Archive for the ‘People’ 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




The strange and beautiful bicycles of Bespoked

This weekend Boneshaker had a blast at Bespoked UK Handmade Bicycle show. It was a brilliant showcase of the range and quality of contemporary bicycle building. Our little stand was wedged in between Quoc Pham shoes, Brooks England’s bags and Vulpine’s stylish cycle clothing.

I snuck away one afternoon and tried to capture a flavour of all the bizarre and beautiful bikes on show. Using my shitty phone, and surrounded by people. So the pics are a bit, well, amateur. But the bikes more than make up for it. Feast your foolish eyes!

How’s this for a saddle? Mmm, comfy.

corinca painful saddle web

A frame that adjust to fit you: ingenious stuff from Hickman:

hickman amazing seat tube

Cofa Engineering‘s custom off-roader looks like it was built for the Terminator:

terminator bike by cofa engineering local

while this race machine from Sword cycles comes equipped twin machine guns.

sword cycles flight deck web

and Bowers Kustom‘s foldable shopper has snakeskin tyres.

bowers kustom snakeskin tyre by sweetskinz


Our pals at Restrap teamed up with Woodrup cycles to create this Transcontinental race bike, complete with a

completely strapless magnetic frame bag.

woodrup restrap continental


Cambridge-based Satoma Cycles went all Rennie Mackintosh:

satoma does rennie  mackintosh


Whilst Dear Susan created this faithful realisation of Edward Gorey’s Epipleptic Bicycle:

dear susan epileptic bicycle gorey


There was lots of lovely lugwork on show, like these chrome beauties from new builder Hilton Cycles.

lovely lugs by hilton


And these hearts ‘n’ diamonds by Woodrup.

swallow lugs


This colour-coordinated porteur by Robin Mather set onlookers swooning,

mather porter


as did Saffron Frameworks‘ prizewinning cross bike. saffron cross bike


Koushou Kinugawa (aka Helavna Cycles) had travelled all the way from Tokyo with his lovely machines:

helavna chrome helavna cycles koushou kinugawa tokyo

and then showed us a magazine that revealed just how inventive Japanese framebuilders can be. Check out this snow bike:

map bike mag snow bike

and this more summery barbecue bike:

map bike mag bbq bike


Like to relax while you ride? Try lying down:

japan bike mag lying down bike

Mind you, cycling whilst actually lounging in a hammock looks even more laid back:

map bike mag hammock bike



Finally, a feast of forks. Really long ones, on a chopper by Bowers Kustom:

forks bowers kustom chopper

Polka dots from Rusby cycles

dotty forks rusby web


Tattooed forks on the Toccata Track bike by Merenyi.

forks tattoo forks on toccata track by merely


Lovely colourplay from Field Cycles

forks field cycles sheffield


Another fabulous fork by Field

geo forks by not sure


Rainbow forks from new builders Dear Susan.

forks dear susan


…astonishing thread-wrapped frame and forks by titanium specialists Nevi

forks devi


and naval camoulflage-inspired paintwork from Tom Donhou:


forks donhou



It’s been a whirlwind of a weekend, with so many happy bike memories – not least the response to our brand new issue: Boneshaker #16 (available from Apr 21 via Newsstand and from our fabulous stockists as soon as we can get it to them), which we launched, hot off the press at Bespoked. Here’s a sneaky peek in case you missed it:

BS16_Sneak-Peak web

Curiosity and wonder

Screen Shot 2015-01-12 at 09.56.12

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.

Screen Shot 2015-01-12 at 09.57.06

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.

Jude Brosnan

Cycling up to 30 miles a day on her bejewelled ‘Mexibike’ (check the pics below), Jude Brosnan seamlessly combines her love for cycling and writing by contributing to various cycling publications. We were delighted to feature Jude in Boneshaker issue 15, where she wrote and photographed a feature about bikes and VW Beetles in Mexico City. Here Rachel Bonney from michaux.cc speaks to Jude about her creative adventures on and off her bike.

