Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag

(Apologies to the Godfather.)

My previous hard case for the Brompton was getting battered to bits by the baggage handlers, was too big for the bike anyway (was an old hard-sided suitcase that I bought second hand for $50), but had put in good service for two years. Options: (1) Look for a new one by driving around lots of second hand luggage places again, finding another almost-fit, or (2) Pay the money for a purpose-built professional case that fits rather snugly (and is quite light) and have more peace of mind that the B’s going to be ok when it gets to the other side. It’s expensive, but will be worth it in the long run…

I picked (2):

  hard case for the Brompton  hard case for the Brompton

(Click for a larger view.)

….and I’ve just unpacked the B in Aspen, Colorado, and ten seconds later, it’s ready to ride! In case you’re (somehow) a reader of the blog that has not been familiarized with the Brompton, click here for a view of it unfolded. Look in the “related posts” list below for some posts in which it makes at least a roll-on appearance.

I’m here for physics, as usual, and the bike is going to be even more useful than before since my apartment is further away from the Aspen Center for Physics than I’ve stayed most times before*. Once I’ve scoped out the lay of the land, I’ll tell you a bit about my mission here.


(*One great thing about the center is that they lend you a bike for the duration of your visit, so not everyone feels the need to fly in with their bikes. I just think it’s fun, and my bike is naturally adapted to be convenient for air travel, so why not?)

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23 Responses to Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag

  1. Helge says:

    Hi CVJ 🙂

    This is the first time, that I see that you own a helmet. I am always very disturbed by that fact that nearly everybody around here (Vienna) bikes without one of those. Maybe, it would be a good idea, if you had your helmet more often on the picture with the bike, so people learn that bike and helmet belong together.


  2. Clifford says:

    Hi Helge…. you’ve been hiding! I’ve not heard from you in a while. Actually, we’ve had helmet discussions here before. I totally agree with you about helmets…. others would not. I think that the case is rather clear, but once cannot force people.



  3. a cornellian says:

    Chiming in on the helmet discussion again, this winter one of my buddies was coming down the hill Cornell is on top of and hit a patch of black ice. His front wheel went out from under him and he landed squarely on the top right corner of his head. The net result was bent glasses, a black eye, a cut from the glasses, minor scrapes to his hands and elbow, and a completely trashed helmet. Sans helmet it would have been a very different story.

  4. Clifford says:

    Hi a cornellian,

    I found the earlier helmet discussion we had in the comment stream of the post Bikes in the City. It’s rather interesting to read all over again. There’s an anecdote a bit like yours there too.


  5. Jude says:

    Hi Clifford. Nice to hear you’re back in Aspen. Tomorrow is “Everything is free” day at the Aspen Music Festival. Unfortunately, it’s also the Family Concert, which is my least favorite day to attend (although sometimes they have free food at the small tent before the concert). Myabe I’ll go to the 3 p.m. concert. Anyway, let me know if you want to meet up with one of your frequent commenters. I usually go to the Music Festival on Tuesdays. Just a thought. Have fun in Aspen.

  6. Clifford says:

    Hey Jude,

    This sounds good! I’ve not looked at the schedule to see what’s playing, but I’ll certainly be wandering down to the tent very soon to see what I can see. And hear.

    Also, it’ll be excellent to say hi in person! (Send me an email to verify and coordinate.)


  7. lt.milo says:

    I love my Bike-Friday and I would be curious as to how yours compares!

  8. candace says:

    Since I didn’t feel the need to wax boring and start citing statistics in my previous helmet comment, and still don’t, I’ll just casually mention that the wikipedia page on helmets makes for an interesting starting point when reading about the issue, regardless of opinion.

  9. candace says:

    PS: I got a “new” bike today (vintage 80s racer), but still no Brompton. 🙁 Some day!

  10. Clifford says:

    It is certainly an interesting article. Thanks. My feeling, (given that nobody knows for sure and there’s a bit of a stalemate), is simply why risk it? Bringing along a helmet is not as much bother as claimed. And I don’t believe the claim that wearing a helmet makes you more likely to do crazy things. Despite that fact that I do my thinking with my head, I am at the same time very aware that there is more to me than my head, and I wouldn’t want to risk any of those parts in traffic or wherever, just because I’m wearing something on my head.



