A startup from Bristol is relaunching a venerable item dear to old-time club cyclists. Il Soigneur musettes may be traditional in practicality but they’re thoroughly modern in spirit and execution.

Back in the day, every self-respecting cycling club offered members a printed ‘bonk bag’ or musette so that riders could proclaim their fellowship while jauntily carrying a few essentials; a copy of Cycling Weekly perhaps, a few spare tubes and a change of shoes for the clubroom.

Tell us if we’re wrong but that club printing tradition seems to have stopped while the need for a small bag of just-so size still carries on. Sure, there are endless options of courier bags and backpacks for commuting but they’re somehow….too big.

iL-Soigneur-Wipe-Clean.jpgThat’s certainly what Dene Percy, a cyclist from Bristol thought. Combining the practical side of his nature with an eye for art, his Il Soigneur range of musettes has just gone on sale on the hand-makers’ website Etsy.

Featured are a range of modern updates on the the theme of the traditional musette using fabrics such as waxed cotton, PVC, wool blends or waterproof canvas that not only look good but are also hardwearing and generally up to the job.

iL-Soigneur-Grayson.jpgThe webbing straps are wide and anatomically placed to keep the bag where its supposed to be and a generous metre in length. The bags get stress reinforcement in all the right places, chunky press stud fastenings and finally there’s a cute badge and reflective tab. Overall size is 36cm x 27cm.

There are 12 designs, all at £28, ranging from the simple yellow “Oo Wipe Clean” to the wackier art fabric “Grayson You Mentalist” – fabric design by Grayson Perry – but what they all share is old-fashioned bespoke quality. There are more bags and cycling caps to come.

Contact: Il Soigneur on www.etsy.com


Whyte trailing new CX model
The respected south coast bike brand Whyte has been gradually branching out from its roots in fully suspended mountain bikes and last year offered some very well-reviewed utility city bikes which managed to retain the purposeful clean-and-techie look of their off-road cousins.

It’s a sign their ambitions aren’t stopping there that this week they’ve leaked photographs of a cyclo-cross bike they’ll be running under their team rider Billy Whenman at this weekend’s CX Sportive in the lovely area between Reading and Oxford.

The frame is made from hydroformed aluminium which suggests they’re shooting for a sensible price but the big story is the disc brakes which, of course, Whyte will be well used to dealing with on their off-roaders and now the UCI says we can use for cyclo-cross racing.

The main delay, and the reason there haven’t been more disc brakes on this winter’s pro bikes is that suitable forks with brake studs and sufficient clearance for mud and ‘cross tyres have had to be designed, prototyped and tested before they could be unleashed on innocent team racers and, even more importantly, the paying general public.

We’ve already seen one sneak peek this week of the new 3T Luteus carbon cyclo-cross fork with the brake cable routed down the outside of the fork leg; this one on the Whyte looks like it has the cable guides in a better position to the rear.

They’re being coy at Whyte but we can safely say two things. One; there’s a production race-ready Whyte CX bike coming. Secondly; Whyte are just crazy enough to be the first company that offers a production tarmac racer with discs. Can’t wait.

Contact: www.whytebikes.com


Ride it! Cycle Show offers demos and a sportive ride
Evans Cycles is hosting what it hopes will be the largest bike demo day in the country on the weekend of 19th and 20th March 2011.

With over 40 bike shops and a huge mailorder operation, it’s no surprise that most of the largest manufacturers will be there to support them, offering demo rides on a safe closed road circuit as well as forest tracks at the Redbridge Cycling Centre near Chigwell in East London.

In addition,  there are sportive rides on both days with Saturday the day for enthusiasts and a choice  of 30, 60 or 90 miles. On Sunday, there is a 10 mile fun ride where Evans are encouraging everyone to ride, especially family and friends.

Entry to the sportive rides costs £15 or £5 to the demo exhibition only. Accompanied children are free.

The M.A.D. mountain bike display team will be in action with their stunt display and coaching sessions.  There will also be FixIt! bike maintenance sessions running throughout the weekend as well as lots of other fun free activities for all the family including face painting and a bouncy castle.

Brands exhibiting and offering demos will include Trek, Scott, BMC, Fuji, Colnago, Cannondale, Lapierre, Santa Cruz, Niner, Brompton, Garmin, USE, Cateye, Polar, Gore Bike Wear, Endura, Helly Hansen and Fox.

