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  • Devotional Imagery

    Portrait_2014

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

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

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

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

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

    Redemption_1-1 Redemption (2014)

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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

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

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

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The Tour de France becomes art

    Grand Tour (2012) Grand Tour (2012)

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

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

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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

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

    A positive vibe

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

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

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

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

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

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

     

    Carbon, Sulphur and Paint

    faces Harry Bins Art Giveaway (2014)

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

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

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

     

    Velo City Limited Edition Prints

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

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

    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.

  • Searching for the Saddle Satori

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    Words ANDY BLACKMOORE.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Pashley_Headbadge

     

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

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

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

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

     

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

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

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

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

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

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Pashley SPEED 5 3Quarter Speed 5

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

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

    Countryman Wooden Door_2 Countryman

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

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

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

    Aurora Aurora

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

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

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

  • Max Peef

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

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

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

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

    P7170330 _SIY0709

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

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  • Velorutionary - Saint-Hill Thompson

    Saint-Hill Thompson.

    What do you do for a living?
    I am currently involved in the finance/commodities world as negotiator. I am also a fashion designer and have bravely showed in Paris during Haute Couture Week. I am currently working on a few ideas and hope to make my way back towards making a big splash again after a realisation incubation period. So watch out!

    How long have you been a cyclist?
    I was never a cyclist until I discovered Gocycle by designer Richard Thorpe. I would also proudly say that I was one of the first pioneers of the Gocycle. I went for a test ride and I was literally blown away. I wanted to take it home with me. This was the first time I ever rode an electric bike and I have never looked back since 2009. I even took my Gocycle to Paris and I believe I was the very first to have a Gocycle in Paris and rode it up and down the Champs Élysées. I love to see people's faces when they see a cycle like this, I'm used to people stopping to look.

    How many bikes do you own?
    Only my Gocycle I'm not interested in anything else. I have been called lazy. I guess I am a bit lazy when it comes to cycling. Gocycle is also very special because it has Bluetooth built into it so I can control the speed and the tension resistance when cycling so in effect I can actually give myself a good workout, count the miles plus monitor my battery level. All of this and more are programmable from the Gocycle iPhone App. The Gocycle is a fantastic and amazing bit of artistry, innovation and genius.

     What appeals to you about cycling?
    The ease and freedom you have especially in a large area. And the fact of knowing that you're getting somewhere.

     How often do you ride?
    Not as much as I'd like to. But at least 3-5 times a week.

    What’s your favourite cycle route or destination?
    During the summer months I really love the stretch of bicycle lane which seems to start at Wellington Arch (Hyde Park Corner) then runs alongside Buckingham Palace (Constitution Hill) on to the Mall, ending up joining the madness of Trafalgar Square. Along this route I feel a beautiful calmness and freedom with a bit of solitude and time to relax and think as the breeze whistles between my ears.

  • Velorutionary - Helen Pinkerton

    Helen Pinkerton.

    What do you do for a living?
    I’m the PA to the Chief Executive of Grosvenor, a family property company that owns a large chunk of property in Mayfair and Belgravia.

    How long have you been a cyclist?
    I had a bike as a child, but as an adult I bought a Pashley back in 2011, as I’d become fed up of using public transport. I moved on to my first road bike, a Specialized, the following year.

    What are you riding now?
    Thanks to a very well-timed visit to Velorution and having been on the lookout for a new bike for about 6 months, I’ve just bought a rather gorgeous Van Nicholas Ventus VR. Being quite short, I’ve struggled to find an off-the-shelf bike to fit and that isn’t pink or purple.
    We just happened to pop into the shop one afternoon and Jonathan was trying to find a place for a 48cm bike to go on display… It never did get on display; I took it out for a test ride and bought it.

    What appeals to you about cycling?
    The obvious things, like avoiding the tube and the exercise that allows me to consume a good curry and a regular cinnamon bun. I also like the social side of cycling; through Twitter and various bike shows I’ve made new friends and have enjoyed riding with one or two cycling clubs for longer rides out of London, something I plan to do more of with the new bike. I’ve also enjoyed investigating cycling gear. There are some great brands out there and I tend to dip into two or three when buying clothes for riding.

