V&A Museum for LDF16

We are delighted to have been selected to exhibit at the Victoria and Albert Museum as part of the years London Design Festival. The Freddie Grubb x Instrmnt 2-speed city bike (pictured below) will be featured in the 'Northern Lights' exhibition.

'Northern Lights' is a celebration of Scottish design curated especially for the opening of the V&A Dundee in 2018. The exhibition runs from the 17th - 25th of September so get down there soon!

 

Lumo - City Cycling Apparel with Lights

Having launched via two successful crowdfunding campaigns in 2015, LUMO are going back to Kickstarter with three new products this autumn season starting at under £100: The Clissold Bomber Jacket, Brixton Messenger Bag, and the Holloway Gilet. These London-inspired designs all feature the signature LUMO LED lighting system visible to traffic from up to 400 metres away, yet completely hidden until it is switched on. With an understated British style, the range is designed to look as good in a bar as it does on a bike.

We were lucky enough to get a sample of their Clissold Bomber Jacket to try out before the launch of their new campaign and can easily say it's one of the most well designed city cycling jackets that we've tried. 

Inspired by the military issue MA-1 flight jacket, the Clissold has been adapted for life on the bike and is the perfect crossover from cycling specific clothing to stylish outerwear. The lightweight Schoeller® 3XDRY® cotton fabric is both water resistant and breathable, with waterproof LED lights on the front and back visible to traffic 400 metres away.

“For our autumn 2016 collection we have had the benefit of feedback from the hundreds of backers from all over the world that supported our launch campaign. The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, and one thing that we have been consistently asked for is to make some of our range more affordable. So, having scoured the world to source the best value fabrics and manufacturers, we believe we have found the perfect mix of style, visibility and comfort all for under £100.” Lucy Bairner, Co-Founder. 

Who is Freddie Grubb?

We get asked this question a lot. Some of you will know and others of you won't. Essentially, he is the man we named our brand after. He's not our founder, designer or mechanic - he is our inspiration. As huge admirers of his achievements and craftsmanship, we thought there was no better person to name our brand after.

Being a London based brand, we were very keen to make the connection with British cycling and carry on from where Mr Grubb left off. In this week's Journal post we delve through the history of the man behind the name. 

Fred Grubb c1910. Courtesy of Peter Duncan

Fred Grubb c1910. Courtesy of Peter Duncan

Frederick H. Grubb was born in Kingston, Surrey in 1887 and over the course of his life became a maverick pioneer of British cycling and a leading rider when cycle-racing in Britain was limited to time-trials and track racing. He famously competed in the Stockholm 1912 Olympics where he won silver medals in both the Individual Road Race and Team Road Race. 

A couple years later, in 1914 he was the first Brit to enter the gruelling Giro D'Italia road race which consisted of 8 stages that stretched almost 2,000 miles across the whole of Italy. Out of the 84 cyclists who entered the race, only 8 made it to the finish and unfortunately for Fred, he wasn't one of them.

Freddie Grubb had been given a tough time from the other competing cyclists within the Giro D'Italia. Some reports going as far to suggest that his bike was sabotaged to such a point that he had to end the race early, returning home disillusioned with professional cycling.

In a cruel twist of fate, his decision to go professional meant that he was banned from returning to competitive amateur racing, and so Grubb turned his focus to making bicycles instead of riding them, working in London over the following decades and establishing a London based bike building business named F.H. Grubb. 

There are certainly a few nods to Grubbs previous bikes in our new bicycle designs, but we are not a heritage brand. Our main aim was to take aspects of the traditional town bike and elevate them to create a much more contemporary, practical and modern city bike.

A few interesting facts about Frederick H. Grubb:

  • Born in Kingston, Surrey in May 1887
  • A t-total vegetarian and member of the Vegetarian Cycle and Athletics Club
  • The first Brit to enter the Giro d’Italia in 1914 
  • His 5h 9m 41s record for London to Brighton and back stood for 14 years
  • Set a record of 351 miles for a 24-hour time-trial on the track
  • Broke the 100-mile time-trial record in 1910 on a fixed-wheel bike with no brakes
  • Won 2 silver medals at the 1912 Stockholm Olympics 

Where do we paint our frames?

