Every year the majority of Hastings (and beyond) dress themselves in
green. They decorate their homes and shops in ivy and head to the Old
Town where they watch a man dressed as a large bush lead a prosession
through Hastings consisting of woodland imps and morris dancers. Then
everyone seems to get very drunk. This occasion is called Jack In The
Green and represents the start of spring for many south coast dwellers.
This year at Bells Bicycles we wanted to capture the spirit of Jack In The Green by holding a free portrait studio in the shop. People popped in wearing varying degrees of green finery and then vanished into the crowds for a day of sun, sea and celebrations.
This is a glimps into Jack in the Green 2013:
Did you know that 1 in 3 women in the UK are under 5'2"? And yet the choice when choosing a bicycle is shocking. Everyone who falls into this group can understand the frustration when looking for a bike. Do you teeter on tip toes on a full size ladies frame or settle for a childs bike complete with flames and streamers?
So we at Bells have taken it on as our mission to find beautiful, fun and practical bikes to be enjoyed by cyclists tall or small.
Studies suggest that taller people are more likely to partake in and be better at sports so more money is pumped into bicycle manufacturing for this group. Well, not only do we think this is unfair but we will proudly declare that Bells Bicycles isn't about sports. So let's consider all sizes equally.
For those wanting a traditional ride the Bronx Epic is perfect. The upright positioning allows for upright posture while the 6 speed derallieur gears mean it is surprising good on hills.
Plus it's gorgeous! It comes complete with wicker basket pannier rack and large ding dong bell all for £295 which we think is excellent!
It has a 16" frame which is slightly smaller than the smallest current ladies frame (17") The beauty of the Epic is how adjustable it is it due to the extra long seat post and a decent gap between the saddle and handlbars. It can fit anyone from 4'10" right up to 5'6"!
If your looking for something more light weight and speedy, the super
cool TokyoBike Bisou is fabulous. Designed with Japanese people and narrow Tokyo streets in mind
the frames come in slightly smaller sizes. So this 16" frame is
perfect for anyone from 4,10" up to 5,4".
TokyoBike is a small independent company who own a beautiful shop in Shoreditch London. They have been kind enough to let us introduce Tokyo style to Sussex. See our ladies bike section for the amazing range of colours. These are two of our favourites.
So there we have it, any one with other suggestions for small cyclists would be much appreciated.
Bells By The Sea: over and out.
From the cool streets of Shoreditch my new Tokyo C S set off towards Hastings. Tentatively leaving the big smoke, stick and handkerchief carefully balanced, it made the journey across the Weald and into Sussex.
Despite having owned alot of bikes, I've never had a new bike..... so
the arrival of my lovely Tokyo C S was an absolute treat! One of the
happy perks of shop keepering is showing your support for the products
you sell by owning them yourself. I was thinking of this responsibility
as I ordered both my Ally Capellino rucksack and my Tokyo CS!
The 8 speed gears are perfectly ratioed for my daily commute across St Leonards into Hastings Old Town (tackelling some serious hills and bracing sea winds along the way) and the sleek mustard frame with straight bars look great againt any urban back drop. So, having conquered Hastings hills I thought it high time I took this city cycle into the countryside.
Cuckoo trail, here we come!
(Just to make it clear which way we were headed)
The Cuckoo Trail is a really popular local ride which gained its name from an old Sussex tradition of releasing a cuckoo at the Heathfield Fair. My first observation was how beautiful the Cuckoo trail is at this time of year. The low lying winter sun lit up the surreal landscape beautifully. With the morning dew still present, it was perfect weather for a winter ride.
I'm still not sure if this is country side humour or a genuine road sign?
My Tokyo bike and I putting on a brave face at the top of a really steep climb. The trail runs through a mixture of broadleaf woodland, open grassland, and pasture with verges full of vetch and willowherb. Along the way are dramatic sculptures and carved wooden seats to stop and rest.
Cuckoo riding chum
What do you get if you cross two guitars and a drumkit and some stylish
young musicians with bicycles? No, there is no punchline, but on
Saturday the 6th October, Bells Bicycles hosted some very special guests at their Hastings shop, a St Leonards based trio who go by the name of The Mariners, who play folk, blues and punk and sing about love, loss, society and seafaring. Heavily influenced by folk and indie-punk with a skiffle-ish feel, the band centres around the song writing partnership of Andy and Carl, with Tom providing tight and expressive rhythm. Playing to a lively crowd, the trio entertained their audience with a variety of their own songs and their take on some of our old favourites.
Set against a backdrop of our beautiful vintage inspired bicycles, it was a great setting and not only were the band able to showcase their songs, the bicycles stood proud too. A fabulous clash and collaboration of music and bicycles, something not to be missed next time! This hopefully will be the start of Bells branching out into holding more events like this, so if this interests you or you have any ideas, why not drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org?