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  • Bike for Life

    P40

    Jay from Velorution talks us through the advantages offered by Van Nicholas bikes, including how their titanium construction beats aluminium and carbon fibre…

    Van Nicholas represents great value for money; yes, there are other companies offering titanium, but these guys are offering a premium product at a nicer price. The passion that has gone into their construction is evident throughout and extends to how the tubes
    are welded.

    “You can buy a frame that was welded in the US and immediately you pay a premium for it, whereas Van Nicholas use an excellent boutique welding company based in China – the saving is passed on to the customer. Chinese manufacture might bring with it certain connotations, but in fact they have some of the most skilled welders in the business. It’s notoriously hard to weld these tube sets and they have proven to be better quality that those produced in the States or the UK. It’s about quality, rather than where it’s made.

    “The industrial yet refined design of the Van Nicholas bike frames is very slick, complete with cool graphics and a timeless design. With an acclaimed heritage, the company makes bikes for all disciplines. Displaying clear faith in its product, Van Nicholas also offers something no one else does: a lifetime guarantee on all its frames, plus a discount on a new frame if you damage it yourself, which is a very cool ‘extra’.”

    The titanium advantage
    “Titanium is a premium material that possesses the best all-round qualities; if you compare it to aluminium, it’s just as light if not lighter. It’s not as stiff as aluminium, meaning it’s going to give you a much nicer ride. Steel tubes are great – they’re nice, flexible and comfortable – but you have to spend a lot to match the performance of titanium. Plus, steel rusts and corrodes over time. The alternative of carbon is very lightweight but very rigid, and not as compliant as titanium. Titanium has all the good qualities of the other tube sets wrapped up in the one package.

    “Any customer has only to enjoy a ride on a titanium bike to discover just why titanium is better than carbon. Buying a titanium bike is like making a long-term investment and buying a piece of art. While carbon is a lot easier to work with for mass production, it can’t maintain the same structural integrity for the same amount of time.”

    Astraeus Astraeus

    Astraeus
    The Astraeus is the most high-end frame Van Nicholas offers. It has a different top tube, a different head tube and a different back end, yet the frame has a real stiffness. It has a tapered head tube, which is thicker at the bottom section than it is at the top. It also has a bigger interface between the frame and the fork that gives you a much stiffer front end. So, for example, when cornering, where you’re powering out of the saddle, the front end of the bike feels stiff and this allows you to lay the power down on the bike a little better. The frame starts off around the £2,000 mark, though building the complete bike could cost you between £6,000-£8,000 very easily.

    Zephyr Zephyr

    Zephyr
    The Zephyr is simply a bike for riding all day. Its geometry is a lot more ‘relaxed’. It has a slightly longer head tube, which means the front end of the bike is going to sit higher than most other ranges. The top tube is a little bit shorter, so it gives a more relaxed ride. This is ideal for someone who wants a bike not for touring, but rather riding in comfort all day, knocking out the miles on the road and the occasional sportive. A complete bike starts around £2,400 depending on the specification.

    Aquilo Aquilo

    Aquilo
    This is one of my favourite bikes, an out-of-the-box race bike. It has internal cable routing and still maintains a 1.5-tapered system plus a good degree of stiffness. The back end is a little bit more compliant than the Astraeus while not being as aggressive, but nonetheless maintains most of its features apart from its squared-off top tube. The frame starts off at £1,200, with complete bikes from £2,500, building up to £6,000 to £8,000 depending on specification.

    Chinook Ventus VR copy Chinook

    Chinook
    One of the results of choosing titanium is that you get a very comfortable riding frame. This is a bike that you can ride and race all day. The Chinook uses a 1.8-inch head tube so, technically, in the front end it’s not as stiff as the Astreuas or the Aquilo frame. It also uses a conventional 1.8-inch headset. The fork isn’t as wide at the bottom, so you lose a bit of rigidity. The cable routing is external and, while for me it’s not as aesthetically pleasing, this is a great frame at a great price, offering some great geometry. It’s a little more aggressive than the Zephyr. The wider and stiffer back-end with a 3D dropout is the same on all the models except the Ventus. Frames start at £1,100, with complete bikes starting at £2,200 and the final price depending on specification.

