Cycling is a wonderful way to get around, of course, but what do you do when your destination is more than a bike ride away, or when you want to do a recreational ride that doesn’t cover the boring bit from where you live that you’ve done a hundred times before?

In an ideal world, you would ride to your local station, put the bike on the train, travel in comfort to a station near your destination, then cycle from there. Sadly, railway operators seem determined to keep bikes away from their trains - modern trains are designed to squeeze in as many seats as possible, with no allowance for bikes and other bulky (non-fare-paying) luggage. Here in the Netherlands you have to pay a prohibitively high fare even for short distances, and bikes are banned altogether in the morning and evening peak hours.

The obvious answer seems to be a folding bike. Arrive at the station on your lightweight racing machine, perform a few effortless manipulations, and board the train with a neat package the size and shape of a large handbag. Well, no model quite achieves this, but one that comes closer than most, probably the most successful of folders, is the British-made Brompton.