I was lucky enough to be able to take my Brompton on a two week road trip to South Australia and the Northern Territory. During this trip at each of the stop overs/camp sites, I jumped on the bike and had a look around the local area.
During the trip I was lucky enough to be able to stop over twice at the Australian rocket testing range: Woomera. I finally got to see the place my Father worked at during the 1960s. It was great to be able to visualise the place after hearing about it for many years.
I had a two week trip around the North island of New Zealand. This trip was a combination of driving and riding and stayed at pre-set places and rode the bike when possible. The weather did affect the trip a little which was a pity. However, I did manage to enjoy some lovely riding in some rather spectacular places.
I covered the full Island from tip to base & left to right. I did find the gearing on my Brompton to be not quite suited to the mountains and hills of NZ. I was wishing I had the -12% gear ratio. Something for me to consider for the future. Also, the Tannus tyres were a little unsuited to a lot of the tracks. This again is something for me to think about next time I go to a ride in an area that is less urban.
One day I must return and ride the South island as many people have told me that is it even more spectacular. I will however make sure the Brompton is more suited to the terrain.
I would highly recommend a trip to NZ with your bike but be prepared for the terrain by either having an MTB or a well suited Brompton.
A very mobile twenty two day long visit to Japan using the amazing rail network combined with the Brompton bike.I visited a number of cities and surrounding areas including but not limited to: Chiba, Yokohama, Kamakura, Enoshima, Hakata, Nagasaki, Kumamoto, Hiroshima, Osaka, Nara, Kyoto, Toyohashi, Tokyo. The bike riding was very relaxed in nature and this combined with the wonderful unseasonably warm winter weather made for some relaxing and enjoyable days.
Last trip to Japan I took the Tern P9. This trip with the Brompton my life was a lot easier when transporting the bike. The smaller fold and the ease of using the bike cover made the train transfers a breeze. The Tern was a great bike, but the Brompton showed its portable nature very clearly on this trip. The Tannus tyres also performed very well. Not having to pump up or deal with the tyres at all was very nice. The Bromptom S bag worked an absolute treat. I could not have been more pleased with that particular item as it saved me getting a hot back from having a bag around my shoulders.
This trip I had fun taking a photo each day to put on Instagram. I included the bike in all but a couple. This was a new part of a trip for me and I enjoyed the challenge of finding a good place each day.
I made sure to visit some of the more well known folding bike shops in Japan. This was rather entertaining to see the various models and the vast array of options available to Japanese consumers. I shall add a list of these shops to the Extras section of this website.
Three days of perfect weather greeted me in Sydney. The sun was out, blue sky and it was quite warm given it was July.
This was the first time I had taken the Brompton on the plane. Thankfully all went as expected barring one minor issue with the security at the Sydney Airport. I now have it clearly in my mind to never have any form of bike tool in the hand luggage. They made a song and dance about the very small open ended spanner I had in my bag. The took it and I am now looking for a new one.
One other thing to note in regards to airport security, best not to have your bike locks in your hand luggage. They reluctantly let me take those onto the plane. Next time they will be in the checked in suitcase with the bike.
I managed to see many of the well know sites around the harbour region and CBD. The Opera house, riding across the harbour bridge, the botanical gardens, The Rocks and many other places in the CBD. In some areas the bike infrastructure was well done, in many other places there is room for improvement. It is a pity the infrastructure is not better as the city could be a really superb place for tourists to push the pedals.
I had one mechanical issue involving the chain slipping between the cranks and the frame. It should not be possible for this to occur and it took some serious effort to get the chain out of the gap. I wish I had the tools to extract the chain by breaking it or loosening the cranks. Still, a bit of annoyance did not lessen the three days of great riding.
I spent 12 wonderful days riding my Tern Link P9 around the following parts of Japan: Tokyo, Yokohama, Kamakura, Nagoya, Kyoto, Nara, Osaka. As it was very early Spring, I got to see a little bit of Cherry Blossom which was an added bonus. The weather overall was quite suited to the riding I was doing - only one day of rain! I spent a lot of the time riding in urban areas looking for the next yummy place to get food at.
The Tern was a great bike to ride, smooth, light, fast and fun. Carrying it around was not so good. The cover was a bit of a fiddle to use when wanting to use the train a lot. The shape of the folded bike was not very good in the busy trains. Pulling the bike apart before taking it anywhere in the suitcase was also a bit of a fiddle. It is a real pity as the bike for riding is fantastic! I would happily recommend the Tern Link P9 to anyone who is not going to have to take it around public transport systems as much as I did on the trip.
Like Cambodia (see below) this was an adventure on a normal MTB. Doing this ride on a folding bike would be a serious push. I rode from Saigon to Hanoi with a tour group organised by GrassHopper Adventures (I booked via Raw Travel in Melbourne - excellent service!!). I used the same groups for the Cambodia trip in 2012.
This was an experience I shall not forget in a hurry. The two other riders were great chaps who kept me good company as we slogged out the miles. The friendly people, the magnificent food, the amazing views and the nice warm weather made for one amazing ride!
Along the way we saw many of the historical places plus places well off the normal paths. This trip took us places you would never get to via any other form of transport. We ate in everyday houses and shared for short times the space/food of the normal people of Vietnam.
My first serious overseas bike ride tour and was ridden on a normal MTB over a period of 14 days. The first half of the tour was on my own with the tour guide and bus driver. It was simply an amazing few days of personalised touring that could not be beaten. We were joined for the second half by a lady from the UK. This was great as during the off-bike times, we were able to explore the local areas together.
The food and people were amazing. We often ate lunch in a local resident's house. The tour guide would call ahead and let them know we were coming or, we would simply ask if we could get some food (payment was made of course). The sights were simply amazing. We definitely went to areas where non-bike riding tourists would rarely venture. The famous Angkor Wat area was of course an amazing place to be riding a bike within. I had no idea the ruins were spread over such an enormous area.
The condition the roads in general was fairly poor. Outside of the capital the roads were mostly dirt unless it was considered a major road. The showers at the end of each day took some effort as the layers of dust and dirt were quite thick. Still, a bit of dirt is nothing compared to the rewards gained when cycling through the amazing countryside.
The day of riding through the capital was one day of my life that was truly a life changing day. We rode through the poorest parts of the city and the extreme poverty was evident in all ways. The one thing that stood out above all was the fabulous smiles on the children's faces. The adults looked worn out and tired. Once out of the poorest areas, the traffic was as chaotic as I have ever seen. How I got to the hotel in one piece I will never know.