“My bike is bumping everywhere! I need the Brompton back!”
This was Rita’s reaction when climbing with her vintage bike to the apartment on the third floor of a old building in Central Porto. This happened after spending one week with one of our demo Brompton.
This Brompton Week is an experience we are making with some of our customers. They are spending a few days with one of these iconic bikes and will tell our readers how it was. Simple, fun and certainly life-changing.
Rita is a 31 years old product designer from Castelo Branco, a small town in Central Portugal. Before arriving in Porto few months ago, she attended the Lisbon’s Fine Arts faculty and lived in Granada, Washington D.C. and in a remote village in Guatemala.
Before being what she calls a “social designer”, Rita add many different jobs, from imagining luxury furniture, to co-writing Portuguese cookery books for German foodies. Rita laughed when telling us about the rocket pen she designed for Kikkerland and was available at the Nasa museum shop.
In Porto, Rita is the face behind Blindesign, an organization aspiring to (officially) be a “social enterprise”. Blindesign is involved in very cool stuff such as a restaurant only employing refugees to transforming old milk cartons in something useful. Blindesign’s most recent project is called Dome – Design Objects Meet Ethics. It’s yet to be presented and will be a trustworthy platform for sustainable shopping.
Rita’s personal story in Porto is being written after every ride with her bike. She is a fast flâneur, if such a thing exists.
“I usually walk or ride my bike in my daily routine in Porto. The bicycle is by far the most intelligent way of getting around. It’s fast, fun and clean.
When cycling, the commuting time is also leisure time and riding my bike I feel much more connected with the city. I’m alone and focused on what’s going on at the street level. I can choose where to focus my attention and listen to almost everything that’s happening around. Like the frequent “this is the bike I’ve been talking about to you!” comment.
Porto still has a long way to go to be a cycle friendly city though. The drivers are still aggressive with cyclists! I feel this everyday when commuting from my apartment at the Belas Artes district to my desk at the super-cool Cru Cowork in the Bombarda area.
All my geekiness emerged in the first contact with a Brompton. I’m a product designer, right? And this is a very very well designed product. The folding system is so smart! Such a simple, fast and effective way of folding a bike, resulting in something just a bit bigger than one of the tiny wheels!
I rode the Brompton all week. In my daily commute from Bonfim to Bombarda, to go to my yoga lesson, to ride to a restaurant after work. At the weekend the Brompton traveled folded in the car boot. Mid week we took the tram to an evening event in Matosinhos returning late at night in a friend’s car.
The funniest episode of the week was me doing a folding demonstration to a very famous Portuguese comedian in one of the most busy streets in Central Porto!
And now, can I have my Brompton back? Please?”