I couldn’t resist a visit to the Singapore folding bike shop “Mighty Velo”, listed as selling Bromptons, as well as Strida & Montague bikes. Situated within a light industry area (containing a typically Asian endless variety of fascinating shops dealing in absolutely everything?), the neat, small frontage opened into a well stacked display of bikes & accessories. Immediately I could see that my trip was going to be worthwhile, with lots of Bromptons & neat shelf displays of folding bike stuff to review. Just looking, mind – but the small shop layout was a delight to observe.
Topping one rack was 4 Limited Edition Bromptons; my first sighting of such bikes was to be this set of Royal Wedding, London, Jubilee & Barcelona models! Another first sighting was the coloured solid-rubber tyres that I’d read about. With about 10 varying colour Bromptons in sight, as well as coloured tyres & grips to choose from, it was fascinating to watch customers “mixing & matching”. Singaporeans seem to like colours with their bikes!
After checking out various accessories, including Monkii cages & Akslen lights (more first-sightings for me), I could have happily walked away. However, while taking some photos & chatting with the assistants, I was told by one female assistant, “oh, you should meet the owner…” & they disappeared into the workshop. Out came the owner, Vivian & introduced herself, chatted & proceeded to give me a full tour. What had seemed to me to be a good stock of Bromptons, turned out to be just the demonstrators! (in every handlebar style, various saddle-types, all the transmission models – along with the frame colours & coloured & normal tyre choices!) To assist the choice, a customer could be taken into the workshop & able to see all the shelves of stock bikes (according to Vivian, “the most two-colour bike stock of any shop”), which I estimated at over 70 bikes – but then there was the storeroom behind! At this point I was distracted by being shown a couple of Mando Footloose electric bikes (from the designer of the Strida bike, Mark Sanders) & having an explanation of Singapore’s eBike rules & regulations! All very exact & restrictive in an emerging market?
Yes, I couldn’t resist a purchase or two. While a customer picked out a Brompton Oratory jacket, I snapped up a pair of Brompton cycling socks (I had been wondering if my choice of socks for the BWC would do?). Also, I just had to take some Singaporean Brompton Velcro straps. I have a use in mind for securing things, although Vivian explained how they came about: it seems that Singapore’s MRT transport system is very specific about bikes being folded before travel – so R-model Brompton owners can fold their bike but leave the seat up to ease pushing/rolling & still retain the frame locking via the strap fastened around the frame & rear wheel? Some practical “local bling”?
Oh yes, a few Montague bikes were sighted as well as probably about 20 Stridas? My apologies but the Bromptons were a bit overwhelming… Now let me see, maybe another trip to Singapore & a visit to Vivian’s workshop & storeroom, finishing with a thorough explore (on the new Brompton) for a couple of weeks?