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  • Simply Electric

    GOCYCLE_RTHORPE_PORTRAIT16

    Mixing style with practicality and portability, the Gocycle G2 is your go anywhere, take anywhere, electric bike that comes with its own clever ‘app’… ‘G’ whizz indeed!

    Words by GAVIN STOKER

    Electric bikes don’t have to be clunky beasts, as proved by the sleek and inspirational Gocycle G2. It’s powered by a long-lasting rechargeable lithium battery pack, which provides a range of up to 40 miles, and features a smooth, seamless design. This brilliantly clever, environmentally friendly cycle delivers power and performance on demand and at the touch of a button, thanks to high-tech, programmable automatic electronic shifting. Its micro-sized motor delivers a fast, no-effort, emission-free commute, to get you to where you want to be.

    There’s no stopping it
    Naturally there is technological innovation aplenty here. For starters, we have the Pitstop Wheel®, where interchangeable side-mounted front and rear wheels make fixing a flat tyre fast and easy.

    Furthermore, a nifty integrated dash display provides useful information such as speed, gear selection and displays the power remaining in the battery so you don’t run out of juice at an inopportune moment.

    Have we mentioned that it’s portable too? The Gocycle folds up into a convenient size for space-efficient storage with optional fold leg. Other notable must-haves include its patented, three-speed, fully enclosed maintenance-free chain drive to keep your clothes clean – otherwise known as the Cleandrive®.

    The bike offers its riders a high-tech, durable and ultra-lightweight injection-moulded magnesium frame and wheels. A seamless design has been achieved via internal cable routing for a clean, maintenance-free set up.

    Optional extras include a G2 kickstand, for sturdy display and parking of the Gocycle. The G2 also features torque-sensing pedals, where the motor drive provides assistance, according to the amount of rider pedal input. The Gocycle G2 really could give you the ride of your life.

    GocycleApp_A4.indd

    Come on, come on, get ‘app-y
    The Gocycle G2 provides the further opportunity to customise your use of the bike, courtesy of the Gocycle Connect® app for your smartphone. This includes such delights as a calories burned calculator, enabling the rider to view the total number of calories burned during their trip on their smartphone screen, and adjust/reset as needed. There is also the ability to monitor the number of miles travelled via a trip odometer.

    Additionally, the Gocycle G2 app allows cyclists to personalise their riding mode. Here the choice is between the sporty City, range-extending Eco, or On Demand power, at the touch of a button. Riders can further fine-tune their motor assistance, customising the motor power and torque for either a workout, or a sweat-free commute. This flexibility extends to being able to regulate your speed, and usefully set how fast you wish to travel dependent on the region you’re riding through.

    _MG_1919Gocycle_crop

    House-keeping modes include the ability to remotely view the charge status of your bike’s battery, and also troubleshoot, courtesy of being able to upload your maintenance log to tech support so that remote diagnostics can be carried out. Gocycle owners will also be able to download the latest firmware so that they maximise their bike’s performance and stay up-to-date with the latest technological developments and innovations for their trusty steed.

    Gocycle is a British company, founded by Richard Thorpe, who was born in South Africa. Although British, he refers to himself as ‘a bit of a mongrel’. Thorpe’s family moved to the USA when he was a child, where he later enrolled at Boston University, to study Mechanical Engineering. In the 1990s, along with his Canadian wife, Thorpe relocated to Britain, and began a prolific career in innovative design engineering.

    GOCYCLE_RTHORPE_PORTRAIT17

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    What is your own background in terms of cycling and engineering?
    I’ve always followed the Human Powered Vehicle speed races and that is what inspired my passion for cycles when I read about the Vector tricycle on the cover of Popular Science magazine. It was a fully faired and streamlined bullet bike that had just won the Dupont prize for exceeding 55mph under human power alone. I was in the 7th grade and thought, ‘How cool it would be to ride to school on that’, rather than the school bus that I hated. I remember going down to the local hardware store to buy tubing to start building that night!
    Since then I have designed many recumbent bicycles. I am passionate about Moulton bicycles and own a few of those. The Moulton certainly influenced my thinking when it comes to bicycle design. I commuted to work on my Moulton AM7 for many years. When I started designing Gocycle I was living in central London and rode a Condor Fixie – that got stolen. So I bought an old mountain bike single speed, but that got stolen too! Then I designed Gocycle to be storable inside your flat or house – yet to be stolen!

    Was Gocycle born out of passion or practicality?
    Both. I left McLaren Cars to start the company and felt extremely passionate that I could bring F1 and automotive design elements and practices to the e-bike. It needed to be lightweight, integrated in design, desirable and something I would want to own. I lived in central London, so the portability and stowability was essential. Also, living with the product was important, like not having an exposed chain to get carpets greasy and being able to share it with friends – for example, being able to fit different sized riders comfortably using the Vgonomic® frame adjustment.

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    Do you ride a Gocycle?
    Everyday. I commute to Gocycle HQ on it and I am able to get back home for lunch too – which I could never do in a car regularly due to traffic. On hot days I’d not dream of riding a normal bike due to getting too sweaty. Every commute on Gocycle is fun – still!

    What other bikes do you own?
    Well, there is my weird and wonderful recumbent collection, all the XP Gocycles, and my son’s bikes. My son had the original wooden balance LIKEaBIKE – how amazing is that! Sad to see all the copies though. The guy that developed the original did a fantastic job. Then he’s had a Specialized Rockhopper and now a Specialized Hotrock. Maybe it’s time to design a mini Gocycle!

    Does Gocycle as a company have a motto or belief?
    We’re a small company with an amazing product. We have to deal with the challenges that the market brings to us daily. We know that mottos are not going to ship products, bring in sales, or service customers. We just try to do the best we can. I suppose we are lucky in the sense that Gocycle is such an engaging product and that is the focal point of the company – maybe our motto is Gocycle. There is a special feeling about the story so far and what it could become.