    How often do you ride?
    Every day! I ride to work via a couple of laps of Regent’s Park – I live in King’s Cross and work in Mayfair, so the couple of laps make it a little more worthwhile. At weekends I do longer rides, out to Richmond and various parts of Surrey or Hertfordshire, always ending at a café for coffee and a cinnamon bun.

    What’s your favourite cycle route or destination?
    I did a sportive last year in the New Forest. Although windy, I thoroughly enjoyed riding through the villages avoiding the ponies and enjoying the scenery. We’ve been back since, borrowing mountain bikes for riding the trails. My son really enjoyed finding as many puddles as possible, making sure he went in front so that I got the mud spray behind him!

  • Velorutionary - Sally Mackereth

    Sally Mackereth.

    What do you do for a living?
    I'm an architect with my own practice called Studio Mackereth. We recently designed and built our own office from some derelict former Victorian stable blocks. We specialise in high-end residential buildings, global luxury retail design, galleries and bespoke furniture.

    How long have you been a cyclist?
    I wouldn't call myself a proper 'cyclist', but I have had a bike for years in the countryside. I like the freedom of a car-free day, just cycling to the post office or down to the beach with the children. I've only recently braved the idea of cycling in London.

    What are you riding now?
    For Norfolk I have an Electra beach cruiser bike from California. It's really fun to ride: white tyres with green rubber trim, a Hawaiian print tooled leather saddle and white leather fringes fluttering from the handlebars. By contrast in London my new much-loved bicycle is a black glossy Pelago from Helsinki. The frame has a pleasing shape - not retro but traditional and simple.  It's really very comfortable too.

    What appeals to you about cycling?
    I drive an old classic car but getting around central London during the day is too slow and stressful. I've discovered cycle lanes and can now reliably predict my arrival time at meetings. I don't go particularly fast and I refuse to wear special cycling clothes (except my trusty Bern helmet). I'm often in a dress and sometimes heels, tootling along past all the traffic. As an architect I'm always looking up at buildings and I definitely see more and connect differently with this vibrant city on my bike.

    How often do you ride?
    I confess I'm a fair weather cyclist. While the sun shines I'm loving my bike rides, so I use it most days in the Spring/Summer. I try to use the cycle lanes as much as I can as I feel safer, but from time to time I'll take in back streets and cross the parks, which is a lovely way to explore London.

    What’s your favourite cycle route or destination?
    One of my favourite cross-town trips in the morning sunshine takes me from my studio in Kings Cross through Bloomsbury, Noho, Marylebone, whizzing past all the queuing traffic and down into Mayfair to join a friend for breakfast.

    See the Pelago range

  • Velorutionary - Sukhathai Chumbala

    Sukhathai Chumbala.

     

    What do you do for a living?
    I have a small property firm and run a small hotel in Phuket, Thailand.

    How long have you been cycling?
    Ever since I can remember. I got into biking very young and was into BMX when I was 10 years old. I also had a Raleigh Chopper, but it all rusted and we had to scrap it.

    What kick-started your passion for bikes?
    I guess the sense of freedom, particularly when you’re very young. You can’t drive, so if you don’t cycle then you can’t go anywhere. Once you get on your bike, you can just about do anything. Home for me was Bangkok. I used to do freestyle BMX – bunny hopping and jumping – but I didn’t enter tournaments. It was just for fun. When I was looking at buying a new bike, I went to Selfridges first, where they had a bike stand, and saw they carried my favourite brand of bicycles, which is Moulton. And I'm actually just on my way back home from the factory today as we speak. Velorution's owners Jonathan and Gretta helped arrange a factory visit for me, and it was great fun!

