In defence of Brompton Man, the cyclist who puts function over style – Telegraph Newspaper

from the Telegraph

It’s easy to poke fun at Brompton Man, with his practical attire and holier-than-thou attitude – but his bike remains one of the most impressive on the road, writes Andrew Critchlow

Left: Andrew Critchlow tests a Brompton folding bike. Right: Hugh Bonneville as Ian Fletcher

Left: Andrew Critchlow tests a Brompton folding bike. Right: Hugh Bonneville as Ian Fletcher

Our roads are increasingly home to various tribes of bike rider. You’ve heard all about the Mamils (Middle Aged Men In Lycra) who thunder along the A23 on their way to work on £12,000 racing bikes; and you’ve probably noticed the Single Gear Hipsters, a younger strain of rider whose rolled-up right jean leg revolves furiously around a fixed crank somewhere near Hoxton.

But there’s one tribe that has hitherto snuck under the radar.

Brompton Man has been travelling with his foldaway bike on Britain’s roads and rails for decades. Every morning, he can be seen outside train stations, furiously unpacking his bike after a morning commute before disappearing into the distance, his feet whirling away like a hamster stuck on a circus wheel. And yet, unlike the Mamil and Single Gear Hipster, this figure of comedy has largely avoided ridicule.

Until now. Brompton Man was first deliciously parodied in the BBC’s excellent Olympic send-up 2012, where Hugh Bonneville’s well-intentioned executive Ian Fletcher was all fingers and cut thumbs with his prized Brompton, forever unable to make the bloody thing actually work.

And now we have a real-life embodiment of Fletcher – according to the Daily Mail at least, who this morning have cast BBC creative director Alan Yentob as the essence of Brompton Man. (I would be willing to bet that the corporation’s ‘swingometer’ man Jeremy Vine also has one tucked away somewhere in Broadcasting House.)

So just what makes Yentob and his ilk a true Brompton Man?

First off, there’s the bizarre uniform, which mixes one part office wear with one part luminous Gore Tex. Trouser clips come as standard.

Then there’s the look on his face. Because he rides a Brompton, Brompton Man is imbued with the self-righteous knowledge that although the folding bicycle looks absurd, he owns a true British design classic that puts function ahead of form. Can your flashy Pinarello be stored away in the cupboard under the stairs at home, his expression seems to ask.

He is, in other words, the James May of cycling. (And yes, May does ride a Brompton, in case you’re wondering.)

A Brompton S2L-X in its full glory

Brompton Man probably earns over £200,000 per year as a senior manager in a media company like the BBC, or by overseeing some politically correct department of a government-funded quango.

In meetings he often leaves colleagues baffled with mindless jargon such as getting “buy-in” or “core competency”. Possibly even more annoying is his capacity to drop into almost any conversation the fact that he can carry his Brompton on the packed train to Waterloo from Guildford at rush hour.

Brompton Man will leave his office door open to give the impression that he is willing to listen to anyone – but everyone knows that he really just wants you to see his folding bike stashed next to his desk instead of being chained alongside all the ‘normal’ bikes in the car park outside.

The Brompton does its contortionist’s act

Yes, Brompton Man really is a figure of mockery. And yet … I would happily own one of these made-in-England feats of engineering.

The truth is that I was lucky enough to test a Brompton last year. With all my preformed prejudices hanging from my shoulders like the weight of a 12kg folding bike, I decked myself out in full Lycra and tried to clock a fast time around my local Box Hill circuit on one of the machines.

Guess what? It was superb – fast and yet reliable; nimble yet stable. I rode it at 17mph for an hour, climbing and descending hills en route – and never once felt that I was cycling something that could, in the space of a few quick snaps, fold into something that would fit into the bottom draw of my filing cabinet at work.

The classic Brompton sells for around £1,000 – although in recent years, the company, which is based in West London, has introduced jazzier, flashier models. Instead of showing the bike being pedalled by some media executive in a ill-fitting florescent cycling jacket, the marketing clip for the speedster models features an anonymous racer in tights, who spins away furiously.

You have been warned.