We're a London based brand and keen to use local partners as much as possible in the manufacturing process of our bikes - it means we can keep a close eye on the quality, be flexible in our approach, and best of all - makes us happy to be supporting local industry. 

So... where do we paint our frames? We paint them in Peckham at Purpose Powder Coatings Ltd

Each Freddie Grubb frame is powder coated rather than wet painted. This provides a thicker and more durable finish which, when looked after, means your steel frame will last and still look great in 30+ years time.

It's a simple and very effective way of painting steel frames as 95% of the powdered spray paint actually ends up on the frame due to its electrostatic application. The high voltage electrostatic charge on both the frames and the spray gun mean that the paint wraps around the frame with minimal waste giving it a perfectly even finish. 

The frames then go into an oven where they are cured under heat to allow the paint to flow and form the high-end "skin" that gives the Freddie Grubb frame its distinctive look and hard-wearing quality. 

If you're after a custom colour for your bike frame then get in touch, we can do one-off colours for an extra fee - price available on request. Take a look at our different models via the Bicycles menu and check our Gallery for more images of the finished product. 

 

FOCUS - MENU

Next up in the Freddie Grubb Focus series, the slick Danish furniture makers - Menu. We've long been fans of their ultra minimal and considered design. They work hard to produce clever and functional products for the home that retain their beautiful Scandinavian aesthetic.

Menu’s philosophy is simple. They want to make the world better, less complicated, and a little bit nicer to wake up to. By collaborating with some of the most talented designers in the world such as Benjamin Hubert, Karim Rashid and the Afteroom duo Hung-Ming Chen and Chen-Yen Wei, they make beautiful objects for everyday use that are a cut above the rest. 

Since they were founded in 1979, the Danish brand have been working with some of the most exciting and driven creative individuals from the worlds of architecture and design to produce high quality design with a crisp Scandinavian look.

Wherever they can, Menu work locally with craftspeople preserving skills while creating some of the best in modern furniture design.

As fans of the brand, we decided to have a few select pieces in our Islington shop and you can browse through a couple of their products below. 

Ingredients of New Luxury by Monocle

We were recently interviewed by Monocle Magazine as part of their exploration into the changing notions of luxury. With the effects of globalisation and our lives becoming ever more dominated by the digital world, it seems that analogue experiences and physical objects, with a strong narrative and sense of craftsmanship are overtaking the outdated principle that price defines luxury.

Having debated the concept of "Modern Luxury" with their global community, Monocle have concluded that new luxury requires a key set of ingredients.

Ingredients of new luxury

  1. Provenance – Where was it made and by whom? During the decades of rampant globalisation, few people asked these questions; now they are key to a luxury brand’s appeal.
  2. Sense of community – Transparency has become a key ingredient of luxury and has been demanded by more discerning consumers. The recent revival of the open factory and the atelier shop are the perfect example of this trend towards ethical production.
  3. Craftsmanship – Before we built in obsolescence, we used to build objects to last. Age-old craft techniques are still often the best ones for guaranteeing the quality of a product.
  4. Narrative – Consumers want brands to have a story that they can buy into, of which they can feel a part and to which they can show their loyalty. Heritage is something you can’t manufacture.
  5. Local pride – Luxury should not look the same no matter where in the world you are. People now want experiences that are true to their roots, wherever they may be.

Late Night Test Rides

Test-Ride-Freddie-Grubb-City-Bike-London.jpg

We're now staying open late every Thursday! Those of you interested in taking our bikes for a spin after work can now do so without the mad rush. We'll be open and offering test rides right up to 7.30pm - not exactly "late night" we know but you get the gist. See our Contact page for full opening times

Click on the bikes below for photos and product descriptions.

Amwell Street Fete 2016

This Sunday (3rd July) is the Amwell Street Fete 2016 - 12 - 6pm. We'll be opening up specially for the event and offering test rides to anyone interested. We've got a few Freddie Grubb Pale Ales by Meantime to get rid of and are offering a free Freddie Grubb saddle to the winner of the charity raffle taking place.

