Tour Classic

The Tour Classic is a 56 mile timed ride for pre 1987 bikes around Cambridgeshire’s rural roads. The ride uses the same route and feed stations as the Medio Fondo sportive, starting and finishing at the Peterborough showground. This year Team Glory Days bike rode in the Tour Classic event, part of the Tour of Cambridge Gran Fondo series organised by Golazo Cycling Limited. In total there are around 8000 participants riding a variety of disciplines over the weekend.

So its not surprising with that number of participants that queues quickly formed at the toilets and there was a long wait to get going in the start pen. However the level of organisation is impressive, as is the number of marshals on all the road junctions on the course.

The start time for the Tour Classic is 1pm leaving time in the morning to look round the exhibition of cycle related products and vintage bikes.

There was a separate pen for classic machines and inevitably a lot of conversations about each others pride and joy. Most of the entrants also sported vintage cycling jerseys to make our category the most attractive for the crowds to cheer.

The route itself was not completely flat but having only 1700ft of climb was good to keep a steady pace. The long 4 mile straight into the wind was probably the hardest section, but eased by tucking in behind the large groups of riders doing the longer distances – as long as we could keep up! As the finish approached the adrenaline kicked in as you could hear the roar of carbon wheels and frame approaching at speed. There were several crashes and broken carbon frames at the roadside. We were proud to be riding our classic steel Swinnerton and Raleigh Competition that proved reliable and comfortable as we put them through their paces.

The feed stations had a good variety of food, including bananas,  biscuits, water and electrolyte. Along the route there were many people enjoying the spectacle and cheering the riders from pubs and private roadside barbecues.

The day was topped off with podium presentations. Carol was awarded 2nd women but it later transpired the 1st women was a man riding with a women’s number, so unfortunately she missed out on taking the beers home.

Its good to ride hard from time to time and we had a good day in the saddle on Glory Days steel vintage road bikes.

The Cycle Museum Walton Hall & Gardens

 

The Cycle Museum at Walton Hall & Gardens near Warrington is the cumulation of Paul Adam’s obsession of collecting vintage bikes, and in fact all sorts of quirky things. The 200 plus strong collection of bicycles includes two rare machines. The 1893 Crypto Bantamette Ladies bicycle is one of only two known in the world. It hangs proudly alongside the rare 1895 solid tired Hillman Herbert and Cooper Gentleman’s Premier bicycle in the former stable block of Walton Hall.

Paul’s cycle collection is an obsession which began in childhood when he developed an interest in vintage cars – before moving on to bicycles which were “more affordable’.

The museum is a hidden gem of interesting and quirky wheeled objects – not just classic and vintage bikes. Amongst the piles of treasure which are stored haphazardly in the old hall out buildings we spotted an Itera plastic bike, a Pedersen, and a Sinclair C5! You have to watch where you tread as the floor is covered in cycling memorabilia.

As purveyors of fine hand made British bikes we spotted an immaculate Reg Harris and a beautiful Bates amongst the solderless nipples and abandoned toilets. There were some classic Italian steel steads as well.

Collectors might be interested to know that the 26th annual antique and classic bicycle auction and swap meet takes place in Copake, New Jersey on 22 April 2017. We are wondering what gems Paul might return with!

Groups wishing to arrange a tour can contact Paul. Admission is free but donations are welcome.

 

 

 

Peak District cycling – Nicky’s favourite ride

Glory Days have set me a tough assignment – to write about my favourite Peak District ride. Why is it difficult? It is because there are so many wonderful Peak District cycling routes to choose from. The Peak District is a special place for me, and there is no better way to enjoy it than pedalling away the miles on a bicycle.

I love visiting the Monsal Trail, especially when it is quiet. Every single time I travel along it I see something different. It isn’t a long trail, or a particularly challenging one as it is mostly flat, but the smiles per mile ratio is very high.

The trail is an old railway route that runs for 8.5 miles from Blackwell Mill near Buxton, as far as the popular Peak District town of Bakewell to the South-East. As I love photography together with cycling, the unique landscape along the trail offers a lot of photo opportunities.

