London frame builders scoop Bespoked Awards – Again!

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London is home to some of the world’s best frame builders – official. For the second year in row London frame makers grabbed three of the top awards at the Bespoked hand built bicycle show. Fittingly the show took place at the QE Olympic Park Velodrome. 

Matthew Sowter of Saffron Bikes in Camberwell took the Best in Show award for his immaculately finished race bike. Tom Donhou, who works in Hackney, was honoured for Best Utility Bike – made a for a woman friend. And newcomer,Talbot Frameworks of Crystal Palace won Best Innovation Award for Mark MacDonnagh's both arty and technical frame with its electronic shifting run along the surface of tubes using silver paint. 

Non-London winners (and there were few) included Winter Bikes, of Oregon, for Best Track Bike, Baum (Australia) for Best Road Bike and Dan Titchmarsh for Best Mountainbike.  

The backdrop to the show was the extraordinary Velodrome track on which frame builders took turns to practice riding some of their wares as the show was in progress. Space was much more generous than last year at Bristol and the many thousands who turned up were able to gawp, chat and drink to their heart’s content.  The only failing (and yes, LCC told the London Legacy Development Corporation many times this would happen) was the embarrassing lack of cycle parking outside. But, ever resourceful, hundreds of visitors with bikes locked up to the Velodrome railings. 

Among the exotica on display was the Veloboo bamboo bike from Hungary with gold plated components (only 38,000 Euro) ; the extraordinary paintwork on Festka bikes from the Czech Republic (3K plus) ;  unusual Tom Ritchey couplings on an Igleheart bike; a painstakingly polished and engraved Welsh themed bike by (Dr) John Paulus of Paulus Quiros; a carpenter’s bike with some highly dangerous contents by Ryan McCaig (another London builder - Oak Cycles in Hackney ) ; and his bookish  H.G. Wells bike in Penguin colours; some very neat lug work by another new London builder Malcolm of Lewisham. 



There were also exotic hipster accessories like the Tweed saddle bags from Carradice (first run already sold to Japanese and US customers) and the retro-cool Brompton bag from the same stable. Vulpine merino and Epic clothing clustered around the staff's personal Ricky Feather bikes. Atomic 22 were demonstrating the advantage of a fully secure wheel skewer over a D-lock. 

Woodrup was showing some frames that harked back to the 50’s and 60’s. Chas Roberts, whose family have been building in London for well over half a century, was showing a modern take on their Trans-continental tourer with unusual fat seat stays, hub gears and an eccentric bottom bracket to allow chain adjustment. Builder Adrian took the opportunity to model their new race jersey.