Thursday 24 July 2014

12 Ways the Brompton user might annoy a roadie

Owning a Brompton is a joy. There is something very special about owning, riding and looking after the best bicycle bar none. There are some aspects of owning a folding bicycle that may annoy others in the cycling world. When I write 'others' I do mean roadies.

#1 - Hills

The Brompton with its smaller 16 inch wheels has a distinct advantage over its larger wheeled road bike cousin. This is because of some complicated and long winded physics, but as I hated O-level physics, you'll have to take my word for it.

If you have hills on your commute or when out riding recreationally and see a road bike, try and take it on the hill. As your eyes travel upwards taking in their lycra-clad bodies to their face, you can compound the shame by letting fly cheery, 'lovely morning for it!' For the truly vindictive, a Brompton rider sporting a 'King of the Mountain' jersey adds that final insult.

#2 - Multi-modal

We have all been there. Weather can be awful: rain, snow, fog. The list is endless. With a Brompton if you get fed up with the weather you can simply fold and take it on an alternative form of transport. Just try doing this with a full sized road bike!

#3 - 'Oh look it's a Brompton!'

The Brompton user often hear the above words. You just don't hear passers by say, 'oh look it's a Bianchi...Specialized...Giant....Cube....'

#4 - Better than a Puppy

The Brompton is endearing and dare I say bordering on the cute to many. People who have never set eyes on one are often captivated by them and actively engage the owner in animated conversion. They are the cycling world equivalent of a puppy!

#5 - Brompton World Championships

By the very act of owning a Brompton, you can enter perhaps THE greatest cycling event. Once you have competed in a BWC you can officially regard yourself as an international world class athlete. A roadie might well be able to enter a sportive, but come on...what can compare to the sight of hundreds of Brompton owners racing against each other!?

#6 - Fun

Owning a Brompton is fun. I am sure that roadies have  fun time riding their bikes but does it induce a glance, smile, wave from passers by the way a Brompton does?

#7 - Other Brompton Users

Owning a Brompton means you are part of a club, a fraternity where a common bond is shared instantly. The roadie might nod at each other but the Brompton user quite often dings their distinctive bell at each other. Roadies are often infuriated at witnessing this.

#8 - Locks? Who needs a lock?!

Owning a road bike can be a pain. If you want to pop down the road for a pint of milk etc.., in this day and age you will have to carry a lock. Even then the roadie runs the risk of having their prize targeted by the criminal classes. With a Brompton you simply fold and take it with you. The worry at the back of your mind of whether your bike will still be there is removed, thus making the Brompton owner happier.

#9 - The Shame of being overtaken

If another cyclist overtakes a Brompton, so what. We have smaller wheels! However, if a Brompton user overtakes a roadie (also see #1 again) unless that roadie is of the steeliest disposition they will feel a burning sense of shame.

#10 - Crossover

Many Brompton users actively seek out equipment traditionally designed for the roadie. This could be pedals, lycra, water bottles, micro saddlebags, nutritional products. A simmering hatred can build up in the roadie customer or shop assistant when they find out it is all for a Brompton user!

#11 - Entering a traditionally road bike event

Not so long ago, yours truly and few more brave Bromptonians entered the 'Mitie Revolution' which is traditionally a road bike event. On the start line, outnumbered many times over, the brave Brompton riders had to contend with some withering stares, perhaps asking the question, what are they doling here?! When the ride really started, we were given incredulous glances as we were able to keep up with some of our road bike cousins.

#12 - Clown bikes?

Some roadies will describe the Brompton as above. Many do not perhaps feel the Brompton is a proper bicycle. The comment does say more about the person who uttered it, especially when one takes into account all of the above!

There you have it. A dozen ways the humble Brompton user might, unintentionally annoy the roadie. I would of course say that one should not go out of ones way to annoy any other road user but would highlight # 1, 5, 9 and 11 for the truly wicked out there!


  1. Um.........i agree with them all bar number 1. Living in hilly Devon i can fly up hills much faster and with less leg pain when on my road bike, the Brompton sadly does not come even close. On 25% hills the front wheel is a pain to keep on the road

    1. Lar, you'd be surprised. Perhaps we should have a mini competition one day with you on your road bike and me and a few other hill lovers on their Brompton bicycles...

  2. Deal. A summer visit from the LBC for a haytor challenge. After all you don't have anything big enough up there lol. We do have a nice little 33% if your really brave, but bring a doctor i may need them.

  3. Thank you for your fab blog - I really enjoy your posts !
    My mission is to spot your new bike this sunday at BWC ? I'll say "hi" should I see you ! I'll be sporting a cycling jersey you'll approve of - orange - astride my all yellow S6l. The BEST bike I've ever owned !
    Twelve ways...... made me chuckle ! I seem to be getting lots of interest in mine living here in Windsor ! A lovely young girl riding her scooter exclaimed "look at that bike mummy !" She was fascinated when I showed her how it folded/unfolded - her rather yummy mummy said "maybe I should buy one?" A shame she was sporting a rather sizeable diamond on her wedding ring finger ! Bugger ! Ha ha !
    Best wishes

    1. It would be lovely to say hello so do try and spot me. I suspect you'll be able to!

  4. Great list! !:D

  5. Mr. O,
    This post was really entertaining. Funny!
    Peace :)


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