Clarice, my Brompton bicycle, was not keeping too well last week. As I pedaled to work, I noticed strange clicking sounds, and a general difficulty to shift, pedal, and fold her up smoothly. Luckily, Portapedal Bike, the shop from which I acquired Clarice, is not-too-far from my client in Arizona. I took her right over for a check-up.
A quick adjustment of the derailleur was all that she needed, but while I was waiting for the adjustment, I started playing with another Brompton on the shop floor. This model contained the rear rack which I had regretfully not purchased with my initial configuration.
Although Clarice came with two easy wheels (seen touching the floor, directly under the saddle, on the photo below), it is not so easy to roll her in cart mode while her rear wheel is also touching the floor.
To truly make for a smooth rolling experience in cart mode, I have to slightly tip the bicycle onto the two easy wheels by lifting the rear wheel off the floor. For someone with decent upper body strength, it is not a big effort, but with my weakling arms, I would just rather not have to tip her every time I need to roll her in the folded form.
Therefore, as I rolled this folded bike around the shop floor, with the rack acting as a very stable platform, my mind reeled with the possibilities of how much easier it could be to cart Clarice around in folded / semi-folded form had she a similar rack.
With a rack, not only would she have the two easy wheels on the rear…
But she would also have two near the fender flap, effectively keeping the rear wheel from contacting the floor and providing any sort of rolling resistance. As I do a lot of grocery shopping with my Brompton bicycle, I could see that adding a rear rack would also significantly improve the stability of the load while in cart mode.
I therefore decided to leave Clarice behind in the capable hands of PortaPedal Bike to go under the knife (or under the wrench?), and have the rear rack along with two more easy wheels installed.
Hopefully, after this “surgery,” I will no longer roll her through the grocery store in her unfolded form, as I have recently been doing!