Crikey. It seems like a while now since we were gaily pedalling along, the sun (on occasion) beating down on us, full of the joys… and whether it was Kentish lanes or Kentish Town, it felt like we owned the road, as we congratulated ourselves on the abundance of benefits we as cyclists had over those poor POOR people shackled to their steering wheels… But then those feelings of gay abandon and the spontanaeity of it all became just a tiny bit less forthcoming as certain, shall we say, ‘challenges’ decided to present themselves in the panniers of our cycling euphoria….
Getting up at the usual time but it feeling like the dead of night, a bunch of car keys glinting at us in an alluring way by the front door, once crisp jewel-coloured leaves creating a carpet of treachery, and those oh-so lung-aching temperatures… Our love affair with two wheels feeling like we may have hit the seven year itch. Winter cycling indisputably has more ‘challenges’ than the throw-a-leg-over-and-go style of cycling that summer allows. But we’ve got some tips to help you get the most out of your bicycle and your winter rides, be they your daily commute, dashing out to the shops or a Sunday morning joy ride.
1. Your mother always told you, but it’s all in the preparation! Book your beautiful bicycle in at your local bike shop for a full annual check-up. You can get away with it in summer, but winter really is the season for servicing. Your bicycle should ideally have a thorough clean to ensure that all parts are grime-free, some good all-weather lubricant should be added to the chain, cables and parts where metal meets metal and a thorough check-over of all working parts to ensure that bolts, brakes and gears are all adjusted and tightened correctly. They’ll check your hubs for wear and tear, make sure the lights are functioning correctly and that your tyres have sufficient tread, are the right pressure and dont show signs of damage. A veritable luxury winter spa retreat for bicycles!
2. Be seen. We’re big advocates of getting noticed on your bicycle, but it’s never more important than in the darkness and gloom of winter… And we’re talking about safety, not style for once! Beg bicycles already have several clever bits of kit to make sure you are seen… Our bicycles are all fitted with German-made top quality, powerful Busch und Muller Lumotech front and rear Senso halogen dynamos – reliable and powerful halogens that not only feature a sensor so will switch on automatically as soon there is a hint of dusk, but which will remain illuminated, even when at a standstill. And all of our bicycles have Schwalbe Delta Cruiser tyres as standard which have reflective sidewalls for added visibility at night.
3. Now is the time to make sure that you yourself are as visible as possible on snowy days and dark nights and that doesn’t mean letting all your sartorial principles go out the window…. There are some fabulous cycling specific wardrobe staples out there these days including these specialist raincapes from Otto London, stunning hi-viz vests from Vespertine and look out for some exciting new reflective products arriving at BEG in the next few weeks. We love the ingenious reflective pin-on buttons from SpotMe too…
4. Keep warm as toast! Our new super-cosy His ‘n’ Hers Chapka Helmets (£85.00) will banish chilly ears from winter cycling and keep your head – as well as your sartorial reputation perfectly intact! We’ve also got dashing Tweed flat cap helmets and super-elegant ladies hat-mets (both £85.00) in our helmet shop.
5. Even SNOW shouldn’t be a hinderance to a journey on two-wheels. No special gear is require beyond bundling up warm. Simply let a little bit of air out of your tyres for better traction, and adjust your riding position. Relax your arms and wrists and put your weight back in the saddle. Make big turning circles when changing direction and allow plenty of time for gentle braking. Only brake facing dead straight forward to avoid (highly embarrassing) skidding!. And don’t forget enjoy the wonder that is a snow-transformed landscape. So much nicer to be a part of it than stuck behind a windscreen!
6. And whilst we advocate cycling ALMOST 24/7/365, if it really is blowing a snowstorm out there, there is always the bus, hideous as it is! And still better than the car!
… because we’re delighted to let you know that if you tiptoe over now to womenswear brand, hush‘s beautiful website and check out their lovely blog, you’ll find that you could soon be owner of one of our very own Betty bicycles. hush shot their new AW14 campaign in Amsterdam so its very befitting that they are giving away one of our very classically Dutch bicycles as well as the ginormous grocers basket that goes with it.
We love hush, and not only because of those long-limbed, tawny haired, tawny eyed and tawny skinned models (oh to be ‘tawny’ in some way!) but because of their super-relaxed, effortlessly chic style that just, well – works. Full of versatile pieces that are as stylish as they are practical, the autumn/winter 14 range includes a wide range of gorgeous knits, feminine and flirty skirts to everday dresses, trousers, plus a brand new outerwear range – all in a rich pallet of colours. Also in the collection are the best cotton pyjamas on the market and a great collection of contemporary basics – tops, tees, tanks and leggings – which are everyday essentials in any women’s wardrobe.
We’ve firmly got our eye on that awesome khaki parker… how practical for chilly morning rides! See the hush blog for more info…
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.
Esther’s kicking off a brand spanking new year of our wonderful Joy Rides with a real treat for January! Yes, another year bites the dust, but the Beg Bicycles January Joy Ride proposes to blow away the cobwebs, while still retaining some festive cheer! We have not one but TWO potential foodie stops on the way. Well, we have to ease ourselves back in gently, don’t we?