The Monsal Trail is a spectacular combination of nature at its finest, and industry of old. It’s difficult to imagine that steam trains once hurtled through the tunnels, stopping at the stations where today you can relax with a slice of cake and a hot chocolate.

When the railway was built in 1863 it caused objections in the same manner as new developments do to this day. There are not many objections quite so eloquent I feel as the famous writer John Ruskin wrote about the construction of the railway line:

“There was a rocky valley between Buxton and Bakewell, once upon a time, divine as the Vale of Tempe… You Enterprised a Railroad through the valley – you blasted its rocks away, heaped thousands of tons of shale into its lovely stream. The valley is gone, and the Gods with it; and now, every fool in Buxton can be in Bakewell in half an hour, and every fool in Bakewell at Buxton; which you think a lucrative process of exchange – you Fools everywhere”.

The tunnels add an element of surprise to the landscape as you pedal through them; as you exit each tunnel a new view of the Peak District is revealed. The trail cuts through the countryside going from a valley one moment, to spectacular viaduct views high above the River Wye the next.

I’ve travelled along the Monsal Trail in every kind of weather, and enjoyed all conditions. From hot summer days, when cycling through the old railway tunnels feels like pedalling through a refrigerator, to the depths of winter, when there is snow on the ground and ice tyres with spikes enable you to stay upright.

Another lovely feature of the Monsal Trail is that is allows you to easily link up with many other favourite Peak District locations. It is only a short uphill ride from Millers Dale, (an old station on the trail) to the pretty village of Tideswell. Known as the Cathedral of the Peak, Tideswell is an ideal place to enjoy an ice cream, find a pub or a tea room. From the end of the trail at Bakewell, it is only a short distance to Haddon Hall and a bit further away to the Chatsworth Estate. Chatsworth Hall is one of the most popular places in the Peak District, and well worth a look on your travels if you have not visited before.

The only downside of the Monsal Trail is that it can get exceedingly busy at peak holiday times, so I tend to try and find routes away from the crowds when that is the case. Even so, the Monsal Trail is somewhere I recommend to any cyclist who wants an easy, traffic free trail in the Peak District.

Many thanks to Nicky Griffiths, www.peakdistrictcycling.co.uk for this guest blog.

Exploring the road less travelled on Glory Days Bikes

We love to explore the road less travelled on our vintage bikes. This summer Glory Days travelled to the ‘other Alps’ of Switzerland and northern Italy to explore some unpaved roads and climbs on our fully laden Reynolds steel bikes.

As you all know great rides start with great bikes, so we chose two of our favourite hero bikes: the 1981 Vernon Barker and the 1981 F W Evans for our trusty companions.

Travelling north from our starting base in Milan we journeyed alongside majestic Lake Maggiore before catching a ferry to Ascona, Switzerland to take part in the first edition of La Belverdere vintage bike event. The event is dedicated to pre 1987 bicycles but had several hardy participants on early 20th century machines. There were two different routes to choose from, the Half Belvedere (30km) on the Saturday and the Belvedere Classic, 60km on the Sunday. We wanted to see as much of the area as possible so rode both. It was fun and friendly with plenty of wine at the feed stations and a tasty meal post ride overlooking the lake.

Following the excitement of the weekend we headed north into the ‘other Alps’ to seek out some of the quieter, lesser known climbs and escape the heat of the Lakes. From Bellinzona we started to climb the San Bernardino Pass taking the old gravel road. Our pace was slow and the heat immense. 40km of dust, sweat and climb later we arrived at our hotel for the night in the beautiful village of San Bernardino. The following day fully rested it was a short climb to the summit at 2066m. We continued north over the Julier Pass (2284m) in the Abula Alps, the watershed of the Rivers Rhine and Danube. We journeyed onwards through the stunning Engadin valley to Zernez.

