More and more of us are considering cycling to work over taking public transport, and the government-backed CycleScheme means a decent-spec bike is more affordable than ever.
Your £1,000 dream machine needn’t embrace the aggressive lines of a sports-centric alpha-cyclist setup, though. We have eschewed the carbon fibre and selected four retro-inspired urban options – plus essential accessories – that will get you to the office in style and in budget.
Temple Cycles Lightweight Classic
Handmade in Bristol, Temple’s bikes embody chic simplicity, spot-on detailing and a built-to-last ethos that shines through. For a daily commute through particularly judgey areas of the metropolis, the Lightweight Classic combines a durable Reynolds 520 steel frame with pleasingly restrained colours, light or dark brown leather trim and two-tone 28mm Schwalbe tyres. At around 11kg, it won’t take too much effort to move along at a decent tick, while a nine-speed Shimano Altus gear is more than capable of handling inner-city slopes.
This model doesn’t include mudguards and pannier rack as standard, but they can be added to the order without busting the usual £1,000 limit – in fact, you’ll also have wiggle room for extras such as swept-back handlebars for a more upright riding position, a Brooks leather seat, or a kickstand, so you can compose an Instagrammable vista as you sip your dalgona coffee.
Price: from £750 | Temple Cycles
Accessorise the Temple with:
Dashel carbon fibre edition helmet
Situated somewhere between a builder’s hardhat and a horseriding accessory, Dashel’s classic bike helmet has had a carbon-fibre upgrade – it’s almost 100g lighter, depending on size – but still retains all the clever detailing of the original.
Top marks go to the magnetic clasp that holds the chinstrap securely in place, but which can be released single-handed with no gloved fumbles. Inside, an ARPO foam liner provides impact protection, while Velcroed pads let you customise the padding; outside, a neat (real or vegan) leather loop on the rear provides a carrying hold or a spot for attaching a light. Finish is matte or glossy, with a silvery metal trim.
Price: £185 | Dashel | Pure Electric
Alban Convertible Roll Top Pannier
Can’t pick between a backpack or a pannier? Alban lets you have it both ways with a waterproof Cordura and bridle-leather-trim bag that has steel pannier-frame clips and D-loops for threading shoulder straps.
With 18 litres of capacity you can squeeze in a full change of clothes, while 15-inch laptops get their own padded slot. A layer of tarpaulin has also been wrapped around the base for extra protection from road splashes, so your kit remains dry. It also comes in a smaller, 13-litre size that can double as a tote bag.
Price: £115 | Alban Bike Bags | Etsy
Pashley Princess Sovereign
If you’ve grown accustomed to the heft of a Boris Bike, its take-home equivalent would be a traditional “Amsterdam” cycle – a style inspired by the rides that dominate the canalsides. The Princess Sovereign from heritage bike-maker Pashley comes with a fully covered chainset, a step-through frame in either black or dark green, a built-in wheel lock, enclosed hub brakes and gears, and a honking great basket on the front – if sensible were a bicycle, this would be it.
Pashley has been in the game since 1926, so one could argue that its fare isn’t retro, it just happens to have come back into style. At 20kg of hand-brazed steel tubing, the Sovereign is reassuringly solid – in the event of a collision, it’s highly likely the car will come off worse…
Price: from £775 | Pashley | Evans Cycles
YAKKAY helmet and cover
Keep that vintage vibe going with a touch of tweed: YAKKAY’s EN 1078-certified polycarbonate mountaineering-style lids are fine on their own and come in a choice of popping colours – but it also produces a range of cloth caps that fit on top for a less safety-oriented look.
The Paris Herringbone gets our vote for sensible city styling, but there are buckets and caps in wool, denim and fake fur, if you’re after more adventurous options.
