Updated 26.10.2023

08 December 2008

Letter From Northampton

Bicycle Basket Bazaar

This just in. A Letter from Northampton from Jamie. Have a read.

"Just in case you were worrying that we Brits are stuck in a non-cykel/non-chic wasteland I thought I would send you some photos of a little event that goes on here in Northampton in an old fishmarket that has been converted into a gallery/café/theatre/general hygge-spot.

The rules are that everything on sale must be home-made or vintage, and brought there in a bike basket. There are always some awesome old bikes, check out the soup-chaps on their massive cargo-bike. Sometimes there is a silent guy with an old Raleigh and an even older typewriter - you give him a pound, tell him your worries - he then considers and types you advice. It's the kind of place where people are happy, and when I turn up on the old bike they say "Gosh, what a beautiful old Herc" instead of "My bike (at home, in the garage, under a tarpaulin) has more gears than yours". You would love it.

"I met some guy there who is trying to inspire the populace to cycle. Nice guy. He asked me to become a cycle-trainer. From my recollections of being taught to bike by my dad, this involves running behind someone's bike, pretending you are still holding onto the back, and shouting "don't look down, you imbecile!". I reckon I could do that.

"Also I experienced an event that would warm your Danish heart. I was cycling back from town, and got stuck at a light behind a lycra-guy on a ridgeback. As the lights changed, the Herc bizarrely selected the correct gear (the bike chooses the gears. As it is older than me I do not argue on the subject of gears), and I cruised past the sweaty man, with my hat at a jaunty angle, and a tinkle of my bell. A nearby group of hoodies (who, if the Daily Mail are to be believed are a slice of ghastliness and the downfall of society) gave the Herc a spontaneous round of applause, and one shouted "Merry Christmas". Awesome."

What a brilliant story, Jamie. Thanks so much for sending it, and the photos along. It sounds like a little slice of paradise that Bicycle Basket Bazaar.

It turns out that it has a website, and I love that they bill the bazaar like this: "We would be delighted if you would come and join us for the most exciting events to happen in Northampton since the erection of the lift tower." Brilliant.

There is also a flickr pool with photos.

The Fishmarket is located on Bradshaw Street in Northampton and there are two more bazaars before Christmas - on the 13th and the 20th.