It’s funny how trends work. Unless you are an uber-fashionista, who needs not the slightest sniff of styling semaphore to be ahead of the curve, the vast majority of us lesser style gurus need a trend to be around for some time before we can even consider embracing it. Take ‘bootleg jeans’. Shockingly flared and ridiculously long compared to their precursors, they quickly came to symbolise all that was right about a pair of trousers… suddenly one had legs that were fifteen inches longer and thighs that thought they were calves and to consider wearing anything else would have been laughable. But whoOOAAHHH! The circumferentially-challenged ‘skinny’ jean stealthily crept into the denim vernacular and into our wardrobes and all of a sudden, just HOW ridiculous did any other jeans style seem? And thus it is with the fickle and frivolous world of fashion.
One trend that is huge right now and is making us smile wryly in a big way at the moment is the all-pervading trend for fluoro. The high street has become a veritable strip-joint of Hi-vis, neon, acid (oh ok.. no one says that anymore. Showing my age… how embarrassing.). Call it what you will, but look how anyone and everyone in the, eeek, dare we say it, ‘cycle chic’ cycling world is laughing on the other side of our faces right now. We’ve all sneered at fluoro in recent years, in the same way that we’ve snootily turned our noses up at lycra, bottle cages and time trials… fluoro simply made the wrong statements about the kind of dignified, genteel cycling that we wanted to do in our ‘everyday’ clothes. Can you imagine what a hi-viz vest would look like over a vintage tea dress and platform sandals? Purrrrrleeeeaaase! Like a red rag to a bull a high-viz vest worn by a cyclist was literally screaming out “I’m a vulnerable ignoramus, naively peddling along this road that belongs to you, O Great Vehicle Driver, so why don’t you please ingratiate yourself to come and knock me off!”. As inflammatory a subject as The Great Helmet Debate, fluoro divided communities, created cycling tribes and caused Marmite-style polarised reactions. Indeed, sceptics would say that wearing purpose-designed fluoro not only encourages the idea that cycling is inherently unsafe, putting off would-be new riders but also potentially places the blame with the rider rather than encouraging drivers to be more vigilant.
But are we now on the brink of a high-viz fluorolution? The SS13 catwalks were full of the stuff, and once you start looking, it seems the world around us is too. We went for our usual Sunday morning family cycle ride yesterday along the Seine (where , I hasten to add, they in the process of doing a huge amount of regeneration work to turn the verges into a car-free, pedestrian and cycling (segregated, I gleefully add!) utopia) and it felt like an all-out affront of the garish stuff. Maybe I’m just super-sensitive to it being in the ether at the moment.
But whether it conjures up dim and distant memories of mid 80s Kajagoogoo, wiry marathon runners pounding the streets or just evokes the die-hard commuter brigade on folding bicycles, Fluoro is so hot right now, it’s sizzling. Superlatives abound. Zesty, vibrant, punchy, acid, zingy. And if a little bit of reflective fluoro helps us be seen in the dark out there on the mean streets, hallelujah! Fashion has come to its senses, and a perfect harmony of stye and functionality prevails. Our mantra for all things cycling precisely.
So, in a ‘Things You Would Never Expect Us to Say…” type post, here’s our round-up of the very zingiest fluoro cycling products out there right now. And what a treat they look with our BEG collection of bicycles and accessories…
Effervescent Fluorescent – We Love You!
no.1 Vespertine Reflective Vest Collection. Surely the haute couture of the reflective garb world!
no. 2 Spot Me Reflective pin-on badges.
no.3 Incredible glow-in-the dark Monroe Reflective Penny loafers (check out the incredible colour palette available!). Cole Haan.
no. 4 Veja SP.MA hi tops. Is any other shoe worth wearing? Who knew hi-viz could be so stylish?
no. 5 Love Bike Wear Reflective sash.
no. 6 Dargelos. A hi viz vest that is definitely not the old-school variety!
… and featuring the BEG Bella bicycle throughout in Persephone Pink, 3 speed £675.00
… bike on by to Beg Bicycles. We’ve got some truly inspirational gift ideas for the cyclist – and non-cyclist in your life…or simply for treating yourself!
All items available for immediate dispatch www.begbicycles.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 link here and drop us a line to tell us…
I would like a BEG Bicycle for Christmas because…’
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!
We’ve been wanting to write a blogpost for ages about our friend Tiffany. We first met Tiffany when we spied some of our BEG collection on her lovely foodie + cycling blog, www.tifamade.tumblr.com, and then we found out that we had two things in common… pink bicycles (sigh!), and a love of Paris (it was living in Paris that inspired us in the first place to start BEG – as have probably said 67, 000 times!).
So please allow us to introduce Tiffany of Tifamade, urban cyclist, creator of Tifamade (delectably handmade lunches and beautifully styled catering brought to you by bicycle), doyenne of the gourmet Parisian sandwich, calligrapher (Tiffany did our ‘Glorious Summer of Cycling‘ lettering), photographer, cyclechic designer and general uber-cool girl about town (and not just any town. Sorry. Forgot, we’d mentioned Paris already. It is lovely though)…
Hello, Tiffany! Tell us a bit about how you got into cycling your gorgeous pink bicycle all over Paris selling such delectable goodies from your vintage suitcase?
Hi BEGsters! So the long story is that I was living in Pantin at the time, and used the Canal Hoche/St. Martin to commute to Paris centre. I saw a triporteur for rent at a bike shop on the canal and couldn’t help thinking there should be some use for it. And I happened to stumble upon (ride upon?) the suitcase at just the same time. I was dating a coursier à velo (bike courier) so cycling was kind of a household thing.
