“Before we knew it, we had 200 bikes taken – which was our whole fleet. It completely cleared us out, by then we had 500 people from the NHS who wanted to join the scheme, but we had no bikes left. Now what are we going to do?
At that point it’s ‘do you leave it at that, or do you have a crack?’ And in this climate, you know nothing will be perfect. You can’t think it over for 6 weeks. You’ve got to just go for it. It’s needed now.
So we thought, ‘Right... we’re going to make it work. We’re going to stick in £100,000 and make 1,000 NHS Brommies.’... We’re going to make a loss on every bike, but we need someone to help us.”
Will Butler-Adams, Brompton Bicycle CEO
A sign of the times. David Millar, Tour de France stage winner and founder of the CHPT3 brand, interviewed Will Butler-Adams over Facetime to talk about Brompton’s history, how the bike’s design helps people live in cities, and Brompton’s latest effort to help key workers during the COVID-19 crisis with our Wheels for Heroes crowdfunder campaign.
What is Wheels For Heroes? David Millar explains from his perspective...
“Bicycles have always represented fun to me. When I was a kid they gave me the freedom I needed. As I got older that freedom led to adventure, and as I got stronger the bicycle introduced me to speed, eventually it led me to racing. I’ve spent the majority of my life racing. I stopped in 2014.
In 2015 I went to a big lunch in London and I met Will Butler-Adams, he asked me, ‘You’re the Tour de France racer, right?’ He told me he worked at Brompton, and I said, ‘You’re the folding bike guys, right?’
He had an idea: there were all these MAMILS out there whom looked down upon Brompton, because it was… well, it’s wasn’t a road bike, and it folded.
I was one of those people - it wasn’t until Will convinced me to borrow a Brompton for a few days that I got it. It was the first bicycle that was more than fun, it served a purpose, it’s designed to be utilitarian, to improve your life, to make things simpler, to make things better.
So back to Wheels For Heroes. Brompton wants to help our key workers, the people whom have such an important purpose right now, they’re going to supply bikes to help them get to their jobs, and they’re going to make a loss doing it. This isn’t a marketing exercise because I know Brompton so well, they’re an engineering company first, and if they do something it’s to solve a problem.”
Listen to the full interview here...