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Travelling with a Brompton

Discussion in 'Sepeda Lipat' started by mt, Apr 26, 2016.

  1. mt

    mt Pensiun Dulu

    Sorry for writing in English.

    Tokyo is a very nice city for cycling. I didn't take my road bike, but rather the Brompton since it was a business trip and I need to show up at meetings looking rather civilised. This is my first time taking a bike to Tokyo, or even overseas and I think the Brompton was the perfect bike unless you're going on a 100% cycling tour (in which case you may want to bring a road bike to cover more distance).

    So what's so good about the brompton?
    1. Size and weight.
    My bike weighs ~10kg without any weight-weenies titanium option and so it was an ok size to be carrying inside a train, which you should consider as Taxi from Narita to Tokyo may cost hundreds of dollars. (I had a Taxi ride from Haneda airport to downtown Tokyo once, it was ~$200. I checked for an Uber and got a quote for ~$400 from Tokyo to Narita Airport).
    So you need to be able to get your bike comfortably on the train. With the brompton, I got the hardcase which doubles as a luggage and I put my clothing on the same brompton hardcase (use plastic bags to keep dirt off). Total came out to be ~25KG. Bike was ~10.5kg, hardcase about 4kg.
    The rest of my stuff was in a 32L Deuter backpack. So I had a backpack and the hardcase with roller wheels. No problems getting on/off Train at all.

    2. It folds very neatly. Meaning I can bring it indoors in some very casual restaurants, store it in a locker in JR train stations, carry the bike up on many cramped spaces in Tokyo so I don't have to leave it outside risking theft. You can also push the bike around "semi-folded" when moving in and out train stations (make sure to cover the bike with plastic bag.)

    3. It's very easy to travel with the bike and still be dressed semi, or even formal with a suit jacket. Also very easy to travel with the bike and with a backpack.

    4. The small wheel size makes it very maneuverable in a lot of pedestrian-heavy areas.

    5. If you need mix in some time with the bike and train, the brompton is very easy to swich in and out. Very easy to carry inside the train.

    What I suggest you do:
    Get a Minoura phone bracket so you can ride while following directions from Google Maps (shown in photo). I got mine in Tokyo, but local Rodalink outlets sell them as well. I found the bracket to be fairly secure, holding my Iphone 6 during cycling. Just be careful when the road is rough, something you very rarely see in Tokyo.

    Pre-order a Japanese Sim Card with Data connections two weeks before your trip and ask the vendor to mail the simcard to your hotel. Live is so much easier with a working data plan on your phone. Google Maps, Train schedules, everything. I used Sakura Mobile (https://www.sakuramobile.jp/).

    Google Maps doesn't have a cycling-route option for mapping a route to your destination. Choosing a car route may put you in an expressway which you don't and you can't ride into. So I choose the walking route. Distance time may be very different though between cycling and walking.

    Trash plastic bags, the biggest size, makes a handy bag to cover your bike with while in Train stations and trains. I forgot to bring some, so I bought them in a Tokyo supermarket, and the ones they have are even thinner than the plastic bags I use at home.

    You need to deflate your tires when taking the bike on a plane. I didn't know that, so I had to do it while checking the bike in. After arriving at the hotel in Tokyo, I didn't bring any pump *facepalm* and I removed the portable pump that came with the Brompton bike, thinking I wouldn't need it. Guess what? Called the hotel Front Desk and a staff came with a floor pump. I don't think every hotel Front Desk would be able to help you with a floor pump, so better carry a hand pump just in case.

    I'm not sure you can bring in a CO2 canister, so I bought mine at a cycle shop in Japan.

    There are a LOT of bike shops around Tokyo. The biggest chain is Y's Road (Google it) and they have different outlets everywhere. Each outlet is specialised for different type of cycling gear. The one in Shinjuku area is very big and if you can only visit one Y's road, visit the one in Shinjuku. Otherwise, I came across probably close to 10 bike stores during my cycling around the city. There must be one store every 1-2 kilometers.

    The Y's road in Akihabara area only sells mostly cycling clothes.

    If you need basic equipment like cycling lights and pump, Yodobashi Akiba has a small section selling bikes on the top floor. You can get basic stuff there. For more specialty stuff, look up Y's road's website and find the store that has the category you're interested in (i.e Triathlon bike, Folding bike, etc).

    I used a two speed brompton with a 50T crank to save weight. My brompton originally is a 6-speed, but the 3-speed rear wheelset is extremely heavy so I got a standard rear wheelset and that cut off some 1.5KG from the weight of the bike. I find it to be the perfect ratio FOR ME. The big gear is enough to do the long stretches in 20-30kph. The small gear is perfect for a lot of the small climbs I had to do going from Shinjuku to Akihabara, BUT I did those climbs out of the saddle. If you are not comfortable for long out of the saddle sessions (there probably were 5-6 long climbs from Shinjuku to Akihabara), you definitely need a 6-speed brompton.

    Bring a bike lock or buy one there. At first I'm quite paranoid about leaving my bike locked outside as the Brompton is quite fancy. However, you don't want to bring in your Brompton to some places as they consider that very rude. I had a meeting where I had to leave my brompton outside in the open, quiet area, granted, but I was very nervous the whole time of the meeting as I didn't have a lock to lock my bike with. Good thing afterwards I was able to find a bike store and lock my bike, as you need to do it sometimes. Buy a solid bike lock not the cheap wire stuff.

    I think those are all I can remember for now.

    Tokyo really is a very nice city for cycling. About 99% of the road are super smooth, smoother than anything you can find in Jakarta. And the 1% rough road is still better than the road in Jl. Sudirman. You can cycle on the road (keep to the most left) or cycle on the sidwalk. When you want to go against the road direction, cycle on the sidwalk, not the road. In Tokyo, if you hit a pedestrian walking, I believe the cyclist would be at fault. However, cycling on the sidewalk is quite convenient as the majority of people give way to bikes. Just don't go very fast on the sidewalks. I recommend 10-15kph at most.