Heading eastwards we took the long climb up through the trees to the Fuorno Pass (2149m) and dropped into the Alto Adige valley where we picked up the amazing Euro Velo route 7 which runs from Copenhagen to Rome. This is a popular tarmac bike route with villages and plenty of pit stops along the way. We spent the night in historic Trento, home of the lovely friendly bike shop Moser Cicli (established 1933) where it was necessary to invest in some new brake blocks. Trento is also home to La Moserissima, a non competitive cycle event for pre 1987 bicycles in honour of Francesco Moser and his family who are from the area.

Our next stop was Bassano via Lago di Caldonazzo where we camped in the shadow of Monte Grappa. We took one of the less travelled ten different routes up and down the infamous mountain, which was challenging with narrow tricky hairpins. If you climb (or descend) Grappa by the “classic” route (from Romano d’Ezzelino), you can stop at the inn at Ponte San Lorenzo and see autographed photos of Gino Bartali and Marco Pantani.

Our trip back to Milan was via Torbole, and the Lakes of Garda and Iseo. We spent the last few days camped by Lake Iseo opposite Monte Isola in the village of Marone. It was too hot to rest so we rode around the side of beautiful Lake Iseo on the route taken by vintage bike enthusiasts for La Lacustre, an event that evokes the charm of past cycling. The next day we arranged to meet up with Matteo Bonardi organiser of La Lacustre, keen cyclist and passionate founder of Pedale Vintage. Matteo has founded several events in the area for fellow enthusiasts as an alternative to the increasingly technological modern cycling. He showed us around his small collection of vintage cycling memorabilia and bicycles, including  a 1969 Atala racer and a 1975 Guerciotti.  We hope to have persuaded him to come and do the Eroica Britannia next year on a classic British Glory Days bike!

We bode our fond farewells and cycled off to Bergamo and then by train back to Milan.

From La Belvedere and beyond, on roads less travelled, we put our retro bikes through the paces so you can be assured that any bike hired through Glory Days will do you proud.

 

 

From Superb to Heroic Glory Days on tour

We selected two of our favourite bikes a 1986 FW Evans and a 1981 Vernon Barker, packed our bags and we were ready to roll. When we knew we had places for L’Eroica in Chianti, Tuscany we decided to base our holiday around the event rather than having a long and manic weekend in Italy. We booked our flights to Pisa and found a friendly hotel in town where we could leave our bike bags for the time we were touring. Finding out there was another event on called La Superba vintage at Nervi near Genoa we decided to incorporate that as well.

So the first day we took a train from Pisa north along the coast arriving in Nervi just before dark. The next day after registering we stood under the azure sky looking at lots of ltalian steel bikes ranging from immaculate to barely functioning. There was of course a bike jumble and a delayed start, but at around 10.30am around 200 riders set off en masse along the spectacular Ligurian Coast.

The route followed the coast to Porto Fino and was generally a convivial ride. We soon got accustomed to the local culture where ignoring red lights and having traffic stopped for you at junctions was the norm. The views over Paradise Bay were superb and everyone was very friendly. Feed stops were freshly baked focaccia and wine and when we arrived back after around 35 miles were there was a fantastic meal of bean stew and bottles of Helligen Belgian Beer. We know by now a good vintage cycle event is not just about the bikes!

The next day we started retracing our route towards along the coast keeping the sea on our right. Packing away a damp tent we continued along the coast and through the Cinque Terre.  We continued eastwards on our adventures stopping off at great places including Lucca and crossing the Passo del Carnaio (760m) and the Murglione Pass (987m).

One week later we reached the Adriatic coast at Cervia and made sure to visit the nearby Pantani Museum before recrossing the Apennines via the Passo dei Mandrioli (1173m) and after a long descent to Bibbiena we were back in the Arno valley.

The next day we climbed out of the valley across the Chianti mountains and arrived in Gaoile, ‘home of L’Eroica’ set up camp on the football ground and spent four days immersing ourselves in the festival of ancient bikes, bike goodies and general socialising that is characteristic of the event. Now in its 17th year the brand is now truly global and as popular as ever having spawned offspring around the world, including our much loved Eroica Britannia.

