You can be the most stylish and discerning of cyclists but there’s always going to be one important piece of equipment you’ll need to complete the look, and that, is the bicycle. A bicycle is a very personal thing and everybody has their own taste and opinions when it comes to choosing their preferred bike.
For commuting, fixed gear or city bikes are certainly a popular choice and especially the bikes with a more traditional look about them. I recently had the chance to meet a company selling very stylish, traditional bicycles and at a price that is very reasonable.
On the last day of summer 2012 in Liverpool, the sun shone down as I met Ben from the Baltic Bicycle Company (BBCo) to have a test ride of 1 of the 4 bikes they have to offer. The Gustav. A little blue number that’s well very made from Latvian based company Erenpreiss with Baltic distributing these beautiful cycles throughout the UK and beyond.
Taken from their site – BBCo was founded by four cycle enthusiast friends with an eye for European style, seeking out unheralded, handmade bicycles from across cycling’s Northern European heartland – heritage brands, each with their own unique look and style but united by a common sense of history and hand-built quality. Check out the Ben and the Baltic Bicycle Company’s website here.
It was a genuine pleasure to meet Ben who spoke with a genuine excitement about the bikes, he was passionate and informative, only too happy to help and let me test ride the Gustav. He himself was looking ready for a town ride with red slim legged jeans, shirt and hooded gilet, perfect for the sunny day that had a nip in the air.
The quality of the bikes is obvious, lovingly crafted and nice attention to details. Thin tubes and neat welds. The chrome handle bars and leather grips and saddle made it ooze with vintage class and Ben had added a rather fetching small bag hanging on the saddle which just made me want to point behind him and shout “Oh my god! A giant space whale from outer space!!” and be off whilst his head was turned.
I think for the casual rider or small commuter these range of bikes are perfect. The Gustav has 3 gears, the Tom is fixed. They’re the boys version. The girls versions have the same options – Paula has 3 and Greta is the fixie. If you’re used to a racer they’re a little odd to get used to riding – sitting up right, rather than head down, arse in the air. However after a few minutes you adjust and it you feel at ease and quite sedate – a nice cruising bike. The only real gripe is the back brake. It’s in the pedals. You pedal back to activate it. That will take some getting used to but the option is there to customise to the more traditional handlebar break.
They’re also quite keenly priced, whilst the Mum and Dad of the range – Gustav & Paula are £550, The Tom & Greta come in at £375 so it’s really not a massive outlay to get a real top quality, discerning bicycle.
The Gustav is beautiful and at Discerning Cyclist we’ve put together a little outfit idea that would compliment the Baltic’s top dog ride quite nicely.
Jesse Polo from Howies for £59.00
5. THE BICYCLE
Gustav Bicycle from The Baltic Bicycle Company for £550