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August 11, 2017 in Bicycles

Basket-case!

August 11, 2017 in Bicycle inspiration

Our bicycle baskets have always been one of our best selling items and have been sent all over the world over the years, from San Diego to Singapore.

They’re slightly over-sized compared to most other bike baskets out there, which makes them roomy, generous, extremely convenient and very befitting a stately Dutch bicycle.  Their capacious size means you can load up with goodies from the market, books from the library or whatever kit and caboodle you need to lug around town or country.  In fact, our baskets make people sigh with a particular kind nostalgic lust…  and each one is ever so slightly different yet all have oodles of charm and involve age-old basketry techniques with lovely names like randing and slewing and whales!

We’ve had various basket companies make them for us over the years, each with their own merits, but we are delighted to say that our production has now returned to the UK to our favourite basket weaver. Hand woven using traditional techniques, our baskets are woven by P. H. Coate & Son, a family company founded by willow grower and merchant Robert Coate in 1819, and still run by the Coates family today. (A certain very famous wicker hamper is also made here – the quintessential Fortnum and Mason English hamper so we know we are in good company!).  In fact, Jonathan Coates, the great, great, great grandson of Robert makes our baskets himself from his worksop on the Somerset Levels.

The Somerset Levels is the most important wetland area in the U.K.  This unique landscape provides the perfect conditions for willow growing. Basket making willow, known as “Withies”, have been grown here for two centuries, and it is now the only area left where it is still cultivated for the production of baskets, furniture, garden items and high quality artists’ charcoal. Here indeed is the heart of the English willow industry, an industry that in many ways has not changed for centuries.  Willow grows extremely quickly, in one growing season which lasts from late May to early October a single rod can reach up to 8ft long. New willow beds are planted in the spring using pieces of willow from the crop harvested during the preceding winter. The new willow bed will not be fully productive in the first three years, but once it is well established, with careful management the plants can last up to 30 years.  Each mature plant or “stool” gives rise to over 30 rods. The crop is harvested each winter time after the leaves have died and fallen, these old leaves provide nutrients for the following years, eliminating the need for artificial fertilisers.  The willow beds provide homes and shelter for many species of birds and animals during the summer months. Willow growing is part of the rich environmental heritage of this area of Somerset. Both the commercial willow crops, or beds and the pollarded willow trees contribute to the character and image of the region.

Machines are now used for cutting the withies and stripping off the bark, but in many ways the industry has hardly changed.   You can see how the willow is farmed by Coates here.

As well as weaving a multiude of basket styles, Coates have created an impressive collection of bespoke arefcats over the years, including an ingenious chess board jump for the cross-country equestrian event at Greenwich Park for instance, and World War Two style shell baskets for the War Horse movie. They have  also made chairs for Johnny Depp’s Sweeny Todd and masks for a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream as well as regularly producing coffins! And one of the most important items to be produced here is Coate’s Willow Charcoal, something which is used by artists around the world.

Personally, we love our baskets, designed by the team at BEG with Jonathan’s incredible heritage and experience to guide us – and we’re delighted to say that our new collection have arrived today.  Hurrah!

Look out also for new styles arriving this Autumn –  including willow panniers!

 
You can find out ore about the BEG Bicycles basket collection here.

School’s out for summer…

July 20, 2017 in Bicycles

And so indeed are bicycles!  It’s been a great summer here so far (and we can’t always say that, can we!) and we’ve heard from lots of you that you’ve had opportunities galore to take to two wheels and hit the road, the lanes and even the beach.

It reminded us of this lovely shoot we did back in the day when we first launched BEG Bicycles…. and the images still look fresh and contemporary, so we thought we’d post them again.  A lot has happened in the seven years since then – we moved our office from Catherine’s dining room table to our beautiful showroom in Cambridgeshire, we’ve expanded our accessory collection enormously and we’ve seen our bicycles shipped all over the world.

Back in 2011, Dutch bicycles were a rare breed indeed here in the UK, but as Britain embraced a cycling fervour in the intervening years, we’ve seen a flurry of new brands spring up, and a huge interest, particularly from women, in cycling again.  What has really struck us however is that whilst we saw a big trend for ‘Dutch’ style bicycles hitting the high street, with many a  wanna-be bike out there, usually made in China in great volumes, sometimes imported through The Netherlands (so as to gain the nomenclature ‘Dutch bike’!!!), we’re now busier than ever here at BEG Bicycles!  We’re hearing time and time again that people are dumping their cheap mass-market bicycles (that have probably broken – or can barely be fixed for lack of availability of unknown parts) and are deciding to invest in a quality bicycle, with best-in-class European component parts, long guarantees and al the details that make a high quality product such as Brooks leather saddles, Shimano Nexus gears, AXA defender locks and Schwalbe tyres.  Our classic bicycles are fully made and assembled in Belgium with real heart and soul in each bicycle.

We are always absolutely delighted when our customers keep coming back to us – either because their other half now wants a bike too , or they just want to treat themselves to some new accessories and we love hearing each and everybody’s cycling stories.   As a small family business (there are just the four of us here in the UK with our bicycles being made for us by a third generation family business based in Belgium, who first started in 1946), we care deeply about our products, our customer service and our ongoing relationship with our customers.

So – we’re looking forward to a busy summer ahead – and hope very much that you too will have some very happy days in the warm weather, the breeze in your face and the miles clocking up behind you!

Our colleagues in Belgium are enjoying a well-earned holiday at the moment, but we are still have our order book open and are currently working to a 6 – 7 week delivery time frame.  Do get let us know if we can help you choose your perfect two-wheeled steed by calling us on 01223 655222 or dropping us a line at hello@begbicycles.com.

