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  • Retro Cool

    Klaus_weiss_3

    German bike manufacturer Retrovelo specialises in one-of-a-kind commuter and leisure bikes that combine quality with beauty, and a return to true ‘retro’ values…

    Paula_beigerot

    “We would be very happy if you were to love your Retrovelo cycle.”

    As a small manufacturer based in Leipzig, Germany, Retrovelo says that it’s not looking to pander to the mass market but rather to carve out its own specialist niche. Its design aesthetics hark back to the days when quality and beauty transcended the latest hype – hence the ‘retro’ of its company name. That said, these are not museum pieces but rather fun, everyday bikes, to be ridden day in, day out. As Retrovelo’s Matthias Mehlert and Frank Patitz tell us: “We love to ride these bicycles every day. Retrovelo was born out of our passions, but also German practicality.”

    The pair reveal that Leipzig very much has its own cycling culture and that, for them, ‘retro’ is not about jumping on a hipster bandwagon that hails everything from days gone by as automatically the coolest, but rather denotes a return to simply appreciating a beautiful bike construction and design. In other words, something that in itself could be hailed as ‘classic’. The duo declare that they do not slavishly follow ‘mass style’, but instead look to provide a specialist product, designed and constructed in Leipzig, parallel to, but not a part of, the large-scale industry there.

    “We would be very happy if you were to love your Retrovelo cycle so much that you would never want to give it away,” they say. “Our philosophy since the beginning was to produce bicycles that would provide you with as much fun during your daily commute as they did in your leisure time. At the same time they had to possess both a sense of style and an understanding of function.”

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    To this end, Retrovelo hopes that its bikes, split between Classic and Modern series for both men and women, are as individual as their eventual owners – or, as it calls them, ‘bike pilots’. “Out of this individualism, pleasure can be derived,” they say. “We continue to ride our own bikes daily and test their performance, both on the road and in specialist facilities. We’re continually refining them to ensure that, both stylistically and practically, in our bikes we have a companion we can view with the utmost confidence.”

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    Interestingly, the manufacturer notes that its bicycles for women are proving the most popular in the range, and puts their success down to the realisation that “women have a different riding culture to men. We also build the bikes to order according to the customer’s personal wishes”. Cream and black are the most popular colours. Customer feedback is described as essential in the development of the brand, because, as they reason, “without the customers there would be no Retrovelo”.

    As for where the bike brand is heading in the future, the duo recommend you check out its Facebook page for updates and events.

  • Moof On Up

    2. Philips Lights Back

    diamond 28-26 B series

     

    B series - All you need for a daily commute

    With ‘San Francisco suitability’ in mind, the VANMOOF B-Series is equipped with all the technology necessary for a daily commute on tougher terrain. Combining a new lightweight aluminium frame with a comfortable three-speed gear system, the new Vapour White B-Series is the perfect match for the worldwide commuter.

    GEARING 3 speed

    FRAME powder coated aluminium

    BRAKE front and rear disc brakes

    LIGHT high powered lumiring

    SADDLE VANMOOF x COMMUTE

    TIRES high puncture protection

    DRIVETRAIN fully enclosed anti-rust chain

    RIDING POSITION semi-upright

    WEIGHT 15KG

    D Grey D series

    D series - Ultimate urban racer

    Launched in 2011, the VANMOOF D-Series (short forDüsenjager, or fighter jet) captured the hearts of many a commuter at first sight. Awarded with the prestigious Red Dot Design award this urban racer combines VANMOOFs simplified take on the commuter bike with its stunning looks.

