I want to ride my bicycle

I have been dreaming about riding a bike. In my dreams, I can feel my legs working at the peddles and my hair flying back as I tear through Regent’s Park.

I blame the dreams on the warm weather. And even though I know this springtime sunshine won’t last, I can’t get the cycling dreams out of my head.

Well, then. Maybe it’s time to buy a bike.

Because I live in a flat with no garden or storage space, this bike would need to be a folding bike.

The premier folding bike is the Brompton. Ah, the Brompton — so cute yet elegant! So compact yet functional! So desirable… yet expensive. A new Brompton would set me back at least £570.

(I also discovered that there is a good chance that a second-hand Brompton bought via Gumtree would be stolen goods. I can’t bear the idea of profiting from the heartbreak of a former Brompton owner out there.)

‘Damjan,’ I said. ‘I think I want to buy a Brompton.’

‘Great idea!’ Damjan said supportively. ‘You’ve been thinking about it for ages.’

I was taken aback. ‘No, I haven’t! I just thought of it yesterday!’

Damjan hmphed knowingly. ‘I’ve seen you perving at them. Every time one goes past, you stare.’

I conceded that, yes, I do indeed perve at Bromptons.

After days of obsessing over folding bikes, I eventually convinced myself that I didn’t need one. I walk to work. I’m away most weekends. When would I have time to ride a £600 bike?

Just as I had made my decision, I spotted this online: the Dahon Mu XL Sport. I had read about this bike and I couldn’t believe my eyes. Normally £800+, a sports shop in Devon was selling the 2008 model for £450.

Dahon folding bikes aren’t as elegant as Bromptons but they have other advantages. This bike has 20 inch wheels, bigger than the 16 inch Brompton wheels. The parts are standard components compared to Brompton’s specialised ones. This means that when I take the Dahon to Australia, I can repair and replace parts easily. The Mu XL is around a kilogram heavier than the standard Brompton but for the extra weight I get not only bigger wheels, but also eight gears instead of three.

I agonised for all of twenty minutes.

Then I clicked ‘Buy it now’.

Dahon Mu XL Sport
Dahon Mu XL Sport

Isn’t it beautiful? It arrived within two days. All I had to do was take it out of the box, unfold it and pump up the tyres.

I rode it for the first time today and I felt giddy. I was so excited I could feel my heart pounding. Riding this bike today felt exactly how it was like when I was riding my dreams.

(I have already bought a ‘f*** off, thieves’ lock. Everyone I know has had a bike stolen and there’s no way any Gumtree or Brick Lane merchant is going to get their hands on this one!)


  1. Alden says:

    What a coincidence. Your review will be helpful as I am also looking for a bike and had an eye on Brompton. I must stop embarrassing myself in a pink bike!;)
    Talking about locks. I just saw two D-locks with diameter the size of a £ coin, and an ABUS chain being cut and left to rot at the foot of the bike stand.

  2. joanium says:

    Alden, ask me anything! I know all about Bromptons and folding bikes, having pored over every spec there is more more than a week.

    If you want to buy a Brompton, the cheapest way is to buy a second hand one via Gumtree. I think any Brompton less than £300 is a bit dodgy. I would ask for documentation and receipts.

    eBay isn’t much cheaper than retail price. If you’re going for new Bromptons, the best deal I’ve found is at http://www.foldingbikes.co.uk.

    If you want to get a Dahon, the Speed D7 is quite cheap and often shows up on Gumtree for a reasonable price.

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