This past weekend I visited the very lovely 'Bespoked' handmade bicycle show in Bristol. Making a day of it I set out with a very good chum for a wonderfully sunny daytrip, taking an early morning train out from London. The exhibition showcased some great UK framebuilders complimented by different stands encompassing the many different spheres of the current cycling scene. 
There's no denying that cycling has become more popular than ever, with many different builders popping up over the last couple of years. One only has to browse the internet for proof of such a burgeoning scene, and on a daily basis im consistently amazed at some of the beautiful and lust-worthy bikes and kit popping up all over the place. Bespoked, making its maiden voyage into the world of bike lust with a roaring success of a show last year, returned bigger and better, with a whole host of exhibitors showcasing some delish bikes & fodder.
First to greet visitors at the top of the entrance staircase was a collection of extremely anticipated builds. This year marks the efforts of Rapha to globalize their unique 'Continental' programme, and at Bespoked were 4 of the frames to be used in the UK continental rides. Ricky Feathers bike, that Max Leonard will throw his legs over for the uk rides also won the 'Best Road Bike' category for the show, and its really not hard to see why! Lush detailing, and as you'd expect from the Perrn St mob, that timeless black with a dash of pink componentry.
The three other frames garnered much attention, with Donhou building a disc braked steel beauty, complete with wound up forks, Brian Rourke crafting a beautifully proportioned frame for the towering rider Graham, (and curiously unlike most large frame sized it actually looks fabulous) and the Robin Mather displayed, with its funky decal. 
The UK continental project will see six talented riders undertake a series of quintessential rides across the British isles, documenting the landscape and weather fluctuations of our country in the typically rapha-esque aesthetic. Watch their website for more information as the rides are undertaken.
James points out that only one bike used any pink on the framework, in a small and eloquent tribute to a sufferer of breast cancer. Unfortunately I blurred the detailing of this meaningful gesture.
The Brian Rourke stand contained a lot of lovely frames, and their race ready beast built up was one mean machine! My friend James is collecting his custom rourke this weekend, and having kept us in the dark for 6 months about the colour scheme, we couldn't help but wonder if his frame was sat perched upon the wall, staring back at us.
The show had loads of race bikes built using steel, it seems the material has truly made a resurgence, and some of the builds were light indeed.
It was also great to meet Richard, the man behind the Urban Hunter webstore. Iv always been a fan of their, as they seem to stock some really cute trinkets and lines that are exclusive to them (I think they are the only people to be punting those super euro Salice glasses). 
They had some nice things on display at their stand, with some nice racey Italian bits to some serious courier bags for the fixie dudes.
Rowland and I had our hearts stolen by a custom brand called Legend, creating by the man who was the brains behind the Viner bikes. I lusted after a scarlet matted carbon peach, whereas Si fell for a cheeky Ti number...

Stoepid Riding

New Chav Slippers? Apparently DMT's

The Descenders

Is there anything more exhilarating in cycling than the descent? The noise of the freewheel, the air rushing past your skin, and the feeling of pushing the limits to how long you dare not touch the brake lever. Some cyclists descend with so much speed and skill, their body guiding the bike around every corner, that I instantly want to saddle up and hit the longest quietest hill I can find to tear down. Enjoy...

Tenspeed Hero Wool

Check out these nice charcoal Defeet socks over at Tenspeed Hero, in thin 65% merino wool, perfect for spring riding. Natty hosiery indeed...


Whats Your Poison?

Im officially declaring the humble 'Cortado' as my drink of choice for this coming summer during those long lazy cafe stops. Cortado (from the Spanish cortar) is an espresso "cut" with a small amount of warm milk to reduce the acidity. The ratio of milk to coffee is between 1:1 - 1:2, and the milk is added after the espresso.
In Cuba, it is known as a cortadito. It's usually served in a special glass, often with a metal ring base and a metal wire handle. There are several variations, including cortado condensada (espresso with condensed milk) and leche y leche (with condensed milk and cream on top). These drinks look amazing with their intricate layering!

Vintage PhilGil

Euro earring? check. Nice watch? check. Paddling pool? check. Vintage PhilGil killing it


Still one of my all time favourite songs, first discovered on Rapha's Giro LP. When the sun is shining I cant help but smile when I hear this, be it on the bike or cooking up a storm in my kitchen. Summer - sulla strada! 

GreenEDGE Backstage Pass - MSR

Milan San Remo

Check out the Getty Images gallery of the 2012 edition of La Primavera, Milan-San Remo, shot by good friend and all round photo ace Bryn Lennon. Below are some snips from the set...

A Thank You!

Just a small post to thank every person who very kindly donated to see myself & my father run a half marathon in aid of Parkinsons UK, a cause close to our hearts. We had a modest target of £250 to raise, and smashed it by achieving a total of £1030!!! I was really touched by some of the message left on our justgiving page, so thank you from the bottom of my heart! For now, its back in the saddle for a nice 8 week block of riding before heading off to Italy for a jaunt in the Dolomites.
Big shout out to my old man for running it - dad I know what a struggle those last few miles were for you, and I told you id come good on my promise not to drop you, was ace to cross the finish line arms aloft. Forza Atkinsons!

Bike Lust

Rapha Shoes

There's no denying that those folks at Perren St have been busy this past season, turning out some really nice new products to compliment their three clothing collections, the training & racing range, city range and ladies collection. Their latest offering, set to be a huge hit this summer, is their exquisitely titled 'Grand Tour Shoe'.
I love the clean monochrome look, similar to the fizik R3 shoes. The perforated upper looks like it will compliment the grand tour gloves really well, im sure an intentional move on Rapha's part. Im a sucker for anything sparkly and white when it comes to cycling gear, so I have to say for me the white ones win over the black ones, although I reckon the black ones will look suitably 'epic' when someone like Kristian House is wearing them drilling up the front of a Premier Calendar race in the rain ;)
The shoes of course feature all those natty little details that we have come to expect from the brand, including insoles emblazoned with Anquetil & Coppi, individual dust bags, reflective heel logo, and a comprehensive arch support system (the Giro SuperNatural system) to tailor the fit to each foot.
A collaboration between Giro & Rapha, the shoes will feature an easton carbon sole, and an exclusive Yak upper made by footwear textile aficionados ecco. Its clear a lot of thought has gone into the execution of these clogs, with rapha pulling in experts within the footwear arena to perfectly execute such a wager into a new area of the market for them. First impressions certainly do look grand for this shoe, I for one cant wait to check them out in the flesh soon.
The shoes are set to hit general release on April 10th, with a comprehensive set of sizes to be offered, from 39-48, including half sizes to enable the best fit. The shoes will drop at £300, no small investment for sure, but I suspect the life-cycle (no pun intended) of these moccs will be plentiful, therefore going some way to soften the blow on the wallet of a buyer. The outlay will also secure some of the top end technology available in cycle footwear today, short of a full custom shoe such as the D2 offerings.
Below are the gorgeous custom decoupage rapha shoes created by artist James Straffon, they are simply stunning! for more info on James' cycle inspired art, check out his website

Chav Tatt