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.
The Bike Show and the cycle clothing company Rapha share a birthday, and while The Bike Show keeps on keeping on, Rapha has grown into a global brand and is toasting its success on the Champs-Élysées as suppliers of clothing to the Sky Pro Cycling Team. Jack checks in with Laura Bower and James Fairbank at Rapha to talk about Chris Froome’s fishnets and what the company is doing to encourage more women to ride bikes. Summer is festival time and Jack chews over the Rapha Tempest and the Eroica Britannia with Howard Smith, author of The Jersey Pocket cycling blog.
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 bike blogger.
In a seasonal podcast special, Jack heads to Balham, Gateway to the South, for the Christmas Fête organised by Vulpine, the London-based cycle clothing company. Featuring The Ride Journal, Artcrank, Michaux Club, Pannier.cc, Marsh-Mallows Cycling Holidays, Fresh Tripe and Nick Hussey of Vulpine.
Grant Petersen thinks most cyclists need to ‘unrace themselves’, that is to say, stop following what professional racing cyclists do. Instead we should all ride more comfortable bikes in more comfortable clothes and be more relaxed about the whole experience. He’s written a book called Just Ride and, in an extended interview, he tells Jack Thurston exactly what he means. Grant Petersen is a highly regarded bicycle designer, formerly of Bridgestone USA and founder and owner of Rivendell Bicycle Works in northern California.
Nick Larsen is founder and creative director at Charge Bikes of Frome in the west of England. Charge is a fairly new company, remarkable for many things and not least the fact that all its products are named after something you would normally find in the kitchen. There’s the Juicer (a road bike), the Spoon (a saddle), the Bowl (a pair of handlebars) and of course The Plug, a simple single speed bicycle that launched the company into the big time a few years ago.
Nick talks candidly about the bike industry, his own motivations and inspirations, where future trends are coming from and the potential of the exciting new technology of ‘3D printing’.
This conversation was recorded live at last month’s Bike V Design night at the Design Museum.
In a live broadcast from Belgium House, a temporary Olympic Village and ‘cycling paradise’ in London’s Middle Temple, Jack finds out about Flandrien cycling culture from Rik Vanwalleghem, director of the Tour of Flanders centre in Belgium. At the launch of the Rapha Cycle Club in Soho, Rapha founder Simon Mottram reflects on the eight years since the company was launched in 2004. London cyclist Nick Hussey of the recently launched Vulpine clothing brand talks about designing and making top quality, stylish apparel for the discerning cyclist. And Resonance FM engineer Chris Dixon rides up a virtual Koppenberg.