In this edition of Interview with the Vamper, we’re welcoming Lucy Bairner to the hot seat. Lucy founded urban cycling brand LUMO with her husband and business partner Doug and in a very short time the pair have made a big splash in the world of urban bike clothing.
LUMO clothing and accessories are designed for supreme functionality on the bike, with nifty detailing to keep you safe and comfortable like LED lights and temperature regulating fabrics. They’re not only designed to be functional, though – LUMO kit is seriously smart off the bike, too, with classic British styling and a healthy dose of urban cool.
1. Lucy, what inspired you to move into the world of cycling apparel with LUMO?
Both Doug and I (my husband and co-founder) love cycling in all its forms: whether that’s commuting, exploring or racing – we’re happiest getting from A to B on two wheels. The sense of freedom I get from cycling in a city is a feeling that’s hard to beat: it reminds me of being a kid riding around with my friends, discovering places without a care in the world. Moving our careers into something we are genuinely passionate about and love doing was an easy decision.
We design for cycling as a part of everyday life, so our LUMO range needed to reflect that. Having cycled to work for years, we knew the problems commuters faced when choosing what to wear. The tipping point was when Doug got knocked off his bike for the second time on his commute by a driver who hadn’t seen him, and realised that his vanity was coming before his safety in that he still could’t bring himself to wear hi-viz clothing. We set out to create a brand that combined style, visibility and function – on and off a bike.
We worked hard to design jackets and bags that first and foremost look great but have hidden functionality like the LED lights or the stretch shoulder panels that make cycling more comfortable. Our creative brief was always ‘could I step off a bike and walk into a bar to meet my mates wearing this?’
If the answer was no, we went back to the drawing board.
2. What sort of cycling makes you happy? Where do you like to go?
I have two cycling mentalities: the ‘cruise about town, happily exploring’, and the ‘I’m going to go as fast as I can up this hill’.
For the more subdued rides, I love Bermondsey in South East London. Bermondsey Street itself has such a good vibe with lots of quirky little cafés, restaurants and proper British pubs, like the Woolpack and The Rose. Nearby Maltby Street market is an absolute hidden gem on a Sunday too for browsing and grabbing brunch.
For the longer weekend rides the South Downs around my hometown of Chichester has some stunning routes. My favourite rest spot in the world is looking out over Goodwood Racecourse at the top of Kennel Hill. It’s a bit of a hidden gem and I’m currently the proud owner of the QOM on Strava too! Heading back from there, the beer garden at the Earl of March pub is a favourite refuel stop. The hymn Jerusalem was written from there in the nineteenth century by William Blake, the view apparently inspiring the line about “England’s green and pleasant land”, so I’m obviously not the only one who thinks it’s beautiful.
3. If you could go for a bike ride with anyone at all, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
I’d love to get my sister Georgie into cycling. She’s resisted it until now for no apparent reason. I keep trying to convince her, so hopefully soon she’ll succumb to the inevitable and realise that she actually quite likes it. Failing that, it would be any one of the amazing Olympic cyclists that made me so proud to be British watching them in Rio.
4. What is the best thing about being involved in the cycling industry in 2016?
In the UK, more people are getting out on bikes. The growth of cycling as a sport but also as culture and a way of life is really encouraging.
The results of Team GB in Rio has once again put cycling into the public limelight and will surely have a positive effect in inspiring the nation to get out on their bikes.
On a business level, the ability after one year of trading to be shipping product to over 40 countries around the world is mind boggling. I love the thought of people in New York, Paris, Moscow, Tokyo and Sydney wearing our gear. That’s growing everyday thanks to the internet and while I personally wished we had stayed in the EU, the weakening of the Pound since Brexit has definitely help us to grow internationally in the short term.
5. What cycling trends do you think will be big in the next 12 months?
If the trade shows we attend are anything to go by, it’s e-bikes. I don’t understand the ‘purist’ cyclists out there who turn their noses up at the thought of them, I think they are fantastic and open up cycling to even more people. My uncle has had multiple heart surgeries and is now able to go mountain biking with his mates at the weekend because of his e-bike. Granted, he gets a ton of abuse as he cruises past them uphill without breaking into a sweat, but at least he’s out there with them and on a bike. On a personal level, every time I’ve ridden one it’s put a smile on my face. I’ll stick with self propelled bikes for now but can definitely see a time when I’ll get an e-bike.
6. What song is guaranteed to get you in the mood for a ride, no matter what time you went to bed?
7. What has been your cycling highlight of 2016 so far?
Personally, it was joining a cycling club and competing in my first race, something I never thought I would do. Despite coming last I loved it! For LUMO, 2016 has been a year of establishing ourselves in the urban cycling apparel market, which if our growth, media reviews and customer testimonials are anything to go by I think we have certainly done. We are so excited about the next few months for the brand and think the highlight of 2016 is yet to come. That’s two highlights plus one that hasn’t happened yet, sorry!
8. And finally: what’s in store for Lumo? What can we expect to see from you in the coming year?
We are have been working hard to develop some new products which we are really proud of and excited about sharing on Kickstarter from 13th September. You can expect more of the same classic understated British styles, visibility and cycling function, all at a more mainstream price point.