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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

An interview with Bobbin Bicycles.

Tom Morris, co-founder of Bobbin Bicycles, talks to me about Pashleys, the Tweed Run, their new bespoke repair shop, designer collaborations and why you shouldn't give up cycling for winter.

Written by Amelia Gregory

sunrise kids

Coco Chanel and Igor Stravinsky, page illustrated by Naomi Law

Plans to large it in East End boozers or at Green Kite Midnight‘s Ceilidh on Saturday night turned sour when my other half broke his arm in a freak gymnasium accident. So, unwilling to sit in sulking, we took a trip to the Rich Mix Cinema.

Mainstream fashion films don’t come around that frequently. Okay, so we had Tom Ford‘s plotless but beautiful adaptation of Christopher Isherwood’s A Single Man, but it’s rare for those who control film production company’s purse strings will invest their cash in fashion biopics. Things might be changing though – we had Coco avant Chanel recently – an exceptional film starring Audrey Tatou (who, I’d like to add, should stick to acting en Francais). Next up, it’s the release this week of Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky.

Viewers will be forgiven for thinking that this is the sequel to Coco avant Chanel – the bulk of the movie focusses on Gabrielle Chanel’s life post lover Arthur ‘Boy’ Capel’s death. There are many similarities – the fashion, the smouldering actress, the references, the consultants (Monsieur Lagerfeld lent his services and granted full access to the couturier’s archives). The films, in fact, have nothing professionally to do with each other. 

This film actually kicks off in 1913. We join the male protagonist (played by devilishly handsome Mads Mikkelsen – well, until you Google him and see what he really looks like) as he is about to present his first major opera, at which Coco (devilishly beautiful Anna Mouglalis) is in the audience. The Rite of Spring is a disaster; the audience descend into chaos. It’s here though that fashion fans first get a feast for the eyes. Row after row sit bourgeois woman dressed decadently in the early indications of the prosperous fashion of the 1920s, with stunning millinery galore.  


Illustration by Stacie Swift

The film then jumps to 1920, and we see the chic Chanel meet Stravinsky properly for the first time at a party. Coco Chanel was nothing short of a tart. Dressed in a risque (for the era) shoestring-strap floor length dress and hair in a 1920s twist, Coco oozes appeal and ‘even makes grief seem chic’ according to one bystander. She has, after all, just lost Boy Capel in a car accident – but you’d never know.


Coco Chanel and Igor Stravinsky, illustrated by Kayleigh Bluck

The pair arrange to meet at Paris’ Muséum national diHistoire naturelle, where Gabrielle invites Igor (and his wife and children) to stay at her glorious villa outside Paris. He accepts, and the rest of the film takes place here. Here we’re treated to Coco’s impeccable interior decoration taste – room after room decorated with stunning art-deco style, and rooms themed on exotic locations from around the world. Chanel dazzles in outfit after outfit, and after a few scene/outfit changes, it’s easy to see where Lagerfeld gets his ideas from.  

I won’t spoil it for you, but the frivolous pair get it on at the villa while poor Stravinsky’s wife is laid up in bed upstairs with a bad cough. Cue gratuitous sex scenes on various carpets. Chanel is always impeccably dressed in floor-length silk numbers, while tormented Stravinsky, dressed in simple sartorial style, tinkles the ivories and stomps around the villa’s gardens like a bear with a sore head. You can’t carry on like this without somebody finding out…


Chanel No.5, illustrated by Natasha Thompson

1920 is also the year that Chanel devised and launched what is probably the world’s most iconic scent – the Chanel No.5 perfume. Cut to Gunther-Von-Hagens-slash-Willy-Wonka-esque perfumer Ernest Beaux, who appears with a twirl of his chemist lab coat like a zany magician; here the film goes a little pantomime, and while committing this crucial piece of fashion history to film is inspiring, it’s difficult not to cringe at the ‘ooo! numero cinq’ revelation at the end of this scene! 

This is certainly a film for fashion fans and documents a fascinating piece of history – rumour has it that the makers of Coco Avant Chanel plan to pick up where this film leaves us, so that’s something we can look forward to. We do get a glimpse of glamour-granny Chanel at the end, too; perhaps to wet our appetite – Anna Mouglalis makes a fantastic mature Coco decked in prosthetic make-up.


