Consulting Commute Via Brompton

My commute is very different now, since my transformation from over 30+ years working full-time to becoming my own boss. As in, most days, I walk across the hall. The up side is the huge quality of life gain. That 3+ hours per day commuting is a thing of the past. One down side is that if I don’t prioritize getting out for a ride, the day can slip away with no bike time at all.

This Tuesday was a deviation from my new routine, with a full day meeting in DC. I decided to build a bike ride into the day, doing my old multi-modal commute with a new twist. This time I would use my Brompton, as I no longer have the bikes I used to use at either end of the train ride.

Acting on this decision involved overcoming several fears:

  1. That the Brompton would be too heavy, causing me to fall going up or coming down the train’s steep steps.
  2. That the train would be crowded and I wouldn’t be able to find a spot to sit or stand with bike.
  3. That I’d have trouble making the very steep hills at the end of the home-bound trip.

As it turned out, there were 2 surprises, one pleasant, one unpleasant, two unfounded fears and one that was dead accurate.

The pleasant surprise: there has been progress apace with the Halethorp MARC station renovations. There’s a raised platform! And a ramp! Happy days.

That took care of worry #1 for the southbound trip. As to worry #2, at 6:30 on a June morning, the train wasn’t crowded. No problem finding a suitable spot for me and the bike.

The unpleasant surprise: the 1-hour delay on the trip in. When we finally arrived it was at one of the low platforms (see fear #1). Turned out I am strong enough to carry the bike down the steps from the train. No problem.

I parked in the office building’s great indoor bike parking. The Brompton looks quite happy here, doesn’t it? Though if doing this again, I would bring the bike in with me. That would let me lighten my bag since I wouldn’t need the lock.

As one of the first passengers boarding the express train home, it was easy to find a good spot. This time, there were no delays. So what about fear #3? To my chagrin, I had to hop off the bike and walk for a few minutes. I can’t blame the bike, as it’s got 6 gears and is intended for hillier and longer rides. Was it due to my lingering leg soreness from the previous weekend’s rides? The somewhat heavily-loaded C-bag? Both of these things? No matter, it was the least problematic of the 3 fears.

Bottom line: I would do it again for occasional trips to DC. I can’t see myself commuting this way on a daily basis, but then I don’t have to. Do you do regular multi-modal commutes with a folding bike? What do you find to be the pros and cons of commuting this way?


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