The Brompton Urban Challenge heads to The Netherlands for the second time in months. #BUCADAM is the word of the day given to all participants who ride those peculiar transforming gizmos known as the Brompton bicycle.
The motto from the official site describes the event as such,“The Brompton Urban Challenge is an event that will test your skill, creativity, and ingenuity through a variety of fun and exciting challenges across the city.” As a proud owner of a Brompton, I can only confirm that ingenuity and fun are synonymous with the bike.
My leather wrapped desert sand coloured M3L, nicknamed “Nigel” was finely tuned, oiled and spit-shined for the occasion. But this folding gadget isn’t just about style and aesthetics. It’s also a subtle illusion to persuade others that I’m not a serious player in this game. With prizes from Brooks and Brompton available to be won, I was intent on revealing that this cat has claws!
After registering at the Brompton Junction Amsterdam store on Overtoom, I was assimilated into the group of 50 Bromptoneers. For an outside spectator, it may look like some bizarre carnival of circus bears on bikes. Though there was no mistaking the camaraderie of all those present, this assembly was for all who love their Brompton.
The welcome kit included my name tag and a description of the challenges. The instructions were written in Dutch but the translator App on my smart phone did an admirable job ensuring that I didn’t miss any details. But I also discovered that nearly all the challenges were photography based, reminding everyone to use the hashtag #BUCADAM when uploading photos to social media to qualify for prizes. I may have let out a cackle as I stroked the camera slung over my shoulder. Could it be that I now have a legitimate shot at scoring a prize?
After gorging on celebratory cake, we were given our final instructions. It was now time to unfold and hit the streets. For the next three hours, participants will bike around Amsterdam on Bromptons while completing challenges in no particular order. We would gather all together once more at Het Blauwe Theehuis in Vondelpark for complimentary drinks and the closing ceremonies.
Here is a list of the challenges, coupled with a recap of my personal results. While I started the event strong, the finish was bogged down with indecision and distractions. But it didn’t detract from an otherwise fun day.
Challenge 1. Witte de Withstraat
Ride over to the open platform at the Witte de Withstraat square.
Act like you belong to the sculpture trail and take a photo.
For whatever reason, I often have this inclination to crawl into holes. So it was only natural for me to go in as I got some assistance in capturing me emerging from the structure. All hail Brompton!
Challenge 2. De 9 straatjes
Head over to Pluk on Reestraat. They have delicious organic juices but also cool interior items. There is a smoothie waiting for you.
Take a creative picture with your smoothie.
Photographed my smoothie on the store’s window sill with my Brompton outside in the background. Maybe I should’ve taken the shot before taking a few sips. Tasty smoothie though!
Challenge 3. Zwarte Fietsenplan
Het zwarte fietsenplan (The black bicycle) is another Brompton dealer in Amsterdam.
This is the speed test! Who can fold and unfold the Brompton the fastest?
I magnificently choked under pressure and came in over double digits for both challenges. The event was won by a Rotterdam participant Bram den Hamer, who clocked in at just over 8 seconds! With a name like that, how can anyone expect to beat him?
Challenge 4. Our Lord in the Attic
The church looks like a normal canal house but in the attic is a church. Services were held in secret when Catholic worship was not permitted. Thus it became a hidden church and the oldest in Amsterdam.
Fold your Brompton and take a picture of it with the church and the inside.
After some baffled looks and shoulder shrugging from fellow participants, the best we could do is take a shot from outside. We weren’t allowed to go inside the museum, which left us scratching our heads. Though I can’t imagine any museum would let you take inside a 20 pound contraption made of steel and rubber.
Challenge 5: Amsterdam canals
Ride on over to the Canal Ring.
Photograph your Brompton with your favourite canal scene.
Now this was certainly a challenge! There is so many scenes to choose from along the Canal ring. After some indecision, I settled at one of my favourite spots near Amstelveld square and took a shot of my Brompton overlooking Keizersgracht.
And the winner is….?
Brompton Ortlieb O Bags were given as prizes at the closing ceremonies. While I walked away empty handed from the event, I was contacted a few weeks later and informed that I had won the photo challenge!
It was first challenge, Witte de Wishstraat, which was based on the number of likes on Instagram using the BUCADAM hashtag. A special thanks to all my instagram followers who helped me bag the win!
A few days later, I received my prize. A PINK Brompton Ortlieb O Bag.