We here at Brooks England are proud to be taking part in a new exhibition that is taking part at the Design Museum in London. Cycle Revolution celebrates the diversity of contemporary cycling in Britain from every day commuting to Olympic level competition and looks at where design and innovation may take the riders of the future.
The dominant spirit, however, that haunts this enchanted region, and seems to be commander-in-chief of all the powers of the air, is the apparition of a figure on horseback, without a head. It is said by some to be the ghost of a Hessian trooper, whose head had been carried away by a cannon-ball, in some nameless battle during the Revolutionary War, and who is ever and anon seen by the country folk hurrying along in the gloom of night, as if on the wings of the wind. His haunts are not confined to the valley, but extend at times to the adjacent roads, and especially to the vicinity of a church at no great distance. Indeed, certain of the most authentic historians of those parts, who have been careful in collecting and collating the floating facts concerning this spectre, allege that the body of the trooper having been buried in the churchyard, the ghost rides forth to the scene of battle in nightly quest of his head, and that the rushing speed with which he sometimes passes along the Hollow, like a midnight blast, is owing to his being belated, and in a hurry to get back to the churchyard before daybreak. Such is the general purport of this legendary superstition, which has furnished materials for many a wild story in that region of shadows; and the spectre is known at all the country firesides, by the name of the Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow.
Fundamentally there are two kinds of cycling. There’s the escapist kind where you head out into the countryside in pursuit of some contrived goal, like covering a formidable distance or climbing a looming mountain. Then there’s the realist kind where you bravely point your bike towards the heart of the city, and instead of doing battle with the landscape and the elements you confront traffic and potholes and the very forces of bureaucracy itself. While the former may inform the bulk of stylized Internet cycling narratives it’s the latter style of cycling which truly tests both the mind and body of the cyclist, and is the stuff of which true “epics” and champions are made.
I am one of those champions, and this is the tale of one such “epic.”
All great rides start with a challenge, and mine was perhaps the greatest challenge of all: to get money back from the City of New York. This is a near-impossibility, and it makes climbing the Tourmalet on a fixie look like, well, riding around Brooklyn on a fixie. Nevertheless, having already filled out various online forms, I resolved to visit the actual offices of a city agency in search of restitution.
This would be no doddle, and equipment selection was crucial, so after much deliberation this was the bike I chose:
Several months ago I wrote a piece for this blog describing my battle with training. I’ve always struggled to commit to a strict and structured regime, preferring to simply ride hard and fast and randomly challenge myself by sprinting for signs and pegging it up hills. In some ways, what I wind up doing on a bike is my own peculiar and haphazard version of training, only I prefer to just call it cycling.
Saturday 11th July 2015 was the day that the Red Hook Crit paid its first visit to London. The race series has built up quite a following over the years and it is with pride that we had several Brooks sponsored riders taking part.
Long before the festivals of Christmas, Easter, Hanukkah, Ramadan or Thanksgiving came along human kind measured its progress through the year by observing the sun and the stars. The solstices are the pair of celestial bookends that mark the longest day of summer and the deepest depths of winter. Unlike religious and cultural festivals, which are ultimately products of the human imagination, the solstices are firmly rooted in the reality of our cosmic situation. Sometimes it’s good to remind ourselves that we live on a spherical rock hurtling around a gigantic nuclear explosion, spinning as it goes.
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.