11th June, 2014
We all know (even if we don't like to admit it), that really, all the stuff we get to buy for our favourite hobbies is just as fun (possibly more fun?!) than actually doing the hobby. This is especially true when it comes to cycling. Bicycle culture has its fair share of accessories and its own set of aesthetics. Of course, within the cycling-mad subsection of society there are a number of distinct groups, from the fixie-riding urban hipster to the amateur road racer, from the teenage BMX fanatic to the mountain biking junkie. They may all have different sensibilities, different 'looks' and different types of bike, but they all share a love of bicycle accessories, gadgets, paraphernalia, add-ons and any other stuff they can get their hands on.
There are a number of retail outlets, institutions, cafes, lifestyle websites, cycling blogs and artistic projects that have sprung up in response to this demand for all things cycling. Now, it's true that our biking vacations in the UK and Europe cycling tours tend to be on the gentle side, offering routes that go easy on distance and gradients so you can enjoy what's around you (instead of that big hill up ahead). However, just because we're all about fair-weather, relaxed cycling holidays, and our customers may not be 'serious cyclists', this doesn't mean we (and you!) can't still enjoy indulging in a spot of accessory shopping and partake in bicycle culture. Cycling is a democratic mode of transport, so anyone should be able to join in and get their hands in some bike stuff - even if it's just for a weekend cycling break.
Shops to visit before embarking on your bicycle adventures
look mum no hands!
This is an awesome cafe and shop which serves incredible coffee and tasty, reasonably-priced snacks and sells lots of trendy bikes and cycling accessories. In fact, it feels more like a London bicycle cultural and social hub than anything else - the labels 'cafe' and 'shop' really don't do it justice. It's always buzzing with people and they often host events here too, like book launches for bike-related publications such as - a good read by the way! It's generally a brilliant place to go and tap into London cycle circles.
A wonderful idea if we ever saw one. Your one-stop shop for all things written about bicycle adventures, cycling tours and generally anything else even vaguely cycling-related. Some examples of what's on the bookshelf here.... Jack Thurston's 'Lost Lanes' - a Carter Company favourite and a beautifully presented book about backroads bike tours in England, and Paul F Pinsky's 'Biking Through The Hoods', billed as an engaging exploration of urban America. There's also some more niche tomes you can discover here, like 'Stamp Collecting For The Cyclist' by Ronald F Sudbury. Written in 1981, it's an illustrated catalogue of stamps issued between 1887 and 1979 that feature bicycles. Very specific!
This online shop is all about helping you to cycle in style. What more could you want? There's also a great blog, limited edition products exclusive to CycleChic and loads of helpful insider tips on how to choose the right accessories for you. As well as recreational cycle wear, which is perfect for commuters and those fixie-riding fixies, the site now also sells a sporty range for those who see their biking vacations and cycling holidays as a chance to get fit. In other words, if this is you, we would recommend our more challenging UK cycling tours. Brands like Chapeau are stocked, which are founded on the philosophy that bike-related stuff' should be good enough to live on display, garnering a sense of interest from the un-initiated - not bewilderment and sometimes repulsion! Its official, cycling is now cool and we can all start being a bit more proud of our sport!' We couldn't agree more!
Stuff to get before going on a cycling tour or biking vacation
Panniers are all-round heroes. If you're heading out on a bicycle vacation, they hold your packed lunch, your padlock, your binoculars and the kitchen sink. We love them. Travel in style with a bright-coloured option like these Basil Bloom panniers from Rose Bikes.
If you're out enjoying a gentle cycling tour around the UK you don't need to don a full-blown lycra suit, but you don't want your trousers getting caught in the chain ring either. There's a solution to this... trouser straps! The coolest and most understated have to be the leather ones made by Brooks. They come in a variety of colours too.
We're getting slightly weird and wacky now but this is just wonderful. The website for this bike accessory (also see photo above) greets you with the question: 'Hey bike lovers, why the long face? Lacking some horsepower?' If the answer is yes, the solution is Trotify. Positioned as the world's leading 'bike-horse hybridiser', this is a wooden device that sits on your front wheel and makes your bike clop like a horse. What more could you want? See it in action here. We think customers on all our UK biking vacations and European cycling tours should have one. Available on request!