31 Rue Cambon, illustrated by Thomas Leadbetter

What this film occasionally lacks in empathy for the characters – it’s a marriage of egos and there’s little to make you feel anything for this homewreckin’ harlot – it certainly makes up for in sophistication. Most exciting for me were scenes at 31 Rue Cambon, fashion’s most famous address, both inside and out. With a soundtrack of Stravinsky’s effortless symphonies and Coco Chanel’s visionary and groundbreaking fashion, this film celebrates two massive twentieth-century figures in style.

Cinemas nationwide.

Coco Chanel and Igor Stravinsky, more about illustrated by Naomi Law

Plans to large it in East End boozers or at Green Kite Midnight‘s Ceilidh on Saturday night turned sour when my other half broke his arm in a freak gymnasium accident. So, what is ed unwilling to sit in sulking, sickness we took a trip to the Rich Mix Cinema.

Mainstream fashion films don’t come around that frequently. Okay, so we had Tom Ford‘s plotless but beautiful adaptation of Christopher Isherwood’s A Single Man, but it’s rare for those who control film production company’s purse strings to invest their cash in fashion biopics. Things might be changing though – we had Coco avant Chanel recently – an exceptional film starring Audrey Tatou (who, I’d like to add, should stick to acting en Francais). Next up, it’s the release this week of Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky.

Viewers will be forgiven for thinking that this is the sequel to Coco avant Chanel – the bulk of the movie focusses on Gabrielle Chanel’s life post lover Arthur ‘Boy’ Capel’s death. There are many similarities – the fashion, the smouldering actress, the references, the consultants (Monsieur Lagerfeld lent his services and granted full access to the couturier’s archives). The films, in fact, have nothing professionally to do with each other. 

This film actually kicks off in 1913. We join the male protagonist (played by devilishly handsome Mads Mikkelsen – well, until you Google him and see what he really looks like) as he is about to present his first major opera, at which Coco (devilishly beautiful Anna Mouglalis) is in the audience. The Rite of Spring is a disaster; the audience descend into chaos. It’s here though that fashion fans first get a feast for the eyes. Row after row sit bourgeois woman dressed decadently in the early indications of the prosperous fashion of the 1920s, with stunning millinery galore.  


Illustration by Stacie Swift

The film then jumps to 1920, and we see the chic Chanel meet Stravinsky properly for the first time at a party. Coco Chanel was nothing short of a tart. Dressed in a risque (for the era) shoestring-strap floor length dress and hair in a 1920s twist, Coco oozes appeal and ‘even makes grief seem chic’ according to one bystander. She has, after all, just lost Boy Capel in a car accident – but you’d never know.


Coco Chanel and Igor Stravinsky, illustrated by Kayleigh Bluck

The pair arrange to meet at Paris’ Muséum national diHistoire naturelle, where Gabrielle invites Igor (and his wife and children) to stay at her glorious villa outside Paris. He accepts, and the rest of the film takes place here. Here we’re treated to Coco’s impeccable interior decoration taste – room after room decorated with stunning art-deco style, and rooms themed on exotic locations from around the world. Chanel dazzles in outfit after outfit, and after a few scene/outfit changes, it’s easy to see where Lagerfeld gets his ideas from.  

I won’t spoil it for you, but the frivolous pair get it on at the villa while poor Stravinsky’s wife is laid up in bed upstairs with a bad cough. Cue gratuitous sex scenes on various carpets. Chanel is always impeccably dressed in floor-length silk numbers, while tormented Stravinsky, dressed in simple sartorial style, tinkles the ivories and stomps around the villa’s gardens like a bear with a sore head. You can’t carry on like this without somebody finding out…


Chanel No.5, illustrated by Natasha Thompson

1920 is also the year that Chanel devised and launched what is probably the world’s most iconic scent – the Chanel No.5 perfume. Cut to Gunther-Von-Hagens-slash-Willy-Wonka-esque perfumer Ernest Beaux, who appears with a twirl of his chemist lab coat like a zany magician; here the film goes a little pantomime, and while committing this crucial piece of fashion history to film is inspiring, it’s difficult not to cringe at the ‘ooo! numero cinq’ revelation at the end of this scene! 

