The very next day after my Brompton purchase, I decided I would now test my dual commute, bike and train.
I was very excited about the idea, finally my dream realized, no longer having to endure long car journeys, back ache, two hours of stop and go traffic, sitting and thinking about dying in the car, literally.
Okay so off I went from home cycling on the footpath until I reached Bangson railway crossing, here I crossed over to a narrow bike / jogging path all the way to Bangsue District Office. Continued on a small road running parallel to the northern train tracks until I had reached Bangsue MRT Station.
At this point I felt that the Brompton was not suitable for uneven surfaces, the rear suspension worked fine, but the vibration from the small front wheel was sent up to the handlebars hurting my palms slightly.
Because I failed to practice my fold, I made a fool of myself in front of a group of students, or at least that is how I felt. But I knew I got the procedure wrong, not that I didn’t know what the hell I was doing, so I quickly corrected myself and went down the escalator.
Once at the bottom of the escalator it is a very, very long walk to the ticket machine, therefore rolling it on the racks ezy wheels was the only sensible option. As mentioned earlier, it’s a long walk, and pushing the folded bike along wasn’t easy, unless you are 160cm tall (or short). The folded bike stands at roughly 58cm so you have to walk leaning to one side to push the bike along. Why didn’t I unfold the handlebar and push the Brompton in front of me? I tried that and it takes up too much space in a crowded train station, besides that it doesn’t maneuver like a shopping trolley where the wheels can rotate 360 to make turning simpler.
Also at the ticket machine I had to lift the bike over the machine after tapping my pass, so having the handlebar stem extended would make it ever so more complicated. One through the ticket machine it was a short walk to the escalator where once again more walking, more people to navigate.
MRT only allows you to take folding bikes on the first or last carriage, where you must stand at the entrance of the train drivers door only, or between two carriages so that the bike doesn’t get in peoples way or soil their clothes, this I can understand.
Surprisingly even on a Saturday, the train was jammed pack with people going to work. Luckily for me, I get on the first station, and off on the station before last, therefore I don’t have to deal with carrying the bike on or off through crowded train.
On arrival at Samyan I carried the bike to the escalator, from there it is a short walk to the ticket machine and beyond to street level, here it was manageable. Unfolding the bike was almost perfect, getting the hang of it. Short cycle to the office.
After half-day at the office it was time to go home again, I had fun riding the bike down a 9 storey parking garage, the Brompton handled the fast descent quite well, and the brakes were excellent. At first I was a little scared of slipping because you can expect some oil or grease on garage floors, lucky me I didn’t experience any mishaps.
Back at MRT Samyan where I folded the bike and was ready to go down the escalator when the security staff asked me where I was going, which station was I getting off, etc. I thought this was a bit odd but answered accordingly. After passing through the ticket machine a security guard followed me until I got on the train.
Before that though a commuter approached me on the platform to inquire about the Brompton, we had a pleasant chat up until he got off the next station. So the Brompton does attract attention, folded or unfolded, and people want to know more about you and the bike. And this happened again when I got off at MRT Bangsue, as I was walking out an older man walked up to me and asked about the Brompton.
But back to the commute. As I passed the ticket machine at MRT Bangsue, I was followed by a security guard until I basically exited the train station, I felt that was kind of odd as I didn’t have that experience coming in to town, maybe it was just one skeptical lady security personnel who doesn’t get it 🙂
The ride home was uneventful, this time I stuck to the bike path all the way until I almost reached home, it’s better than riding on the footpath as it is smoother, and also the trees provide a bit of shade. I felt better about the bike ride this time, even though the seat post continued to slide.
So that was my first day on the bike commuting.