Category Archives: Inspiring Cycle Style

The Harris Tweed Ride in Glasgow

We’re off to do touristy stuff with the mum in Glasgow and take a minor detour to check out a restaurant menu (no surprises there) and what should we randomly run into but the inaugural Harris Tweed ride!

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I’m so sad that Nimble and I missed the London one being out of town this year, and we could have joined in this one in the ultimate tweedy locale.
So sad.

I got some photos of some dashing young riders.

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As if there weren’t already such coincidence running into the tweed ride, turns out the route is going to all the places we’ve already visited in our 3 days here. The fabulous Stravaigin restaurant, the always-fantastic Cafe Gandolfi – it would have been a tweed-clad tour of all our favorite spots.

About an hour before the tour started, there were about 15 people enjoying tea & cakes, but there are apparently 100 expected for the day. Already 2 Colnago cycles!

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Nimble will be jealous. We’ll see if we can encounter them later in the day at another delicious stop. Until then, I’ll be riding a double decker tourist bus instead of riding my bicycle….sigh. Maybe we can still incorporate some tweed…


Dressed for success

Look at this guy –

He means business. He’s a got a pen in his hand ready to take notes (on the back of his hands presumably, there’s no paper in sight), pouting lips and a clutter-free desk on which he’s sitting. It gives the meeting a more intimate vibe, and softens the blow when he tells you you’ve been made redundant. As you leave his office no longer in his employ you’ll reflect on his perfectly styled hair and shiny leather shoes and think to yourself, “I should have seen this coming when they replaced all our leather chairs with shitty plastic ones.”

What kind of monster is he? You’ve just lost your job and he’s not even shedding a tear. You’ll be homeless this time next week, your children dead in a month and you’ve already contracted the kind of disease only poor people get (scurvy, or maybe gout). He feels nothing. He’s a robot.

Or is he?

No way! When 5.30pm hits this guy transforms into Party Time Manager! Yeah!

The tie loosens (though the top button stays curiously fastened), the shoes transform into white tennis shoes and pow! From out of nowhere he unfolds his red Brompton and rides off to a train station safe in the knowledge that it’s perfectly acceptable to take this delicate folding bicycle onto any form of public transport.

Note the front flaps that button under the pockets. Note the reflective piping on the turned-back legs and sleeves. Note the extra buttons under the collar that probably do something but I can’t think what.

Shortlist tells us that this suit is currently available in Harvey Nichols for around £555. That seems stupidly cheap for a suit in Harvey Nichols, let alone a suit from the future, so that information is probably wrong.

I want this suit almost as much I want to punch this guy in the mouth. Well, not him, the douche composing the photograph. And him. Both of them. I want to punch both of them in the mouth.


Something beautiful

I’m sorry, I just can’t leave that sandal pic up there at the top of the page. Here’s something beautiful –


Just in case

It’s possible you’ve seen these –

Absolutely no. Do not even consider it.


The Great Trouser Conundrum

Or, for our grammatically-challenged American brethren, “What pants, dude?”

I know, pants go inside your trousers. Don’t even start me on how they call every single item of clothing worn on your torso a shirt.

The answer I most often give to myself before setting out for ride, be it leisurely or transportational, is almost always my Swrve jeans. Look at them here. I have the very sexual grey jeans and also some black jeans that don’t appear to be listed any more. That, or their picture of their ‘black/blue???’ jeans is way off. Taking into consideration their inability to decide whether THEIR OWN JEANS are black or blue and also their continuing employment of the worst photographer ever, let’s assume it’s those jeans I have. Here is an example of a photograph on their site –

A couple of tips, Swrve. First, do not wear black trainers with blue jeans. Secondly, do not think that putting your belt buckle to the side makes you look more ‘street’. Thirdly, DO NOT WEAR BLACK TRAINERS WITH BLUE JEANS. Also, when selecting jeans for your model, do try to get the leg length right. Your jeans look shit all bunched up at the bottom and around the knee. I will allow you to tuck a grey t-shirt into your jeans on this one occasion, because I realise that you want to show us the detailing there and we know you don’t tuck a t-shirt into your jeans without excellent justification, but you really need sort your act out.

