Saturday, 21 August 2010

A short but lovely story

Yesterday I had to take the Brompton to the Borough of Merton. This involved taking the bike to East Croydon station and then catching the tram out to Merton. Two stops into the trip all passengers were asked to get off because of vandalism (egg throwing) on the tram which now had to be clean. This incident happened before I got on but no one had told the driver. While we all waiting on the platform for the next tram, an elderly man called out ‘that’s a Brompton’. He then proceeded to tell me and the other waiting passengers about the Brompton and his memories of the first model. He said it was called a Brompton Superior, because it was a superior ride. (I have tried to find out any early names for Bromptons, but no luck so far.)

On the tram he told me that he was 87 years old and that he still used a bike when he could. He said that he had been cycling for 80 years and had two custom bikes (one racing and one for training) that were now over 20 years old. He said that he kept cycling because of his legs and his theory that if he ‘didn’t use them he would loose them’. The only thing he didn’t do was cycle in the rain because of the quality of the road surfaces and not having any mudguards.

I was impressed.

11 comments:

Maggie said...

I'm impressed too! I love how biking spurs conversations and meeting new interesting people.

Luke said...

This 87 year old gentleman sounds amazing. I would love to bump into him on one of my journeys!

If you want to find out more about the origins of the Brompton there is a book called The Brompton Bicycle by David Henshaw, I think.

If you search on Amazon or equivalent I'm sure you'll find the book/author. I have the book and not only does it tell you how the Brompton started but it also has a whole heap of information on how to look after your Brompton and servicing tips etc. Very useful!

Thanks for keeping the blog up to date and I look forward to reading some more of your exploits in the future.

Gareth said...

What a great idea for a contribution-based part of your website 'Conversations with Strangers about your Brompton'
Most of the people who approach me about my Brompton ask 'So how much was that?'. Others have go out of the seats on the train to see you unfold it.
I see Andrew Ritchie (Brompton designer) is giving a talk on the Brompton in London on the 1st September.

Cycling in Heels said...

Nice idea Gareth. Most people do just ask how much or how heavy is the bike. But when I can I do stop and talk to other Brompton users. Maybe I can turn it into a 1 minute interview for the blog?

Leslie said...

I don't know about 'Brompton Superior', but there used to be a motorcycle called a 'Brough Superior' (1919-1940). They were called the Rolls Royce of motorcycles. They were made by one George Brough, the son of another Mr.Brough who also made motorcycles. I guess we can presume that the son thought he was doing it better! (As sons do.)

Milady said...

sounds like a perfect story for http://www.mysociety.org/2010/07/21/brief-encounters/ (they are collecting stories in order to help figure out a way of pinpointing specific stops, all to make a site to help 'fix my transport' (like fixmystreet.com but obviously about buses, trains and the like!)

Its so nice the way bromptons spark conversation. certainly not a low profile bike. I have a friend with a Strida who is quite shy and that seems to be the worst one (in his eyes) for causing comment!

naturallycyclingmanchester said...

lovely story! I so hope to be a lady at 87 who will tell a similar story to a fellow cyclist :) (gosh that's in approx 60 years time! Def hope we'll still have bikes then!!)

inspiredcyclist said...

What a great story. I love it! TFS!

Cycling in Heels said...

I hope he is still riding.

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog and for your comments.

Nimeus said...

Wonderful. It could be (a little bit) my own story. I'm 74 and I had 2 bikes in my whole life. When I was young, I had a race bibycle, and later on I bought a 'normal' bicycle when my youngest son was born. He's now 37 and I give away this old bike and bought (2 weeks ago) my first Brompton. The Brompton allows me to take the train, bus or tram, so I can take a ride a long way from home.
The way you write about your Brompton is very stimulating. And you look very elegant on the bike.
I'll read all your posts !

Cycling in Heels said...

Nimeus. Thank you for all your lovely comments that are now published through out the blog. I am glad you like the blog and thank you for reading. Welcome to the world of Brompton cycling.