Saturday, 22 January 2011

Every cyclist should have one

I've been a "cyclist" since before I went to school, which by now is more than 45 years. In that time I've toyed with most disciplines and excelled at none of them. This has never bothered me, especially since I learned to keep my competitive instincts in a box and just bring them out when required. I've toured over a good part of the UK and Northern Europe, I've done randonees up to 400km, including permanent events on my own, I've done a bit of time trialing, road racing, cyclo cross and mountain biking, but I've never been so surprised as the day I first got a folding bike.

Now, when most people think of a folding bike, they think of that awful Raleigh Shopper they sell in the classified at the back of the Sunday Express, otherwise known as a BSO (Bicycle shaped object) but technology has moved on more than a bit and there is no reason that anyone with more than an ounce of common sense should ever even consider a BSO in this day and age. There are any number of folding bikes on the market that are lighter, better made, more reliable, fold smaller and handle better than that Raleigh, all in one package.

I expect most readers of this blog are familiar with the Brompton and the fact that you can take it almost anywhere but there is still surprise at the answer when non cyclists ask how much it costs. It never ceases to amaze me that people will gladly pay £20-30 thousand for a smog maker (sorry, car) but gasp at £5 or 6 hundred for a machine a versatile and well built as the Brompton.

I’ve had my Brompton L6 for over 7 years and it must have done thousands of miles by now. I used it to cross London daily for a number of years, I’ve taken it to towns and cities across the country but these days I mostly use it for trips to the shops or if I have a distance to ride from the station when going by train.In fact I'm sure my lifestyle would change for the worse if I was without it.

Of my children, two were never really that into cycling. One had a couple of bad crashes early in his racing career which kind put him off and getting the other to ride a bike in the first place was worse than trying to teach a cow to write copperplate with a fountain pen. However, they both have Bromptons and both ride them regularly to and from work which just goes to prove, doesn't it?

If I had to thin out my stable, I think the Brompton would be one of the last to go.

1 comment:

Rachel said...

Thanks for the flattery, Dad.

Thanks for the Brompton, too! I <3 my Brompton.