It will also be the official launch weekend of the 2011 Pinnacle bikes, Evans’s own house brand that focusses on extreme good value.

Dean Stacey, RideIt! Event Manager, said: “We have a packed weekend planned with something for everyone.  For racers looking for a competitive edge to family and friends wanting a fun day out, the RideIt! Cycle Show will have it all.”

Contact: www. www.evanscycles.com


Free Rendezvous iPhone App downloaded 10,000 times
The free iPhone app Rendezvous is designed to make hooking up for rides with like-minded cyclists a doddle. According to clothing company Rapha, that developed it, the idea is to log in and either see what other Rendezvous members have organised or, even better, start your own ride which other riders can sign up for.

Rapha-Rendezvous.jpgThe app was launched last September and since then 10,000 cyclists in 44 countries have downloaded it. “A strong community has grown around Rendezvous, with clubs and groups organising their regular Sunday runs and training rides through the app,” says the company.

An update last week now means that even people who don’t have an iPhone can benefit because the posts can be shared with Twitter and Facebook.

Contact: www.rapha.cc

Rotor sign up with Garmin-Cervélo, provide chainsuck reassurance
ProTour team Garmin-Cervélo has signed a renewed three year contract with Spanish components manufacturer Rotor to supply its distinctive Q-Rings, 3D+ cranks, bottom brackets and chain catchers.
The chain catcher is new and for £20 could make all the difference between you or your rival finishing 10 seconds behind due to an unshipped chain. It’s made from machined 7075 T6 aluminium, weighs 6 grams and, according to Rotor, was developed with the close help of last year’s Cervélo Test Team.

Contact: www.rotoruk.co.uk


  • David Chadderton

    Thank’s for the invitation from Will Spurgeon. Now we have confirmation that English cyclists are more interested in what they look like, than in pushing hard on the pedals, thanks to Will. What’s the word to describe that? Yes, many Aussies are overweight, take no exercise and squeeze into 4 litre 6 cylinder large cars to go to the local shopping strip, pub and work. However, this granddad does pedal a bit, especially up the many hills. If the bar has been raised, I will have to get a taller barstool to reach my Chardonnay. Oh, and there’s another thing, I’m a cyclist. Water is for drinking while riding and showering in afterwards, not for getting into;surfers do that. We grow coffee here, but do not immerse ourselves in coffee. Is that another English trait now?

  • Will Spurgeon

    These bags look great! Not everyone’s going to get them – that’s the point I guess. Not everyone’s going to nip into town on a bike and look good while they’re doing it…. from memory Aussie’s are more likely to fire up a car even for a short trip. Thankfully more and more people are doing just that, and our cities are more pleasant places to be for it. Bikes are stylish again (we always knew they were… right?) and products like these are part of that. Sorry David, but the bar’s been raised, and it’s all to the good. There’s more to life on the bike than flouro jackets…
    My suggestion? Come on in, the water’s lovely, and the coffee is even better 😉

  • David Chadderton

    Thank you Dene. Nothing wrong about improving old ideas. Best wishes for your innovation. My reference to a tonne in my backpack was a deliberate humour to accentuate the difference between my old Campagnolo cotton bonk bags and today’s Deuter that easily supports tools, inner tubes, iPhone for GPS tracking, wallet, keys, clothing, spectacle case, pump, lamps, camera, bidons and even a large thermos flask of essential hot tea, without breaking my spine. And there’s another thing; technically speaking, pedalling hard with aerobic activity in 30oC sunshine is what makes my back, and front, sweat; it’s not the fault of my clothing or backpack.

  • Dene Percy

    Neither do these. Taking my inspiration from the musette of your club runs I have moved these on and brought them into the 21st century.

    They adopt modern waterproof fabrics, have a strap that is well placed so stays where its meant to be and wont move around (this was top of my list when I started working on the design) and is just the right length so you get no bobbing about.

    All bags make your back sweat, whether your in the 1960’s or the 21st century and why would you want to carry a tonne of good.

  • David Chadderton

    Bonk Bag returns! Sorry guys, technology has moved on from my 1960’s club run days in Hampshire, now in Ballarat. My current Deuter back packs do not bonk around, fly away in the wind, whack my spine at every pothole and make my back sweaty. They carry a tonne of goods, feel featherlight due to wide load spreading, and they stay good in the rain. Get into the 21st century!

  • Philip Jeffries

    Cool check twitter and see my photos for Il Soigneur been used on cycling weekly website. Nice musette’s !