Sunday 29 August 2010

Racer Rosa

Local Walthamstow firm, Racer Rosa, has been getting some publicity recently - probably the most high profile being in The Guardian.

Local blogger, Archipelago of Truth,  is not so convinced of the green credentials and motivation of the company, and gave the company quite a brutal write-up, followed up by spirited comments by the author of the The Guardian piece, Simon Munk.
I have to say that I am never totally convinced of the "ethical argument", and normally want to shoot down eco-fluff at 50 paces. 

For sure Rosa's website contains more than a smattering of both, enough to raise my hackles somewhat. And the cycles themselves appear to be trendy fixies for the ultra-cool. Even if I got one of these bicycles, I doubt I would be their average customer, and probably wouldn't make it onto their promotional material - the receding hairline, paunch and panniers full of shopping topped off by economy pack of pampers wouldn't fit with their image.

In essence, Rosa is either taking old steel frames, or frames hand built in Italy, and creating a fixie cycle with some cool retro equipment and a trendy stripped down look. And the "cool" factor is reflected in the prices - with some around £1000.

But I find it hard to be too cynical of this business. For a start they are actually making something  in my local area, something which should always be encouraged. They are making bicycles which may be saving some nice frames and putting them to good use, and the end result, judging from the photos, look good quality.

So, even if the ethical and eco angle is a bit over-egged for my sensibilities, I still think a local business putting together a nice product should be encouraged.

As for me, my bicycle is a full retro mountain bicycle nearing its 20th birthday, in large part still retaining its original equipment. And when anything goes wrong I will tend to fix and cobble together rather than throw away and buy new. I thought all this was because I was cheap and skint, but now, thanks to the Racer Rosa website,  I realise it is because I am ethical and eco-aware

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