A Royal Affair: The Brompton Urban Challenge 2014

A day to remember at the Brompton Urban Challenge

I have two pieces of advice for cycling enthusiasts. Firstly, everyone should ride a Brompton at least once before they kick the bucket. And secondly, sign up to next year’s Brompton Urban Challenge, it’s possibly the most fun you will have in a day. 

I am cruising down Pall Mall on my shiny turquoise Brompton, the sky is a vibrant blue, the sun is shining and I am thinking to myself that this might be the best day I have had in London since arriving here just over six months ago.

Closed to traffic, myself and four companions – two Aussies, a South African and a fellow Irish woman – cycle side by side as we soak up our surroundings on the Mall.

We have been cycling for almost four hours, we have executed a whopping eight costume changes, roped six random strangers in to take photographs of us, squeezed the entire team into a telephone box, re-enacted a scene from Bourne Ultimatum that nearly saw us arrested in Waterloo Station and my boyfriend has bared his bottom, much to the shock of some innocent bystanders at Lambeth Bridge.

Safe to say it was a random day. But we are six very competitive individuals and it seemed there was no stopping us once we got into the swing of things. Eager to beat the other 25 teams taking part in the second Brompton Urban Challenge, we were prepared to go to any lengths to achieve glory.

Kicking off from the Brompton Junction in Covent Garden, we had four and half hours to complete a total of 12 challenges. The rules were pretty loose, each challenge was up for each team’s own interpretation and we were strongly encouraged to be as creative as possible submitting photos as we went.

Deciding earlier in the week that we would need to make an extra special effort to stand out from the crowd, we decided to go as the Royal Family, much to the delight of tourists around us who all whipped out cameras so they too could capture the moment.

It was an absolute hoot. The sense of camaraderie amongst the competitors was brilliant. Additional tasks throughout the day also added another element of fun… unfortunately our team were not so hot when it came to identifying Brompton parts or folding the bike with one hand as fast as possible.

We are still waiting with baited breath to see if our photos will make it to the final three, which will then be subject to public vote. Keep your fingers crossed for us!

If you are thinking of doing this challenge or simply would like to tootle around London for the day on a Brompton (they are so much fun), you should check out the Brompton Docking service which offers daily hire for a minimal charge.

Liked this? Why not also read:

Commuting: The Joys of the Brompton Bike 

Technique: How to use your gears efficiently 

Wiggle Honda Launch: 2014 Dream Team

15 Essentials to Pack for Cycle Touring


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