There will be plenty of cake, popcorn and candy floss to go round, as well as dog show and bouncy castle for some extra entertainment. The event has been organised by the community in aid of the local food bank. 

You can check their facebook event here

Amwell Street Fete
Sunday 3rd July

12pm - 6pm 

FOCUS - PAULIN

For our next feature in the Freddie Grubb Focus series - we're returning to Glasgow to shine a spotlight on minimalist watch brand Paulin. Paulin is a British watch company specialising in high quality, design-led, quartz watches and is the brainchild of 3 sisters who began production in late 2014, after 2 years of development. Paulin sources materials and components from all over the world, with a focus on supporting British manufacturers and using environmentally sustainable practices.

The Paulin sisters were inspired by their great grandfather; George Henry Paulin, a distinguished sculptor who worked throughout both World Wars across London and Glasgow, with strong artistic roots.

Designed and produced in Glasgow, Scotland’s Paulin aim to revive, on a small-scale at least, the UK’s once thriving watch industry. Co-founder Charlotte Paulin comments on the lack of good suppliers following the slump, “with a project like this we’re really starting from scratch and the only way to build up UK suppliers is by generating a demand they can supply.” The goal therefore was to produce something that fits in the “affordable luxury” category with a global appeal and what’s more universal than a clean, minimalist watch.

We've added some of our favourites to our online shop and you can come check them out in person by visiting the Freddie Grubb store on Amwell Street.

Mr Porter Nocturne - Concours d’Elegance

Last Saturday (4th June) saw the inaugural Considerate Cyclists' Concours D'Elegance take over the City of London as part of this years London Festival of Architecture. Sponsored by Mr Porter, the London Nocturne Series comprises of various cycle related competitions including the Folding Bike and Penny Farthing races as well as the more competitive Elite races. Taking place around the St Pauls area, the event is an all-round celebration of cycling.

The Considerate Cyclists' Concours D'elegance was a new race aimed at the more discerning cyclists to promote "considerate cycling" as a way to improve the quality of place within central London. It's was also a chance to show off some great stylish city bikes.

We had the pleasure of providing one of our bikes to the organiser himself - the Chairman of NLA and Master of the Architects Company, Peter Murray, who stole the show with our limited edition 2-speed city bike (designed in collaboration with Instrmnt)

A spin round London with M.J. Bale

We were recently asked if we could lend some of our bikes out for a photoshoot... of course we can! This time it was for the Aussie menswear brand M.J. Bale. Having decided they wanted to create their Winter 16 Lookbook in London, they thought what better way to get around and capture the essence of London style than to stick two well dressed chaps on a pair of Freddie Grubb bikes. Shots taken by JKF Man Photography.

The bikes photographed were our Fleet models in Moss and Green - one with our Porteur handlebars and the other with our Swept handlebars. Check the Fleet bicycle page for more info. 

If you happen to need a couple bikes for your next photoshoot then give us a shout. 

Bicycles Built Based on People’s Attempts to Draw Them From Memory

In 2009 designer Gianluca Gimini started asking friends and strangers to draw a men’s bicycle from memory. Whilst some got it right, most made technical errors — missing fundamental parts of the frame or chain.

The exercise is similar to psychological tests used to demonstrate how little we know compared to what we think we do. However, for Gimini this isn’t about proving how dumb we are but, rather, how extraordinary our imaginations can be! Having now amassed a collection of 376 drawings from participants ranging from 3 – 88 years of age, Gimini has started building realistic renderings of the bikes based on these sketches, in a 3D program.

See more images from “Velocipedia” below!

Q&A - Buckets & Spades

A couple weeks ago we had the privilege of meeting the guys from the Buckets & Spades blog as they came over to the Freddie Grubb shop to get acquainted with the brand and take a couple of our bikes out for a spin. After spending an hour racing round Islington and Clerkenwell on our Walbrook and Fleet bike models, Mat sat down with Freddie Grubb Co-founder Jack Pattison to get the low-down on our journey as a brand so far.

