Keeping up with the Joneses


Rob Bushill of Really Useful Bikes in Bristol, England was clearly a little jealous of all the attention pulled in by the tech-weenie discussion about crates on bikes inspired by Swiss colleagues DoubleDutch. Exactly why my readers get more excited by a five minute post about a wooden crate than several hours of observations and philosophy about Japan with dozens of photos is something that escapes me but hey, I’ll just go with the flow.

fr8-really-useful-bikes (1)

Rob sent the following note with these great pictures:

Roy Belchamber took these of his Fr8, he says his daughter loves to travel on the back and he enjoys the way he can now ride to the shops instead of driving…

I think it great how a Dutch/American product with Dutch accessories can look so quintesentially English….

hope you enjoy..


I certainly DO enjoy Rob – Thanks very much for passing them along. That’s a really interesting observation that a Dutch/American product with Dutch accessories can look so quintessentially English, even if the word “quintessentially” has far too many letters and syllables for most Americans to wrap their heads around. I think our previous President “W” was even pushing a bill to ban words like “quintessentially” from Amurrican dikshunerees and buks… or maybe they were just trying to ban/burn books. I can’t quite remember what was going on in those darkest of days.

In any case I think there’s a fairly simple explanation; The qualities that people associate with “quintessentially English” are basically elements of timeless style such as natural materials, conservative colors, and pure form high on function and low on flourish. They result in objects or products that (if manufactured well) stand the test of time, achieving a certain patina. These are certainly qualities that WorkCycles strives for.

This is, incidentally, in stark contrast with what we would call “typically English” such as drunken and stoned weekend tourists browsing the windows of Amsterdam’s red light district in a rowdy group.

11 Responses to “Keeping up with the Joneses”

  1. Peter Says:

    As an Englishman myself, I think that’s a very generous (and accurate!) description of the different shades of Englishness. Very good.

    Now, about those crates..

  2. Richie Says:

    Yes, what about those crates? Or specifically, the one on the bike with wooden slats for a bottom? How could you write a whole post and leave out the most important detail?

  3. macfred (wormholetraveller) Says:

    thank you for this great anthropological, absorbing lecture !
    Nice pics too …
    But lets talk about that wonderful basket on the `Pickup®front carrier! 😉


  4. Todd Edelman Says:

    The Japanese photos and story were great. I looked at a lot of it. Sometimes there is nothing more to say.

  5. henry Says:


  6. Richie Says:

    Henry, I thought you were going with the flow.

  7. David Says:

    It can’t be all bad, there were 16 comments on Japan. Though, granted, much of the discussion revolved around a cupboard drain system. We just know more about crates than Japan, that’s all. Now, if you posted about crates with a cupboard drain system, that would really give us something to talk about….

    Oh, we’ve replaced W. with someone better— Sarah Palin. Described by Dick Cavett as, The Willy Wordsmith from Wasilla, Sarah can’t seem to stop talking about things she knows nothing about. Perhaps she can comment on your Japan post.

  8. macfred (wormholetraveller) Says:

    Cool down brother!
    Here are some great japanese crates for you …

  9. cereal Says:

    Well said…except that “quintessentially English” and “manufactured well” are not really phrases that come to mind in the same context.

  10. Tim Eustis Says:

    Damn, I like those panniers! But, as I ride with seat all the way up, my rear kid seat has to be in the rearmost position. And so, where would he put his legs? Kids. So needy.

  11. Rob Bushill Says:

    Henry you are a bugger/wind up merchant, but to clarify my position, there is no keeping up with the van Rooijen’s, if i could keep a few blocks behind him i would be a happy man.

    (And japan was very interesting, i just didn’t have a bigger better japan to take a picture of…) keep up the good work…..

    (and cheers for the Blog link)

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