Building bikes as a creative endeavour

Anyone who knows me will know I like my bikes. I used to switch or upgrade bikes every couple of years or so. The trick to the constant upgrade cycle was to buy a supremely capable ‘adventure’ bike from Shand Cycles and ride it in as many varied terrains as I could. Change the situation rather than change the bike.

Despite the Shand pretty much rendering all but my commuter bike obsolete there was one itch that I yearned to scratch; restoring a Flying Scot. Flying Scot’s were a pre- and post-war Glaswegian bike company that specialised in ‘lightweight’ steel bikes and they were held in very high regard by all accounts.

About 5 years ago I was commuting on an old 1970’s Dutch Batavus frame which was made from Reynolds 531 steel. It was a massive step up in ride quality from the chromoly framed Dawes that I’d been running prior to that. When we had our first child however I figured I needed something a bit burlier to run a child seat and front rack on so the ‘Bat’ had to make way for a more modern disc braked Genesis single speed.

Fast forward another 5 years and the child seats days are numbered so the ‘classic lightweight’ itch has returned which leads me to the subject of this post - the creativity in a custom bike build.

Whilst it could easily be seen as an excuse to pour over spec sheets and pictures of shiny bike bits I’ve come to find the process as much more of a creative endeavour. There’s an artistry in picking the right pieces to complement each other. Some group sets just look ‘right’ on one style of frame compared to another. Some modern components will blend seamlessly onto a classic frame, other scream that they’re out of place, out of time.

I’ve decided on a ‘theme’ for my Scot build and I’m pretty sure it’s going to ruffle some feathers with those who would never look past anything other than a fully period correct restoration. I’m going modern Shimano track running gear on a frame from the 1950s and in my head it’s going to be awesome.

Watch this space 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