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And away they fold!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011 - 01:44

Aug. 23 - Fold-up bicycle owners from 31 nations gather in Oxfordshire for the fourth Brompton Folding Bike World Championships. Tara Cleary reports.

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Last minute adjustments before … A Le Mans-style sprint to start the fourth Brompton Folding Bike World Championships. 750 competitors vied for the title, wearing jackets and ties -- not a thread of spandex was allowed near the race. Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire was the genteel setting for the 13-kilometre race. And organiser, Will Butler-Adams says it's a far cry from the often hazardous commute that many competitors usually face. SOUNDBITE: Will Butler-Adams, organizer, saying (English): "When you ride a Brompton normally you feel a little bit out of place, a little bit odd because everybody else is riding around on normal wheeled bikes. But here it's a little bit like an Elvis convention; you're surrounded by other slightly off-piste people all on their Brompton so you suddenly feel totally normal riding around on your Brompton looking a little bit bizarre - but that's half the fun." Brompton is a much-loved brand of folding bicycle, which has been manufactured for more than 30 years. In the end it was Northern Ireland's Michael Hutchinson who won the men's race in a world record time of 20 minutes and 15 seconds. In the women's race 33-year-old Rachel Elliott took her second win in as many years. And the folding 2-wheelers produced a good many collapsed competitors. SOUNDBITE: Unidentified competitor, saying (English): "I enjoyed it but I'm not very fit this year, so I reckon I'm well down on two years ago, but still fun." SOUNDBITE: Unidentified competitor, saying (English): (REPORTER ASKS WHERE IT HURTS): "Everywhere, mainly the chest, I'm getting too old for this" Tara Cleary, Reuters.

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And away they fold!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011 - 01:44