I’m not sure who came up with the term CHPT3 Portraits. I don’t think it was me, it could’ve been David. Whatever. It’s the perfect working title for these videos. Well done whoever it was. And, yes, portraits. Plural. There are going to be more.
This one, the first one, starring Matt Stephens, we shot in London back in December under a pale grey, Victorian sky. Apt, seeing as the city is home to Brompton, as well as Matt, who uses his bikes to, I quote, “bazz” about town on. Whatever that means.Matt, what does bazz about town mean?
“Bazzing or to bazz, using my own Urban Dictionary, is the action of a cyclist simultaneously moving quickly and enjoyably in an urban area. So, ‘Just going for a bazz about town’ means, you’re going to jump on your Brompton and go for a little bazz about for no purpose other than the thrill of it.”
The idea to make a video of the people that own CHPT3 Bromptons, along with how they use them and where, is only part of the story. To paint a portrait, personal to them, we wanted the to have a song or piece of music which means something to them.
“The song that we’ve chosen is from one of my favorite bands, The Horrors. The song is called Still Life from the album Skying. They’re a band that metamorphasises with each album, and explore different sounds, which is why I like them - they’re adventurous. I like the synths and the way the song builds. It certainly has a widescreen feel to it; it’s cinematic. This particular track is one of my favourite Horrors songs, too, so to be able to use it is just mindblowing! It’s a massive song. Maybe this’ll introduce Still Life to a few people that might not have heard it before.”
London’s Tate Modern features in the video as Matt is a burgeoning art fan. He uses his Brompton when bazzing around the city’s galleries. Yes, bazzing. It’s clearly catching on.
“I’m actually pretty new to the art world, but it facinates me. I really like Pop art; Andy Warhol, Keith Haring and Roy Lichtenstein. I like David Hockney, and I really like Bridget Riley’s stuff. I bought some stuff recently from a couple of contempory artists; Helen Beard, a British artist, and Pat Perry from the states. I’m learning so much. I could list a whole bunch of artists that I’m really interested in.”
Matt, like us, uses his Brompton a lot, but unlike most of us reading this, we don’t get paid to travel around the world to commentate on professional bike racing. It’s a pretty good gig he has there, isn’t it? Follow Matt’s instagram account @realstephens during the race season and you’ll see that he uses his Brompton to recce the final few kilometres of the race or the days stage.
“I’ve ridden in some cool places. I use it to get some training in when I’m away. I’ve ridden up Alpe D’Huez, the Col du Tourmalet and sections of Paris Roubaix on my Brompton. It’s been up some hideously steep climbs - it’s been up the Planche des Belles Filles in the Tour! Nearly came to a holt, but I made it! I’ve been to places like Milan on it, some lovely places in Italy, but where I’d like to go next would be Moscow, because I’ve never been, and New York, because I have been, but didn’t ride around it. I want to ride around Central Park, I want to ride by the Hudson River, through Chelsea and Soho. I want to explore New York.”
From the daily commute to the cobbles of Paris Roubaix, the capabilites of the Brompton are limitless as Matt has demonstrate. Above all, it’s the fun and the freedom of this little machine that inspires us, and isn’t that why we fell in love with cycling in the first place?