With Eroica Britannia rapidly approaching, we decided it was a fitting time to catch up with Tim, one of the organisers, and find out what is new for 2015 and what to expect for the weekend. From what he told us it seems we are in for one fantastic weekend and a very enjoyable fathers’ day.
At 3:41am on Thursday 7th May 2015, the rear wheel of our tandem passed over the drain that marked the end point at John O’Groats 45 hours and 11 minutes and 842 miles after leaving Lands End. In so doing, we had broken the 49 year old End to End record that had stood since Swinden and Withers rode the route in 1966 in a time of 50 hours 14 minutes and 25 seconds.
Another newcomer that caught our eye (and many others!) at this years Bespoked was Timmy Rowan of Rowan Frameworks. Astonishingly he picked up both best Best Newcomer & Best in Show, which was fairly unprecedented! A staunch Brooks supporter…His bikes are a stark contrast from the recent trend of monster tubed speed machines and have a wealth of small touches and unusual uses of mixed materials. Who knows what’s in store for Rowan Frameworks…but they are certainly off to a good start! We swapped a few questions and answers to learn a bit more about the finer points…
There are all sorts of reasons to go for a ride. Sometimes you want to explore, and to mark the world with your tires like your bike is a cat and the road is someone’s pant leg. Sometimes you want to challenge yourself on that big climb–or, even more pathetically, to challenge complete strangers via some social networking app like Strava. And sometimes you just wanna get naked.
The centennial commemorations of the First World War remind us of the origins of the phrase ‘over the top’, now widely used to describe anything extreme or outrageous. The stuttering newsreel shots show young men clambering out of their trenches (‘over the top’) and walking briskly into machine gun fire, barbed wire and almost certain death. With the war not yet a year over, using such a charged phrase ‘over the top’ to describe a bike ride must have been a very deliberate act and that is exactly what Walter MacGregor Robinson did in his celebrated account of a ride across the Berwyn range in north Wales, published in Cycling in May 1919.
While I ride along the serpentine in Hyde Park, the mood is mellowed to the sound of 70’s disco. ‘Ring my bell’ by Anita Ward, plays from a makeshift stereo; crudely strapped to the back of a bicycle in front of me. I glance back, and I’m confronted by a sea of tweed; with faces beaming in the glorious spring sunshine. My stead for the tweed run this year was equally mellow; it was the latest offering from Pashley Cycles in Stratford-upon-Avon.
The dust is now slowly starting to settle on Bespoked 2015 and it was great to see the event return to it’s spiritual home of Bristol and the show spread out into two venues, Brunel’s Old Station and Contemporary Art centre Arnolfini. Brunel’s was devoted to bikes and Arnolfini to extra-curricular items like Clothing, Bike Luggage, Art Prints and Publications.
With Bespoked returning to its spiritual home in Bristol this weekend, we took the opportunity to ask founder Phil a few questions about what inspired the event, and the changes he has seen in handmade bicycles over the last few years.