Sunday, September 24, 2023

Changing from Brompton Folding Bike to Linus Dutchi 1

I want a bike, but I don't need a bike. The reason I want a bicycle is so that I can ride it out my door and back for 30 to 40 minutes at a time on the surrounding neighborhood roads to get a little bit of low impact exercise. This is true whether it be a fancy Brompton folding bike or an upright Dutch-style step-through city cruiser. I'm not using it for commuting or for mountain biking and I wouldn't be driving anywhere with the bike and then riding. None of that. The streets around here are pretty flat so I can just keep it one gear the whole time.

I don't really care how far I go during those 30 to 40 minutes. In fact, slower is better as long as the exertion is there. The way I see it, a bicycle that is slow like a single-speed bike with a coaster brake is going to be just as good of a workout as a bike built for speed. There are no gears to help you pedal easier, so while I may only have ridden six miles in 40 minutes the amount of exercise gotten during that amount of time is sufficient.

The Brompton that I purchased in 2022

I purchased a 3-speed Brompton C-Line Utility last year but I recently sold it after having it for a little over 15 months. Although I didn't really use it for its primary purpose - commuting - I liked how unobtrusive it was in the living room while folded. I also liked how you could just fold it up and put it in the trunk/boot of the car even though I rarely took it anywhere. 

The Brompton was a pleasure to ride, being the first bike I had ridden in 20+ years. It was very nimble and responsive and I never had any trouble pedaling. It accelerated very quickly and I was able to average between 12 and 13 miles per hour on my rides around town. I never felt unsafe or at risk because of its folding frame. I liked the low step over bar. It is a solidly built piece of craftmanship. All of the good things you've heard about Bromptons are true. I'm fairly short for a male with a short inseam and it felt perfectly sized for me.

What I didn't love about the Brompton was I had to put air in the tires every week. I would pump them up to nearly 100psi and then in a week's time they would need pumping again. In addition, I live near a railroad so any ride is likely to involve a railroad crossing and those bumps were a little jarring for the small 16 inch wheels. The hand brakes worked fine, but they were tough for my fingers to reach due to the angle they had to be for the intricate folding. I guess the only other thing is that it felt a bit eccentric to be riding a folding  bike with 16" tires around town. So I sold the Brompton and am going to try out a Linus Dutchi 1.

In my mind I'm convinced that I want a Dutch style "Omafiets" step-through type of bike like they ride in Amsterdam and Copenhagen. Or rather I want a bike in that design but with a coaster brake and hand brakes, no cables. After doing a bit of (significant) research, I homed in on the Linus Dutchi 1. It's not authentic but it checks all the boxes and seems like it would be a perfect fit for me size-wise. The only size it comes in is what they call Medium, for riders 5'2" to 5'10". I'm right in the middle of that range. Most other bikes have multiple sizes and without being able to do a test ride I couldn't be sure of what would fit.

The Linus Dutchi 1 in cream color

Storage will be an issue with the Dutchi. I live in a condo with no garage where space is limited. So I'll have to find a place where it can be kept in the house but out of the way. And I'll need a kick stand or indoor bike stand to keep it from toppling over. The Brompton could sit balanced after being folded.

Taking the Dutchi to the repair shop will also be a hurdle. Actually, getting it home from the shop where it is being shipped to and assembled will be something I have to figure out. There are no bike shops within walking distance of my house, and none within a safe riding distance either. With the Brompton I could just put it in the car and take it in for a tune up. I may have to get a simple bike rack for the rare times when I have to drive with the Dutchi. On the other hand, the simple coaster brake with no cables means the repairs will be about as conventional as they could be, so any bike shop should be able to do the tune ups. 

One thing I'm not concerned about is the fact that the step-through Linus Dutchi 1 could be seen as a feminine, woman's bike. Not having to step over a bar to get on and off the bike is a plus, as far as I can tell. It comes in a purple color (which I've been told is actually more like a lavender) and a white cream color. I opted for the cream color because it seems both more gender-neutral and more visible than the lavender would be.

I'm also not concerned about the coaster brakes. I'm probably more comfortable with that than a hand brake anyway. I should have the Dutchi within the next couple weeks. I found a great bike shop about 20 miles away for the ordering and assembly. I am excited about this pivot from a folding bike to a city bike. Quite the change!


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