Chanel rolls into cycling with $12,000 bike and bejewelled bicycle clips

The French fashion house with a German boss is introducing a very retro-looking bicycle in its spring/summer 2008 collection. The CC-inscribed bicycle will have eight gears, Chanel’s signature quilted leather touches and will be available in Chanel boutiques in time for Christmas.

Now headed by Karl Lagerfeld, the House of Chanel was founded by Coco Channel in 1909 and became famous in the 1930s for its sports collections for women.

Lagerfeld likes bikes:

“When I was a child in Germany my parents gave me six bicycles – six bicycles, because I was a very spoilt child, hein? – and none of the other children had any because it was after the war, you know? But I wouldn’t share, no, no, no. But I would instead come to school every day on a different bicycle and the other children would be very jealous.”

As well as a bicycle, the House of Chanel is also to release jewel-encrusted bicycle clips and a rather snazzy ankle bag that doubles as a bicycle clip.

This isn’t the first time the worlds of bicycles and haute couture have mixed. In 2005, there was the Armani range of bikes; Sir Paul Smith loves bikes and bike clobber; and, of course, London bike shop Velorution staged a fashion show in the summer called Prêt à Rouler. Prada even has a range of ‘Bicycle’ shoes (sadly, not SPD-compatible) and, bang up to date, Cynthia Rowley’s Spring 2008 collection included gold bicycle pendants on models riding cruisers. to host Interbike show

For those not able to attend the 2007 Interbike Expo in Las Vegas, will be beaming show coverage in the expo halls and across the internet. Each day’s shows will be archived and viewable the end of each day.

Alongside media giants such as Bicycling and VeloNews, will be hosting one of the live half-hour shows. Carlton Reid – also editor of – will be announcing the winners of the Shimano/YouTube competition, and interviewing celeb guests such as Phil Liggett, Bob Roll and anybody else he can grab from the show floor.

Reid will also be on the Spokesmen show, normally an audio only podcast but now watchable.

The live TV can be seen here.

Las Vegas time

8:30-9:00 Good Morning Interbike
9:30-10:30 Specialized
11:00-11:30 Vital BMX
1:00-1:30 The Spokesmen
2:00-2:30 World Championship Sports Network USA Crits Final
3:00-3:30 VeloNews
4:00-4:30 Dirt Rag

“Hi mum, I’m at Interbike”

The US trade show has announced the ‘Return of The Media Center’ so those not able to get into the show – the public – will be able to watch footage on a variety of bike industry websites.

The 30-x 40-foot Interbike Media Center with TV studio and working news room is designed to help journalists cover news of the show, which runs from September 24-28 in Las Vegas.

It includes a TV studio interview area for media companies or exhibiting manufacturers interested in conducting, recording or broadcasting news about new products, celebrities, panel discussions, advocacy and so on. will pop up now and again, as will members of The Spokesmen podcast. There will be an Interbike-special recording of the Spokesmen podcast which will Continue reading ““Hi mum, I’m at Interbike””

Phil and friends go cycling in the Peak District

The Phil and Friends Challenge Ride starts and ends in Stannington, near Sheffield, every August. This was the seventh ride, and as always, was led by Phil Liggett, the ‘voice of cycling’. The ride benefits the CTC Charitible Trust.

There were a couple of hundred participants with the ‘friends’ being Eurosport commentator David Harmon,’s Carlton Reid, and Ron Gray, founder of the Lanterne Rouge club.

Riding with this bunch for part of the way were Brian Robinson, the first Brit to finish the Tour de France (with Vic Denison in 1955), and Martyn Bolt, a councillor with Kirklees Council. Evidence of Bolt’s power was seen on the drag up Holme Moss – council workers had painted permanent road markings telling cyclists the distance to the summit.

Check out all of the YouTube videos here and subscribe, for free, to hi-res versions via iTunes here.

Huq in jam over ‘political campaigning’ bike cameo

In June, Blue Peter presenter Konnie Huq was hugged by London mayor Ken Livingstone at a Transport for London promo event for the London Freewheel ride. However, The Times – and much of the British media – is reporting that a Conservative politico whined to the BBC about Huq being wheeled on at the pro-cycling event. reported on the event at the time, not realising a big red storm was brewing. There was, however, a giant red fixie at the event. Bigger pic of it, and Huq’n’Ken, here.

