Sir Paul Smith has written a foreword for A Cycling Lexicon, an A to Z photo book of historic bicycle head badges.

Knight of the realm loves quirky bike badge book

London design studio Carter Wong doesn’t produce books very often but when it does, they’re quirky and collectible. And bicycle based. The last one was a softback, called 1057, produced in 2000, and containing photos of the UK’s road symbol for a bicycle, the technical code name for which is 1057.

The latest title is A Cycling Lexicon, and it’s an A to Z of bicycle headbadges, most of them historic, some more modern such as the one for Bike Friday. Company co-founder Phil Carter is a bike nut and believes bicycle head badges are “graphic jewels.” In the book’s foreword, designer and global fashion retailer Sir Paul Smith – another bike nut – said bike head badges were "little pieces of art.”

The badges photographed for the book are from the collection of Jeff Conner, a biology professor at Michigan University.

Many of the badges feature symbols of freedom, speed and flight – with wings and birds clearly being an 1890s meme – and there are plenty of heraldic animals such as serpents and lions, too. And a heron, of course. (Raleigh has a beaky bird for its logo because the Bowden family crest featured a heron: Sir Frank Bowden bought a tiny bike company in the 1880s, a three-man craft bike builder based on Raleigh Street in Nottingham, and made it into a huge one).

The 400 page book costs £20.

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