Wishing everyone a very happy summer of cycling!

 

 

 

 


Banish winter chills…

January 13, 2017 in Bicycle inspiration, Cycling Accessories, Enjoy the ride

Last posting dates – and a special discount!

December 15, 2016 in Bicycles

All is calm, all is bright (on a bicycle!)

November 8, 2016 in Bicycle inspiration, Bicycles, Cycling Accessories

We’ve got basketfuls of lovely Christmas present ideas for the cyclist or outdoorsy type in your life!  Or even just for yourself (sometimes matters have to be taken into ones own hands!)

We also have a new faster shipping service for bike orders!  Give us a call on 01223 655222 to find out more!

 

Head smart

October 13, 2016 in Bicycles

 

All helmets can be purchased here

Fit for an almost Queen (‘s Sister)!

October 10, 2016 in Bicycles

Look how stylish Pippa Middleton is looking in our gorgeous Sawako Black Croc helmet!  Pippa proves how great this helmet can look in summer or winter with its smart matt black finish and subtle mock crocodile skin textural detail.

Now you too can look like a royalty … and be super-safe on your bike to boot!

Sawako Black Croc helmet £85.00

Watch this space for more new news from Sawako.

 

Look at you!

July 15, 2016 in Bicycle inspiration, Bicycles

Our showroom has been out of action for a brand spanking new refurb these past few weeks, but we are delighted to say that we are OPEN, looking very good indeed and enjoying seeing so many of you for bike test rides, accessory try-outs, cups of coffee and the odd  rather nice shortbread biscuit.

We have the full BEG collection on display, bikes in all colours, models and sizes – and the entire BEG accessory oollection for you to prod, poke, try on and try out!

We like to see our customers individually so we can give you plenty of attention and information, get a bike ready for you and tell you where to go in our very scenic village for a jolly nice test ride, so please do give us a call in advance and we can set up an appointment for you.  We all live close by so can be quite flexible regarding times of appointment, although if at all possible we like to keep it to office hours and Saturdays!

We’re based in the beautiful riverside village of Hemingford Abbots, 13 miles north of Cambridge and just off the A14.  We’ve got miles of  lovely cycle routes around us and two award-winning pubs, so come and try the bikes, have a very scenic test ride and finish up with a shandy in our local!

Call us on 01223 655222 or email hello@begbicycles.com  - we look forward to seeing you soon!

 

 

Got Wanderlust?

July 8, 2016 in Bicycles

Introducing our stunning new collection of accessories:  WANDERLUST.

Comprising a carefully put together range of bicycle bells, saddle covers and bike pannier bags in different styles, Wanderlust evokes the essence of cycling with style: ultimate practicality combined with a beautiful aesthetic.

We love the creativity of this print – it almost has a hand-painted feel about it, particularly on the gorgeous matt painted bells.  Subtle detailing like reflective strips for added road safety and a smart waterproof fabric make the Wanderlust collection a smart choice in every way!

The only decision left is – where will your Wanderlust take you?

Find Wanderlust here.

 

Quality counts

June 20, 2016 in Bicycles

Cambridge Blue

May 18, 2016 in Bicycle inspiration, Bicycles





You can find Bea here!

Christmas Posting Dates

December 15, 2015 in Bicycles

Glad bike things we bring….

December 9, 2015 in Bicycles

For Outdoorsy Types…

December 7, 2015 in Bicycle inspiration, Cycling Accessories, Press

With thanks to the Evening Standard Magazine

Tea for Two leather Flask £49.40

 

 

Baby, it’s cold outside…

November 24, 2015 in Bicycle inspiration, Bicycles, Cycling Accessories

 

 

We’ve been thinking long and hard about cycling in the colder months here at BEG, and considering ways to make your ride all the more pleasurable, whilst being practical and useful.

Autumn and winter cycling has many charms but a chilly backside on an icy cold saddle or frost-bitten fingers certainly isn’t one of them!  Check out are latest snuggly products for the cosiest rides.

Fur real!

 

 

Sherpa Fleece Hand Warmers £29.50  Sheepskin style mittens that cover your hand, brake cable and gears, keeping your mitts nice and warm on chilly winter rides!

 

Fur-lined Chapka Hat and Helmet £85.00  

Never let chilly ears put you off winter cycling again! This has got to be the warmest (yet coolest?!) cosiest cycling helmet ever! Or should that be ‘hatmet’?

 

 

BEG Sheepskin saddle cover £19.95

Be kind to your behind, with these luxurious, beautifully-made covers that give a really toasty, very soft and comfortable ride. They also work a treat if you are breaking your new Brooks saddle in, and finding it rather hard-going!

 

 

 

Hello Autumn!

November 18, 2015 in Bicycle inspiration, Bike Candy, Cycling Accessories

Remember, remember…

November 5, 2015 in Bicycles

 

 

… Not gunpowder, treason and plot… but rather to be careful on these dark dark nights whilst you are out cycling.

Be safe. Be seen.

 

 

All accessories available at BEG Bicycles. 

Country Homes and Interiors – Way hey!

July 13, 2015 in Bicycles, Press

Ah – how nice!  A very BIG thanks to the team at Country Homes and Interiors for such a fabulous article.

 

 

Christmas Gift Guide / .14

November 19, 2014 in Bicycles, Bike Candy, Cycling Accessories

We’ve picked out our favourite items from the BEG Collection for your nearest and dearest!  From stocking fillers to bicycles, we’ve got sackfulls of fabulous Christmas present ideas.