    How did you come up with the name?
    Gocycle was developed before the e-bike market was recognisable in Europe. It was something new and different to Western mainstream: an electric-powered bicycle. The idea was an entirely new class of bicycle – first there were bicycles, then came Gocycles – the ‘go’ referencing the power. Obviously, the Chinese invented the e-bike, but to us Westerners following them, we can pretend, though we are making them cooler!

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    What are the key elements of a Gocycle?
    The cool seamless look and feel. The uncluttered, clean sheet design, like you’d expect with an automotive design philosophy. And this is coupled with adjustment to fit you well for comfort, plus the ability to be stored or made portable.

    What makes Gocycle different from other electric bikes?
    The automotive design. Everything is integrated and designed by us. It’s not a pick-and-mix approach like you find with other e-bikes. Gocycle is thoughtfully engineered , well balanced; it’s a no-compromise design.

    Who are your customers?
    Gadget lovers, customers that get e-bikes and what they do for you, but don’t want a boring and traditional e-bike, or a second ebike purchase. We are seeing good sales in luxury car and high-end yacht sectors. Sightseeing on a couple of Gocycles when you’ve pulled into a new port is a recipe for fun. Gocycle’s urban DNA will always appeal to city customers.

    How do you strike the right balance between features and price?
    Our Gocycle G1 was very economically priced, and partly due to the lack of an established e-bike market or reference price point. Now e-bikes are priced over a wide range. Our G2 has significantly improved features , it’s a premium, special, and high quality product and the price reflects that.

    How big a part does customer feedback play in the design of present and future bikes?
    We always listen to our customers in order to improve service and reliability. But as far as design goes, Gocycle is a no-compromise design. It is not designed by committee and never will be.

    Why do you think Gocycle is proving so popular?
    It’s just flat-out cool – and that is not me saying this – we hear it universally from our customers. It makes a boring commute fun, and a talking point when you go out for a ride on the weekend. It makes people smile. And it has loads of high-tech cred to ‘wow’ people.

    Where is Gocycle going next?
    We are working on future models and new innovations. Making sure we keep learning from our customer feedback on how we can improve the G2. Entering the US market very soon.

    Could you give us a few of your personal favourite points on the G2 and its accessories?
    The app has a ‘kill’ option; if your Gocycle gets stolen, report it to us and the next user that uses the app will have the Gocycle ‘zapped’ and it won’t work. It makes theft of Gocycles for resale a pointless endeavour. The Gocycle kickstand is probably the only kickstand in the world that folds out into a robust triangle footing and also tucks away neatly on the centreline of the bicycle. Our lights are Busch & Müller from Germany, powered off the main battery and are probably the highest quality and most widely certified lights in Europe. They work very well. This unique combination of benefits sets Gocycle apart from the competition.

  • Czar Trek

    Andrew Gilligan Andrew Gilligan

    We catch up with Cycling Commissioner for London and senior reporter for the Daily and Sunday Telegraph Andrew Gilligan, the man promising to let city cyclists boldly go where no cyclist has gone before, to find out what’s new since we last spoke for our inaugural issue…

    Interview GAVIN STOKER

    London’s ‘cycling czar’ is a busy man, dashing between meetings on behalf of the Mayor’s office while also holding down a job with The Telegraph newspaper. We caught up with the journalist-turned-saviour-of-cyclists to find out what has changed since we last spoke. We wanted to discover whether the Mayor’s dream of cycling ‘super highways’ for 2016 was still on track, if London is getting any safer for bike users, and whether Amsterdam’s apparent utopia for cyclists could be transferable to our own biggest city.

    We want to catch up with what’s happened since last time we spoke, to see whether there has been progress regarding a ‘Crossrail for cyclists’ and the idea of a Central London Bike Grid.
    You’re about to see actual routes being consulted on and delivered. The first one has just gone out for public consultation; it’s a bi-directional segregated track across Vauxhall Bridge and through the Vauxhall gyratory. It means that cyclists can avoid what I think is the nastiest gyratory system in London, where a cyclist was indeed killed recently. You’ll be able to pass through that safely, in both east-to-west and west-to-east directions. That’s the first of the major schemes we’re doing and there’ll be a whole slew of others in the autumn.

    That makes it sound like you’ve directed your efforts at dangerous hotspots as a priority.
    Well, we have a network of routes in mind, and the first ones are just starting to come off the turntable now.

    Are we still on target for completion in 2016, the date originally given?
    Yes, I think so. The main ‘Crossrail’ route from east to west is going to be consulted on in the autumn and will begin construction next year. Then it should be open in 2016. It’s not like we’re actually building Crossrail; I mean, it’s not without its complications, but obviously it’s not as complicated as something like Crossrail. What’s happening at the moment is a very important phase, which is trying to get as much agreement as possible from what we in the game call ‘stakeholders’, namely local councils and residents. And when we’ve got that, it should ensure the whole thing goes that much more smoothly when it is formally consulted on and built. These schemes are going to be fairly controversial, as they do involve taking road space away from people. Not everybody’s going to love them, but we just have to make sure we get as much support as possible.

    I understand there were trials undertaken in advance of these proposals being put forward; did they throw up any novel ideas?
    There have been off-street trials of various novelties that we’re planning, such as cycle-separated junctions. Those trials are finished now and they showed that we’re ready to put that kind of stuff on the road. But we haven’t done any on-street trials, I don’t think.

    Can you elaborate on the so-called Quiet Ways and whether they’ll actually be quiet?
    They’ll be quiet in terms of not having motor traffic on them. I know there may be hundreds of cyclists, but even hundreds of cyclists don’t make much noise. The idea is that they will be backstreet routes through canal towpaths. You can link up an awful lot of those to make good effective cycling routes all the way through London. Nearly all of those roads are owned by the boroughs, so there’s been a process of agreeing those routes with them.