  11. Amara says:

    And these comments are relevant too..

  12. candace says:

    Because wearing a helmet may actually introduce risk in the way your neck is torqued during a collision and introduce rotational brain injuries.

    But… anyway.

    Hey, did I tell you about the folding bike race they had a few weeks ago during the Smithfield Nocturne? No?? The contestants put on their full office commuter gear (including some high heels) and did a flying race in the middle of the pouring rain. V. entertaining. Bromptons were the majority folding bike represented, and I believe a Brompton won.

  13. Clifford says:

    “Because wearing a helmet may actually introduce risk in the way your neck is torqued during a collision and introduce rotational brain injuries.”

    And there is evidence for this?

    “Bromptons were the majority folding bike represented, and I believe a Brompton won.”

    Of course!

    …And where are the pictures, young lady? Where?! 😀

    Sounds like fun!


  14. Clifford says:

    Amara:- Thanks for reminding us about that thread, and your sad memories of the girl.


  15. candace says:

    Sad: Grep for ‘torque’ here. Hardly conclusive, of course.

    Happy!: Pics of the brompton race abound on flickr!
    Mostly by myself and the husband, admittedly, but there are some quality shots if you tag surf around.

  16. a cornellian says:

    For some reason I doubt any progress will be made on this topic. It would take some amazingly clear evidence to get me to budge. I know two people who had helmets save their heads and one who is a paralyzed because she wasn’t wearing a helmet. Even if there was some amazingly clear cut statistics, I think I would keep wearing a helmet because I have on occasion ridden with out one (ie the bike is at point A, the helmet is at point B and I need to get from A to B quickly) and find it rather terrifying. Particularly in Ithaca where I can out run cars on the down hills….

    I don’t buy torque argument, for one thing flesh doesn’t exactly slide frictionlessly over pavement either….

    I also don’t buy that wearing a helmet makes riders more aggressive, but on the other hand riding with out one scares me so, maybe it does. If anything not wearing a helmet would slow me down, but I suspect that the fear is more due to leaving my comfort zone. Once I got used to not wearing a helmet I would be going just as fast again.

    I still think those folding bikes look rather, um, silly. (no offense meant)

    A more lighthearted topic to talk about is what is the connection between physics and bikes? There are an awful lot of physicists that bike to work (at least at Cornell). Is this a physics thing, or a at large semi-rural university thing?

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  18. laura says:

    Hi! Sorry to barge in on your blog post.. I’m going to cycle across norway next week and want to keep my brompton safe on the plane. Obviously this case is great for that, but do you think it’d be possible to ride a long distance with the case on the back? I don’t want to order one off the internet and then realise it’s too big to fix on to my luggage carrier. Thank you for any help/advice you can give!

  19. Clifford says:

    Hi Laura,

    Not barging in at all. Comments are very welcome… that’s part of the point. Unless I’m mistaken, I’d say that it is a bit too big for the luggage carrier at the back. At least for long distances. Maybe over short you could bungee it on, and where would the rest of your luggage go? On the other hand, I’ve seen pictures of a little trailer that people use for the B that you can put luggage in, as well as the bag you flew the B in. I’ve seen one discussed on the Folding Society website, and also there is one you can order (I think) from the foldabikes site. See here.

    Brompton folding bike with trailer and luggage

    Looks to me like the case there is not as good as the one I blog about here, but you can get the trailer and the trailer hitch separately, so see if they fit this bag, and go for it!

    (Alternatively….. maybe you can leave the bag in a locker at the airport and come back for it at the end of the trip?)

    Very best of luck. Let me know how it worked out!


  20. laura says:

    hi clifford,
    thanks for your help! the trailer looks cool but not really convenient for 200 miles’ worth! in the end i took my normal bike just so i didn’t need a case. next time though i think i’ll take the brompton – i found some stockists for the hard case here, and reckon i could fit it on my back if nothing else. yikes!

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