My TRICE Q is a fantastic bike, and is the bike I mostly use when it's about the journey, not the destination.

For more utilitarian cycling, which includes most of my cycling in central London, the Brompton is king.

Hop on when you want to ride it, hop off when you arrive and 20 seconds later you have something that you can put under a desk, take into a restaurant or jump straight onto a train.

There are folding bicycles that are pleasant to ride. There are folding bicycles that fold down into a very small space. And there are folding bicycles which fold quickly & easily. If you want all three, however, there is only one choice.

If you're wincing at the four-figure price, it's true that they're not cheap. But there are three reasons they are much better value than you might think.

First, they basically last forever, and if you do sell, they hold their value incredibly well. You can expect to get two-thirds of the purchase price back even ten years later. Buy secondhand, and they are essentially free: you'll be able to sell them years later for the same price you paid.

Second, an annual season ticket on the tube costs £1471 for zones 1-3, £1800 for zones 1-4. A standard M3L with luggage will cost you around £1000, paying for itself in well under a year – even if you wimp out on rainy days (and remember, you can take the Brompton on the tube with you, so you can wimp out any time you like). After that, you're quids-in.

Third, there's next to no theft risk as you don't ever have to leave it outside. Just fold it up and take it in with you: offices, shops, banks - even restaurant cloakrooms. When I commuted to work, it lived under my desk in the day, and I've taken it into every type of eatery from workman's caffs to Michelin-starred restaurants without so much as a raised eyebrow.

If you're worried about getting sweaty, believe me: you'll be far cooler whizzing around London on a Brompton that you will be stuck on a rush-hour tube in the summer! It's also brilliant being able to enjoy being a tourist in your own city, seeing the sights rather than the inside of some stranger's armpit.

Of course, that £1000 guide price I gave you assumes you resist the urge to upgrade it. My own Brompton is rather heavily modified ...

That M8L model name, for example. I made that up, because my Brompton is an M3L with the 3-speed Sturmley Archer hub swapped for an 8-speed one with my preferred twistgrip shifter. :-) This couples an SA8 hub with 25T rear-cog and 50T chain-ring to give a range of 33-107 gear inches with very close-ratio gears (bar a big gap between 7th and 8th, the latter only used downhill).

Admittedly, that will cost a little more (the upgrade cost is a little shy of £300), but it's an excellent upgrade if you want to tackle hills and/or be first away from the lights. If you want to know more, Graham at Tiller Cyclesis the man to talk to.

The twistgrip shifter did pose one problem, though. I wanted to add Ergon grips, as these are supremely comfortable – the wide platform enabling you to take the weight of your upper body on the heel of your hands rather than the palms, and allowing a very loose grip of the bars. However, there simply wasn't room for the right-hand grip with part of the bar occupied by the shifter.

I threw that problem at Harry at Phoenix Cycles in Battersea, and he swapped the M bars for a wider riser bar – a Tioga mountain-bike bar.

This gave us the width, and we then needed to restore the height. This was achieved by swapping the M stem for an S stem (which I guess technically means my bike is now an S8L). So, all-in-all, not a cheap pair of grips, but they are so fantastically comfy it was all worth it!

I opted for the cork version of the grips as a good fit with the brown leather accessories. As you can see, the diameter of the grips was an almost perfect match for the shifter.

The matching grip on the other side left room for my Lion bell, which combines a delightful tone with loudness and a ring that continues forever.

The side view of the grip shows why they're so comfy – the rear section takes the weight of your hands, enabling a light grip on the bars.

I mentioned those were a good match for the brown leather accessories, so let's get to those. One of the reasons I love leather as a material is it continues to look great as it ages. My Brompton gets a pretty hard life, so it's great to have something that continues to look good even when it gets a bit bruised and battered.

The first of the leather accessories is a Brooks saddle, a recommended upgrade for any bike. Go feel a brand new one in the shop and you'll think I'm crazy. Go feel a well worn-in one and you won't. The first 50 miles will be painful, the next 150 semi-comfortable, but from 200 miles on you'll have a fantastically comfy saddle that will last the rest of your life (and can be swapped from bike to bike if needed).

I also added a small matching saddlebag to hold a few tools.

Which brings us to the front bag. Er, yes. I went through a couple of bags along the way, and even made two attempts to get one made, before Brooks saved the day by designing exactly what I'd been looking for: the Brooks Moorgate.

You know the Brooks name is a guarantee of quality, and I certainly wasn't disappointed here.

It's not cheap, but it's absolutely gorgeous and should last a lifetime. Brooks for some reason sells it without the frame, so you need to order a Game Bag frame from Brompton.

The inner bag zips closed (and there are elasticated pockets on both side, which stretch enough for a drinks bottle).

The leather outer bag has a front flap which overlaps with the rear one, two press-studs at either edge securing it.

I especially like the wrap-around handle, which has two more press-studs on the underside.

The Brompton is an urban commuter, so I treated it to the ultimate fit-and-forget be-seen-by urban commuter lights: a SON hub dynamo with B&M lights. No messing around with batteries, no need to remove the lights to charge them. At £380, they are not a cheap solution, but I decided the convenience was worth the expense.

A built-in light-sensor to switch them on and off automatically completes the fit-and-forget package. I started out by leaving it on the S (Sensor) position the whole time, giving the same hop-on, hop-off convenience at night as in the day.

However, while SON says the hub dynamo adds 1% resistance when the lights are off, rising to 4% when they're on, I found I couldn't feel any difference, on or off. I thus decided simply to leave the lights on permanently, night and day.

You may have noticed in the light photos the gorgeous Proou wooden mudguards. There are a number of wooden mudguards around, not all of which are high-quality, but these are the real thing. I use my Brompton year-round in all weathers, so mudguards are essential, but there's no reason they can't be pretty.

I do, of course, have to have on-bike gadgetry.

The obligatory GPS is a Garmin Edge 810, wich you can read about in detail on my GPS page. The executive summary is it offers full routing capabilities plus it automatically uploads tracklogs of all my rides to the web within a few seconds of me hitting the Save button on the GPS touchscreen.

I also have a bikecam, a Garmin Virb Elite. Again, more details on its own webpage. Exec summary: fully water-proof, excellent battery-life and a single combined power/record switch you can operate while wearing winter gloves.

I extend the battery-life even further by hooking it up to the hub dynamo in parallel with the lights. This doesn't provide enough juice to fully power it, but extends the 2.5-hour battery life to around five hours.

Power for this is delivered via an E-Werk USB power unit, which drops the 6v down to 5v and provides a USB hub. Brompton Junction did an excellent job at finding an unobtrusive place to fit the E-Werk unit:

The black wire follows the brake and gear cables, so doesn't look obtrusive.

The Brompton itself is almost perfectly designed, but there are two areas where it falls very slightly short. The first are the hinge clamps in that very clever fold mechanism. These can spin round, adding as much as 1.5 seconds to the fold time. This is clearly unacceptable, so those nice chaps at Brompfication offer a replacement that keeps the clamps correctly orientated, means you know when you've unscrewed them enough to open - and look exceedingly pretty into the bargain.

The small wheels designed to allow you to wheel it along when folded are a little too small. Many people fit skate wheels, which work well, but since I was placing an order with Brompfication anyway ...

If you own a Brompton and fancy social rides with other Bromptonauts, you might want to join the London Brompton Club.