Bicycle culture and style

Velo 2nd gear book

Once upon a time, around 5,600 years ago, someone pegged a set of wheels to a cart; 4,400 years later the tracks of Baghdad were finally paved with tar. But it wasn’t until 1817 that German Baron Karl Drais von Sauerbronn put two wheels beneath a simple seat. Two hundred years later, the bicycle represents the most efficient ways to transform the human power into movement. So reads the opening passage of Velo 2nd gear – a new book dedicated to bicycle culture and style.

The book has been put together with a degree of care and attention that will appeal to any cyclist – whatever their own particular area of interest. With 169 pages bursting with the wonderful diversity of cycling, unusual custom designs, bike fashion and accessories abound.

velo 2nd gear book

The Hornster

Pages 160 and 161 of Velo – 2nd Gear are dedicated to our very own Hornster– the custom bike we built around the air horn from an American freight train. The project was intended to highlight the threat posed to cyclists by lorries, themselves fitted with air horns…albeit rather puny affairs that produce only about 100db at full blast.
Testing of the Hornster registered over 136db. An ambulance siren at 20ft peaks at 120db. We perceive a doubling of sound for every 3db increase, so 136db is certainly loud enough to make a noise about the danger to cyclists from lorries.

the hornster bicycle

Win a copy of the book Velo – 2nd gear

We have a copy of Velo – 2nd gear to give away. Simply leave us a comment at the bottom of this page and we will pick a winner next week.

ETA cycle insurance


Ethical cycle insurance

On the face of it, one cycle insurance policy is much like another, but the devil is the detail. How much excess you will be charged is just one of the things that varies wildly between providers. Another is so called ‘new-for-old’ replacement – many insurers use this term, but if your bicycle is more than a few years old, devalue it severely. This means you are left out of pocket when you come to replace it.

With ETA cycle insurance, however old the bike, if it’s stolen you get enough to buy a new model.

For over 29 years we have been providing this kind of straightforward, affordable bicycle insurance. Little wonder The Good Shopping Guide judges us to be Britain’s most ethical insurance company.



  1. TheCyclist


    I just love cycling, especially long distance and revel in reading about the origins of cycling.
    So please kind & wonderful ETA, please send me a copy of Velo 2nd Gear.
    Kind regards and best wishes for 2019.

  2. Gillian D.


    Looks fun! I’d love one PLEASE.


  3. Craig


    I believe in trying to encourage others into the joys of cycling and this book would be wonderful to appeal to trendy youngsters like my family. As well as being great for health, cycling is wonderfully diverse and can even be trendy!!

  4. Steph


    Just bought a new coffee table and this would display perfectly on it.

    Thanks for the opportunity ETA.

  5. Julian Fargher


    Great pop art jersey for the front cover, it’s a bit LOOK.

  6. Jon Sparks


    Looks like a great book. I like the air-horn bike too!

  7. Chris


    I’m sure there’s much about bikes that I don’t know.

  8. Stephen


    I could do with an education in style and cool for my daily cycle commute.

  9. Thomas Adrian Kendon


    I have a copy of Bicycles and Tricycles by Archibald Sharp B.SC. (1896) and a copy of Modern Cycles by A.J. Wallis Taylor (1897) both of which contain many interesting variations on pedal powered machines, though none have pedal powered caravans or camper-vans.

  10. Paul


    It is the best thing since sliced bread, and just after who ever designed a circle and found it went around better than something with edges.

  11. Justin


    Fantastic hooters. Great rubber. Rubbish pedals.

  12. john Davidson


    I want it.

  13. Peter Clark


    Yes please

  14. Huw Thomas


    Fascinating topic!

  15. Alastair Seagroatt


    Seems to be a fascinating read, a good one to share with others as well.

  16. Raf


    Fit for a mellow, yellow velo-fellow!

  17. Robert Nunney


    Sounds like a good read.

  18. Jim Woodlingfield


    Ooh la la, cycle culture in a glossy book!

  19. Andrew Carnie


    Anything to promote more cycling, for personal health and to save the planet!!

  20. wesley


    i wouldn’t recommend riding a bicycle facing backwards but each to their own.

  21. Mark B


    I’d love to read this please.

  22. Mike Croker


    Would make an interest contrast with From Bicycle to Superbike…

  23. Gavin


    This looks like a lovely book to grace a coffee table. Yes please.

  24. greg


    Love you!

  25. MARK


    This looks like a really interesting read. (Must give that riding backwards whilst sitting on the handlebars a go!)

  26. Wolf Simpson


    I don’t have a coffee table but that book would look good next to the other cycling books once read. I sure would love some air horns that were 136db but a lot smaller. 😊

  27. James Russell


    I’ll get some friends round so we can look at it together. It’ll be great, ‘cos sometimes it’s like we’re always stuck in second gear….

  28. Gillian D.


    This looks like a fun read for all the family.

  29. Gary


    This looks like a really great book! Looks like it’d give me some great ideas for customising my bike in my shed (much better ones than taping a rizla packet in the spokes so it sounds like a motorbike anyway!)… And it can sit pride of place on the table I made using my SNAP furniture brackets !

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