Falling in Love with The Looks of A Bike


You have probably heard the story of Sean Kelly being interviewed after the 1984 Amstel Gold Race, seeing his wife leaning up against his car. He interrupted the interview to tell her to get off the paintwork. Her response was “In your life, the car comes first, then the bike, then me”. Sean’s immediate response was “You got the order wrong. The bike comes first.”

I quote this story (and there are several variations of it) to illustrate that great cyclists can love their bikes, as a justification for lesser mortals like me loving mine. But there are two types of “love”.

You can be in love for years with a faithful partner. Or you can have your head turned: your eye is caught, and you just have to turn and look. Is that love or just outright attraction?

All this, because I saw a photo of a new bike, and found myself drooling. And now I feel that I need to justify what is so beautiful. It’s not the latest carbon road bike that impresses with its light weight. But there’s something that is so classical about the lines and looks, that I just feel attracted.

More rational cyclists are probably going to tell me to be “sensible” and realise that this isn’t a “pure bike” because it’s an e-bike. And I continue to say that the more bikes of any sort on the road, the more visible we become not just to motorised traffic but to local and national government, so riding any bike becomes safer, acquires more cycling infrastructure and become safer still.

Vintage Electric Bikes’ Cruz model is a classic California cruiser with design elements reminiscent of the American Art Deco movement. The bike has a top speed of 36 mph in “race mode”. Regenerative braking, coupled with Shimano Alfine hydraulicdisk brakes, provides riders with stop-on-a-dime control. Similar to the company’s predecessor model, the Tracker, the Cruz’s top-calibre components include a sandcast aluminium battery box, powerful LED lighting, Phil-Wood front hub, and a Brooks leather saddle and grips. A powerful 52-volt battery gives the Cruz 35 miles of ride capability and requires minimal charging time –taking just two hours to fully recharge. The stained alder wood frame inlay and cast pewter name badge sings the final note for this model’s signature look, which starts at $4,995.

I got in touch with Edward “Eddie” Johnson at the Santa Clara, California, based company, who told me “every bike that leaves our shop is hand assembled by us. Each bike is hand stamped as it leaves the assembly line. The drivetrain in each bike is a 52v 13.5ah battery with a 3000w peak hub motor. In street mode we will tune the software to the local regulation.” This means 750w nominal in the USA, but 250w pedal assist over here in the EU. A 35 mile range and capable of 36 mph in Race Mode is quite some performance.

As part of their commitment to quality, the company doesn’t use any stickers or plastic on their bikes.

So, did your eye get attracted to this beautiful bike? I know that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. Am I a lonely beholder or do I have company out there?

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