Here in the UK, it’s winter.
Meteorologically it’s still autumn, but for a solar powered cyclist like myself it’s winter. Has been for a number of weeks.
You might be wondering why, if I’m so fond of the sun, I live in the north of England. It’s a good question, and one I’ve asked myself many times.
As a family we have a long-term plan called ‘Operation Tuscany.’ Unfortunately, the name ‘Operation Tuscany’ is as far as we’ve got so far.
So…north of England it is.
But every year, around this time, I daydream about moving lock, stock, and barrel, to somewhere with sunshine, decent coffee, and smooth Tarmac. My daydreams are usually European.
But maybe, just maybe, I should be thinking further afield.
There seem to be a lot of cyclists in Australia these days, for example. And we know they’ve got the whole sunshine thing pretty well wrapped up. They also seem to have an eye for making smart kit, too, as with my latest discovery Find Your Freedom.
To top it off, I got in touch with Carl from FYF to get the lowdown and he’s a really nice guy. Should I really consider changing the name of ‘Operation Tuscany’ to ‘Operation Queensland?’
As Carl put it, the weather is “beautiful one day, and perfect the next.” I have a hunch he’s not familiar with the eleven different shades of grey that pass for weather here in Lancashire.
He describes a local cycling scene as “incredible…there are always plenty of groups to jump on depending on whether you’re up for a smash-fest, a climb or just a social adventure and there’s always a familiar face at the coffee shops to catch up with.”
Sounds great. And, you know what, I refuse to be bitter about his description of conditions that are “perfect for riding all year round.”
But, like I said, only because he seems like a nice guy.
Joking aside, it’s easy to see why everything on the FYF website jumps off the screen as if fuelled by warm sun, blue skies, and massive doses of Vitamin D.
We’re talking creative designs, great colours, happy smiling cyclists, even a ‘Cocktail Collection’ of kit with names like Tequila Sunrise and On The Rocks (when I delved for details, rumours of cocktails being quaffed on set after the photo shoot were not denied).
Have the cyclists of Queensland really replaced the mid-ride café with the mid-ride cocktail party?
If that’s not lively enough for you check out the ‘Flamboyance Collection’; a look for those cyclists for whom self-doubt is not a concept they’re familiar with.
All told, Find Your Freedom, from my view here from the opposite side of the world, give off all the vibes of a young, confident cycling brand. In briefly getting to know them I get a sense of people who love cycling, love their kit, and are loving putting it out there.
My first impressions from testing the kit itself are good; it’s racy and well fitting, high quality, and leaps out from the crowd here in the UK. As someone who likes a piece of boutique kit, I’ve enjoyed riding in it.
The kit is made in Italy, which not only gives it that hint of ‘old Europe’ cycling heritage but, as Carl explained, is all about quality.
“When we first scoped out manufacturers for FYF we also looked at Asia, primarily because of proximity, but when we compared product samples to the Italian manufacturing, it was chalk and cheese, and therefore a no brainer decision. We’ve long admired the attention to detail and craftsmanship of the Italians…they certainly know what they’re doing.”
As someone who rides an Italian bike, and drinks Italian wine, and has a retirement plan called ‘Operation Tuscany’, that’ll do for me.
The guys at Find Your Freedom tell me they have a design book full and ready to roll with new kit, including some ‘intriguing concepts’. There is also embryonic talk of concept stores to showcase the brand.
If you want the full story on how this sunny Aussie kit translates onto the lanes of northern England check out www.ragtimecyclist.com for FYF kit reviews in the coming weeks.
In the meantime, check out their website here: www.fyfcycling.com
As for mid-ride cocktails, you need to make your own mind up on that one!