Royal Reward For Brentford's Brompton

Andrew Ritchie honoured with Prince Philip Designers' Prize

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Prince Philip and BromptonThe man who invented the foldaway Brompton bicycle has been honoured by the Duke of Edinburgh at Buckingham Palace for his lifelong obsession.

Andrew Ritchie invented the diminutive bike in 1979 and has been tweaking the design ever since.

After collecting the Prince Philip Designers Prize, Mr Ritchie said he was not finished yet and was still thinking about how to make the bike lighter.

The portable bike folds down to barely bigger than its 16 inch (40cm) wheels.

In a brief speech Mr Ritchie thanked some of his early financial backers, who had each invested £100 in the scheme.

His obsession started in 1975 when he came across a different model and thought he could do better.

Speaking after receiving the award, Mr Ritchie described himself as a "crazy guy" who had spent his time trying to create the most human-friendly product he could.

He said he hoped to make the bike lighter, but it was just as important to him that the bike was easy to manufacture at the company's factory in west London.

He said: "Getting the design right, getting the ergonomics right is one of the key things for me."

The Duke set up the prize, run by the Design Council, in 1959 to encourage entrepreneurship.

Councillor Andrew Dakers, often seen with his Brompoton, said “All our congratulations go to Andrew Ritchie and the Brompton team on his receiving of the Prince Phillip Designers Prize 2009.

“I have used my Brompton every day for four years and have therefore experienced first hand what a wonderful piece of design and engineering Andrew Ritchie has crafted over the past 20 years.  As a lifelong environmentalist, Brompton’s manufacturing presence in the ward – and contribution to changing how people get about our cities – is one of the factors that has made representing Brentford such a privilege.

“I look forward to many more exciting innovations coming from the factory in the years ahead.”

With thanks to

October 19, 2009

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