Outdoor Hero Interview: Jame...
An Interview with James Kennedy from Kennedy City Bicycle a bike manufacturing company in East London.
13 November 2015 / Heroes
With James Kennedy and his Great Dane, Huxley.
We love the great outdoors at Vogel’s and want to celebrate people who share the same passion and take it one step further: our Outdoor Heroes! Let us introduce you James Kennedy from Kennedy City Bicycle, who started his own bike manufacturing company in East London.
No. I grew up in Somerset, which is extremely hilly. I ran and played rugby and did the things people do in Somerset- farming. Cycling was more of a London thing for me. I moved here 6-7 years ago and I didn’t have any money and it was just the cheapest way to get around. I got a bike and started saving money that way. My first bike got pinched and I lost my free means of transportation so I tried to make one. I love riding my bike but I love making them more. Starting something. I want to change the way people get around in London.
Getting around shouldn’t be expensive.
Besides the fact I think they look nice, which is obviously important, and the customisation angle, we’re a manufacturer who sells. Most people don’t sell direct and you end up paying two margins because of it. We circumvent that and sell less bikes, but the ones we do sell are very, very good value.
Selling bikes to everyone is nice but the really cool experiences are when people realise how good it is to use a bike as their primary mode of transportation. I rode in this morning and it was raining, I’m not wild about cycling in the rain unless I’m really dressed for it, but I cycled past the bus stop as I was starting to feel sorry for myself and saw the line of people trying to get on the bus to work and cramming themselves in. I thought cycling in the rain is so much better than that!. Helping other people get to that point is great and not in a self righteous way. Something like the strikes in London encourages people to realise that actually they could walk to work in just under an hour.
It’s a very current question for us and we’re looking at that at the moment. One of the most important things in a small business is zero wastage. Our attitude with design is order a finite amount, 50 of each colour, and when they sell out, they sell out. We then do a new colour. So the most popular designs actually are around for the least amount of time. It’s great fun changing it, but the temptation with small businesses is to change everything all the time and it’s about balancing that with what’s practical and useful.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Everyone knows that. It’s my favourite meal. If you own a dog, its very likely that breakfast is your favourite meal of the day. Dog owners do not tend to get up very late. So Florence and I will do a dog walk first thing in the morning and then have breakfast together.
I’ve recently taken to Biona chocolate spread and peanut butter on top or marmite. My favourite Vogel’s loaf is Soya and Linseed and I’ll always have one in the freezer as our constant alongside fresh bread. Huxley (our dog) likes it too!
That’s a good question. Everything! Cyclists eat a ridiculous amount of food even if they don’t cycle very far. You don’t realise with cycling how much exercise you’re doing and also, you can eat a big breakfast before cycling which you can’t with most other exercise. I do deliveries sometimes and on the way back through town I’m starving.
In London my favourite place is the city on weekends, when there’s no people and the streets are big and beautiful and you forget how amazing the architecture is. You don’t normally notice through all the suits. In the UK, Snowdonia’s pretty amazing and do-able. The shape of the hills aren’t that bad. Also, I love Cairngorm in Scotland, which is just above the lochs. I did a ride from Glasgow to Inverness last year, which was just absolutely stunning. Bleak and beautiful like a setting of a classic novel.
Get a dog. We were walking through Abney cemetery in Stoke Newington this morning in the pouring rain with Huxley for 40 minutes and I absolutely loved it. It makes you feel so much better. Rain doesn’t make people miserable, staying inside makes people miserable. Getting a bike is also great for getting outside. If you’re going to have to go outside in the rain you may as well be doing it really fast.