    GEARING 2 speed

    FRAME anodized aluminium

    BRAKE front and rear disc brakes

    LIGHT high powered lumiring

    SADDLE VANMOOF x COMMUTE

    TIRES high puncture protection

    DRIVE TRAIN fully enclosed anti-rust chain

    RIDING POSITION head first

    WEIGHT 13.5KG

    Electrified Electrified

     

    ELECTRIFIED

    The world’s first intelligent commuter bike

    The VANMOOF Electrified is world’s first intelligent bike, featuring modern day technologies to improve your daily commute. Built-in GPS tracking lets you find your bike if it’s lost or stolen. A small front wheel motor - powered by an integrated battery - takes you around town faster and in comfort, allowing you to save your energy for more important matters. The intelligent interface – controlled by an integrated dash board – makes it a real pleasure to use. No wonder it has already been nominated E-bike of the year 2014 by the cycling organization RAI.

    MOTOR 250W front hub motor

    BATTERY integrated, 30-60km range

    GPS TRACKING security as standard

    DASHBOARD control from a single dashboard

    GEARS automatic 2 speed shifting

    FRAME anodized aluminium

    BRAKE front and rear disc brakes

    LIGHT high powered lumiring

    RIDING POSITION semi-upright

    WEIGHT 19 KG

    S5 S series

    S series - The pinnacle for discerning urbanities

    Developed with the world’s most discerning commuters in mind, the lightweight yet tough S-Series is the pinnacle of urban adaptability. The S-Series excels, whether on short rides to a local café or distance journeys that push this Shimano-equipped, bike to its city limits.

    GEARING 8 speed

    FRAME anodized aluminium

    BRAKE front and rear disc brakes

    LIGHT high powered lumiring

    SADDLE VANMOOF x COMMUTE

    TIRES high puncture protection

    LOCK integrated ABUS lock

    DRIVETRAIN fully enclosed anti-rust chain

    RIDING POSITION semi-upright

    WEIGHT Model S5 17.5 KG Model S6 16.5 KG

    T series T series

    T series - The urban compact cruiser

    The T-Series is a brand new concept in the VANMOOF portfolio: a functional and innovative bike designed for densely populated cityscapes. Imagine having all benefits that a regular VANMOOF has to offer, combined with the practical advantage of a compact version of the striking VANMOOF frame.

    GEARING 2 Speed

    FRAME anodized aluminium

    BRAKE front and rear disc brakes

    LIGHT high powered lumiring

    SADDLE VANMOOF x COMMUTE

    TIRES high puncture protection

    DRIVETRAIN fully enclosed anti-rust chain

    RIDING POSITION upright

    WEIGHT 11.5kg

    Sexy Waitress Sexy Waitress
    Rear Carrier Rear Carrier
    Bamboo Man Bamboo Man
  • The Quiet Revolution

    Long gone are the days of clunky, old-school commuters. For many people the freedom and enjoyment of commuting has become a way of life;

    often these people talk less about the brand and more of the configuration and its application to their cycling needs. Our idea of an all-weather commuter companion would be a city hybrid that offered a relaxed geometry compatible with mudguards and a rear carrier. The frame and fork constructed from 7005 alloy helping to reduce the weight and give precise steering on challenging city streets.

    The bicycle would operate a clean Gates Carbon Drive belt system for low maintenance and fast pickup with hub gears – an obvious choice – at least eight, with a trigger shift. For all-weather commuters Shimano 447 hydraulic discs give safe stopping power in wet and dry conditions, coupled with
    700 x 35 continental tyres with anti-puncture strips.

    Look no further.

    A8 Carbon Drive A8 Carbon Drive
    G8 Carbon Drive G8 Carbon Drive

    Silent and strong - the A8 & G8

    A British-designed product, the Carbon Drive A8 and G8 belt bikes offer a superior, smooth, low maintenance and silent experience for the rider who wants the next-generation of bike. Clean, efficient and lightweight, the regular servicing occurrence of new chain, new cassette, even new chain wheels are a thing of the past. No oil, no mess, no fuss and lower running costs, while enjoying the silent, smooth operation of a modern solution to commuting.

