Your Bike Shed - relax, repair, refuel
Just through York's City Walls, at the top of Micklegate, lies a real gem for cyclists and foodies alike. Your Bike Shed, the brainchild of Adele Procter and Martin Harman, is housed in a beautiful Georgian Grade 2-listed building and provides 1000sq ft of space for up to 100 covers. In a similar vein to London's Look Mum No Hands, or Bristol's Mud Dock, Your Bike Shed provides customers with a relaxed cafe/restaurant and a bicycle workshop next door. Where it differs is in its real family feel.
"It's about being able to get your bike fixed, pick up a spare part or simply hang out with like-minded people and share your experiences in a bike-friendly setting", explains Adele, who runs the food side of things. Martin, a keen cyclist and triathlete, ensures that bikes get similar attention in the adjoining workshop.
"It's also about providing a fantastic cup of coffee, together with tasty and nutritious food ..." Adele continues. "Our customers include serious road cyclists who stop by to refuel...with flat screens for showing races and events, urban wall art, bike frames and other cycling gear, the quiet seating area in our basement has become a hub for riders to chill."
Food is all made on the premises and, wherever possible, ingredients are locally-sourced. There's a vast array of fresh cakes, soups, quiches, salads, jacket potatoes, sandwiches and toasties. Ideal after a long ride or just a leisurely Saturday morning.
The personalised service received in the workshop is something to behold, too! Nothing is ever too much trouble for Martin and his team of experienced mechanics. They talk you through the work carried out and explain your options to you, without the 'hard sell' or unnecessary maintenance. There's also an option for 'while you wait' service - a perfect opportunity to grab a coffee while someone else sorts your puncture out!
Visit Your Bike Shed and you won't be disappointed!
Your Bike Shed
Paria Cycling Apparel
Paria is a different kind of brand. By its very definition, the word means 'outcast' - namely from society. In their own words, they've always had a "passion for the irreverent and alternative". In a world saturated by same-y, generic and mass-produced polyester sportswear, this comes as a real breath of fresh air.
Out of much the same mould as York's freshest cycling club, York Rouleurs, Paria doesn't 'tick boxes' so as to conform, and certainly doesn't disappoint on the design front and the perspective they take when looking at the cycling sector. They take 'urban influences and attitude, coupled with grit and fervour driven out of the Yorkshire countryside'. If you want something different, read on...
Receiving the Reverse Pacer Jersey for review harked back to receiving birthday gifts as a child. I was genuinely excited. Stealthily-packaged and courier-delivered, I felt I was receiving something special. Fresh, eye-catching and original designs using a traditional cycling colour palette (celeste), prompted me to look more closely at workmanship and detailing. Sadly, this is as a result of the current trend - or profiteering - for far-eastern manufacture. It was a pleasure to see that Paria garments are made in the EU. In Czech Republic, no less. This genuinely warms the cockles and, indeed, makes me more inclined to purchase from the brand. The fabric, too, is from Europe - an Italian 'thermo-fabric'.
The Pacer is in a 'geo' print, with a brushed polyester main body, in a slim race cut. It has a full zipper and 3 generously-sized rear pockets. It also has coveted silicone grippers at the hem and reflective striping to shoulders and pocket seams. Detailing is discreet and pleasing.
Just a quick online search or browse of the typical cycling apparel stockists will bring up generic and, frankly, disappointing long-sleeved garments which are supposedly fit for UK riding conditions. They're probably made of modern fabrics and look 'on-trend'.
However, they won't allow you to stand out from the crowd. They won't allow you to show your individuality. They won't maintain your friendship with your bank manager.
Paria garments will.
Reverse Pacer Jersey - £55
OTE Sports Nutrition
OTE Sports nutrition products are researched, designed, developed, manufactured and tested in Great Britain. They strive to support the British sports industry and nurture home grown talent from ground level up. Products are free from artificial sweeteners and colours, and have been developed to help you hydrate, fuel, perform or recover. Superb.
