Duns Cycle Chic

Babymother and co were up helping Huttonian celebrate his birthday this weekend and we came over to join them. And with spring springing (somewhat gustily, but at least not raining) we took the opportunity to go out for a quick cycle ride.

Islabike and paperbike

The Paperbike might be a splendid town bike, but with its cushy fat tyres it handles gravel, mud and ruts with a certain aplomb. The Brompton makes for a rather more skittish ride but is nippy round the potholes, and of course an Islabike is primarily a mountain bike, so we were able to take full advantage of Duns’s forest tracks and off-road paths. Which was fortunate because we weren’t that keen on trying the Borders’ roads.


It was only when I was looking at the pictures afterwards that it occurred to me we were all riding British bikes, all very different but each in their own way quality pieces of engineering.

Why is it we can build the bikes, but not the roads we need to ride them on?


5 Responses to Duns Cycle Chic

  1. commuterjohn says:

    Perhaps its like the top British cars we make, most of them are exported to run on foreign countries roads.

  2. cripleh says:

    Because you don’t need the permission of the council to build a bike?

  3. John Gibson says:

    We can build the roads alright, but with so many cars they soon get worn out. I was in north wales on Thursday, and the roads I went on were pretty good, back in Oxford, even on a bike you have to take a lot of care. There are new holes to watch every day. Have a look at this, it’s the king of holes, and it’s just been fixed.


  4. disgruntled says:

    @commuter john – thinking about it, we’re mainly building bikes designed to cope with rubbish roads / unintegrated public transport
    @cripleh – there may be something in that
    @John G – it wasn’t the surface so much as the combination of narrowness, windiness and hilliness that wasn’t very 10-year-old friendly

  5. fonant says:

    We can build the roads, in fact the roads were given a decent surface for the early cyclists well before cars came along. Ask Carlton Reid all about that!

    The roads are fine, it’s the many motor vehicles speeding along them that are the problem.

    We build good bicycles because the British (perhaps actually more the Scots) have always been very good at engineering and mechanical design. We basically invented the popular bicycle, as well as other excellent things like the railways. Sadly a lot has now been sold off to foreign companies, but a few small businesses keep the British engineering quality flag flying.

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