We are creators. Everyone at Brompton plays a small part in making our bikes and getting them into the hands of people to ride, find their route and enjoy.
From first sketches to capturing the finished article, the people behind the product make us different.
We are Brompton.
Junction Munich’s Store Manager Marco Ritschel has been with Brompton for 2 years. We caught up with him to talk about unboxing his first Brompton, retro bike races and how people in Munich are turning to cycling after lockdown.
Hey Marco. How do you get to work every day?
I'll usually cycle in on my Brompton. My commute isn't that long, so being able to go by bike is perfect, really. That said, if it's raining, snowing or cold outside, I prefer to leave the bike at home.
What does a normal day at the Junction in Munich entail for you?
So I'll get there at 9:30 in the morning. We open at 10:00. The first thing I usually do is to set up our demo bikes outside. After that I'll go through our emails, talk to the workshop staff about handling the jobs for the day, sort out the when, the what, the where and the how.
Once that’s done, I process emails, look at what type of enquiries we've received, advise clients all day long, on the spot, on the phone or by e-mail. I also organise the schedule for the workshop and sometimes do small repairs myself.
Historically, Munich is more of a motor city, with car manufacturing giants like BMW and Audi based there. In your opinion, has anything changed over the last few years?
Yes, I'd say it's changed a bit since Covid hit and even before that – there are more bicycles out there. I'd even say there are a lot more cargo bikes out there too. Many people living in Munich are ditching their cars and buying cargo bikes, or they've gone back to using their bicycles to get around. Covid's definitely played a big part in deterring people from travelling by public transport all too often as well.
Also, the city of Munich is doing a fair bit for bikes. Cycle paths are being extended. Apparently there will be parking spaces for cargo bikes in the near future too. So yes, we're definitely seeing this trend of people wanting to get around in a different kind of way.
If someone comes into the Junction and asks why they should buy a Brompton, what do you tell them?
Basically that the key thing is that they'll be more independent and more flexible, also when it comes to organising their leisure time. They'll be able to travel quite a bit further when they're out on the road, plus they'll be able to fold their Brompton and take it with them wherever they go. They could take it on the metro and get back home that way, being totally flexible. Also, I'd say another key thing next to all the workmanship that goes into the bike is the incomparable folding mechanism. The fact that it folds down to such a small and compact size.
What, in your opinion, makes working for Brompton so special?
Others will have said this before, but for me, it's the people working for Brompton and everything that goes with it. There's such a great community of people here, one where you fit right in. It's so much fun.
Tell us, what was your favourite moment since you started working at Brompton?
I'd say it was when I first unpacked my first ever Brompton. Had a real unboxing moment. I didn't even really know what was I was in for. The first few things you do, pulling up the saddle and unfolding the bike, seeing the colour... it was all just like, wow!
Another special moment was cycling across the Isar river here in Munich. There were quite a few young people going "Look, a Brompton!" as I was riding past. I won't be forgetting that any time soon. Then we also have the customers who keep coming back and telling us how enthusiastic they are about Brompton. Which is actually the reason why I work here.
Let's talk leisure. Because it's not all about our jobs. How do you like to spend your time outside of work?
I'm actually out on my bike quite often. I also like cooking and eating out in restaurants. Music is my passion – English music, mostly Ska, Northern Soul, New Wave. I listen to everything from the 60s, from the 70s, right up to the 80s and like English fashion and subculture from these centuries as well.
One last question... is there anything that we absolutely have to know about you?
Like I said, I'm passionate about old stuff. With bicycles it was also all about the material steel especially. Just as an example: I took part in L'Eroica in Italy 6 years ago, a retro road bike event.
Original racing bikes built before 1987, scratchy woollen jerseys and dusty tracks. An experience I will never forget. I always wanted to combine my enthusiasm for working with people in sales with my personal passions. That's how I ended up with Brompton.
It takes the hard work of every single Brompton staff member to take our little folding bikes from the first sketch to shipping them out the door.