Bespoked Bristol The UK Handmade Bicycle Show 2012

In a world dominated by cars, conglomerates, fast food, and lazy lifestyle, cycling is a simple expression of freedom and rebellion against the system. This is why the cyclist must strive against the mindless motorist, intent on rights, and payments and rules of the road, immune in a metal bubble, oblivious of wind, rain, dark, light and all the tangibility of the outside world. Easy, lulling, laying down folds of fat and jowls on the skeleton, like silt resting on the bedrock of the sea, useless, yet heavy, the fat that the parasite depends on, to sell them more, to make things easier, deserving, preserving yet never conserving, no understanding of energy or effort, or hardship, or anything that cuts through to the core.

The cyclist by nature, and by intent, cuts through this, offering a simplicity of life, a form won from work, an appeal to the base satisfaction of self reliance and, paradoxically, fraternity. Functional, hard, purposeful and all encompassing, the cyclist opens the mind to freedom of expression and creation, radiating energy, life and love through the muscle fibres, percolating into the soul.

The fear of this freedom, this creativity, this unstoppable tide of endorphin powered, succulent, tenacious madness drives the desire to restrict, to restrain, to pull into line the rebel in the midst of society. Yet this is untameable, the line to be pulled into is the pace line, the line that shares the work for the common good and not for the suppression of the brightest and best, the line that allows the weak to sit in whilst the strong drive forward. True society, based upon striving and virtue, and not upon self protection and inanimation.

Yet even this utopia has its office working, marketing teams, its conglomerates and corporate takeovers, its sullen sales figures and televised seduction, the representation of the capitalist system, the ultimate representation of restriction and repression, muddied by money and eroded by finance not value.

As with all things the despair at the enormity of the system to be overcome, the seemingly entrenched values and the anguish of suppression and restriction, threatens to overwhelm all in its path. Yet within, far below the surface, lies the true wealth, the gold, the reality and solidity that is the object of all this false striving. The cottage industry, the honesty of craft, achievement, experience, the reliance on quality for survival in the face of the generic flooded market place. The world of the hand built, the personal and the flavour of honesty. Whilst corporate build the legend and allow the duplication of aspiration through equipment, the hand built recognise the reality of individualism, individual achievement, reflection and self knowledge to produce the true tailored fit. The roll of honour of these unsung heroes is not printed and hung on bill boards, or filmed and shown in ad breaks, but is the life giving haemoglobin of the blood that pumps the oxygen and life into the vibrant heart of cycling.