With thanks to the Evening Standard Magazine
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.
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!
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’?
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!
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.
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!
Combining genuine style with practicality is an art form, and its what we really believe in here at BEG Bicycles. Finding products designed for cycling that work really well and look as good on or off the bike. So it’s a real pleasure for us to be able to announce our latest cycling accessory collaboration.
Introducing the BEG Bicycles Michaux Club Limited Edition collection of handbags, made in Britain and designed for cyclists.
Created for modern women, the collection combines the desire to be elegant and stylish with the practical requirements of busy lifestyles and the functional needs of transportation by bikes. The Beg Bicycles Michaux Club collection allows you to cycle with ease, and whether you’re conquering a daily commute to work or a leisurely ride at the weekend, Michaux Club bags not only provide the answer to your cycling concerns, but also take you from bike to boardroom in an instant. No one would ever know you are sporting the latest in rider safety accessories. Ingenious features such as 3M reflective detailing for safer night time cycling and a cross body support strap are all given a carefully considered aesthetic.
The bags are constructed with a waterproof cotton canvas outer layer to ensure your belongings are kept safe and dry whatever the weather, combined with beautifully detailed, highest quality British vegetable tanned leather. Each bag cleverly incorporates unique technical elements including various fastening options, practical pocket positioning and discreet reflective inbuilt design.
In line with our own principals of keeping it local, Michaux Club are committed to creating their products as close to home as possible and believe manufacturing here in Britain is a defining aspect of their authenticity. The BEG Bicycles Michaux Club collection is hand made in the heart of the Lake District, on the factory’s original 300 year old site, and by one of the few truly British bag manufacturers still remaining in our country.
The Beg Bicycles Michaux Club collection comprises three uniques styles of bag, available in an exclusive to BEG new colourway, Stone, as well as black. Designed to look beautifully elegant, both with the BEG Bicycles ladies range of bicycles, or indeed with your wheels of choice, the collection will meet all your cycling needs, and look beautifully stylish to boot!
The go-anywhere rucksack: Lightening
Sleek, spacious and perfect for a busy lifestyle, the Lightening rucksack extends to fit your shopping or gym kit, and rolls down for less ambitious items, keeping all your belongings dry. From your cycle commute to work via the gym, with a quick food shop on the way home, this is a great all round style. Accessible pockets allow you to reach your belongings whilst cycling just in case you need to refer to your trusty map or mobile!
The must-have saddle bag: Shadow
Sigh. Was ever a saddle bag so stylish – or so versatile? The Shadow saddlebag clips beautifully onto the back of your saddle and then cleverly transforms into either a sweet little backpack, or a very stylish shoulder or crossbody bag, simply by re-fastening the convertible straps. Throw in a lipstick, your purse and keys, a mobile and a puncture repair kit and the day (and night!) are yours.
The boardroom to weekend bag: Zodiac
Cycle in style – and safety. A smart shoulder bag that can be used in every scenario from cycling to work meetings, or for leisure and pleasure. The Zodiac is worn across the body whilst cycling, and the anti-swing strap keeps your bag safely in position as you ride. Beautifully incorporated reflective panels are an integral part of the design and will ensure that you are safe and sound on dark nights.
The collection is now in stock and available to purchase for immediate shipping here.
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
To see our range of Yepp childseats, click here.
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.
Available in store now.
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
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.
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.
I would like a BEG Bicycle for Christmas because…’
… And Other Areas:
A Guide to Cosy Winter Cycling
Your Nether Regions
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 certainly isn’t one of them!
So one of the new products we’ve come up is the BEG Sheepskin Saddle Cover. 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!
Our natural sheepskin saddle covers are made in Great Britain from 20mm pile sheepskin, so are very sumptuous, soft and certainly a treat for your derriere! They are designed to perfectly fit Brooks B66 and 67 saddles, but because of their drawstring and toggle construction, they nicely fit many other saddles we have tried them on.
There is but one danger.
Once on, you may never want to get off. Could be a long ride.
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…
October – we embrace you!
All products now in store for immediate delivery @ www.begbicycles.com
It’s a poignant and emotional time of year. The dog days of summer didn’t even materialise. It’s a mix of excitement and terror at the thought of the holidays coming to an end, and The New Term beginning for young whipper snappers. And then for the rest of us who are too old for all that (and for whom life is sadly one long term time), there is a sense of real nostalgia… Clarks (sensible) shoe fitting machine, trips to Woolworths to buy a new pencil case with magnetic hidden compartments, Aertex PE shirts and envy at a friend’s beautifully sewn-in woven name labels (think mine were done with ballpoint). I only have to see a few dead leaves newly fallen on the pavement to get that whole thrill of the Back to School week. Of course it all wore off by week 2, the new shoes were already scuffed and you’d already lost half of your new and much cherished four-colour Bic biros but hey-ho! The fabric of life and all that.
