As a bike racer Isla Rowntree took on almost every discipline in cycling, rode professionally for the Raleigh MTB team and won the British national championships in cyclocross on multiple occasions. But it is as a bike designer and entrepreneur that she’s made the biggest impact, transforming the market for children’s bikes. The high quality kids bikes she designs have given a generation of children the best possible start to a life of cycling. Jack visits Islabikes HQ just outside Ludlow, Shropshire to find out about how Isla got into cycling, how she got where she is now, and where she’s going in the future.
1. Isla on her experiences as a woman in the male-dominated bike industry:
2. Isla on the Islabikes Icons range of bikes for elderly people:
Jack goes to Preston, Lancashire to ride with artist Gavin Renshaw. They ride out on some of the City of Preston’s bicycle infrastructure before heading for the wild uplands of the Forest of Bowland. Along the way they talk about cycling in Preston and Gavin’s work with In Certain Places, a long-term project that is bringing artists and creative thinkers into the process of city planning and urban development.
Image above is View of Preston from Brindle by Gavin Renshaw, 2016.
Tim Dawson has the lowdown on Cycle Revolution, a major new exhibition of bicycles at London’s Design Museum. The show including cargo bikes, city bikes and the bikes used by Merckx, Moser and Wiggins to break the Hour Record. He speaks with the shows curator Donna Loveday and consider the show’s strengths and weaknesses. Tim and host Jack Thurston then wonder if it’s right and proper to fall in love with a bicycle and discuss other great cycle collections in the UK and overseas.
Bespoked, the UK’s Handmade Bicycle Show is Britain’s biggest annual showcase for custom bike builders. It’s full to the rafters of beautiful bikes but Jack Thurston went in search of the most useful bikes at the show, from an off-road porteur to a separable road bike to a childback tandem in titanium.
Bikes discussed as follows:
George Longstaff: RuffStuff adventure touring bike / tandem trike with integrated wheelchair carrier
Caren Hartley: Demi-porkeur off road cargo bike
Richard Hallett: 650b Adventure
Wheeldan: Childback titanium tandem
Sven Cycles: Roadster
Sword Cycles: Cargo-trike
Teague Bicycles: Separable road bike
Sturdy Cycles: no maintenance audax bike and steel TT bike
To many UK cycling campaigners, David Hembrow is a Moses-type figure, handing down tablets of smooth, car-free red asphalt from the streets of Assen in the Netherlands where he lives and writes the blog A View from the Cycle Path. He’s also a controversial figure, arguing that separation of cars and bikes is essential for mass cycling and that many UK campaigners are either on the wrong track or suffering from hopelessly low expectations. In an extended interview David explains why he moved from England to the Netherlands in search of cycling nirvana and what the Dutch have got to teach the rest of the world when it comes to making cycling friendly towns and cities.
Contemporary bike culture is blossoming into a mesmerising kaleidoscope of bicycle-related art, craft and graphic design. Small artisans are leading the way while big brands try to cash in on the action. Alice Marsh of Bike V Design leads a discussion recorded in front of a live audience at the Victoria and Albert Museum, bringing together a panel that includes Tom Donhou, a former product designer turned bicycle frame-builder, the founders of The Ride Journal and Boneshaker magazine and James Greig, a graphic designer and author of the Cycle Love blog.