This is certainly a film for fashion fans and documents a fascinating piece of history – rumour has it that the makers of Coco Avant Chanel plan to pick up where this film leaves us, so that’s something we can look forward to. We do get a glimpse of glamour-granny Chanel at the end, too; perhaps to wet our appetite – Anna Mouglalis makes a fantastic mature Coco decked in prosthetic make-up.


31 Rue Cambon, illustrated by Thomas Leadbetter

What this film occasionally lacks in empathy for the characters – it’s a marriage of egos and there’s little to make you feel anything for this homewreckin’ harlot – it certainly makes up for in sophistication. Most exciting for me were scenes at 31 Rue Cambon, fashion’s most famous address, both inside and out. With a soundtrack of Stravinsky’s effortless symphonies and Coco Chanel’s visionary and groundbreaking fashion, this film celebrates two massive twentieth-century figures in style.

Cinemas nationwide.

Coco Chanel and Igor Stravinsky, pill illustrated by Naomi Law

Plans to large it in East End boozers or at Green Kite Midnight‘s Ceilidh on Saturday night turned sour when my other half broke his arm in a freak gymnasium accident. So, unwilling to sit in sulking, we took a trip to the Rich Mix Cinema.

Mainstream fashion films don’t come around that frequently. Okay, so we had Tom Ford‘s plotless but beautiful adaptation of Christopher Isherwood’s A Single Man, but it’s rare for those who control film production company’s purse strings to invest their cash in fashion biopics. Things might be changing though – we had Coco avant Chanel recently – an exceptional film starring Audrey Tatou (who, I’d like to add, should stick to acting en Francais). Next up, it’s the release this week of Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky.

Viewers will be forgiven for thinking that this is the sequel to Coco avant Chanel – the bulk of the movie focusses on Gabrielle Chanel’s life post lover Arthur ‘Boy’ Capel’s death. There are many similarities – the fashion, the smouldering actress, the references, the consultants (Monsieur Lagerfeld lent his services and granted full access to the couturier’s archives). The films, in fact, have nothing professionally to do with each other. 

This film actually kicks off in 1913. We join the male protagonist (played by devilishly handsome Mads Mikkelsen – well, until you Google him and see what he really looks like) as he is about to present his first major opera, at which Coco (devilishly beautiful Anna Mouglalis) is in the audience. The Rite of Spring is a disaster; the audience descends into chaos. It’s here though that fashion fans first get a feast for the eyes. Row after row sit bourgeois woman dressed decadently in the early indications of the prosperous fashion of the 1920s, with stunning millinery galore.  


Illustration by Stacie Swift

The film then jumps to 1920, and we see the chic Chanel meet Stravinsky properly for the first time at a party. Coco Chanel was nothing short of a tart. Dressed in a risque (for the era) shoestring-strap floor length dress and hair in a 1920s twist, Coco oozes appeal and ‘even makes grief seem chic’ according to one bystander. She has, after all, just lost Boy Capel in a car accident – but you’d never know.


Coco Chanel and Igor Stravinsky, illustrated by Kayleigh Bluck

The pair arrange to meet at Paris’ Muséum national diHistoire naturelle, where Gabrielle invites Igor (and his wife and children) to stay at her glorious villa outside Paris. He accepts, and the rest of the film takes place here. Here we’re treated to Coco’s impeccable interior decoration taste – room after room decorated with stunning art-deco style, and rooms themed on exotic locations from around the world. Chanel dazzles in outfit after outfit, and after a few scene/outfit changes, it’s easy to see where Lagerfeld gets his ideas from.  

I won’t spoil it for you, but the frivolous pair get it on at the villa while poor Stravinsky’s wife is laid up in bed upstairs with a bad cough. Cue gratuitous sex scenes on various carpets. Chanel is always impeccably dressed in floor-length silk numbers, while tormented Stravinsky, dressed in simple sartorial style, tinkles the ivories and stomps around the villa’s gardens like a bear with a sore head. You can’t carry on like this without somebody finding out…


Chanel No.5, illustrated by Natasha Thompson

1920 is also the year that Chanel devised and launched what is probably the world’s most iconic scent – the Chanel No.5 perfume. Cut to Gunther-Von-Hagens-slash-Willy-Wonka-esque perfumer Ernest Beaux, who appears with a twirl of his chemist lab coat like a zany magician; here the film goes a little pantomime, and while committing this crucial piece of fashion history to film is inspiring, it’s difficult not to cringe at the ‘ooo! numero cinq’ revelation at the end of this scene! 

