“We couldn’t run Jackdaw without bicycles”

We couldn’t run Jackdaw without bicycles

Cycling is a big part of our lives at Jackdaw. Not just for transport, but we have a curious obsession with the humble bicycle and not a day goes by that we’re not hopping on to the saddle and heading out for a ride.

There is a natural affinity for cycling amongst the design & architecture community, with designers sharing tips for parts and paraphernalia just as frequently as discussing work. There are even clubs for architects to cycle together including the renowned ‘Cycle to MIPIM’ event which attracts the design and architecture cognoscenti each year cycling from London to the south of France over 5 days. Back in 2013, a bunch of architects grouped together to cycle from Portland, Oregon to Portland Place, London, studying how cities are coping with the increasing interest in the bicycle as a credible form of urban transport.

Cycling has taken over our lives, and we’re curious to know why. Pippa still has her Big Blue Book of Bicycle Repair (try saying that after three drinks) that she’s owned since she first headed to the office on a bicycle and Alex browses cycling websites looking for his next upgrade. What is it that draws us in so much?


There’s no denying that one of the most sustainable methods of transport is cycling, and this is a major factor to our decision to cycle around London. It’s fast, it’s exercise and it’s free, aside from the cost of the bike in the first place that is. We’re obsessed with Paul Hutchinson’s Retro di Corsa who has restored bikes for us before. Paul is inspired by a love of classic Italian steel-framed road bikes – beautiful to look at, great to ride and will be around for many more years to come in the right hands.

Taste & Personality

Obviously cycling is another way to show your personality, and we’re no exception. Much like clothing, bicycles come in all shapes, sizes and colours so it’s a way to show the world what makes us unique. Yes, we could pretend that it’s not about that but why not show what style we like when turning up to a meeting with a potential client, after all they are keen to understand how we work and what makes us tick.


London is a big city. It’s not an easy city to navigate during business hours, but there is always room for a bicycle to whizz from Brick Lane to Mornington Crescent, lock it up and still be in time for the meeting. The times spent stuck in traffic emailing a client to explain that the Euston Road is clogged with traffic is enough to put anyone off, when the best route is to head up to Haggerston and along the canal path for a pleasant ride.

Sculptural obsessions

We should have probably started with this point, as it’s the most obvious reason for our devotion to pedalling. As designers, form is incredibly important and how we can dissect and understand the details to a scheme, tearing it apart and putting it back together again. It’s clear that our love of bicycles stems from the same thought process. But it’s not just about how it’s put together, it’s the same sculptural presentation that any design takes on, which is as much to do with the form as it is to do with a personal expression of taste.

For whatever the reason, we love our bicycles and no matter what project we’re working on, we are sure to turn up with our cycle helmet tucked under our arms ready to start the meeting.