The day of the ride we started at 6am in the dark and damp wearing our woolie jerseys. Adding to the atmosphere was the first climb on the Strade Bianche with candles lining the side of the road. Chianti and Mortadella (local sausage) was amongst the food on offer at the first stop around 9am. It wasn’t long before the towers and skyline of historic Sienna appeared in the dawn light. Frequent heavy showers were a feature of the day – making the ride even more ‘heroic’! As we headed north passing through the vineyards and olive groves the weather improved. Dusty, dirty but happy we returned to Gaoile that afternoon having completed the 135km route with ease on our reliable retro bicycles. The Meccanica British made retro cycle jersey was just the job in these conditions. We spent the rest of the day sharing stories and supping with our fellow comrades.

The following day we set off fully laden with our prize commemorative tin up and down the hills of Tuscany to arrive back in Pisa a few days later – completing our double coast to coast of Italy on our trusty steel vintage bikes. So from Superb to Heroic Glory Days on tour 2015 – our journey was finito.

 

Barry Hoban’s Glory Days

Vas-y Barry (pronounced Vaz-e Barry) is French for Go on Barry. It was a cry Barry Hoban heard many times during the 19 years he lived and raced on the continent. Hoban was born in Yorkshire, but after a glittering amateur cycling career moved to France in 1962 to race as an independent rider.

His move to France as a young rider is inspirational, as is his survival amongst the professionals without the ability to speak the language or understand the culture driven by the desire to prove that his talent could overcome the prejudice and institutions that stood in the way of him achieving his dream, to be the best. In 1964 he turned professional and raced at the top of the sport until 1979, while based first in France then in Belgium.

Barry Hoban won eight stages in the Tour de France, and is second to Mark Cavendish in the all-time British stage winner list. He was also the first British rider to win a mountain stage of the Tour de France. Hoban won the classic single-day race Ghent Wevelgem, the only British racer to have done that. All told Hoban won 32 top class professional races during his career, and he had top three placings in many more, including two of the monuments of cycling; Paris-Roubaix and Liege-Bastogne-Liege.

This book tells Barry Hoban’s cycling story. It is written by Barry from the heart and with clear recall of what it was like, physically and mentally, to ride against three all-time greats of cycling; Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx and Bernard Hinault. Each one the definitive rider of his generation. Hoban also raced against Rik Van Looy, Rudi Altig, Felice Gimondi, and with team mates Raymond Poulidor and Joop Zoetemelk.

But Hoban did all this as a pioneer, very often the only British representative in the world’s biggest races. Barry Hoban made a place in men’s professional road racing at a time when so few had. It’s a place that is still remembered with affection today. It was a pleasure to meet him at the Tour de Broads sportive recently and receive a signed copy of his new book. What a lovely man.

Why not hire our Coventry Eagle Barry Hoban retro bike and relive your glory days?

 

Get set for a Summer of Cycling

Lovers of life on two wheels can pedal at a leisurely pace or take to the fast lane during the second Peak District & Derbyshire Summer of Cycling from June to August 2015.

Centrepiece of this year’s celebrations will be the three-day life, style and cycling festival Eroica Britannia, billed as ‘the most handsome festival in the world’, from June 19 to 21.

Around 3,500 cyclists from all over the UK and around the world are set to don retro gear and take to pre-1987 bikes for this year’s rides on Sunday June 21, passing through some of the finest Peak District landscapes and villages en route.

Bakewell Showground, in the heart of the Peak District, will once again host three days of fabulous fun for all the family, including live music, more than 200 vendors, acres of vintage shopping, a specialist food festival and a wealth of activities and experiences.

Other events during the Summer of Cycling include Glory Days guided Tour de Frites retro ride including fish and chips, a cycle ride to the cinema and guided rides in some of the area’s most scenic locations.

More competitive cyclists will enjoy challenges such as the new Bradwell Hill Billy Sportive or  135th Anniversary ride of the Chesterfield Sipre Cycle Club riding through 125km of the Peak District.

The Peak District and Derbyshire will also host up to 120 of the world’s top cyclists during the tenth Tour of Britain, the country’s premier road cycling event, on Friday September 11. Starting in Stoke-on-Trent, they will race through Buxton, Bakewell, Matlock and Belper during the 189 kilometres stage to Nottingham.

