Thursday, 3 April 2014

I say old bean, it's 2014!

We're exhilarated to announce that the Vintage Velo is back for 2014.

The dateline is Sunday 18 May, so you've not got long to get your tickets. Purchase them here, polish your velocipede, don your spats or culottes, and prepare for the most enjoyable bicycle expedition of the year!

Details of the day are falling into place as we speak, but it'll be as enjoyable as previous years, and features what is unquestionably our most exciting end destination yet. Departing from central Bristol at around 11.00 am, we'll take you on a genteel ride along a lovely route, have some fun and games along the way, then finish with a sophisticated knees-up at a mystery destination, with top-notch entertainment, reasonably-priced food and a well-stocked bar.

You don't need a vintage bike to take part, and we'll leave dress code up to you, although effort will be appreciated and rewarded. There will be good times, dapper chaps and chapesses, wonderful prizes to win, and all the proceeds will go towards making the fifth edition of Bristol Cycle Festival happen this July.

Meeting point and route details will be confirmed nearer the time. The cycling part of the day will be an easy ride of 45-60 minutes duration, with the option to get the train home if you've overindulged.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

In glorious Technicolour

With the gloom of Autumn encroaching upon us, here's a reminder of this summer's fun, courtesy of estimable cinematographers Stick In Mind.

Relive the marvellous ride, the hat-tossing, the cocktails and the lemon jousting!

Vintage Velo - Bristol Cycle Festival 2013 from Stick in Mind on Vimeo.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Mad dogs and Englishmen

Much as we love the entertainingly variable weather that typifies our lush little isle, towards the end of last year we grew somewhat weary of being constantly micturated upon from above. And so it was with great pleasure that we woke on the morning of this year's Vintage Velo to find that the sun had finally overcome last year's shyness, and was gracing us with an extended stay.

Photo by Sam Saunders
Some events happily tread water, but like a rare shark, we feel the Vintage Velo must move forward, or die. Thus it came to pass that this year featured a new start point, a brand new route, and a new destination, more of which later.

Due to the heat, dress standards were slightly more relaxed than usual, with an agreeably slouchy feel to the whole affair. Many of the attendees were familiar faces from previous editions, along with a healthy dollop of ingénues.

After a stunning circuit of the Downs with views across the Avon Gorge, we crossed into Ashton Court, enjoying a breezy descent through the estate. We adjourned for a picnic on the mansion lawns, where a few rounds of the Vintage Velo favourite "lemon jousting" kept us entertained.

Photo by Roger Harbord

 Unfortunately one chap's Ordinary was incapacitated by an encounter with a particularly sturdy tussock:

Photo by Roger Harbord

But a quick telephone call later, and he was back in the game, on a smaller version of said machine. It's always heartening to see people take such mishaps in their stride. Such indomitable spirit puts us in mind of Thomas Stevens, the first man to circle the globe by bicycle, who set off on a high-wheeler and undertook such a long and arduous journey that the modern safety bicycle was actually invented while he was off on his travels.

As is traditional, we photobombed a historic building:

Photo by Stick in Mind
Before heading off to somewhere more bijou and affordable - in this case the marvellous Milk Thistle, which threw open its doors especially for us. With two floors of otherworldly décor and a mean cocktail menu, it was the perfect end destination.

We were entertained by the Shaky Hand Hangover Band (who played a special set of suggestive 1920s jazz standards), a Moustache Museum, and a most dapper chap and chapess competition, in which a friendly scowl triumphed over some slightly awkward parasol-unfurling (by the chap).

One of the many mind-bending exhibits at Madame Melski's Moustache Museum

By this point most people were starting to wilt slightly in the heat, so with a final restorative Dark and Stormy under our belts we bade farewell to another wonderful ride.

Our thanks as ever go to our excellent organisers, particularly James from Cycle the City,  Amanda, and Madame Melski, our marshals, our excellent sponsors, and of course, our wonderful subscribers. Here's to next year!

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Roll Up! Roll Up!

Well well well, I do believe we have some most excellent news for you today - your well earned ha'pennies and shillings can now be parted with in exchange for a ticket to our most exquisit of events.

Direct your intertube browsers at this little connecting link to make your purchase to join us on our Vintage Velo Bicycle Ride on the 14th of July. Tickets only cost ten of your modern Pounds, however if you came last year, it will only be eight.

Come on! You don't need convincing, do you?

Well, after last year's downpours, thanks to some dastardly deals we have guaranteed the possibility of sun and blue skies this year. You'll therefore need to arrive at our secret departure location in your very best vintage finery - bring your plus-fours and top hats, flapper dresses and bonnets (but maybe pack your galoshes too).

Our route will take in the sights, sounds and smells of Bristol as we take a pleasant tour around our beautiful city. Be ready to partake of some entertaining activities, and perhaps yet more fun and games at the end, aided by some spiffing cocktails at our sophisticated central location.

But Sir, I don't have a suitable velocipede!

Worry not - you can turn up on any bicycle you like, whether it's a true classic to some modern contraption with reliable gears and brakes. Look out for news on a location from where you may be able to hire a suitably vintage velo too.

By heck, lets try and avoid any of these shenannigans though, what what!

Thursday, 27 June 2013

We're waking from our slumbers...

