Loading Up A Brompton Bike For Touring

We recently received an email from Peter, who wanted to tell us about his 3 week trip around Europe on a Brompton folding bike.

Peter especially wanted to share his touring set up on the Brompton. He pointed out that it’s possible to carry a lot of luggage on this little bike, with no modifications.

Brompton Folding BikePhoto by Peter Provaznik

I carried around 40 pounds (20kg) on it: half of that was in my waterproof front bag (including heavy camera gear) and the other 20 pounds was on my rear carrier (tent, sleeping bag, Exped Synmat) in a drybag. It travelled very well!

The front bag on Peter’s bike is sitting in a standard Brompton folding basket and the dry bag on the back is held tight with straps.

This touring setup may not be for everyone, but it’s great if you want to combine bike riding with public transport. It gives you all the freedom of bike touring and all the flexibility of being able to easily hop on a train, bus or boat if you want to skip ahead a few kilometers.

As Peter’s experience shows, you can even take your bike to the dining car of the train for a nice meal!

brompton in train dining carPhoto by Peter Provaznik

Comments

  1. David
    2nd November 2013 at 2:43 pm #

    Bromptons are excellent for touring and if you can be a bit frugal on what you need to pack then I recommend a standard Brompton bag on the front – this provides easy access to everything you might need during the day; wet weather clothes; food etc – and any bag that can hold its shape on the back (rucksac, convertible, suitcase, sports bag I thoroughly recommend my Osprey Porter 46 ) on the back for all your holiday luggage/overnight kit. I’ve found this an easy and versatile easy to travel, the only issue I’ve had is that even if I use a relativity small bag on the rear it can slide forward on the rack and get in the way of my heels whilst pedalling, any ideas?

    • Pilar
      5th November 2013 at 2:02 pm #

      Excellent question, David, and this subject has made me research possibilities, as I do carry luggage on my Brompton, although not for touring. If you want to consider carrying a backpack, you might find inspiration in the The Path Less Pedalled website, they have travelled extensively on Bromptons, carrying a backpack on the rack. Check this link:
      http://pathlesspedaled.com/2011/07/video-backpacks-on-bromptons/
      I personally use a slightly more simple set up. If the pack is rigid, then you can always carry it on vertical position and you shouldn’t have an issue with heel clearance. The choices for attaching the top of the pack to the back of the saddle and the base to the rack with various straps are endless. You can attach the base slightly further back quite firmly and easily with the backpack straps. Good luck and enjoy!

    • John
      22nd July 2014 at 1:05 am #

      Have you looked at the radical chubby trailer?I have purchased one and am planning a big tour on my brompton.

  2. Simon
    4th November 2013 at 2:35 pm #

    As far as I’m concerned, I crossed the Icelandic highlands on a Brompton this summer, with camping gear and food for 6 days. No problem whatsoever.

    I had a T-bag at the front with my clothes, food, and electronic gear. At the rear, I had my 2-person tent, a 20L dry bag with my sleeping bag and mat, plus the Brompton rear bag with cooking gear, bike tools and parts.

    The only thing I wished I had was a true waterproof front bag.

    I have already travelled thousands of kilometers in that setup. Everything is possible on those bikes!

    • stan
      5th March 2016 at 11:07 pm #

      I am interested in travelling to Iceland with my brompton and touring for about 2 weeks. I would like to hear more about your experience, thanks.

  3. Tiago
    8th November 2013 at 10:18 am #

    Hi All,
    I’m considering a brompton for touring in places where i have to travel by airplane. How does it work to travel in the air? Does it need a special case or you just fold it and wrap it in plastic and dispatch it as luggage? Do you pay extra for the bike?
    Thanks in advance!

    • Ben
      28th January 2014 at 6:52 am #

      Hey Tiago,

      I travel all over the world with my folding bike. I have a soft sided case that I use for my bike. That’s important to me for one big reason, I can ride directly from the airport to wherever I’m going. There are a couple of down sides to the soft sided case though. 1) The bike takes a beating! It seems that half the time when I arrive at my destination I have to play mechanic truing a wheel, adjusting a derailleur or fixing something that got bent. 2) The bag often prompts the question: “What’s inside the bag?” I always tell them exercise equipment, which is true, but if you say bike, most airlines charge additional fee’s as you mentioned.

      As long as you don’t mind carrying the suitcase around and you aren’t planning on riding the bike from the airport, a hard sided suitcase is definitely the way to go! I think Dahon makes one specifically for a folding bike. Make sure you go with a bike that has a 16 inch wheel, anything larger and you’ll have to pay the oversize bag fee! Good Luck!

      • Alex
        16th May 2014 at 11:42 pm #

        I’ve described my foldie as a “folding mobility aid” to airlines all over the world and have never once had to pay an additional fee.

  4. Philip Chisholm
    8th November 2013 at 6:01 pm #

    Six foot seven inches tall large frame, cycle twenty mikes a day but Brompton don’t make a bike to take a big mans weight. 20 stones? Sad but I think there are a lot of ex Rugby, mountain climbing beer drinking old men that would love to buy a Brompton but for the max weight aspect.

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