Randonneuring Brompton at rest in France

Flickr photo courtesy of marcus_jb1973

Britain’s largest bicycle manufacturer makes one of the smallest useful bicycles on the planet: the 16-inch-wheeled Brompton. And as much as I admire the machine, I’m amazed that someone would ride a Brompton in one of the world’s oldest bicycle events: the Paris-Brest-Paris, a 1200-kilometer (745-mile) timed ride (not a race) held every four years.

According to fellow PBPer and photographer Marcus, the rider of this Brompton “made it under 89 hours. I think he was a Norwegian chap riding this – much props though, I’ve ridden 200km on my Brompton and it broke me. At least with the bar ends etc. he has a few alternative hand positions – my S-type gave me real grief due to the one position.

“I only saw him once out on the road, I was coming back from Brest over La Roc Trevezel and he was climbing well on his way to Brest.

Big respect.”

Marcus says he once rode 200 kilometers on a Brompton, but he too was amazed someone would take one to the Paris-Brest-Paris.

“Personally, it was my first PBP and the experience was one of the most amazing things I have ever done. I rode on a Condor Fratello.”

You don’t just hop a plane, put down the entry fee and pedal into the PBP. You have to qualify for the ride. For Marcus, that meant participating in The Poor Student 200, The Dean 300, Hailsham 400 and the Seething 600.

“PBP was far longer than anything I had ever done, but it all went well and I finished in 76 hours.”

Our nameless Brompton rider (plug in his number, 6899) finished the 2011 event in 88 hours, 40 minutes at an average speed of 13.9 kph (8.6 mph). If you look at the times between the control points, you’ll see our fearless Bromptonaut picked up the pace before the last control to make it back within the event’s ultimate 90-hour limit.

Update: Marcus has plenty to say about his Paris-Brest-Paris experience, including one participant’s choice of mount: a 110-year-old single speed.

Plenty else to read about PBP 2011. Here’s what VeloNews had to say.

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About 16incheswestofpeoria

Former bicycle mechanic, current peruser of books, feeder of birds.
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