check that your bike will not fall or roll over when the train accelerates or stops.
On the Bus?
We know you are most likely always going to opt for your own wheels as opposed to the bus. But what if you want to do a bike trip that’s too far to cycle to, you have a puncture, you don’t feel well or you’ve finished a race and your legs are just too broken to even consider the idea of riding home?
Folding bikes are accepted on TfL buses at the driver's discretion. In most cases, you’ll have no problem travelling on the bus with a Brompton, but if it’s particularly busy, you may want to add some extra time to your journey in case you need to wait for the next one.
Tip for long bus rides: Before your journey, store the bike in a non see-through bag. On very busy buses, hand your luggage in as one of the last passengers, or stow it away yourself. This means your bike will be right at the top of the luggage compartment and will not be crushed.
In a Taxi?
Again, it’s down to the driver’s discretion, meaning it will likely only be an issue if your folding bike is caked in mud. Because they are so compact when folded down, you might not even need to put it in the boot (depending on the size of the car you jump into).
Taxi firms are working hard to make their services more friendly and open to cyclists, with Addison Lee even launching ‘CycleCab’, a service that’s big enough for any sized cycle to fit in. With this in mind, cab drivers are becoming more and more accommodating to folding bike users, so you’ll see no problems taking your Brompton in a taxi.
On an Airplane?
A Brompton is the ultimate travel companion, ideal for adventures abroad, but you’ll need to put some thought into how you’ll travel with it.
Whilst the folded down bike fits most carry-on size requirements, some airlines may ask to store your bike in the hold, and the last thing that you want is to be met with a damaged bike when you touch down.
For optimum protection, we’d recommend using the Brompton Padded Travel Bag. Not only will it protect your precious Brompton, but it also makes travelling to and from the check-in desk a much more manageable experience.
In a Restaurant or Bar?
Worked up an appetite after that weekend ride? Best place to wind down would be your local, but can’t be bothered to drop the Brompton home before dinner? Just take it with you.
Most bars and restaurants will welcome your folding bike as long as you can fold it away under your table or are happy to store it in a cloakroom. Being able to take your bike indoors, instead of leaving it padlocked outdoors, gives you peace of mind that your journey home will be drama free. Heading to the cinema after dinner? No problem, you can park it to the right of the screen as long as the fire exit is clear. Consider your Brompton a complimentary plus one with no extra charge.
There are countless ways to fit your Brompton into your daily life. Whether it’s a bus, a train, or even a little boat.