First of all, can you tell us a bit about where the idea of Freddie Grubb came from?
We love cycling and come from a background in design. We had introduced a Japanese bicycle brand to the market a few years ago but had long harboured a desire to design and produce our own bicycles, it was just a matter of time before we decided to go for it.

The London cycling market is getting pretty saturated with relatively cheap and cheerful bicycles in the mid price bracket (£300-£500) We were keen to produce a product that wouldn't just look good in a showroom, something that would stand the test of time. Our bicycles are handmade with high quality components and as we powder coat them in London they are available in a much broader range of colours and will change seasonally – we can also produce bespoke colours. Although our bikes are a bit more expensive we think we have produced a product that will genuinely appeal to customers who want a bicycle that is a cut above the rest in terms of style and quality.

How has the reception been so far to the brand?
We've been thrilled with the response so far, it's great when people understand what you're doing and why you're doing it. I think people are enjoying being at the beginning of our journey as a brand. We've also had some big press coverage which certainly helps when your a small business starting out.

How hard has it been to set up a business within an industry that generally falls in favour of the big guys?
By going against the grain and selling directly to customers, we have the opportunity to take full ownership of the brand and the service we provide. We can offer a much more personal approach than what you get from third-party retailers. Essentially, you're buying the bike off the person who designed it. Which we think is a nice touch.

How did you choose Angel, Islington as an area to open up shop? And what else are we likely to find in the area?
Well we're a little bit off the beaten track, but it was really important for us to find somewhere that was safe and enjoyable for people to test ride our bikes. Being in a nice conservation area means that our customers can cycle around Myddelton Square without the worry of traffic or busy roads. Amwell Street is fast becoming a destination for many people as it's a charming Georgian parade in a relatively residential area but is full of interesting independent shops. Our close knit neighbourhood includes the likes of Present & Correct, Country of Origin, Gents of London, Andrea Hawkes and Quill London to name just a few.

We can clearly see you have some fine looking bikes, tell us a little bit about your bikes + other products. What kind of people have taken interest in them?
Designing a quality product, that was both stylish and practical was our main aim. Taking inspiration from traditional town bikes and modernising the geometry to suit todays cyclists. We've built up bicycles from vintage frames in the past and we love the process, but old bikes do come with their downfalls and not everyone is willing to spend the time and effort building and maintaining them. With our new Freddie Grubb bicycle models we can offer the retro aesthetic that so many people are after but with the added bonus of it being brand new and quality checked.

The majority of our customers are people who see value in quality. The kind of people who pay a little extra for things because they care about the finer details and believe in products that have longevity. A bit like spending extra on a shirt because you've had enough of things shrinking after the first wash.

Tell us a little bit about the design process; choosing the frames, picking the colours, and any other little details we may have missed? Where are your bikes made? 
All our bikes are made-to-order, one by one in our Deptford workshop. Customers come in to our Amwell Street store to get a feel for the bikes, take a test ride and go through the various customisations we can offer. For instance, we have four custom leather colours that people can choose from for their matching saddle and grips – that's just one element out of a many others. When it comes down to it, it's the colour choice that people love to take the most time thinking about... From our experience, people will always end up going for the colour they were very first drawn to. 

When it comes the design process, it's all in the detail. Minimal branding, internal cable routing, hub gears and all the other details that come together to make sure that the ride is as comfortable, smooth and easy as possible. There's a reason why we chose every component on the bike but the list would go on and we'd no doubt bore you to death so we can leave that for another time.

Originally posted on Buckets & Spades 

Tribute - The Bicycle & Women's Suffrage

At first glance you might think the link between the common two-wheeled transport and women's fight for equality is a rather tenuous one... and we wouldn't blame you. However, the freedom and empowerment  provided by the bicycle as a means of independent transport is one that has been commented on and celebrated for over a century.

Let me tell you what I think of bicycling…I think it has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. I stand and rejoice every time I see a woman ride on a wheel. It gives women a feeling of freedom and self-reliance.
— Susan B. Anthony, suffragette

We regard the bicycle as one of the best inventions known to man (or women, right?), So we thought it would be fitting to pay a small tribute to the much loved bicycle and it's history as a tool for social change.

