Cycling in rural Zambia, one is more likely to have use for a beefy, 1950s-style single speed roadster with coaster brake than a lightweight modern carbon fibre superbike. It was with this in mind that SRAM co-founder F.K. Day immersed himself some years ago in the “unlearning process” and put The Buffalo, flagship model for the charity organization World Bicycle Relief, into production.
“To the Victor belong the Spoils of the Enemy”- A familiar scene from the Mean Streets.
It’s undoubtedly nice to laze on the couch sometimes, and leaf through an outsize hardcover packed with glossy photographs of strangely shaped bicycles you can’t afford. Which is just as well, because aside from the usually formulaic and self-serving pro rider autobiography, there doesn’t tend to be much else available to people looking for a “bike book”. Fortunately, this rule has its exceptions, and we expect to be having a gander through two of them fairly soon.
Spring 2012 should be a bountiful season for fans of good cycling prose, as a couple of noteworthy tomes are scheduled for release in the coming months. One of them is by Eben Weiss, the renowned BikeSnobNYC, who over the past 5 years has successfully striven to provide readers of his blog with a statutory twelve daily laughs on the general theme of bicycling.
Readers will recall our record breaking attempt a couple of months back to cram more photos into a single post about long distance touring than had ever been crammed before. The fruit of our efforts, was, of course, this veritable behemoth, and the people at Guinness have said they’ll be back on to us before Christmas.
It was, and remains, an honest, engaging, fun and above all lengthy literary and visual document of a “B”-centric bike trip made between Birmingham and Berlin this year by a group of people seeking to raise funds for cancer research.
Interbike, a large gathering of people from the bicycle trade, starts today in Las Vegas; we’ll hopefully have some news from there before the week is out. But first, the largest bicycle trade fair in the world, Eurobike, took place earlier this month on Lake Constance in Friedrichshafen, Germany. And though this is undoubtedly our most hectic time of the year, we have managed to somewhat report on this important bicycle industry phenomena.
When the young William Webb Ellis spontaneously caught the ball and ran with it during phys. ed. at the Rugby Boys’ Public School back in the 1820′s, he can surely have had no inkling at the myriad chains of events he would set in motion.
There is certainly much sporting history we can trace back to his actions. But surprisingly, one little piece of it, at least, is bike-related. So with the seventh instalment of the Rugby Union World Cup having kicked off in New Zealand this morning, we wish to draw your attention to two people for whom today marks the end of an eighteen month long cycling journey to be there. And we’re still not sure if they have tickets.
For those of you who have written to applaud us on our previous efforts to create beautiful and unusual advertising, we proudly present an inside look behind the scenes of our latest effort, entitled, “Brooks. Unquestionable British Tradition.”
When the assembled might of Brooks decamped to the German capital in January for Bread and Butter’s winter show, bespoke tailor Timothy Everest was also on hand at our pavilion to give visitors a first hand account of the creative process behind our new cycling jacket, the Criterion Mk. 1.
For anyone who didn’t make it to Berlin this year, we have made a short film in which Timothy expounds a little upon his professional background, and shares his thoughts on the Brooks legacy, while outlining some of the features which make the Criterion not just highly functional, but also perhaps one of the most stylish pieces of cycling apparel available on the market today, One of them, we said.
Oil spillage, the ubiquitous spectre of global economic chaos, a collapsed Chilean mine shaft and that sheaf of mildly embarrassing diplomatic documents have all vied with each other this year for column inch supremacy throughout the world’s news media.
But as the curtain falls on another twelvemonth, we can say with a measure of confidence that 2010 will be best remembered in terms of big news stories by generations to come as the year in which the hateful epithet “Bike Dandy” was finally reclaimed by its adherents for the badge of honour it undoubtedly is.
Picasso’s “Head of Bull”, above, conjured from a saddle (no, sadly it wasn’t a Brooks) and handlebar, both of which he removed from a supposedly derelict bicycle in 1943 somewhere in Paris, arguably qualifies as an early prominent example of at least two types of art; scavenged art, and bike art.
Nowadays, of course, it’s much harder to define “art” than it was when Pablo ruled the roost, or at least to distinguish it from everything else that isn’t; and we could probably say something similar about the term “artist”.
The old adage about that which is good for people in the plumbing supplies business not always necessarily being also good for the owners of multi-storey car parks has never been truer than today, and so it is that the resurgence of hardcourt bike polo continues in its failure to show any indication of having reached terminal velocity.