Andrew Ritchie MBE, inventor of the Brompton folding bicycle

Andrew Ritchie, the inventor of the Brompton folding bicycle, will be speaking at a meeting of Cyclox, the Oxford cycling campaign, in Oxford on Monday 19 October 2015, explaining the history of this world-beating bicycle and the development of the company that is now the largest bicycle manufacturer in the UK.

The meeting will be held at St Michael at the North Gate, Cornmarket Street, Oxford OX1 3EY beginning at 7.30pm. Entry is free and members of the public will be most welcome.

Now living in Oxford, Ritchie designed and built the prototype of his folding bike in his London flat in 1975. The Brompton Oratory, one of the South Kensington landmarks visible from his window, gave the bike its name and, after a lengthy quest for investment and numerous hiccups and challenges along the way, the bike eventually became a legend. Still based in London, Brompton now makes more than 45,000 bikes a year, employing 250 people and exporting to 45 countries, including the south pole.

As Ritchie told the Guardian in a recent interview, the road from patent in 1976 to the company’s 2015 move new premises has been something of a bumpy ride. “By 1987, I’d nearly got it right,” he said. “I reinforced the points where it was weak: three spots on the frame that were susceptible to snapping. I danced around with design, coming up with the simplest and least inelegant solutions, and that’s where we’ve been for 30 years now. But it’s still crying out for petty improvements. I know – I use one every day and get irritated. I spent months making the cables go the right way, but the front ones wear out because they go through a big loop. We should get rid of that. The cables get snagged, too, then the brakes and gears don’t work. Today, folk take Bromptons for granted and think they’ve been around for ever, but it was a pretty perilous journey into existence.”

Join Cyclox to hear Andrew Ritchie tell the remarkable story of a remarkable design.

Event details:

Andrew Ritchie MBE, inventor of the Brompton folding bicycle, will be a speaking to Cyclox on Monday 19 October 2015.

Venue: St Michael at the North Gate, Cornmarket Street, Oxford OX1 3EY
Time: 7.30pm.
Event: Public meeting hosted by Cyclox, the Oxford cycling campaign.

Editor’s notes:

  • For further details of Cyclox visit
  • For further details of Brompton visit
  • Cyclox’s future meetings include a presentation by Carlton Reid, journalist, cycle campaigner and author of Roads Were Not Built for Cars, which will be held on 17 Nov 2015 at 7.30pm at St Michael at the North Gate.

For additional information on the work of Cyclox and its event programme please contact Jonathan Ives, Cyclox communications co-ordinator, on 0788 413 7282 or via