I would love a new bicycle. Who wouldn’t? Reggie, the Ridgeback Panorama, has served me well for nearly 10 years, although admittedly he hasn’t seen much action since I bought Dale, the Cannondale CAADX 105, a cross bike that I now ride whenever I need to get on two wheels. Reggie would need a very good service before going anywhere. Dale is good for commuting, day rides and, potentially, a little ‘adventure cycling’ with the bike packs I bought earlier in the year. Neither of them are up to the job if I choose to embark on another long trip. But that’s exactly what I have now committed myself to: Japan 2020. See this post for more details. Hence my desire to ‘invest’ once again…
I dare say with that good service mentioned above, I could ride Reggie from Cape Soya to Cape Sata with few problems. Or rather, with no more problems than those that I encountered on the long European trips in 2010, 2013 and 2015. Those who were reading the posts on this website way back in 2009 may remember that after buying the bike – an off-the-peg Ridgeback tourer – I spent several months tinkering with things, most notably the handlebars. This fundamentally changed the geometry of the bike for which I had been measured to the millimetre. Over the years I have come to the conclusion that although I had a good touring bike, Reggie would never be a great one simply because of the changes I had inflicted upon him.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have a bike made-to-measure according to my whims… Well, I know there are clearly cost implications but let’s set that significant hurdle aside for a few moments and imagine we lived in a world where everything came for free.
If I were going to buy a bespoke bicycle for touring, where would I go to have one made? Well I could start in worse places than Bespoked: The UK Handmade Bicycle Show. It has been taking place in (mainly) Bristol since 2011 and in 2013 I got on the train and went along to have a look at the bicycles. You can read how I got along here. It’s a sweet shop for bicycles to beat most others and every year they give awards in various categories. The following are the winners of the touring bike awards since 2013 (the website is no longer available for 2011 & 2012). I’ve tried to hyperlink them to the makers website where it exists. Thoughts, as ever, are welcome.
Woodrup Cycles are Leeds -based – handy…
Feather is Yorkshire-based; York, I think… I was chatting to the people from Sven Cycles only the other day at the York Bike Rally. Here’s the picture I took of one of their beautiful bikes:
- Sven Cycles
- Oak Cycles (seemingly too cool to have a website…)
Here’s a picture of the Oak Cycles bike that I took when I visited Bespoked in 2013.