This is certainly a film for fashion fans and documents a fascinating piece of history – rumour has it that the makers of Coco Avant Chanel plan to pick up where this film leaves us, so that’s something we can look forward to. We do get a glimpse of glamour-granny Chanel at the end, too; perhaps to wet our appetite – Anna Mouglalis makes a fantastic mature Coco decked in prosthetic make-up.


31 Rue Cambon, illustrated by Thomas Leadbetter

What this film occasionally lacks in empathy for the characters – it’s a marriage of egos and there’s little to make you feel anything for this homewreckin’ harlot – it certainly makes up for in sophistication. Most exciting for me were scenes at 31 Rue Cambon, fashion’s most famous address, both inside and out. With a soundtrack of Stravinsky’s effortless symphonies and Coco Chanel’s visionary and groundbreaking fashion, this film celebrates two massive twentieth-century figures in style.

Cinemas nationwide.

Coco Chanel and Igor Stravinsky, buy information pills illustrated by Naomi Law

Plans to large it in East End boozers or at Green Kite Midnight‘s Ceilidh on Saturday night turned sour when my other half broke his arm in a freak gymnasium accident. So, here unwilling to sit in sulking, visit this site we took a trip to the Rich Mix Cinema.

Mainstream fashion films don’t come around that frequently. Okay, so we had Tom Ford‘s plotless but beautiful adaptation of Christopher Isherwood’s A Single Man, but it’s rare for those who control film production company’s purse strings to invest their cash in fashion biopics. Things might be changing though – we had Coco avant Chanel recently – an exceptional film starring Audrey Tatou (who, I’d like to add, should stick to acting en Francais). Next up, it’s the release this week of Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky.

Viewers will be forgiven for thinking that this is the sequel to Coco avant Chanel – the bulk of the movie focusses on Gabrielle Chanel’s life post lover Arthur ‘Boy’ Capel’s death. There are many similarities – the fashion, the smouldering actress, the references, the consultants (Monsieur Lagerfeld lent his services and granted full access to the couturier’s archives). The films, in fact, have nothing professionally to do with each other. 

This film actually kicks off in 1913. We join the male protagonist (played by devilishly handsome Mads Mikkelsen – well, until you Google him and see what he really looks like) as he is about to present his first major opera, at which Coco (devilishly beautiful Anna Mouglalis) is in the audience. The Rite of Spring is a disaster; the audience descends into chaos. It’s here though that fashion fans first get a feast for the eyes. Row after row sit bourgeois women dressed decadently in the early indications of the prosperous fashion of the 1920s, with stunning millinery galore.  


Illustration by Stacie Swift

The film then jumps to 1920, and we see the chic Chanel meet Stravinsky properly for the first time at a party. Coco Chanel was nothing short of a tart. Dressed in a risque (for the era) shoestring-strap floor length dress and hair in a 1920s twist, Coco oozes appeal and ‘even makes grief seem chic’ according to one bystander. She has, after all, just lost Boy Capel in a car accident – but you’d never know.


Coco Chanel and Igor Stravinsky, illustrated by Kayleigh Bluck

The pair arrange to meet at Paris’ Muséum national diHistoire naturelle, where Gabrielle invites Igor (and his wife and children) to stay at her glorious villa outside Paris. He accepts, and the rest of the film takes place here. Here we’re treated to Coco’s impeccable interior decoration taste – room after room decorated with stunning art-deco style, and rooms themed on exotic locations from around the world. Chanel dazzles in outfit after outfit, and after a few scene/outfit changes, it’s easy to see where Lagerfeld gets his ideas from.  

I won’t spoil it for you, but the frivolous pair get it on at the villa while poor Stravinsky’s wife is laid up in bed upstairs with a bad cough. Cue gratuitous sex scenes on various carpets. Chanel is always impeccably dressed in floor-length silk numbers, while tormented Stravinsky, dressed in simple sartorial style, tinkles the ivories and stomps around the villa’s gardens like a bear with a sore head. You can’t carry on like this without somebody finding out…


Chanel No.5, illustrated by Natasha Thompson

1920 is also the year that Chanel devised and launched what is probably the world’s most iconic scent – the Chanel No.5 perfume. Cut to Gunther-Von-Hagens-slash-Willy-Wonka-esque perfumer Ernest Beaux, who appears with a twirl of his chemist lab coat like a zany magician; here the film goes a little pantomime, and while committing this crucial piece of fashion history to film is inspiring, it’s difficult not to cringe at the ‘ooo! numero cinq’ revelation at the end of this scene! 

