Philadelphia Hosts Brompton US Championship

Folder bike race in US is lead-in to Brompton World Championship


Brompton bicycle

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On Saturday, March 20, 2010, the first annual Brompton U.S. Championship will take place at Memorial Hall in West Fairmount
Park, Philadelphia, as part of the Philly Phlyer collegiate bike race. Start time is 1 p.m.

This event is inspired by the Brompton World Championship, first held in Barcelona, Spain in 2006. The BWC has now grown into a bona fide international happening, which attracted more than 500 riders for the 2009 event held at Blenheim Palace. Like the UK race, the Philadelphia event is limited to riders of the Brompton Folder Bike, one of the U.K.’s most famous exports.

That’s not the only unusual element of this race—it will follow the UK rules: helmets are a must, but so is a blazer or suit jacket, collared shirt and tie. Sports attire is not permitted, unless it is hidden by business dress!

“Poor dress sense will not be tolerated,” declared the organizers of the 2009 race. In reality, some participants’ concept of“business attire” ran to kilts and wild plaid trousers. One cyclist raced in a gorilla suit—with a necktie, of course. Brompton smiles on this trend, offering prizes for the best-dressed racers, and the US event will do the same.

Brompton dealer Michael McGettigan, who has taken part in two BWCs (finishing well off the front) is helping to organize the Philadelphia race. "This is a big step for U.S. bike culture," says McGettigan. "The Brompton World Championship is one of those events you have to see to believe. It's a bit Halloween, a bit Tour de France, and a bit, 'Hey, let's ride down the pub!"

For all the fun, this UK race attracted some fast company: in 2008, Tour de France stage winner Roberto Heras competed—and came in second (!) to Britain’s own Alistair Kay. Heras returned to win in 2009, by just a fraction of a second, with Kay demoted to third. Alistair Kay called the BWC "A fantastically eccentric British day out!"

This first Philadelphia race will be a US Cycling Federation-listed event and spectators can expect to see just how fast these little British bikes can go.

Brompton is sponsoring the US event—hoping to bring America’s quickest Brompton riders to this year’s BWC in England this fall. To that end, the winning man and woman in the Philadelphia races will get their plane tickets—and entry fees-- covered by Brompton.

The US event will run a single, 6-mile lap starting near Memorial Hall in West Fairmount Park. As in the UK, participants will run to their folded bikes at the start, Le Mans style.

In addition to the trip to the Brompton World Championship that awaits the top man and woman, there will also be prizes for second and third—and Best-Dressed.

February 12, 2010

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