     

  • Future Shifting

    pinion-2013-production-5

    Wilhelm XVIII Black Wilhelm XVIII Black

    At the heart of Schindelhauer’s new vanguard Wilhelm XVIII lays the Pinion P1.18 gearbox. 18 evenly spaced ratios, which make for a total gear range of 636 percent, outline the current pinnacle in shifting. Every gear conveys the immediacy of a single-speed transmission while the centrally mounted gearbox creates an evened-out balance. Equipped with exclusive CNC-machined disc brakes, Brooks saddle and Gates CenterTrack system, Wilhelm XVIII can be fully customised according to customers’ requests.

    pinion-2013-production-1

    Start shifting from scratch
    With the Pinion rotary shifter, both individual and multiple gear shifts can be made with split-second precision. The indexing of the shifting is at the gearbox, so it’s unaffected by stretched cables or damaged cable housings. The shifter is designed so that its contours are comfortable to hold, allowing bar and shifter to be safely covered at the same time with no risk of accidental shifts. The soft rubber coating and the raised ridges make the shifter secure and easy to use, even when wet. The shifter gives direct feedback when switching gears; the load on the chain and the force needed to shift directly relate to each other. You can sense immediately at the shifter the moment to shift gear so you learn fast shifting with a new Pinion gearbox in no time.

    Pinion-P1-18-gates-carbon Pinion-Shifter

    • 18 real gears with even steps of 11.5%

    • Overall Gear Ratio 636%. More than any derailleur system or hub gear

    • Lightning-fast shifting of any number of gears in any situation

    • Ride hard without worries. A sealed rugged housing protects the gearbox from dirt and damage

    • Extremely low maintenance. The transmission operates in an oil bath (using biodegradable oil) and is designed for a mileage of at least 60,000 km

    • Optimal weight distribution. A low centre of gravity and a light rear wheel improves handling, suspension and dynamics

     

    Well tested
    The Pinion gear P1.18 has completed all the practical tests, material tests and operational simulations to ensure maximum quality, reliability and service life. To ensure durability and performance at the highest level, real athletes were used to discover real-world peak forces. With this data Schindelhauer was able simulate the effects of many years of use under realistic conditions in a short time. Using automotive industry techniques and standards it has tested the complete gearbox, and each individual component, under repetitive use at extreme load.
    So when you take a new Pinion gearbox bike on the trails you can be assured that you will not be a guinea pig, but will be using a product you can rely on.

    Viktor_polar silver - lifestyle 10

    Berlin-based Schindelhauer Bikes is a German success story that has caused an international sensation. With perfect craftsmanship and breathtaking design solutions, Schindelhauer has not only gained the respect of the art geeks, but captured the heart of the aesthetes. “For four friends who come from a technical direction, this is a nice compliment,” says engineer and developer Jörg Schindelhauer, one of the original founders of the company – which bears his name - along with his business partner Martin Schellhase, designer Stephan Zehren and Manuel Holstein.

    It’s no wonder that the brand started to win awards for design from its very first year (2009). “Winning the award at the Designers’ Open design festival in Leipzig is a memory that will stay in all our minds for a long time,” says Jörg.

    Like its founder, Schindelhauer bikes are free from pretension.

    Favouring a minimalistic design, there is no overt branding, no bulky suspension, no seat clamp and a Gates Carbon Drive belt for reliable, low-maintenance and grease-free riding. “It is always easy to omit everything,” Martin Schellhase admits. “But to make something that is fully functional and fully equipped, challenged us quite a bit.”

    Lightskin seatposts Lightskin seatposts

    The Schindelhauer factory has been hard at work recently, with two new models to show for it. First, there is the Wilhelm XVIII Pinion drive, which Schindelhauer’s founder claims, “is the absolute best bike we’ve ever built. Personally, I actually favour single-speed riders – always. Yet the Wilhelm XVIII feels, despite its 18 gears, like a single speed”.

    Alternatively, there is the Hektor frame, pitched to cycling fans as the core around which to build a perfectly tailored racing machine and which Jörg describes as, “edgy, and at its heart a driving machine. You can sit on it and really go flat out. It’s a great one to ride through the streets of Berlin as it enables me to go faster than the motorists”.

