The first EVER L’Eroica Britannia is mere weeks away (calm down, calm down, it’s not Erotica , we hasten to add, as one of our team here disappointedly found out).
But disappointment it will be NOT. Yours truly will be there showing our sterling steeds, and other fine wares, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg (although some might say an historic cycling road race spanning the majestic hills and valleys of the Peak District, Derbyshire is a close contender).
Here’s our guide to the weekend – and hope very much we’ll see you there!
First of all, it’s going to be an almighty festival topped off by a road race in the very best vintage tradition. L’Eroica literally translates as ‘the heroes’. L’Eroica Britannia embraces the idea of heroic cycling and the romance of cycling as it once was, recognising the age old ideals of valour and courage. The l’Eroica hails from Tuscany and is described by The Guardian as ‘Run on gravel roads with 80s bikes, woollen jerseys and fuelled by rich Italian food and wine, the gloroius L’Eroica race captures the golden era of cycling’.
The pinnacle of the festival is on Sunday 22 June, with a three route bike tour of some of the most spectacular and uncharted landscape of The Peak District, including the private lands of the Chatsworth Estate. Come on the day and marvel at the unique spectacle of nearly 2000 riders taking on the challenge of the mighty Peak District on pre-1987 vintage bikes dressed to the nines in glorious vintage apparel. Have a look at the routes HERE http://www.eroicabritannia.co.uk/route
But it’s not all about the ride. An entirefamily festival has been planned around the cycling, celebrating ‘Best of British. Experience three jam packed days of live music, shopping and fun fair magic. There’ll be more than 100 brilliant brands including fascinating vintage sales, lifestyle finds, bike brands (including yours truly), a Bike Jumble and amazing street food trucks and drinking experiences. The style mavens over at Elle Decoration have even included the event in their compilation of the most amazing events happening this summer in the UK.
And furthermore, the entire event is FREE! What’s not to love…
Some things are just meant to be together… strawberries and cream, Sunday mornings and the papers, road trips and an epic playlist and so it is with BEG Bicycles and the ultimate saddle and classic cycling accessory brand, Brooks England.
When it came to getting the componentry right for BEG bicycles back in the day, when BEG was a mere fledgling brand, there was of course no other contender for our saddles than a Brooks B67, with its honeyed good looks, whispers of a yesteryear and taut to perfection form. Brooks saddles have been revered by cyclists for nearly 150 years for their fine craftsmanship and exceptional attention to detail when it comes to creating a traditional saddle.
Over the past few years, our ladies accessory collection has gone from strength to strength, as we’ve started working with brands such as Sawako Furuno and Michaux Club alongside our own BEG range of cycling accessories, but we’ve been asked by many a dapper chap (and often the girls too) if we stock the very fine Brooks accessory collection. And now we do – and we can’t think of a more stylish or practical brand for cyclists. Brooks products truly are the bees’ knees.
Over almost a century and a half, Brooks England has grown from a small workshop to a byword in quality craftsmanship. Back in 1865, John Boultbee Brooks left his hometown of Hinckley in Leicestershire with just £20 in his pocket. He headed for Birmingham, where in 1866 he established a business in horse harnesses and general leather goods in Great Charles Street under the name JB Brooks & Co. In 1878, the unfortunate death of Mr Brooks’ horse led to a stroke of inspiration. Unable to afford another horse, he borrowed a bicycle in order to commute to work. He found the seat so uncomfortable that he vowed to do something about it.
On 28 October 1882, Mr Brooks filed his first saddle patent. Waddling cyclists everywhere rejoiced and the new product was a roaring success. JB Brooks & Co. became known and respected for its beautiful leather handcrafted saddles, and soon started to make cycle and motorcycle bags and other accessories. Traditional techniques in manufacturing leather saddles were passed down from generation to generation of craftsmen as the company grew under the guidance of the Brooks family until 1958. In 1962 Brooks became part of Raleigh and moved to the current works in Smethwick in the West Midlands, just a few miles away from the original premises.
In the last decade, Brooks have struck out on our own again as Brooks England, following a new course that honours the company’s heritage. Inspired by the timeless products designed by their predecessors, Brooks have revived the original slogan ‘Saddles, Bags, Etc’ and introduced a range of cycle bags and other cycling accessories.
