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    Urban cycling is becoming increasingly popular on a global scale, and a couple of dozen cities are investing time, money and resources in order to become more and more bike-friendly in terms of infrastructure, regulations and environmental benefits. According to the world’s most comprehensive inventory and ranking of bicycle-friendly cities, Copenhagenize Index 2017, these are the world’s 20 most bike-friendly cities!

    #20 Montreal, Canada

    Image source: Copenhagenize Design Co.

    Being the sole North American Representative, Montreal has been leading the continent for a couple of decades now and building cycle tracks long before any other city had thought of it. Constantly upgrading the outdated bi-directional system, Montreal is improving and building new infrastructure with the bike share system included.


    #19 Oslo, Norway

    The darling of the 2017 Index (Copenhagenize’s words, not ours) has broken the record for the highest rise in ranking. Predicted to be The Next Big Bicycle City by Copenhagenize in 2016, Oslo has started work in supporting existing efforts to encourage cycling by 2019. The activities include closing the city centre to private cars and implementing bicycle lanes. A lot is happening, so Oslo is definitely worth keeping an eye on.

    Oslo Cycling
    Image Source: Visit Oslo


    #18 Helsinki, Finland

    Last seen on the Index in 2011, Helsinki has been developing in the right direction since then. Working hard to keep the infrastructure clear of snow in the winter, weather challenges are bound to happen when you’re so far up north. Launching its successful bike share in 2016 it will be interesting to see if the city’s goal of 15% modal share by 2020 will be reached. Seems very likely.

    Image source: Copenhagenize Design Co.

    #17 Hamburg, Germany

    Though not seeming too eager to improving their infrastructure to make the city more bike-friendly, it is impressive how Hamburg ranks at #17 in the Index. The impressive amount of bicycles gives the impression of being in Amsterdam or Copenhagen! The city has a high level of cycling – the quite bizarre infrastructure suits locals while visitors unfortunately find it difficult to navigate.

    Image source: UCI


    #16 Nantes, France

    In 2013 this French city came out of nowhere and politically pushed cycling to be a normal transportation form has had a very positive development since then until recently. Nantes has slipped nine spots to 16th place since the Copenhagenize Index of 2015. By 2030 the city will have invested $56 million to get the cycling modal share up to 12%. Activities include increasing in cargo bikes as a logistics solution and having new bike shops and start-ups working on smart bikes and accessories.

    Image source: Copenhagenize Design Co.

    #15 Munich, Germany

    After dropping out in 2015, Munich returns as #15 on Copenhagenize Index 2017. This is a city that impresses with its continous improvements to make the city more bike-friendly. It has built more cycling infrastructure than any other German city the past few years, and still plans to build 14 bicycle superhighways to encourage people to cycle longer distances. Indeed, Munich is a city we can expect to see great things.

    Image source: Copenhagenize Design Co.

    #14 Seville, Spain

    Seville has indeed been a first-mover on promoting cycling as transport on a political level. Due to inactivity on the subject, the city has unfortunately dropped on the Index for the second consecutive time. However, things appear to be taking a shift. The municipal government is keen on their plan to optimize infrastructure with the same drive and passion as before the inactive period. We’re looking forward to following Seville’s progress for Bicycle Network 2.0 – a development towards a more bike-friendly infrastructure.

    Image source: Random Greeny Ramblings

    #13 Paris, France

    Paris has stepped up 4 spots since the last Index, mostly for their plan to reach 15% modal share by 2020. Due to Paris’ strong political will to become greener, the city created a very friendly bike sharing system Vélíb’ Métropole with over 23.600 bikes and 1800 stations spaced every 300 meters across the capital. Also, the city revamped the Seine riverfront and a major highway that follows the river and made it completely car-free, opening up the change for cyclists to tour popular spots pollution-free. The city keeps improving life for pedestrians and cyclists, so if the development continues we will undoubtedly spot the French capital on the next Index.

    Image source: Grist

    #12 Vienna, Austria

    Vienna usually slowly sneaks up the Index, but this time the city accelerated its efforts and moved up four spaces! Even though the city’s modal share isn’t rising fast, it still excels at communicating cycling as a normal transport form. The city boasts 1300 km of cycleways, dedicated road lanes and traffic-calmed center with some cycle tracks. Vienna’s activities for improvement include installing a cargo bike share system and providing subsidies to citizens who wish to purchase one. The rise of the cargo bike here is impressive, and we are definitely predicting a slow but steady growth towards a more bike-friendly Vienna.

    Image source: Out of Home

    #11 Barcelona, Spain

    Image source: Copenhagenize Design Co.

