The Brompton is a folding bicycle, an indispensable means for the commuters and for those who want to move easily in the city, with an eye to air quality. To put it bluntly, the Brompton is not a simple folding bike, it is an icon of sustainable mobility, invented and produced in London, starting in 1975.
Every year, a world championship takes place, a succession of events in various countries around the world to bring together Brompton bicycle owners, the Bromptonians. They are socializing occasions, which include fun tests, all focused on the Brompton. The most awaited test is the race, with very specific rules, which decrees the winner of a stay at the most awaited appointment of the year, the world event of the Brompton World Championship which, traditionally, is held in the United Kingdom, in July.
This year, the Italian edition of the BWC will take place in Turin, on May 6th, in the Parco del Valentino, on the Sunday that the city has chosen for the Bike Pride, the event that brings cycling to the center of sustainable mobility.
Bike Id, in Turin is the meeting point of those who are passionate about folding bikes and, consequently, sees the first place of the Brompton fans. Andrea Riccobene, the driving force behind this entrepreneurial activity, has launched in the organization of the BWC in Turin and is fully committed to coordinating all those involved in the event. An all-Turin news, is the attention to the impacts generated by the event.
Riccardo Beltramo, Full Professor of Eco-Management of Tourism, is the head of the Department of Management team that deals with the sustainable management of economic activities. A line of activity concerns sustainable tourism, which also includes the BWC 2018. He is also a Bromptonian.
Riccardo, what is your relationship with the Brompton world?
I bought my first Brompton in 2010 and accompanied me throughout my gap year. While studying the plans for sustainable mobility in Philadelphia, I participated in the 1st BUSC – Brompton United States Championship and I was able to grasp the potential, even in terms of tourism, of an event able to attract fans from all the States. In the same year, I visited the Brompton production site in London. Since then, the Brompton company, its products, the production methods have entered my teaching activity: a case study appreciated by the Students.
Two years ago I took part in the BWC2016 event in London. In this case the participants converged in London from all over the world, joined by the passion for the Brompton and eager to get in touch with others, even in a competitive way. The Turin event is important, I’m proud of it, we have the advantage of being on home ground; the term “game” I think it is suitable to characterize a feature of the Bromptonian: every time you get on the saddle, you feel the emotion of a nice adventure, “riding” a technically excellent vehicle.
In your opinion, why do you decide to buy a Brompton?
I think everyone gives a different meaning to the choice of buying and using a Brompton, but every day, crossing and exchanging a few words with other Bromptonians, I have the confirmation that it develops a sense of belonging to a community. It can be for the choice of a mobility with controlled sustainability or the choice of a vehicle designed and manufactured with extreme care from the technical point of view or even for a choice of style. In my opinion, these three factors give shape to the Brompton vision and are the basis of the latest innovation strategies in the business model.
Controlled sustainability. What do you mean?
There is a great confusion, and not only from today, on the concept of sustainability, with an uncontrolled use of adjectives, such as “green”, used to immediately and without verifying any initiative that wants to present itself as a compatible setting.
When I speak of controlled sustainability, I refer to a pragmatic way that the Brompton has used and spread, starting from 2010, through its website, to calculate the carbon dioxide emissions savings that are determined by the choice to move with a Brompton. The CO2 calculator uses data verified by a competent body in accordance with an international standard, to calculate the carbon footprint. This way of acting makes it possible to spread an indispensable awareness in daily behavioral choices.
In Turin, then, we have directly experimented that air quality problems are not only determined by climate-changing gases, but also by particulates and fine particles. The detection of the concentration of these parameters allows us to think about different mobility options to improve the air we breathe. And the bicycle can be the protagonist of the improvement.
What is the activity of checking the impacts of the BWC Torino?
The Section of Commodity Sciences that I coordinate, within the Department of Management, has by now a twenty-year tradition in conducting research activities on sustainability, with a focus on the relationship between the activities conducted by economic organizations and the environment. Since 1998 we have started to deal with sustainable tourism; recently we have evaluated the economic and environmental effects of sporting activities such as Skyrunning, always devoting ourselves to the verification, on a practical level, of theoretical models to introduce the changes necessary to make them applicable and useful.
The BWC is certainly a tourist event. It is about sport tourism and we are interested in determining the direct and indirect fallout. Participants who come from all over Italy could be accompanied by friends or family members, may decide to stop in Turin for a few days and take advantage of the cultural resources of the city. Our activity will take place thanks to the collaboration of the organizers and the participants and will allow us to evaluate the consequences of an event of this kind on our city.
You were the founder of a spin-off of our University, Lo Scatol8 for Sustainability srl, which is also an innovative start-up of the Piedmont Region. What will be the role of the start up at BWC Torino?
At Scatol8 srl we design and build detection networks with opensource objects, which measure and publish on the Internet data related to the significant environmental variables of an economic organization. In the case of the BWC 2018, we entered, thanks to the kindness and availability of Andrea Riccobene, when the planning phase of the event had already taken place. So we set ourselves the goal of creating a network that would allow us to write an Environmental Report on the event, which could be the basis for defining any improvement actions for future editions.
Who will work with you for this occasion?
The Team is composed, in the first place, by elements that have faced together considerable innovative activities in the field of tourism, a decidedly close-knit group: Prof. Stefano Duglio, Eng. Paolo Cantore. We have uploaded two brilliant new graduates on board, dr. Cristian D’Affuso and Simone Conte, whom you will know along the way.
BWC 2018 TORINO will certainly be a fun event! The Brompton Race is one of the moments of a very varied program, with initiatives not to be missed to start a day dedicated to cycling.