Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

We could be heroes

“Barry!” people keep shouting as I ride past. But I’m not Barry.

Photo: Mike White

Barry is the bike. A sleek, vintage machine named after the great Barry Hoban, who once held the record for the most stage wins in the Tour de France by a British rider. I’ve borrowed Barry (the bike) from retro cycle hire experts Glory Days in order to ride the glorious L’Eroica Britannia. Eroica is a bike ride and a fancy dress party combined, part cycle event, part village fete, part music festival. And importantly, your bike, like Barry, must conform to Eroica’s strict rules in order to enter – built pre-1987, shifters on the down tube, toe clips instead of clipless and so on.

Photo: Mike White

Based in beautiful Bakewell in Derbyshire, a choice of three Eroica ride routes circle out and back across the Peak District. Barry and I are riding the 55-mile ‘medium’ option, alongside the Brooks England team. Brooks have very kindly invited Boneshaker along to enjoy a jolly weekend of gin, gentle riding and general appreciation of their rather fine saddles and luggage. Here we all are, just about to set off.

Photo: Liz Seabrook

This is Eroica’s second year on British soil – it originated on Tuscany’s strade bianche, and now has partner events all over the place from California to Japan. A reported 50,000 people have come for this year’s festival experience as a whole, of whom some 3,600 are actually riding. The rest seem happy to camp and laugh and wander among the stalls laden with bikes and bike parts old and new, or just to flop down with a large Hendricks gin, which seems to be everywhere. No bad thing.

Photo: Thom Heald

Photo: Thom Heald

There is a smattering of live music (everyone loves a brass band), a tween-screaming funfair and a mini-cinema tent screening cycling movies. Oh, and about a million dogs, many of them wearing tweed. Really.

The days running up to Ride Day had brought chilly winds, banks of ominous black cloud and the occasional flurry of rain. We shivered as we stepped off the coach from sunny London.

Photo: Mike White

But Sunday brought glorious sunshine for the most part, and the ride itself wove through spectacular scenery – if you’ve not yet ridden in the Peak District National Park, add it to your to-do list immediately. We climbed brave and windswept peaks, bounced across gravel and even forded a river. I took this a bit fast and almost ended up face first amongst the fishes.

Derbyshire’s answer to the strade bianche proved to be the Monsal Trail, with white packed gravel offering authentically dusty ruggedness.

Photo: Thom Heald

Much of the Monsal follows the former Midland Railway Line making it pleasingly flat, with a series of impressive viaducts and dark, dripping tunnels.

Photo: Thom Heald

The on-road sections were mostly quiet and even where we did meet traffic, sheer force of cyclist numbers meant motorists seemed resigned to sharing the road with good grace. As we rolled through picture-postcard villages with butchers and bakers and red telephone boxes, it felt as though we’d pedalled back about sixty years. All the plus fours, flat caps and ancient bicycles around only served to enhance the sense of timewarp.

Photo: Thom Heald

The band of Brooks riders were a disparate bunch: journalists, bike retailers, Brooks staff and Eroica organisers from Europe, the US, Australia and Japan. We all rolled out together happily enough, with much admiration for each others’ bikes. High-end Japanese cyclewear brand PEdALED equipped us with matching socks, whilst Brooks England supplied suitably retro-styled woollen cycling shorts and jerseys. Suffice to say we looked awesome.

Photo: Thom Heald

As the ride progressed we’d separate and regroup, especially at hilltops (where the views really deserved savouring) and the feeding stations, which seemed to pop up in a flutter of bunting every 5 minutes, offering local ale and other sports-performance fare including sausages, stilton and masses of Bakewell tart.

Photo: Mike White

Penultimate pit-stop was in the grounds of Chatsworth House, where plentiful free champagne from Rapha made the final hill a good deal more challenging than it really deserved to be.

eroica chatsworth

Barry performed impeccably, and we all agreed afterwards that riding old bikes is a lot of fun. Mind you, riding any kind of bike is usually pretty fun. The Brooks saddle, brand new though it was, revealed itself to be extremely comfortable. And I’m not just saying that.

Despite its name, Eroica proved not to be heroically hard work. It was very much a leisurely day out on two wheels, more like the great cake-fuelled British institution that is audax than the more performance-focussed sportive.

Indeed, it was all very British, in the nicest possible way: friendly, inclusive, international, with plenty of tea and cake. And gin.

Our friend Thom Heald took loads of wonderful photos, so feast your eyes on the selection below – and perhaps we’ll see you in Bakewell next year?



Photo: Thom Heald Photo: Thom Heald Photo: Thom Heald Photo: Thom Heald Photo: Thom Heald Photo: Thom Heald Photo: Thom Heald Photo: Thom Heald Photo: Thom Heald Photo: Thom Heald

Photo: Thom Heald




Curiosity and wonder

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Every true cyclist knows there’s music in their machine. The click of cleat into pedal, the whirring chain, the hum of tyres on tarmac, the companionable creaks of a well-loaded pannier rack, the ping of an upturned twig striking a spinning spoke.

Composer Johnnyrandom makes beautiful music using everyday objects – in the case of his next single, Bespoken – which would be a great theme tune for this event – he’s chosen bicycle components.

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The results are playful and oddly uplifting. We hope to include some of this in the forthcoming Boneshaker podcasts – watch this space.

In the meantime, check out Bespoken below (if the Vimeo doesn’t show, try clicking refresh):

Johnnyrandom | Bespoken from Johnnyrandom on Vimeo.

Copenhagen Bike Messengers

You know you’ve got that elusive work-life balance sussed when your work is your life(style) and vice versa. The Danish cycling nuts behind the website Ride Copenhagen have created this rather awesome Boneshaker-esque video that focuses on two bike messengers from Copenhagen, Jumbo and Fergie, during the pre-event for the European Cycle Messenger Championship 2014, which took place in Stockholm during July.

These bike messengers have not only dedicated their working lives to our two-wheeled friends, but they’ve also immersed themselves into a social circle of fellow fixie fanatics. This small community of Danish bike messengers host an array of national competitions, such as fast n’ furious alleycats, urban hill climbs and Strip Naked While Holding A Track Stand champs (we’re not kidding, just watch the video). For these bike messengers their job is about so much more than just money; it’s about speed, friendship, gear and the sense of freedom. We totally get that.

Bike Smut returns…

Like bike porn? You’re gonna love this…

bike smut

Last year Boneshaker teamed up with the pedal-pushing, politically aware perverts at Bike Smut to host a little party in Bristol. We had a mini-bike grand-prix, a bike carousel, live music and a bunch of Bike Smut’s bicycle-based films, that explore ideas about sex and sexuality. It was pretty saucy and very funny, mostly poking fun at the porn industry and its dubious cinematic aesthetic. Tongue in cheek. And tongue in a few other places too.

Anyway….  the Bike Smut crew are back in town, coming to one of Boneshaker’s favourite hangouts, the Cube cinema. It’ll be a filthy-funny night out. Bag yourself a ticket here.

N.B. Bike Smut tends to be rather smutty. If you’re easily offended, close your eyes. And your ears. Or don’t come. Oops, smut again. Oh well, you know what we mean.