Bart Kyzar: Man on a Mission

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The messenger bag is one of the defining elements of the “new urban bike culture” and Bart Kyzar has been making bombproof bags for bicyclists since the mid-1990s, first with Chrome and now with Mission Workshop, based in San Francisco.

Last summer Mission Workshop opened a new store at the Truman Brewery, Brick Lane. While riding through the sunny streets of London, Bart tells how he and a couple of friends started making messenger bags while living in a warehouse in Boulder, Colorado, how rising osteopathy bills led to a fundamental rethink of traditional messenger bag design and why Mission Workshop is proud of its tiny niche in the US military industrial complex.

Cycle Show 2010: the pick of the crop

It was to Earls Court on Thursday for the trade and press day of the annual Cycle Show. It seemed there were fewer exhibitors than in past years, with Sunrace Sturmey Archer perhaps the most noticeable and from my point of view, regrettable, absentee. What the Cycle Show 2010 lacked in venerable British (now Taiwanese) hub gears, it made up for in cycle sport celebrities. Mario Cipolini was looking every inch the David of the cycling world, towering well over six feet tall, tanned, in skin tight jeans and a bucket of hair gel keeping each and every one of his golden locks in place. Eddy Merckx was doing sterling duty signing autographs on his company’s stand.

Here’s the pick of what I saw. Continue reading

In praise of Le Prof

Last week I was in France when it was announce that Laurent Fignon, two time winner of Le Tour de France (1983, 1984) and France’s last genuine superstar pro bike rider, had died of cancer, aged 50. His first win was in his Tour debut, aged just 22. Fignon was also the man who came closest to winning the Tour, losing by a mere 8 seconds to Greg LeMond in 1989. I have nothing to add to what has been written about Fignon, including by himself in his excellent autobiography Nous étions jeunes et insouciants (We were young and carefree).

However, on Saturday L’Equipe published a 27-page tribute to Le Professeur, and I want to repost one of the images, which shows Fignon’s Directeur Sportif and close friend Cyrille Guimard giving his rider a push after a puncture in Stage 7 of the 1983 Tour. It’s a charming picture. Just as you’ll not see any of today’s riders wearing Fignon’s trademark spectacles while racing I can’t quite imagine a DS in 2010 sporting a bare chest, jeans, clogs and aviator shades. Maybe the Tour would be a little more ‘rock and roll’ if a few of them did.

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More Fignon photos from the L’Equipe archive are available here.

Cycle Chic

cyclodelicRiding with Amy Fleuriot, a young British fashion designer who’s Cyclodelic range of clothing and accessories is offering women a more stylish alternative to the typically drab clothing sold to cyclists. This is the final show in the current season. Thanks for listening!

Blazing Saddles: Inside the Brooks factory

For long-distance cycling they’re a must and they’ll improve the look of any bicycle. Brooks leather saddles date back to the 1870s and are still made in Birmingham where they were first invented. Steve Green of Brooks talks about the history and the craft of the most venerable and most comfortable bicycle saddle there is. We also listen to some of the fantastic machines (pictured, left) that are still going strong in the Brooks factory.

16 February 2009: Cycling and the recession

CC Flickr - seaworthy With the UK mired deep in recession, unemployment on the rise, the value of the pound going down and consumer confidence at an all time low, we ask what effect this is having on the cycling business. We hear from the owners of two of London’s new breed of bicycle boutiques (Tour de Ville and Bobbin Bicycles), from bike messenger Nhatt Attack, who has swapped her bike for a Christiania tricycle and is delivering flowers, from Carlton Reid, cycling journalist and Executive Editor of bike industry magazine BikeBiz.com and from BikeSnobNYC who adds his two pennies from New York.

Play on links below, other file formats (eg. Ogg Vorbis) over here.

29 September 2008: The Moulton Story (part one)

The first of a two-parter telling the story of Moulton bicycles: the radical reinvention of the bicycle by Dr Alex Moulton that, despite some commercial setbacks along the way, continues to push the boundaries of cutting edge engineering. Moultons have been feted by architects and designers, won races and broken speed records, and are taken to the hearts of their riders, the Moultoneers, many of whom consider them to be the best kept secret on two wheels. Over the next two weeks The Bike Show will trace the history of the Moulton bicycle from its inception in the late 1950s and its sixties heyday, look ahead to its future and try to capture something of the Moulton spirit. Featuring interviews with Dr Alex Moulton, Shaun Moulton, Tony Hadland, Michael Woolf and a cast of Moultoneers. Image, left, shows the young Sheldon Brown on his Moulton Deluxe in 1971.

Play on links below. Other file formats (Ogg Vorbis, 64kb MP3) over here.