That bike was a pale pink color only two hours ago. Suncream, people!
Of course, at the Brooks Blog we try to stay on top of all the important bike stuff. Purely, you’ll understand, in order that our subscribers can go out into the Conversational World, secure in the knowledge that they won’t be trumped by anybody on Bike Talk. Obscure fashion labels, bespoke frame builders, technological breakthroughs… it’s all here, right?
Paris Brest Paris is one of the toughest races, perhaps THE toughest if ridden on antique machinery.
The 1931 Paris-Brest-Paris is remembered as one of the most remarkable, from an era when the event occurred in the professional racing calendar once every ten years. After nearly 750 Miles, 49 hours of continuous racing, and numerous attempts to break away from a field that included Tour de France champions, the young Australian, Hubert Opperman ( Oppy ) won a frantic sprint from four competitors, swooping off the high bank of the Parc de Princess velodrome.
Just behind our cyclist, a Naked Puncture Repair is in progress. Attention grabbing stuff.
The clothes, the accessories, and even the gear ratios which bike messengers opt to use while working can be a famously popular port-of-call for the rookie urban cyclist in search of street-credible guidance.
Almost equally famous, perhaps, is the courier penchant for getting recreationally naked. And judging by last weekend’s events in the English capital, it would seem that partying without many clothes on at all could be the next adornment of the messenger sub-culture to go mainstream. Well, that’s our theory anyway…
All students were obliged to buy a Brooks Instructor’s Belt upon enrollment.
We mentioned last week how a large, dust covered wooden box bearing the Brooks logo had been happened upon by a sharp eyed colleague rummaging through a car boot at a Nottingham jumble sale last January. It has quickly transpired that the contents of said box seem to shed light on a plethora of hitherto shrouded Brooksiana from the late 18- and early 1900s.
Mrs. Brooks was always on hand with a bowl of dilute beef extracts for weary travellers.
Editor’s note- While recently scouring a car boot at a Nottingham jumble sale, we decided to happen upon a dusty wooden crate marked with the company logo. Inside we found an amazing collection of historical notes and photographs about the Brooks company from the late Victorian era. These notes fill in some gaps left in the Brooks Historical Record. We are still putting together the pieces of this massive find, but are able to already share some of it with you. The first of which are details concerning the Brooks Tea Rooms, related forthwith.
That late 19th Century Birmingham was a hotbed of both biking and bike manufacture is a fact of which even the most casual student of cycling history will be aware. By then, Brooks was already the world’s pre-eminent purveyor of bike saddles, while Sunbeam in nearby Wolverhampton could barely meet the customer demand for its “Dwarf Safety”.
A lesser known fact, however, is that England’s Second City was also the site of the world’s first incarnation of what we now know as “the Cycling Culture Café”.
The Brooks Tea Rooms opened its doors in 1877, just a stone’s throw from the Brooks Works in Great Princess Street. Initially planned by management as a sort of open Works canteen, it quickly attracted regular hordes of non-employees with its selection of beef potions, pork scratchings and triple fermented gooseberry cider.
Magnifique. Our new Breuque Soixante Sept has been well received in tests with French people. photo: Alun Lennon
Regular readers of the Blog will recall that recently we touched on the rising popularity of Cycling in France. Paris now has several Brooks Dealers Of Excellence, and the MyBike show in February had a record numbers of visitors keen to learn about the possibilities offered by la bicyclette, not just for professionals of the Peloton, but for urban commuters and theme ride enthusiasts as well.
Which has led to a growing interest in Brooks saddles there, a fact borne out favourably in the profit column of our Ledger Book. Because of this, Brooks is pleased to announce that henceforth, all saddles leaving Smethwick for export to France will no longer bear the name “BROOKS”, but its nearest French equivalent, “BREUQUE”.
Eyes open, and be sure to pling that bell before you blast through that junction.
Responsivity to traffic lights by road users in continental Europe famously operates on the following North to South sliding scale – Directive, Suggestion, Christmas Decoration. So it was with interest at Boultbee Towers that we recently learned of plans to permit cyclists in Paris to “griller les feux” as they see fit.
Niels Albert, left, reckons Sven Nys was probably the better man on the day. Or does he?
“Sven was the strongest today. That’s how it works in a race. The best would win today on a course like this and that was Sven today.”
Seemingly innocuous, but on closer inspection potentially loaded with HIDDEN MEANING, wouldn’t you say? It all depends on the stress given to specific words, or the judicious placement of a comma or full stop.
The quote in question comes from the gracious mouth of Niels Albert, “First Runner Up” and defending champion at last weekend’s Belgian National Cyclocross Championship. Second is going to hurt at the best of times, but at the BNCXC, that most Cyclocross of Cyclocross events, the pain must have been close to unbearable.