    #10 Berlin, Germany

    The German capital is up two spots in the 2017 Index, due to the new coalition’s focus on sustainable transport has lead to Berlin investing greatly in becoming more bike-friendly. Berlin is almost tailor-made for cycling with its flat terrain, wide roads and spacious courtyards for parking bikes. The modal share is a respectable 13% but there are neighbourhoods where the numbers are as high as 20%. A new bike share is slated for 2017 and there are experiments with traffic-free streets and they are testing Green Waves for cyclists.

    The number of cargo bikes for private and commercial use is rising exponentially, showing that the citizens are ready for a car-free daily life. The cycling citizens show daily that they are ready to cycle. And only with improved infrastructure and a better network will the city move forward.

    Image source: CNN Travel

    #9 Tokyo, Japan

    With only 10 km of cycling lanes and poor enforcement regarding cycling laws, it is a wonder how Tokyo made the Index 2017. Or is it? Even though infrastructure isn’t as developed as it could be and there isn’t a particular thorough urban planning policy, people bike in Tokyo simply due to the fact that it’s highly convenient. An estimate of 14% of all trips in Tokyo are by bicycle – and that’s without even investing in it.

    Image source: The Telegraph

    #8 Lubjana, Slovenia

    In the city of Ljubljana there are more miles of protected cycle tracks than in all of Canada. With 73 km of cycle tracks and 133 km og bicycle lanes in a city of 280.000 citizens, it is seriously impressive. Ljubljana’s self-service rental system BicikeLJ is also worth checking out. Since its introduction in 2011, it’s become super popular, with over 4,6 million rides in this system alone. 12% of the city’s population opt for bikes as their best means of transportation! If you consider yourself a passionate cyclist, you should definitely pay Ljubjana a visit.

    Image source: Blaze

    #7 Antwerp, Belgium

    Since the 2013 Index, Antwerp rises and falls on the top half the ranking and in 2017 they have bumped themselves back up to seventh place. The city is implementing modern design bike racks and there are temporary bike parking facilities for large events. The bike parking at the Central Station continues to impress and other stations are getting improved parking facilities as well.

    Traditional and professional cycling is one of the most popular sports in Belgium, as the country is covered in long-distance cycling routes, with many of them leading to Antwerp. One of the routes, the LF51, is 220 km long from Antwerp to Zeebrugge at the Belgian Coast. This is just one of the 500 routes to choose from in the versatile Antwerp, offering beautiful nature surroundings as well urbanism.

    Image source: Copenhagenize Design Co.

    #6 Bordeaux, France

    Not only is Bordeaux in the top 10 of the world’s great wine capitals but the city also has a strong reputation as a top bike-friendly city globally. With more than 643 km og bicycle paths, Bordeaux focuses on more soft urban transportation systems, including a significant development of the cycling network, with a 57 mio. euro investment. Various cycling routes take you to south-east towards Toulouse as well as leading west to the Atlantic Ocean.

    Image source: France Velotourisme

    #5 Malmö, Sweden

    Since the Index 2015, Sweden’s 3rd largest city has continued their focus on cementing the bicycle as transport in the city. With a whopping 500 km bike lane distance, the city is looking to upgrade their bike share and further develop their infrastructure. There are also great possibilities for travelling by bike to neighbouring towns and even countries. Malmö may be the little sibling to the other cities around them but they just seem to shrug and get on with it. The City is populated by a great group of people all intent on carving out a place for themselves in the global bicycle narrative.

    Image source: The Culture Map

    #4 Strasbourg, France

    Of course the country that gave us Tour de France is well represented on the Index. France’s no. 1 most bike-friendly city is Strasbourg, with a network of over 560 km of cycling trails. This city loves biking so much that it even has an annual festival – La Fête du Vélo, celebrating cycling for the last 20 years. Strasbourg is planning a coherent network of “bicycle superhighways” with three ring routes and several radial routes to suburbs and neighbouring towns.

    The city is the first one in France to reach a 16% modal share for bicycle commuting and there has been a 3% increase in the city centre.  A large part of the old city center is a car-free zone, which makes it extra safe to cycle or walk. Combine this with the ecological Vélhop bike sharing service, and you’ve got the perfect cycling destination.

    Image source: FreewheelingFrance

    #3 Amsterdam, Netherlands

    We’ve reached the top 3 of the Copenhagenize Index 2017 and it’s no surprise that Amsterdam with its 400 km of bike lanes and paths are this high up. Super High population density not to mention visitor rates, cycling makes it convenient to not only discover but also experience the city. Truly a wonder that this city and the Netherlands still manage to have one of the lowest rates of serious cycling accidents in the world with 38% of all trips in Amsterdam are made by bike. The reason Amsterdam isn’t even higher up on this list is due to the fact that the city doesn’t seem to reflect on innovative development for cycling in the future.