    The most irritating thing for the engineer and developer about urban cycling is the lack of dedicated cycle lanes: “In my opinion bike paths do not belong on the sidewalk, but rather on the road. That said, poor road conditions such as cobblestones are, naturally, totally annoying.” He also admits to riding without a helmet, feeling that there is simply ‘no need’.

    There are nine different models to choose from: Siegfried, Viktor, Ludwig, Lotte, Friedrich, Frieda ThinBike, Hektor and Wilhelm. Wilhelm, formerly the Ludwig XVIII, sees the birth of a new Schindelhauer family. In addition to the Pinion 18, Schindelhauer have added the 9 and the 12 to the Wilhelm family.

    Viktor Viktor

    Viktor
    Nicknamed ‘The Purist’, a minimalist city bike, Viktor features track inspired geometry with clean lines and an aluminium single speed/flip-flop hub. Weighing 8.2kg with quality components and a belt drive, this low maintenance single speed bike that won’t let you down. Available in Matt Black and Polar Silver finishes.

    Friedrich Friedrich

    Friedrich
    Perfect for everyone, Friedrich comes off the shelf with super light Curana mudguards, Supernova high-end illumination and a sleek rack by lightweight-specialist Tubus. Stress free propulsion is provided via the well-attuned duo of Shimano Alfine 8 with Gates centre track track. Colour choices include Alu Pure, Cream White and Midnight Blue.

    Lotte in Alu Pure Lotte in Alu Pure

    Lotte
    The Ladies model is called Lotte and is described as a bit of a charmer, once again featuring a maintenance-free Gates Carbon Drive, along with an eight-gear hub. Whether on a weekend bike tour or cutting a dash through a trendy neighbourhood, the sporty yet comfortable Lotte will be your willing accomplice.

    ThinBike wall mount 04

    ThinBike
    The concept behind the slim line ThinBike is to provide a full-size bicycle with inventive and elegant solutions capable of navigating inner-city traffic. Folding handlebar and pedals offer an easy storage solution in your home. It even comes with a wall mount by Berlin based design studio MIKILI.
    More recently Schindelhauer recieved a Red Dot Design Award and separate iF Gold Product Design Award for 2014 for its ‘ThinBike’. It would seem the boast is that our bikes offer a number of outstanding properties, freedom from maintenance, durability and reliability” is a far from idle one ThinBike has an integrated tail-light and a bell built into the brake lever. The inclusion of a Gates Carbon Drive combined with a two-gear hub makes this bike an obvious choice for city life. A low stand-over height also makes the one-size-fits-all ThinBike a stylish companion for ladies. Available in either Matt Black or White.

    Hektor 12 Hektor track frameset

    Hektor - track frameset
    As at home in the Velodrome as it is on the road, the Hektor frameset is the core around which to build a perfectly tailored racing machine. Stiff, aggressive, and palpably craving speed, yet nonetheless supple and dynamic, the Hektor features Schindelhauer’s exclusive LowPro geometry to deliver an agile, balanced, and comfortable ride, for those who bring the challenge on themselves.
    The sculpted seams are welded from large volume, triple-butted, aero tubes for a highly stiff, tuned frameset, described as the pinnacle of meticulous design and expert craftsmanship. Comprised of frame, fork, and headset, it’s 100% compatible with the Gates Carbon Drive.

    Siegfried Siegfried

    Siegfried
    A fusion between modern technology and contemporary but timeless design. Pair its Gates Carbon Belt Drive with a classic Brooks leather saddle and one gear is all that’s required to conquer the city. Speed for miles through bumper-to-bumper traffic in an athletic upright position, and avoid suffering a stiff neck while waiting for the traffic lights to turn green.

    Ludwig VIII Ludwig VIII

    Ludwig VIII
    The Ludwig VIII is pitched as the perfect companion for a weekend getaway, featuring an adjusted 8-speed system, Gates Carbon belt Drive and guaranteeing a relaxing and maintenance free bike ride. A great value touring bike with oodles of class.