Brooks began making cycle bags well over a century ago, nearly as long ago as their saddle production started. Founder John Boultbee Brooks knew very well that the first necessity after a comfortable ride is a place to put one’s belongings, and this holds true today. From easygoing satchels for short trips around town, to heavy duty rucksacks capable of carrying as much as the wearer can physically burden, and right up to welded waterproof travel bags, Brooks continues to invent new ways of transporting your belongings securely with style and grace.
Watch this delightful little video to get an idea of the incredible attention to detail and ingenuity Brooks put into all of their products.
You can find the Brooks collection of bags, baskets and accessories here in our store.
And if you can’t see the particular items from Brooks that you would like, just give us a call, and we’ll see what we can do!
We spend a lot of time here at BEG seeking best in class cycling accessories and it has to be said that finding a child seat that is a perfect fit, top quality manufacture and ticks-all-the-important-boxes in terms of looks and practicality has been very high up on our to-do lists in recent months.
Nothing is more wonderful than sharing the pleasure and practicality of cycling with your child, and the experience is certainly enhanced by having a good child seat. I personally have gone through the pain of finding a good bike seat for our children, so can speak from great experience. With one child nicely ensconced in school and one still very small girl by my side day and night, cycling as a pair became a priority for a precious short period of time. At one point, I even toyed with the idea of putting her in the front basket with a little cushion with a stuffed toy. Back in the pre-BEG days when our daughter was a babe in arms, swayed by its looks, I bought an inexpensive, but very beautiful bike, a Taiwanese-made beach cruiser with wide chrome handlebars that was actually very impractical on narrow city streets and whose beauty was quickly undermined not only by its poor quality build but also by a very ugly grey and blue plastic child seat, that ressembled an injection moulded squid. Despite this, I had company on my rides and my daughter and I were happy as Larry as we made our daily rounds. I’d call over my shoulder to her “Are you alright back there? Pat my back so I know you’re OK!?” which she would dutifully do because at her tender age, words still eluded her, but she would be furiously pointing at all the interesting things we would see on our journey and her little cheeks would be glowing when we reached our destination as I lifted her carefully out.
When you’ve spent so much time and care choosing the bicycle that is to become a hugely important part of your life, an appendage like a child seat is an important consideration. First and foremost, it has to play a multifunctional role in not only protecting your progeny from the perils of the world, but it must simply WORK well on a practical-level. It has to be easy for you to get your child in and out of without you letting it all go – the bike, your dignity and your poor offspring who is precariously teetering between nice comfy seat and very hard and uncomfortable pavement (Luckily, we have thought of all that and BEG Bicycles make this easy as we use bi-pod stands which make the bike very stable). It must conform to all possible safety criteria and tick an impressive checklist of safety standards. It has to have an easy to open and close fitted safety harness, secure feet rests and in addition to all the above, it simply has to look good! It’s a bit like putting a grey plastic roof box on an Aston Martin. You just wouldn’t, would you?!
Anyway – we think we’ve found it.
Introducing the Yepp Maxi childseat collection; front and rear child seats that we think fit the bill – and our bicycles very nicely indeed.
Here’s a list of impressive things that we like about Yepp child seats;
+ Fits BEG Bicycles beautifully. Tick
+ Easily mounted on the bikes seat post using the Yepp Maxi seat post adapter, which fits 95% of bike models
+ Light and easy-to-use
+ Designed to carry children from 2.5 to 6 years of age (up to 48 lbs or approx 22kg).
+ Quick and simple to snap into place and detach.
+ An additional integrated lock guarantees extra safety and guards against theft
+ 5-point harness with easy-to-use buckle and adjustable footrests with straps provide optimal protection
+ Equipped with 3 rear reflectors to ensure visibility
+ Soft shoulder pads are included for added comfort
+ Made of flexible but sturdy rubber material, which ensures both safety and comfort for your precious cargo.
+ The material is shock absorbing, antibacterial and easy to clean, and features a high insulation factor and water resistance.
+ Award-winning product: Baby Innovation Award Winner 2011, Reddot Design Award Winner 2009, Good Industrial Design Winner 2009 and 2010, Dutch Design Award 2009, Fiets Innovatie Award 2009
+ Complies with the most stringent European safety requirements and is certified by the Dutch TNO Institute for applied science research
We are delighted to announce that our Bertie bicycle has certainly earned his stripes and is making a guest appearance in the very exclusive Princes Arcade in Piccadilly, London this Spring at Smart Turnout’s beautiful flagship store.