“Cycling really got into gear in the Peak District and Derbyshire last year, thanks to flagship events such as the Tour de France, the first-ever Eroica Britannia and the first Peak District & Derbyshire Summer of Cycling,” said Jo Dilley, Director of Visit Peak District & Derbyshire, the area’s official tourist board.

“This year we’re aiming to build on that by working closely with a range of local partners to promote a programme of activities to suit all ages and abilities, and for everyone from absolute beginners to expert road cyclists. It’s a brilliant way to enjoy some exercise and fresh air amid the stunning landscapes of the Peak District and Derbyshire – and a great excuse to book a short break.”

For full details, plus an up-to-the-minute cycle map featuring trails and routes across the area, pick up the brand new Cycle Peak District & Derbyshire leaflet, now available at tourist information centres and other venues in and around the Peak District and Derbyshire, including Birmingham, Manchester, Nottingham and Sheffield. Updates are also available online at www.summerofcycling.co.uk.

 

Retro Ride the Peak District

Did you know Glory Days offers guided rides through the glorious Peaks on our refurbished British steel bikes? If you dream of being Eddy Merckx but are hampered by your spare tyre then our vintage Tour de Frites ride through the Peak District on Tuesday June 23 might be for you.

Our Tour de Frites retro ride takes us through beautiful rolling countryside across the Dove and into the Staffordshire Peak District where you will refuel with some traditional great British fish and chips in the medieval market town of Longnor. For the return trip you will cross over into the Manifold Valley, enjoying picturesque views as you journey back via the village of Hartington and the strangely named ‘Custard Fields’. You’ll be riding with one of our local experts, full of knowledge and guaranteed to please on this specially selected route through the ‘hidden’ Peak District.

These rides are intended to put the pleasure back into cycling with the emphasis on appreciating the landscape, suffering a little on the hills and having a great day out.

Dust down that 1970s or 80s tourer and relive your ‘Glory Days’. Don’t worry if you don’t have a retro bicycle, we have an amazing range of reliable retro bikes for hire at a special rate of £25 for participants on this ride – please contact us to discuss your requirements and to reserve the right bike for you. We’ll run through the gears etc. and ensure the bike is set up to suit you.

If you can’t make that date we can deliver our fine machines to your digs any time you like. We also offer bespoke packages for groups. Please get in touch.

 

Take a ride down Memory Lane this Summer…

Vintage Velothons, Retro Rides, Classic Club Runs, Heroic challenges… whatever the title(s), there has been a huge surge of interest in UK cycling events that take you back to simpler times. Adding a touch of nostalgia to the romance and freedom offered by the humble bicycle has never been more popular. Two such events take place on the edges of London this summer close to the Chiltern hills. Set in & around glorious country house estates – The GE Chiltern Cycling Festival and Chenies Velo Classique offer you the opportunity to enjoy a couple of fantastic days out, savouring your journey with great rides, great bikes, and great company, just like it used to be.

Cycling down ‘Memory Lane’ appeals to all levels of cyclist, from classic road race fans inspired by “continentals” and 60s Grand Tour riders through to Edwardian dandies, clad in argyle and tweed, looking for some cycling high jinx. The atmosphere is always relaxed and whilst many riders display incredible attention to detail with authentic bikes and kit, you can easily enter into the retro spirit with a good second hand find and a creative wardrobe. And now you can even hire a retro classic bike from Glory Days for the event of your choice and find out what the excitement is all about for yourself.

There is always plenty of advise and technical support available and the Chiltern and Chenies events are ideal for anyone wishing to dip a toe into the retro world or just enjoy a fun day out on bikes this summer. The relaxed atmosphere of cyclings bygone eras – a refreshing contrast to the elbows out mentality of some of todays large events. With entries from all over Europe and beyond the organisers are delighted with the appeal that their events are having. Nat Rizzi one of the team behind the festivals says “The combination of Incredibly beautiful countryside so close to London, easy transport links, and the wonderful festival attractions, really seem to have struck a cord. People want great memories from these type of events and the traditional manor house settings help us provide this in a very British way… a Summer garden party for cyclist.”

