Sunday 10 March 2013

The Rules According to My Orange Brompton.

There has been much made of a set of rules for cyclists. Some of these are very good and some I regard as being the height of bally nonsense! This got me to thinking up a set of my own rules. You can of course take them or leave them, it is entirely up to you. Right, here goes and in no particular order:

1) When cycling along ensure that no matter what occurrence takes place you do not resort the the vulgar and common use of coarse or rare language. If you must let your frustrations out verbally, perhaps use one of the following:

"Oh if that doesn't take the giddy biscuit."

"Oh dash it all!"

"I say!"


Or to use common parlance, "Oh my days...that is well out of order bruv!"

2) Under no circumstances (including extreme hot weather) should you take off your shirt and ride bare chested. (This rule is especially pertinent with regards ladies). Not only does it make one look as if one has just come off the building site, it may give the impression that you are well known to the police!

3) Lycra is an incredible invention I am sure we would all agree. However, cycling shorts with a padded gusset should under no circumstances be worn as an outer garment for all unsundry to see. There are very good reasons for this. First, they render the wearers posterior end to resemble that of a fully grown male baboon. The dreaded 'baboon bottom' should be avoided at all costs. Simply wear under a pair of shorts.

4) Expectoration is a disgusting habit at the best of times but when cycling, renders the offender to the lowest end of the social scale. 

5) Wearing a suit, blazer or sports jacket is entirely acceptable if not encouraged when riding a Brompton on the daily commute. There are some quite shocking faux pas regarding the simple business of buttons. Please take note of the following guide.

Two button jacket should have the top button fastened. If both buttons are fastened be prepared for those in the know to openly point and tut in your general direction.

Three button jacket should have either the top two buttons fastened or better still the middle button fastened. All three done up is offensive and renders the wearer to the lowest of the low.

I will not go in to the etiquette of double breasted jackets as they are often associated with spivs or the like.

6) If you should see a crowd of people waiting at a bus stop and said bus stop is on a steep incline, under no account should the Brompton rider lose face. You must persevere up that hill looking as if it were easy until you are out of their range of sight. Upon reaching this range you are permitted to stop and recover the best you can but without resorting to rule 4.

7) Cycling on a Brompton will get you fitter and in better shape than those that do not. However, do not show off your new shapely form by wearing too tight a pair of trousers, jeans or shorts. No one wants to come up behind you looking at your rear end and seeing what can only be likened to a pair of cox's orange pippin's bouncing up and down on a saddle.

8) Owning a Brompton is not just for Christmas, it is a lifelong commitment. Even if you are thinking of upgrading you should try to keep your first Brompton. If you must sell it, only do so to someone who will look after and care for it in the same way you would.

9) When out on the open road and you see a road bike, mountain bike or any other type of bike, one must endeavour to overtake it. When overtaking one must not celebrate in a gleeful way as this would be vulgar. No. One must be very nonchalant about it all and act as if this is an everyday occurrence.

10) The great thing about owning a Brompton is that you can of course quite happily commute daily wearing ones work clothes. For gentlemen riders the wearing of ones old school tie is shockingly bad form and should be avoided at all costs. Former old boys will be able to recognise you at twenty paces and the need to flaunt old school colours is not needed.

11) Taking a photo of your Brompton folding bicycle is a must. You need to ensure that care is given to composure and exposure. In addition having your a famous landmark as a backdrop to show off your Brompton will only serve to enhance its beauty.

12) The Brompton user should promote the merits of his/her Brompton in an almost zealot fashion. Do not be the dour, gloomy pill often associated with those riding road bikes. the optimist and covert others to the fold.

13) Entering a folding bike race and competing in at least one such event is a must for the Brompton user. This will provide ample opportunity to discuss your Brompton folding bike at length and also give extra ammunition for rule 12.

14) Naming your Brompton is an important part of owning a Brompton. Mine are called, 'Original Orange Brompton' and 'Titanium Orange Brompton.' Nice and simple as is a friend's, 'Green Machine.'

15) Riding in a peloton of Brompton bikes is a sight to behold and not easily forgotten by riders and those fortunate enough to see you all zoom past. You must seek out like minded individuals and go on a suitable ride with them where the the snaking sight of Brompton bikes in a range of colours is possible.

16) Learn to love the hills. A Brompton and its 16 x inch wheels have a slight advantage when ascending hills over the larger wheeled road bike. Embrace hills, attack hills, love hills!

17) Modes of transport. the great thing about owning a Brompton is that you can take it anywhere. During the life of you Brompton try and take it in/on the following:

Cable car
Shopping trolley

18) The fold. Mastering the fold on a Brompton is essential for several reasons. It will help you when embarking on rule 13. It will help with the daily commute. Perhaps the single most important reason is that to people who have not seen a Brompton bike being folded or unfolding, performing this task swiftly will have them looking at you in wonderment! A time of under 12 seconds is deemed acceptable but aim for under 10 to bewitch, amaze and beguile onlookers.

19) Suffering a puncture is an unfortunate event for all cyclists. The Brompton user (armed with the Brompton toolkit where possible) should be able to carry out a repair or inner tube replacement in the field. Limping to the touchline like the sickly child with a note from Matron, is not at option!

20) Travelling light is a must for all Brompton users. Having a smaller bike and then taking the kitchen sink with you is just a waste. Travel with the minimum and consider a Carradice saddle bag or similar to aid the minimalistic approach.

21) Fuel. It is important when going out for an extended days cycling to prepare throughly. Pasta the night before, porridge, poached eggs on unbuttered toast with plenty of fluids for breakfast will provide a great start. The slow release energy will keep you going and avoid embarrassment if one runs out of fuel!