A glimpse of the future: Andrew Critchlow test rides a Brompton

Dream bike – Paniagua X Sven – The Angry Commuter

Re blog

Jamie Gallagher of Paniagua and Darron Coppin of Sven Cycles met at Bespoked Bristol in 2013 and the Angry Commuter project was born.
“I wanted to build a fast, aggressive commuter that you could jump on in jeans and nail 20 or 30-mile rides across the unforgiving Somerset landscape while still retaining the delicate balance and emotive heritage of a true classic.”—Jamie Gallagher.
They sat down with a pot of EPO coffee and a dorset apple cake and poured over Darron’s extensive library of historic cycling books and images of classic bikes. They settled on the idea that it was possible, with a little imagination and some solid fillet brazing skills, to turn the legendary Cinelli Laser into a rideable commuter that would fulfill their objective.
A design theme was needed, and the early eighties stomping ground of the Cinelli Laser model was the place to find it. They settled on a design classic from an era that compromised nothing, listened to no one, and was way ahead of its time – The Delorean.

To bring in the classic Italian heritage they chose Columbus Max tubing (as used in the original Cinelli Laser). This tube set broke with convention in its day and provided the perfect combination of lightness and strength. Add a sloping top tube and ENVE 65/45 wheel combination and a big nod was being made to the overall aggressive aesthetic of the Laser.
To ensure that Italian blood ran throughout, a Campagnolo Record TT group set was selected. Then bringing a modern, urban twist and reflecting the gull-wing doors of the Delorean, a set of Cinelli Mash bars were customized to take the Campagnolo TT shifters providing a truly unique cockpit.

Finally, it was down to the details with lightweight CNC milled brakes from EE Cycleworks that just felt Delorean, and the brushed nickel finish giving the industrial luminance that the Delorean became famous for. The handlebars and Zoncolan saddle were hand-upholstered in grey leather to bring that inimitable eighties super car trim feel. Finally, the graphics applied in reflective orange vinyl made sure the bike lit up under the headlights of evening traffic.
This blend of classic Italian heritage with US hand-built componentry, urban track bike aesthetic, and of course a stiff dose of quintessentially British design and craftsmanship should make the purists cringe and the hipsters whinge. But in reality, you have a bike that doesn’t compromise, apologizes for nothing, and fits the brief of being adored by those who created it and ride it. Really, what else matters?


Make glasgow a safer cycling city

‘Intuitive lighting,’ mapping tools and a smartphone app for cyclists to help them plan journeys and which will include video footage of proposed routes are among initiatives to be piloted in Glasgow after winning £24 million in Future City funding from the government.

In January, it was announced that Scotland’s largest city had beaten off 29 rival bidders from throughout the UK, each receiving £50,000 to develop their ideas, with Bristol, London and Peterborough also making it through to the semi-final stage last December.

The Future City / Glasgow project involves the public, private and academic sectors, with partners including Glasgow City Council, Glasgow Community & Safety Services, Sustainable Glasgow, Strathclyde University, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, and Police Scotland.

While the city’s plans cut across a number of areas, encouraging active travel is one of the central pillars of its proposals, and specifically harnessing technology to get more people to take to their bikes, or carry out journeys on foot.

According to Glasgow City Council,

Data collected by people who currently walk or cycle will identify the routes they use most to travel around the city. The aim is to encourage people to map their city using a smartphone app being developed by the team and to share the information through a MapGlasgow website which is also being created as part of the Demonstrator.

A separate Active Travel Journey Planner is also being developed which will enable cyclists and walkers to use their phones to easily and instantly find the most direct, flattest or off road route to their destination within the city before setting off on their journey. This app will integrate with the mapping app to enable people to share their favourite walks / cycle routes.

Analysis of the information collected will be used to influence future spending in the city and determine the measures needed to address issues raised such as safety and accessibility.

Another pilot project will explore the use of intuitive street lights on an off -road stretch of the city’s cycle routes. Many off-road routes are currently unlit but the pilot will see lights installed and fitted with sensors. The lights will dim when there is no activity on the route (to reduce emissions and save energy) then increase in brightness when the sensors detect approaching cyclists or walkers.

Councillor Gordon Matheson, Leader of Glasgow City Council, commented: “The Future Cities Demonstrator is an extremely exciting programme which will realise real benefits for the city.

“The council aims to transform Glasgow into a city of active living by encouraging walking and cycling. The Demonstrator’s Active Travel project will contribute to that goal through the clever use of technology and by empowering cyclists to contribute their views on the improvements needed to make cycling and walking safer and easier in the city.

