Tag Archive for style

Bar End Shifters

When I was drafting up the specifications for my dream tourer I had pretty set ideas for just about everything I wanted on it – a threaded quill stem, a square-taper bottom bracket, quill pedals, a decaleur to help support a boxy French randonneuring handlebar bag, in short all the usual accoutrements one would expect…

Leather Bar Tape

Bar tape (for those of us on drop bars) is another of those idiosyncratic components on a bicycle, with everyone having their own preferences for look, colour and style, comfort and feel. Handlebars are a contact point and, as with saddles and pedals, we know what we like and what works for us – or…

Autumn Collections

A brisk ride along the seafront this morning with cold clear skies and temperatures down in the single figures, which made me grateful for my long-sleeve sportswool jersey and a nice lightweight breathable softshell. Between these two articles of clothing and a pair of three-quarter length cycling shorts, I was comfortably cool, the autumn chill…

On Not Going Clipless

The aesthetics of a bicycle have always been important to me, so much so that one of the main reasons that I’ve remained so resistant to making the shift to clipless pedals is that I have yet to find a clipless version that is anywhere near as visually pleasing to me as the clean simple lines of an old-fashioned quill pedal. I like my bicycle pedals to look like bicycle pedals, not egg-beaters, or ski bindings or kneading paddles that have been suborned from somebody’s bread-making machine and put to use on a bike.

I’ve no fear whatever of using clipless pedals – of being unable to disengage my foot in a hurry or of embarrassing myself by toppling over as I wait at traffic lights. As unfashionable as this may be, I just don’t like the look.

A Fondness for Drop Bars

I still remember the first time I came into meaningful contact with a bicycle equipped with drop handlebars. I was a kid then, pedalling around the neighbourhood on one of the ridiculous Stingray-styled bikes that were all the rage in America during the late ’60s – the ones with the chromed sissy bars, banana seats,…

That Randonneur Style

Travel romantic that I am, I’ve always had a soft spot for those old-style French touring bikes, the sort you see in those golden-age-of-cycling photographs – bike and rider all kitted up for distant places on dusty untrammelled roads and projecting either pre-war innocence or sunny, post-war optimism depending on the date of the photo.…

Oh to be a fly on the wall at Rapha

Just for fun the other day, when the weather was still balmy enough for such foolishness, I set up my camera and tripod on the Bexhill promenade and by the use of a self-timer did my own send-up of a Rapha fashion shoot – posing with my ‘epic’ face, that hard, gritty Rapha-rider look, as…


So there you are – you’ve just spent a lot of time and thought, to say nothing of money making over your much-loved old bicycle, or designing a dream new one, so that it looks just the way you want it to look; a perfect expression of your cycling history, ideals and open road aspirations. And then you go looking for a water bottle to put in those beautiful old-style wire bottle cages you imported from the United States – and suddenly everything goes pear-shaped because despite all your care and hard work, your discerning eye and all your willingness to source just the right bits and pieces, all you can find are garishly coloured plastic things, usually with outsized corporate logos. Not a one of these things do you want on your bicycle, but what choice do you have? They don’t seem to make them any other way.

The Beauty of Cream Tyres

I generally take my coffee black, no cream, no sugar, no nonsense, and until a few months ago I’d have said pretty much the same thing about the way I take my bicycle tyres too – straight black, double shot. After forty-seven years of riding the same-old, same-old, it wouldn’t even have occurred to me to put cream-coloured treads on a bicycle. Like Henry Ford and his early Model-Ts, my vision for bike tyres extended only to … black.