A small selection of some of the highlights in Bristol this year
21 May 2016 | Posted by Oliver | Categories: Art & Design, Bicycles, Events, Monthly highlights
The annual gathering of artisan British bicycle builders took place in Bristol back in April on 15th to 17th. Bespoked is now 6 years old and it is safe to say the 2016 offering built on everything that has gone before. We were down at the show and grabbed a few snaps of some of our favourite builds.
Jack Thurston heads to the remote heart of Wales to witness on a brand new kind of long-distance cycling challenge
10 May 2016 | Posted by Jack Thurston | Categories: Bicycles, Correspondence, Events, Monthly highlights, Travel & Adventure Cycling
Since its first edition in 2013 the Transcontinental Race has captured the imagination of amateur cyclists looking for the next big challenge. Multi-day, unsupported events like the Transcontinental makes demands that go beyond physical endurance. Riders must be totally self-sufficient on the road, from navigation to finding food and rest and dealing with mechanicals. As I’ve written before on the blog, these races evoke the heroic spirit of early years of road racing far more than the tightly controlled and carefully choreographed professional peloton. Yet races like the Transcontinental are also thoroughly modern affairs. Riders can make free use of the most modern bike technology and the very latest lightweight bikepacking gear, they are tracked in real time using the latest satellite technology and their Twitter, Facebook and Instagram dispatches from the road add texture and emotion, making for a thoroughly post-modern way to watch bike race.
A bicycle fit for Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall
6 May 2016 | Posted by Oliver | Categories: Bicycles, Correspondence, Curiosities, Friends, Monthly highlights, Travel & Adventure Cycling
The Chaps over at Sven Cycles have been darlings of the handmade bicycle scene for many years, but this year a rather special project crossed their path, the Forager. It is fair to say it is something of a unique machine, designed for the British foodie Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall to take out on his trips to the forest to forage for wild foods. With inbuilt cooking system and numerous compartments to carry home the plunder, no wonder it was an award winner at Bespoked.
With the bicycle now on display at our flagship store in London, B1866, we decided to catch up with Darron from Sven and find out a little more…
Julian Sayarer joins The Brooks Blog on the eve of the Mayoral Election in London
27 Apr 2016 | Posted by GUEST | Categories: Bicycles, Correspondence, Monthly highlights, Urban Cycling
Cycling used to be a little bit deviant. We used to wait – a few of us – at traffic lights on sunny days, and alone on rainy ones. People on bikes were often a bit different, or at least from the margins: environmentalists, aspiring pro riders, people with little money or, at the very least, a very British type of eccentric. In London that’s started to change – slowly at first, and now ever faster. The city’s residents have started to demand air quality that doesn’t kill them, transport options that don’t cost an arm and a leg, and – very often – simply roads to cycle on safely. Cycling now says no more about a Londoner’s identity than the fact that they want a nice, convenient way to get around their city.
Juliet lifts the lid on some sensational Spanish riding
21 Apr 2016 | Posted by Juliet Elliott | Categories: Bicycles, Correspondence, Friends, Monthly highlights, Sports Cycling, Travel & Adventure Cycling
Last week, the husband and I took a short break in Girona, where we set about cycling the best routes we could before stuffing ourselves with food and falling asleep at about 9pm every evening – pretty much what happens every time we go away together – we’re so romantic like that. There was a time in the not too distant past where you’d have to wrestle a pint/shot/wine glass out of my hand as the hour approached midnight but now I find riding at threshold makes me slur and stumble enough to be a really cheap date.
Luke introduces the latest racers to join the Brooks' Stable
14 Apr 2016 | Posted by GUEST | Categories: Correspondence, Friends, Sports Cycling, Urban Cycling
It all started on the top floor of an East London car park – the 5th floor.
Originally a meeting point for ‘Tuesday Night Tricks’, where people tried ride backwards on fixed gear bikes, it quickly became a focal point for the London ‘fixie scene’. We would meet up, drink Red Stripe, talk aerospokes and ride around London.
When the bicycle was invented the roads were terrible, and so were the maps. But not for long.
13 Apr 2016 | Posted by Jack Thurston | Categories: Art & Design, Bicycles, Correspondence, Friends, Monthly highlights, Travel & Adventure Cycling
If it feels like we’re in the middle of a bike boom, it’s nothing compared to the 1890s. This was the decade when the world first went bicycle crazy. Bikes had evolved from a unwieldy and dangerous penny farthings with solid tyres to the now familiar bicycle with two equal sized wheels, diamond-shaped frame, chain drive and inflatable tyres: a bike that anyone could ride.
It meant people could travel further and faster than ever before. The only question was where to go, and this turned out to be quite a conundrum. For a start the roads were in a terrible state and road maps were years out of date and little more than sketches that failed to show if a road was bowling green smooth, boneshakingly rocky or an impassable quagmire. It was therefore fortunate that the same advances in engineering that gave birth to the bicycle were also revolutionising map-making. What’s more, many of the new maps hitting the market were designed specifically to help cyclists explore the countryside.
As well as showing the quality of the roads, a good cycling map must show where the hills are. Most road maps of the time ignored hills altogether or else depicted them as cartoon-like hillocks reminiscent of the days when medieval map-makers would liven up a large expanse of water by drawing in a few sea monsters. One popular map style of the time was the strip map. These showed a single route in considerable detail but failed to give a sense of the road network as a whole.
A nineteenth century strip map. Beautifully drawn but designed for the wealthy gentleman riding in in a stagecoach than for the independent bicycle traveller
5 Apr 2016 | Posted by BREGAN | Categories: Bicycles, Friends, Heritage, Monthly highlights, Style & Fashion, Travel & Adventure Cycling, Urban Cycling
To celebrate a legacy of craftsmanship 150 years in the making, Brooks and Canyon have teamed up to combine tradition and innovation in the Commuter Brooks 150. Based on the recently launched Canyon Commuter 6.0, this special edition model will be limited to just 150 pieces.
Guest Blogger Bike Snob NYC gets a boo-boo
24 Mar 2016 | Posted by Bike Snob NYC | Categories: Bicycles, Correspondence, Friends, Monthly highlights, Travel & Adventure Cycling, Urban Cycling
Recently, at the very tail end of a ride, my friend and I made the fateful decision to take a little detour and tack on an extra dirt section. It was the sort of prolong-the-fun gluttony of which we’ve all been guilty, and with which we tempt fate, like accepting the infamous wafer-thin mint in “The Meaning of Life.” Sure enough, fate took note of my greed, and she rewarded it with a crash and a busted digit.
Therefore, exactly one week later to the day, I resolved to redeem myself and avenge my finger (specifically my right thumb) by undertaking the exact same ride.
Only this time, I resolved, I would not crash.
I undertook my pre-ride preparations with near religious solemnity and even donned the same stretchy vestements I had worn on that fateful day. This was partly to acknowledge the significance of the journey I was about to undertake, but it was mostly because they were still sitting there on the drying rack from the week before. I did, however, select a different bicycle, since I figured bar-end shifters would be easier than STI levers to manipulate with my compromised hand:
Brooks enlists some of the world’s best bike makers for new 150th Anniversary “Dashing Bikes”
17 Mar 2016 | Posted by GUEST | Categories: Art & Design, Bicycles, Monthly highlights
In 2016, Brooks England celebrates its 150th anniversary by enlisting the cooperation of some of the best bike builders in cycling to work on an unprecedented project creating interpretations of a Brooks bicycle to be produced in limited numbers and sold worldwide.