Just bought a Brompton?

Well done, you won’t regret your decision! Now, here are some things you should do as soon as possible:

  • Register your new bike with Brompton (very helpful in the event of theft, and for keeping a record of the initial service);
  • Buy bike insurance (I went for Bikmo … no affiliation, they just looked reasonable and they ‘know’ Bromptons);
  • Buy a lock (the best you can afford – Bikmo require ‘Sold Secure Silver’ grading level as a minimum, unless your Brompton is worth more than £1,500, in which case ‘Gold’ level – but see my note below this list);
  • Buy front and rear lights, or re-purpose existing ones if they can be mounted in convenient places (but not before you have read Light up your Brompton);
  • Practice the fold (lift and push the front wheel away from the back wheel when unfolding, to avoid the little plastic hook on the left-hand side of the front wheel from lifting the chain off the chainring … I did this two or three times before I worked out what was causing it);
  • Make a note in your diary to book your free initial 100-mile/three-month service (whichever comes first … bear in mind that if you do not have it serviced, your frame warranty will be void … and make sure that the dealer records it in their system);
  • Resist the temptation to start buying lots of extras, until you get to know your Brompton (the only items I bought in the first few weeks were a Carradice Originals City Folder bag, which attaches to the front block, and a couple of spare inner tubes, direct from the Brompton website … I transferred front and rear lights from another bike, which I then used until I had time to research which ones were going to be the best longer-term option for my needs);
  • Start putting together a Brompton-specific tool kit, including at least one spare inner tube (okay, so you might need to spend some cash on a few essential tools, but keep it simple for now);
  • Set up an alarm on your phone/tablet/watch, which reminds you to inflate your tyres weekly (you should check your tyres for wear and tear at the same time);
  • Get your hands dirty – specifically, remove the rear wheel, remove the tyre and inner tube, and then put it all back together (you’ll be grateful you did this in the comfort of your home, when you have to repeat the exercise for real in less familiar surroundings, possibly when it’s dark and raining … this is especially true if you have a three- or six-speed Brompton, which requires you to detach the the internal hub shifter chain);
  • Speaking of dirt, set up reminders in your diary for cleaning your Brompton on a regular basis (how often will depend on how often you use it – I use mine daily for work, plus regularly for bicycle touring, so I’m lubricating it weekly, giving it a ‘light’ clean monthly, and then a ‘deep’ clean every three months, plus any other maintenance as and when needed);
  • As counter-intuitive as dismantling your brand new back wheel may have seemed (see above), if you try pumping it back up with the Brompton-branded Zefal mini pump supplied with your bicycle, you’ll soon find out how unfit for purpose it is. This post describes a better mini pump option for your Brompton bicycle, which can be an upgrade option due course.

A note about locks

I rarely use a lock (but I do have one), because I always keep my Brompton with me. The advantages of a Brompton – its foldability and portability – are also its vulnerabilities. Every café and restaurant that I have visited with my bike so far has not had a problem with me keeping it beside my table, or finding a spot out of the way where I can leave it. It’s the same with shops (not that I visit many, I hate shopping). I’m yet to wheel my Brompton around a supermarket in a trolley, but when the time comes that is what I will do (or use it as a trolley, half-folded).

Parking my Brompton in a pub, in front of a wood burner that was not needed that evening … the staff were fine about it (“… after all, we let dogs come in …”)