Brompton U.S. Championship Coming to Philadelphia

Brompton U.S. Championship Coming to PhiladelphiaThe first annual Brompton U.S. Championship will take place in West Fairmount Park, Philadelphia on Saturday, March 20, 2010, as part of the Philly Phlyer collegiate bike race. The event is inspired by the Brompton World Championship (BWC), first held in Barcelona, Spain in 2006. The BWC has grown into a international event, which attracted more than 500 riders for the 2009 event, which was held at Blenheim Palace, England. Like the U.K. race, the Philadelphia event is limited to riders of the Brompton Folder Bike.

The U.S. race will follow the U.K. 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," said 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 offers prizes for the best-dressed racers, and the U.S. event will do the same.

Brompton dealer Michael McGettigan of Trophy Bikes in Philadelphia has taken part in two BWCs, and 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!"

The U.K. race has 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 relegated to third. Alistair Kay called the BWC "A fantastically eccentric British day out."

Brompton is sponsoring the U.S. event—hoping to bring America’s quickest Brompton riders to this year’s BWC in England this fall. The winning man and woman in the Philadelphia races will get their plane tickets—and BWC entry fees—covered by Brompton. There will also be prizes for second and third—and Best-Dressed.

The U.S. event will run a single, 6-mile lap starting near Memorial Hall in West Fairmount Park. Participants will run to their folded bikes at the start, Le Mans style. Full details on the Brompton U.S. Championship are available at: www.bromptonbicycle.com/busc. BikeReg is handling online registration.

[Ed notes: read Andrew Crumpler’s Interbike Mini-Review of the Brompton S6L at this link.]

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