• Arenberg '68

    Introducing Arenberg ’68, a new range of stylish, high-quality clothing and goods inspired by cycling’s most brutal road. Available for pre-order now.

     

    In 1968 the feared Paris-Roubaix pavé (cobbled farm tracks) were slowly disappearing under tarmac. The critics said the race was stale. Too easy, too tame.

    One rider knew differently. Jean Stablinksi, a former world champion, was born and raised in the Arenberg region. A former miner, he told the organisers of a brutal, crumbling track. The track ran arrow straight through the heart of the Arenberg Forest above the mine in which he worked. A road to break wheels, bikes and hearts.

    In 1968, the riders tackled La Trouèe d'Arenberg - the Arenberg Trench - for the first time. The peloton was shattered, riders scattered, the race reborn. The Queen of the Classics had found her teeth.

    The Arenberg '68 range features ultra-wearable, premium quality tees and sweatshirt, bidons and a beautiful, embossed notebook. 

    Each item features a unique logo, inspired by the arrow-straight Arenberg trench and the cobblestone trophy awarded to the victor. We've also created a chevron pattern for the range, representing the pavé that makes the race such a brutal test of the legs and will.

    The t-shirts are made from organic, 200gsm cotton - you'll feel the weight and quality straight out of the packet. The classic heather-grey marl sweatshirt has a woven chest logo, and is made from a wonderful loopback cotton that will keep its shape wash after wash.

    Our Arenberg garments feature a Handmade Cyclist hip logo to complete the look, and all are ethically sourced for minimal environmental impact and guilt-free buying. We're really proud of the quality and fit of these garments - no baggy, cheap, thin shirts here - and we hope that these will become items you'll be equally proud to wear.

    There are four tees in the range. Inspired by the nicknames of this most storied of races there's 'A Sunday In Hell', in rock'n'roll black and 'The Hell of The North' and 'Queen of the Classics' in a classic grey marl.

    We're also really proud of our ultra-wearable white graphic logo tee, perfect for those who want a cycling t-shirt that doesn't feel the need to shout 'CYCLIST!' at the top of its lungs.

    Roubaix is a race that every racer dreams of winning, and every racer fears. A gift for journalists, writers, romantics and dreamers. The French journalist Yves Berger, covering the race in 1982, quickly realised that Roubaix is something more than just a race:

    “Don’t hunt around for other expressions; for the eighty years this race has existed, its chroniclers have used these words and these alone. By necessity. What words, you ask? Beauty, sadness, pain, courage, injustice.”

    Our journal features Berger's words, embossed into a lovely, tactile, soft-touch cover. A treat for you, or gift for another.

    Finally, we have our bidon set. These wide-mouth bottles are built to last - dishwasher safe, non-leak and with a premium spout. And we've tested them to make sure they don't bounce out the cage when you're smashing it on the pavé!

     

    The Arenberg '68 range is available for pre-order now. Please allow 2-3 weeks for delivery.

    As ever, we'd love you to get in touch and tell us what you think, so drop us a line or contact us on social media using the buttons below.

    And finally - enjoy the race on Sunday, as another chapter in the legend of Arenberg is written.

  • The Cobbled Crusader: How The Handmade Cyclist helped Mathew Hayman celebrate his incredible Paris-Roubaix win.

     

    As we enter the final build up to Paris Roubaix it's a good time to reflect on last year’s stunning race, and the events that followed. For those that need reminding, the 2016 Paris-Roubaix was a vintage edition, the best for many years. 

     

     

    Emerging from the carnage after a day spent in the breakaway was 500/1 outsider Mathew Hayman, 37 years young, making his 15th attempt at the Queen of the Classics. The price was perhaps a little unfairly steep, given a history of top ten finishes, but the facts were plain enough: Hayman was one of the sport’s helpers, not a podium finisher.

    But Roubaix is different. She rewards the brave, the lucky, the strong - and after 250km sometimes the form book can lie. Hayman won gloriously, outsprinting none other than Roubaix record-holder Tom Boonen to raise his hands in exhausted disbelief in Roubaix’s crumbling, iconic velodrome. The end of a truly remarkable and unlikely tale. 


    And this is where our story starts.

     

     

    In the summer of 2016, Hayman got in touch with The Handmade Cyclist. He had seen our Panache prints and had a proposal: could we create a bespoke print for him to celebrate his victory, for him to give as gifts of thanks to his teammates, colleagues and helpers?

    Some weeks later, the artwork was finished, and it was a nervous Handmade Cyclist indeed who unveiled it to Hayman. As with all our prints, we tried to capture the atmosphere of the landscape, the dust, the flatlands of northern France. We wanted to portray the moment when Hayman briefly went solo of the front of the race, if only for the sheer romance of it. But it's one thing creating a stylised vision of iconic races and routes, quite another doing so for the rider in the image themselves. 

    The finishing touch was a quote requested by Hayman himself, his motto for the race, ‘Always Keep Riding’For you never know what will happen, so long as you never, ever give up.

