The Discerning Cyclist interview

Illustration by the Discerning Cyclist

It’s not often when you are busy surfing from website to website, that you just pause to appreciate something beautiful. That’s exactly how I felt when I happened upon:

http://www.thediscerningcyclist.co.uk/

Not only was the site design great, the illustrations were amazing and the articles on cycling fashion and style caught my attention.

I had to find out the story of the founder so I interviewed Ste…

Where did you grow up? Where are you living now?

I started off in Bootle just outside Liverpool, but did most of my growing up in Whiston and then Rainhill. Rainhill is where I am now, it’s near a town called St Helens about 10 – 12 miles away from Liverpool.

What bike are you currently riding?

Currently I’m riding an Orbea Aqua, it’s black with a dash of white and red lines here and there. I got it as I adore the Orbea Orca but that is a tad too high spec for my commuting needs. When I got it I was a major bike dunce and just went on looks and really the aqua is a bit too sporty as I’m definitely in the commuter class category of cyclists but its so pretty!

3. What was the inspiration behind setting up the discerning cyclist?

I love style and good looking smart gear and I wanted to integrate it in to a career, I just wasn’t sure how. I love drawing and… you get the idea.

So a conversation gets brought up with a chap from work and I came up with the idea of a website that showcases, advises, promotes and sells a discerning and carefully chosen list of stylish clothes that look great off the bike, but also are good to wear whilst you cycle too. 

Mr Porter is a site I love that deals with style for men. That was a great inspiration to try and do something similar with cycling fashion for urban cyclists but not just men, women too. I had a good look around and at first I couldn’t see anything like that around. I did see 1 or 2 great websites that provide great reviews, like yours Andreas, but the Discerning Cyclist isn’t just about reviewing gear, but hopefully helping people with their style questions and make them look good whilst they cycle

What’s one item of cycling gear you couldn’t live without?

My Rapha Rain Jacket – I love it! Before I had it I had this amazingly big mac that was just like cycling with a tent on. British weather being what it is. You need something that keeps the rain off most days and the Rapha jacket is lightweight, stylish and does the job.

If you could design the ultimate cycling jacket – what features would it have?

That’s a tough one as there are a lot of awesome jackets. I love pea coats so I’d maybe take a pea coat and turn that into the ultimate cycling jacket. Windproof water-resistant, stain-resistant – the works. I’d also make the back pocket as concealed as possible for maximum style.

How do you feel clothing designs for cyclists are changing?

Cycling just keeps getting more popular and more a part of everyday live as the cost of travelling by motor powered vehicles keeps going up. They’re being used more as a vehicle to get about rather than a leisure activity or a serious sport hobby/career so more practical, functional and stylish gear is cropping up all the time. For me Lycra and sportswear is a great and essential part of cycling, but it’s not the part I’ve seen change the most recently. Stylish urban wear is coming in to make it possible to arrive at a place in the same outfit you will wear whilst at that place.

How did you first get in to illustrating?

I honestly can’t remember. I remember being proud of a picture of cats I drew when I was 5, but I’ve always enjoyed doing it but have only recently got back into it so I’m still very much finding my feet.

What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?

At 12 I wanted to draw comic books, at 18 I had no idea, totally clueless, but at 30 I wanted to do the Discerning Cyclist talking about great, functional style for on and off the bike and include illustration somehow. It’s only recently I’ve figured out I want to pursue something passionately (I’m 31 now) as I love each aspect that makes up the DC. I can’t wait to see where this is going to take me.

What cycling brand do you most admire and why?

Can only say which cycling clothing brand do I most admire as my knowledge of cycling as a whole is still in need of expansion. 

This still makes it tough – honourable mentions to Rapha, Vulpine, Outlier & Howies and some newer guys in Carbonaut and Union 34 – all awesome. However, after much deliberation, I’m going to say Velovixen. There set up story is quite a romantic story and you don’t often get romantic stories setting up a company and as it’s near Valentine’s day that’s quite topical plus they completed a hell of a mission to decide they were going to set up (cycled around most of South America) plus they’re promoting stylish clothes for the ladies which is really good to see.

What are your eventual goals with The Discerning Cyclist?

To help people with their style & clothing needs and provide access to the best quality and best suited gear for on and off the bike. Doing this through retailing, advice, reviews, conversation, campaigns, etc. There’s lots of ideas. It’s all still fairly new so we’re just happy we’re being noticed. Fingers crossed it continues and we keep getting noticed for the right reasons

What advice would you give someone who wants to start a cycling blog?

Love doing it or it’ll fade away quickly. Don’t be afraid to ask people even though that can be scary, you’ll find a lot of nice people in the cycling community and you will have to find something unique to help you get there. I’m not sure if we’d of been noticed as much if we didn’t have the illustrations. Overall, the passion and determination will see you through, but come back in a year and I’ll be able to to tell you more.

Thanks to Ste for the interview! The Discerning cyclist can be found on at thediscerningcyclist.co.uk.

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2 Responses to The Discerning Cyclist interview

  1. Kellyman17 18/02/2013 at 11:07 am #

    I had no idea that the discerning cyclist came from round where I live: St. Helens born and bred! I still live there now and commute into liverpool almost everyday. Very interesting interview, thanks to the pair of you!

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