    And what about the thorny issue of where people can actually park or station their bikes if they take advantage of these new official ways of travelling around London?
    That’s very much a borough problem. We also have to get the agreement of the boroughs to put more cycle stands on streets. People have got this lovely idea that the Mayor of London can dictate or order something, and it happens. It just isn’t true I’m afraid. We have to work by consensus with the boroughs. Getting their agreement takes a while.

    At the same time the idea of cycling seems to be getting ‘sexier’ and figures suggest there are more and more cyclists on the roads.
    I think it appears to be growing in popularity because, first, there are more people in London and, second, more people are waking up to the joys of cycling. I think more people are trying it and they’re spreading the word to their friends. And, like I say, there are simply more people in London full stop. There’s been a growth in the use of all modes of transport. Cycling’s share has gone up because people are realising that London is actually quite a nice place to cycle, even now. It’s going to be even better when we’ve got our routes and schemes in place.

    A more personal question next Andrew, about your own fitness levels since you last spoke to Velorution. Have you kept up with your own cycling?
    I cycle everywhere, in London anyway. Well, almost everywhere, as I do get the occasional train. I’m pretty sure I weigh the same as when I spoke to you last, and I don’t measure my fitness levels in any other way, I’m afraid. I basically cycle to get to places. If I want to get somewhere I’ll get on the bike, but I’m not someone who will do 25 circuits of Regent’s Park in Lycra.

    Have you ever worn Lycra?
    No. Lycra has never touched my body.

    You mentioned the Royal Parks. Any plans you can tell us about their use for cycling?
    Obviously parks are places to walk and cycle. They’re ideal, because they’re quiet, beautiful and peaceful. We are talking to the Royal Parks about these schemes and several of the routes are going to go through them. We’ve definitely been talking to them about Regent’s Park and Hyde Park in particular.

    I’ve also read about fact-finding missions to the Netherlands.
    Yes, I did go to the Netherlands and was obviously very impressed, as everyone always is, about the level of provision for cycling. But nobody should imagine that we’re going to be getting anything like as good as the Netherlands any time soon. It would take decades of work. They have a separate cycling lane for every road, and the whole city of Amsterdam has a cycle culture. Comparisons are often made between London and Amsterdam, but Amsterdam is a village compared to London, so actually there is no comparison. Our closest match for Amsterdam is somewhere like York, which is a city that is small enough for everyone to be able to cycle everywhere. London’s a great sprawling megalopolis with very large numbers of people, huge volumes concentrated in the centre, and gigantic distances.
    We always get compared with Amsterdam and Copenhagen, but there are 40 percent more people in London than there are in the whole of Denmark.

    But were there any inspirational ideas that you picked up on and brought back?
    Yeah. We want to do separated lanes and improve facilities for cyclists. Amsterdam is a good model of the kind of place we want to move towards, but while we might become more like Amsterdam, we’re never going to be Amsterdam. We’re just fundamentally different places. I want to change the culture to become a bit more like it is in the Netherlands, where people do cycle in their normal clothes on fairly clunky bikes and go slowly. Here it’s a bit more Darwinian.

    How are you finding juggling your two careers?
    I’m still at The Telegraph. Well, it sort of works, but I do rather wonder whether I should just concentrate on…

    The journalism?
    No, the cycling. [Laughs] But I haven’t made that decision yet.

    Just to get back, briefly, to road safety, which obviously remains a hot topic. One of the Mayor’s aims has been to encourage more female cyclists as well as older cyclists onto the roads – basically anyone who might have been previously nervous about getting on a bike in London.
    The problem is mainly one of perception. Cycling in London is actually fairly safe in terms of death and serious injuries per the amount of cycle journeys made. 2013 was the second best year we’ve ever had – by which I mean there has only been one year that was safer in London’s history. But that’s not what the perception is, of course. People perceive it to be very unsafe. So part of my job is about addressing not only actual safety, but also people’s fears.
    It reminds me of the debate about crime 20 years ago. Fear of crime was a more serious problem than crime itself. Both were problems, but fear was the more serious one. Part of what these routes are about is reducing that fear.

    Presumably these routes are going to be widely advertised to try and change that perception, but that gearshift, ultimately, is just going to take time.
    Exactly, you’re absolutely right.

  • Cool for Thule

    Thule Pack ´n Pedal Adventure Touring Pannier Lifestyle 2014_0

    From its head office in Malmö, Sweden, Michael J Noer, Business Development Director at Thule, takes us through its Pack’n Pedal range, its design philosophy and journey from concept to production.

    Forward-looking and energetic as a company, Thule has a dream: a dream to inspire even more people to ride bikes.
    To make this desire a reality it has ploughed considerable investment into its product offerings, including acquiring US brand Case Logic, from which evolved Thule-branded luggage. The natural extension of this was into cycling accessories.

    “This made sense because Thule was already well-known among cyclists with Thule bike products for the car, and for carrying your gear from point A to point B,” reasons the company’s Michael J Noer. A small group was established with the sole focus of developing a range of cycling accessories.

    “Our CEO at Thule, Magnus Welander, wanted to find people with a passion for cycling and this is where I fit in, having been working on extending the brand with our luggage line for the past years, as well as cultivating our relationship with Apple,” says Michael. “Cycling is, however, my true passion. I started riding bikes when I was five or six years old – leading to BMX, triathlon and road racing – so I was thrilled to be able to lead the team developing what has become Thule Pack’n Pedal. Little did I know that working in bike shops when I was at high school and college, and going on to spend 10 years in the cycling retail business, would provide the experience that helped land me my dream job with Thule.”

    Thule Pack ’n Pedal Touring_0

    Acquisition + research = innovation
    Michael explains that a further ‘intellectual property’ acquisition, of New Zealand-based company Freeload Ltd, would net Thule what he describes as “one of the most innovative bike racks ever created, one that would fit virtually any type of bicycle and still offer the load capacity of a fixed-point rack”.