     

    So here we are, one year on. We asked Mathew if he would give us a few minutes of his time to reflect on last year’s race, share a little more about himself, and tell us the chances of lightning striking twice.


    The Handmade Cyclist: Why did you choose to commemorate your Roubaix win with an illustration?

    It took me a while to find something that I wanted to give to the guys, everyone, staff and riders, that would last and be something that they could look back on and remember a special day for the team.

    What did your teammates and colleagues think of the gift? I’m guessing it’s a slightly unusual present.

    I hope they like it, I think each person is different. I have had some photos from some of the guys now that they have had it framed, I wrote a little message personally to all. I hope they like it.

    Do you have a wider interest in art and design, and if so, tell us a little bit your tastes and interests. Are there any particular artists you like, or a particular style?

    Not really I would not say that I am an arty type, I just know what I like. I came across your work and as you know the ‘Panache’ series was one that just jumped out as very cool.

    A lot of pro cyclists, just like a lot of amateur cyclists, have a keen interest in the history of the sport. What first drew you to the sport, and when you were growing up in Australia was Paris-Roubaix a particular inspiration and dream? Are there any previous editions or stories that stood out or inspired you before you came to Europe?

    Funny you should ask, I grew up for a good part of my childhood on a farm about 50km from the town of Goulburn in NSW. Mum thought that it would be nice to take my older brother to the local cycling club and do a ride, he was on a mountain bike in shorts and a t- shirt, it was a steep learning curve but not long after, we were ordering custom made frames from Italy that my parents couldn’t afford.

    My brother was hooked, through him I was surrounded by VHS videos of European races, (didn’t matter what year) and cycling mags were passed around whenever anyone could get hold of them. I distinctly remember watching the CBS documentary of the 1988 Paris Roubaix. That was my first real exposure to the race.


    Cycling is a very storied and romantic sport. I think, and have read many others who seem to agree, that last year’s race is one of the greatest editions of all - the early break, the race splitting so early, and of course your win after so many attempts. How did it feel to have added your name to the roll call of that race, and in such a special edition?

    I was already really proud of my top ten results, and the fact that I have made it to the Velodrome fifteen times. But to win it was a bit outside of what I was willing to let myself dream about. There are so many special things about the race, so many things that make it unique and they all have their place.

    The bike, the stone, the showers and the name tag to go with it. It is funny how these little things like having a stone corner in a shed behind a velodrome that is falling into disrepair can mean so much, and be so iconic. I feel privileged to be a part of this history. I hope that we can talk about this race as others have been recalled in the future. More so I hope the story ages truthfully.


    In the illustration we did for you, I wanted to capture the moment when you went solo off the front of the break. I know that after the race you said that wasn’t the best move, but how did it feel to be out there on your own, the lead rider in Paris Roubaix? Do you have time to appreciate the moment, or is it just too hard and too focussed to think about at the time?

    It is a real buzz to be in front at Roubaix but I was telling myself the whole time that I had made a mistake and knew I was not doing the right thing. But this time instead of being pigheaded I let myself go back to the following group. Glad I did, the buzz of winning was a lot bigger and worth the wait.

    I read an old interview with you, from 2014, where you said that your then three-year-old son was just beginning to understand that you rode a bike for a living. Was he at the race last year, and did he understand the importance of the moment?

    Yes he was, my wife, son, mother and brother all came to watch, it was unusual for my wife to come as she doesn't see many of my races, but she knows what this one means to me. (also not a bad race to watch if you only watch one a year, in my opinion)

    Kym brought my son along, he was wearing a blue Elephant suit the whole day (don’t ask me why) He was carrying a sign at the start that said ‘my dad is a cobbled crusader’. That was special.

    He came with me from the moment I got off the podium, he was at the press conference and all the way to the hotel and that evening. He was very quiet and knew that something had happened. He asks me less now ‘when are you going to win a race’. He also says ‘yeah I know Dad, that race Paris Roubaix’ in a tone that only a child can say that makes it sound so unimportant and insignificant. He keeps me grounded.


    You’ve lived in Belgium for a while now, have the people there taken you in as an honorary Flandrien after your Roubaix win?

    I have some great friends in Belgium and especially in my adopted town. Being called a Flandrien is something that others can call you but you can never call yourself, in my opinion, so you would need to ask them.

    And finally, I have to ask - how are the legs, and dare we dream of a repeat?

    It has been a different build up for me with our family swelling to five in January, but I feel like I am coming around and the form is getting there. I will do my best.

    I am taking some encouragement from Duclos-Lassalle who won the first time at 37 and followed it up with back to back wins the year after!

     

     

    It's fair to say that there’s now a bunch of committed Hayman fans here in Hampshire, and we’ll be cheering him to the rafters this Sunday.

    I'm struggling to think of a better ambassador for the sport, and a true gentleman to boot. Huge thanks to Mathew for taking the time in such a busy and important period of racing to talk to us.

