So I’ve been re-assessing the practicality of my 45 minute (each way) walk to work and wondering whether a fold-up bike would be a good investment. The commute totals 5 miles a day and about 10,000 or so steps according to Google.
Interestingly, Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, towards the end of his excellent talk entitled Food for Thought, cites 10,000 steps a day as being beneficial to sound health (as part of a good diet).
I’ve always enjoyed cycling and last year bought an Orange Five S which I’ve since thrashed at the Glyncorrwg trail in Cardiff during a networking event organised through work, and otherwise only at the rather tame single-track trails in Swindon.
The Five is a very capable bike which admittedly hasn’t been used to its full potential, save for the trip to Cardiff. It’s also not a commuting bike, designed for the mountains given its chunky tires.
In what felt like a very middle-age downgrade (bear in mind I’m 25!) from an Aston Martin to a sensible and proper Toyota Auris, I decided to put the Five on Gumtree with the intention of buying a Brompton, whilst also putting aside a few hundred, from the sale proceeds.
The two bikes couldn’t be more different, but it made sense given my need for a convenient commuter over a trail bike. I rarely had time to visit dedicated trail centres to put the Five to its proper use and I didn’t want it to depreciate in value if I could help it.
Having sold the Five, I searched the internet for a reasonably priced new Brompton S2L in Turkish Green.
Evans Cycles and the like all offered them at £810 but after some research I came across Sunset Bikes, Cardiff who offered a new model for £720! The slight drawback was that Brompton would take 6-8 weeks to build and deliver the bike to the Cardiff store, but a saving of £90 more than made up for this.
The Brompton should arrive a week or so before the start of Ramadan, and should be useful in cycling to the Mosque for ‘Isha prayers, which would otherwise be a brisk 30 minute walk from my flat (it’s recommended in the Maliki madhab to retire to ones home for the Tarawih prayers).
Whilst waiting for the bike’s delivery, I’m checking out the numerous front luggage options available for it in the meantime. The Brompton Leather A Bag caught my eye as being very appropriate for work but the price tag did make my eyes water somewhat.
I decided to go for the rather basic, but arguably the most practical, Brompton Folding Basket (together with a rain cover, of course). It’s not only the least-expensive front luggage option, but its capacity matches the pricier C Bag too. Brompton suggests that the Folding Basket, which has the same height as the C Bag, isn’t compatible with the S2L given the lower handlebars, but various sources suggesting otherwise (see here and here) convinced me that it works fine.
Otherwise, the Brooks B17 Standard saddle also looks the part but for the time being is an unnecessary expense. At a later date perhaps.
It would be great to hear responses from fellow Muslim cycling enthusiasts, especially those who cycle to the Mosque or who are otherwise slightly unsettled at the lack of physical activity in our increasingly diabetes-ridden communities.