     

    Ludwig XI - sportiveness and comfort
    To achieve this, Schindelhauer took the geometry of their tough singlespeed frame and carefully modified it by relocating the bottom bracket slightly lower and applying an extended head tube and fork to compensate for the increased saddle height. The extensive gear spread of the fully enclosed, Shimano Alfine 11-speed hub gear combined with classic components ensure an agile and smooth bike ride.

    Ludwig XIV - details 12 Ludwig XIV - details 08

    Ludwig XIV
    As it sounds, the Ludwig XIV boasts a 14-speed Rohloff Speedhub, combining the fuss free reliability of a belt drive with the efficiency of the Rohloff gear shift. What’s more it can be customised to suit your personal tastes when it comes to colour of the frame, choice of mudguards and seat post. Some say it’s as sturdy and steadfast as a mountain goat.

  • An Absolute Belter

    CenterTrack8580

    For over a Century, Gates has told us to belt up… by which we mean provide the mechanism to turn wheels, of course. Now, its Gates Carbon Drive belt is taking the next evolutionary step in cycling

    Words GAVIN STOKER

    How many of us have dismounted from a bike and inspected a dark smear across our shins, the result of a greasy chain. Such laundry traumas are now a thing of the past, thanks to the revolutionary Carbon Drive belt from Gates, a manufacturer that has a history of innovation stretching back over 100 years (it celebrated its Centenary in 2011).

    Break free of the chain
    Consisting of two metal sprockets and a high-strength belt embedded with carbon fibre cords, Gates Carbon Drive is a low-maintenance, chain-replacing technology. Carbon Drive requires no grease, weighs less than a chain and will not stretch. Due to its low maintenance and cleanliness, Carbon Drive is a technology that makes it easier for people to get on bikes.

    Exemplifying Gates’ tag line of ‘Cycling Simplified’, Carbon Drive is hassle free. While keeping body parts and clothing away from the drive system when in motion is still a necessity, its clever Carbon Drive can be simply washed with water. There’s no ‘clank’ of a chain when your foot makes contact with the pedal either; the Gates Carbon Drive is being pitched as the clean, quiet, light and strong cycling solution. Allowing you to get on with the business of enjoying your bike, you could say it’s a ‘belter’ of an idea.

    Available on more than 200 bikes and compatible with single-speed or internally geared hubs available from the major cycle manufacturers, the Carbon Drive works with road bikes, commuter bikes, mountain bikes, electric bikes and even tandem bikes. Gates Carbon Drive is compatible with all the leading internally geared hubs (IGH), as well as the leading e-bike motors. Shimano Alfine Di2 electronic shifting compatibility is further offered. The result is less noise, less maintenance and a whole lot more fun – leaving you free to simply enjoy the smoothness of the ride.

    Gates_ 100440-A

    Bikes with Drive; riders with passion
    Gates Corporation is the leading supplier of belts for automotive and industrial uses worldwide. Every Harley Davidson motorcycles run on a Gates belt. It was the experience with Harley, and also the Strida folding bicycles, that led Gates in 2007 to launch Gates Carbon Drive as a way to bring the advantages of belts to bicycles. With its trademarked ‘carbon blue’ detailing, the Carbon Drive system is currently causing something of a sensation.

    The technology has already allowed cyclists from the UK to achieve some amazing feats.
    Reza Pakravan recently rode 11,000 miles from the Arctic Circle to South Africa, and in 2009 James Bowthorpe bicycled around the world on just two belts, at the time setting a new world record for the fastest ride.

    Though Reza’s ride was dangerous and difficult, fortunately one aspect was painless: his bike, a Koga Signature World Traveller with Rohloff internally geared hub and Gates Carbon Drive. Incredibly the London cyclist completed the 11,000 trek on just one belt, with no maintenance, cleaning or lubrication required, being all the more remarkable as Reza tells us that everything that could go wrong, did: “In Scandinavia there was 14 hours of torrential rain and in Russia, eight tyre punctures in 24 hours. In Egypt we got caught up in the Muslim Brotherhood protests and had to have police escorts; in Ethiopia I got food poisoning; then in Nairobi I was diagnosed with malaria. In Tanzania we ran out of water in the desert.”

