There’s a tall man that lives across the road to me that writes for a newspaper. One of the big ones. Literally. One of the broadsheets. He wrote an article recently about keeping a sound body and mind. A cliché subject, but it spoke to me.
I’m paraphrasing, but it went something like in order to grow older happier, we have to remember what gave us joy when we were younger; when we were just “us”, before we became mum, dad or a payroll number. I guess that explains why so many people rediscover the love of, as Nicole Millar puts it in our latest portrait film, “our freedom machine.”
Nicole found cycling when she lived in Hayfield in the Peak District after her husband brought home a Barbie pink Dolan for her birthday. I’m not sure how many people reading this will be familiar with the Peak District, but an introduction to cycling there is like squaring up to Mike Tyson the first time you step into a boxing ring. It’s tough; the roads as well the unwelcoming weather.
“And I stuck with it, I know, but probably because I didn’t know any different! I was doing triathlons back then, but it was only when we moved to Catalunya that I really fell in love with the bike.”
Our latest video features Nicole; a mother of three children, owner of three dogs and a husband. That’s a lot of plate and dog bowl spinning.
“I have to plan a little more to find time for myself. Early starts help. Seriously, though, the Brompton affords me a little extra time everyday. If I have to go into Girona or Barcelona, I never drive into the centre of town. I park up and ride the rest of the way. When I’m riding, that’s my time. It’s an escape, even if it’s just a trip to the shops - the bike makes it fun!”
Nicole’s done the l’Etape du Tour, all three assents of Mont Ventoux (in a day) and is known to knock out the odd ultra marathon now and again. For a galeophobe, the open water swimming bit comes as a bit of a surprise.
“It’s ridiculous, isn’t it? And my dad is a marine biologist as well. When I grew up in the middle east, when I was little, I knew about all the fish on the reef. In the lake at Banyoles, they have these huge carp and when I see them, it makes me jump! It’s ridiculous. I know there aren’t sharks in there, but my mind works in funny ways.”
When we talked about making this film, someone mentioned it needed to be part fly on the wall documentary, part self help video and part travel show. It came out very cinematic, showing the beauty in the everyday; it’s about Nicole’s life and how the bike fits into it. It’s as if the Brompton is another member of the Millar family.
“This last year we’ve all had to find something. Something of beauty in the mundane. The Brompton has become a companion. Three kids, three dogs, a husband and a Brompton. I wouldn’t be without any of them.”