The January ride is on Sunday 20 January. We’ll be meeting at Shepreth train station car park at 10.30am. To fortify us prior to setting off, we’ll have tea and cake at Teacake, a lovely little tea room in Shepreth, which we went to last January and is well worth a return visit for its warm welcome and the owners’ impressive knowledge of aromatic teas!
From there, we’ll cycle to Fowlmere, Newton, Haslingfield and Barrington (yes, we’re going up Barrington Hill, gulp!) and then have another well-deserved pit stop at the Royal Oak pub in Barrington. Keeping it informal, Esther won’t be booking a table for us all for this stop, so if you’d like to eat please do, or just stop for a drink, the choice is yours!
From Barrington, we’ll continue back to Shepreth. The cycle route is a round trip of 11 miles.
Really hope you can join us on 20 January! Any queries, as ever, please do drop Esther a line at email@example.com.
We try to avoid it generally, but brace yourself. We are going to mention the C word.
Ah! There it is, out in the open for all to see – and indeed, yes, summer really is only just over, but Christmas is a coming – in all its splendid, joyful, consummate glory!
Dare we say it, but some of our fabulously organised customers are already stocking up with BEG goodies – bikes have been ordered, helmets wrapped, bike baskets sent to Father Christmas…
But if you’d actually like to come and see us, try out a bike (they make amazing Christmas presents – particularly to yourself), see which helmet suits you, pick up a flask for Uncle Brian and procure a satchel for your hipster son/daughter/nephew/boyfriend (insert as appropriate), we are going to have a SHOP at The Country Living Christmas Fair in Islington, London! The fair runs from Wednesday 7th November until Sunday 11th November, and has extended hours on the Wednesday for a gala evening, so you can always pop in after work.
Ho ho ho indeed!
You will be able to buy there and then from our entire BEG Bicycles collection and even better, we will be including our beautiful handmade willow baskets FREE with any bicycle purchase made during the course of the fair.
If you’d like to come, we are giving away TWO free tickets worth £13.00 each in a competition over on our facebook page. Simply follow the linkhere and drop us a line to tell us…
I would like a BEG Bicycle for Christmas because…’
Someone switched on Autumn all of a sudden, but there is still time for some lovely seasonal bike rides before the weather turns wintery! We’ve got lots of great rides lined up in the coming months, including our regular Cambridge ride this Sunday (21st October). Joy Rides also crossed the channel this month (Le Joy Ride Paris?) for a very scenic ride along the Seine, and we’ll be doing another one in November. Details to follow for any Parisians who would like to come along. Chapeau!
From there we’ll be cycling through Cambridge and out to Milton Country Park, where we’ll enjoy a cuppa at the country park cafe before completing a circular route back to Newnham Road. The ride is approximately 8 miles. Really hope you can join us!
Don’t forget, you can find out more information about Beg Bicycles at www.begbicycles.com and can read all about our previous Joy Riding exploits here!
O September – how you tease the poor cyclist with your unpredictable and unreliable ways! You revel in tripping us up, running us amok with your indecisiveness. You create all sorts of dilemmas with your chilly mornings and long shadows, all glaring sunlight and chances of rain and your sultry afternoons that delude us that summer is back and that require the miraculous appearance of a completely different outfit.
An array of decision-making processes fill the September cyclist’s head as they attempt to pack the panniers for the confusing day ahead whilst keeping it as minimal as possible. Bare legs or not (with coordinating goose bumps?), how many layers, that ‘in-between season’ jacket that you’ve never actually owned, a (gasp at the horror) cagoule (or rather chic cycling-specific raincoat), sunnies… and that’s just the wardrobe. Where’s it all going to fit? Load up the basket? Use panniers today? Get a pack-horse and tether it up to the back of the bike?
Despair not however because we all know, of course, that Autumn ‘for real’ is just around the corner (hurrah), and revel in its crisp, sharp air and soggy leaves we shall!
Here at BEG we’re feeling the autumn glow already and are excitedly looking forward to getting wrapped up for chilly cycling and hitting the road with some great new products that will make your daily cycling commute, or weekend jaunt on your wheels all that bit more cosy and pleasurable! Let us therefore introduce, without further ado, our new Autumn Winter 2012 campaign- Crisp Autumn Cycling…
Thanks to lovely Hush homeware for featuring us (or at least Catherine) on their blog and newsletter this month. We now all know where to go to get our new stylish cycling wardrobes this Autumn! I want that super-cosy looking red outfit on the homepage in its entirety! You can read the interview with Catherine here on the Hush blog.
And by the way, Catherine says she doesn’t normally cycle around with dead leaves dangling out her basket. Right. We did wonder…
Check out the beautiful Hush AW12 collection at www.hush-uk.com. Oh and, Hush… tell your stylist to get some decent wheels for your model next time. That old bike has seen better days!