We read recently that there’s a new term, CLOB (chic lady on a bike) to rival the MAMIL (middle aged man in lycra). We’re aiming for the former camp with this pick of the best bicycles and accessories. Having lived in Amsterdam where everyone’s out on a bike almost as soon as they can walk – or even sooner thanks to bakfiets kid carriers – two wheels have long been part of everyday life. We love that London seems to be following suit with talk of car-free streets and more cycle highways on the way post-lockdown. With less cars on the road and often no other means to get about, there’s never been a better moment to hop on a bike. Not to mention the sense of freedom it offers: as a friend said this week, it is the best thing ever for wellbeing. Her description of riding her new Pashley – sourced via eBay – along the lanes to collect milk from the dairy sounded bucolic and most definitely CLOB-worthy.
Pashley are quintessential sit-up-and-beg bicycles and they’ve been hand made in Stratford-upon-Avon since the 1920’s. The best value model is the Poppy (£575) which comes in peppermint or powder blue with 3 gears. We love the classic black Princess bike, £665 for 3 gears, £775 for 5 gears and £875 for 8, how many you need depends how hilly your cycle rides will be. Freddie Grubb bicycles, made in London, are a more contemporary take on the classic look. This Westbourne City Bike, £839 in ink blue has 3 gears, and there’s free click and collect from their shop in Islington.
These lovely Bobbin Bikes offer a similar look but at a lower price-point. The Brownie 7, £435 has now sold out until mid-June but you can sign up here to be notified when they come back into stock. Bobbin is a family-run company based in East London – the children’s bikes are also great, starting with tricycles and balance bikes for ages 2+ up to age 11. It’s worth noting that these all have to be assembled at home.
eBay is a good place to look if you don’t want to self-assemble and want to get going quickly. Pick a make you like and search for a second-hand model in your area. We like the Raleigh Fern (sold out on Raleigh’s website) but have a look on eBay, where similar models are available.
Small London flats with nowhere to safely store a bike call for a classic fold-up Brompton. Once you join the gang you won’t look back. Made in London you can pick your own colour – we like Signal Orange that’s new for 2020 – as well as all the details; gears, mud guards, lights etc. A customised Brompton takes 6-8 weeks to make plus delivery, but if that’s too long to wait there’s a good range of stock bikes, like this H2L, £1,015 available with a new free home delivery service, Brompton to You that takes 7-10 days.
CLOB’s with children in tow could make like the Dutch and get a Babboe. These have a bit of electric power too so you’re not going to struggle up hills. They come in all sizes and shapes including a design for dogs. This is a compact model for 1-2 children, Babboe Mini-E £2639.
Helmets are a must in London. Dashel’s new design are made in the UK from recyclable materials. They come with machine-washable liners too and air vents to stop you overheating. In a range of 4 colours – blue, red, black and sage green, £79
A basket or pannier is a useful extra. Again eBay is a good place to pick up a classic wicker bike basket. More contemporary designs – including colourful weaves can be found at The Basket Room, all hand woven from local veta grass in Northern Ghana. BULI basket, £57.
The Dutch are very practical and tend not to use wicker baskets (all that rain). Instead they use plastic crates, or metal ones. This smart Hoxton Wire Basket, £120 is a good option from Brooks, a company known for its leather saddles, panniers, baskets and bicycle accessories.