Hunched over the drawing board, his shadow from the desk lamp projected on the wall made him look three times larger in size and his eyes began to close.
Night after night, working and reworking the outline of this very special design were taking its toll. The passion driven in total belief kept him working through the small hours of the night, day after day, no matter how tired he became.
Many years later, as this brilliant invention appeared on streets and up mountains around the world – the Brompton Bicycle had made its mark on every day (and not so everyday) cycling.
Two new Brompton owners set about trying to find fellow Brompton owners and created a group on Facebook. The London Brompton Club. In only a few years it has increased to a 2,500 membership around the Globe. There are now Sydney, New York and Madrid Brompton Clubs all doing the same thing.
Sharing Brompton advice, arranging group rides and often just detailing the ride of the day has become synonymous with the London Brompton Club. Admittedly, sometimes the Brompton is not the only bike in the house (but it’s always the only bike allowed in the sitting room!) Longer rides on bigger wheels are becoming more frequent at this time of year which is currently reducing the number of London rides being arranged – hopefully this status quo will change to bring more Brompton Rides to the fore.
One particular LBC member, Sleebus, has totally embedded himself in the true spirit of the club with technical know-how, kindness and humour. Not many people put a Rholoff hub on their Brompton!
As Sleebus is relocating to the US soon, it was only fitting that a Sleebus Swansong Ride should be arranged and in true Brompton style it took us all passed sights of the capital that some of us had never seen before.
The London Eye was the perfect start point, before heading over Westminster Bridge for an iconic LBC photo. Around Parliament Square, along Birdcage Walk and onto The Mall – a precursor to the imminent Brompton World Championships 2016 which are going to be, as ever, hilarious! And stylish, of course.
Around Trafalgar Square, onto the Strand, the Aldrich followed by a quick stop outside the Courts of Justice before reaching the steps of St Pauls Cathedral.
Our numbers may have been small (diaries for June were full full full for many LBC peeps) but the power and excitement of riding around the Capital with this very special group of people kept the conversations flying as fast as we felt we were. Holidays, hubs, Houston Brompton Club were top topics just as we popped into Brompton Junction for a fleeting farewell.
A few moments later we found ourselves in a pub! Apparently a really good pub where the beer was Sleebus Approved. A quick beersies before heading down to the Embankment to ride along the new Super Cycle Highway.
Under Blackfriars and to the Monument where we were reliably informed by Sleebus that The Great Fire of London started in a bakery where the 70ft column would be if it was lying on the ground.
Over to The Bank of England, passed The Corn Exchange and into the City to see a bicycle statue that had literally been removed moments before by the JCB in its place! Across the road, heads on plinths caught our eye.
Off to The Tower, a photo opportunity and a goodbye to three of the group as the rest of us cycled to St Katherine’s Dock for the Tower Bridge Photo. A complete first for several of us as the bridge we normally cycle over was perpendicular to let out boats into the Thames.
An essential LBC pic. From there it was only minutes before we were in Sleebus’s favourite drinking hole were pints are large and sausages are larger!
As I cycled home I felt very blessed that such magical people were continually personifying the magic of this very special bicycle. From the photos I have – Sleebus has shared many moments on fun on his small wheels and I trust he will continue to do so. It has been an absolute pleasure and as Sleebus disappears into the internet I wish you very happy days, months and years ahead with your Brompton.