22) When referring to these rules under no circumstances should they be explained. Merely say for example, Rule 16. Tell them where they cab find the rules but leave it up to them to find out what a specific rule means.

23) Have a Brompton will be great fun but you will soon really get into cycling in general. If this happens words like cadence and spinning will crop up in polite conversation with other Brompton users. It might at this point time to find a Jedi Master who knows the ways of the Force. In other words they can explain what all these terms mean and provide practical advice.

24) Keep your Brompton clean and it will reward you with years of happiness and service.

25) With rule 24, you may need to invest in a work stand. These are the sort of devices - almost like medieval siege engine - that allow you to clamp your bike and clean, service and tinker with in much more comfort.

26) If wearing a suit or normal trousers together with a pair of shoes when cycling on your Brompton there are no circumstances where the addition of a pair of white socks will be acceptable!  White socks with shoes is a terrible sight. No one wants to see it. It is not big or clever and it certainly isn't sporty!

27) Having cycled extensively around Richmond Park at the weekend I have noticed a quite disgusting sight, mainly the preserve of the road bike user, that I do not expect the discerning Brompton user to partake in. I refer to the way some cyclists do not blow their nose with an handkerchief or tissue, but use an index finger pressed firmly against the nostril and blowing out its contents as vigorously as one can. The Brompton user should carry a suitable supply of tissues or similar to avoid being mistaken for some sort of navvy.

28) Water is your friend and not just the staple diet of the waif-like supermodel. When cycling make sure that you carry enough water to replace that you have lost through your exertions.

29) The Brompton should be user is a hardy sort of person, stoically carrying on regardless. With image in mind, regardless of weather the intrepid Bromptonian should (suitably kitted out with wet weather gear) go about their business no matter what time of year or what the Met Office have to say

30) Where possible one should store ones Brompton folding bicycle indoors. You have after all invested a great deal of money in purchasing a Brompton and therefore it needs to be looked after.

31) When finally getting a new Brompton, you may experience an initial reluctance to take your new prized possession out in inclement weather. This is normal and quite understandable. Brompton bikes are built to last and can stand the rigours of the daily commute. Give things time and you will be riding it in all conditions as long as you abide by rule 29.

32) There are times when you might need to have a thick skin. I refer to the comments very occasionally shouted out by vulgar types who are curious about the sort of person who cycles on a small wheeled bicycle. It is very important no to break rule 1. If the person or persons who made a comment are within hearing range and do not look as if they will beat you about the face and neck and you are quite witted enough, you can reply with a well timed reply. Otherwise a dignified silence as you go about your business is the order of the day.

33) A visit to where your Brompton was made is a must. Do not expect to just turn up and be invited inside as that would be the behaviour of a delusional cad and bounder. No...instead you might want to drive past the factory to obtain a scant glimpse of where your Brompton was born.

34) Make sure that you stick to rule 24 but under no circumstances should you use a pressure washer to clean the dirt accumulated from an extended days cycling in arduous conditions. I am ashamed to report that I broke rule 34 once. It was not pretty and was costly. It is not a rule I will break ever again!

35) Riding a Brompton is fun, makes you happy and is addictive. Be prepared for a desire to go the long way home or to branch out to new locations at the weekend.

36) A Brompton is usually bought for a daily commute of a few miles but you must strive to cycle over the 50 mile mark at least once. Good routes are London to Oxford/Cambridge but wherever you live try and go for that half century. This will allow you to be the raconteur at dinner parties as you regale your audience with tales of epic cycle rides...on a Brompotn - rule 12!

37) When buying a Brompton try and resist the instant gratification of visiting a bike shop an purchase a bike off the peg. (If of course they have exactly what you desire...go for it). A better option would be the bespoke, tailor-made route. With this you can specify your exacting requirements in terms of colour and what have you.

38) One Brompton is great fun but owning two is wonderful. Just think you could have a racing Brompton, a winter/bad weather Brompton or even variants to colour coordinate with your chosen outfit? See rule 39.

39) If one has another half it may well be worthwhile exploring the possibility of a Brompton just for them so you can share the love...even if they do not want one. If you manage to achieve this, the new Brompton will of course me yours and the older one can be used as set out in rule 38.

40) Keep reading my blog as it is the definitive, one stop shop for all those who want, own or love Brompton folding bicycles.

I will of course add to the list of rules as time goes by, but I feel this is more than enough to digest and live by. If you have any rules you would like added to 'The Rules' I will consider them. In the meantime, get out on the open road and enjoy your Brompton!


  1. Rule 9 is what gets me out of bed most mornings.

    Not sure about rule 19 though, surely one of the best things about a Brompton is being able to take it on the bus home(or any other modes of transport mentioned in rule 17)and then repairing the puncture in warmth and comfort.

  2. I have used Rule 1 today instead of my normal ranting and found it to be very therapeutic and Rule 5 should be on every Gentleman's list of need to knows.

  3. Excellent. You will feel better for it. Rule 5 is of particular importance to the gentlemen rider.

  4. Excellent rules for all the Brompton owners - but then again we do love our bikes :) A quick question I forgot to ask recently: do you think a Carradice saddle bag would also fit on the handle bars? It was just an idea and seems like it might work well but I thought I'd rather ask. Keep posting and enjoy the company of your two orange friends.

    1. Many thanks for leaving a comment. The smaller Carradice Zipped Roll bag would definitely fit othe front. The larger Barley possibly not.

  5. Works really well with our narrowboat - of course the clue is the word narrow....


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