Ride like a Belgian. I do that. I mean, I cycle in muddy fields in the winter and follow up with frites and beer. Well, chips and beer anyhow. Ok, sometimes chips, mainly chocolate and wine. CX is very Belgian. So, yes, I ride like a Belgian, just quite a lot slower. However at the time of writing this review, a mere hours after the 2017 Paris-Roubaix BMC’s Greg Van Avermaet really has ridden like a Belgian, a strong, powerful and dust ridden ride and become the 40th individual Belgian (and 56th Belgian victor) to win this most wonderful of races. An average speed of 28.1mph over 160 miles. Just let that sink in. Faster than Spartacus, faster even that that other strongest of Belgians Tommeke.
Cycling is iconic, legendary, memorable, emotional, evocative, full of imagery, full of fable. And having something up on the wall to remind you of those things is a must for the serious cycling fan. Enter Band of Climbers and their quite lovely range of prints (and other things).
A week or so I received the “Ride like a Belgian” and “Jerseys of the Tour de France” prints, the former in A3 and the latter 30cm v 30cm. They arrive extremely well packaged in a cardboard tube. They will require some flattening on arrival, I rolled them the opposite way initially then buried them safely under some next directories for a few days. Once that’s done, you’re ready to mount and display them in whatever method you want.
The prints don’t ship with any sort of frame which is a deliberate policy, they’d spend more time compensating you and chasing up the Royal Mail. It’s also a very sensible policy as it leaves how you want to display your print entirely up to you. IKEA do a pretty sensible (and cheap) range of frames and, for example, the 50cm x 50cm Ribba Frame would be the ideal choice in which to mount the Jerseys of the TDF print. On the website you get an idea of how these things might look in certain framing methods.
The Band of Climbers collection is split into different categories so, naturally, the former is from the Belgian range and the latter from the Grand Tour range. There’s quite a lot to choose from and much of it comes in different sizes according to your needs. They’re all printed on 300gsm cardboard and the quality of the printing is of an extremely high standard. So, the photo below is actually a photo.
The range is an impressive one, from the flag inspired legend above, to simple wordplay on black backgrounds and also some photographic prints of legendary riders such as Tom Boonen, Bradley Wiggins and Phillipe Gilbert all taken by photographer Chris Auld. If you fancy something a bit different you can design your own print. There’s pretty much something for all tastes from the Pave to the Grand Tour. You can even have some natty pillows if you like. I guess the only omission is, well, a bit more CX…..but, I guess, there’s not much more to say than the below (disclaimer, us vets are allowed only 40 minutes now because we’re getting on a bit).
Prices are good too. £13 for the Belgian print, £17 for the TDF. £1.99 shipping per order (and that includes both postage AND packaging). Free international deliveries over £35. That’s not just reasonable, that’s excellent. They’re impressive. Good value, excellent quality, packaged with care and striking.
So, if you’re the type of person allowed to put cycling memorabilia on the wall then I can highly recommend picking up some stuff from Band of Climbers. Sadly, I am not one of those people, Mrs Roubaix permitting only soft pastels and flowers. But, in the office, my own office, my personal space, that’s all me. So when I’m bashing away at the keyboard, writing my latest legal classroom opus, I can look up and remind myself that, on the way home, I will ride like a Belgian. Because, if I do, there will be biere and frites at the other end, and that is reward enough.