Brompton bike inventor wins design accolade

Smarta may occasionally have a private giggle at besuited office workers wobbling their way to work on comically tiny Brompton Bicycles, but it seems it may just be us - for yesterday, the man who created the fold-up bike saw his work honoured by the Duke of Edinburgh.

Andrew Ritchie, who first became obsessed with the idea of creating a fold-up bike in 1975 when he saw a different model and thought he could improve on the design, was awarded the Prince Philip Designers Prize at Buckingham Palace yesterday.

Previous winners of the prize have included architect Lord Foster and inventor Sir James Dyson, but the Design Council, which runs the prize, said Ritchie’s creation showed ‘the value of the designer in our society’.

“In the current economic environment it is timely to remind ourselves that the UK has such great creative capabilities,” said David Kester, the Design Council’s chief executive.

Richie, who has been tweaking his design since its launch in 1983, thanked his early financial backers, who had each invested £100 in the scheme. He described himself as a ‘crazy guy’ who spends his time creating the most ‘human-friendly’ product he could.

“Getting the design right, getting the ergonomics right is one of the key things for me,” he said.

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