Blaze x Ben Spurrier. Illustrating London on bike lights.
Affirming that Ben Spurrier is a talented individual is something of an understatement. Head of design at Condor, illustrator and bike racer, Spurrier is also the hand behind the two illustrated bike frames for this year’s Rapha Nocturne. The artwork was inspired by the architecture of London, both historic and modern, and presented to the winners of the Fixed Gear Crit in the men and women’s categories. Painting the frames proved to be a titanic task – every pen stroke was instantly permanent, meaning that the margin for error was minimal. Blaze got in touch with Ben to hand illustrate a Laserlight and a Burner light to go with the bikes. The result is a tribute to the city of London and to urban cycling.
The work was completed in a week, from 9 am to 6 pm, using two STABILO permanent fine liners, with the ink applied onto Columbus-tubed Condor Lavoro frames and aluminium Blaze casings. Ben spent two weeks beforehand practising and deciding the position of every illustration on the bike. A particular water-based varnish was sourced to prevent the ink from blowing out.
The frame and lights casings details show Spurrier’s precision. Tower Bridge, the Tower of London complete with ravens and 30 St Mary Axe (otherwise known as the Gherkin) are among the iconic London landmarks jostling for space in this London skyline of big-hitters. Memorable events part of the history of the city, such as the Great Fire of London, are also represented.
Dragons are a notorious symbol of London, and therefore central to Spurrier’s design. The dragon on the head tube is based on two large dragon sculptures which were mounted above the entrance to the Coal Exchange on Lower Thames Street. In addition to being part of the city’s Coat of Arms, dragon statues mark the entrance to the City of London, the ancient part of the capital that was once known as the Roman city of Londinium. It is within this historical boundary that the Nocturne race takes place.