Last year’s Bespoked was, genuinely, the best bicycle show I’d ever attended. This year was even better. The quality was outstanding, easily on a par with anything coming out of the US or EU. If you love exotic bicycles and you fail to attend the show next year you’ll be kicking yourself. After two storming years it’s into its stride now. It has momentum. You can bet that the assembled engineers, artisans and craftspeople will spend all year thinking of ways to outdo each other next year. I can’t wait.
One of the best builders who attended the show didn’t have a stand. In fact he turned up unannounced and wandered around on his own. The ‘bike’ he brought to the show was one of the most innovative and forward looking I’ve ever seen. But he left it locked up to a railing outside where passersby largely ignored it. Over the last few years Steve Parry of SP Designs has produced a small fleet of innovative small bikes largely based on Bromptons. When I worked in a Brompton dealer in Bristol he would pop in from time to time to show us his latest machine. Steve is a man seemingly possessed. His purpose in life is making the Brompton folding bike better. I should add that Brompton are not great fans of his work. He’s made ‘Bromptons’ with Titanium frames, with front and rear deraileurs, with carbon fibre forks and seat posts and ‘Bromptons’ with disc brakes. He’s made ‘Bromptons’ which weigh a fraction of the weight of the bikes which roll out of Bromptons own factory. Parry’s bikes may or may not be suitable for production. Perhaps there is no great market for hand made super folders. Whatever. They might never make it to production but it warms my heart to know that there are people like Steve out there pushing the boundaries of what is possible in the world of pedal power. He’s a man on a mission.
The thing he rolled up on is no less innovative than any of his previous machines, and true to form it uses Brompton components. Its an electric scooter which folds. And it’s a brilliant, brilliant thing.
Folks in other parts of Europe have embraced scooters for their short distance convenience. They fill the void between walking and cycling perfectly. An electric one makes a lot of sense. I goes without saying that I want one…..