A made-to-measure bike is not as expensive as you might imagine, says Mick Sharp.
You almost certainly wouldn’t get Jeremy Clarkson to agree, but there is a stack of evidence to suggest that cycling is “a good thing”. According to independent pro-cycling organisation Cycling UK – which has championed the cause of cycling for 140 years – in excess of three million bikes were sold in 2016, with the UK accounting for more sales than in any of the other 27 European Union countries, apart from Germany (four million). If cycle use rises from its current level of 2% to 10% by 2025 and 25% by 2050, the cumulative benefits – in terms of savings from reduced congestion and pollution and accidents and improved health and so on – “would be worth £248bn between 2015 and 2050 for England”.
If you’re serious about biking then a made-to-measure machine is the way to go. Artisan makers Peter Bird and Robert Wade say their understanding of what is required of “a living, breathing bicycle” is second to none “because we not only design them, but also hand-build the frames – that’s the difference”. They will custom-build your bike at their Shropshire-based company to your precise measurements, down to the millimetre, to get the exact sizing of frame, seat-post, saddle, handlebar stem and crank length to suit you.
The duo’s “exquisite attention to detail and the sheer creativity involved in their builds” is seriously impressive, says Oli Woodman on bikeradar.com. The frames are designed to fit you and respond to your riding style, and each comes with a solid silver head badge and a hallmarked solid silver number plate. “We encourage each customer to have as much involvement in the process as they would like,” Peter Bird told Cyclist magazine.
This kind of specialist cosseting doesn’t come cheap, but may not be quite as expensive as you’d imagine either – expect to pay in the region of £2,900 for your very special bicycle. There’s also a waiting list to contend with, so plan ahead if you fancy treating yourself or a loved one on their next birthday.