The Badger

A huge shout going out to my great friend Giles for the lovely Badger illustration on the site’s masthead. He posted a lovely drawing of a badger on Facebook, so I asked him to do one of The Badger on a bike. I know a lot of you are probably very keen Badger spotters, so  rest assured that there’ll be lots more Badger action in the weeks to come.

A badger

A badger

Please take some time out your dreary, miserable existences to peruse Giles’ own blog about jet-setting the globe working for The Empire, here.

In Praise of Europcar

How can you not love these guys? They’re such an exciting team. Guaranteed to have someone in the breakaway every day, and able to pull off incredible stage wins. Today was only the first day of the Dauphiné, and it was supposed to be a day for a sprinter, but David Veilleux rode his heart out from the gun to win by almost 2 minutes. They always make the Tour de France much more exciting, and they consistently embarrass World Tour teams that should be kicking their arses.

They are also hilarious. Voeckler is always comedy gold. His face puts out 400 watts alone as he goes through more anguished expressions than Carlos Santana doing a solo.

Tommy gives us his 'O' face.

Tommy gives us his ‘O’ face.

Now there’s the 19th century bare-knuckles boxer turned bike racer Damien Gaudin. How the hell did he win the prologue of Paris-Nice? The guy looks about as aero as an IKEA store. Then he goes and finishes 5th in Paris-Roubaix by trying to tear off his handlebars. Perhaps his flailing elbows have some magical aerodynamic effect that nobody knows about yet.

More Suplex than Souplesse

More Suplex than Souplesse

David Veilleux might be able to hang on to the yellow jersey at the Dauphiné until the TT on Wednesday. That’s a lot of tv time for the sponsor that’s paying a lot less money than the FDJs and Lotto Belisols.

Oh, one more reason to like them. They ride Colnagos. The fact that there is no World Tour team on Colnago just seems wrong to me.

Italian Style

It’s been a week since the Giro d’Italia finished and once again it was a terrific spectacle. The landscape, the architecture, the weather all combined to create what is probably my favourite of the three grand tours. It’s also a great opportunity to see the Italian teams showing off their incredible sense of style. It seems that the designers of Italian team kits tend to lean more towards the Versace end of the spectrum rather than the Armani. You can keep your Bauhausian, Swiss-influenced understated boring stuff for elsewhere. Italian teams like to make a statement. Why put De Stijl on a jersey, when you can have the Sistine Chapel.

The real scandal at Vini Fantini is not why they signed serial doper Danilo DiLuca, but how they signed off on that dreadful day-glo yellow kit (maybe they knew how bad the visibility was going to be in the Alps).

Vini Fantini

Vini Fantini – visual doping

Of course, Vini Fantini is sponsored by Cipollini bikes. Some of you may be aware that this is the company of retired (shy and retiring) sprinter Mario Cipollini. If not, well, here’s what Italian Style is all about:

Lifelong LSU fan Mario Cipollini

Lifelong LSU fan Mario Cipollini

Much like the world’s greatest 5′ 6″ goalkeeper, Jorge Campos, who would design his own kits, Super Mario expressed himself artistically through the medium of the TT skin suit:

Mario's skinless skin suit

Mario’s skinless skin suit

Back to the present. Through the constant ebb and flow each year of team names and sponsors, it’s warmly reassuring to know that some things will always remain the same. That’s right, Lampre’s kit will always be fucking hideous.

Two Little Princes

Two Little Princes and some mad Photoshop Skillz

I think the whole Contador ban was a ruse by the UCI to find a way to give Scarponi a Giro win because they felt so bad for him having to, in the words of Spinal Tap’s manager Ian Faith, “dress like an Australian’s nightmare” year after year.

Michele Scarponi

The arm and leg warmers really take it to another level

Of course, in every artistic medium there are masterpieces that cannot be denied. So, too, in the canvas that is the team kit, there is one that has just as much genius in it as Raphael’s School of Athens, Michelangelo’s David or the Basilica of St. Peter. I refer, of course, to Marco Pantani’s Carrera kit.

Lycra meets Canadian formal wear. Genius.

Lycra meets Canadian formal wear. Genius.

Before Jeggings, there were Jig Shorts

Before Jeggings, there were Jib Shorts


Welcome to Bespoke!

I decided to do something constructive with my cycling obsession and starting this blog is the first manifestation of that. The site will contain an intoxicating mix of bike-related goodness. You’ll see lots of stuff about riding bikes, building bikes, falling off bikes, and breaking bikes. There’ll be bike rides, bike trips, bike tours, bike bores. There’ll be racing bikes, touring bikes, cyclocross bikes, mountain bikes and maybe even some ‘bent bikes. There’ll be folk tales and history, mastery and mystery. People, places, food, wine, music, action, adventure, danger, romance, triumph, tragedy and bikes.

Yeah, it’s basically just a blog about bikes.