    It transpires that Freeload’s founder had been actively pursuing Thule for several years and that Freeload’s products had been inspired by Thule’s premium look and feel, according to Michael. These initial bike racks provided the foundation for the Pack’n Pedal range, and Michael’s team – comprising multinational design firms and experienced cyclists in key roles – set about building its portfolio around the racks.

    “We brought in avid commuters, touring cyclists, racing enthusiasts and people who aspired to ride a bike but hadn’t.
    We learned a lot from these people from varied backgrounds about what they found great about their cycling gear and what they would love to see. These thoughts gelled with our own with regards to panniers and racks – namely that panniers were viewed as ‘geeky’ bags that only cyclists would carry, and that the visible hardware was a sure tip off that the bags weren’t that great when used off the bike. People wanted safe, visible and waterproof bags. It was suggested that racks were best on a commuter or touring bike, and you’d be forced to pick one of those if you wanted to use panniers.” As a result of such research, Michael’s team at Thule developed what he refers to as ‘vanishing hardware’, which hides the connectors on the panniers with a quick spin and the use of a rare earth magnet on the bottom of the bag, helping to maintain a clean look. “The result is a bag that we believe is as great to carry when off the bike as it
    is to use when riding,” he says. “It is stylish and functional.”

    Equally innovative is its Handlebar Mount, in that it can accommodate two accessories at once. Instead of opting for either a light or a bag on the front of your bike, now you can have both, or choose a Smartphone Attachment. The creation of an iPad/Map Sleeve has also turned out to be a hit product.

    I Love Bikes!

    Rack ‘n’ roll
    The newly branded Thule Tour Rack from Freeload has solved the problem of your choice of rack limiting your choice of bike.
    Now you can use a carbon road bike with a rack or even a full suspension mountain bike, and carry gear on the bike instead of being forced to use a rucksack or messenger bag
    while riding the bike you love.

    “The idea to integrate a work stand into our new RoundTrip bike travel cases went all the way back to my experience living and racing in Belgium over a summer, and many subsequent trips,” says Michael. “I’ve set up bikes leaning on rental cars, hanging with ropes from trees and in hotel rooms leaning on desks with a bored friend holding the bike, and have thought: ‘Wouldn’t it be great to have a stand that travels with you as part of a case?’” Thule provided the opportunity to bring the idea to life with the RoundTrip Pro and RoundTrip Transition travel cases, and Michael notes that these too have received a great reaction.

    “Pack’n Pedal fits perfectly with our commitment to helping people ‘bring your life’ and pursue their passions, whether it’s commuting in a big city such as London, or a cyclist looking to complete their trip of a lifetime.”

    In addition to Pack’n Pedal, Thule has added a category of bike trailers and baby joggers under the branding ‘active with kids’. At the time of writing there were further exciting announcements planned.

    “It certainly is a great time to be working at Thule,” concludes Michael. “Now if only we
    could find more time to ride our bikes!”

    Given the surge in UK cycling and the excitement specific to commuting by bike in London, it’s important for Thule to have partners such as Velorution, having Velorution as our connection and voice to cyclists makes all the difference. The Velorution team and the cycling community’s feedback on our gear will help us continue to develop new and exciting solutions.

    THE THULE PACK’N PEDAL RANGE – AT A GLANCE
    There are almost 30 individual products in the Thule Pack’n Pedal range.
    The lineup has won awards internationally for design, marketing and product innovation, as well as hundreds of positive reviews in print publications and on websites worldwide.

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    There are 64 patents or patents pending for the Thule Pack’n Pedal globally. The Pack’n Pedal website generates over one million hits per quarter, where customers can find product videos including six short ‘The Way I Roll’ stories focusing on unique Pack’n Pedal users. There are nearly 300 shops worldwide carrying the Thule Pack’n Pedal range, of which Velorution itself
    is a prime example.

  • Good Luck

    Paul Smith Paul Smith

    “I offered to dress him for the court case, and we’ve been friends since then.”

    Fashion designer Paul Smith found a sole mate in pro cyclist David Milar, who rides his final season in style.

    As the old adage goes ‘You can judge a man by his shoes’. So what should be our final judgement on British cyclist David Millar, who is commemorating his final season, in an 18-year career as a professional cyclist, by sporting a pair of bespoke cycling shoes for each one of
    his major races throughout 2014?

    Under the project name ‘An Eloquence of Movement’, Millar has been given carte blanche by his long standing shoe provider fi’zi:k to make his last year as a competing company ambassador a memorable one. Millar has worked with fi’zi:k since 2007, and with the addition of his racing club – Velo Club Rocacorba - a team was set up to fashion the ultimate swansong. “We’re pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in the manufacturing process, each shoe is taking on
    a life and character of its own,” says the cyclist.

    Throughout 2014, with participation in races such as the Milano Sanremo, Tirreno Adriatico, Paris-Roubaix, Critérium du Dauphiné and the 2014 Commonwealth Games, Millar’s cadence has witnessed a visual feast, with designs inspired by Juan Mirò, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, a Flemish Lion, the famous velodrome and showers at Roubaix, and the natural world.

    So it was entirely fitting that his last hurrah would witness something special, courtesy of British fashion designer Paul Smith, who Millar invited to design a unique pair of cycling shoes, to be worn for one of his final races - the Eneco Tour of Benelux 2014. With a long-standing association with road racing, and cycling in general, Paul Smith brings a cultured understanding of the sporting aesthete. The result is a perfect balance between the existential and the ephemeral; the cutting edge and classic. Juxtaposing two different grades of leather, a carbon fibre sole tinted to match the hues of an Adonis Blue butterfly, and some trademark doodles and handwritten messaging, the Eneco Tour shoe is a statement of change. Judge for yourself.