This is certainly a film for fashion fans and documents a fascinating piece of history – rumour has it that the makers of Coco Avant Chanel plan to pick up where this film leaves us, so that’s something we can look forward to. We do get a glimpse of glamour-granny Chanel at the end, too; perhaps to wet our appetite – Anna Mouglalis makes a fantastic mature Coco decked in prosthetic make-up.


31 Rue Cambon, illustrated by Thomas Leadbetter

What this film occasionally lacks in empathy for the characters – it’s a marriage of egos and there’s little to make you feel anything for this homewreckin’ harlot – it certainly makes up for in sophistication. Most exciting for me were scenes at 31 Rue Cambon, fashion’s most famous address, both inside and out. With a soundtrack of Stravinsky’s effortless symphonies and Coco Chanel’s visionary and groundbreaking fashion, this film celebrates two massive twentieth-century figures in style.

Cinemas nationwide.
gabby young by moon
Gabby Young by Moon.

Our Sunday got off to a sleepy start, visit as it did for most Secret Gardeners. Bypassing the cleverly marketed Hendrick’s gin carriage in favour of a cup of tea, I wended my way to the press tent to once more charge my damn crappy iphone, and caught the soulful electro sounds of Belleruche, rather erroneously described in the £5 brochure as “blissed out hip hop beats”.

SGP 2010-hendricksgin
This lovely artwork was displayed in the Hendrick’s train carriage. Apparently the artist is a woman based in the Truman Brewery but they couldn’t tell me who it was. Does anyone know? Photography by Amelia Gregory.

SGP 10-main arena by Amelia Gregory
SGP 2010-belleruche by Amelia Gregory
Belleruche by Stacie Swift
Belleruche by Stacie Swift.

It wasn’t long before I was distracted by the nefarious lure of mud wrestling over in the aptly named Collisillyeum. To start off proceedings a small semi naked boy was encouraged to wrestle a large slippery man in nowt but pants – thankfully it transpired that this was his dad otherwise the picture below might look extremely dodgy.

SGP 2010-collisillyeum by Amelia Gregory
SGP 10-mud fight by Amelia Gregory
SGP 2010-mudfight by Amelia Gregory
SGP 2010-mudfight by Amelia Gregory

After the couple had managed to drag mum into the mud it was time to pit some blonde ladies against a couple of brunettes before sending a load of curiously willing men into the arena, where many a bollock and boob was soon on display. Naturally my proximity to the action ensured both myself and my camera got well spattered in mud.

SGP 10-David Rodigan by Amelia Gregory
SGP 10-David Rodigan crowd by Amelia Gregory
SGP 10-David Rodigan crowd by Amelia Gregory
Dave-Rodigan-by-Louise-Sterling
David Rodigan by Louise Sterling.

Back at the main stage DJ David Rodigan was the surprise hit of Sunday afternoon. The 59 year old gave us a guided tour through the history of reggae with all the enthusiasm of an overexcited puppy whilst the crowd jumped around in reciprocal glee.

SGP 2010-savoir adore by Amelia Gregory
Andrea Peterson Savoir Adore
Andrea Peterson Savoir Adore
Savoir Adore by Andrea Peterson.

Savoir Adore hail from Brooklyn, and showed typically American enthusiasm for Secret Garden Party. “We’re so excited – this is the coolest place.” Wearing standard festival glittery eye make up (I blame Bat For Lashes – even the boys are covered in it these days) their gorgeous brand of melodic electronica was met by a laconic audience. “I know how tired you guys are…” opined singer Deidre Muro, “but I invite you to stand up.” She didn’t have much luck, but this shouldn’t be equated with any lack of enthusiasm.

SGP 2010-Horace Andy by Amelia Gregory
Horace Andy by Sine Skau
Horace Andy by Sine Skau.

