29 July 2009

Please Explain the Brompton to Me

I get it... but then I don't really.

Please explain the Brompton to me.

I know the bicycle well and I'm of the opinion that it's a good bicycle, a lovely ride and wonderful design. I rode one on a 30 km ride in Japan and was amazed that I could effortlessly keep up with the gearheads. Transporting it around Japan on a train was easy, albeit clumsy.

In the self-ironic film above, I even rode it around a skatepark for a laugh.

What I don't get is the cult of the Brompton. It's a good bike, but it's not the best bicycle ever made. There's no such thing. And I understand brand cults - just look at the Mac crowd for starters - but what's it all about with the Brommie? I have a folding bike myself, a Mobiky, so I'm 'in the loop' regarding the trials and tribulations of folding bikes.

When I was at Velocity in Brussels back in May there were Bromptonites present and they were very visible. At the galla evening at the end of the week they all arrived in concerto. Charming in many ways, frightfully old school British, dragging their bikes into the coatcheck queue, drenched with Belgian rain.

I felt like I had wandered into a lepidopterology conference by mistake.

I don't wish to be flippant [in this post]. I'm sincerely curious. I can see that the Brompton is experiencing a revival. An old school quirk becoming new school hot. Wonderful stuff. Nice one. All good.

But let's hear from the Bromptonians, Bromptonites, Bromptidians.

What is it about the Brompton?