Ok, there were probably some people asking themselves whether it would be the year when Armstrong peed in the wrong bottle, but most long-time viewers were wondering about the new boy. As it turned out, it was Ned Boulting, a reporter rather more affable and far less cutting than Gary Imlach. He took a little getting used to, but his drollery and enthusiasm provided a perfect contrast to the avuncular tone of Phil Ligget and Paul Sherwen, and cycling fans took him to heart. Some more than others, as in the case of @INBFC, the International Ned Boulting Fan Club, whom we met at the Vulpine Summer fete at Balham Bowls Club on Monday.
In addition to amusing twitterings and the maintenance of a Ned-centric tumblr with commendable forays into Dr Hutch worship, @INBFC also makes official membership cards and badges which have even been worn by Team UK Youth during races. That's right, Paris-Roubaix winner Magnus Backstedt wears one of these...
...so how could we not buy one? Or, more to the point, one for every member of the family?
It wasn't just Ned appreciation, of course. We picked up the latest issues of The Ride and Boneshaker, bought some Look Mum No Hands t-shirts and caps, got this rather tasty piece of wall art from Dominic Trevett, and, of course, leched over lots of bikes.
|Old fashioned looks and unusual paint jobs from Foffa.|
There were some absolutely gorgeous frames and full bikes on display from Foffa and Racer Rosa, but what unexpectedly stole my heart were the Pearsons. I mean no disrespect to Foffa and Rosa, as their particular flavour of old-fashioned frame always looks good to me, but the Pearsons were modern frames: curves where there should be straight lines, flat bits where there should be curves. Exactly the sort of thing I usually hate. It was an unexpected pleasure to be blown away by their imnotanumber.