Who are the faces behind Brompton’s 2021 brochure? We gathered people from all over London and asked where their favorite places to ride are, what they thought when they saw a Brompton for the first time, and how they’ve seen their city change throughout the pandemic. This is Sim, a Commercial Lead for Mental Health Charity Bike Workshop - Better Health Bikes.
Hi Sim! How did you get into cycling?
I got into cycling just as a means of getting around really and enjoy the independence it offers. I've had periods when I have been into the sports side with mountain biking or BMX, road cycling or track, but the constant has always been transported.
That’s cool. Would you consider yourself a cyclist then?
I guess I could call myself a cyclist but the majority of the time I'm just going to work or running errands around town and in that guise, I prefer to think of myself as simply a person riding a bike. Because I also drive and use public transport in some senses I feel the descriptions of cyclist/pedestrian/driver are limiting and sometimes divisive - we're all just people going places.
What appeals to you most about cycling?
I've found lots of different groups of riders in different spaces who ride for different reasons and I enjoy that each group and individual I find gives me a new perspective on what it is to cycle. For some it's fitness and challenge, for others it's racing and performance and others it's practicality. It's kind of a good leveller being on a bike as there's no political, economic or class divides when you're focused on riding so the thing that seems to be common for everyone is the social side.
In town I love riding at night when there's less traffic as everything seems smoother, but to be fair whenever I get on my bike the first few pedal strokes are always a pleasant experience, getting up to speed and heading off somewhere.
Where would be your ideal place to cycle?
If it was just me and my bike anywhere in the world I'd pick the Pyrenees because it's so beautiful and has rather awesome cheese.
Amazing. How about in the UK?
In town my favourite journeys are to meet up with friends at a cafe or pub - particularly if it involves going via a park or canal. There's something calming about riding through trees or alongside water so I find taking a slight detour to incorporate these always makes me arrive happier.
Any tips for people looking to get into cycling?
For people thinking about taking up cycling I guess there can seem to be quite a lot to take on board but the main tip I'd recommend is adopting good road positioning, making eye contact with other road users and acknowledging them with a smile or a wave - a little bit of human communication often goes a long way.
How did you get to know about Brompton?
First time I saw a Brompton was in a bike shop about 20 years ago and I couldn't believe how small it was! The concept slightly blew my mind to be honest and it seemed to open up so many opportunities for what could be done on or with a bicycle. When I got my first Brompton a couple of years later it instantly became my go-to bike (in spite of having various others) because it was just so practical. Whatever the journey it all seemed to make more sense on the Brompton as bringing it inside or coming back on public transport was always an option.
Have you seen more cyclists around your city as a result of COVID-19?
Since covid I've really noticed the surge of people cycling on the roads and I find that really encouraging. Welcoming and being generous to new riders feels like a really important response right now because hopefully they will become longer-term riders once this has passed and the roads will be safer and more accessible to new riders as a result.