Blue Patch team are on a mission to find the best of British bikes and all you need to go with them – including low carbon cycling holidays. Women, your distinctly ‘workman like’ reflective vest can now be given to your nearest male friend, as Day Glow Doris has arrived all shining and glamorous with her hi-vis retro cycle jackets. Lovingly made in a small co-operative in Kettering, even the buttons are British, making this flattering swing style jacket the perfect Christmas gift for women on wheels.
On the subject of glamour, Carradice Of Nelson Ltd (a 90 year old company – they’ll surely deserve a telegram from the Queen soonish) make the best bike bags in the world, with top marks for sustainability and using locally sourced materials, even their factory in Lancashire is powered by solar! Complimenting your Day Glow Doris, the lipstick can be popped into this pretty ‘handlebar purse’ above. Carradice have a fabulous range of Harris Tweed bags.
This neat little stocking filler, a cyclists tool kit (they also do bike seat covers and more besides) comes from the remains of another form of sustainable transport, boats. Wightsails are a stunning example of closed loop manufacturing, repurposing sail cloth that’s as tough as, well, old sails! Blue Patch have one of their shopping trolleys, it’s the best thing for taking to market, strong and capacious. You can even buy an upcycled Christmas stocking from them….
Let’s get down and dirty, or should we say ‘environmentally spotless’. Simon Nash developed Green Oil in response to the pollution caused by conventional bike oil and cleaners, first noticed when he was cycling in a stream and an oil slick trailed behind him. Green Oil also has a very special gift box for cyclists, with the first British made FSC bike brush included. You can use the gift set carrier for a window box, seeds included. Here’s Simon in his ‘inventor’s eyrie’ extemporising on film about green business.
With everyone texting as they meander across roads we have to be alert, and a tuneful bell will bring out the best in the unsuspecting pedestrian. A round object of desire, a miniature golden tortoise sitting on your handlebars, you may be lucky and find nestled in the toe of your Christmas stocking, a bicycle bell by Lion Bellworks. Manufactured in Birmingham and Barnsley and assembled in Manchester. You can buy them directly from the makers through Blue Patch.
Behold the bicycle, the most perfect machine ever invented, the ultimate low carbon transport, the healthy, sexy, bespoke British and highly sought after Sven Cycles. Pictured is their roadster ‘for the ladies’ in powder blue. Sven take bike building very seriously indeed. Bikes are made to measure, so if you have a wonky hip, your bike will understand and accommodate you. Talking to Darron Sven it’s clear they expect their bikes to last a lifetime, so a wise investment in a Sven will repay you handsomely down the years.
Next you need a destination, a breathtaking set of mountains to test your brakes, a place to ring your bell and glow like Doris, rivers that are crystal clear and a carbon free Eco Guest House Bryn Elltyd – what more can you wish for – oh yes and you can take your bike by train, it’s a short sprint to the station. Bryn Elltyd is one of the most sustainable guest houses in Britain and smothered in awards to prove it. Nestled in the skirts of Snowdonia, it’s a snug paradise, a zero carbon labour of love, where you can experience a guilt free sauna and enjoy freshly made hearty home cooked food, brilliant after you’ve tackled the mind boggling array of cycling excursions. Just contact John for the lowdown and book yourself a holiday – see you there!
Stop Press: Blue Patch supports the London Cycling Campaign and the Cycling Superhighway if it was safer for some of us more nervous cyclists there would be an unstoppable bike revolution – let’s do it!