In the lead up to the 10th Brompton World Championship Final we will be looking at the winners, losers and anything in between from the last 10 years in a series of exclusive features!
For our first issue we managed to catch up with a Bromptoneer who lives 9400 miles away in sunny Australia. Phil Gray won the Brompton World Championship Australia in 2014, he has provided us with what his Brompton means to him and has even given a few hints to those competing in a Brompton World Championship this year
Where and when did you buy your first Brompton bike?
I had wanted a Brompton for a long time. I used to live and work in London and was always jealous of those people lucky enough to be on Bromptons. I finally decided to buy one when I was on holiday in the UK a few years ago. I guess it’s kinda cool that my Brompton had its first roll on London roads. These days it mainly rolls up and down Manly Beachfront with a load of groceries in the basket.
What is your favourite/the most challenging trip you’ve done on the bike?
I have to admit that I own a number of bikes so the Brompton usually isn’t the first choice for my more challenging rides. However, I decided to take the Brompton on a trip to Western Australia where my wife and I spent about 10 days travelling around in a campervan. The Brompton was pretty handy for cycling around towns, exploring bike paths and even testing out the trails and berms in the Pemberton Mountain Bike Park. It made me realise that the Brompton is much more versatile then I gave it credit for.
What was your most memorable moment of the BWC Australia?
I have pretty fond memories of the final few hundred meters of the race where one guy went for it pretty early a couple of corners from the finish. I was lucky enough to not get caught out and managed to follow him and sprint from the final corner to the line. I also remember about midway through the race, it came over the loudspeaker that former pro and Tour de France rider Stephen Hodge was in the race. I remember feeling a bit dejected as I thought my chances of winning had just disappeared. Fortunately the announcer asked Stephen to give the crowd a wave which meant I could identify and keep an eye on him. Thankfully he didn’t have the same form from those TDF days. I think Stephen managed to finish third.
How will you be training for the BWC final in London?
Unfortunately the BWC final is coinciding with the due date of my first child. Being so far away in Australia I had to make a choice between the race or being in Sydney with my wife. I was so disappointed when the race date was announced as I had been anticipating it to be in June and was looking forward to the trip to Europe, having a bit of a Brompton adventure up some famous alpine climbs and then racing the BWC final as the Australian Champion. I know it can be hard to believe, but sometimes there are things in life more important than a bicycle race. You can be sure I’m going to going to try my best to get there next year.
Have you thought about what you’ll be wearing?
If I was going I would definitely look around for a green jacket or an Aussie tie. Whatever the outfit I would have considered a balance of style, comfort and aerodynamics!
What is the best thing about racing on a Brompton bike?
It’s fun! These bikes can do just about everything. Why not race them too. A great thing about the Brompton Championships was that it brought out people who don’t usually race bikes. They just love their Bromptons and wanted to be involved in the event.
What would be your tips for anyone taking part in the BWC final for the first time?
As I’ve never taken part myself it’s hard to give any great advice. I would suggest to practice unfolding your bike. A good start could make all the difference!
If you could take your Brompton with you to one place in the world, where would be?
I would love to travel to France with my Brompton and ride some of the famous climbs like Alpe d'Huez and Mont Ventoux. Probably with a Brompton basket on the front full of food and drinks and hopefully passing plenty of roadies on the way up too. It was going to be part of my plan when I went for the BWC final. Maybe next year (with a baby in tow)?