    #2 Utrecht, Netherlands

    Dutch cities have a tendency to maintain rather than improve – but not Utrecht. Serious investments are being made for bicycle urbanism, such as the uniquely designed Dafne Schippersbrug bridge. With ongoing plans to build 33.000 parking spots for bikes at the Central Station by 2020, Utrecht continues to impress with its development on cycling. As if the current 12.000 spots weren’t enough. Other activities include the Flo, a speed detection system coupled with digital kiosks that reach each cyclist’s speed, and with 6 km of bicycle streets and plans for more, we are exited to follow the development of Utrecht.

    Image source: Mother Nature Network

    #1 Copenhagen, Denmark

    The most bike-friendly city in the world according to the Copenhagenize Index 2017 is Copenhagen, Denmark! With over 62% of the citizens riding their bike daily to work or education (and only 9% drive cars!), it is no wonder that the city has invested €134 million over the past ten years in bicycle infrastructure and facilities. In order to filling in all the missing mobility links for bicycle transport, there are a whopping sixteen new bridges for bicycles (and pedestrians) built or under construction, eight of those have opened since the 2015 Index and four more are financed or under construction.

    Copenhagen Cycling
    Image source: Visit Copenhagen

    Since 2015, Copenhagen has completed the Harbour Ring bicycle route that allows citizens to cycle along the whole inner harbour. The city also piloted a new Green Wave system that detects cyclists, launched digital traffic congestion signs to improve flow through the city and opened new bicycle superhighway routes.

    Very few places in the world prioritize innovation as much as Copenhagen with a city council that’s so committed to modernising their transport and infrastructure. Not to mention that Copenhagen is Best in Class when it comes to gathering data and using it to plan for the future.

    Watch how a normal Copenhagen morning looks

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    If you want us to cover something specific, please let us know on Facebook and Instagram – we’ll be more than happy to!

    Hana, Southern Distributors 


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    There’s no doubt about the comfort, durability and affordability of a SOMA frame. And obviously it doesn’t hurt that they’re beautifully designed. Though these are obviously attractive qualities for a bike frame, there are other reasons for what makes SOMA frames unique.


    SOMA frames stand out because they differ from mass produced bike frames. It’s very common to produce 5.000-15.000 units of a single model in a year. But not for SOMA parts. As SOMA create all their designs in San Francisco, all their frames and forks are hand-welded in Taiwan. Production? Only 200-300 units of a single model annually. Furthermore, SOMA frames offer a modern design with low-key graphics for a cleaner look, size specific rakes on forks and a large size range for taller and shorter riders. 

    You might also like: Five Types of SOMA frames Every Bike Rider Should Know


    Soma frames are all name brand high-tech steel instead of harsh riding aluminium. The (relatively) light weight and low price of aluminium is the reason for metal’s dominance in the bike industry. However, the reason SOMA frames are made of steel is because quality steel offers better ride feel and strength characteristics. Where aluminium will continue to fatigue under stress, steel has a finite stress limit below which fatigue does not occur. Also, a ride of quality steel is stiff and lively and aliminium generally transfers more road buzz and ‘shock’ to the rider.

    You might also like: Forks and Frames That Live Happily Ever After 

    By David Malan for Bicycle South

    We hope you found this post useful!

    If you want us to cover something specific, please let us know on Facebook and Instagram – we’ll be more than happy to!

    Hana, Southern Distributors 

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    Lets take a sec and talk about the easiest makeover you can give your bike to make it look fresher instantly! A makeover that not only beautifies your bike but also provides a slip-proof grip and cushioning for your hands. You guessed it – we’re talkin’ ’bout handlebar tape!

    So, we all know what it is as it’s a fairly simple product.
    But how many of us really know what we’re doing when we attempt to glam up our ride?

    That’s what I thought.
    Southern Distributors hereby gives you a guide on how to wrap handlebar tape like a pro!

    Quite literally. We’re going to follow the guidance of the former head mechanic of the Navigators Insurance Pro Cycling Team Mike Spilker, who just so happens to be a bar-wrapping expert.

    If your thumbs sit more toward the top of the bar, it means your hands roll more to the outside. That means you want to wrap away from you. If your hands roll more to the inside, wrap toward you.

    Take a short ride around the block if you’re not sure which direction is right for you. Otherwise clamp your bike into your workstand and follow these instructions. 

    STEP I – Get rid of the past

    The first thing you do is to remove your old bar tape. Peel it off, and pop out the bar plugs. Make sure you scrape off leftover adhesive, and secure loose housing againt your bike’s handlebar with electrical tape. Make sure to wash your hands before handling the new bar tape. 

    If you don’t have anymore bar tape, you can get Newbaum’s HERE

    Newbaum's bar tape

    STEP II – Tight and right

    Grab your new handlebar tape and partially peel off the adhesive backing, and place the handlebar tape in your chosen direction. Start at the end of the handlebar and ensure that the adhesive strip is completely attached on the edge of the handlebar, and the rest hangs off. Now you can begin wrapping the handlebars. assuring a third to half of the tape-s width is overlapping to avoid gaps in between – cause then you’ll have to unwrap and start all over again. Always maintain a tension as you wrap. It should be enough to slightly stretch it but not so much that it tears. Note that in curvier bends on your handlebar you should overlap more inside of the curve and less on the outside.

