Category Archives: Ramblings, colourful characters, music and nonsense

Blah blah blah

“Float ma boat”

raybel launchHi.

A note of explanation.

A little over 3 years ago after much consideration, I took on a rather larger restoration project, the Thames sailing Barge, ‘Raybel’.

I knew this would impact greatly upon me and the shop and it has been some journey so far. It brings to mind the film ‘Fitzcoraldo’ by Werner Herzog, except I am working largely alone.It meant last year I closed the shop from june till December as I needed more money and time than the shop could offer so I sought this elsewhere.

I am telling you this as I need to do the same again this year, so I am closing the shop from May 2nd till the end of June.

I am optimistic that after this period things might get back to ‘normal’.

I apologise for the inconvenience this may cause you and I look for your understanding and compassion in this matter.

The Raybel is a most worthy cause, if only she were made of steel.


Tulip wars

Aalto is gardening again…

aalto tulips

Unfortunately enough is enough, we had to carry out a ‘stake out’ operation (excuse the pun) to stop him.

stake out

Le chat is not amused.

aalto pissed off

Hari Hari

Sargent & Co gets reflective…

…we have some new reflective cycling T-shirts on display in the shop, designed to wear everyday whilst having an extra level of safety as you cycle home at night.

chain T shirts ii

Designed and hand printed in London, the T-shirts are available in black or white, with a reflective chain design on the back: black T-shirts with neon green detail; white with pink detail. Available in S, M & L.

Chain T shirts i

Just a short run of 30 T-shirts to begin with, head over to to get one.

Hari Hari

Ride inna Scottish style

Released by Glasgow sound system Mungo’s Hi Fi (Scotch Bonnet Records) in summer 2014, this toon is back in our ears this Monday morning…

“Bike for me, bike for you, bike for everyone…”

Hari Hari

过年好!(Happy New Year!)

As we celebrate Chinese New Year here at Sargent & Co let’s not forget that China is one of the greatest cycling nations in the world. Over 500 million bikes and counting.

Cycling was the leisure pursuit for modern Shanghai-ers wanting to see and be seen about town in the 1930s…

Linglong 1935 174 479

…and today vintage bikes are back and popular as ever in fashionable Shanghai, where over 60% of people commute to work. That’s 6.5 million registered cyclists.

Vintage Shanghai

To find out more about China’s cycling history check out this short chronology extracted from the research of Amir Moghaddass Esfehani:

Hari Hari

Strava – The Beginning of The End

For those familiar with Strava please accept my apologies as I quickly overview it for the benefit of those that aren’t.

Strava is an app. Yes an application – something you download on to your smartphone so that your life will improve. You get this app. and you create a profile – Gender, Age, Weight (optional), Bike Make and Model, you can even add a befitting image of yourself riding your bike if you like.

photoThe app. has an in built GPS and maps your journey. Certain sections of your trip will have been earmarked out by other users and given a name. For example The Seven Sisters Sprint – this is a 200m stretch of road with a defined beginning and end – when you ride along this 200m stretch it records your time and adds you to a table. The Table of Truth. Every user who has done that same stretch of road has had their time recorded and added to the Table of Truth. You can see the fastest ever time and the slowest ever time this has been ridden. The facts are laid bare.

You may believe you are something  special, but let me tell you once you see the Table of Truth  you will realise at best you are a mediocre excuse of a cyclist. There are people out there that ride so fast it will blow your mind. Take Claire Wright (I have changed her name for privacy purposes), she rides the Reserevoir Revver at 39.1km/h. Yes. This is flat road.  How does this Claire ride so bloody fast? Do you know? I do – she is on a scooter. Yep you heard right, she is a cheat, she must be.

And then there is this Nicola girl. According the Table of Truth she rides the 250m Home Run 17 seconds faster than me. Now I drank a double espresso and attacked that road the other morning I and can’t see how it’s possible. I mean there are cars to consider and pedestrians. I was close to branding her a cheat as well, but when I clicked on her time I saw that it gives you the hour at which she rode her ‘superior’ time. And you know what she did? She rode it at 06.30 on a Sunday. The cunning cat got up specially when there is the least amount of traffic around and made herself the Queen of the Mountains (this is the title you get for being number 1 on a stretch). Well Nicola, if you are reading this, just remember what goes up must come down.

So this Strave app. all joking aside is a really good tool for anyone with fitness goals and for mapping routes – perfect for those weekend spins. It is also lots of fun as you win cups and medals for beating both others and your personal bests. You can of course also use this app. to start a hate campaign against complete strangers like I have, it’s up to you. 

(It maybe worth noting that you do have the option to make all of your information private, oh and that this app. is highly addictive).

Georgie Wood

Bobet and Roche – two good reads

During my jolly hols I read, Jean Bobet’s ‘Tomorrow We Ride…’ and Stephen Roche’s ‘Born to Ride’ in that order.

Jean, often remembered as the brother of the great post war French cycle champion Lousion Bobet, was a great rider in his own right, winning the World Student Cycling Championships in 1949 and commendable positions in numerous major races for a decade following. A self-proclaimed lover of Ernest Hemingway’s work, Bobet eventually turned his back on racing and pursued his true dream and became a writer.
Stephen Roche, an Irish champion hailing from the 1980s, famously tucked the Tour, The Giro and World Championships under his belt in 1987 – a wondrous achievement he shared with legendary Eddy Mercyx.
Admittedly when it comes to major successes you could argue Bobet and Roche are in a different class and they did of course ride in different eras. But regardless of wins and regardless of time, some things will always ring true – the hell of Ventoux, the pressures of endorsement, the complex relationship between riders and the Directeur Sportif, the curse of injury and of course the joy of finding of true form on the bike.
Bobet’s tale captures the imagination, so seductive is his eloquent exploration of what is it was to be cyclist in the 1950s, we found ourselves dreaming with him, turning the pages desperate to know what happens next. He is both careful and considered as he dissects the relationships around him. Throughout the book he philosophises and reflects. This is much more than a book about cycling, it as an insight into what it is to love as a brother.
Roche’s offering is straight forward. With Roche we are presented with a quick thinking and hungry strategist. He talks us through his races with a meticulous attention to technical details, the gear ratios he opted for, the bike setup, the routines. He painstakingly recalls those crucial milliseconds of thought before his legendary attacks. Roche allows us a glimpse into the mind of a powerful and determined winner; he is at times boastful, but deservedly so. It is painful to read about his demise towards the end of his career, albeit the natural order of things, you do have empathy.
The honest truth is I admire Roche’s tenacity, but I don’t particularly warm to him. You can’t help but wonder how and why the relationships throughout his life crumble and fall like decayed dominos. Roche has all the trophies and all the medals, yet for me Bobet reveals himself to be a true winner, because in him we find a man that identifies with something more than a desire to be a champion, and when the races finish you need that.

I bought my books from Condor Cycles.

Georgie Wood