Both events offer a choice of distances, with 30 , 60 and 100 miles the GE Chiltern Cycling Festival on July 12th will feature the legendary Kop Hill , which luckily will have a tasty feed station at the top…in case your vintage gearing has proved a bit tough. Likewise the Chenies Classique on 31st August (Bank Holiday Monday!) offers the same three distances but this time with the choice of a 5km section of unpaved “Chiltern chalk” bridleway adding to the epic feel.

Alongside these little jaunts into the lanes each day has a Concors D’elegance parade where riders pedal around the grounds of the country house with prizes, from Shutt VR clothing, awarded for various categories together with a Retro MTB display. There’s free parking and access to the wonderful vintage market, Gourmet food stalls, Local Beers, bike brands, gifts and collectables along with a period Cycling ‘Club house” to unwind in and share your tales from the road. For anyone looking for a touch of luxury, there is a Velo VIP area, in association with Etape Suissse, providing you with a welcome breakfast, post ride champagne reception plus an exclusive ES jersey and Goody bag. Alternatively pack a family pic-nic and spread out on the lawns to enjoy a relaxed afternoon watching all the action.

Rent a Classic… You don’t have to be an aficionado to take part, Glory Days has proudly teamed up with the organisers to supply bikes on a daily hire basis. Our collection of British Classics from the 70s and 80s are the perfect way to experience the vintage vibe first hand and at just £40 a day for a fully restored, steel and leather beauty, good old fashioned value for money seems to be making a return. Evoking the classic British club run… Glory Days can provide you with a fully restored steel bike for the day – early booking advised.

Robin Askey one of the organising team behind the Festival says “The Vintage side of things proved really popular last year and with both Penn House and Chenies Manor quintessentially British feel, we look forward to welcoming all cyclist on period machines to be part of our two wheeled fete!” The events are very much a celebration for all forms of cycling and will include Mountain Bike rides, Kids events and even a Hill Climb. Whilst vintage riders mix comfortably with the more contemporary sportive riders on the day the choice is down to the individual cyclist – do you swop Lycra for wool? carbon for steel? or even energy gels for a Genoa slice… the choice is yours, what is guaranteed is if you pedal back a bit in time you’ll have a great day out in the Chilterns. Quirky and ever so slightly eccentric, many cyclist are fast realising the appeal of riding retro Wool or Lycra, Steel or Carbon…share your Passion for all things classic at two great cycling festivals this summer. Take a look back down Memory Lane and enjoy your very own vintage cycling journey in 2015.

The GE Chiltern Cycling Festival on 12th July Includes the 30 mile Amersham Classic to be ridden In the vintage spirit and style of Cyclings Golden eras and the Concors D’elegance Parade are both part of a full day of cycling action open to all at Penn House estate situated between Amersham and Beaconsfield in Buckinghamshire. Entries now open.

The Chenies Velo Classique on 31st August offers the 30 mile RETRO CLASSIQUE Route with approx. 5km of “Strada Bianca” chiltern chalk bridleway! and the Concors D’elegance ride again. Entries now open.

For more details of the various events visit chilterncyclingfestival.com and join the conversation on twitter @chilterncycling

The perfect opportunity to share your cycling passion. Take a ride down Memory Lane this Summer… we look forward to seeing you there!

 

Little details make the difference

When we started our retro bicycle rental business we wanted to come up with a name and an image that encapsulated our ethos and aims. Glory Days are a reflection of the days of our youth and carefree summer evenings when your bike meant freedom to explore and adventures with your friends.

The logo we came up with was an image inspired by the engraved aluminium handlebars that were found on the quality bikes of the 70’s and 80’s; Sakae, Cinelli, Raleigh and of course Gerry Burgess (GB). Many people assumed that GB engraved on the bars shows they were from Geoffrey Butler or Great Britain as many had an outline of the British Isles on the other side of the stem to the logo.

