Page last updated at 01:58 GMT, Friday, 16 October 2009 02:58 UK

Royal award for fold-up bike man

Prince Phillip with the Brompton bike
Prince Philip admires the winning design

The man who invented the foldaway Brompton bicycle has been honoured by the Duke of Edinburgh at Buckingham Palace for his lifelong obsession.

Andrew Ritchie invented the diminutive bike in 1979 and has been tweaking the design ever since.

After collecting the Prince Philip Designers Prize, Mr Ritchie said he was not finished yet and was still thinking about how to make the bike lighter.

The portable bike folds down to barely bigger than its 16 inch (40cm) wheels.

In a brief speech Mr Ritchie thanked some of his early financial backers, who had each invested £100 in the scheme.

His obsession started in 1975 when he came across a different model and thought he could do better.

Speaking after receiving the award, Mr Ritchie described himself as a "crazy guy" who had spent his time trying to create the most human-friendly product he could.

James Waller of Evans Cycles shows how to fold and assemble a folding bike

He said he hoped to make the bike lighter, but it was just as important to him that the bike was easy to manufacture at the company's factory in west London.

He said: "Getting the design right, getting the ergonomics right is one of the key things for me."

The Duke set up the prize, run by the Design Council, in 1959 to encourage entrepreneurship.

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