My neighbour a few doors up was before Christmas bemoaning - quite rightly - the fact that his season tube ticket was too expensive, would probably go up even more and that he had had enough. Now this enough was not an angry or reached the end of his tether, 'I've had enough.' No, it was more a calling cry of frustration.
At the time I remember offering him a solution in the form of all that is Brompton. I even asked him if he wanted to test mine out, but he declined - I was glad at this as I did not really want him to ride it in the first place even though I had offered. He was quite clear in his mind that he wanted a road bike and today after a few weeks of 'Cycle to Work Scheme' paperwork he collected his new road bike.
It is a 'Specilaized Tarmac' and is super lightweight. It's very nice looking bike with all the mod cons. My neighbour, perhaps remembering my kind offer, returned the favour and allowed me to have a go, which I did.
Going round the block - at the insistence of my neighbour - I shifted through the gears with ease. I could feel on the flats that I was going considerably faster than I could on my Brompton. It felt lighter than my Brompton but I didn't like it. Riding on it felt strange. I cannot put my finger on why I wasn't enjoying it was but I will give it a go.
My Brompton, is unique to me. I picked the colour, gearing, tyres, suspension, saddle. Whether or not to have a rear carrier, eazy wheels or any other number of choices making my Brompton bespoke to me. My neighbours bike is off the peg and just doesn't have personality. How can a bike or any inanimate object have one? Well, I can tell you Brompton bikes do. His road bike cannot be folded down and carried. Can't be taken on other forms of public transport. It certainly won't induce people to say, 'oh it's a Brompton' as you simply go about your normal day to day business. This road bike just didn't seem as comfortable, nippy or manoeuvrable and I knew pretty quickly that I preferred my Brompton bikes.
I am very pleased that my neighbour saw the light and will try and cycle to work at least twice a week. I supposed all cyclists are on the same team really, but I left thinking...should have got a Brompton!