    How often do you get on the bike?
    It all depends. In England not as much as I ride in Thailand because we haven’t got the weather. In Thailand I will go for a ride three or four times a week: sometimes for a long distance, sometimes for a short distance. I used to race mountain bikes for four years in Phuket when I was in my thirties.
    There is a real culture of riding bikes within Thailand and many different types of cyclists – there are mountain bike racers, triathletes, small wheelers and people who just go on bikes for exercise. In different stages in life you do different things. Right now I’m just trying not to get too heavy and to stay relatively healthy, but I don’t race the bikes any more. For me these days, cycling is more recreational and social.

    Do you have a favourite place to ride in Britain?
    I ride near the house in Hyde Park, or through Richmond Park. I almost did the London to Brighton bike ride this year. In Thailand we still do social rides at the weekend, where either a small or a big group of us will take a trip to a different part of the country.

    See the Moulton range

  • Velorutionary - James Simpson

    James Simpson.

    What do you do for a living?
    I am Managing Director of Pol Roger Portfolio; the UK agents not only for Pol Roger Champagne (one of the very rare great champagne houses still in family hands) but also for a small number of top end family owned wine and spirits producers.

    How long have you been a cyclist?
    Pretty much all of my life. I was lucky enough to be brought up at a school near Tunbridge Wells and spent much of the summer holidays racing round the grounds on my cycle (think I was nowhere near trendy enough for a chopper). Then came back to cycling up in Cambridge where I spent a great three years tasting wine, playing rugby and doing just about enough Classics to pass my degree.

    So what are you riding now?
    A splendid Stanforth Kibo. Had a fun couple of hours at Velorution going through the options and riding round the block on a selection of outstanding bikes; but ended up going for the Kibo. Suspect that it was entirely down to the colour of the tyres (a deeply unpractical white) but also loved the riding position and relative speed (certainly compared with my old knackered heavy mountain bike).

    What appeals to you about cycling?
    The fact that I can watch the world go by at a rather more gentle pace; the fact that that Casta (a German Short Haired Pointer) loves running alongside the bike on the way to and from the office; the fact that I can leave the car at home and, in most cases, get where I am going far quicker. And the fact that cycling is a great antidote to eating and drinking too much in the Wine Trade.

    How often do you ride?
    Assuming that I am heading to the office in Battersea (just up the river from home), tend to head to the office and back on the bike. And, with the summer almost here, also great to take the dog out either in Battersea Park or down the river to Wandsworth Park.

    What’s your favourite cycle route or destination?
    Depending on the weather, I tend to head down to Sussex and take the bike up on the South Downs (there is a secret car park up above Bignor from where one can cycle in all sorts of directions). Or leap on the cycle from Battersea and go all the way down the river to Hampton Court and back.

  • Velorutionary - Natalie Morton

    Natalie Morton.

     

     

    What do you do for a living?
    I’m a News and Documentary filmmaker for the BBC, specialising in investigative journalism. For the last eighteen months I have been working in some of the World’s most toxic war zones – Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Gaza. I’ve also travelled to Iran, Tajikistan and Belarus this year.

    How long have you been a cyclist?
    I have been a cyclist for around a year. I was working in Homs in Syria last April when a mortar bomb hit our vehicle; my colleague and I were lucky to escape with our lives. On my return to London I had trouble using the London Underground because it made me feel claustrophobic and so a bike seemed like a good option.

    What are you riding now?
    My bike chose me. I was walking past Velorution and the beautiful bicycles in the window called out to me. I test-rode a few models but as soon as I sat on my elegant Schindelhauer Lotte I knew that it was right for me – it’s an incredibly elegant modelwith 8 gears, a Brooks saddle and hand-sewn leather grips.

    What appeals to you about cycling?
    I spend a good deal of my working life travelling through the streets of apocalyptic cities in a soft-skin vehicle wearing a flak jacket, when I’m back in London riding on my bike, I feel free. I’ve become very evangelical about cycling: I love the pace at which you view the world while riding on a bike - I have time to take in the landscapes I am travelling through and I now have a better appreciation of the beauty and amazing architecture of London.