In our support for International Women's Day, we picked out some photos that date back to the late 1800's when the suffragette movement was campaigning for women's right to vote.

FOCUS - QUILL LONDON

Our native Amwell Street hosts a number of like-minded, independent shops and we're keen to share what our neighbours have to offer. Our street is fast becoming a destination in itself and newcomers Quill London have set-up shop and are here to stay.

With a curated selection of stylish stationary and London's first ever modern calligraphy workshop taking place in store, Lucy and her team are on hand to provide a uniquely specialised service. They scour the globe to bring together the an eclectic collection of stationery and paper goods from talented designers and makers.  

"We've got contemporary letterpress from San Francisco, fun gift wrapping accessories made in Brooklyn, 'objets' from fashion house Maison Margiela, neon Japanese iPad covers, Kate Spade stationery and much, much more." Lucy

Whether you're after cards, calligraphy materials, want to try your hand at one of their many workshops or just like browsing well designed shops then head down to Amwell Street and take a look!

www.quilllondon.com




Tribute - Defender

Today marks the first week in almost 70 years that the famous Land Rover Defender will no longer be in production. We have a rather large soft spot for well-built, long-lasting and iconic design so it would seem wrong not to pay a tribute to this uniquely robust British car.

The four-wheel drive vehicle has been produced since 1948 in Solihull, UK. In that time it had become a firm favourite and used by everyone from the Queen to safari tourists, farmers to the army and as the utilitarian car of choice for it's versatility and longevity.

It is estimated that two-thirds of all Land Rover Defenders ever made are still in use today - a remarkable achievement and huge tribute in itself to the quality of its production. 

In the 21st century, the car's retro character has become a big part of its charm and there's little doubt the Defender is comfortably ranked among the most iconic vehicles of all time and although they may not be in production any more, they will be on our streets for years to come. 

FOCUS - LUMO

For the first Journal post of 2016, we put one of the most exciting new brands in cycling apparel in the limelight. We meet LUMO for the latest in the Freddie Grubb Focus series. 

Hot on the heels of becoming the most funded cycle clothing project globally on Kickstarter earlier in the year and having secured equity investment via Crowdcube, LUMO have now launched their debut range (see launch video in gallery). We met up with Co-founder, Lucy Bairner who explains where the inspiration came from:

Cycling in London is like playing a game of Snakes and Ladders. Whilst riding a bike in a city certainly has its challenges, we believe there is simply no better feeling than the freedom you get from getting around on two wheels. The London Collective is inspired by, and in some cases, made in the capital. The look of the garments has been very much influenced by classic British designs, with cutting edge technology subtly integrated for less snakes, more ladders. The launch video is called ‘#freedomofthecity: London’ and aims to showcase the city as well as our new collection.
— Lucy Bairner

LUMO’s launch range, The London Collective, features jackets and bags with an LED lighting system that increases cyclists’ visibility to traffic, yet is completely concealed off a bike.

Fellow Co-Founder (and recently husband - they married on 4 July in the midst of their Crowdcube campaign), Doug Bairner explains where the thinking behind the launch range came from:

After I was knocked off my bike yet was still too vain to wear fluorescent clothing came the realisation that city cyclists don’t just dress for our journey, we dress for our destination too. We gave up our jobs and set out to design garments that would make cyclists more visible on their bike yet allow them to step straight off it into a business meeting or nice restaurant.
— Doug Bairner

The jackets and bags contain ultra high brightness LED strips on both the front and back, subtly hidden within the construction of the design. The lights are said to be visible from 400 metres away and their placement has been deliberate to ensure they’re visible regardless of riding position. The LEDs are waterproof and washable and are powered by a removable USB-rechargeable battery unit that is tucked away in a small inside pocket.

The jackets use Schoeller® fabrics to deliver water-resistance, dirt repellence and breathability and the Bermondsey backpack is made from a hardy waxed cotton from Halley Stevensons. The jackets are also packed with cycling-friendly features like dropped hems, inner cuffs, stretch shoulder panels and lots of useful zipped and magnet closure pockets, and the bag comes with an inner laptop sleeve. 
 