Founded by former Scots Guards officer Philip Turner, Smart Turnout is built upon quintessentially British values and traditions. This classic gentleman’s outfitter offers its discerning customers a collection of preppy clothing and accessories including bags, ties and watches, all based upon British styling combined with pops of colour and always a fresh twist.
Not being able to find a high quality jumper in his regimental colours, Philip set out to source materials and make his own, soon leading to orders from fellow guardsmen for jumpers, socks, ties, and other accessories. Now, the collection has grown into a fully-fledged menswear line that has gained international recognition.
Stockists include Harrods and Selfridges in London, Galleries Lafayette in Dubai as well as J Press and Bloomingdale’s in New York, and United Arrows and Beams in Japan. The store has also had pop-up shops in John Lewis and Selfridges.
2012 saw the opening of Smart Turnout’s first stand-alone store in Princes Arcade, central London, a location specifically chosen to reflect their British traditions and fashionable flair. They now draw in locals and visitors alike and cater for fashion conscious men in London.
We love the brand for the values it shares with BEG Bicycles – classic styling, a contemporary twist, and always attention to detail and fine craftsmanship. What is more, this season they have launched a bicycle-referencing range, which include socks and ties…
Furthermore, the kind folks at Smart Turnout are offering BEG Bicycles customers a very Smart offer of a 10% discount on the entire Smart Turnout collection. Simply enter the code BIKE10 on their website in the coupon code box . They have fabulous ideas for presents as well clothing ideas for the discerning gentleman in your life.
We’ve already got our eye on that smart little satchel with the yellow binding…!
A mere week of sunny days and marginally warmer temperatures and the world seems like a much friendlier place. We’ve heard from lots of you that you’ve been out cycling so much more than winter allowed, and long may it continue, we say. Welcome to Spring, bicycle lovers!
Our next Beg Bicycles Joy Ride is on Sunday 23 March 2014, meeting at 10.30am. We’ll be cycling from the lovely National Trust Anglesey Abbey, Cambridgeshire (meet in the car park) and travelling around the daffodil-lined lanes in the area before heading back for scrumptious tea and cakes at Anglesey Abbeys lovely cafe and garden. Joy Rides are all about enjoying a genteel bike ride at a manageable pace, gorgeous scenery and great company. Oh – and the obligatory cake stop! For anyone thinking about coming along, you can read about our previous rides here.
Is there a better way to spend a Sunday morning!
Future Joy Ride dates for the diary include Sunday 27 April and Sunday 11 May 2014, and monthly thereafter through the summer and Autumn. Watch this space!
We like to keep our rides small and sweet so please drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org to confirm your place.
We love sending our bicycles out for bespoke events, photo shoots and film production…. the bikes definitely get all the glamorous jobs! We were therefore totally intrigued to find out what Cycling Active editor, Matt Lamy had up his sleeve when he called us last summer to borrow a Bertie for a shoot. Matt told us he had a complete first world war period military uniform lined up and the bike might get a bit muddy.
Fast forward to this month’s Cycling Active magazine, and Matt and photographer Andy Jones have produced a beautiful 12 page feature, The Great War, in which Matt retraces a WW1 soldier’s emotional journey 100 years ago from northern England across the channel to the bleak battlefields of the Somme on one of our Bertie bicycles. Its a poignant piece of writing and the photography is stunning. We think (naturally) that Bertie looks very much the part, as indeed befits his continental classic origins. Here are some of our favourite images of Matt and our Bertie on their journey…
Set off on your own epic journey with a Beg bicycles mens classic bicycle. From £745.00.
Introducing some beautiful and practical new cycling products to load up your bicycle in style. From wicker panniers, to stylish tote bag style shoppers, and even a wicker dog basket for the furry love of your life, we’ve got your shopping, work files, laptop all packed up for the ride.
A helmet that combines sartorial savvy with safety is undoubtedly hard to come by, but our new collection of cycle helmets by esteemed Japanese designer Sawako Furuno meets our exacting ‘style meets functionality’ criteria perfectly. Put simply, these helmets are utterly gorgeous, beautifully-made and coordinate with our bicycle collection a treat (can you imagine how excited we were to FINALLY find a tan leather helmet? Swoon…)
Available here for immediate shipping. Get that head protected.