We’re always on the look out for stylish, warm and comfortable clothing, so we were over the moon when we spotted Velobici. Their website has loads of pictures of stylish people on bicycles, sporting some rather fancy looking clothes. So of course we had to meet the man behind the brand, and treat you to an interview with Chris Puttnam from Velobici.
1. We came across your products in the latest LCC magazine. They’re gorgeous! What inspired you to start designing cycling wear?
Well thank you very much. Clothing has always played a large part of our (Tara and I) lives. Both of our Fathers owned Knitwear factories in our hometown Leicester, of course famous for its hosiery herritage. I have such fond memories at a young age going to work with my Dad on a Saturday, packing, pressing and making tea of course. There are very few left these days. As a passionate cyclist I didn’t think all journeys are best suited sporting Lycra or the urban street look. So I approached my now business partner, Clothing Designer Tara Love, the brief to design a collection of multi-purpose, stylish, cycling apparel, for the ride, for the office or for the bar. From the very start we wanted to produce our collection in the UK as manufacturing skills in this country are second to none.
2. What makes Velobici different to other cycling brands?
I think we have a very distinctive stylish look, our products are all manufactured in the UK, using the very latest Seamless ‘Whole Garment’ technology. As well as using the highest quality in traditional and performance fabrics.
3. What is your best selling product?
All of our accessories sell very well year round. Our best selling Knitwear piece is the Seamless 100% Merino wool San-Remo Pullover.
4. Is there anything you’d recommend to our readers for keeping warm on a chilly Spring ride?
Mmmm where to start! Merino wool is such a fantastic insulating and breathable product that I can highly recommend any of our woollen garments. Though I would say if you are riding, our Warm or Tivoli collar and PBP cap are a, ‘Don’t leave home without them’ for me.
5. Where can our Bikeminded readers pick up your products?
We want to keep things mainly web based to have the full Velobici experience. All of our products are gift wrapped and boxed as standard, we also offer free UK delivery on all orders. One of our exclusive stockists is the very cool Suka Sport, Carnaby.
6. What is the idea behind the Velobici cycling club?
The bicycle club is really just a way we can justify spending time watching, chatting and sharing all things cycling! Our website bicycle club will very soon become more of a blog. Whilst our Facebook and Twitter pages will always be a very fun place to visit and interact with competitions, rides, bikes etc etc… It’s something we really enjoy and is open to all, whether you know very little, or think you know a lot!
7. We notice you’re into Bike Polo- any tips for a new player?
We sent this one along to Velobici team ‘Nice Touch’. They won the 2011 National Series so should know a thing or two about bike polo!
Tip 1) Get involved! Bike polo is fun, has an amazing community and a great DIY ethos. The incredible thing is that the sport is being formed by the players themselves right now and you can be a part of that. All the players are one big (occasionally dysfunctional) family.
Tip 2) Get yourself a ball and work on those mallet skills on an empty court somewhere. It makes a big difference when you realise you can actually control that little ball. Don’t spend too much time on your own though, it’s very different playing in a team game.
Tip 3) Think about your positioning. It takes a surprisingly long time to turn a bike 180 degrees and give chase when you get caught out. Plus, finding that perfect bit of space can produce a match winning pass.
Tip 4) Watch a big tournament and see how the best players in the world do it. This year watch out for the London Open in the summer . This tournament will showcase some of the finest teams in the world. Keep an eye on www.LHBPA.org for more info.
Tip 5) There’s a Bike Polo Coaching/Strategy forum on www.LFGSS.com which has a couple of drill threads (solo and team) which are useful if you want to go the extra mile.
8. What is your favourite outfit for cycling?
Lycra! People seem to have a bit of a hang up regarding wearing Lycra. Whilst I must agree its not for all occasions, but for road cycling it really is a must. Cyclists all have their preferred outfits, some long sleeved jerseys some short sleeve with arm warmers, some tights some bib knickers. I’m definitely a tights man in the winter!
9. What bicycle/s do you ride?
I ride a Trek Madone, built for speed and performance, mine has an extremely easy life! My passion is for 70′s – 80′s steel frame bikes Colnago’s, Cinelli’s, Gios etc… My collection includes an early 80′s Colnago Mexico with full 50th Anniversary Campagnolo Gruppo.
10. Any tips for a new cyclist?
This from our very own Lara Thornton who has spent many years riding around our capital.
“Practice your route to work at the weekend, so that you know the junctions, where bus stops are, and where to lock your bike up; make sure you can put the lock through the frame and a wheel. Buy yourself a good rucksack and a helmet, and keep your bike in good condition with the tyres pumped up. Keep a spare pair of socks and pants at the office because we have all forgotten something vital! Make sure you obey the rules of the road; don’t be tempted to follow others through red lights because it doesn’t really save you any time and can make things dangerous for all road users. The most important thing is to always be aware of what’s around you. Take extra care with buses and lorries – if you’re coming up to a junction and you see one stopped ahead, wait for it to go wherever it’s going, don’t ride up its inside.
The most important thing is to enjoy cycling in London. It’s a surprisingly friendly environment – you’d never speak to someone on the tube but you can chat to cyclists you’ve never met before. And if you’re inspired by the Olympics or would like to stretch your legs a little more, join a club – there are lots in London and they cater for all abilities, men, women and quite often youth riders too.”