Over in the main area it was time to subject my poor camera to another onslaught – this time a paint powder fight that bathed the happy dancers in a pastel fluoro glow before submerging them in the mellow beats of reggae supremo Horace Andy.

SGP 10-body paint by Amelia Gregory
SGP 10-clown powder by Amelia Gregory
SGP 10-paint powder by Amelia Gregory
SGP 10-paint powderfloor by Amelia Gregory
SGP 10-paint by Amelia Gregory
tim adey paint powder
Last photograph by Tim Adey.

Thanks to a tip off from my boyfriend I caught the fantastic Gabby Young and Other Animals playing to a small crowd at the Chai Wallah tent. Gabby was dressed in an amazing ruffled paper and lace concoction accessorised with coloured false hair pieces; a dream to photograph and illustrate. Together with banjo and brass she creates wonderful big band indie folk you can dance to. A real discovery.

SGP 2010-Gabby Young by Amelia Gregory
Gabby Young by Michelle Urvall Nyrén
Gabby Young by Michelle Urvall Nyrén.

We stayed for the majority of headliners Mercury Rev, most notable for their well practiced stadium posturing. Ours was a quick midnight drive back to London but I hear at times there were dire queues to get both in and out of Secret Garden Party.

SGP 2010-Mercury Rev by Amelia Gregory
SGP 2010-Mercury Rev by Amelia Gregory
SGP 2010-Mercury Rev by Amelia Gregory
Mercury Rev by Mags James
Mercury Rev by Mags James.

All in all this was another vintage year from the one festival that refuses to bow to corporate Festival Republic pressure. Long may it remain thus, for this is one grown up’s party that deserves to continue in perpetuity. I shall leave you with my remaining selection of Sunday’s highlights.

SGP 2010-theatre by Amelia Gregory
Interactive games in the theatre tent.

SGP 10-best costume by Amelia Gregory
Best costume of the entire weekend? Even he had no idea what it was supposed to be.

SGP 10-leigh bowery by Amelia Gregory
Make up inspired by Leigh Bowery.

SGP 2010-limbo by Amelia Gregory
Doing the limbo in a feather boa.

SGP 2010-rollers by Amelia Gregory
A man in bikini, fat suit and rollers. Why of course!

SGP 10-wild thing art by Amelia Gregory
Art in the woods.

SGP lovers Tim Adey
Loved up, photography by Tim Adey.

sgp wheelchair race tim adey
Wheelchair disaster. Photography by Tim Adey.

Natasha-Thompson-Bobbins-Bicycles-Girl-Cape-Illustration
Bobbin Bicycles by Natasha Thompson.

I first heard of Bobbin Bicycles just over three years ago, medications when as a nascent bespoke bike company they contacted me to suggest featuring some of their imported upright Dutch bicycles in my Amelia’s Magazine fashion spreads. This was a canny move from husband and wife team Tom Morris and Sian Emmison because I am a big fan of cycling and we shot Bobbin Bicycles several times for the final print issues of the magazine.

Bobbin Bicycles tom and sian
Tom and Sian in Bobbin Bicycles. All photography by Amelia Gregory.

Today Bobbin Bicycles has grown into a well known business that employs six people and is set to open a bespoke and vintage bike repair workshop. They’re launching their own brand of upright Bobbin Bicycles in Australia, to be followed shortly thereafter in the USA and are set to produce their own brand of Bobbin Bicycles branded panniers and capes. They’ve quickly become the go to people for the kind of upright bicycle that is increasingly favoured by townie types looking for sturdiness and style, and indeed they’re so busy that Sian barely has time to say hello as she poses for a photo before returning to the phones in her subterranean office below their lovely shop in St John Street, Islington in North London. Instead I catch up with the lovely Tom in the basement of their bulging store to find out a little bit more about Bobbin Bicycles.

Alexis-West-Bobbin-Bicycles-tom morris
Tom Morris by Alexis West.

The love affair with bikes (and with each other) began long ago in Amsterdam.
Both Tom and Sian were fine artists living abroad who fell in love with riding Dutch bikes. It was about a whole lifestyle that was old fashioned, elegant, relaxed and most of all sociable, for in Amsterdam it is not uncommon to ride in groups and chit chat along the way. They were commissioned to film a bike race for the Dutch Arts Council, and the rest, as they like to say, is history.

