Touring bicycle

I fully recognised the 'mid life crisis' nature of this touring bike buying decision, a plea to have some youth recaptured. As such I was prepared to spend a decent amount of money on something that would ultimately be my pride and joy. Finding the best way to spend that money though wasn't easy with much conflicting advice in magazines and online.

Following several visits to cycle shops in Bradford and Leeds, I narrowed down the alternatives. Everyone advised me to avoid the market leading 'off the peg' tourer. Ellis Briggs in Shipley had on-site frame building and were confident that they could make a much superior touring bike to that offered by the big name brands. I also liked the idea of owning something unique from a local traditional supplier, a hand built bike made to my own size and specification.

Ellis Briggs have been making bicycles since 1936 and whilst they'd made many touring bicycles in the past, it'd been some time since anyone had ordered one. I understand that since I bought my bike, interest in touring cycling has taken off and they now offer touring bikes and frames as part of their range. It seems I started a trend!

touring bicycle

Hand made by Ellis Briggs, Shipley

Thanks to John Briggs for help, advice and encouragement. Also for sticking to principles of good bike design, using sturdy traditional materials like steel and taking advantage of local skills and services. It is a truly beautiful bike.

I've had the bike six years now and it has performed faultlessly, it still looks new. The bike is a pleasure to ride in terms of comfort and handling and feels stable both with and without loaded panniers. It's been much admired by other people who see the bike. I think it's the 'traditional' look provided by the horizontal top tube, steel frame and lugs, as well as being bright yellow!


  • Frame: hand built Reynolds 631 tubing
  • Forks: with low rider and mudguard bosses
  • Headset: Cane Creek
  • Gears: Shimano Deore XT rear mech, Shimano Tiagra front mech
  • Shifters: Shimano Tiagra
  • Chainwheel: Stronglight 48/36/26T
  • Freewheel: Shimano CS-HG50 11-32T
  • Brakes: Shimano BR-CT91 cantilever brakes
  • Wheels: Shimano HB-M760 XT hubs with Mavic A719 rims
  • Tyres: Conti Top Touring 2000 700 x 32c
  • Bars: ITM racing super 330
  • Stem: Alloy adjustable
  • Saddle: Brooks B17 titanium
  • Seatpost: Micro adjustable alloy
  • Pedals: Shimano A530 SPD single sided touring
  • head badge

    It'd been 25 years since I'd owned a bike (a yellow Puch Alpine road bike with 27" wheels and 5 gears). My excitement grew throughout June and with anticipation at maximum, I collected my new bike and rode it home. It was time to kit it out.