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    “I used to keep my bike in my bedroom and almost worship it every night!” Paul Smith

    I’ve known Paul for almost ten years now, through good times and bad he’s always been there as a supportive friend. His love of cycling existed way before the current explosion of interest in the UK, in fact Paul was one of the very few high profile people in the UK who knew anything about professional cycling a few years ago, which seems crazy to think nowadays.

    I’d visit Paul whenever I was in London, and Paul’s incredible curiosity meant he would always have lots of questions for me about my world, and I’d always bring him jerseys from riders in the peloton to add to his extensive collection. I on the other hand would get to satisfy my love of design and fashion by visiting his office and getting a glimpse into the wonderful world that is Paul Smith, something so completely different
    to the world of professional sport I lived in.

    Adonis Blue

    When we first envisaged this project with fi’zi:k I had always hoped Paul would be able to design a pair of shoes for it, it is one of the very few opportunities where maybe our two worlds could crossover, no matter how glancing it may be. A seasons worth of shoes would be incomplete without a pair designed by Paul Smith.

    The pair that he has designed are beautiful and have a very traditional/classic look to them (when Paul was a cyclist shoes only really came in black and were all drilled out, which maybe explains a little more the look). We wanted to keep a London theme to them, and as the only races I’ve done in London have been the Olympics and the Surrey Classic we decided to use this as inspiration. The Adonis Blue Butterfly is a protected species, it is found on Boxhill in Surrey, the climb used in both the Olympics and the Surrey Classic.
    A bespoke pattern was created from images of the Adonis and used as the liner for the shoe, Paul also sketched a butterfly that was lasered onto the sole which are in a blue carbon to match the liner.

    Buttefly detail

    The exterior of the shoe is made of two different grades of leather, one smooth and one perforated. The leather itself was sourced by Paul Smith and is more akin to what they use for their own shoes, it means the shoes feel more like something I’d wear with a suit rather than with lycra.

    The final touch is a little hand written message from Paul, it reads ‘Good’ under the Velcro of the left shoe and a ‘Luck’ under the Velcro of the right shoe. Considering I’m going to spend the week dodging road furniture, avoiding crashes, chasing echelons and hiding from the rain then I will be needing that luck more than ever. Let’s hope me and the shoes make it through the week unscathed.

    David Millar

     

    Paul Smith 531
    The Paul Smith 531 range is named after the famous Reynolds lightweight bike tubing used by Tour de France champions. The number refers to the ratio of manganese (5), molybdenum (3) and carbon (1) in the steel alloy.

    Made from technical fabrics and cut for easy movement featuring high-vis fabrics and lightweight ventile cotton, this capsule collection is has been created for those seeking a comfortable and stylish ride around the city.

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  • Devotional Imagery

    Portrait_2014

    British fine artist James Straffon has applied a Pop Art approach to bike culture, taking cycling art to a higher level.

    In 2005, a year shy of his 40th birthday, artist and designer James Straffon visited a notable London bike store and purchased his first wheels. This moment sparked a journey that would reach back over a century, pass through the multifarious chapters of cycling folklore, chase the legends of Grand Tours, while seeking the rare and coveted trophies of their time.

    Straffon had worked as a graphic designer for companies such as The Royal Opera House, Tate Modern, EMI and The Royal Academy of Arts. He founded an online cycling journal, wrote articles for magazines such as The Ride and, ultimately, took the plunge into a full-time fine-art vocation. While researching for an article on New York’s Brooklyn bike scene, Straffon came across an artist called Taliah Lempert. He cites this moment as a turning point: “I’d noted the generic attempts at what might be called ‘bike art’. And they [artists] all seemed to grasp for the obvious. With such a visually loaded narrative, I felt cycling had somehow been overlooked. Then, by chance, I stumbled upon these amazing ‘bike portraits’ and quickly saw there was a way to fuse and focus my frenzied, and often chaotic, research into something considered and worthy. I owe a lot to Miss Lempert.”

    Alpina Alpina (Head Badge Series 2009)
    Gitane Gitane (Head Badge Series 2009)
    Pashley Pashley (Head Badge Series 2009)

    At this point Straffon created his first series of cycling-focused artworks - Head Badges - a collection of photorealist paintings that would include classics such as Bianchi, Peugeot, Gitane, Pashley and Raleigh, among others. He then shifted into mixed media, creating complex collages using rare items of original ephemera, binding these with paint, pen and resin.
    “It was quite a steep learning curve. I was seeking out these wonderful, often very rare items of cycling memorabilia, then attacking them with paint, pigment pens, and last a layer of indiscriminate industrial resin. Frequently I would pass beyond the point of no return… yes, there were a few canvases that didn’t make it!”

    Redemption_1-1 Redemption (2014)

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    “I was using the gallery space to create a place of worship.”

    His vibrant creations owe much to the obsessive eye of the collector; with it, an appreciation of the erstwhile and endangered media that litter our heritage: the printed paper form, letterpress typography, film-shot photography, hand-painted objects and the forgotten allure of scrapbook assemblage. As British pop artist Peter Blake had used rock ‘n’ roll as a form of ready-made, Straffon’s muse was the mythology of bicycle culture; the heroes and antiheroes of yesteryear reworked into a modern framework. He quickly amassed a capsule collection of unique canvases, incorporating vintage magazine covers, bygone toys, obscure collectible cigarette cards, even razor blades endorsed by Tour legend Fausto Coppi. “As with any entrepreneurial venture, there is a high degree of risk. More so with fine art. It’s loaded with subjectivity. That said, I was confident my journey would lead somewhere new.”

    In 2010, fellow cycling devotee Paul Smith came across Straffon’s artworks and began an ongoing recognition of his work. An initial exhibition at the new Paul Smith Globe Store, located within Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 5, proved a great success. That same year Straffon was able to self-finance his first central London exhibition -
    The Art of Cycling - at the Frameless Gallery on Clerkenwell Green. Continuing to adopt what he termed “a pop art approach to bike culture”, the artist presented a mixed exhibition over two floors. The core body of work grew out of a carefully sourced treasure trove of vintage cycling memorabilia. “Suddenly I could see that my focus wasn’t about cycling per se. It was about stories. These were my raw forms.
    I could retell these adventures in a new way. I was sculpting with time.”