    How often do you ride?
    As often as my work allows – on average I travel for three weeks of every month, when I’m at home I try to ride everyday since it helps with my physical and psychological wellbeing.

    What’s your favourite cycle route or destination?
    I’m fortunate enough to live near Hampstead Heath, so I have a forty-five minute route through this island of countryside, past the ponds and through woodland and meadows. I sometimes commute to work in Central London, freewheeling through Regent’s Park with the wind in my hair as the sun rises is a truly exhilarating experience.

  • Velorutionary - Jools Walker

    Jools Walker aka Velo-City-Girl.

     

     

    When did you start cycling?
    At 28 and after a ten-year absence from cycling, I decided to get back on the saddle and start again…
    There was a mix of reasons why I’d stopped cycling by the time I was 18; I wasn’t feeling that confident on the roads anymore, and I’d managed to convince myself (through my own fears of London’s traffic) that it wasn’t the best transport option to get to uni. As time went on, I really missed the freedom and happiness I’d get out of riding and at 28 I got my dream bicycle: a Pashley Princess.
    Even in all the excitement about cycling again, I’m not ashamed to admit I was pretty nervous about it all… it was a long time since I’d been on a bike and there were even serious moments of doubt when I was riding the Pashley home from the shop, to the point of thinking I’d give it up as soon as I got indoors!
    Three years (and now owning three bikes) later, and I can certainly say getting back on the saddle has turned out to be one of the best decisions I’ve ever made!

    What do you like about cycling?
    I’ve actually fallen in love with cycling and the way it has changed my life. The way I think, feel and see life is very different to the person I was three years ago… and it’s all thanks to the bicycle.

    What advice would you give to people don't cycle?
    It’s never too late to take up cycling and I say go for it! Do some research and look into getting a bike suited to your needs. Then go at your own pace.
    Be safe, be happy and enjoy the freedom of riding a bike!

  • Velorutionary - Arthur Dyjecinski

    Arthur Dyjecinski.

     

    What do you do?

    Many many things, some more interesting than others, but even then only interesting to me. I certainly don't believe in free time. I try to occupy my time making something I enjoy doing better. So perhaps one day, I may actually be good at something.

    What bike are you riding?

    I ride a Fort frame with Mavic wheels and some other nice components.

    How often do you ride your bike, and for what purpose? (eg. Your daily commute/ leisure/ popping to the shops)

    It is my main mode of transportation for everything, apart from after too many beers. It wasn't a conscious decision, it was just something that happened naturally.

    What do you love about cycling in London?

    Finding new bars and things like records shops that you can only see by being overground and travelling. I recently found one that isn't even on the internet, which seems strange actually.

    What do you dislike about cycling in London?

    It seems like there is a lot of aggression from motorists toward cyclists. I think we should look after those more vulnerable, and as cyclists, we are certainly that.

    Where is your favourite place to cycle?

    The french alps. No brainer really.

  • Velorutionary - Renaud Thillaye

    Renaud Thillaye.

     

    What do you do?
    Think-tank researcher.

    How long have you been cycling?
    Since I was five or six I guess, but in London for two years.

    What bike are you riding now?
    Eastway FB 4.0, a hybrid.

    How many bikes have you owned?
    No more than three. One every 10 years.

    How often do you ride your bike, and for what purpose?
    Almost every day in summer, but only one or two times in winter. This has to change!

    How do you normally get around town?
    By bike, by foot and on public transport.

    What’s the appeal of cycling in London? And is there anything you dislike?
    I like saving time, enjoying London outdoors and being able to choose my route as I fancy. I don’t like reckless cyclists and the impression of being in a permanent race. Cyclists on the Continent are much more civilised!

    Where is your favourite place to cycle?
    Any of the London bridges, and the Regents Park Outer Circle.

    How did you discover Velorution, and how have you found the experience of shopping there?
    I came across Velorution by chance while walking on Great Portland Street. I really liked the design touch of the bikes there, and the dedicated spirit of the team. For anyone who wishes to make a quality purchase, this is the place to visit.

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