08 February 2010
On a wingnut and a prayer: Bromptons in Brompton
Bromptons, the iconic folding bikes (right), are named after the Brompton Oratory (right), a big Catholic church in the Brompton Road area of west London (right).
(The Catholic church has a saint for everything, of course. The one representing cycling is Madonna del Ghisallo. Television is St Clare of Assisi, and the Internet is St Isidore of Seville - handy to remember next time your connection keeps getting dropped while you're trying to book your summer holiday.)
According to the church's website, the name 'Brompton Oratory' is incorrect, though that's exactly what the sign outside calls it. They maintain its correct name is the Church of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, but I wouldn't have been so keen on a folding bike called 'Mary'. Still, Brompton Square isn't exactly a square either, I suppose. More a sort of circle you move in.
Anyway, you don't see many Bromptons parked round here. Presumably the owners simply take them inside the shop or restaurant or whatever, rather than leaving them to the mercy of the guys with greatcoats and bolt-cutters. Or relying on any hopeful prayers to the Madonna del Ghisallo.