Price: helmet €69; cap €49 | YAKKAY | Amazon
Pashley Basket Tote
Designed to fit your Pashley-issue basket exactly, this leather-trimmed, reinforced canvas tote is big enough for shopping, office essentials or a small furry friend. Two layers of cotton fabric with a coat of natural rubber between means it’s waterproof, but it also comes with a nylon rain hood – again, the exact dimensions for your basket – that stretches over the top to keep out downpours.
Price: £150 | Pashley
Mango Bikes Custom Single Speed
If off-the-rack isn’t your thing, Mango’s customisation tool enables you to create a bike that truly reflects the inner you – especially if the inner you can’t decide which colour to go for.
This single-speed model has 46/18 gearing, a flip-flop hub (so you don’t need to be pedalling all the time) and alloy six-spoke wheels.
Every part – from chain to tyres – can be designated its own colour from broad, bright spectrum, and you can also customise the road and step-through frames, if a faux-fixie doesn’t suit. Sunglasses not included.
Price: from £355 | Mango Bikes
Adidas R.Y.V. Windbreaker
Keep that psychedelic Summer of Love feeling going with a loose-fit rave-inspired, rain-resistant top layer. Made using recycled polyester, this high-necked windbreaker isn’t reflective – but then it probably doesn’t need to be, what with the seersucker pastel camouflage treatment that demands all eyeballs in the vicinity pay attention.
Price: £75 | Adidas
Wizard Works Wald 1392 basket & Alakazam 139 bag
Because total lack of colour co-ordination is, in fact, the most advanced form of co-ordinated stying, we recommend you round off your look with Wizard Works’ excellent axel basket, plus Jackson Pollock-inspired bag designed to slot neatly in place.
With the roll-top closed, it’s a waterproof Cordura duffel with foam padding in the base and sides, and a shoulder strap for carrying – but it also unfurls into a vast shopper of up to 70 litres, should you go overboard at the vintage clothing market.
Basket: £34.50 | Wizard Works | AmazonBag: £185 | Wizard Works
Handmade by this Amsterdam-based firm, and combining a retro feel with eye-catching modern geometry, Veloretti’s aluminium hybrid ticks all sorts of creative-exec-appropriate boxes, from its neatly covered chainset and full mudguards, to the choice of pleasingly pared-back palettes (pick from cream or grey-blue with white tyres, or black or grey with black tyres).
At 13kg it won’t feel sluggish, while executive-level perks include upgrades to a Brooks saddle and grips, integrated locks and a three-speed gear with handbrake, while a spiffy front-basket option brings the practicality.
Price: €379 | Veloretti
Oliver Spencer x Brompton Bike Blazer
Assuming you’re allowed to wear this while not riding a Brompton, Oliver Spencer’s crease- and water-resistant jacket is perfect for those who are briefly breaking from WFH for a quick in-person meeting, and don’t want to go the full lycra.
Since it’s also packable, it comes with a detachable baggie and shoulder strap, and can even be worn as a cape, should the mood take you. The vents, collar and cuffs feature reflective panels, and the rear shoulders have action expansion seams to prevent unsightly stretching when powering along.
Price: £385 | Oliver Spencer | Brompton
Arkel Signature H Urban Pannier
When someone says “top-of-the-line pannier bags”, most people don’t automatically think “Canada” – yet Arkel, a cycle accessories brand based in Quebec, should be foremost in your mind. Its Signature H bag neatly straddles the road-worthily rugged and the office appropriate, thanks to a durable Cordura exterior, proper padded shoulder strap, and a fold-down flap that covers the Cam-Lock mounting system when not on your rack. It also has useful handles for using it as tote without the top rolled over.
Each 24-litre bag is hand-stitched and signed by the person who assembled it and, unlike “tall”-style panniers, this one is cleverly wide like a messenger bag and has two internal pouches, so it avoids those elbow-deep dives to locate stuff right at the bottom of the bucket. Daring execs should try it in copper, but there’s also olive and black for more formal environments.
Price: £108 (exc VAT) | Arkel | Bike Bling
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