This is going to be a hard blog post to write. Some of you by the end of it will not like it one bit. Some won't really care and some will understand exactly why I chosen to do what I have done.
Well, I suppose I had better come out with it. What have I done? I have sold my original Orange Brompton. There, I have written it. Many of you out there will undoubtedly be well aware I have stated on numerous occasions that this would NEVER happen. Until a few weeks ago, this was my stance too.
Before I explain why I feel a little background is needed to put this all into context. It was August 2010 when I decided that I was going to buy a Brompton. I actually placed the order in early September of the same year and the colour choice was not hard - it had to have lots of orange. (One day I might reveal why this colour is so important to me. It would be true to say that only my immediate family know why).
When I collected my Brompton about a month later (the wait seemed like an eternity) I was incredibly happy and it exceeded my expectations almost immediately. I used it on my commute, made excuses to pop out for a bottle of milk etc.., so that I could use my Brompton. At the weekend I would travel into central London to take photos of iconic locations, with my Brompton very much the main focus of all photographs!
Using it I became fitter and lost weight. I somehow stubbled across a tweet from a group called, 'Small Wheels Big Difference' who were going to do Lands End to John O'Groats on Brompton bikes. Although totally unprepared I went on one of their training runs and ended going on quite a few. This gave me a taste longer distances which I enjoyed immensely.
It was on one of the 'Small Wheels Big Difference' rides that I was to meet for the first time my partner in crime, Andrew. We later met up for a 'London Cycling Campaign' mass ride and have been friends ever since. Along the way I have also got to know lots of great people. There are far too many to mention but David, Anne, Mark, Geoff, Bob, John, Laurence, Andy, Guy, Mick and Jenny are a few of the hardcore I see regularly on rides.
I have been on night rides to the coast, competed at the Brompton World Championships, London Nocturne, charity rides and been on the Tweed Run. In addition I have simply met up in central London at a god forsaken hour to cycle around in the early hours, taking photos and generally have fun! By me purchasing a Brompton my life changed.
I did have a Raw Lacquer 2 x speed Brompton which was great, but not orange enough and therefore sold. Last year I also bought - perhaps with a rush of blood to the head - a Titanium Orange Brompton S6L which I use for racing or when I want to travel light (Summer use only). The constant has been my Orange M6L.
For several weeks I have been toying with the idea of getting another Brompton, one that would be for touring, long distances, night rides, commuting and where comfort was important. The black extremities I wanted changed to orange along with a few other tweaks here and there. If I had made these changes to my original bike, I may have well as bought a new Brompton....
I could have kept my original Brompton but I knew that it would have simply gathered dust. If I had a new one with the spec I now desired and my Titanium Orange Brompton for when I wanted to travel light, that it exactly what would have happened. There was talk of gifting it to my eldest daughter but she wouldn't have used it enough and prefers the S type bar anyway. It seemed that the decision, however difficult, was made for me.
By chance I responded to a social media post by a lovely Australian lady who had a friend in London wanting to buy a Brompton. Before I had too much time to deliberate, a meeting was arranged for Friday, 27th June at 20:00. The build up to Friday took ages and when I thought about what I was about to do I could't quite believe it.
As soon as the meeting was arrange I stopped using the bike - perhaps already trying to let it go. I cleaned it, put back on the original pedals and folded it. Friday came and before I knew it I was at the meeting location waiting for the prospective buyer. I got my bike out of the boot of the car, pumped up the tyres and went for a ride up and down the road. Was I doing the right thing? Could I let this Brompton go??
The lady arrived and I showed her my Brompton. If she had of said it wasn't for her etc.., I would have simply put it back in the boot and gone home. She went for a test ride and loved it. I knew that she was buying a great bike! It had been looked after extremely well. The lady in question told me about her plans for the bike and although it didn't perhaps matter, I knew that my beloved Brompton would go on to have many more adventures...but this time with someone else.
When I got back into the car I turned to Mrs Orange and asked, 'have I done the right thing?' Mrs Orange relied, 'you're excited about getting the new Orange Brompton, right?' The answer was....yes!!!
A Brompton is an inanimate object. I have seen cars come and go and I have not given them a second thought, despite the memories they hold. Brompton bikes are special in their own way and I have not been as sentimental over any possession the way I was with this bike!?
As I drove away my head was filled with memories of cycling up Ditchling Beacon in the pouring rain. Cycling in the middle of a British winter with snow burring my face to see the Christmas lights. Taking part in my first Brompton World Championships. Visiting the Brompton factory to see where my Brompton was made. Going along, under, over and on the river Thames. All wonderful memories of times on this bike...but MY memories. All the adventures I have had - many of which I never dreamed of doing a few years ago - are still very much with me. I don't need a bike to remind me of them...no matter how special.
My new Brompton will hopefully arrive in the not too distant future and I have already started to acquire some choice items for it. That excited feeling is there...one of childlike anticipation. I started this blog post by saying that some of you wouldn't like the fact that I had sold it, some would understand and some wouldn't care at all. All I can say is that for me it was the right decision and I cannot wait to get my hands on what for me will become my 'Orange Touring Brompton.'
The next few weeks will probably linger somewhat as I wait for my new prize. I will of course provide detailed specifications and lots of pictures when it does.