Fast forward to 2001. London. The daily grind.
On their return home to the big smoke Tom found work in advertising, and Sian worked for cult furniture company SGP, which is based on Curtain Road. But they dreamed of something more… and so in-between freelance work they started to import bikes from Holland. At first this meant touring around Holland in a van to pick up bikes which they shipped back to the UK to sell from a storage unit. Within weeks they had moved onto Eyre Street Hill in Farringdon, where they shared a space with watchmakers and jewellers.

Bobbin Bicycles bells

Their glamourous “atelier showroom” was a bit like a Turkish gambling den.
No one else had thought to specialise in Dutch bikes and soon their appointment only showroom was so popular they were selling ten bikes a day. Being well schooled in the ways of branding they targeted their customers with great care: Tom draped a curtain over the grottier bits of the workshop and played nice music. Customers got the “wow” factor when coming in off the street and soon the national newspapers started to call when they wanted a story about upright bikes.

Pashley began to stalk them.
Bobbin Bicycles had moved to Arlington Way by the time that Pashley paid them a secret visit. Thinking that not everyone wants a Dutch bike Tom had already approached the well known British brand, but he was unaware of the mutual interest. Pashleys are smaller in size and offer more gears, plus they offer the added bonus of all British manufacture UK. Fast forward to 2010: Bobbin Bicycles now operates from a lovely little shop in Angel and is one of over 100 UK stockists of Pashleys, but who else can boast their very own exclusive colour range? At Bobbin Bicycles you can now pick up the Pashley Provence in a special mint or mustard colourway.

Bobbin Bicycles
It doesn’t really look like your average bike shop does it?

Upright bikes have become a lot more fashionable of late.
As more cyclists take to the roads many are choosing to ride sit-up-and-beg bikes of the type that Bobbin Bicycles sell, and lots more bike manufacturers are “having a pop” at simple upright bikes. Downstairs Tom shows me some new Globe bikes made by the huge company Specialised. People are now making appointments to visit Bobbin Bicycles from as far away as LA and Russia. *NB: I do not condone travelling across the world to purchase a bike. But definitely buy a bike. Everyone should have one.

Bobbin Bicycles baskets
Piles of baskets in the basement of the shop. Did you spot my book?

Steel or aluminium? Why, what’s the difference?
Pashleys are made with a beautiful thin lugged steel frame, but most modern bikes are made from lightweight aluminium that makes for a more juddery ride, though they are definitely not as heavy when lifting up steps. Bobbin Bicycles can cater to all your upright wishes and stock a huge range of brands including the wonderfully named Swedish Skeppshult.

London has way more cycling tribes than other cities.
In other cities the cyclists tend to look quite homogeneous, but here in London we have many different identifiable types. Tom was amongst the first to label the big three cycling tribes for an article in the Independent. The Traditional, Fold-up and Fixie tribes can now be broken into multiple subsets and mash ups, including the Fixed Tweed tribe.

Tweed Run by Emma Raby
Tweed Run by Emma Raby.

Bobbin Bicycles ran a tea stop for this year’s Tweed Run.
The Tweed Run is perfectly Bobbin: an annual celebration of all things upright and traditional about cycling. This year they presented a prize for the best decorated bike to a lady from Holland, who arrived with an old 70s shopper decorated with a multicoloured knitted saddle cover and matching dress guards on the back wheels.

Tweed run by Maria del carmensmith
The winning bike by Maria del Carmen Smith.

Boris bikes. Good news for Bobbin Bicycles.
Tom loves the idea of cycling into town on Boris bike and then getting a cab back. Or simply having the option to avoid the horrors of the night bus. Even though the amount of money spent on cycling in the UK is a fraction of what is spent in countries such as Denmark, Holland and Germany the new London bike scheme will undoubtedly encourage more people to cycle. Here’s how it goes: people will try them out instead of investing in a cheap bike from Halfords. Once they get into the idea of cycling they will realise how heavy and unwieldy the Boris bikes are and will decide to graduate onto something nicer. Hopefully a Bobbin Bicycle, for instance.

boris bike by vicky yates
Boris Bike by Vicky Yates.

