Why I bought a Brompton

I saw a guy with a Brompton folding bicycle in Adelaide a few years ago. It was green and shiny and a fellow was wheeling it past the convention centre. I hadn’t seen a Brompton before but I was fascinated by it. As an architect I was impressed with the engineering and not only how she folded, but the aesthetics that were unified, curved and quirky.

Then on a recent trip to Brussels in June 2016 I caught up my friend Adrian, who is also an architect, who I’d worked with in London 25 years ago. He had a second-hand ‘Brommie’ he used to commute to the city via a train. He showed me the ‘fold’…..gave me a ride up and down his local footpath in Warve and I fell in love again with riding and the design of this bike.

Adrian's Brompton in Warve, Belgium

Adrian’s Brompton in Warve, Belgium

I rode lots of bikes as a child in the western ‘burbs’ of Brisbane with the usual number of crashes, skids and gravel rashes. I seemed to spend my youth with a ‘scab’ on at least one limb!

In London I would commute between West Kensington and Chiswick in the early 1990s with a wonderful ride along the Thames past Hammersmith.

Hammersmith Bridge on my London bike commute

Hammersmith Bridge on my London bike commute

The ride was a mixture of back streets and promenades along the river bank. I rode for a full year enjoying balmy summers and even some snow in winter. I had bought from the landlord for £20 an old dutch bike with the basket on the front which was fantastic for shopping at the Northend Road Markets on Saturday mornings. I remember those youthful days in London of early marriage fondly and bike riding around London was so easy.

Our old flat in London as seen in June 2016

Our old flat in London as seen in June 2016

Shortly after seeing my Brompton-owning mate in Brussels in June, he came with us for an office reunion in London. We met at an old pub, the ‘Bell and Crown’, and I did a sentimental walk with my wife Mary along my old bike route to work beside the Thames. Later, on a walk through central London I stumbled upon a bike shop full of Bromptons. The pressure in my own mind was building! I wanted one! But how?

View from the Bell and Crown overlooking the Thames

View from the Bell and Crown overlooking the Thames

Adrian (left) and me at St Pancras International Station, London

My Bromptoneer friend Adrian (left) and me at St Pancras International Station, London

On return in early July to Australia I did more research on the Brompton website and became obsessed with the ‘Build your Brompton’ page and then saw a local Brisbane dealer Epic Cycles who gave me a test spin. I rode around the Stafford Primary School on the footpath.

Build a Brompton - my bike!

Build a Brompton – my bike!

After two more weeks of self-inflicted agony (can’t really afford it at present) I went in and ordered one that I took delivery of within a week. I went nuts and got a helmet, the S Bag (glad I did) and some lights and picked some colours that matched my ‘Fulton Trotter Architects‘ livery with a black frame and lime green extremities. The helmet and S bag also had the lime green so it was a nice looking package.

My New Brompton

So why a Brompton?

I fell in love with the look of them and their beautiful curves and colours. The portable nature provided so many commute options that I had never considered possible. The fact that they were designed and continue to be built in London was just fantastic and I knew the quality would be there. (It would be a big mistake to build them elsewhere.) The whole Brompton Story is just fantastic and counter the trend to build cheaper, nastier and crappier products somewhere else. As an Architect I admire good design and quality and want to be part of that narrative. For me I am always prepared to pay a premium for something well made and all the third party reviews confirmed this was the case.

My Brompton as posted by the Australian Distributor 'before I saw it'!

My Brompton as posted by the Australian Distributor ‘before I saw it’!

I think my emotional connection to London and riding in that great city had something to do with it?

I also own a pocket yacht / trailer sailer and the bike can also come along for a ride on our expeditions. She will fit neatly in the cabin and can be used on shopping expeditions when you turn up to a new mooring and the shops are a long walk away.

Me and my Brompton in front of my brother Christopher's Clock in Boonah, QLD

Me and my Brompton in front of my brother Christopher’s Clock in Boonah, QLD

The Brooks seat was also hard to resist and the up-selling of all the accessories worked a treat on me. The price? Expensive but……you get what you pay for!

Stay British!

Stay British!

So don’t get distracted Brompton….stay British, stay the course! I may even persuade my wife to get one but that is a big hill to climb.

Paul Trotter

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About paulhtrotter65

Director - Fulton Trotter Architects AIA - Queensland Chapter Councillor Rear Commodore North - Careel Cruising Yacht Association Deputy President - Brisbane Saints Cricket Club Brompton owner
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