VeloChampion - Warp Sports Sunglasses
In their own words, 'VeloChampion is an exciting online cycle accessories business based in the North-West of England. The company offers a range of over 50 quality products, which offer excellent value for money to cyclists of all ages and abilities – and FREE Postage in the UK.'
My first experience of the brand - a part of the Max Gear Ltd. and Champion System family - was a delivery of their Warp Sunglasses and 2x compression products. I had been impressed by the customer service pre-delivery, and the products didn't disappoint on arrival. This is the first review, with others to follow.
VeloChampion were the Official Tour of Britain 2015 Sunglasses Supplier, so I was eager to see the quality of their wares. The Warp - the sunglasses of choice of the Champion System, Club Roost, Maxgear Pro Cycling Team - are very lightweight sports/recreational sunglasses, produced with a more open lens/wider field of view. As such, they are recommended for a variety of sports and activities, and come with 3x interchangable lenses* to allow for changing light conditions and a clear and undistorted view. The sculpted frame design is combined with 'Gelgrip' ear socks to ensure the Warps sit perfectly on your face and don't move around. I was particularly keen to try frames of a different colour, too, to further increase visibility of myself out on the road - as well as looking a little more 'pro' with the current trend for fluo in 'the Peloton'.
Having worn the Warps constantly for two hundred-mile sportives, now, and two sub-50-mile Sunday Club Runs, I feel they have had a proper testing. I simply cannot fault them. They are comfortable to wear and the lenses are just as good as the description on the Velo Champion website suggests. Clarity, in my opinion, cannot be rivalled. I was particularly keen to see whether they suffered from 'fogging', as a pair of my premium 'O' brand sunglasses do. To date, they don't, and this is even on cooler autumnal mornings. I will be interested to see whether this is also the case in the coming winter months but expect great things from the 'integrated cool ports' built into the design specifically for this purpose.
The Warps also seem very durable and the stiffness of the 'stress resistent frame material' is reassuring. It was initially a little tricky to change the lenses in and out, and a certain knack is perhaps required if used to other brands, but I feel this is normal. If anything, it adds to the confidence in quality and potential longevity of the product.
Price-wise, the Warp RRP is £59.99. Heavily discounted at present, they are a bargain.
For further information, safety details and to purchase, visit velochampion.hostedbywebstore.co.uk
*Lenses include Revo Orange (for bright conditions), Yellow (for low light) and Clear (for wet/dull conditions)
Leeds Bicycle Film Club @ The Reliance, Leeds
Monday evening (19th October) saw the third meeting of the Leeds Bicycle Film Club at the Reliance, Leeds. The monthy event, celebrating the humble bicycle through film, is gathering a bit of a following. For Ian Street, its founder, the idea was simple and organic. He explains, 'Films and bikes have things in common for me; escapism, adventure, exploration, freedom of expression, fun and laughter. I love riding bikes and watching films, so got thinking 'what better than to combine the two and create a Bicycle Film Club?" Ian is not alone and, over the weeks, the club has attracted cyclists and film lovers alike.
'The aim,' he goes on, 'is to show films, documentaries and shorts that are themed around the bike. Some might have a loose connection, in others the two wheels will be the star, but all should make for a good evening out'.
Those attending the launch night in August saw a screening of Peter Yates' 1979 masterpiece "Breaking Away" - a celebration of Italian cycling in working class Indiana. Last month, "Rising From Ashes", a film celebrating the rise of cycling in the aftermath of the Rwandan genocide, was shared. Both were fantastic choices by Ian, to really establish the monthly event and show the real diversity available within the theme. Monday saw another great in "Wadjda". This groundbreaking and multi-award-winning Saudi-German film, was written and directed by Haifaa Al-Mansour, a female director and shot entirely in Saudi Arabia.
The venue, The Reliance in Leeds, is wonderful. Their 'Little Reliance Cinema', with 25 seats, is perfect for such an event and enables those attending to take full advantage of everything on offer - excellent food, wine, beer and atmosphere - in addition to the film. It makes for a really social Monday evening out.