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The Tour de France becomes art

    Grand Tour (2012) Grand Tour (2012)

    In 2011, British cyclist David Millar launched his much-anticipated autobiography – Racing Through the Dark:
    The Fall and Rise of David Millar
    – at Paul Smith’s Floral Street store in London’s Covent Garden. In conjunction, Straffon’s latest works were deftly placed throughout the shop’s many wooden display cabinets, nestling between items of jewellery, fine-tailored jackets and streetwise brogues. “I was now experimenting with découpage onto three-dimensional forms: bike frames, cycling shoes, saddles. I recall Gary Kemp bought my Merckx Saddle artwork at the launch event for Millar’s book. So opportunities to show this work to the public were starting to open up. I’m indebted to Paul Smith for playing his part in that process.”

    GS EMI (Jerseys Series 2012) Bianchi, ACCB-Saint Raphaël-Helyett-Hutchinson (Jerseys Series 2012)

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    GS EMI (Jerseys Series 2012) Bianchi, ACCB-Saint Raphaël-Helyett-Hutchinson (Jerseys Series 2012)

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The summer of 2012 would see cycling fever hit record highs in the UK. As Bradley Wiggins raced through the avenues of France, wearing the coveted ‘maillot jaune’, Straffon’s first major solo exhibition - LE TOUR - was running at SNAP Galleries in London’s Piccadilly. Showing over 50 new works, with an accompanying coffee-table book produced by Rapha, Straffon had arrived at a place that he suggested was ‘an apotheosis’. “I had been given free rein to produce a body of work. And had been working on what I called ‘devotional imagery’. In this I was repositioning the immortals of cycling folklore – the likes of Coppi, Merckx, Anquetil, Bartali, Simpson – in an act of pseudo-resurrection. I was using the gallery space to create a place of worship, with the large LE TOUR work as my altar piece.”

    Paul Smith store, Floral Street, London Paul Smith store, Floral Street, London

    A positive vibe

    Le Tour (frame 2012) Le Tour (frame 2012)

    The link with pro cyclist David Millar continued, with the rider penning the prologue within the LE TOUR book. In this he writes, “James Straffon encapsulates all this perfectly when he refers to the ‘rich tapestry’ that is the Tour and he has indeed ‘picked apart’ the threads in order to understand the life within. James has taken up the challenge and found a visual vocabulary for the chaos, he has brought it all together: the Tour de France has become art”.

    GS EMI (Jersey Series 2012) GS EMI (Jersey Series 2012)

    The following year, Straffon returned to Snap Galleries, celebrating the 100th Tour de France with a new body of work. Moving from original collaged artworks, 100e was presented
    as 12 unique limited-edition prints, each themed around a line from John Milton’s epic poem Paradise Lost. Writer Graeme Fife, author of The Beautiful Machine, wrote: “These prints are a lollapalooza, an egregious tribute to the great bike race. Sensitively conceived and beautifully produced, the collection pulses with that sentiment, which pumps through the extraordinary events on the roads, every July since 1903.” Straffon states that this print series was a Grand Tour in itself. “I like to up the ante with each new series. Reading the entirety of Paradise Lost before even beginning the creative phase was no mean feat! 100e was shown within white frames on white walls. I wanted the space to feel like some small room, off a remote corridor within the British Museum. As if these precious, delicate prints had been unearthed and were being shown for the first time. 100e was all about the ephemeral.”

    “I like to up the ante with each new series. Reading the entirety of Paradise Lost before even beginning the creative phase was no mean feat!”

    Till Pride and worse Ambition threw me down Till Pride And Worse Ambition Threw Me Down (100e Series 2013)
    No66-1 Pandaemonium (100e Series 2013)

     

    Carbon, Sulphur and Paint

    faces Harry Bins Art Giveaway (2014)

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    In early 2013, RedHouse Originals Gallery in Harrogate, Yorkshire, approached Straffon with an exhibition proposal. One year later, he presented a special solo exhibition - Carbon, Sulphur and Paint - taking the northern town by storm. With the Tour de France visiting British soil for the first three stages, the first of ending in Harrogate, cycling fever consumed the county. Not only would Straffon create a gallery show, he was commissioned to produce a vast mural, had a special Tour beer brewed in his honour and gave away free art in a highly publicised act of gratitude, releasing one artwork a day onto the streets. “I knew this was my final Tour-specific show. So wanted to explore new areas - stencil work, graffiti markers – a much more street-art approach. Additionally, I wanted to fully embrace my love of pop art, with some particular homage pieces. The show was a great event to wrap up this phase of my work. There was an ITV interview in the gallery.

    Fact_wide The Legends Mural. The Factory Building, Harrogate (2014)
    Harry-1 Harry Binns (Legend Series 2014)

    We created a very positive vibe. I had a lot of fun with it. And was indulged by
    a discerning group of individuals, who allowed me to push some boundaries.
    So although I was manipulating some familiar characters, to create works,
    new faces were emerging. Among these was the engrossing Harry Binns.”

     

    Velo City Limited Edition Prints

    With a growing following worldwide, and his decision to make 2014 his last Tour series, what next from artist James Straffon?

    “You often get an unexpected event to spark new work. Just as my Carbon, Sulphur and Paint show was closing, I met Gretta at Velorution. This triggered an opportunity to challenge myself, and change direction. Somebody once said ‘It’s not about the bike.’ Which is a maxim somewhat relevant to my work to date. So I decided to subvert that thought, and explore the object, or the engine which has driven my journey. The end result is Velo City.”

