Brompton, the British maker of folding bicycles, toasted the opening of its new store on Bleeker Street in Greenwich Village with gin cocktails, a live jazz trio and a crowd of New York City bicycle lovers, including enthusiastic owners of the iconic two wheeler.
It’s the first dedicated Brompton shop in New York City (the bikes are also sold at some independent bike shops) and the 12th in a growing lineup of Brompton Junction stores worldwide, through which the brand promotes the unique qualities of folders for urban cycling. Chief among these is a mechanical design that enables users, with a few quick motions, to fold the bicycle down to a compact and stable 23 x 22.2 x 10.4 inches. The nose of the saddle then serves as the carry handle.
The folding bicycle is well suited to city transportation: It can be stored easily in small apartments, carried into passenger elevators of high-rise buildings, stowed under restaurant tables or beside desks, checked into cloak rooms and toted onto public transit. Bromptons can also be used for travel; enveloped in a soft-sided cover, they fit into the overhead compartments of many international carriers and don’t require tools for assembly upon arrival, as do full-size bikes.
The bike inspires a loyal following that has grown into a community with local owner groups around the world, an international calendar of special events and an annual world championship race.
Things You Didn’t Know About Brompton
Named for the Brompton Oratory: Andrew Ritchie invented “the bike of the future” in 1967 and named it after the landmark neo-classical Roman Catholic church visible outside his South Kensington workshop. The bikes, many iterations later, are still made in London.
Holds a annual world champion race, and ties will be worn: City chic is the dress code in recognition of the folding bike’s urban utility. Last year’s final in London drew competitors from 27 countries.
Operates its own bike share — out of lockers: Brompton Bike Hire operates out of 40 stations in the U.K. Users locate a station using an app, obtain a code to release a folded bike from a locker, and pay a daily rental fee.
Vivian Aliu (left) and Dulcie Canton. Dulcie’s story will be featured in a forthcoming video series about Brompton owners.
A full house toasts the new Brompton Junction store.
Peter Yuskauskas, vice president of marketing and retail for Brompton North America, discusses cycling as part of urban lifestyle.
The new shop is located in the historic West Village.
A selection of commuter and cargo bags designed for the Brompton.
The saddle, here a classic Brooks in leather, is one among many customization options.
Smita Daryani commutes to work along the Hudson River Greenway and grocery shops using her Brompton.
Photographer and cyclist Harry Zernike in conversation with Anna Luten, who was the Bike Mayor of Amsterdam — the world’s first.
At the store, where 55 bikes are on display, sales associates help customers design a Brompton to suit their sensibilities and riding needs, including color, gearing, handlebars, saddles and accessories. The shop also sells parts and gear, and there’s full-service maintenance and repair for Bromptons in the back. To continue to build community around Brompton bicycles in New York City, group rides and guided tours, as well as in-store special events are planned.
Brompton Junction, 287 Bleeker Street, Manhattan. www.brompton.com
The streetside view as evening falls and the party continues.