Velo – Bicycle Culture and Design

There was a great deal of excitement in the GC SS house the other day because my wife had borrowed a copy of Velo — Bicycle Culture and Design from the local library (where she works). I’d first seen this book at Retrospect Gallery in Broadbeach but being too much of a tight-arse to buy it I put it on order with the Gold Coast Library Service instead. It’s been many months since then but happily I was able to get one of the very first copies available. (There should be one per library so go grab one for yourself while they still smell all new and fresh.)

Velo — Bicycle Culture and Design

Velo is a coffee table book made up of an eclectic mix of bicycle design and culture. Small on words and big on pictures the book whips wildly from one aspect of cycling to another in just a few pages, with something to fascinate on almost every page. There are some familiar faces in there (for instance Van Moof and Copenhagen Wheel) but a great deal that is new and unusual. Fixies feature heavily, as they should, but so too do tall bikes, folding bikes, cargo bikes, electric bikes, BMX bikes and rocket propelled bikes. Alongside them are bike clowns and circus artists, cycle jousters, madmen and misfits, and bike artists of all sorts, from street artists to artists who use bikes in their art.

Yike Bike portable electric bike

Velo is a book about bicycle design so it has plenty of stuff on bicycle designers, but most of it at the periphery of bicycle designs, not the consumer stuff. So while Coppi or Masi may get a mention Malvern Star certainly does not. It touches on the North American handmade bicycle scene and the Tokyo bike scene but moves around far too much to say that the bike is about any one thing. And that is the beauty of the book. I doubt that there is anyone who will pick this up and will be reveling happily within their own field of knowledge. The book is diverse.

Bubbleheads from Eric Staller on Vimeo.

One of the geat things about a book like this is we can dip in and out for little nibbles or satiate ourselves on any aspect of it care of the internet. If you’re not given enough Francesco Bertelli in the book then visit his website.

go to to gorge on beautiful fixies

If you need to know more about Arndt Menke’s gorgeous wooden fixie then hop over to

Want to step out in true style next time you cycle (and let’s face it, skinny jeans and a cheesy mo are getting to look a little silly) then try

Of course, the book is not an exhaustive look at cycling and cycle culture. The very nature of its diversity means it’s had to take large leaps over many elements of cycle design and cycle culture. A book that covers BMX boombox bikes and bikes designed along the lines of the Bauhaus school will always have to skip a few things along the way. What the book does is give us a taste of many different aspects of design. Read it and feel the diversity of bike culture. Fixie’s may be the centre of the universe but there is many a good bicycle that revolves around us. If we expands our minds then perhaps one day we could even aspire to accommodate the gloriously silly Tweed Run on the Gold Coast (but only in the middle of winter)…

London Tweed Run

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