It’s a marvellous moment when you realise that something has really changed your life. It’s rarely what you expect, but somehow that makes it more exciting.
Aged 59, I stopped using my motorbike to come to work. My leathers are consigned to the loft and the list of much loved scooters, two stroke Kawasaki racers and BMW C1 (yup, the one with a roof on top) has finally come to an end. London’s just too dangerous.
I can’t bear the bus, so I took up cycling from the station to the office. Of course, my bike was nicked almost immediately, so I bought a Brompton folder. At £600+ it was a shocking outlay for one so tight, but it has genuinely changed my life. It’s one of the best investments I’ve ever made.
I have rediscovered my teenaged love affair with cycling. Having been brought up in the country, I cycled everywhere, everyday. Now, instead of racing to the office, I pick scenic routes to work, through London’s side streets; places I’d never normally go and I’ve fallen back in love with this city. The biggest bonus of all is that I don’t go to the gym anymore.
The Brompton is one of those legendary stories of English inventiveness. Andrew Ritchie devoted his life to making the ultimate folding bike that rides like a normal full sized cycle. Like Dyson before him, the major manufacturers turned him down and, eventually, he started producing bikes for friends who paid for them in advance. He battled against the odds, but eventually won through. Now there are gaggles of Bromptons at every set of traffic lights (Brompton riders don’t run red lights) and I’m really happy to be one of them.
The bike may be a touch heavy, but it’s so well engineered that it rides like a real bike, unfolds in seconds and fits on the train with the minimum inconvenience to other travellers. It’s twice as fast as a Boris Bike and it’s always available (Note to Boris: Get bike availability sorted – it’s a disaster).
More than any technology, iPad included, the Brompton is the one product that has changed my behaviour for the better and given me enormous joy.