Independence comes from the freedom experienced by riding any bike. For us, that freedom has its roots in the origins of gravel bike riding in the 1970s and 80s on the 1,000s of miles of dirt tracks in the USA. These trails were where future heroes of MTB and road racing were made. Ned Overend, Greg Lemond, Andy Hampsten and true pioneers like John Tomac changed how bikes were ridden for a generation and captured my imagination, inspiring me to go out in all weathers and on all kinds of surfaces to ride as much as possible. I loved nothing better than sliding out my rear wheel in the dirt or hunkering down over the handlebars pretending to claw back those 50-seconds on the Champs Elysee. Anyone who has ridden a bike knows that freedom of expression – that sense of independence. These guys, their style, the bikes, the innovation with handlebars, set up and frame design is what Independent Bikeworks is all about. What you see and feel in the loft is the spirit of independence and joy these riders inspired in me. It’s why we stock the brands we choose, why we still seek out challenges like Dirty Reiver and refuse to take easy choices for our road rides. Lemond, Tomac et al all challenged convention, but mostly they all rode with a desire to push themselves but have fun at the same time. They were different. They were independent. And I like to think they’d be buying and talking bikes over a coffee in the loft if they ever came to Cirencester.