Pashley People - Keith Ayling
The latest in our regular series of profiles of riders of Pashley and Moulton bicycles.
I’m a songwriter, performer and arts entrepreneur! ‘Mister Keith’ is one of my musical projects that I’ve been working on for about 8 years. It started with a love of all things vintage, especially cycling and tweed and then a gig in Switzerland (where I've toured a lot), realising that the whole English vintage scene was very cool in Europe. And so, the character Mister Keith was born. The recording of the album took a number of twists and turns, including being influenced by my father and family history.
I’ve always been passionate about songwriting. A friend of mine bought me a guitar when I was fifteen and I knew immediately that being able to tell your story through songwriting was my path. I've been passionate about it ever since.
I’ve always made my living from music and related arts projects. I love bringing people together around music and creativity. I now teach songwriting around the UK, perform and record, as well as run several arts & music education initiatives.
I’ve always been drawn to cycling. I’ve always owned a bike. When I was child I remember loving my Puch bike - it was a copy of a Raleigh Grifter. Then I had a Raleigh Equipe. When the Mister Keith project came in to being, it rekindled my love of cycling and connected it with design.
A very good friend of mine from Switzerland gave me a present of a vintage Swiss bike - with converted handlebars and wheels. I rode it on the Tweed Run and The Pashley Picnic.
I obviously knew about Pashley Bicycles, but moving to live in Warwickshire really made me do my research. I bought my wife a Pashley Britannia and then I discovered the Pashley Phantom. It’s surely the most beautiful bicycle ever made - at least in my eyes. I was adamant that I had to own one and waited patiently until the right one came along - coincidentally sourced for me by a former member of staff of the Traditional Cycle Shop! It’s beautiful and I’ve ridden it on many a Tweed Run, Pashley Picnic and beyond. I was proud that it won ‘Best Bicycle’ at the 2016 Tweed Run and appeared on German Television as a result!
It really is my dream bike and I don’t think I’ll ever want another. On the recent Mister Keith tour we used a Pashley bicycle bell in every concert and let people know about the company.
Cycling is very much related to the Mister Keith project. It is indicative of a slower pace of life; a reflective attention to the world around us and how it relates to what has gone before. When I take my Phantom out for a spin I can’t help but notice more around me and think more deeply about the journey we’re on. It’s good for the soul.
I’m really proud to have met so many cyclists through Mister Keith playing at cycling events. I can exclusively announce here that Mister Keith has been confirmed to headline EROICA BRITANNIA in June 2018! It will be a special year and we have a lot of surprises in store! Please come and say hello.