I NEVER thought I'd be here. A couple of years ago I looked at Bromptons and Dahons. I totally bought into the "tiny wheels suck" hype. I thought they were cool, and I'd have added one to my herd as a curiosity, but I told myself "no" because I really did not think I'd ride one and I certainly did not need one.
I have a Retrovelo Paula and I *love* it. I also have a Raleigh SuperCourse mixte that I powder coated pink and built with a NuVinci hub. I love that one too. My other Raleigh is the classic step-through Sports 3-speed, with new alloy rims, dynamo lighting and a basket. Do I love it? Yes, but not as much as the former two. Number four is a 1975 Centurion Super LeMans. I intended to leave it a "beater" but I am incapable of owning a beater...
I live in Seattle now, in the city. I work at home. It's easier to walk to the grocery store than to haul Paula down (even in the elevator), lock her, shop, and ride back. I did load up my Arkel Shoppers with stuff for Goodwill last week. My sister lives 12 miles away, but one bus gets me to within one mile of her house and I don't mind the walk. Yes, I did heave my Retrovelo onto the bike rack on the bus once. It was not fun.
That same bus drops my husband off about a mile from his work. A folding bike would allow him to catch a later bus in the morning and shave about 30 minutes from his commute each day.
I'm just not riding that much here. My full sized bikes are more trouble than they are worth.
I think the Brompton is the answer. DH loves folding bikes. He once owed a Hon. It was stolen years ago. We can catch the bus to my sister's house and ride the last mile. We could ride TO her house and bus it home if we were not up to the ride back. We can grocery shop without the added hassle of locking our bikes. We might even credit-card tour (he's not into camping). The bikes can live in the closet by the front door.
I have made the difficult decision to sell my Raleigh Sports and donate the Centurion to a community bike shop. They simply are not being ridden, and I still have two other full-sized bikes.
I test rode at a very LBS here. It was instant love. They have no stock and will get none in before May. They did not seem very eager to sell me one. I custom ordered for DH from Clever Cycles and bought one from stock for me (not the color I wanted, but I don't care THAT much). I'll let him ride mine to work while we wait for his bicycle to arrive. I went with the 3-speed -12%. My Sports is geared lower and it has been just fine everywhere I've ridden it. I realized that, as cool as the NuVinci is, it's overkill for me. Yes, it's hilly here. I walk up the super steep hills or find flatter routes. I'm not interested in going fast, I'm interested in going far -- and near. I'll upgrade to six speed if I really need to, but I don't think I will. I have the pink bike for those times when I feel the need for unlimited gears.
I NEVER thought I'd buy a Brompton. Now I should have one tomorrow or Friday. The custom order will not be here until April.