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June 17th, 2009

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09:16 pm - Trends in London Hipster Cycling
I don't do a huge amount of cycling in London, and that which I do do is mostly out in the 'burbs and beyond. However, I do work in Islington and go through/visit the centre often, and here's my update on the latest trends in more-money-than-sense* London cyclery.

1. Fixed-wheel bikes are definitely in. Long a favourite of cycle couriers due to their mechanical efficiency and nuanced speed control (I once rode one in the late 80s, great in built-up areas, not so good for going down steep hills), they've now broken out into the mainstream. Although having said that, the couriers in Cardiff seemed to favour single-speed freewheels (to which I thought... "huh?)

2. Steel frames. A couple of years ago it was looking like it was going to be wall-to-wall aluminium-alloy frames in the world of £100+ bikes. Now it appears that steel is making a comeback.

3. The return of large flanges (no sniggering at the back!) Many years ago, you'd get the choice of having your wheel hubs in small or large flanges, but since the 90s it's been small flanges pretty much by default... until now.

4. White paint jobs.

So overall, there seem to be a bunch of Nathan Barley types pedalling around central London on bikes that look like they belong to a 1980s track racer with no sponsorship.

* A track bike (with a front brake) is about as cheap a non-cheap bike as you're going to get, but I doubt anyone's paying less than 350 quid for a new one. Earlier examples of this category include: a 1000+ quid mountain bike (including 1.95 inch tyres) for exclusively urban use; and the use of any titanium anywhere by anyone who wasn't a sponsored/professional rider.
Current Location: BR3

(3 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:June 17th, 2009 09:32 pm (UTC)
White paint jobs might be something to do with Ghost Bikes???
[User Picture]
Date:June 18th, 2009 05:55 am (UTC)
Nah, that's far too political for the type of person riding these things.
[User Picture]
Date:June 18th, 2009 10:57 pm (UTC)
So not inspired by the "white bikes of amsterdam" either? Unless it's a cunning anti-theft ploy...

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