Cycling in Mayfair and other prime central London areas can be a more relaxed affair than one might imagine, taking in some of the city’s most cultural and artistic sights. There are a wonderful selection of attractive tree-lined streets and vast expanses of green parks and spaces with cycle paths meandering through.
From the courtyard of Westminster Abbey School, which offers a privileged view of Westminster Abbey and some of its hidden quarters, it’s just a quick ride to Horse Guard’s Parade, a historic sporting ground where Henry VIII once hosted jousting tournaments, followed by a pedal through Hyde Park, Henry’s private hunting ground, before Buckingham Palace was built.
A growing culture of cycling in Mayfair, an area normally associated with luxury shops, galleries and exclusive clubs, is illustrated by the fact that it is also home to cycling cafes and bespoke cycle shops. While there has been an increase in the demand for London’s hire bikes which are available to anyone, the rise of cycling in the capital and the UK in general has also seen the growth in the world of luxury cycling. Foremost among the high-end bike manufacturers in this market are Factor Bikes.
Factor Bikes was conceived from a commitment to innovation, speed and performance through advanced engineering; our soul lives in technology and integration and our heritage is derived from advanced motorsport and aviation
Factor Bikes is the brainchild of designers Baden Cooke and David Millar – British Road and TT champion and Australian multiple Grand Tour stage winner. The new generation of innovatively designed Factor Bikes focus on our innovative heritage and luxury performance using only the very highest quality materials, fit, and finishing. Originally a spin-off of b1systems, a leading engineering firm in Norfolk dedicated to working at the highest levels of design with some of the fastest, most prestigious brands in the world including Ferrari, Aston Martin, Lamborghini, Maserati and many F1, Moto GP and WRC teams.
Baden Cooke comments: “We work closely with BF1 Systems on a lot of the technical parts of the design and engineering. We want to bring that race heritage into that technology already established by BF1 systems, to make the best bikes in the world”.
Originally BF1 Systems was looking to involve a more critical, race-proven, eye. It was the perfect opportunity to start working with Tour de France Green Jersey winner Baden Cooke. Baden was a top professional for 14 years winning over 50 races. In 2003 Baden sprinted his way to a stage win and the overall Green jersey in the Tour de France beating the likes of Robbie McEwen and Erik Zabel. Baden, an Olympian, rode for powerhouse squads such as Orica GreenEDGE and Saxo Bank.
Baden’s experience and feedback working with the b1systems design team made him passionate about what Factor Bikes http://www.factorbikes.com/ was seeking to achieve and the epiphany came when he took the Vis Vires out for a test ride. This culminated in Baden developing a partnership with some cycling industry experts and, along with Rob Gitelis, purchasing Factor Bikes from bf1systems. Baden Cooke says: “Now that I am retired, for the first time in my life I can actually ride whatever bike I want. One of our main goals at Factor is to create a bike so good that everybody will aspire to ride it”.
Bespoke Cycling in Mayfair
Joshua Buckley at H Barnes & Co says: “London is a great city for cycling; The Thames affords some of the best views across the city, with level safe cycling routes stretching across the capital and of course the green spaces and parks mean you can cut through and feel like you’re a million miles away from the urban hustle and bustle.
Our office is in Mayfair and so I’m always checking out interesting retailers and Bespoke Cycling in Jermyn Street is one of my haunts. Bespoke is all about the fit of a bike; every purchase begins with a comprehensive fitting session, as well as fits for existing bikes. Achieving a correct fit is crucial for not only performance but also comfort, efficiency and preventing injury. The fitters use 3D motion capture to gain highly accurate data. Another key element is Bespoke Cycling’s biomechanics, involving a physical assessment to adapt the bike to a rider’s ideal position as a future goal.”