bradley wiggins

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Restoring Classic Bikes with @sargentandco

For more vintage bike renovation follow @sargentandco. To keep up with this year’s Tour de France, follow @letourdefrance on Instagram and browse the #tdf2015 hashtag.

Just a few weeks before Bradley Wiggins became the first British cyclist to win the Tour de France (@letourdefrance) in 2012, he appeared in Rob Sargent’s bike shop, Sargent & Co. (@sargentandco), in Finsbury Park, north London. “It was just so exciting,” says Rob, who opened the shop in 2008 after a career in photography and art. Bradley was there for a photo shoot inside the shop, where the walls are covered with a stock of vintage bike frames from France, England, Belgium and Italy, and the house cat Aalto prowls between the suspended frames and window displays. “He had a very strong presence which remained after he left; he was here for about half a day,” Rob recalls fondly. A sign in the shop window reading “Go Wiggo Go!” stayed up throughout the rest of the London 2012 Olympics.

Rob creates custom builds or renovates old classics to their former glory for customers, a passion project turned into a full-time endeavor. Rob is also currently restoring a Thames sailing barge, as well as doing scene painting for feature films. “Since I opened the shop I don’t get much time on the bike,” he jokes. “I was warned about that.”

Some of Rob’s favorite models include the first bike frame he made from scratch, as well as frames that come in from T.J. Quick, Raleigh and A.S. Gillott. “English frames are particularly unique as the cycling racing at the time didn’t allow you to show any branding so the builders would try and make the frames very distinct with fancy legs and ways of doing things,” he says.

The Hour Record. The purest test of a rider and machine, the hardest ride of them all.

The story of The Hour is one of drama and intrigue disproportionate to the simplicity of the challenge. From the great Eddy Merckx’s shattering of the record in 1972 to Bradley Wiggins’s awesome fusion of fitness and technology in 2015. This series of prints illustrates the great and sometimes controversial record-breaking rides that defined their eras.  

The Hour strips aside every outside influence on the rider. One rider, on the track. No wind, no hills, no drafting. Just the rider and the bike.

The man-machine.

Prints available from The Handmade Cyclist & Rouleur