The UK’s premier handbuilt bike show returns to its spiritual home of Bristol for 2015. Showcasing the work of a host of independent bike builders it’s well worth a visit to see individual interpretations of how a bike should look and perform.
Packing in a wealth of eye candy into two venues this year, it’s the perfect opportunity for a bike flavoured city break. Fancy a trip? Here’s everything you need to know…
Bespoked 2015, the UK Handmade Bicycle Show, returns to its Bristol roots this April with a show bursting at the seams with handmade, independent bicycle excellence. The show now spans two venues in the UK’s premier cycling city, with two new events; it’s broader, bigger and more accessible than ever.
What better reason to spend a weekend in the 2015 European Green Capital? Bristol is the first ever UK city to win the award, having seen off stiff competition from cities across Europe. The award recognises Bristol’s environmental performance and ambitious goals for sustainable development (including having the highest cycling rates of any major UK city, three and a half times the national average).
Make a start on your Bespoked Bristolian tour at Brunel’s Old Station, the Grade-1 listed former Great Western Terminus Building designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel. This iconic building will host over ninety bicycle framebuilders from across the world, displaying an international line-up of the world’s most well-designed and meticulously crafted bicycles. From mountain to folding bikes, racers to shoppers, crafted in steel, carbon, titanium, wood and bamboo – a bicycle for everyone can be found at Bespoked. And if you can’t see what you want then get it made for you.
Then take a short ride or stroll across town to the Arnolfini, Bristol’s home of contemporary arts, where the Bespoked Constructor’s Challenge is elevating the bicycle art form to something entirely modern and relevant in today’s traffic-choked cities. Five teams of builders, designers and end users have been chosen to exhibit a custom-built bicycle created for a specific and real task. From a pedal-powered and truly mobile coffee trike (www.velopresso.cc) to a cargo bike for a painter (www.workhausbikes.co.uk) – designed to securely transport wet canvases and palate, brushes, paint, turps, rags, easel and a large umbrella… there’ll be inspiration for whatever bicycle-brained project you may be dreaming up yourself.
Also at the Arnolfini is the Bespoked Handmade Goods and Design Show, a showcase for cycling’s most beautiful and desirable accessories, design and apparel. So if a handmade bicycle, of any shape or form, is not quite within your budget for 2015, shop here for stylish cycling apparel from Vulpine, custom frame bags for bikepacking and touring from Wildcat Gear, artisan screen prints, greeting cards, organic t shirts and mugs by Anthony Oram and Rebecca J Kaye, or just one perfectly bound and ad-free Bonehaker Mag – celebrating the wonderful things that happen when people and bicycles come together.
Perhaps take your bicycle on a wonderful ride over the Clifton Suspension Bridge, spanning the picturesque Avon Gorge. For almost 150 years this Grade 1 listed structure has attracted visitors from all over the world and been the symbol of the city of Bristol. On the south side is Leigh Woods, a beautiful and diverse broadleaf woodland on the plateau above the gorge, with superb views across the city to downland beyond, a mountain bike trail and natural play area.
Or take the children along to At-Bristol, Bristol’s interactive science centre, to explore hundreds of hands-on exhibits, live shows and a Planetarium. Get making and tasting in the seasonal spring kitchen or plant and investigate seeds and shoots in the greenhouse, investigate specialist medical equipment in the live lab or just relax in the café with the children’s soft play area.
Meanwhile on Friday and Saturday evening at the Victoria Rooms in Clifton is the BANFF Mountain film festival – featuring the latest and best films from the world’s most prestigious mountain film festival. Mountain skiing, biking and climbing, stunt-riding, surfing, speedriding, slacklining, kayaking down concrete drainage ditches… it’s all here guaranteeing you an inspiring rush of adrenalin to finish the day.
“2015 is Bristol’s year. It presents a great opportunity to reinforce our environmental ambition and to channel our energy, experience and belief, behind our shared vision to justify our position as the UK’s greenest, most innovative and most vibrant city” – George Ferguson, Mayor of Bristol.
Bespoked 2015 – Embark here for a Bespoked Tour of the European Green Capital
17th – 19th April 2015, Brunel’s Old Station and Arnolfini, Bristol
Book your tickets now at https://billetto.co.uk/en/events/bespoked2015
Entry to the Arnolfini is free all weekend