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    N1 copy SE1 copy E14

    In creating this limited edition series, focussed on the bicycle, and its many auxiliary features, Straffon has explored the materiality of bike culture - from the patina of fine leather, to the allure of polished chrome; the tension of steel spokes, to the scent of fresh tyres - Velo City is a very sensory experience. Masking a composite, and deliberately abstract vista, his ten compositions exact a fantastic, almost filmic homage to the hedonism of riding through a city; each artwork appointed its own point of reference - a London postcode.

    “Velo City, itself a play on velocity, is highly visceral. I’ve refocussed my point of reference. Yet still created devotional imagery. If one thinks about places of worship, within the city, they are dripping in opulence. There is this tangible vision of polished metals, satin fabrics, carved oak, jewelled windows. Transpose that experience out onto the street, and you have Velo City - a veneration for the bike. Within each piece, I decided to partly obscure, or confound the complete viewpoint, as if you are peeking through a masked aperture. Or a fissure between two buildings. I wanted to create that sense of voyeurism. Essentially it’s a body of work on urban velo-fetishism!”

    Velorution images

     

     

     

    Velo City is available to buy exclusively through Velorution, both online, and instore.

  • Searching for the Saddle Satori

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    Words ANDY BLACKMOORE.

    Take a walk at the weekend and you’ll no doubt encounter a whole host of cycling buffs aboard a mind-bending assortment of racing cycles. However, you might be lucky enough to spot an even rarer tribe. Riders in search of a whole different vibe, undertaking a trip down memory lane, on a machine that’s more tour de force than Tour de France.

    We are talking of those hardy souls whose choice of bike is a leather and steel masterpiece, and no better example exists than the Pashley Guv’nor, a Thirties-style Path Racer that Pashley Cycles released in 2008 as a single-speed and three-speed bike. While its styling may be from a bygone age, the components and their performance are not. It’s very much in-tune with the modern world, but has its feet in the past.

    People just adore the Guv’nor, to such an extent that it’s even sprouted its own appreciation society: The Guvnors’ Assembly (GA). Free to join, there are about 450 members and 1,470 followers of @GuvnorsAssembly on Twitter.

    Adam Rodgers, devotee of all things Guv’nor and founder member of the GA, explains how his love affair with the bike began: “I’ve always had a bike and cycled. About four years ago my wife started caring for her mother who lived a few miles away, so I suggested she get a bike. My intention was to suggest she get a modern light hybrid with lots of gears; we got to the bike shop and a Pashley Princess was in the window. ‘I want that one,’ she said. I tried explaining that it would be heavy, only five gears, etc. ‘But it’s got a basket’. We went for a few successful rides together for the first time ever; Gill on her Princess, me on a 6” travel 27-geared cutting-edge machine. Six weeks later the Princess was due for its complimentary service. When we walked into the bike shop a Guv’nor was on a six-foot high pedestal; this time Gill said, ‘You need that’. I went for a test ride and came back smiling like an idiot - I don’t think I’ve ridden my MTBs since.”

    Adam goes on to explain the ethos of the club and it’s approach to the sportive: an organised, mass-participation cycling event. “For the GA it’s an opportunity to get together and ride a fairly tough ride in a part of the country we wouldn’t normally go. It’s not competitive, it’s not about the time, but about getting around as a group, and we pride ourselves on not ever having left a man behind. Riding on a Guv’nor completely changes a sportive; the bike rolls well when up to speed, but even the biggest fan admits a modern bike is sprightlier. But when the emphasis is not on personal bests, it completely changes your attitude.”

    Throughout the year, the GA participates in various rides, including popular retro-inspired events like the Pashley Picnic, Tweed Run and the Velo Vintage. However, even if no organised event is on during the summer months, they try to get out at weekends. Usually hosted by someone from the GA, these ride-outs focus on seeing the world at a leisurely pace; plenty of café stops and pub lunches are on the itinerary, and most are about 30 miles in length.

    Part of the charm is the fact that riding the Guv’nor makes you anything but inconspicuous, as Adam says: “When riding on a modern bike people ride pass, they may say hello, give a small wave or shout ‘On your left’, but on a Guv’nor they slow down and talk to you about the bike, what sort of club you are and why. We rode the Manchester 100 last year and at the finish line a bloke came up to us saying he couldn’t believe we’d done a hundred miles ‘on those’. Riding a Guv’nor is always an event, nipping to the shops or riding a sportive.”

    Pashley_Headbadge

     

    Pashley Cycles offers a large range of classic bike styles to suit all cyclists. Some of the more recent models include Countryman, Aurora and Speed 5. The Countryman and Aurora were introduced to fill a gap in the range; customers were asking for an elegant, lightweight town and country product that would be suitable for commuting or touring. The Speed 5 was also the result of customer feedback, as the demand grew for a Guv’nor-styled path racer with a wider range of gears. We speak to Pashley Cycles’ Managing Director Steven Bell to find out more.

    Do you have a particular customer in mind for each of the new bikes?
    The Countryman is aimed at the discriminating urban gentleman, who appreciates the best and wants to ride to work at speed and in utmost style, but would not be adverse to longer adventures at weekends. The Aurora is the delightful partner of the Countryman, offering the sprightliness of a traditional mixte frame, but with modern components suited to longer rides and a quick commute. The Speed 5 is aimed at much the same market as our Guv’nor: largely chaps who enjoy the feeling of speed on a bicycle, but would rather not wear Lycra.

    How did the names of the models come about?
    The Countryman and Aurora were both named to evoke the possibility of splendid adventures powered by the wide range of gears and helped along by the narrower high-speed tyres. The Speed 5 was inspired by the Bentley Speed Six, the infamous six-cylinder 180bhp racer of the 1920s that won the 24-hour Le Mans races in 1929 and 1930.

    What are the key features of the Aurora that will get female cyclists excited?
    The development of the Aurora went hand in hand with the Countryman and is perfectly suited to the discerning female rider who wants the benefits of a step-through frame, but with the speed and quality materials more often only used on gent’s performance bicycles.

