“All we’re trying to do is make cities more enjoyable” Will Butler-Adams, Managing Director, Brompton.
In 1975, Andrew Ritchie was tinkering in his West London flat, which overlooked the Brompton Oratory in South Kensington, while doing his darndest to come up with the best folding bicycle the world had ever seen.
Five years later the design was finalised and in 1981 the first 30 Bromptons were made by Andrew’s fair hands.. in 1987 Brompton officially went into production and the rest, as you can clearly see… is history.
Last night, I joined the Brompton team at their Covent Garden store and workshop, to celebrate their new SS15 collection. We toasted with champers, guzzled mince pies and I learnt bucket loads about this fantastic British, London brand, which I am so terribly proud of, which doesn’t make much sense to me as I have had nothing to do with it. But there you are – great British design makes me swell with pride and I wanted to high five everyone in the room.
“The Brompton was conceived as a product that increases people’s independence and freedom, and this concept is still at the heart of everything we do; so we make bikes that our customers can rely on wherever and whenever they use them.”
Cycling around London is one of my favourite things to do, and I love that it’s getting me fitter at the same time. When so much of London life is about nipping on tubes and buses or jumping in cabs, I find my normal bike can be very restricting – a folding bike is such a genius concept and it’s high on my Christmas wish list.
The Brompton is definitely an investment – it’s not cheap, but considering that Will Butler-Adams, MD (whose ear I chewed off for about an hour) has been riding his for the past fifteen years, suddenly around 20p a day for a Brompton doesn’t sound so bad, considering it will change your life irreversibly… and so much for the better…
Downstairs at Brompton Junction on Long Acre is the Brompton workshop, where clever souls cling and clang away and create gorgeous bikes for us to whizz about our cities on… and I do love a good workshop. Especially one that has coffee and cake…
If you’ve been toying with the idea of switching your fixie for a foldie (is that a thing? It should be) then get your bottom down to Brompton as swiftly as you can.
And if you’re quick about it, there might still be a few mince pies knocking around…
Oh Brompton. You do make my heart go ping.