The Club is run entirely on a 'not for profit' basis, with ticket prices simply covering the cost of the license to screen each film.
In Ian's words, "Just good people, good films, good times. I hope you’ll come along for the ride".
For more information visit www.leedsbicyclefilmclub.com or follow @LeedsBicycleFC on Twitter.
From an original interview with Cycle Alert re: York Rouleurs Cycling Club
What sets York Rouleurs apart from other cycle clubs?
Unlike more traditional clubs, we have no real expectation of riders. We began in March 2014, initially as an alternative to riding alone. A day and time was posted on Twitter and anyone wanting company on a ride could meet up. There’s no pressure to attend weekly and we certainly don’t enforce a minimum no. of rides. We ask that riders can average between 15 and 18mph over 2hrs but, other than that, simply enjoy riding socially with people with the same passion. We cater for cyclist of all ages, with membership including those in their 30s and late 60s.
What’s the best cycling in York adventure you’ve had with the club?
As we aren’t competitive as such (although those wishing to race can do so in club colours) a lot of emphasis is on social rides and sportives/charity events. We rode in a group last summer in the annual British Heart Foundation “Heart of York” sportive. The undulating and picturesque route meant a challenge for the club whilst allowing us to adhere to our ‘Sunday at 9am’ roots.
What words would you use to inspire others to join York Rouleurs?
York Rouleurs is about sharing a passion. No matter what your age, profession or weekly schedule, we all have cycling in common. Ride when you can and there’ll always be someone ‘at the shelter’.
Why Cycle Alert?
With more and more stories of cycling casualties and fatalities, Cycle Alert is a fantastic addition to your kit. Coupled with safer cycling, Cycle Alert gives you increased peace of mind when out on busy roads. York Rouleurs love Cycle Alert and, for us, taking our ‘tag’ out is as routine as putting on a helmet. In fact, many of us have then on our helmets so, regardless of how many bikes you have, you’re never without it.
York Rouleurs is a British Cycling-affiliated club aimed at encouraging group cycling for those based in and around the City of York. For more information on how you can get involved visit the website at www.yorkrouleurs.co.uk
Cycle Alert and York Rouleurs have a unique partnership, promoting cyclist safety. For more information, visit www.cyclealert.com
Le Col - superb cycling apparel, 'imagined on the road', manufactured in Italy.
Le Col do things differently. The brainchild of Yanto Barker, they represent a step forward in the world of sports and, specifically, cycling apparel. Each garment concept is rigorously tested by Yanto - himself a professional cyclist - who is all too familiar with the wide-ranging kit required in the peloton and, indeed, when living and cycling in the UK.
They offer an enormous range of items for changing conditions and varied climates, from excellent summer jerseys and bibs, with silicone microdot grippers, to deep winter jackets and tights. Complimenting caps and skull caps are well made and understated, adding a 'finishing touch' to kit.
The Pro B5 Winter Range sets a benchmark in tailored, functional wear, and is ideal for rides in the Autumn onwards. The jacket features a high neck, fleece lined collar and 4 good size pockets. Aqua Zero, non-wetting fabrics allow excellent water repellency, very low water absorption, low water leak, and long-lasting durability. It also performs well after repeated use, and has oil and stain resistance. Contrasting panels make the jacket stand out from others available, and shows Le Col's attention to asymetrical design. Like the corresponding B5 tights in the range (which feature lazer-cut straps), the jacket has reflective panels which are strategically placed, to ensure maximum visibility in changing conditions and low light. A full-length zip, with concealment at the top and bottom ensures comfort. An excellent jacket.
For more information and to order, visit www.lecol.net
Rapha SuperCross returns to the UK this weekend, with a new and unique venue. Shibden Hall, Halifax, will host the first UK event of the season, with racing on both Saturday and Sunday (17th & 18th October). Amateurs and professionals alike can race against a scenic backdrop, with cowbells ringing and a wide range of refreshments available (on and off the course!). An event not to be missed.