    Compared to my last trip when I walked everywhere almost exclusively, I think I'm much less tired this time. Cycling is a very efficient way to get around, and apparently less tiring compared to walking+train. I encourage you to try it especially if you already have a brompton and are planning a trip to Tokyo soon.


    Attached Files:

  2. mt

    mt Pensiun Dulu

    More photos. Notice the Minoura smartphone holder. Used my Iphone 6 on it. It's not in the picture as I used the Iphone to take the picture. I was considering carrying a camera, but I think the Iphone was a much better choice for a travelling camera.

    Attached Files:

    locke, nduajah and Wilber Purwanto like this.
  3. Becakarema

    Becakarema Well-Known Member

    istimewa, taxi 200usd? berapa jauh tuh
  4. dxtr

    dxtr Peternak Sepeda

    Nice share om @mt
    mt likes this.
  5. Ramen Mk-II

    Ramen Mk-II Well-Known Member

    wah impian saya keduluan sama om mt
    udah setahun lebih ini saya planning mau bawa sepeda klo ke jepang lagi
    mulai dari nyari sepeda yg cocok, sampai rute2 dan baca2 tokyocycle
    sampai memperkirakan klo harus naik taksi gimana biayanya (thx om mt yg udah ngasih jawaban buat pertanyaan ini)

    tapi klo dari fotonya om mt, itu brompton 16" y
    saya niatnya bawa sepeda 20", mungkin sekelas bikefriday yg lipatannya juga gak sekecil brompton
    masih bisa masuk kereta g y?
    saiberian likes this.
  6. mt

    mt Pensiun Dulu

    Masuk kereta sih bisa, cuman adds more bulk dan kalo kereta pas penuh kan repot juga desak2an sama orang2 disitu. Juga waktu kamu tenteng jalan2, saya yg badan lebih besar dari kamu saja rasa lumayan repot carry sepeda 20", apalagi elu *peace*. Gw saranin sih gak perlu brompton, cuman mungkin dahon yg 16" lebih praktis dibanding 20".

    YA ujung2nya mau bawa sepeda apa sih tetep bisa ya, cuman ya urusan repot apa nggak. Apalagi kalo disana kita belanja, mesti bawa belanjaan sambil bawa sepeda gede, kan berabe.
    Ramen Mk-II likes this.
  7. mt

    mt Pensiun Dulu

    Haneda to Tokyo 25KM menurut Google Maps.

    Narita to Tokyo is 77KM. Jadi kalo pake taksi mungkin $700 atau Rp10jt sekali jalan. Kemarin ini sih saya cek uber sekitar 6jt dari Tokyo ke Narita one-way.
    Becakarema likes this.
  8. Ramen Mk-II

    Ramen Mk-II Well-Known Member

    gw sih niatnya :
    - bawa sepeda ke sana
    - titip barang di hotel
    - touring 2 harian, lalu balik ke hotel awal
    - sepeda dititip di hotel klo mau belanja

    yang jadi masalah utama y tetep itu, bawa sepeda dari dan ke bandara
    taxi mahal euy
    atau sekalian pake jasa ekspedisi kali y
    dari bandara kirim ke hotel, pas pulang juga bisa sebaliknya
    klo pake ini bisa bawa roadbike sekalian
  9. locke

    locke Cyclist Kebal Racun

    Kuroneko kadang nolak bawa sepeda, tp kalau koper normal sih ga masalah. Saran saya sih kl bawa koper gede kirim aja ke hotel via kuroneko atau jasa kirim barang lainnya, di bandara ada counter buat kirim barang, ga perlu reservation, dateng aja k counter itu trus minta kirim.

    Sepeda bawa sendiri pakai kereta, cari gerbong paling ujung yg biasanya spacenya lebih besar dan jarang penumpang. Dan kl bisa, cari waktu yg ga crowded, kecuali bisa dateng dbandara pagi banget, hindari weekend, utk weekdays datang d Bandara agak siangan krn biasanya lbh ga rame

    Sumber: pengalaman sendiri
    dasarbule and Ramen Mk-II like this.
  10. locke

    locke Cyclist Kebal Racun

    Atau kl mau lbh seru, rakit sepeda di bandara, tas sepeda sm koper kirim ke hotel..trus sepedaan deh dr bandara ke hotel. Tp untuk yg ini, Sy belum pernah sih
    Ramen Mk-II likes this.
  11. Ramen Mk-II

    Ramen Mk-II Well-Known Member

    best suggestion so far
    dari bandara langsung turing sampai hotel tujuan
    OMG, this is great idea, lol

    seumur2 ke sana cuma backpacking, trus langsung loncat jadi bicycle touring, boleh juga
    klo jadi kesana, kita ketemuan y om
    locke likes this.
  12. locke

    locke Cyclist Kebal Racun

    Sip kontak2 aja
  13. robert

    robert Active Member

    saya sama temen2 september ini rencana gowes roadbike , 17-23 sept 2016, mendarat di osaka. ada yg mau join?
  14. locke

    locke Cyclist Kebal Racun

    Mau kemana aja? Daerah kansai aj? Coba dishare itinerary nya dan Kl ke daerah kanto kabar2in aj y
  15. robert

    robert Active Member

    sejujurnya belom disusun tuh itinerary nya, yg uda beli tiket 8 orang dari jkt. rencananya ke beberapa kota, entah sewa van terus nyetir gantian atau pake shinkansen di perjalanan yg ga memungkinkan pake sepeda. yg pasti gak gowes full, mau jalan2 juga hehe

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