Judging by our postbag over the last few weeks, a number of you are mustard-keen to get your hands on a ticket for our 2013 event.

Well, we're almost there - train your browsers on and an announcement will be forthcoming this weekend!

Apologies for our slackness, but the Cycle Festival, including this fine event, is all organised by volunteers, and the effort entailed in juggling a combination of day jobs and laundanum habits means we sometimes let things slip a bit.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Ring a Bling!

The VV Prize Bike: Parts Donated from Bristol Bike Project, Frame and Fenders Powder Coated by Griffs Reality Motorworks and 27 1/4" Tyres provided by Jakes Biked.
Renovated and Restored by our pal Ryan.

    "This must be the place..." a fairly bemused pair of cyclists stood outside of a St Werburghs based residence, trying to make head or tail of the large stainless steel vintage bicycle bell mounted in place of a door knocker: being the thorough sort it's owner already had a pot of tea on the brew and knew that, from within the comfort of the kitchen, the distinctivly loud two toned ding dong would travel sufficientely to alert the occupants of a guests arrival.

   THE Bike is a fairly strange mix of parts: built around an early '90's Reynolds 501 Steel framed Raleigh roadster and equipped with Wiemann Dual Pull Caliper Brakes, a completely refurbished inside and out 1986 Sturmey Archer AW, one of the first ever QR Skewer systems ever released, 'cockpit' controls (brake levers!) pilfered from a now defunct Dawes Kingpin, top notch Alloy Raleigh cranks, an especially large bell and a GB Quill stem that we've seen go for over 90 Quid on fleaBay it really is a thing of beauty.  Professionally Handbuilt wheels too!  Perfect for the dapper chap or chappess for bombing around Bristol's flat areas of (with a smaller chainring) pootling around the hilly heights of Clifton.

    And here's it's new owner:
Olly was the lucky winner of the bike in our fundraising raffle: for a mere £2 of tickets this fella bagged himself well over a couple of Big One's of Bike! Well done Olly!  Just so well for him that a fair few didn't dare brave the rain that day or we're sure that the competition would have been a hell of a lot stiffer!

    So, if you see a large man on a bright candy red 3 speed town bike (which has now been dubbed 'Ruby'), give him a wave, tilt your flat cap and congatulate him on his new found friend :-).

        THE VV TEAM

Ryan is our resident mechanical bike man: he lives, works and plays, building, fixing, creating and caressing bikes at Bristol Bike Workshop, 88 Colston Street, BS1.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Stiff Upper Lip!

If 2011 saw the best of the weather, this year we saw the best in our merry band of pédaleurs. All weekend the forecasts had been growing steadily more ominous, and they did not disappoint. 

 We toyed with the idea of cancelling the ride, but there was a general feeling that doing so would be conduct befitting the white feather. Besides, enthusiasm for the ride appeared undiminished from some quarters, with one subscriber to the mailing list exclaiming "I, Sir, am an Englishman, and I will not be driven indoors by the weather!"

Photo: Martin McDonnell
In the event around forty riders assembled for the second edition of the Vintage Velo - around one third of the number registered, but around forty times the number we were expecting. Some sacrificed vintage attire in favour of more modern outerwear, while others kept things fully authentic, with one participant effecting a particularly striking turquoise 1980s Raleigh rain suit.

Our first stop was planned to be the Mansion House in Clifton for an appointment with the Mayor. Unfortunately we missed the Right Honourable gentleman, as it was imperative to keep moving to stave off hypothermia. We proceeded though the sheltered suburbs of Clifton and Westbury, arriving at Blaise Castle, where the staff had kindly opened up the Dairy for an indoor tea stop.
Photo: Martin McDonnell
Then it was on to Shirehampton Public Hall, where a magnificent spread of food and drink awaited, along with some much less bedraggled participants who had wisely decided to skip the riding part of the day.
Photo: Martin McDonnell
We gave away, amongst other things, a lovely bike, several unique and as yet unmade bags, cinema tickets, bike accessories and a very nice bottle of wine.

The coveted Dapper Chap award deservedly went to Paul Wheatcroft, dressed as Francois Le Facteur from the classic comedy Jour de Fete, who radiated enjoyment and bonhomie throughout the entire day. The Chapess award was hotly contested, with many a gamine young lady taking to the stage. We were entertained by lemon jousting, the excellent DJs of Shellac Sound, wild klezmer from Fromage en Feu, and a lady doing an interpretative dance with a stuffed tiger.

Then it was time to pack up and wend our way back to Bristol. Some hardy souls had even dried off enough to ride there.

Our thanks go to all the volunteers who made the day happen, the hall team, all the marshalls, Richie for being a compère without compare, Ian at Blaise Castle Estate for looking after us so well, Posh from Taylored Cycles for sorting numerous mechanicals, and the Lord Mayor for being very gracious about our no-show.

Our sponsors laid on an incredible array of prizes and a particular thanks to Bath Ales for letting us return our unsold beverages. Do have a look at their Biking Bonanza event in June.

And finally, thanks to our fantastic subscribers, for spitting in the eye of the weather and enjoying themselves regardless.

As you may be aware, we are planning to restage the ride element of this event later in the year, so do please stay in touch and fingers crossed for a sunny weekend.