     

    The Countryman is described as both a unique proposition yet an all-rounder. How does it imbue those two distinct qualities?
    The geometry of the Countryman frame is relaxed and upright for the high street and yet still sporty enough for the country lanes. The choice of flat bars and a wide-range hub gear system means you can ride in a high gear around town for nippy city rides and shift into any of those eight weatherproof gears for hills. The Countryman is practical fellow capable of whatever you ask if it. It’s not limited to urban streets like some, but just as happy in the open skies on towpath and trail.

    The Speed 5 in racing green and gold looks beautiful. Who do you see it appealing to?
    The key inspiration was the era of speed and luxury embodied in the Bentley Speed Six. This car was a sporting version of a luxury car, being capable of racing in and winning events like Le Mans, but still being comfortable and beautiful to look at. The Speed 5 pays homage to this more gentlemanly era, with the British Racing Green and gold paintwork making this clear. The Speed 5 man is style personified – it’s a quite simply a stunning head turner.

    How important is it that Pashley bikes continue to be made in Britain?
    ‘Made in Britain’ is what Pashley is about. Since 1926 we have been making beautiful premium-quality bikes and we have an ambition to keep this precious heritage safe. Traditional techniques and having a factory here means that all our cycles are made to the highest standard and we have control over every part of the process. Pashley is not a volume operation; we specialise in hand built high-quality bicycles and tricycles, and we know our customers value this very highly.

    What’s coming next for Pashley Cycles?
    At the recent Fredrichshafen bike show we revealed our new Pathfinder products. First, the Urban in an eye-catching citrus designed to be a quintessential quality street bike equipped with disc brakes and Alfine hub. Its big brother, the Pathfinder Tour, is our first step into the growing commuter/tour hybrid bike, targeting the adventurer who enjoys exploring.

    SPEED 5 Poster SPEED 5 top tube graphic and saddle SPEED 5 numberplate

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Pashley SPEED 5 3Quarter Speed 5

    The Speed 5 is a tribute to the heyday of gentlemanly British cycle racing. This was a time when riders would come together in the noble pursuit of record-breaking times with only the satisfaction and thrill of success for reward. It embodies all that was great about this era, allowing you to follow in the footsteps of these men in your own exciting cycling endeavours.

    The British racing green and gold colour scheme hints at this heritage, as does the frame-mounted number plate, and the traditionally slack frame geometry gives a dynamic riding position for maximum speed and performance. The frame is hand-built using 100 year old traditional methods and legendary Reynolds 531. The Speed 5 is not simply a revival of path racing tradition but an advancement of the sport, embodying the principles of the early pioneers with a refined design they would be truly proud of.

    Countryman Wooden Door_2 Countryman

    Hand-built from the very best Reynolds 531 steel tubing, the Countryman is a truly versatile and high performance bicycle suitable for all aspects of your life. It is an ideal companion for your daily commute, with wide ratio Shimano Alfine 8 speed gears to tackle even the toughest of hills and full length stainless steel mudguards to keep you dry and clean no matter what the weather.

    For weekend jaunts into the great outdoors, the combination of narrow, lightweight Mavic alloy rims and flat, swept handlebars with a slight curve has been specifically designed to give an efficient and comfortable ride quality at whatever pace suits you best. The Countryman is even suited to long distance touring, adorned with a classic Brooks B17 leather saddle that naturally shapes to your form, high performance dual pivot brakes and braze-ons for
    a rear luggage rack.

    It is this huge adaptability that makes the Countryman a unique proposition, being both versatile in its design and unrivalled in its quality; a true all-rounder that will give you many years of reliable and pleasurable cycling.

    Aurora Aurora

    The Aurora is a hugely versatile and unique ladies bicycle, offering a dynamic ride that is suited to all sorts of pursuits. The stunning mixte style frame is constructed from legendary Reynolds 531 tubing that is lightweight and stiff, built completely by hand to offer a swift yet elegant riding position.

    This sense of refinement is completed by the classic Old English White paintwork that carries with it an understated beauty that complements the rich honey colour of the Brooks B17S saddle. As head-turning as the Aurora may be, it also excels in the choice components it is graced with. The 8 speed Shimano Alfine hub gears allow you to tackle even the very steepest of hills whilst requiring little maintenance; and the narrow Mavic alloy rims with Panaracer puncture protected tyres give you the chance to ride at speed without unwelcome interruption.

    Whether in busy city traffic, on winding country lanes or anything in between, the Aurora is a true all-rounder that can stand up to the rigours of modern life without losing the elegance and reliability for which Pashley’s bicycles are renowned.

  • Max Peef

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    Max’s desire to engage with his subjects has seen him frequently travel, with assignments taking him to South Africa, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Israel, Bosnia and Kosovo. His first published book, The Weight of Silence, looked at HIV sufferers, while shoots for Vanity Fair have focused on abandoned children, a series of pictures that subsequently became an exhibition.

    Since 2003 Max Peef has also been an ambassador for camera manufacturer Olympus, telling us that his energy to create imagery comes from both his family and his desire to communicate. As he notes: “You will always find a portfolio if you have stories to tell. Be faithful to your heart and never leave that road.”

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    P7160580003P7160754 P7160553

    “What does it mean for a passionate cyclist and professional photographer in love with London to be asked to jump on a saddle and take great pictures, to show real life on the road? This is what I could do thanks to Velorution. There is nothing quite like London’s roads and the city’s atmosphere.

    Street photography needs to have a certain mindset. You can’t lose your identity or the focus point of the project, but for a photographer it is about taking in the light, the smells, the shapes; it’s less about thinking and more about living and being part of the world around you.

    P7170330 _SIY0709

    Street photography means being positioned in the right place at the right time, without knowing what’s going to happen… but having a rough idea of it.
    As a result of this, my shots tell the story that I was looking for.”

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