Take two small wheels, a steel frame and some amazing engineering and you have a versatile folding bicycle called the Brompton Bicycle. Riding a Brompton bicycle is a new experience for me. I’m normally seen riding a touring bike around the streets of my neighbourhood on Australia’s Gold Coast. But the new year of 2017 brought me new wheels. Small ones. That’s right a Brompton.
I wanted to learn more about this unique bicycle so I decided to talk with a Brompton aficionado who lives in Melbourne, one of the world’s most liveable cities.
Dayna Andreussi has been riding a bicycle since she was a toddler. Back then, her pedals of choice were a tricycle. Progressing to two wheels, Dayna rode a BMX and then took to mountain bikes. There were always bikes around her home. “It was an activity we could all do as a family.”
Years later, a new town, a new life and her much-loved pink and white mountain bike left behind in Brisbane, Dayna was without a bike for five years. Living in Melbourne, in a small home, there just didn’t seem room to add a bicycle. Then, she met a Brompton.
Having a local bicycle shop selling Bromptons helped. So too did a caring partner who did extensive research into folding bicycles. The idea to buy one was floated. However, 18 months passed before Dayna took a Brompton for a test ride. What happened then was a resurgence of memory. A memory of how good it feels to ride a bike. “I thought, oh, I’ve missed this!”
The Brompton became Dayna’s new pedals of choice. Being a folding bike was the primary reason. I was curious though. Why a Brompton over other folding bikes? There are two reasons behind Dayna’s choice. Firstly, the Brompton folds smaller than others, making it ideal for fitting in the back of a car. Secondly, the Brompton has a luggage block on the front, allowing a variety of bags to be attached.
Being able to attach a substantial luggage bag allows Dayna to use her Brompton for commuting to work and for shopping. The Brompton’s small fold means Dayna can carry her folded bike onto a tram or train, making her commute multi-modal. This option is especially appealing in unpleasant weather. Yet, she adds, “when I think about the alternative of catching a tram, riding is always better”. While waiting for a tram or sitting aboard, she inevitably finds herself thinking “I could ride faster than this”. Such ease of use means riding in Melbourne’s heat, cold or rain is rarely a deterrent for Dayna.
Despite being a Brompton rider for only two years, Dayna’s had some amazing adventures. Being involved in starting the Melbourne Brompton Club has added regular weekend social rides exploring Melbourne with an enthusiastic group of Brompton riders. Then in 2016, Dayna had the ultimate Bromptoneer experience when she rode in the Brompton World Championship Final in London. This event was an exhilarating race with over 500 Bromptoneers riding around St. James’ Park, passing by Buckingham Place. She also included a visit to the Brompton factory to see the home of these well-crafted hand-made bicycles.
Closer to home, I asked Dayna her favourite places to ride in Melbourne. Her response was both thoughtful and fascinating. “A Bromptoneer’s favourite places to ride are their favourite places. Bromptons are made to fit into your life.” In other words, if you want to go somewhere in a city, there’s a good chance your Brompton will take you there. Throughout her life, Dayna’s reasons for riding a bike have remained unchanged: “It’s not hard and you can go places really easily”. With her Brompton bicycle, that ease has been taken to a whole new level.
So, although the Brompton is a new riding experience for me, hearing Dayna’s story tells me I have a lot to look forward to. Maybe I won’t be riding the streets of London in the World Championships but this Brompton writer has a few favourite places to explore. On new wheels.
Gail Rehbein – Gail is a bicycle-riding writer living on Australia’s Gold Coast. To discover more about Gail and her bicycle riding adventures, head to: abike4allseasons.com. You’ll find stories to enjoy and links for connecting with her on social media.