Friday 1 August 2014

Ten Ways to Spot if You're a Closet Brompton Hipster!

There are lots of different bicycles one can buy but the Brompton has become so cool, so fashionable, so on trend that many point the finger of accusation and utter the word, hipster!

Undoubtedly, there are some Brompton users who are indeed 'hipsters' and I have below a handy guide which you can use to see if you, a Brompton owner, might have some of the classic signs:

#1 Skinny Jeans

These have almost crossed over into mainstream (which is not really what any hipster really wants) but  nevertheless they remains the staple of the hipster wardrobe. A pair of skinny jeans that are slung so low one can see the top half of the occupants underpants, seems to be the right way to wear such a garment.

Please steel yourself for this but I once tried on a pair of skinny jeans. The putting on was fine but the taking off resulted in me on the floor of a small changing room cubical, with my head peaking out of the bottom of said cubical curtain.

I would suggest that wearing skinny jeans is not the best cycling clothing but if you do and you own a Brompton it could be a sign you are or are inadvertently being hipster-like.

#2 Cameras

Many readers of this blog will know that I love taking picture of my Brompton and where I have been. Technology is important and every so many years I upgrade to a newer camera. The hipster shoots film, not megapixles. You see them every now and then taking about 20 minutes to compose a shot, trying not to get pins and needles by staying in the same position too long (possibly linked to the fact they are wearing skinny jeans).

They are not interested in the modern digital camera and can be instead be seen taking pictures of gritty urban things such as graffiti, homeless people sleeping and other hipsters using their Brompton as an impromptu tripod.

#3 Technology

If you have just finished reading #3 you will undoubtedly wonder why there is a #3? The hipster usually sports a few telling items. These could be a MacBook Pro, iPad (the cellular one) but especially a MacBook Air. You will often see the Brompton hipster using these items not in the privacy of their own home but in a suitably hip establishment that is not only bicycled themed but also selling coffee. (See #4) You might be given to suspect their mobile would be an iPhone but you would be wrong. This would not be retro enough. A Motorola Razr is possibly more suitable or better still one of those early Nokia phones where the battery probably lasted the best part of a month between charges.

#4 The Coffee Shop

The Brompton hipster can be spotted sat down with Brompton folded, MacBook Air out, skinny jeans on at an independent coffee shop. The large coffee chains are no good and the Brompton hipster will delight at using their Brompton to search out the most obscure coffee shop.

#5 Spectacles

The Brompton hipster will sport a pair of 'Joe 90' spectacles regardless of whether they actually need to wear glasses. The bigger the better. Some may even get their glasses in the same colour as their Brompton but only to be ironic.

#6 Shoes

The Brompton hipster does not use clipped in pedals. The stock pedals are the order of the day. This is because the Brompton hipster will probably be wearing a pair of Dr Martens shoes/boots. If they are not wearing these then it will be retro trainers - Adidas Forest Hills, Gazelles, Samba or a pair of classic Reebok.

#7 Gearing

The Brompton range is brilliant in terms of gearing. Single gear, two-speed, three-speed and six-speed. In addition to this you can opt for various chainrings to make things faster/slower for the user. The Brompton hipster, in an unashamed homage to the fixie (lovely but totally impractical for most Bromptonians) usually opts for the two-speed but many will go for the ultimate, single speed.

#8 Go green

One of the benefits of cycling is that you are doing your bit to save the planet. It is greener to cycle rather than taking the car or public transport. The Brompton hipster goes a little further. They will bake their own bread or even grow their own food. Now, I will put this into perspective. When I 'grow their own food' I mean they might have a small patch of of their back gardens devoted to the growing of things like beetroot (which will be juiced in some way to produce an effective energy boost type drink). For the Brompton hipster living in a flat where space is at a premium, they might resort to growing cress on cotton wool. Once cultivated they will employ a pair of nail scissors to cut the cress over the contents of a sandwich (remember the home-made bread bit).

In addition to the above the Brompton hipster will start to mass produce granola-type bars / flapjacks using ever elaborate ingredients. The amount of seeds and fibre employed can induce quite shocking stomach aches, so if offered, treat with caution.

#9 DIY

The Brompton hipster in addition to taking up carpentry will probably have gone on a bicycle maintenance course. Armed with their newfound knowledge they will show you scars on various parts of their bodies obtained via various repairs.

#10 Nonchalance 

The Brompton hipster will give off impression when they arrive at a obscure social gathering that they are unconcerned about the security of their Brompton. It will remain folded and left in a corner. Do not be fooled. Even though this is the impression the Brompton hipster wants to portray, inside they are a nervous wreck and like an owl their head/eyes remained locked on to their folding wonder.

There you have it. Ten ways to spot if you have some hipster tendencies. How many apply to you out there? I would love to know via the comments.


Having had another think about this and visiting Camden Market today (reluctantly I may add) I feel the need to add a few more signs.

#11 Bags

The Brompton hipster will abandon all notion of using the front carrier block to carry any of the excellent range of Brompton luggage - even the Brompton folding basket!! Instead they will employ a messenger-type bag, slung precariously over one shoulder.

As you know I recently attended the Brompton World Championships and received a goodie bag. This is a simple linen bag with large handles. I always like getting one and they are very useful. Should one of these come into the possession of a Brompton hipster they will love the artisan look and feel but possibly wear it about their person like a rucksack!

#12 Hair

The Brompton hipster has one of those rather unusual haircuts that probably cost a small fortune to achieve but to most looks as if they have tried to have a go themselves. In addition to this they often sport a beard. Covering their carefully cultured hair is a hat of some description - very often a beanie-type woollen number worn in all weathers.


  1. Hilarious!
    Though some might argue that I am 'ole fashioned', I do carry some of those items. No hipster jeans for me though.
    Happy Weekend, Mr. O!
    Peace :)

  2. Number 10 All day long. Cool on the outside & a worrying wreck on the inside. Just want to take the time to say I really enjoy your Blog. Been following you since the beginning & never thought to say. I got my Orange Brommie a few months before you and then I saw your Blog and wondered why I hadn't done that. The piece about getting rid of the Original was great, as I was in that situation a few months back but couldn't do it. Now you've infiltrated NYCeWheels. I was in NY a couple of years ago and managed to get on one of the rides round NY. Couldn't go without my Brompton fix. No one else turned up so it was a personal tour of NY including a ride on the Subway. I recommend it if you ever get over there. Good luck & keep it up. Steve

  3. None of the above apply to me except for an Ipad Air, non-cellular of course!

    Laurie -

  4. Whew! My jeans aren't skinny, I don't wear specs, the MacBook Air stays home, and the only green I grow is wheat grass for the Maine Coons. (Hipster cats, right?)


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