A Cycling Lexicon

A Cycling Lexicon is the sort of book that could only have come about through obsession – obsession with bikes and obsession with craft and design.

A Cycling Lexicon

Source: Josh Exell

The self-published book, by Carter Wong’s Phil Carter and US university professor Jeff Conner is a collection of vintage bicycle head-badges – the ‘shield’ on the head-tube that advertises the manufacturer.

There are nearly 400 of them, photographed and presented in alphabetical order throughout the book.

Carter says his obsession with the badges was sparked when he discovered an abandoned bike in a Spanish orange grove. The brass head-badge he salvaged from this frame still sits on his desk.

A Cycling Lexicon

Source: Josh Exell

Conner, meanwhile, is a more recent convert, and seeks his badges out on eBay – ‘It’s more acceptable to my wife than collecting whole bikes’, he says.

As well as revealing the craft of early bike manufacturers, the collection also provides an intriguing insight into early-20th-century branding.

There are heraldic symbols, winged wheels and swooping birds to represent speed and freedom; knights in armour and burly warriors to represent strength and more esoteric icons – a smiling young girl for Mareze or the Eiffel Tower for Paris Cycles (actually made in north London).

A Cycling Lexicon

Source: Josh Exell

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