Brompton becomes lead sponsor of cycleways-reviving project

Brompton has become lead sponsor of the 1930s-era cycleways reviving project that wowed Kickstarter. Crowdfunding for this project finished on Wednesday after raising almost £25,000 from nearly 1000 backers. 

The iconic British folding-bike brand is to supply a one-of-a-kind paint job for a bike that’ll be used to ride up and down on the 1930s-era Dutch-inspired cycleways revealed by historian – and BikeBiz executive editor – Carlton Reid. Half of the bike will feature a Union Jack theme, the other half will be orange to commemorate the period links between Britain’s Ministry of Transport and its Dutch equivalent. 

"Rather beautifully the deal with Brompton is apt," said Reid in an email to backers. "The company’s new factory is in Greenford, London, very close to the very first UK cycleway, installed in 1934."

Reid added:

"This had a terrible surface and, duly chastened, the Ministry of Transport later set in train design standards that meant subsequent cycleways were of standard width (either 6-ft or 9ft-wide) and usually bordered with kerbs, and surfaced with durable materials (so durable many are still extant today, sometimes buried under grass which we aim to have removed)."

Between 1934 and 1940 the Ministry of Transport would only provide road-building grants to local authorities if they included high-quality cycleways, usually on both sides of the road. The Ministry also commissioned what became the Transport Research Laboratory to work out which concrete surfaces would be the best to use on the planned 500 miles of cycleways. One of these reports was based on research carried out close to where today’s Brompton’s new-build factory is situated.

Brompton becomes the headline sponsor of this project, partnered with Showers Pass of the USA. Their logos will appear on the project reports to be sent to backers, to local authorities, and to the Department for Transport and other agencies.

Reid is the project’s historian and he is partnered with urban planner John Dales who is charged with working out which of the 1930s-era cycleways could be restored to their former glory, perhaps improved, and then meshed with today’s networks. The pair have already received interest from a number of local authorities, and are also seeking financial backing from national agencies to carry out on-the-ground restoration works.

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