The Hovis London Freewheel is taking place on Sunday September 23rd. Ms Huq was the first person to sign up for the ride.

“I bike into the TV centre from Ealing which I’m proud of,” she said at the launch.

But now The Times is reporting that her presence with ‘Red Ken’ was “sharing a platform with him” and that the BBC had warned Huq to steer clear. She had therefore “threatened the impartiality of the BBC,” said The Times.

Mark Byford, the BBC Deputy Director-General, has apologised to the Tory complainant, Brian Coleman, the deputy chairman of the London Assembly.

Livingstone is accused of using the Freewheel launch to poke holes in London Conservative’s “pro-car” policies.

Mr Coleman said: “The launch became a political rant. It is unforgivable for the BBC to allow the Blue Peter name to be lent to a political event.”

In a letter to Mr Coleman, Mr Byford agreed: “It was felt that the BBC and the programme should not be linked with anything that might be construed as campaigning, and that this campaign potentially fell into that bracket.”
Huq’s agent , Jonathan Shalit, said: “This was an entirely non-political event about helping to get Londoners cycling, and that is why I recommended that Konnie take part.”

It’s believed Ms Huq has now had to withdraw her support from the nine-mile family bike ride.

Liggett and Roll to judge Shimano/New Belgium YouTube video comp

The bicycle short video competition will be judged at Interbike by Tour de France TV commentators Phil Liggett and Bob Roll.

The other judges are the illustrious members of The-Spokesmen podcast, including David Bernstein of the Fredcast, Tim ‘Masiguy’ Jackson, Donna Tocci of Kryptonite and Tim Grahl of the Crooked Cog Network.

Get your vids in quick, the deadline is August 30th.

The rules for the Shimano/YouTube/QR comp are here. 120 videos have been submitted to date.

Not all comply to the competition’s requests for the videos to be like “TV adverts extoling the virtues of bicycling to a mainstream audience. So, go light on the Lycra. No techie stuff. No Critical Mass protest vids. No art installations. Just great images of cycling that could make Joe and Joanna Public get out there and ride…for the sheer fun of cycling.”

Submit your own video via YouTube.

The competition winners get Shimano schwag, including top-end components. The competition is also sponsored by New Belgium Brewing Co. of the US, maker of Fat Tire Amber Ale. A video of a New Belgium TV ad featuring cycling was used in the Shimano/YouTube competition video:

If you can get your bike film down to one minute then consider also submitting it to the Film Minute competition and the Friends of the Earth YouTube competition for video shorts.

Learn how to plan, shoot, edit and compress your film here.

Coals to Newcastle, bikes to Gateshead

“I abhor the Barrattification of Britain, this defacing of green and brownfield sites by identikit boxes…Let’s plan new-builds with variation, greenery, ecology and community in mind.”
The Independent, April 2001

Following the publication of this article, property development company George Wimpey called Wayne Hemingway’s bluff. Would he and his wife Gerardine, the other half of iconic 1980s clothing brand Red or Dead, help design a new housing development in Gateshead?

The Staiths South Bank was the result. It’s Britain’s biggest HomeZone and it now has a bike pool facility for residents.

Video available on iTunes here.

HomeZones aim to promote a more balanced relationship between pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles. Rather than prioritising cars, they encourage environments where the spaces between the houses are safe for children to play and for adults to meet their neighbours.

Phase one of the Staiths South Bank development was completed in April 2005. The whole scheme to house over 2,000 is projected to be finished in 2010. The 526-metre wooden Staiths on the river Tyne form a scenic backdrop to the development. Built in 1890 the Dunston Staiths were used for coal loading until 1980.

The 40-acre site will eventually contain 750 homes. It has a wide variety of homes including townhouses, apartments and semi detached houses. The buildings are finished in a range of materials including coloured render, brick, cedar wood cladding and Scandinavian tiling. Bins – and cars – are screened with wicker fences. There are ‘pocket parks’, communal barbeques, colourful children’s play areas and concreted-in outdoor table-tennis tables.

