What was the inspiration for Beg Bicycles?
I took up daily city cycling four years ago whilst living in bike-friendly Paris, and I loved the fact that everyone just wears their normal everyday clothes, hops on and gets pedalling! And being Paris, they look incredibly chic doing so! There were so many environmental and social reasons that led us to feel the time was right for a classically designed, Sit Up and Beg style bike brand with coordinating accessories. Rising fuel prices, increasing awareness about the benefits of daily exercise and an increasing need for a sense of local community in these uncertain times were all key factors that mean that cycling is back on the agenda. The great success of Team GB in Olympic cycling has also got a lot of people wanting to get back in the saddle again - even if it's just for a leisure, not lycra ride! With a big roomy basket on the front, you can bundle all your shopping goodies in the basket, hop on (elegantly, of course) in your normal clothes and go. And the very upright geometry of our bicycles and the wide sweeping handlebars ensure that one’s upright riding position on a BEG bicycle is nothing but genteel, graceful and comfortable, enabling you take in the scenery as you glide on by. It's a very liberating ride.
We also wanted to create a bike brand that appealed to women particularly - a non-intimidating, inspiring online retail environment that feels like a boutique selling products that make you sigh with pleasure and make you simply yearn to get on a bike!
How do you relax/switch off?
Of course, a good bike ride dusts off the cobwebs and makes you feel so invigorated. I'm also addicted to the sensation of just sitting in cafes and I actually - ahem - find just wandering round the shops, looking at new product ideas very relaxing! I live on the left bank in Paris and there are some brilliant independent retailers and tiny specialist boutiques, and it's brilliant for people-watching.
I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
Lost in Translation. I lived in Tokyo in my late teens (I was a student but also a sushi chef!!!), and this urban film with its beautiful soundtrack by Air always makes me really nostalgic.
The Sartorialist, particularly because it has a cycling section with people looking incredible on bikes.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
Scandinavian thrillers. Have never been much of a TV person, but once I get into The Killing, The Bridge etc, i have to watch on consecutive nights for weeks on end! Love the darkness, minimal interiors, the sound of the language!
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Leave it 24 hours before making a hasty decision... things often resolve themselves.
What are you listening to at the moment?
Foster the People and Empire of the Sun... love that retro, 80s-inspired pop thing! Shows my age though!
Catherine is the founder of BEG bicycles, known for their utterly beautiful hand-made Dutch bicycles.
(This month they are offering hush customers a very exclusive offer, click here to find out more!)