Liz Colebrook – Artisan Framebuilder, Beaumont Bicycle
It's International Women's Day so today's guest blog today is written by Liz Colebrook. Liz has cycled across Europe, studied at Leeds and Sheffield universities and worked as a mechanic in bike shops in Manchester, Berlin, Hamburg and Ludlow. She's been building wheels for over 25 years and at Beaumont Bicycle, her business in Shropshire, she designs and builds beautiful hand-made bikes with made-to-measure steel frames. She's also worked as an Occupational Therapist, which has given her additional insight into the ergonomics of bike-fitting, which is how I met her. Eighteen months ago, Liz spent a day with me at The Traditional Cycle Shop teaching me all I know about bike fitting and to this day, each time I adjust a bike for a customer, I can still hear Liz's gentle, calming voice talking about "the Goldilocks position". So if you've purchased a Pashley or Moulton from us since then you'll have benefited from Liz's vast experience!
"I cut a hole in my Brooks B17 saddle with a Stanley knife back in 1992. Admittedly, it wasn’t my idea but I’d seen a woman in Berlin do this to her saddle. “Wow, I’ve got to try that!” It certainly worked and nearly twenty years later Brooks officially call this pressure relieving feature ‘carved’ and it’s a much neater affair with tricolour bodice-like lacing to boot. The honey Imperial B17s pictured will adorn my latest Beaumont step-through commissioned by a Shropshire-based Breeze champion. As she leads her rides, inspiring and encouraging more women into the saddle, I know she’ll be enthused to share what she’s gleaned from having a made to measure bicycle built to her specification. Let’s see - more news anon…
...Meanwhile, during the cold snap, I fitted Schwalbe Ice Spike tyres to my winter bike, which is best done wearing gloves. I may have rather alarmed tentative traffic as I flew passed flushed with confidence at being velcroed to the road but they got me to my workplace with a Scandi-style buzz (actually the studs sound like you’re riding through popping candy). Today on International Women’s Day, I will entertain Chris from Swrve with ‘pour over’ coffee as they say in Portland and I shall extol the virtues of my black Skinny fit cycling jeans bought from him last year at Bespoked and thoroughly recommended for their saddle friendly gusset, stretch factor and reflective turn-ups. Then I will treat my engineering mentor Trevor Jarvis to lunch at the Castle Hotel in honour of the major part he’s played in my continued development as a framebuilder. I’m the same age as his daughter and if I had been his daughter, we would have definitely had a van that said ‘Jarvis and Daughter Ltd.’"
You can see Liz's beautiful hand-made bikes at Beaumontbicycle.com and find her on Twitter at @lizcolebrook. Hopefully we'll hear more from Liz in the future.