Touring Bicycle – The Art of Travel

Keep your red corvette and your steam train, your White Star liner and your Pan Am Clipper  – for me nothing evokes the spirit of travel in the grand old style, from the days when the world was wide and the going was good, quite like a classic touring bicycle – one with a lugged steel frame, drop bars, pump pegs, quill stem, flat pedals and one of these boxy French handlebar bags. It’s what makes a touring bicycle a work of art in my eyes, a kinetic sculpture that communicates, oh-so-eloquently, an ideal of travel, adventure and a boundlessly open road.

The frame of particular touring bicycle was made for me nearly ten years ago by a good friend, Mark Reilly, who also happens to be one of Britain’s top frame builders. I was privileged to watch him do it: filing the fleurs-de-lys on the lugs to perfect points, hand-brazing the joins with silver, sculpting the fork so it had just the right amount of trail, and confirming in my mind with every step he took that here, truly, in the framebuilders workshop, is where art and travel come together.