Brilliant Bespoked Bristol

I had the great pleasure of attending Bespoked Bristol, the UK Handmade Bicycle Show on Saturday. The show is now appropriately held in Brunel’s wooden train shed at Temple Meads – a building elegantly marrying form and function, a quality found in glorious abundance on exhibitors’ stands.

Judging by the quality of the craftsmanship on show, handmade frame building appears to be in rude health. With Bristol basking in early spring sunshine, and exhibitors keen to show off their wares, the palpable positive vibes and sense of pride were infectious.

Cold realities of austerity and deficit reduction could be forgotten, if only for a short while.

There were awards at the show and you can read about the winners on the website.

However, they were all winners as far as I’m concerned.


(Day) Dream Rides

When I’m not on my bike, I spend an unhealthy amount of time thinking about them. It’s a pretty sad admission to make, but there you have it… I’ve come out of the closet.

Normally, I’ll be thinking of new components to add or composing a new ‘high end’ wheelset for my Audax. Then there are new tools I can acquire so I can do more jobs in my garage rather than resorting to my LBS.

The best daydreaming (or worst, if you ask my other half) focuses on new bikes to add to the stable. I’ve already ‘fessed up to my love affair with Mercian frames and one day I may own one. The other target of my desire is the Moulton.

I had the great pleasure of riding a ‘Bradford-on-Avon’ machine a few years ago. It was stunning, as was the price.

The ingenious suspension provided deliciously smooth ride despite the frame being incredibly stiff and strong. The stainless steel tubing and brazing were astonishing. I can understand why travel writer and Moutltoneer Eric Newby once said these machines are the work of Faberge.

They are quirky, admittedly, but this only adds to their appeal.

Many frown at the hoops, but small wheels have never bothered me. I cycled daily across London for five years on a Bike Friday Pocket Llama and I like the quick acceleration and incredible strength of the 406 wheelset.

I note now that the Double Pylon New Series Moulton is £5,500, which is more than my car cost. This I will never afford unless the Camelot gods smile upon my other half (I don’t play) and feels I deserve a present.

There is another option, though. Stratford-upon-Avon manufacturer Pashley make a Moulton under licence, the TSR. The ‘touring’ version is bedecked with Campagnolo bits and might just fit me with some fettling.

I don’t need another bike, I know, but there’s no room for rational thinking here. As long as I have garage, it’s my ambition to fill it. If the worst happens, I can always sell them.