    Despite his travails, there was one thing Reza Pakravan felt he could truly rely on: his Gates Carbon Drive. “With the Gates belt drive the most obvious benefit is that you don’t need to get your hands dirty.
    My riding partner, Steven, was riding a bike with a derailleur and chain, and he had to change three chains. Each time he had a puncture he had the hassle with the greasy chain and derailleur. I would just unscrew a nut, fix the puncture and go! The belt was amazing. At the end of every day I would put my bike away while Steven had to clean off the dust and oil on his chain.”

    Cyclist James Bowthorpe also relied on Gates’ technology to achieve his own incredible 18,000-mile cycling feat: “I didn’t have to lubricate the belt or do any maintenance. I didn’t alter the tension on the belt for the whole 18,000 miles.” James combined the Gates Drive with a Rohloff internal hub, which proved a real attention grabber. “It got lots of looks everywhere I went. When I was in India there were groups of men who would stand around and check it out and ask lots of questions. People are so used to seeing chains. Everyone was really curious.”

    The cyclist calculates that using a belt rather than a chain saved him roughly a day, as he didn’t have to change a chain five or six times when on the road. “It was nice not to have to worry,” he says. “I reckon belts are the future. Anything that makes cycling easier and simpler is a great innovation.”

    Ludwig XIV - lifestyle 11

    Plenty of options
    At Velorution we offer our customers an exciting range of cycles equipped with the revolutionary low-maintenance Gates Carbon Drive, so you can try out the technology today.

    We are proud to be Gates UK distributor and a Schindelhauer’s number one dealer. Schindelhauer, winner of the Red Dot Best of the Best design award for 2014 and also a Gold winner in the iF Product Design Awards.

    The adoption of the Gates Carbon Drive gets to the very heart of Schindelhauer’s philosophy for its own bikes. Namely that they are absolutely maintenance free, free from superfluous details, yet built with robust components that are essential for tough daily usage. Within the stylishly sleek Schindelhauer range are fixed-gear, single-speed, two, eight, nine (Pinion), eleven, twelve (Pinion), fourteen and eighteen (Pinion)-gear bikes. Again, in combination with a Gates Carbon Drive belt a relaxing, low noise, fuss-free ride is guaranteed, whether you’re looking to commute into work and back, to get sporty, or for a companion to escape with for the weekend. Other Velorution bikes using belt drive systems include the Roux A8 and G8 commuter bikes, and the iconic Strida folding bike.

    Pioneer 26

    Touring bikes from Van Nicholas also more than make the grade, likewise incorporating the Gates Carbon Drive into their setup. Models stocked by Velorution include the Pioneer Rohloff 29ER, Amazon Rohloff and Yukon Rohloff. As its name suggests, the Pioneer Rohloff 29ER is a ‘go anywhere’ bike with 29-inch wheels. The thinking behind the inclusion of the Gates belt was to ensure maintenance-free, smooth-rolling adventures off the beaten track. Aside from the intrinsic inclusion of the Gates Carbon Drive, the fast-paced Amazon Rohloff touring bike features an award-winning 14-gear Rohloff hub for smooth, almost unnoticeable shifting and much lower overall maintenance. Designed to enable its rider to commute, tour or race long distance with confidence, the Yukon Rohloff promises to deliver day-long comfort. The frame provides agility, while the Rohloff hub and Gates belt once again guarantee a hassle-free performance.

    Seek out a Gates Carbon Drive, and join the cycling revolution!

  • 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.

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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.

  • 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
  • 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.

    photos

    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.

    SIDE_HR

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    “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.

    paul531

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • 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)

    Controle_Anti_dopage-1

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    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.”

    SE16

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    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.

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