It was while I was talking to Jon of Fresh Fabrications that it all started to make sense. I’d been at Spin Ldn for a couple of hours by that point, and in my wanderings had noted that – compared to last year – there was little in the way of cycle fashion on display. Hold on, I thought. I thought this show was meant to be about cycling and looking good while doing so. Where’s the style?
And then Jon said something that made me look at the show afresh. I’d just confessed that the main reason why I’d like a custom bike – not that I can afford one – is so that I could have a bike that looked exactly how I wanted it to look. Rather than turning away in horror at my shallowness, Jon agreed with me. Looks are important, he said. Just like people dress a certain way to express themselves, people want a bike that says something about who they are.
And that’s when it hit me. Of course – it’s all about the bike.
Spin Ldn is certainly the place to go to if you’re after an original and innovative bike. Now into its second year – and third show – it is London’s only urban-focused cycling show. Located in the Truman Brewery, in the heart of cool Brick Lane, it’s designed to showcase some of the most progressive and original cycling brands around. Tapping into East London’s booming cycling culture, it literally oozes cool.
The show featured three rooms packed full of all things bike and bike-related: the main hall, with brands including Brooks, tokyobike and AOI.CYCLE; the Makers’ Lounge, featuring custom bike builders, such as Saffron Frameworks and the aforementioned Fresh Fabrications; and Speakers’ Corner, home to a number of bike-themed talks (not to mention some of the most anarchic Shakespeare I’ve ever seen, courtesy of the Handlebards).
I was taken by the number of bikes on display that had broken away from the traditional diamond shaped frame. Bikes like this one, from Dutch maker Vanhulsteijn: I loved how, with its smooth curves and fluid shapes, it completely reimagines what a bike looks like.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, there was this beauty by Tatts & Beards – a hand-crafted 60 inch penny farthing. As amazing as it looks, it’s probably not the most practical of bikes to ride (not least because I doubt my feet would reach the pedals).
then promptly lost it again to this blue number:
Though the bikes were the focus of the show, there was of course more to it than that. Being a bit of a girl, I was interested in the pretty things on display – such as these lovely bags by Serin, Lflect’s pretty and reflective accessories, Tracey Neuls’ stylish yet amazingly comfy shoes and Stich-mi-Lane‘s cuddly cushions. Catherine of Hill and Ellis was there with her gorgeous pannier bags – now endorsed by Jon Snow, no less – as was Jacqui of Goodordering, who’d brought her tricycle along.
After visiting last year’s show, I wrote that one of the things I liked about it was the energy of it – the sense of something that was growing and developing. This year’s show, by comparison, felt as though it had come of age. Not only was it in a bigger space, I also sensed – with the range of brands on display, from new start-ups to established names, and from top-of-the-range custom bikes, to slightly less expensive hand-built bikes – a greater confidence. This was perhaps reflected in some of the prices, but that’s hardly surprising – individuality, originality and craftsmanship don’t come cheap.
I may not have been able to afford anything at Spin Ldn, but I certainly came away dreaming of beautiful bikes. Because, in the end, it really is all about the bike.