“The city’s new Connect2 cycle route will also provide a link from Kelvingrove through Anderston to the city centre and the introduction of an automated cycle hire scheme will also encourage people to travel around the city by bike.

“I’m looking forward to the launch of Glasgow’s Future City cycling apps and hope people will seize this opportunity to participate in the project and be part of the solution to problems like traffic congestion, obesity and poor health.”

Last month, the city hosted the British national road race championships, with Mark Cavendish and Lizzie Armitstead respectively winning the men’s and women’s titles.

Next year, it will welcome the Commonwealth Games, with the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome, which has already been the venue of a round of the UCI Track Cycling World Cup, one of the new facilities built for the occasion.

Levels of everyday cycling remain low, however – just 2 per cent of journeys into the city centre – which is something that Glasgow City Council is looking to significantly improve upon.

There is a long way, however, to go for the city to get close to matching the Scottish Government’s target of 10 per cent of journeys across the country to be made by bike by 2020 – a goal that campaigners Pedal on Parliament say needs to be supported by a similar level of the national transport budget being devoted to cycling.

Levis release the commuter range in the UK finally …..

Levi’s Commuter series of clothing for cyclists is now available in the UK.


The range, which has been available in the US for several months, comprises Commuter 511 jeans and slacks (Levi’s word, not ours), Commuter Trucker jackets and a Commuter Shirt.

Levi’s describe the commuter series as, “A multi-functional performance product designed for cyclists all over the world.”

The Commuter 511 Slim Slacks are based on the existing 511 slim cut jeans. Elastane in the cotton twill fabric adds a degree or stretch that will come in useful when you’re on the bike.

Turning up the leg reveals 3M reflective stripes for extra nighttime visibility and a utility waistband allows you to carry a U-lock easily. The crotch is reinforced to avoid ripping. These are available in black, kangaroo (khaki), sceptor (blue) and red ochre at £80.

The Commuter 511s will soon be available in a non-stretch denim version too for £85.

The Commuter Trucker jacket is based on the classic Levi’s Trucker jacket, slim cut with a slightly extended back to keep you covered up when you’re stretching forward on the bike. You get pockets in the lower back too, which is always the best place to keep stuff when you’re riding, 3M reflective tape on the waistband adjusters, and accordion sleeves – additional fabric that’s designed to expand for extra mobility when you’re riding.

The Commuter Trucker jacket will be available from May in stretch denim for £135 and in a stretch twill version for £145.

The Commuter shirt will be available in May too. It’s cotton with a pocket on the right hand side of the back and another in the sleeve. It’ll retail at £80.

The Commuter products feature what’s called a NanoSphere treatment from Swiss-based Schoeller Technologies which adds water resistance and repels dirt.

They also feature Sanitized hygiene function from technology expert Clariant, which is a treatment to protect against odours.

When the Commuter line was introduced into the US last year, Erik Joule, senior vice president of Levi’s Men’s Merchandising and Design said, “This product was born from innovation, classic American style and a personal passion for cycling – it’s about designing product for people who ride bikes, by people who ride bikes.

“We knew that our jeans were already being worn by urban cyclists across the country, including our own designers. We listened to what they wanted and created a product with performance traits for biking that also functions as daily street wear.”

For all the details go along to Levi’s website.

Levis Commuter Jeans – the idiots don’t sell in the UK

Marketing disaster not selling in the UK …. maybe they will change their mind as would love to test them.

Form. Function. Cycling. Your two-wheeled commute just better. Check out The Commuter by Levi’s® now available at Levi’s® stores and

ROAD.CC take on the matter

Jeans giant Levi’s launched its Fall 2011 collection in New York City’s SoHo last week, not an event that would usually register too much here at were it not for the fact that the brand is launching a new Commuter Cycling Series, which appears to be squarely aimed at those who want to wear denim while on their bike, whether they’re heading off to work or an evening in the pub.

The key piece in the collection appears to be a pair of 511 jeans with specific features to make them more cycling friendly. Those include a utility waistband including D-lock storage, 3M reflective detailing and a higher cut so you’re not showing acres of flesh while out on your bike. The ones pictured here are cut off at mid-calf length, and it’s not clear at the moment if other lengths are available.