    Ventus VR black copy

    Ventus
    The Ventus is the entry-level model in the range in terms of price. It has a Shimano 105 with a Tiagra mix or a SRAM apex build. It’s one of our best-selling Van Nicholas bikes because it represents great value for money when pitted against other titanium bikes on the market. It also appeals to ladies, as the sizing starts at 48 for petite ladies. The Ventus has a laser-engraved dropout that is a little bit thinner, offering flexibility in the back end. Someone who is racing on the bike may not appreciate this and I would advise stepping up to a Chinook. Frames start at £970, with complete bikes from £1,599.

    Pioneer 29 Pioneer

    Pioneer
    This is a heavy-duty touring bike. It uses a 26-inch wheel as apposed to a 700c wheel. The reason is the 26-inch wheel is technically stronger. It runs a slightly wider tyre, which offers comfort and strength when carrying heavy loads. The bike also boasts a heavy duty down tube while still maintaining a lightweight frame. It has full-length mudguards and a full rack system on both the back and the front. It has a Shimano or SRAM system, and is also available in a Rohloff build, which is an internal gear hub system.

    Amazon Amazon

    Amazon
    The Amazon runs an integrated headset and a larger 700c wheel than the Pioneer. This offers a sportier ride running up to a 38ml tyre. It has V brakes as opposed to caliper-style brakes and has a sloping top tube a more compact frame in terms of its build. The Amazon is also available in a ladies’ build with the sloping top tube. Like the Pioneer, the Amazon is available with a derailleur system or Rohloff internal hub. The frame is £1,100, with a complete build for the derailleur system starting at around £2,300. If you opt for the Rohloff hub, then prices start at around £3,400.

    Yukon Yukon

    Yukon
    The Yukon is the lighter-weight brother of the Amazon. It runs a Gates Carbon Drive belt with a Rohloff internal gear hub. A smaller 28-30c tyre offers a sportier ride. This is a slightly lighter bike at the back end, which means it may not hold up to the abuse of the Amazon and the Pioneer. Yet it can be fitted with drop handlebars and a high-end Dura Ace or Ultegra system to create a nice lightweight road bike that is capable of taking mudguards and rear pannier racks.

    “There are two types of Van Nicholas customer: one who has read about the bikes online or heard about them and thinks it sounds too good to be true, so comes into the store to check them out first hand; then there is someone who is simply looking for something completely different. We point them in the direction of the Van Nicholas range, put them on the bikes for a test ride and they do the reasoning themselves, because 9 times out of 10 they love it.

    A Van Nicholas bike is a bike for life.”

  • 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.

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    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.

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    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.

    gocycleg2-2

    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!

    14_06_27_GOCYCLE_20143_Cropped_2

    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.

  • Pelago to Go, Go

    14_Pelago

    Based in the beautiful city of Helsinki, Finland, Pelago states its simple intention to be the maker of bicycles their owners can be proud of. We find out more…

    Print

    Like many of our interviewees this issue, the Finnish founders and manufacturers of beautiful Pelago bikes tell us that personal passion got them into the business of manufacturing and marketing bikes. “We started from the ground floor up,” says Pelago founder Mikko Hyppönen. “My business partner [and brother] Timo had got into environmentalism via the underground music scene during the Nineties, and I had left my job and was working at a local bike service.” What kickstarted the business was the pair collecting a truck full of scrap bikes one summer in order to repair them, but then discovering that searching for all the spare parts required for bikes that spanned several decades of production was a nightmare. Consequently, the financial return received for all the time invested didn’t add up.

    Airisto Airisto

    “We began to use more and more new parts and it soon got to the stage where we needed our own frames,” Mikko recalls. “As by then we had experience of what made a good bike, we decided to apply our ideas to start Pelago.”

