Brompton World Championship racers in obligatory jacket and tie depart from Blenheim Palace. The dress code suggests both the folding bike’s roots in English quirkiness and its usefulness for urban commuting.
There’s no better way to take possession of a city than on a compact folding bike. Neighborhoods that would be discouragingly distant on foot become only minutes away. Distant communities that might otherwise go unexplored become riding destinations with the option of making part of the trip on a bus or train next to one’s unobtrusively folded mount. A folder can be carried into shops and restaurants, avoiding the inconvenience and unreliability of chaining up outdoors. Owning a truly compact folder is like having a bike in your back pocket. It can shrink an entire city. Not only does such a bike take you to fresh places in town, it does so without compromising the spatial immediacy of walking. Philippe Starck has said, “frankly, it isn’t Manhattan that interests me. The center of Manhattan is very civilized, a nice international city. I am more interested in the passion of New York, and that’s why I go with my motorcycle or bicycle to the Bronx, Queens and Harlem. There, you are like a spectator in front of the most beautiful drama in the world. Every corner of the street seems like an opera stage, a stage for drama. The vibrations there are very strong.” (more…)