Thursday, February 2, 2012

Commuting with the Flamingo London NX7 Folding Bike

One of the key features of the Flamingo London NX7 is of course the folding! With such a compact fold, it really shines when you bring the bike onto public transport. The bike enables you to bridge the "last mile", from the MRT/Bus stop to your destination. No more walking for a few kilometres or waiting for the feeder bus. Sometimes, the waiting time for the feeder bus is longer than the bus trip itself!

For me, I am lucky that my work place is near an MRT station. I can combine cycling with taking the MRT to get to work. From my place, I will cycle to the Bukit Batok MRT station, take a train to Joo Koon MRT, then cycle to my work place.

Distance from Home to Bukit Batok MRT: < 1 km
Distance from Joo Koon MRT to work place: < 2 km

Duration of journey using different modes of transport, door to door:
Bike + MRT: 40 mins max
Bike all the way (12+km): 35 mins at fast pace, 45 mins at relaxed pace
MRT + Bus 255: 50 mins minimum

Also, my work place has shower facilities, so no problem with freshening up after the ride. In fact, with MRT + Bike mixed mode commuting, the total cycling distance is less than 3 km. If I cycle at a relaxed pace, I will arrive at my work place slightly warm and with a bit of perspiration. A wipedown with a wet towel will do, no need to shower. You also arrive much more awake and ready to start the day!

With the Flamingo London NX7, there is no problem with parking! Just fold it and roll it under an empty table. Most people won't notice that there is a bike there!

The bike tucked discreetly under an empty table!

Taking an empty lift at the MRT station

A rare sight: A nearly empty train! Joo Koon MRT at 550 pm

Strictly speaking, folding bikes are not allowed on the MRT during peak hours. However, this bike folds so compactly that it takes up so little space. For the trip to work in the morning, the train is not too crowded for me since I usually go to work quite early, and I am usually at Bukit Batok MRT by 640 am. No problem getting onto the trains at BB or JE.

As for the return trip during the evening peak hour, I am lucky that the MRT station that I am using is right at the end of the line. As seen above, there is hardly anyone boarding the train at that stop. No problems getting into the MRT station and onto the train.

The key thing to take note here is to be considerate, and let other passengers board the train first. The ultimate goal is to blend in so seamlessly that no one notices your bike!

With the roller wheels, it is effortless to wheel the bike within the MRT station. No problems going to the end of the platform or going all the way to the lift. As stated in the introduction to the bike, there was a problem with rolling the bike due to the misalignment of the roller wheels. I have since come up with a solution that mostly solves the problem. Will be blogging about it soon!

One good thing about riding a bike is that the journey time is quite consistent. You are not bothered by traffic jams, crowded buses, train delays or other unpredictable issues. You are in control of your speed and your route. Although if it rains, I will not ride the bike!

Also, it brings you straight from door to door, with an all-inclusive timing. A bus trip of a similar distance and route may have a shorter journey time, but how about the waiting time for the bus? The bike also brings you straight to your destination, whereas if you take a bus you are restricted by the location of the bus stops.

Bike commuting is fun! Give it a try one day and see if it suits you. You don't need to bike to work everyday if you don't want to, but it is useful to have options!

7 comments:

  1. Well done Steve! I fully agree folding bike + MRT/Bus is the most liberating thing to do!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I do the same as you - train and folding bike. I think they're allowed on trains at all times where I live, no one's ever said anything about it at least, but you could always get a bag for it too - then no one would even be able to tell what you were carrying.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I have a strange question. Can you sit on the folded flamingo/brompton? This would be useful while waiting in a bus stop that is crowded or has seats wet by the rain.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Interesting question! Unfortunately from an engineering point of view you should not sit on the bike. The weight will be concentrated on 4 small roller wheels that are not designed to take a person's weight. There are other restrictions too due to the way the roller wheels are attached and how the weight is directed onto the ground. But no, it will not double up as a seat.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I've been known to sit on my Brompton while waiting. But the rear mudguard does bend a little. Probably not the best idea. It's a great bike. Also have a nice Montague foldup for longer distances. Love folding bikes.

    ReplyDelete
  6. How does the Flamingo feel when riding 30km + distances? I am riding a 20 inch foldie once weekly that distance and would like to know the difference between a 20 inch and the Flamingo. Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  7. The Flamingo doesn't ride so well over longer distances. You will feel that more effort is required. A 20 inch foldie will be better for distances over 10 km

    ReplyDelete