    As it's a private commission the print we designed for Mathew Hayman will not be made available for sale. But keep your eyes peeled for our new drop, as The Handmade Cyclist presents Arenberg ’68, a new range of top-quality goods and off-bike wear celebrating 1968, the year Roubaix changed forever.

     

     

  • Be a Peloton Pundit and win Handmade Cyclist goodies

     

    Last season we had a little fun asking our friends and followers on social media to join us in predicting the winners of some of our favourite races throughout the season. Starting with the spring classics, and continuing throughout the Giro, Tour and more, we asked you to predict the winner (for the one-day races we asked you for your 1-2-3, just to make it interesting). Each day the winner would get some HMC goodies as a reward.

    Loads of you joined in - even some pro cyclists played along.

    So this year we're bringing it back, going bigger, and giving it its own name - Peloton Pundits. Join us on Twitter or Facebook and pick your winners for a chance to win HMC swag. It all kicks off tomorrow, Saturday 25th February, with one of our favourite races of the year - the Omloop.

    If cycling's heartland has a heartland, its Gent. Bang smack in the middle of spring classics country, and home to the traditional season opener, Omloop Het Niewsblad. Cobbles, hellingen, beer, rain and on-the-rivet racing.

    For many a rider the season proper starts here, with tough racing to sharpen the form; for a small, elite group of hard men the opening weekend is season-defining objective in itself. Gent will be a-buzz, the bookies and bars busy, the riders raring for the off.

    It's a nightmare to predict, the big riders may have an eye on the grander prizes of the Monuments on the horizon, a whole bunch of Belgians will ride as if their lives depend on it, and some just like dishing the hurt in a hailstorm.

    So - tell us your 1-2-3 over on our social pages, and keep an eye through the season for regular competitions for all the big races.

     

     

  • WELCOME TO OUR NEW FRAMING STUDIO

    We have been toying with the idea of framing for a while now but we just couldn’t find the quality of frames or the price we wanted.  One day I was discussing my frustration with Carl who works in our print studio and bingo. The answer was staring us in the face all along.

    Meeting Carl was one of the best things that ever happened to HMC. Carl joined our team as our printer but has metamophosised to being our hero in many ways, not least because he was amazing when we hit a rocky patch due to illness and helped keep the business going.  He can turn his hand to anything, pretty much.

     

     As a trained engineer, he has a thing about precision.   We get no complaints about the quality of prints because he is so fastidious about quality and hand checks every order (he is mortified if there are ever any printing issues).

     

    Years ago I trained in picture framing as a hobby but felt it too big a responsibility for to take it on. So when he suggested that he would like to hand make our custom frames then it seemed like a no brainer.

     

     So between us, we set about choosing samples and launching our framing studio. Equipment has been sourced, packaging custom made. We were ready for the off. Just one problem.   The beautiful Ash wood moulding is pretty much made of volcanic rock. It’s divine to look at but its the toughest wood ever to pin. But, with the purchase of the mother of all pneumatic underpinners (which could even pin a limpets tooth) we finally cracked it.

    All our lovely solid wood frames are custom made by us in our printing studio. Each frame is bespoke and made to order. We only use FSC certified solid Ash made in the UK meaning our wood is sustainably forested. The solid timber is then stained and lacquered to offer you one of three choices of finish; white, black or natural ash.

     The frames come in two sizes - medium or large.  We can frame a medium print in a medium frame.  Or a medium mounted print in a large frame.  Or a large print in a large frame.  The mounts are good quality and have a nice texture to them.  Carl, will hand mount each design.

     

    We didn’t think there was a viable alternative to glass but we were wrong. We use a fantastic superior shatter resistant acrylic glass. Carl discovered it and we love it – its genuine quality glazing. We have all our prints framed up in our office and I’ve been studying them to see if they resist dust OK or if they warp and they behave like glass I’m pleased to report. 

    All our frames are carefully taped and sealed on the reverse and include a signed label confirming authenticity.  The frames come provided with saw tooth hangers and are expertly packaged in custom made boxes ensuring they arrive with you in perfect condition.

    It took a while and fair to say at one point Carl never wanted to see a piece of Ash as long as he lived.   Thankfully we stuck with it and we are proud to produce a genuinely lovely handmade product.  

  • ANOTHER DAY IN THE OFFICE.....

    Many moons ago I used to work on the Brit Awards.   But I gave up much of the glamour when I had the bubs and moved from London to live in Winchester.   Neil was invited to the Brits and whilst I was a little melancholy, I was happy for him to go.   So, was just your average day in the office until this little lot showed up looking at our prints.

    No less than the England Rugby team.  Chris Robshank owns a coffee shop in Winchester called Black White & Red, which is (in my opinion) the best coffee shop in Winchester by miles.  Food is sublime, cakes are to die for, service is spot on.   I love going there.     

    Check it out if you are in Winchester, oh and don't forget to pop into The Consortium on Jewry street where we have our office and our prints are hanging.

    PS: That's not me, that was another customer eyeing up the prints too.  She was happy as Larry to have her photo taken.

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