Doug goes on to describe their future plans:

The plans go way beyond visibility. Through the design process we’ve uncovered ideas for building various technologies into garments to make life easier for city cyclists. Imagine a day where you can charge your mobile phone in your pocket as you cycle to work, navigate from your jacket sleeve or ultimately can actually contribute to the grid by pedalling from A to B.
— Doug Bairner

With plenty of dark winter days left to go this year, LUMO's LED apparel is certainly one to keep an eye out for. Take a closer look at the LUMO Bermondsey backpack, for sale in the Freddie Grubb shop and available online here.

 

FourFront Launch Party

A huge thank you goes out to everyone who made it down to last night’s launch party at Kestin Hare! We know there were a lot of different events going on last night, so we were thrilled to get such a great turn out. Hats off to the Kestin Hare guys who hosted the event -  great drinks (courtesy of Bruichladdich and The Botanist Gin), great chat and their resident barber Kipps stuck it out for 4 hours on the decks to make sure the vibe was right. 

But this was just the start… The collection featuring Instrmnt, Kestin Hare, Country of Origin and ourselves is now available in the Shoreditch store. If you’re in the area, then you should certainly make time to pop in and check it out.. 

Lastly but not least by any means, we launched the #FourFrontGiveaway on the night. Your chance to win one of our bikes and a load of other goodies from the FourFront crew. You can check more details out here.

FOCUS - BRUICHLADDICH

With our FourFront event only a day away, we thought it would be fitting to let you know a little bit about the historic and esteemed Bruichladdich Distillery, who will be kindly providing some of tomorrows refreshments. 

Founded way back in 1881, Bruichladdich have been producing some of Scotland’s best whisky for over a century. They pride themselves on their progressive approach and non-conformist philosophy. They believe their spirit should speak of where it comes from and where it is matured – Bruichladdich is the only major distiller to distil, mature and bottle all its whisky on the western Scottish island of Islay.

Their raw ingredients are paramount. They use 100% Scottish barley as they believe it's called "Scotch" for a reason. They’re passionate about terroir - authenticity, provenance and ultimate traceability. For them, it’s important that they’re whisky has a sense of place, a terroir that speaks of the land, the barley and water from which it’s made. In 2010 they released the first single malt whisky to be made purely from Islay Barley, probably the first in the island's history!

“We seek to produce the most natural, thought-provoking, intellectually stimulating & enjoyable spirit possible. Obsessive? Probably – but if all you want is a whisky, the world is awash with the stuff.” 

But you don’t need to take they’re word for it.. If you want to get a taste of what they’re about, then we suggest you come down to Shoreditch tomorrow night for the launch of the FourFront collection at Kestin Hare.

FOCUS - COUNTRY OF ORIGIN

This instalment of the Freddie Grubb Focus series features an exciting newcomer to our local Amwell Street, Country of Origin. Their new store and workshop comfortably nestles in to the Georgian parade and it's easy to see why it belongs. There is a clear emphasis on quality and craftsmanship being shared by the independent shops on this street, with made to order knitwear being the latest on offer.

Country of Origin is the brainchild of Alice Liptrot and Ben Taylor. With a passion for Britain’s industrial heritage their collection is created on hand-powered machinery, built over 100 years ago. You can see the impressive machinery for yourself in their store window, they use it to manufacture small batches of their hand-framed knitwear and provide workshops for people interested in learning about traditional manufacturing techniques. 

With a focus on bespoke services, their customers can choose from a range of shades, sizes and shapes that are made to order in store. Once an order is placed the garments are ready 3-5 days later. They also have an off the peg collection from Country of Origin’s Scottish workshop, using the same traditional method of hand-frame manufacture. 

"With high grade lambswool, modernist colour palettes and structural integrity, our garments are designed for the long haul." Ben Taylor, Creative Director

Country of Origin are well worth a visit, and as they're just a few doors down from us, why not come and say hi to the Freddie Grubb team whilst you're at it! 

Country of Origin