BrompingSG : Of Bikes and Expeditions
Date: December 5, 2016
The boys of BrompingSG have combined their passion for cycling, Brompton bicycles and adventure, and created an incredible lifestyle for themselves. Looking effortlessly cool, this tight-knit bunch of six is all about appreciating the experiences that cycling brings and ‘doing their own thing’. Just as Batman relies on his trusty Batmobile to fight villains, the BrompingSG folks swear by their Brompton bikes to combat normalcy.
They share over 20 years of friendship and are bonded by common ideals and attitudes about living and the things that matters. Through cycling, the boys get to take a step back and be their purest selves. It is no wonder they feel (and act) like teenagers again when the group is out and about.
Loving Cycling and Brompton Bikes
The love for cycling and two-wheel rides is nothing new to the BrompingSG boys. It was cultivated since their younger days and has evolved over time.
Esa explained, “My love for cycling started young. When I was a kid, my first ride was a mountain bike. I loved that bike to bits. I rode it until it turned rusty. We have ridden mountain bikes, BMX, fixies… As we grow older, I don’t think we have the strength to ride fixies anymore. The Brompton fits in perfectly as we love travelling and exploring. It’s so compact.”
“With two-wheelers, you discover more as compared to cars. There are certain places that can only be accessed by bicycles,” added Firdaus.
While Brompton bikes are known to weigh heavy on the pockets, the boys see the value of spending on quality. The effortlessness in folding a Brompton is also a huge draw for them. Being bike enthusiasts, they have stripped their bikes from end to end, and examined how well they are built.
Esa said, “We appreciate the quality that goes into Brompton bikes because they are 100% hand-built. We’ve also watched documentaries on it to learn more. We not only love bikes but also the engineering that goes into them and their design aspect. For the Brompton, every single nut and bolt is so perfectly made. The quality is very high in terms of craftsmanship. It’s not the price, it’s the quality. We ride the hell out of our bikes. If we scrimp on the price and quality, we’d have to spend more time maintaining the bike instead of enjoying the ride.”
A Cycling Lifestyle
For the BrompingSG boys, it is all about their love for travel, adventure and exploration, and the Brompton fits in perfectly with this lifestyle. What matters to them is also the companionship and camaraderie within the group.
Every excursion – both local and overseas – brings them different sights and sounds, and the boys have a unique way of soaking up the environment. They pack along some essentials such as their favourite grub and coffee, Helinox foldable chairs and hammocks, to chill out in the open after some cycling.
“We enjoy and appreciate the scenery around us. We have a passion for taking photos too. We’d bring our cameras along our rides and try to collect as many memories as possible,” said Ashik.
Esa added, “Everything is so digital currently. People are on their phone all the time. Growing up in the 80s, we spend most of our time outside. What we’re doing now is another level up – we travel and spend more time outdoors. We like taking in the greenery. We slow down our pace, forget the noise and appreciate the people we’re hanging out with. If we don’t have our bikes, we can go travelling as friends. We find a balance in life.”
Travelling with Bromptons
Together, the boys have explored Kuala Lumpur, Melaka, Yogyakarta, Perth and parts of Japan with their Brompton bikes, and are armed with countless stories to tell. Always up for ideas on their next destination, they embrace spontaneity and leisure.
“In Yogyakarta, the cycling infrastructure is not really there. But Perth city is entirely made up of park connectors. You can travel anywhere within Perth on a bicycle. Same goes as Japan. The cycling infrastructure is so safe and convenient that you don’t need to take anything else. You just jump on your bike and go. If the distance is too far, you can fold up your bike and take it on a train,” elaborated Esa.
Luthfi would usually pay attention to the cycling infrastructure of a place whenever he holidays with his wife. He said, “When you cycle in a foreign place, you can explore more. I fulfil my wish with these guys. They are the best people to bring around on a bike.”
While the boys would usually plan a rough itinerary for their trips, they are open to changes and impromptu expeditions along the way.
Esa said, “Most of the time, we’ll go to the places that we plan to and then some. We’ll meet people and they’ll bring us around. For example in Osaka, the good people at Giracha (a fixed gear bike shop/café) specially planned a night ride with us to bring us around Osaka from their perspective. Luthfi and the owners are friends. If we only did the touristy things, we’d never experience the beauty of the city at night. We try to be flexible. If you follow your itinerary too strictly, you wouldn’t experience the uniqueness of the country.”
Their next destination is still up in the air but the boys are certain that one of their future ambitions is to embark on an unsupported ride around Iceland. This would require extensive planning as they would be living solely on their own – sleeping in tents and cooking their own meals.
To enjoy longer rides, comfortable, weather-proof and quality shoes are important for the BrompingSG boys. Stiff soles are preferred as they provide the much needed power transfer when riding. When speaking about comfort, lightness and visibility for shoes, the new Converse Chuck II comes to mind.
Firdaus said, “Converse is very clever when it introduced the Chuck II with the Lunarlon sole and all. We need that level of comfort while maintaining our style. It suits us for cycling.”
“Which one of us doesn’t own a pair of Chucks? We’ve been wearing Converse shoes since our secondary school days. The brand represents our generation. I don’t know how many pairs of Converse I’ve owned. They last very long, almost forever. Even a pair of worn-out Converse still looks good,” added Esa.
The Chuck II has also allowed the boys to stay stylish while getting dirty during their adventures. Wearing durable sneakers means that the boys go all out and do not hold back on having fun.