‘When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life.’ Just as Samuel Johnson once said, London is never dull, rather an exciting city with endless world-famous sights that simply beg to be seen. Cycling is always the best way to explore unfamiliar places, and as you whizz past the sights with the wind in your hair you can get to know London like never before.
When you come to London for this year’s Brompton World Championship in St James Park, a Brompton is obviously the perfect choice for your own cycling tour of London. It folds down to a portable, practical size so can be taken on the London Underground, trains, buses or hired cars without fuss. It can also be easily taken into your hotel room, one of London’s unique pubs or some of the world’s best and most diverse restaurants.
The Definitive Brompton tour
Lingling Hu has been working at Brompton for over three years, focusing on spreading the word about Brompton all over Asia. She hails from Sichuan province, China, and has got to know London primarily by Brompton. Who better, then, to design the perfect Brompton tour of London? This route, she tells us, is a celebration of the progress Brompton has made since 1975, and takes in some of the most spectacular and special sights this city has to offer:
1) Start out at Brompton Junction in Covent Garden, out flagship store. The staff here will be able to tell you all you’ve ever wanted to know about your Brompton, whilst showing off the latest colour combinations. Head to the basement to grab a coffee whilst picking out some colourful new accessories for your bike, and admire one the display of a Brompton from the very first production run in the 1980s.
2) Follow the crowds along Long Acre to find Covent Garden market, the site of London’s original vegetable market and now home to a wonderful mix of boutiques and street performers. Watch out for the cobbles!
3) Continue south-east through the winding lanes of Covent Garden and Trafalgar Square will suddenly appear in all its majesty. Nelson’s Column was built to commemorate the British victory in the Battle of Trafalgar, but the square is now home to rather calmer pursuits like the National Gallery. One of the pillars surrounding the fountain was once the UK’s smallest police station, but now only a peculiar door marks its location. See if you can find it – perhaps the policeman could have kept a Brompton in there too?
4) It’ll be closed on the weekend of the BWC, but take advantage of the days either side by riding down the grand passage that is the Mall. This traditional procession route leads right down to Buckingham Palace and its iconic red-uniformed guards. If the flag above the palace displays the royal crest, the Queen is at home. Wave!
5) Sadly enough, the Queen doesn’t look favourably on people cycling through her gardens (not even on a Brompton!), so skirt round the palace and through the lovely residential streets of Belgravia to get to Harrods, an icon of British elegance. You’ll no doubt be peckish by now, so pop in to grab a luxury snack from the sprawling food halls and admire the decadence of the Egyptian-inspired décor.
6) Your tour comes to a close with a pilgrimage of sorts – continue along Brompton Road to, you guessed it, Brompton Oratory, the church that inspired it all. Andrew Ritchie, the founder and inventor of Brompton, lived in a flat overlooking the Oratory, and it is this that gave our beloved bicycle its name.
So, from the wonderful Brompton Junction to the place where it all began, via the best bits of London, this tour is the perfect way to explore the city by Brompton. Don’t have your own Brompton? Not to worry – Brompton Bike Hire is here to save the day. From as little as £2.50 for a whole 24 hours, you can grab a Brompton from a specially-designed locker and head off on your own adventure.