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A bicycle made for two…

April 13, 2014 in Bicycle inspiration, Cycling Accessories, Reviews

 

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.

 

Perfectly cool for school…

August 31, 2012 in Cycling Accessories, Reviews

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).

 

Italian Bicycle B(Elle)

May 3, 2012 in Press, Reviews

A press round-up is long overdue, so here’s the first of some wonderful spring press to feature us recently.

First up, a great big thank you to Elle Italia magazine for thinking pink and featuring our Bella model in Persephone Pink in their 2012 May edition!

Introducing BEG Bicycle Bell(e)s #No.01

March 10, 2012 in Reviews

Undoubtedly, the single most pleasurable thing about being involved in the bike biz is getting to know the people who will ride the bicycles you sell… and make that bicycle an everyday part of their lives.

We have met some wonderful people – and wanted to introduce you to some of them in a regular series of BEG Bicycles Bell(e)s… and Beaus, of course, too! (By the way, if anyone can come up wit ha better title, we’re all ears!)

 

First to take to the stage is Cathy Olmedillas, the founder of The Anorak Press, an independent kids publishing house, makers of the endlessly creative, beautifully put together happy magazine for kids,  Anorak Magazine and  PLOC, a magazine aimed at younger children and illustrated by 60s French legend Alain Gree.

Cathy lives and cycles in East London.

 

 

Tell us a bit about you and your bicycle?

Cycling is in my DNA, as I spent every weekend of my childhood cheering my dad in cycling races or going on rides with his cycling club. I have been cycling in London for ten years and I love the new cycling scene that’s appeared in the past few years, with its cafes and shops.

I chose a BEG bicycles (a BEG Bella in green) having seen it when one of our Australian stockists, Lark  featured your bikes on their blog and it was love at first sight! I had had ‘sit-up-and-beg’ bikes in the past, but they were all vintage and required a lot of maintenance. I thought that if I got a new one, I’d spend less money in the long run having to fix this and that. That was my way of justifying buying a new bike anyway! A couple of weekends later, I travelled to Cambridge to test it and I bought it! Nothing was going to stop me!

How do you use your bicycle in your day-to-day life?

It’s my number one method of transport around London. I do the school run with it and cycle to meetings with it too. I used to ride with my son at the back in a child seat but in the last four years, he has been riding his own bike.

How would you describe yourself as a cyclist? 

I am a leisurely (and happy) cyclist.  I am lucky enough to live and work in a borough like Hackney, which is brilliant for cycling, as it is not that congested and it has a nice canal to cycle along. Because I have cycled since I was a young child, I am very comfortable on any roads. Although, when cycling in central London, I become a tad edgier and a lot less leisurely but then, you have to be very confident to the point of almost arrogance, because often other vehicles are quite happy to just pretend you don’t exist and force you to cycle too close to the pavements. I have many times bashed the side of white vans to make my presence felt!! Which of course attracts torrents of insults, but I am used to it!

Do you have any little rituals or techniques with regard to your cycling habits? 

My son pointed out that when I brake, I take my right foot off the pedal and swing it back to forth. Until he mentioned it, I hadn’t realized I was doing that! Don’t ask me why, although I suspect I got that habit from an old bike which brakes probably didn’t work too well… Eeek.

Do you wear any special cycling gear when you’re out and about on your bicycle? If not, what do you wear?!

No I never wear anything special to go cycling. I may wear something loose and some flat shoes if I go on a long ride, but for day-to-day, I always wear whatever I plan to wear. It’s especially easy to do that with a BEG bike because you are in a sitting position, so heels and dresses work perfectly fine.

Have you bought any accessories (not necessarily BEG ones of course) specially for this bicycle – or for you personally as a cyclist?

Bella came with everything I needed: a great bell, wonderful saddle and chunky lights. I bought a red satchel last year to carry my laptop around.

What’s going through your head when you’re on your bicycle?

Generally plain happy thoughts! Cycling is such a wonderful experience, it’s cheap, fun, keeps you fit, it doesn’t hurt the planet and it gets you there quicker than walking!

How does cycling make you feel as a person?

Free. Happy. Good.

Any tips you’d like to share with people – ie regarding safety on your bike..?  How you lock the bicycle…?  How you look after it…?

Unlike in Copenhagen where you see unlocked bikes everywhere, London is not safe for bikes. In the last ten years, I have had three bikes stolen. I have three locks on Bella, one for the saddle, one for the front wheel and the back one that comes with the bike. I prefer the U-locks because they are much harder to break and they are cheaper.

Any ambitions involving your bicycle…?

I would love to go on a cycling holiday in Denmark. I love the family cycling culture in Copenhagen and would love to discover more of Denmark on a bike.

Your favourite ride…?

I have great memories of cycling races when I was a kid, although I never took part in them, it’s all the rituals I vividly remember like the men’s shaved legs, the smell of camphor oil, the gross injuries and the muddy winters with cyclo-cross. My favourite ride as a grown-up was with my friends Marcus and Rob last year. We cycled to Dungeness. We had fish and chips there and then cycled to beautiful Rye. Such a wonderful landscape, and believe me, we had plenty of time to appreciate it because the winds were so strong, it felt like we were cycling backwards! When we thought we were over the worst, a hailstorm broke over our heads. We were soaked and tired for most of the journey back, but we had a great laugh. I definitely want to find the time to do more of that this year.

Illustration (of Cathy and her bicycle!) courtesy of { Katie Jean Harvey }

 

Thank you, Cathy!

 

Heels on Wheels and a competition!

February 29, 2012 in Bike Candy, Reviews

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 hello@begbicycles.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.