There’s a cycle route in front of the Staiths. This goes to Newcastle city centre along a flat riverside route. It’s blocked in the other direction but eventually there will be a cycle route to Europe’s largest mall, the MetroCentre.

It’s easy to reach the city centre by car from the Staiths South Bank, but even easier by bike. It’s a five minute cycle ride to the iconic Tyneside attactions such as the Baltic arts centre, the Sage and the Tyne bridge. The opening of the Gateshead ‘blinking eye’ Millennium Bridge has seen an additional 94,000 trips per year being generated between Gateshead and Newcastle, an increase of 186 per cent. Parking on the Quayside is limited.

George Wimpey North East is hoping to boost the number of residents who cycle with the introduction of the Cycle@Staiths Initiative, launched on Wednesday by Hemingway. This is a Continue reading “Coals to Newcastle, bikes to Gateshead”

Must. Eat. Goat.

Every cyclist needs to eat. And lots, too. But, for some, this can often come with a weight penalty…

Watch this animated short from 13-year old Shadow Scythe, the son of world-famous blogger The Fat Cyclist.

And place it on your iPod or computer via iTunes right here or as a direct .mp4 download here.

YouTube bike theft trailers: Send in the Seals

Alex Nott, a producer for ITV London, has released three video trailers for ‘Gone in 60 seconds’, a half hour documentary on bike theft in London. I did a news story on this programme on, July 10th.

The programme will air on ITV1 at 7.30pm on 24th July and will also be available on Sky, channel 993. Here are the three trailers for the programme:

‘We track the criminals that are stealing your bikes’

‘How easy is it to steal a bike in central London?’

‘How safe are the locks on your bike?’

The footage of the ‘bike thief’ sawing through the D-lock in broad daylight, but not being challenged, is echoed in this famous video from the Neistat Brothers of New York City. A version from ‘wakingavalon’ has had 405,807 views on YouTube.

Cycle theft is a serious disincentive to cycling. According to a French study, only 25 per cent of cyclists re-buy a new bike after a theft, and of these 10 per cent buy a cheaper bike than they had before (20 per cent cheaper on average). A further 23 per cent won’t return to cycling at all.

The study reports that 20 per cent of stolen bikes were not protected with any form of locks. 90 per cent of those which were locked were secured with an easily cut lock.



2001-02: 14,674
2002-03: 16,239
2003-04: 19,616
2004-05: 19,636
2005-06: 21,574

England and Wales

2001-02: 102,713
2002-03: 97,755
2003-04: 105,467
2004-05: 106,064
2005-06: 113,206

These are Home Office figures. There’s likely to be some under-reporting going on but Halifax insurance company claims there are 440,000 thefts a year.

As this was reported on – unchallenged – many folks now consider this the true figure, even though it is largely unsubstantiated.

Halifax also issues car theft and cellphone theft ‘market reports’. Their press releases always say something like ‘car/bike/mobile stolen every 71 seconds’.

Yes, bike theft is a big problem and professional thieves will be able to get through almost any form of lock, given time and an apathetic public, but, thankfully, thieves equipped with 42-inch bolt cutters are rare.

Those that are caught should have their hands cut off, believes the bicycling MP, and would-be London mayor, Boris Johnson.

In March, he was received warmly at a meeting of Islington Cyclists’ Action Group when he said:

“I think these people deserve punishment and I’m calling for Sharia law for bicycle thieves.

“If I had my way I would plant decoys in a whole lot of bicycles across the borough and in the evening I would send Navy Seals in through the thieves’ windows and show them what it’s all about.”

Shopping bike versus the peloton

Even if you’re not partial to the silly Rowan Atkinson character, this particular, bike-themed snippet from the movie Mr. Bean’s Holiday is a classic:

It would have been slightly more realistic if the riders in the peleton were shown wearing local French club strips rather than plain jerseys. It might also have been funnier if there were some incredulous reactions from the riders being overtaken by Mr. Bean on his shopping bike. But it’s still a great clip, and a warm, funny and touching movie. Music’s good too.