As the Breakaway Digital team left the office on Friday afternoon in search of the Tour of Britain we had an idea. Instead of relying on the Breakaway team car or our feet to follow the race why not take some bikes. Rather than our ordinary velocipedes of choice that are both large and somewhat cumbersome to transport, what about a Brompton Bicycle. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to establish whether the humble small wheeled wonder-bike is only good as a commuting workhorse or is in fact somewhat of an adventure weapon.
Having thought of this wonderful idea so last minute there was a catch. None of the team have Brompton’s. About to give up and reluctantly pack our walking boots we instead turned our attention to our favoured domain, the world wide web. Within half an hour we were standing in the car park of our local train station staring at that peculiar swiss cheese like box in the corner. Behind the Emmental inspired doors were individual compartments each housing a Brompton bike. Available to hire for a very reasonable price we couldn’t wait to get stuck in.
Once we had punched our codes into the keypad, given the bikes a quick maintenance check and practised an unfold and fold we popped them in the car and began the drive up to Scotland for the start of the race.
After stopping off for the night in Carlisle, on Saturday morning we made straight for the hills. In particular the top of the first KOM of the race, Lambdoughty hill. Having parked the car a couple of km’s after the KOM banner we decided it was the perfect time to unfurl our two wheeled tools of attack and approach the ideal shot location with ease and not to mention a whole lot of fun.
We are not sure if it’s the small wheels, the lack of stem or just the overall design of the bike that makes it feel so agile, nimble and spirited. Either way we loved the ride and found them the perfect companion to a day shooting the race. Whilst Dan lined up the perfect shot high on a grass clad hill I was able to scout out other potential locations and even ride some of the climb we were stood atop.
As I perched on the final steep ramp before a slight false flat to the line there was a definite sense of anticipation. Calls went out that the riders were on the horizon, then everyone started to move into the centre of the road. Before I knew it the days break of five riders, featuring home talents Rory Townsend (Canyon DHB p/b Bloor Homes) and Jake Scott (SwiftCarbon Pro Cycling), were battling it out for the KOM points. It proved a successful day for both British riders in the break as Rory Townsend went on to grab the Wahooligan combativity award and the Eisberg sprints jersey, while Jake Scott picked up the KOM jersey.
Once the race thundered through the sleepy valley and calm was restored to the grazing sheep we pedalled off to the car and made plans for the rest of the day. Our eventual destination being Kelso, the start and finish town of stage 2. On the way we found an idyllic valley and, feeling somewhat sleepy from a day in the hills, we decided to whip up a cheeky camp stove coffee. While the kettle boiled I turned to the hills in search of another shot. I wanted to move just a little bit up the valley but with the car in full use by specialist barista Dan, it took me all but 31 seconds to fold out the Brompton and be on my way.
Everytime we unfolded the Brompton’s we were impressed. Not only did they bring an instant smile to our faces they also proved to be tremendous tools in our armoury. As we still have the bikes with us we can’t wait to see how useful they can be over the coming days, but for now it’s a massive chapeau from us!