Where did your love of cycling come from?
My dad is a huge cyclist who comes to France each year from the States for one of the big races. I grew up looking for a way to spend time with him, and that necessitated loving bikes too.
What gave you the inspiration to start Tifamade.
I thought about all the great food trucks in the United States, and then thought that I’d never be able to do that in Paris. So I decided to use my bike instead.
What’s your best-sellling sandwich?
Maybe I’m projecting because I love it so much, but anytime I make sandwiches with beet hummus, I get a lot of love. Beet hummus is a nice mellow way to eat beets if you aren’t already a huge fan of them.
How do you find cycling in Paris?
I started wearing a helmet religiously last year because my mom was getting an ulcer worrying about me. I say a lot of bad words under my breath because, to be honest, it can be a little sketchy sometimes. For the most part, I really enjoy the universal bike lane and Sundays when cyclists have a lot of freedom throughout the city.
We hear you also design a mean line of cycling accessories..?
Thanks, I try! I’m always trying to solve some design problem because I don’t necessarily want to roll up looking like a hard-core cyclist. Hence the cute bike lock sock and the pant guard. I’m still waiting for my millions, however.
What’s next in the Tifamade empire?
I’m dying for a cargo bike. But like with other bike-related designs, I’m looking for something that isn’t too cargo-y.
… to the Queen on her Golden Jubilee and a remarkable 60 years on the throne!
What are you doing to celebrate?
…and for once we’re not talking about our bicycles!
The fabulous Laura Wright, classical soprano and classical music chart topper, is riding our very own Bella in this week’s Hello magazine (and our 100% lambswool picnic blanket makes an appearance too!). We love Laura so this is all rather exciting!
Laura’s having an incredible year. Having been top of the classical album charts in 2011 with her album The Last Rose, Laura became the first soprano to perform at the Olympic Stadium in March and has been selected to record the new Diamond Jubilee song, ‘Stronger As One’, which HM The Queen mentioned in her Commonwealth Day Message at Westminster Abbey in March where the song was premiered. She’s also just sung at the FA Cup final – and at our favourite – The RHS Chelsea Flower Show. Her new album, ‘Glorious’, was released yesterday – a unique collection of great British songs, old and new, which will celebrate and commemorate the Diamond Jubilee – where she will fly the flag for Britain!
Anyway, we think Laura looks just beautiful - and Bella isn’t bad either!
Many thanks to the team at Hello, Laura Wright and our friend, Selina Lake.
Some things like dentist appointments and Sunday evenings seem to come round so quickly. And some things don’t. Here’s one of those things we’ve been dying to talk about for a long long time – and having waited for what feels like an eternity, finally can! And we have a competition to announce too.
It all started about a year ago when we were on the lookout for an artist to do a stylish little illustration of our bicycles for us. We were immediately taken with Bristol-based illustrator Clare Owen’s gorgeous work, and felt the fit with Beg was great. So we contacted Clare, and as it turned out, by great coincidence, Clare had just been commissioned to illustrate an entire book dedicated to cycling for women. We sent Clare some of our Beg bicycles images to use as inspiration, and then the wait started.
And now here – ta-dah – it is!
Written by style journalist and style cyclist, Katie Dailey, Heels on Wheels: A Lady’s Guide to Owning and Riding a Bike is making its bookshop debut today. Perfectly timed for the joy of Spring cycling, Heels on Wheels is a compendium of information for women about everything to do with cycling, including lots of practical advice from choosing the right bike for you (of course, we already know the answer to that!), understanding what type of cyclist you are, and learning how to fix a puncture. Every page is full of sugar almond colours, Clare’s delightful illustrations – including a few that bear more than a passing resemblance to our very own wheels – making the whole book a real visual treat. It’s clear from the moment that you set eyes on this book, that maintaining one’s sartorial integrity is as important as stopping at traffic lights. We couldn’t agree more.
Here’s what the publisher, Hardie Grant Books says;
“Learning to ride a bike is easy, but getting back on one if you’re over the age of twelve – and particularly if you have developed a penchant for a tricky shoe– can be a daunting task. Katie Dailey offers the modern girl some sage advice for getting into the saddle either for the first time, or for the first time in a long time. Heels on Wheels uncovers all things bike-related from how to choose your ‘Trusty Steed’ to the more practical details of how to navigate the busy streets, how to avoid accidents, and how to protect your bike from thieves. Beautifully illustrated throughout, the delightful pictures alone will inspire you to give two wheels a go. So whether you see yourself as a ’Speed Demon’, ‘Earth Mother’, ‘Fashion Victim’ or a ‘Retro Rider’ on two wheels, Katie Dailey’s charming and practical advice will help you fall in love with cycling either for the first time, or all over again.”
This is such a useful little book, but it is also witty, inspiring and just a jolly nice thing to own or give as a pressie to a practicing or wannabe cyclist.
And on that note, we’re really pleased to say that HOT off the press, we have a signed copy of the book to give away to one lucky person! We’d simply like you to tell us what your dream outfit and heels of choice would be for a ride on your wheels. Please email us at email@example.com by Friday 16th March and we’ll announce the winner shortly after.
Heels on Wheels by Katie Dailey is published by Hardie Grant Books and is available to buy online here.
We’re enjoying London Fashion Week, and were very excited to see that our BEG Bicycle colours are spot-on trend-wise! Look at Mulberry‘s beautiful SS12 collection. Can’t imagine anything more beautiful to ride bicycles in than some of those summery outfits. Just needs a couple of Bellas and a Betty in there to complete the collection! Definitely Cycle Chic.