Now within the cosy confines of a First Great Western carriage, the rain beating out a soothing pattern on the glass, I went about newspaper shuffling, window gazing, book reading, and other assorted clichéd commuting behaviour. Again, Barbara was secreted in a luggage space. These holds tend to reside at the end of each car and in her folded glory, Babs would sit in the shadow of airport-bound suitcases, showcasing her versatility.

I went into nod-and-smile mode, busied myself with Babs, and the train soon pulled up to the platform. With Barbara neatly nestled in the suitcase hold, a glorious rural rail journey ensued and soon enough I was again bisecting the inner-city bedlam in the direction of the office and a sweet cup of PG Tips. The commute had been a roaring success.

The route comprised a rather busy B-road, and although the terrain was largely flat and undemanding, I was still afforded the opportunity to give each of Barbara’s six gears a pretty comprehensive workout. The lowest was able to accommodate moderately precipitous ramps, and once we’d mastered the highest, Babs mutated into a snarling beast of a bicycle; we sped through the rush-hour traffic like Marco Pantani in his pomp — sort of.

The final folded package is 565 × 545 × 250 mm (22.2 × 21.5 × 9.8 in) provided the standard seatpost is used, and weighs between 9–12.5 kg (20–28 lb) depending on the configuration. The standard saddle of 2009 and later models acts as a carrying handle for the folded bike, with finger-grip ridges on the underside. With practice, folding and unfolding takes between 10–20 seconds, making the Brompton popular with commuters.

In March 2009, Brompton Bicycle achieved a record monthly turnover of just under £1 million; the employees were rewarded with fish and chips.[26] In the same month, the company stated that it was hoping to continue a 25% rate of growth;[27] partially enabled by switching to just-in-time stocking for some of the parts being sourced from suppliers, and by having those suppliers hold the stock until it is needed rather than parts living for periods at the Brompton factory.[28]

“Do you mind if I bundle Babs up and sling her in your boot?” I queried.

Upon arriving at the station, I was immediately accosted by a well-to-do middle-aged woman who went on to unload a sustained volley of woe in the direction of my face: “I don’t really know if I should be getting on this train,” she said. “Because the agency haven’t called me yet”, she said. “This may very well be a wasted journey,” she continued, “but I wouldn’t want to be late.” She said a lot.

New for 2016: Brompton Nickel Edition. The most advanced finish yet and only 1,500 available in 2016. 

Brompton Bikes are available in a range of 12 painted colours, including two-tone. They are are also available with a Raw Lacquer over the steel, allowing you to see the craftsmanship of the brazing.

Take a Brompton for a test ride or speak to an experienced member of staff, our network of dealers extends across the globe with 1,450 stores and workshops.

Although my route to the train station was flat in the main, it did include occasional undulations and one pretty keen climb. We therefore chose the widest variety of gearing — a six-speed hub — which allowed for a relatively easy and efficient spin. Equipped with dynamos, mudguards, integrated hand pump and rear luggage rack, the Brompton, hand-built in Britain, is  the definitive commuter.

Insider info had led me to believe that my brother had eschewed his usual cycle commute (to the same office) in favour of using the car today — this had potential.

• Folds easily which makes it ideally portable for the commute

Experience the excellent ride quality first hand. Visit your local store and test ride a Brompton today.

• Steel frames for strength and longevity

Monday. It doesn’t typically get the greatest press, does it? The Bangles wished it was Sunday, New Order called it blue, Fats Domino declared it a mess, and everyone else generally thinks it’s a ruddy nuisance. What’s evidently required is a means of starting the working week with a bit of exercise, on a folding bicycle — a Brompton P6R in Tempest Blue with Shimano front dynamo hub, maybe — perchance to blow away the cobwebs accumulated over the weekend.

A small saddle bag can be fitted behind the saddle for the Brompton cover and any tools or spares. Most of the handlebar types can also accommodate standard handlebar bags.

I purchased my Brompton in 1991 as a demo bike at the Interbike Show in Las Vegas. it’s red, has a Sturmey-Archer 5 speed hub, a front bag, and has been very reliable.

It is tough and can take everything the city throws at it, every day. A steel frame, efficient and puncture resistant tyres, handmade with high build quality and a design that has been refined over 25 years means Brompton bikes provide years of regular city use and beyond - check out these amazing journeys, pushing the bike to the limit.

Each Brompton can be custom made to your exact requirements. Choose from a range of colours, gears, handlebars, luggage and accessories.

Brompton bicycles can be ordered from any of our 1,450 stockists worldwide. Simply save this build to your account to generate your unique reference.

Use our online stolen-checker tool to see if your second hand brompton bike frame or serial number  has been flagged as stolen.

Show your style! Choose from a range of colours or go two tone for a really unique bike. 

Finally in 1986, again with backing from friends and former customers, enough was raised to resume production on a larger scale. With a bank loan underwritten by Julian Vereker (founder of Naim Audio), production was restarted in a railway arch in Brentford.[25] By early 1988, mass-production Brompton bicycles were once again in circulation.

We think Bromptons are pretty special; they fold into tiny, compact packages that can be easily stored at home, at the office, on the train, or at a restaurant, and they also ride superbly.

All Brompton folding bicycle models share the same curved frame, consisting of a hinged main tube, pivoting rear triangle, fork, and hinged handle-bar stem. The main tube and stem are made of steel in all models. The rear triangle and fork are either steel or titanium, depending on model. The steel sections are joined by brazing – not welding. Wheels are 349 mm (13.7 in) rim size, carrying tyres with 16″ tread diameter. The handlebars and some peripheral components are aluminium.

Simply create an account, use the access code to unlock your bike from the dock, then unfold and ride away. There are also private schemes operating for businesses and universities.

>>> Not just London: Five big UK cycling projects outside the capital

Each Brompton can be custom made to your exact specification. Select from a range of colours, gearing options, riding styles and accessories.

Each Brompton can be custom built for you, from handlebars to colours, lighting to luggage, create your bike.

>>> Cyclists ‘healthier and less stressed’, says new Cyclescheme report


Will Butler-Adams, Managing Director, was awarded Order of the British Empire in 2015.[31] In July a plan to move the company from Brentford to nearby Greenford was reported.[32]

I explained my quandary and a few hours later Barbara was stashed in the back of the vehicle with space enough for another three of her ilk.

Brompton Bicycle is a manufacturer of folding bicycles based in Brentford, London.

The small wheels afford the bike great acceleration and manoeuvrability, ideal for stop-start city riding in traffic. The smaller wheel diameter also increases the strength and rigidity of the wheels. The suspension system and long seatpost make the bike comfortable to ride over rough surfaces and for longer distances.

Each handlebar holds a different appeal. Click on the handlebars to see the riding position.

The company was awarded The Queen's Award for Export in 1995.[29]

The four handlebar types offer different ride positions for various styles of riding. The handlebar options mean that the bike will give a superb, comfortable riding position. 

>>> Cycle to work to beat train fare rises, urges British Cycling

Agile and light - the bike fits perfectly into your life. Discover 5 reasons why you should buy a Brompton.