Wednesday, August 24, 2011

German Weekly "Der Spiegel" reports on Brompton World Championship 2011

The German weekly "Der Spiegel" has published a report on this year`s Brompton World Championship which took place last weekend near Oxford.  The reporter of  "Der Spiegel", Carsten Volkery, was one of the 760 international participants in the race.

"The World`s Fastest Pencil Pushers Racing on their Folding Bikes"  -   Race originated in Spain
In his words, the world`s fastest pencil pushers, dressed in suit and necktie were racing on their folding bikes. He notes that the first championship of this sort was held in Barcelona, Spain, and that the number of participants there doubled each year.

A Bit like Carneval
He also highlights the fact that the participants in the race had much fun and interpreted the dress code quite creatively.  To Carsten Volkery it was a bit like carneval.

 Owning and Riding a Brompton has Reached Cult Status
As far as the success of the Brompton folding bike on international markets is concerned, he adds that its British mgeranufacturer, based in London,  has been expanding its production every year at amazing rates and that owning and riding a Brompton has reached cult status.

"Der Spiegel" on Brompton World Championship 2011

Several days after writing this summary of the  "Der Spiegel" article, some after thoughts have induced me to comment on Carsten Volkery`s  bias.  Looking at the multitude of participants in the Brompton race, I think it is not fair to lable them as "pencils pushers" as Volkery did.  Even worse is the German wording in the original text:  "Bürohengste".  Some of my readers who are knowledgable in German may wonder what this expression really means.  It is not used every day and probably it does not  belong to the vocabulary of many young people of our language community. The literal translation of this pejorative pair of words would be "office stallions".   The expression conveys some meaning of a boringly conservative office worker who enjoys a certain amount of masculine superiority but confined to a bureaucratic environment.
I don`t think that the English translation of "pencil pushers" has the same overtones.  Whatever, I think it is not fair to refer to the enthusiastic group of Brompton riders like that  - among them quiet a few from different  nations and certainly from many walks of life.
Among the large number of commuters using a folding  bike to get to work,  the majority are probably modern thinking people with creative minds and with visons that go  beyond the limits of a boring life and work style.

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