Announcing the Brompton Urban Challenge – coming to Portland July 16th

Participants in the Paris Challenge at a checkpoint in front of the Louvre.(Photo: Brompton)
Participants in the Paris Challenge at a checkpoint in front of the Louvre.
(Photo: Brompton)

Get ready to show off your knowledge of the city while displaying your fold-and-roll skills — the Brompton Urban Challenge is coming to Portland!


  • Saturday, July 16th 10:00 am at Clever Cycles (900 SE Hawthorne).
  • 2-4 riders per team (and at least 1 Brompton)
  • All profits benefit
  • Registration now open

We’ve partnered up with Brompton, Ortlieb and Clever Cycles to organize a fun event for Brompton lovers of all stripes. And guess what? Proceeds from the event will benefit!

This is the 2nd season of the Brompton Urban Challenge. Last year 15 cities around the world hosted an event including: Budapest, Milan, Paris, and Amsterdam. This season there are 16 Challenges around the world and this is the first year it has come to Portland (where Brompton has its USA headquarters, by the way).

We’re still planning the event and can’t wait to share more with you. Here are the details so far (taken from the official event registration page):

— The Brompton Urban Challenge (BUCPDX) is a ​photo-based scavenger hunt on two wheels​. Participants will spend the day exploring Portland, interpreting clues and completing challenges ​while uploading their crafty and clever feats to social media. This is not a race! We’re here to have fun and build community.

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Traveling for the holidays? Here’s how to take your bike along

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward
Separated cycle track, Baltimore

Riding in other cities can be fun
and fascinating — like this ride in Baltimore.
(Photo © Elly Blue)

The holiday travel season is coming up. If you’re leaving Portland, maybe you’ve thought about bringing your bike along for the trip this time.

A bike doesn’t make sense for every trip or every destination. But if it does fit in with your plans, the experience of traveling with a bike comes highly recommended. A bike can give you independence, flexibility, adventure, and a surefire way to meet people wherever you go.

How you bring the bike, what kind of bike is best to bring, and how much it costs all depend on whether you’re flying or taking the train. Here’s the rundown:

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New Haven: Brompton love, and signs of the Dutch Bike Invasion

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

Sam, Caleb, Finn, the Brompton, and me. (Photo by Sarah Armstrong)

I just wheeled the Brompton into the Publick Cup, a downtown New Haven coffeeshop, and found myself surrounded by a crowd of wide eyed young people.

“Is that a bike? It folds? It’s a folding bike? Can you unfold it for us?” The kids were really excited. They raptly watched each step, asking smart questions about how all the parts work, and making guesses about what came next.

I folded the bike back up. “Can you do it again?” asked one. As I complied, several of the kids were ushered away, leaving only three. Their mom came over to see what was going on.

“Oh, look, it’s from Clever Cycles!” she exclaimed — “I’m ordering a Bakfiets from them!”

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On the train: Checking the bike, making friends

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

Boxing up the Brompton was a team effort
(Photos by Elly Blue)

I’m beginning to realize a few things about traveling with a folding bike.

First of all, it’s definitely a passport to general goodwill and friendliness. I had a great time chatting with a homeless guy and a college student on the L’s blue line last night at 1am. It’s hard to imagine the three of us in that circumstance getting into a friendly conversation without the Brompton.

It’s also because of the Brompton that I met Marc and Sheri, Portlanders headed out on a month and a half long east coast train trip of their own. We soon found we had friends in common (Sheri worked with Sara Stout on the Share the Road mural that Jonathan covered back in 2006). They were excellent train companions.

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Instant celebrity and lock-free life with the Brompton

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

Taking the Brompton to brunch at the Tin Shed.
(Photo: Amy Subach)

When I posted on Thursday that I’m headed out today for an east coast train and bike tour, Todd at Clever Cycles got in touch over Twitter right away with the offer of a bike loan.

That’s how I came to spend the weekend riding around town in sun, rain, snow, and ice on a bright green, lovingly built-up Brompton folding bike and with a big smile on my face.

I’ll be writing more about the Brompton as I travel (including photos) but after riding around all weekend, I have two things to say:

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