This was the golden era for hand built classic lightweight frames as there was an increasing amount of money and time in the general population and thousands of cyclists would head out of the cities every weekend to the countryside. Where the frame was made was normally indicative of the place the cyclist lived. The components that graced these frames were themselves finely engraved and supplied from Campagnolo, Weinmann, Sachs Huret and Shimano and others with a huge variety available for the discerning rider.

Our bicycles have unique combinations of embossed seat stays, engraved bars, enamel head badges and polished gear levers that reflect the quality of our reliable retro hire fleet. Little details like these make the difference – after all it is all in the detail!

 

Traditional cycle shoes – made in Derbyshire

In this day of mass production can you still tell a person by their shoes? It is refreshing to find an artisan shoe maker, especially on your doorstep. That’s what happened to Team Glory Days one sunny afternoon whilst out cycling through our home ground of the Derbyshire Peak District.

William Lennon & Co have been manufacturing shoes in Derbyshire since 1899. Now in their 4th generation they fabricate footwear for specialist markets of today – from tug of war boots to vegetarian safety shoes! Luckily for us they still manufacture the traditional ‘Arturo’ leather cycle shoes. Their fine handcrafted cycle shoes have a smooth sole for ease of sliding in and out of conventional toe clip pedals – so they are ideal for L’Eroica Britiannia or other vintage cycling events. The shoes are made to order in a variety of colours and leathers in sizes ranging from 3 – 12. Their factory is tucked away in an unexpected corner of Stoney Middleton, Derbyshire, in the heart of the Peak District National Park. The historic stone building is actually the old corn mill which they moved into in 1904!

As they were made to order we returned to collect our shoes direct from the factory after about 6 weeks (although you can order online if you prefer). We choose tan and brown and put them to the test this summer. They fitted comfortably from the outset and worked well with the toes clips and straps on our traditional bikes. We decided to customise them by adding our own stick-on heel grip to make it easier to walk in them just in case we ever had to get off on the hills. The tan ones are rather bright but hopefully they will age gracefully as no doubt they will give us many more years of good service. The brown ones are probably better if you are looking for a ‘normal’ looking shoe for everyday wear too.

These beautifully hand made shoes are built to last and will compliment your steel vintage bike for many years to come. With beautifully detailed stitching, a soft cuff around the ankle, full leather and 115 years of practice, we believe that you will find these to be the finest cycling shoes you have ever owned at an amazing price.

 

Travels through the Cevennes on classic steel bikes

After a fast 15 miles downhill we had to pull over because our fingers and toes were numb with cold. Our search for late autumn sunshine had led us from Valence and through the Massif Central and now as we free wheeled from Mont Aigoual the thought of sunshine and warmth in the south of France seemed even more appealing.

We had started our travels through the Cevennes on classic steel bikes with a few days camping in St Felicien, which is the host for Europe’s largest cycle event, L’Ardechoise. Now in it’s 23rd year this week-long event attracts 14,000 cyclists from around the world to take part in exploring this beautiful part of the Cevennes. There are 13 different routes to ride from 66km of the Petit Doux to the Ardechoise Velo Marathon, which covers 278km with 5370m of climb, and describes itself as “Europe’s toughest one day event”. The routes are all permanently signed and had led us from the northern part of the Rhones-Alpes over many a col marked off with gradients and distances to the top.

A cold night camping at St Agreve, which at over 1000 metres was definitely chilly, had convinced us to keep moving south, and leaving the Tarn Gorge at Florac we climbed for 28km from Meyruels. Exploring by bike allows you to experience more – from the sound of birds to the sights of wildlife. In the cloud the visibility was poor and we had to concentrate on the white lines edging the road to check our speed was suitable for the fast approaching hairpins. Our hand-built Reynolds 531 classic steel bikes, with panniers and camping gear adding 10 kilos to their weight, coped well as we travelled through the Cevennes. Gravity accelerated us down into the chestnut woodlands after each turn. It was not until we got to Vallerauge that we emerged from the cloud and followed the Herault to our next overnight camp. Finally when we arrived at the Orb valley in Bedarieux the sun shone and the temperature soared and blue skies and warmth accompanied us for the rest our the journey to the Mediterranean.