    The business was born from a mix of passion and practicality, the pair wanting to build the kind of bicycles that would raise the perception of cycling beyond just being “a hippy thing, a trendy thing or a Spandex-wearing sport”. The duo had simply realised that the bike was the most logical option for personal transport in the city.

    In Helsinki itself, Mikko tells us that while there is a cycling culture, it is relatively fragmented – “You have the fixed scene, the roadies, the mountain bikers, the BMX-ers” - and that cycling is more or less integrated into contemporary culture. Pelago has not one personal motto, but two: ‘Serve the purpose’ and ‘Firmitas, utilitas, venustas’, which, without digging out our boyhood Latin textbooks, they assure us stands for ‘solid, useful and beautiful’.

    8_Pelago_Downtown_assembly

    “We took inspiration from Roman author and architect Vitruvius, who it has been claimed deeply inspired Renaissance era masters including Da Vinci. Bikes obviously have little to do with Roman architecture, but these fundamentals are applicable to any industry of today,” Mikko believes. “Namely, that we shouldn’t waste time on disposable culture and a product is no good unless it’s a functional and useful tool, fit for its purpose. In terms of the ‘beauty’ element, obviously this attracts our attention and we tend to take better care of something we’re attracted to, thereby extending its lifespan.”

    It transpires that the Pelago name originates from ‘archipelago’, the southern part of Finland comprised of thousands of little islands. “It’s nature that has an element of authenticity; just beautiful rudimental landscapes and tiny villages in slow motion. Pelago brings the fresh breeze of the sea to the city.”

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    “Pelago brings the fresh breeze of the sea to the city.”

    Bikes with a sense of purpose

    At this point it’s worth pointing out the key, distinctive elements of a Pelago bike – namely what makes them a ‘Pelago’? “Lightweight bikes with a robust build quality and distinctive details,” says Mikko. “They’re comfortable made-for-purpose cycles with components that you don’t get
    on your entry-level bicycle.”

    Partly as a result, Pelago’s customer base is said to be comprised of mostly urban inhabitants seeking a simple yet reliable tool for daily use, as well as people who wish to explore their passion for cycling a bit further. As for striking the right balance between features and price when developing its products, Mikko tells us: “It’s not a big concern, because we know what we want from our bikes and what features must be there. Then again, there’s always the temptation to keep adding features, so sometimes it becomes a balancing act and there’s a need to draw the line between what’s necessary and what’s not.”

    Pelago_setti1

    Although Pelago’s team have so far been designing bikes independently of customer feedback, based on personal experience, intuition and an understanding of common cycling needs, its growing popularity means that inevitably it will be taking some of the concerns and wants of its audience on board for future products. “We will be implementing some of the feedback we’ve received,” says founder Mikko. “Our staff are avid cyclists who participate in the process from different angles to deliver timely products.”

    For female cyclists, the Brooklyn bike is flagged up as Pelago’s most popular model, which has been in production since the beginning, and is described as a subtle and timeless model at a reasonable price. A newer model, the Airisto, introduced in 2014, has also been very successful. Regarding men, Mikko notes that the selection is “more democratic”.
    The Bristol is popular in its price range, but he adds that men often look for a greater number of technical features or simply a faster bike.

    When it comes to colours, the Pelago team also feels that ‘timeless’ is best. “We like natural, darker colours that don’t distract your eye in the street, but rather blend into the environment. Black is timeless.”

    While intending to maintain its focus on commuter bikes, the Finnish brand is also keen to explore new areas, materials and features. Mikko notes: “We are a young company and often feel we have barely scratched the surface of what we’d like to do, so we’ll be executing
    new things as we go. Watch this space!

    PELAGO_BROOKLYN_HIRES Brooklyn
    10_Pelago_Hanko Hanko
    PELAGO_CAPRI_HIRES Capri
    PELAGO_SANSEBASTIAN San Sebastian
    PELAGO_STAVANGER_HIRES Stavanger
  • 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.

  • 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.

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