Dream Bike: Camo Rando by M.A.P.


Mitch from Map Biycles in Chico, California has always been one of my favorite builders. The dude just oozes a cool, confidence that always shows in his work. From customer builds to his own, Map never ceases to impress. Even when his bikes have digi camo on them.

Dream Bikes: This one the wildcat gear site

Now that is a great bike and bag setup ….


Nic from Look Mum No Hands got in touch about us making a Leopard frame bag for a new frame that Ryan at Oak Cycles was building for her. And, by the way…

I need it for Bespoked next month…

Some basic details were discussed, such as colour, number of compartments, overall size and width of the bag and so on. Besides all the usual options, this one would be a little different. Nic wanted it to be bolted to the frame along the underside of the top tube, and to the bottle cage bosses on the down tube. After a bit of discussion over how many bolts were needed to hold the bag in place, we concluded that as the main triangle was quite small, those specified would suffice.  Ryan wanted to maintain a certain aesthetic for the bike when the bags weren’t fitted.

The spine of the bag is stiffened with a 2mm plastic panel secured behind a fabric liner, so the inside of the bag looks like neat. The liner was inserted with hook and loop down one seam, so the plastic stiffener can be removed if necessary. Holes were drilled in precisely the right places on the plastic – based on the dimensions provided on the template – and corresponding holes made and sealed in the outer fabric layers.

All this was completed working off a paper template, and it wasn’t until we got to Bespoked we saw how well it had all come together. The Oak Cycles stand generated a lot of interest, both in the bike and the bags that were on it. It provided a good contrast between some of the more traditional touring bikes on show with the progression that has been made toward lightweight off road touring in recent years.

It was a pleasure to have provided the bags that contributed towards Ryan’s creation, which won  the Bespoked Bristol 2013 Best Touring Bicycle award.

Winner – Brooks bespoked bike Bristol – the dream cargo bike


From brooks blog

We are sad to report that our John Boultbee Patented Drool-ometer took its final tour of active duty last weekend in the West Country. It sustained irreparable damage, and succumbed to its injuries shortly after Dan Titchmarsh rolled in to Brunel’s Old Station from York on his Titchmarsh Scorpion Cargo Bike.

The Drool-ometer’s fuses quickly blew and its transistors did duly melt, while the needle repeatedly pounded against the housing wall in an apparent attempt to denote a new upper limit for Drool, ultimately snapping completely from its axis.

This is all by way of saying that Dan and his bike were the unsurprising winners in one of several prize categories that Brooks sponsored at this year’s Bespoked Bristol.

Since its first instalment in 2011, Bespoked has quickly become a popular fixture on the European circuit of boutique bicycle shows. With an always thoughtful roster of exhibitors, it allows a handful of the bigger industry names to rub shoulders with a host of markedly less global operations.

Party at the front, business at the back? Or vice versa? Or both?

The emphasis is decidedly on the independent, though, and the show draws crowds who are pathologically keen to talk at length with builders and designers on the finer points of lugging and brazing, geometries and materials, paintjobs and pricing, tax returns… no subject is off limits.

In these respects and others, it bears much resemblance with the North American Handmade Bicycle Show, and as we asserted in a piece for this year’s Brooks Bugle, Bespoked seems well on the way to emulating its Transatlantic counterpart as a Centre of Excellence in all things two-wheeled and human-powered.

We once again took a stand ourselves this time out, and as mentioned, were also involved in the competitive end of things. Brooks was happy to sponsor prizes in several categories at Bespoked this year. The award for Innovation in Product and Design went to the above mentioned Titchmarsh Scorpion.

This is high-end, hand-built haulage, and has understandably been priced as such.

“This was the bike I wanted to build”, the ex-courier tells us of his prototype steel-tubed load hauler. Tipping the scales at a relatively meagre 22kg, and still with ample opportunity to shave off a few pounds before it goes into full production, his Scorpion can be described as the culmination of 12 years of R&D, the final touches having been applied mere hours before the doors opened in Bristol last weekend.

The Scorpion differs from most other two-wheeled cargo bikes in its use of a hub centre steering system, as opposed to the standard solution of a single-sided steering shaft running the entire length of the loading area’s underside. Still with us? For readers who wish to go deeper, Dan explains in some detail on his website the rationale and execution of this move.

One place where he fortunately refused to deviate from tradition, however, is up on top of the seatpost. He took a Titanium Team Pro to finish things off, as will hopefully his drooling line of customers, who are already waiting for him to complete an initial short-run batch of production models.

Here and elsewhere, Brooks has frequently celebrated the Cargo Bike’s resurgence outside of its traditional Scandinavian strongholds, so we hereby extend our warmest congratulations again to Dan on a fine job of work, and on being the recipient of our Brooks Innovation Award at Bespoked 2013.

Bespoke steel from the states

Caletti Road Bike


There was an article in Velo a few issues back on “handmade” bikes. The author seemed confused at the term, given that many of the mass produced bikes in carbon are produced in Asian factories using a great deal of hand labor, rather than machines. I imagine that you, the reader, does not have the same confusion. I bet you “get it.” To me the term “handmade” is about something made by someone – using their inspiration, their creative mind, their artistic talents, the patient practice of their craft, with care, with enthusiasm. We are naturally attracted to this style, as it’s personal and unique and connects us more to the maker and the fruits of their labor.


I like the look of these Caletti bikes and i like the fact they give back to the community even more

Caletti Cycles is a member of 1% For the Planet, and as such donates 1% of annual sales towards organizations working to protect and preserve our planet. It’s a way of offsetting some of the damage done in manufacturing/shipping/selling products, and a way to help keep this amazing planet of ours a healthy place to live, work and play. Your dollars spent on bikes helps make this happen, so thank you!


There is something about steel : feather cycles

When you breeze the blogs and read the articles or follow the handmade bespoke scene there are a few names you encounter again and again. Feather cycles is one of them – creating bespoke steel beauties like this baby blue beaut . Apart from the crankset pretty much perfect.

here is the Rapha video of the man himself

[vimeo https://vimeo.com/40443925 w=600&h=338]

Bespoked Bristol Bike Show

Bespoked Bristol show March 23-25 

You may have noticed the preview videos we’ve recently run so far about the framebuilders Robin MatherPaulus Quiros and Demon Frameworks. If you haven’t this would be a good time to look because there’s a renaissance going on in handcrafted bicycles and the forthcoming show at Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s Temple Mills railway station in Bristol this coming March is going to be a showcase of the movement if the first edition held last year is anything to go by.

Since then, we’ve seen the extraordinary success of the Bicycle Academy where over £40,000 was raised in a public ‘crowdfunding’ campaign so that a traditional framebuilding school could be established in the Somerset town of Frome later this year. There is undoubtedly a rise in interest with a number of builders, among themDownland Cycles in Canterbury, offering traditional brazing classes with the Kent workshop also offering official government-backed courses for students that hitherto would have only learned welding as part of an automotive repair course.

There’s even a superstar coming in the form of Italy’s Dario Pegoretti who is bound to be good value especially if he can be kept in one place to engage with some of our own characters. We’re thinking Pegoretti versus our own Brian Rourke from Stoke or Chas Roberts from Surrey, both exhibiting and all passionate advocates of their way of doing things.

The buzz is already going round about what the builders are preparing specially; it’s going to be great and we can hardly wait.