So, whether you are getting ready for a super-smart return to the classroom, starting uni or traipsing back into the office – again(!) – next week, be the smartest kid on the block whatever your age with one of our old-school BEG leather satchels. For hiking or biking, our satchel collection will make sure you’re really kitted out in style. Made from beautifully soft, top grain tan leather that has been treated with a blend of oils and waxes to create vintage character and embossed with the BEG logo on the front, you’re sure to be top of the class from day 1! (Available in a range of sizes and styles. Prices from £45.00. See here for the full collection and details).
The Essential Components for a Perfect Bike Ride…
Flask of tea packed? Tick.
Custard creams in there too? Tick.
Softest, cosiest BEG picnic rug ready? Absolutely.
Following the success of our 100% lambswool picnic rug, we’re delighted to add this new collection of British-made, beautifully muted, recycled wool fringed rugs to the Beg cycling accessory collection.
Made from the left over ‘shoddy’ wool of virgin wool blankets, our new picnic rugs (picnic blankets, whatever you will…) clip onto the back of your Brooks saddle for perfect picnic portering using the full grain calfskin tan saddle carrying strap. If you don’t have a Brooks saddle - or if Shank’s Pony is your chosen method of transport, simply throw into your basket or use the handy carrying handle and picnic in style!
We’ve got three ever-so vintage-y colours that tone with our bicycles beautifully. Blankets in store now £59.00
PS Note the gratuitous shot of Millie Beg in there too. We couldn’t resist, and her legs aren’t long enough for a BEG bicycle yet!
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!
Hey! Yes you. Come over here for a minute….
We’ve got to share a little bit of information about an incredible scheme that far too many people don’t know anything about.
It’s quite staggering really, in this day and age of special offers, voucher codes, collective buying and internet price comparison charts that so many people don’t know about Cycle to Work – a simply brilliant way to fund buying a decent bicycle. Cycle to Work is a government-backed scheme that is part of the Green Transport plan (which aims to cut down on carbon emissions by having fewer vehicles on the road) by encouraging people to buy bicycles and cycle more to work. This we all know is great for health, the environment, the community and actually has no downsides whatsoever really. Essentially, the scheme works via a ‘salary sacrifice’ system, whereby your salary is slightly reduced over what is usually a 12 or 18 month period in order to pay for the bike. Because you will be paying back your employer for the bike from gross pay rather than net, you will benefit from tax and NI relief.
Here’s the most astounding bit… Cycle to Work can save you up to 42% on the price of a BEG bicycle and cycling accessories (such as a basket, lock or helmet) – enabling anyone in employment to obtain a bike and any other associated accessories at a substantially reduced price.
We’re delighted to have just signed up as an accredited partner to Cyclescheme, Britain’s leading independent organiser of the scheme. Here’s a delightful little film by Cyclescheme explaining how the process would work for you and how you could make these great savings on the purchase of a BEG Bicycle…
To read more about how you and your employer can be involved in the scheme and to learn about how you can buy a BEG bicycle this way, please see www.cyclescheme.com, a great website with lots of information.
If your employer has already signed up with Cyclescheme, then, as an accredited partner, we would be delighted to help by providing you with a quotation.
… now that our new, even lovelier picnic blankets saddle straps have arrived!
Our full grain tan calfskin leather straps now have beautiful BEG embossing on the handle and an even chunkier design for secure fitting to the back of your saddle.
No discerning Brooks saddle would be seen without, didn’t you know?!
So after all our months of planning, we finally got the chance to show our bicycles to a few of you at the Beg launch at the Country Living Spring Fair in Islington last week. Well, 25, 500 people to be precise. And boy, what a welcome we received. It was amazing to hear all the cooing over the bicycles and we even had a tear… not because the saddle was too high and it was painful, I hasten to add, but from a former District Nurse, who used to do her patient rounds on her beloved Sit Up and Beg bicycle! We got to hear some fabulous stories of people’s first bicycles, the excitement of unwrapping a new bicycle for Christmas and some incredible bicycles adventures people have had. We’re most excited about the sheer buzz there seems to be amongst women, in particular, who are keen to get back in the saddle and take to two wheels again.
All we REALLY needed was a velodrome for some test cycling (Health and Safety boringly prevented us from allowing people to have a bit of a pedal!) and I’m confident that there would have been a few bicycles riding off into the Islington sunset if we hadn’t kept a close eye on them!
We’re now really looking forward to seeing our new Beg bicyclists out and about enjoying their Bellas and Bettys, not to mention all the Old School Satchels that are gracing our streets. Thank you, lovely customers!