Levi’s PR people in the UK tell us that there are no plans at the moment to bring the range to the UK, so for now, unless you or someone you know is headed to the United States later on this year, they’re going to be difficult to get hold off. We’re looking to get further information on the range, however, and will give an update on that once we get it.

There’s no word as yet on price point, but a quick look at a variety of online retailers in the UK shows standard 511 jeans coming in at between £50 and £80, depending where you shop. That compares to £75 for jeans from Howies up to £150 for Rapha.

US-based clothing brand Outlier has jeans-style trousers from around £75-115, but you have to factor in the costs of shipping plus potential additional costs such as import duty.

What Levi’s launch of its range does demonstrate, however, is that with cycling in general, and commuting by bike, on the rise, cycling is moving into the mainstream and big brands are sitting up and taking notice. Where one leads, others inevitably follow, so while the Levi’s range is set to be US-only, at least to begin with, this signal the start of seeing wider availability of cycling-specific clothing on the high street.

Thinking back to Levi’s iconic 501 TV ad featuring Nick Kamen in the 1980s, perhaps the mysterious Mr Opodolous from Eastenders should ask Walford Council to install cycle parking outside the Albert Square launderette, just in case.

Driving without due care and attention – A cyclists lucky escape in London


2 stupid car drivers – OK the first one an idiot but at least he pulls over comes across to sort it all out …. woman that obliviously drives over the bike and then trys to blame the cyclist is a worse offense. So far police doing nothing but hopefully the thread will lead to action. Hopefully the cyclist gets his justice and compensation.



Uploaders’ Comments (iuckcan)

  • I don’t know how I kept my cool, must have been in shock. I tried to send this video to the police but I have been going round in circles. So far the police has not come back to me or taken any action.

    iuckcan 1 week ago

Top Comments

  • That is absolutly disgusting. Have the police got back with anything as yet? Please keep us informed on what has gone on. They both need their licence taken off them for that.

    steloveass 11 hours ago 5 
  • You deserve a medal for not going for the silver Focus (Second car) driver . The 1st car was bad enough, but that’s at least undue care and attention. She only makes it worse by asking “where were you?”. I note you have 2 flashing lights on ya handlebars. And orange clothing. How she didn’t see you.. Honestly. What she saw was the Black car that hit you go, and she just automatically did the same.

    lanzecki 15 hours ago 5 
see all

All Comments (27)

  • glad your ok ,but wtf is wrong with drivers nowadays .

    the idiot in the focus needs her car crush stupid cow

    germanicdogman 14 minutes ago
  • Eeeek. i can’t believe that happened. IF you need any help sorting this out. let me know.

    gaz545 33 minutes ago
  • What a shocking bit of driving compounded by the bad attitude of the woman, at least they guy manned up and did not try to squirm his way out of his responsibility, like she was trying to.

    BadSwindoomRoadUsers 34 minutes ago
  • I didnt see you is not enough..Bollocks! The hold point says stop to oncoming traffic..the two drivers are wrong..thats a Double Compensation Mate..I hope you are okay!

    Traffic Droid

    SonofthewindsInc 35 minutes ago
  • Her attitude is disgusting. People like that should be banned and NEVER allowed to drive on our roads.

    I’m glad you’re safe and well.

    PeowPeowPeowLasers 58 minutes ago
  • The guy was an idiot, but the woman WTF is wrong with her?

    TheVexatiousLitigant 1 hour ago
  • Instead of a hi-viz jacket try wearing a sign which says “50% off – Everything must go!”. At least she would notice you!

    Seriously though, you are lucky she did not run over you. I am a regular rider and notice this sheep following the heard mentality all the time. I trust no vehicle

    BTW Can I ask what camera you use? The quality looks good

    config2000 3 hours ago 2 
  • can’t fucking believe the stupid bitch in the focus, jesus h, man.

    Gromitdog1 3 hours ago
  • wow, what i fear and seeing it happen. Shocking even to see in youtube.

    Gromitdog1 3 hours ago
  • what a stupid lady i mean your wearing everything to be seen you have done what you needed to to be seen and all respect for you for doing what you did im a road cyclist my self and i have had problems like you and you know these things happen but they shouldnt really happen to be honest and i like you i always have my helmet cam on and i never leave the house with out it and my gear for staying safe you know hope your ok and if not i hope that you will be ok best wishes man

    emo1guy 3 hours ago