Fortunately for Swrve, I encountered these jeans in physical form in a shop in Boston about a year ago. They are most definitely amazing, and worth every penny. I pretty much live in them, and not because the higher waist line at the back or the reflective strip (which fades in the wash quite quickly). Mostly, I wear them for the smooth crotch area. I ride on a Brooks B17 Narrow and my saddle is now almost a perfect imprint of my posterior. I can definitely feel the seams in the crotch of my jeans, and Swrve jeans have nothing there. As an added benefit, they also give the jeans enough lateral freedom to allow me to kick somebody in the face even with quite a tight fit. That’s probably of less concern for you unless you also spent most of your youth training in Tae Kwon Do, but it’s nice to know that if you suddenly gained super powers you wouldn’t need to splash out on a new wardrobe immediately. They also claim to easily fit a small D-lock into the back pocket, but that is basically a bullshit feature. You could easily fit a small D-lock in the back pocket, but a thief could also easily break through a small D-lock, so why would you bother? Unless your ride is a cheap insurance waiting game that you’re hoping to have nicked I guess. I’m not interested in any combination of locks that doesn’t weigh more than my whole bike.

I really love the jeans and am definitely going to get their shirt soon, despite their best efforts to persuade me otherwise with photography like this –

I lolled.

Which leads me nicely to this.

There are no pictures, but Bike Snob NYC was sent them and was kind enough to post a picture –

I’ll be honest, they don’t look that great in this picture, but then as Swrve has so magnificently shown us, photography can often end terribly if you give the camera to a small child and ask them to take pictures of miserable people.

I’m semi-excited about these, but what I don’t understand is, if they’re going to copy the Swrve jeans so blatantly, why did they miss out the greatest thing they do, the crotch seam changes?

If people actually read this blog I guess I could persuade Levi’s to send me them so that I could mildly ridicule them for free, but as it stands I’ll have to wait till they come out before I can try them.


Always have a matching saddle and bartape

That’s a good basic rule to follow. Please feel free to ignore it when producing something as beautiful as this –

Look at it!

I was intending to write something longer, but I’m currently unbelievably angry with Shimano for daring to sell me a Nexus 8 hub that can’t withstand being in the rain. Oh no wait! Sorry! They sold me two. Which I think makes me stupid. I am in an excellent customer service process with SJS Cycles though, and hope to resolve it amicably. Pro tip! Don’t bother with the Nexus 8 hub, but the Alfine version is great because it’s built to withstand the rain.

Why would anyone build a sealed hub gear system that dies when you cycle it in the rain, you ask? And that’s why I’m angry. Happy post to follow later, I promise.


Advanced tech that may one day look hot.

Here is an ugly bike –

Truth be told it could be worse, but we don’t really care. We’re not interested in how this would look wearing the most beautiful jacket a cyclist could own (size medium Audrey, thanks), because we will never own this bicycle. We are interested in this, though –

Integrated brakes! Built into the frame, they apparently improve your aerodynamizzzzzzzzz. And really, black and yellow on a single component?

The thing is, I am jealous. Not of the riders of this bike, but of the fixie crowd. They may be pompous, deluded, 40-year-old media professionals and graphic designers wishing they could recapture how it felt when they were given their first skateboard at the age of 12, but they do recognise the beauty of a bike built for track –

It’s so pretty! And clean, and elegant. A bicycle for a gentleman. No gears and no brakes, so amazing on the track and reprehensible for everyday use. But now that we’re building brakes into frames one day someone will produce bikes as beautiful as this, but with the ability to stop. I’ll be able to own a bike as beautiful as a track bike without having to put my life on the line to ride it around town. So I’m in. Eventually.