Tag Archive for lugged frames

Colours, Colours Everywhere

When I think back on all the hours I spent in pleasurable anticipation of the hand-built touring bicycle I was having made-to-order, I find the most enjoyable – and the most exasperating – were the ones I spent perusing the big, tattered fold-out colour chart I’d borrowed from the frame-makers’ shop, trying to pick put a colour scheme. One of the great joys of having a frame custom made for you is that you can have everything precisely the way you want it – from your choice of tubing and frame geometry to the carving on the lugwork. Most particularly though, you have your choice of colour scheme, a chance to make a statement, have your own personal livery on your own personal bicycle.
And nothing could be more delightfully perplexing than picking it out.

My (New) Bicycle and I

Not so very long ago I took delivery of my dream bicycle: a classic old-style steel-framed tourer, custom built with a quill stem and stylish Rene Herse-inspired lugwork, stainless Gilles Berthoud fenders painted to match the frame, cream-coloured touring tyres, and a French-made front rack and decaleur with one of those traditional canvas-and-leather Continental-style handlebar bags; all in all, very much like the sort of thing they used to call a randonneur back in the golden days of hand-built bicycles, when art and function lived happily side by side.

It was built by Mark Reilly, master frame-builder at Enigma, small family-run firm of bicycle makers whose workshop is just over in Pevensey. That’s a leafy little village not far from where I live down here along the Sussex coast. I can hardly believe it’s mine. I’d been daydreaming about doing something like this for ages: putting together my ideal bike, something that would be a personal and philosophical statement as much a bicycle, reflecting everything I loved about cycling and the sheer joy of being out and about in the world on two skinny wheels.