If you don’t know CHPT3, it’s the cycling apparel brand launched by David Millar on his retirement from professional competitive racing in 2015. Among Millar’s many sporting achievements were four stage-wins in the Tour de France.
Today he simply commentates on the Tour for ITV, as well as the Vuelta a España, having hung up his cleats and embarked on what he calls the third chapter of his life: after the first, pre-racing, and the second, competing. But the sports commentary gig is a sideline, along with his podcast, Never Strays Far, which he hosts with Peter Kennaugh, another former cycling pro, and sports journalist Ned Boulting, who is his co-commentator for ITV. Millar’s real third chapter is his performance cycling gear brand, CHPT3.
Much as Millar loves road riding and racing, his commitment to two wheels is much broader than that, extending to recent adventures in mountain biking – and to commuting on a Brompton. Yes, Millar is rarely without his fold-up, even taking it to the Tour, where he and Boulting, also on a Brompton, not only use them to get around the pits and from hotel to commentary box, but have been known to ride the stages in preparation for their day job.
Millar admits that he was initially sceptical of Bromptons. But when persuaded to try one by the firm’s CEO, Will Butler-Adams, he quickly changed his mind. ‘It reminded me of riding my BMX when I was 12,’ he recalls. ‘It reintroduced me to the idea that cycling was fun. It was like when you’re a kid and your bike is your ticket to freedom; you just get on it and go to see your mates. That’s powerful autonomy when you’re young. I discovered it’s just as powerful in later life.’
He created his first CHPT3 x Brompton collaboration in 2016 and, true to his BMX analogy, wanted to make something light and agile. He achieved this by removing extraneous bits like mudguards, and employing titanium. The result was a dynamic and responsive ride that could also be effortlessly folded up and carried on a tube, train or bus – even slung in a cab.
The subsequent versions of the CHPT3 x Brompton have refined the design of that first model, paving the way for the lightest iteration yet.
‘I took it to New York to test it,’ says Millar, ‘and met up with this group of cyclists from Brooklyn who ride at night, called the Knight Ryders. They started a few years back when some of them began having kids and couldn’t get out on their bikes during the day. I had the best time, exploring the streets with these people who just live to ride. And the Brompton was amazing – I just popped it in a bag, checked it in as luggage and a few hours later was pedalling Stateside.’
Now that’s what we call mobile transport.