Collaborations are good fun.
In the cabinet behind me are wonderful bowler and deerstalker hats designed to fit over helmets. They were made by the historically influenced milliner Eloise Moody, who has also created a sexy reflective nurses cape. Bobbin Bicycles will launch their own range of panniers and capes for spring 2011, and the shop stocks lots of small boutique brands you would not find elsewhere. They’ve provided bikes for a Mark Ronson video and the newspapers always come knocking when they want to borrow a pretty upright.

Abi Daker - Eloise Moody - bikes
Eloise Moody by Abigail Daker.

They are moving back to Arlington Way.
Well, in a manner of speaking. The shop in Angel is bursting at the seams and they’ve decided to open a new workshop on Arlington Way in October, just three doors down from their previous location. Dedicated Bobbin mechanics will specialise in the servicing of vintage bikes and hard to get components such as hub gears. But all cyclists will be welcome.

Bobbin Bicycles jewellery
Bobbin Bicycles jewellery.

Vintage Goodwood here we come.
Bobbin Bicycles have provided Vintage at Goodwood with a fleet of promotional bikes so that they can flyer all over town. They have a pitch at the festival alongside the Old Bicycle Company from Essex – which specialises in Penny Farthings. Sadly, here we don’t come. Amelia’s Magazine has not been made welcome at Vintage at Goodwood. (read more here)

Bobbin Bicycles wall
Zoë Barker did this. She also draws for us. What a gal. Lovely stuff.

The independent bike shops all get along.
And why not? They all specialise in their own thing, and quite often a boyfriend and girlfriend will come into Bobbin Bicycles with different ideas of what they want to ride. The girl wants an upright, the boy wants a fixie. So they send him down the road to Condor Cycles or up the road to Mosquito. Yes, 80% of their customers are female, possibly down to the attitude and service of Bobbin staff, which is deliberately very accessible and non technology based.

Winter Cycling by Joana Faria
Winter Cycling by Joana Faria.

Top tips for autumn and winter cycling.
Many people are merely fair weather cyclists (not me!) but cycling through the British winter will keep you warm. You’ll arrive at work with a good feeling inside, blood pumping, ready to get down to business: you don’t get that from sitting on an overheated bus. But make sure you have decent lights because they’ll make you feel really smug when it gets dark early. Get a good cape to whack over the top of your clothes if it’s raining. Waterproof trousers are not a good look but leather jackets are. They keep the wind out and they look good too. Stay on your bikes! Honestly, it’s by the far the best way to travel at all times of the year. And I speak from experience.

You can visit the friendly staff of Bobbin Bicycles at 397 St John Street, London, EC1V 4LD or you can drool over their website here. And do say hello at Vintage at Goodwood.

Bobbin Bicycles SHOP

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8 Responses to “An interview with Bobbin Bicycles.”

  1. What a fantastic post Amelia, you’ve captured the essence of Bobbin Bicycles perfectly. It’s one of my favourite shops in London and it’s great to see them getting the attention they deserve.

    Your team of illustrators are a talented bunch and really added a smile and some beauty to my lunch break: thank you!

    See you out on the roads on your bike sometime, or perhaps even on next year’s Tweed Run? (for my review of that fabulous sartorial affair see here.

    Happy cycling!

  2. Amelia says:

    Aw thanks, that’s so nice to hear, and I am sure the illustrators appreciate it as well. Please do keep in touch with your events too x

  3. Lady Vélo says:

    This is such a gorgeous blog post – from the interview to the illustrations… love it.

    I’ve yet to visit Bobbin Bicycles on my Pashley yet, but reading and seeing this is making me want to go as soon as possible!

    Lady Vélo.

  4. [...] illustration was created for an article on Amelia’s Magazine about Bobbin Bicycles. I drew Eloise Moody, who creates rather charming [...]

  5. [...] 11, 2010 in art & girly stuff by Joana Faria ♥ My latest contribution to Amelia’s Magazine. This time for an article on the lovely Bobbin Bicycle boutique, a London-based company that [...]

  6. Oakman says:

    Lovely article & wonderful illustartions. A smile to start the day
    Thank you

  7. James says:

    One can scarcely imagine a lovelier page on the internet. Thanks to absolutely everybody involved.

  8. [...] illustration was created for an article on Amelia’s Magazine about Bobbin Bicycles. I drew Eloise Moody, who creates rather charming [...]

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