we may as well accept the fact that we are, as a peloton, a shade different from the more regular members of the population. at least, that's the way we may wish to portray ourselves or, indeed, be portrayed by others. but it has always provided something of a quizzical conundrum to note signs that state open to the general public when those standing on the other side were, until that moment, also members of the general public. the names that we apply to things and people can often be arbitrary and, perhaps to a lesser extent, entirely relative.
within the velo club sunday peloton, i am perfectly capable of holding my own (so to speak) when the road heads upwards, but drag me off to provence in the company of some stalwarts from rapha, and suddenly i'm puffing and panting at the back. similarly, within my sphere of influence, i'm regarded as an expert in adobe photoshop, but compared to many others, my skills are rather mundane. that does not, however, dismiss the fact that no matter the purpose of our daily toil, when we are collectively sat on our collective saddles, to the outside world we are classified as cyclists. it's hard to argue with such classification, for no matter our differences, that's precisely what we are, in the same manner as we see motorists and pedestrians (both groups of which we can also be members at times.)
but one of the pet joys of the human race comes under the heading of pigeon-holing where it suits our purposes well to categorise those we come into contact with. it is something of a tautology in the world of marketing, where products have need of being aimed at a certain strain of humanity. this is mostly based on income, social strata and predilection towards certain activities, hobbies or pastimes. though we may all think of ourselves as individuals, marketing strategy would often have it otherwise. and it was ever thus.
but underneath the all encompassing umbrella of the cyclist moniker, our individualities can do little but shine through. even within the sporting facet of our milieu, there are rouleurs, grimpeurs, domestiques, sprinters that, when seen from the helicopter merges into a speeding mass of jerseys, bicycles and helmets. and even within the more mundane buzz of everyday cyclists, those individualities are cultivated or maybe even adopted, recognised by the cogniscenti but similarly dismissed by the great unwashed simply as cyclists.
one such member of the cognoscenti with not only the observational skills to distinguish the foregoing, but the artistic ability to turn those into a series of graphics, is ste johnson. ste is a freelance illustrator living in the liverpool/manchester area, who has produced work for clients such as bbc learning, the national museums, liverpool, the nationwide and more than one or two others. having always favoured the world of cycling (he was once a co-conspirator at the discerning cyclist) his most recent work has been to commence work on a series of cards (also available as posters) depicting a variety of cycle types.
the first selection matches the letter m with milk monitor, c with chic, h with hipster (what else?) and s for speedster. there is, so far as i can see, no specific inherent purpose behind the series, but a six year-old girl in the care of mrs washingmachinepost found them quite fascinating, spending a good fifteen minutes recognising the letters and memorising the various cyclists on display. that does not, however, detract from the quality of each individual illustration, all of which can cheerfully be enjoyed purely on the basis of their own visual worth.
in the process of his more regular work, ste said "I missed drawing cycling stuff and wanted to get back into it. I also wanted to try a new style, coming up with c first for chic then hipster inspired by a guy at work. Speedster was inspired by women's racing and m is a homage to my mate who brings the milk in everyday at work." there is every likelihood, in my opinion, that these bear all the hallmarks of future collectors' items; if you agree, pop on over to ste's etsy sales site and start collecting. price is £3.50 per set of four.
friday 05 june 2015..........................................................................................................................................................................................................