“Die a thousand and deaths and s*ck a thousand c*cks” were the exact words that exited my mouth in the direction of a London underground signpost yesterday after having the most horrific two days worth of traveling on London’s poor underground service.
One journey from Heathrow to Oxford circus I estimated at a little over an hour to complete, people it took the best part of four hours and that was after countless service cancellations and numerous tube hops. The other journey took three hours to get ( again ) from Heathrow but this time traveling to Bethnal Green Road, three hours! I estimated no more than half of that and furthermore this particular three hour tube journey not only put me at the end of my tether where London’s tube service is concerned but it also took me way past my estimated time of arrival at quite possible the finest vintage cycle outlet in London. Tour de Ville.
At 7.15pm which for your information is beyond the closing time of TDV I finally arrived and to my pleasant surprise a pre-made phonecall half an hour earlier secured my entry into the store.
I was greeted at the gate by Jos one of the proprietors and I was lead in. I must add at this point that I was still utterly fuming from the ordeal that is traveling on London’s public transport, I say “Traveling on” it was more like ‘Battling with’ than “traveling on” but soon after my anger was quickly calmed and my sunny disposition restored.
I entered TDV and upon first glance I noticed the place looked quite a bit smaller than it does on photographs I have seen but that in no way detracts from the sheer goodness contained therein.
My eyes quickly wondered and whilst doing so I noticed such marques as Gazelle, Bianchi, Duell, this particular Duell would sit just lovely in my possession, the paint job is completely something else and I gazed longingly at it contemplating the thought of… but it is too small so no! I saw Moser, Rossin, Chesini and Plum to name but a few. All perfectly beautiful vintage steel road and track, frames and bikes in an assortment of colours and sizes.
Now I was once wholly guilty of getting into the colourcoding, neon, ‘fixie’, ‘hipster’ thing and it was fun to express myself that way and there is still nothing wrong with that but these days I pretty much just like old fashioned track and racing bikes and it just so happens that TDV specialize in just that. I said to my girl upon arriving home last night “Tour de Ville is much like the best cycle jumble I have ever been to minus the junk and with ten times more hotness”
Procured dark wooden glass cabinets were graced with all types of pristine Campagnolo and Dura Ace components, hubs, cranks, shifters, derailleurs, rings all very lovely and all clearly labeled and priced using my favourite method – the small brown cardboard tag hung by a piece of string. Simple effective and very classy.
I saw a plethora of rims while perusing, Mavic, Campagnolo, Rigida, FIR, Ambrosio, everything, all brand new unused and all absolutely ready to bless some lucky fellows cherished hubset.
I saw tyres, I especially had my eye on some real nice NOS Red / Tan wall Vredestein Ricorso’s that would look totally at home on my Raleigh but I am saving! Saddles old and new, jerseys, shoes and even a healthy selection of cycling publications for the keen readers among us.
My time spent in TDV was quite short as I had to catch my 8.23 back to the Ham but it was definitely the best time I had spent in a London bike store to date. I usually come out feeling abused or spoken down to, you guys know what I am talking about right? but anyway. The hospitality extended to me by Keith and Jos was an absolute breath of fresh air especially after my day of hell on London’s public toilet, ahem! I mean transport. Most store owners and staff would not even let you through the door out of hours never mind cups of coffee and cycle related chatter.
Keith, Jos it was a pleasure to meet you yesterday and to see your store you are doing a grand job and may you continue to do so and to anyone planning a trip to London you must go down to the store and check it out, it is the exact way a store of this nature should look and run. Perfect. Next time when I am sans luggage I am leaving with a frame!