JudeBrosnan Portrait Closeup2

You write for your cycling blog Ispeakbike, as well as for various other cycling related editorials such as Boneshaker. How long have you been blogging about bikes and how do you combine this with your other work?
I can’t remember a time when I didn’t write about bikes. I’m a journalist so my work might differ day to day but cycling to everything remains constant so I always have something to write about. Cycling keeps me motivated, I always see things that inspire me. Einstein came up with the theory of relativity on his bike. Yesterday I made up a song about sweary taxi drivers. Basically the same thing.

What inspired you to start your cycling blog Ispeak bike?
I was doing an MA in creative writing specialising in modern urban narratives of the city. My thesis was on mapping ghost bikes in London. I started the blog as a way to document my bike-related research. It sort of stayed and evolved. I want to show everyone that you don’t have to go nuts on Lycra if you don’t want to, you can be a serious cyclist and still look like yourself.

You recently starred as Eileen Sheridan ‘one of the greatest women riders’ in a documentary film about life on her bicycle. Tell us how you landed this role?
It was sheer coincidence. The director needed someone who could ride a vintage racer all day in the freezing cold and my name came up. To turn me into Eileen took over 100 kirby grips. She lives around the corner from where I went to school. I probably cycled past her. We met just after filming and really hit it off.

JudeBrosnan Boneshaker

How has Eileen inspired you as a cyclist in today’s cycling standards?
She was a pioneer in a time where there wasn’t all the bike paraphernalia we have today. I told her I wished she had worn a cap or helmet back in the day because my head was freezing during filming. She loves all the gear that is available today. It goes to show you don’t need anything but passion and determination.

As a female cyclist how do you feel women are represented on the roads today compared to the 1950s when Eileen was queen of the road?
I think I see just as many women next to me at the traffic lights as men. I’ve always cycled; I used to cycle to school so it’s second nature to me.

Tell us about your cycle commute to work – how often do you do it, how far is it, and why you enjoy it?
I live way out west so everywhere is a good 10 miles away. If I just cycled to work and back it would be 26 miles, but I always end up adding extra mileage to that. All my friends cycle, so if it’s someone’s birthday we’ll put on party hats charge up our speakers and ride somewhere far. I love my city and never get bored of cycling around it. It’s constantly changing and I notice new things everyday. I cycle through Hyde Park and see horses. You don’t see horses on the tube.

JudeBrosnan Michaux Handlebartape

How do you integrate cycle style into your everyday wardrobe and what key pieces do you find work best for cycling?
I don’t have a separate cycling wardrobe; I cycled to Paris in jeans. I have a few tricks like always carrying a safety pin to make skirts into culottes so I don’t show London my pants, and layering up because I get really cold. I carry a spare pair of everything. The other day I got so soaked I had to change my watch.

You have a tandem, who do you ride with?
I ride tandem mostly for fun with my sister as stoker. We have taken our Christmas tree home on it and have cycled it from London to Brighton a few times and nailed every hill. It’s our family Volvo and night bus rolled into one. I’m involved with Charlotte’s Tandems, who organise tandems for visually impaired and disabled people. I cycle with a visually impaired lady. We ride around parks and don’t stop talking.

Your bike has a definite Mexican theme. What is that all about?
In the past few years I’ve done a few stints in Mexico City. I love cycling around that city too and did some stuff with Ecobici, the Mexican version of Boris Bikes. Cycle culture is rapidly growing over there. They close this main road every Sunday so families can cycle around traffic free and there are lots of bike groups that meet up and go on rides including the bicitekas. I did a little project on bikes and VW Beetles that is on display in Look Mum No Hands (and featured in Boneshaker issue 15). I got this bike soon after I returned to London. I always personalise my bikes so it was only fitting that this one was decorated in homage to all things Mexican. I call it my Mexibike.

Jude Brosnan is a brand ambassador for cycling accessories company Michaux. Read more interviews with inspirational female cyclists in the #michauxwoman series on michaux.cc

You can follow Jude on her blog ISpeakBike

Photos of Jude courtesy of Rosie Holtom