    STEP III – Wrap and round it goes

    If your bar tape doesn’t come with two short pieces, cut a 3-inch piece from the roll. You’ll need this for when you’re wrapping brake-lever clamps. For the ultimate handlebar installation make sure you wrap the top frat section of the handlebar with the handlebar tape going over the top of the bar, toward the rider – regardless of your initial direction. This way, your hands will naturally work to tighten the handlebar tape as you ride. You’ll need to change direction at the lever clamp when you start wrapping outside; wrap as close as possible to the clamp, overlapping it by one-half to three-quarters the width of the tape.

    Following this, wrap under the clamp at the front of the handlebar (up against the inside of the clamp) and over the top of the handlebar (overlapping the clamp slightly). Again, check for gaps and re-wrap if you find any. If not, continue wrapping the top half of the handlebar. Wrap as close to the bottom of the lever clamp as you can before continuing over the clamp, when wrapping to the inside.

    STEP IV – Final touches

    This final step is a preference thing. When you’re at the point of ending your handlebar tape, wrap two or three turns beyond this spot and mark the finish point in the tape with scissors. Then, unwrap the handlebar tape, cut it at the marked angle and re-wrap it with a neat finish with the cut end at the bottom of the handlebar. Finally circle the end a couple of times with electrical tape to secure it in place. Final move: Go back and tuck the overlap into the end of the handlebar and insert the end plug (tap it in place with a rubber mallet if you need to), and pull the brake hoods down. And you’re done!


    Majority of photos in this post are from the Instagram blog @behindhandlebars 

    We hope you found this post useful! 

    If you want us to cover something specific, please let us know on Facebook and Instagram – we’ll be more than happy to!

    Hana, Southern Distributors 

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    Contrary to modern belief great matches aren’t just meant for people but for all types of couples. We’ve previously shared the five SOMA frames every cyclist should know,  and we’ve even announced that March is dedicated to forks. So the only natural thing to do now is match’em up. Check out what SOMA forks suit the different frame types. 


    Champs Elysees 700C Low Trail Road Fork
    This low-trail fork can be used as a replacement for existing frames designed for low trail forks. It can also be used to convert some frames depending on headtube angles to have a front load bias (helps the bike steer better when supporting a front handlebar/rack bag.)

    – 65mm rake
    – 385mm axle-to-crown version fits 73mm reach caliper brakes (fits 700cx38mm tires)
    – 380mm axle-to-crown version fits 57mm reach caliper brakes (fits 700c x 32mm tires; will also accept a 650Bx42mm with 73mm reach brakes)
    – Double fork tip eyelets
    – Mini rack braze-ons
    – Low rider pannier bosses
    – Sloping lugged crown
    – Classic curve blades
    – Tange Infinity CrMo blades
    – 350mm 1-1/8″ steerer
    – Chrome plated
    – 380mm version

    CroMo Lugged 43mm Fork
    CrMo steel fork for short reach (39-49mm) road brake with sloping lugged crowns

    – Tange Infinity CrMo steel tubes
    – 1-1/8″ steerer
    – Eyelets for fenders on the Pearl White version
    – Lugged sloping crown
    – Works with standard 39-49mm reach road brakes
    – 364mm axle to crown – 43 or 45mm rake
    – Paint: Black



    Lugged CroMo Track Fork
    Lugged investment cast crown with cutout in outside tang, long inside tang. Crown drilled for brake. Tange CrMo steel steerer tube and blades.

    – 1″ steerer tube, threadless, 300mm long.
    – 363mm axle to crown
    – 38mm and 30mm(only in black) rake.
    – Available in slick black and chrome plate




    Thru-Axle Fork for Wolverine
    Do you want a stiffer more modern fork for your Wolverine or gravel bike? Designed to match the geometry of the Soma Wolverine frame exactly.
    Tange Infinity CrMo
    – Unicrown design
    – 15mm Thru Axle w/QR
    – International disc mount
    – 400mm axle to crown
    – 50mm rake 
    – Tire clearance: 700x45mm w/fenders




    CX Lugged Disc Fork
    Matching fork for Double Cross Disc frame. 

    – Now with 350mm long steerer.
    – For disc brakes only
    – Full-sloping crown with cutouts (outside tang), long inside tang
    – Crown is drilled for rack/headlight mounting
    – Tange Infinity CrMo tubing throughout
    – Tange fork dropouts cast with dual eyelets (compatible with Soma Champs Elysees and Porteur racks)
    – Bosses at mid- blade for lowrider or Nitto mini racks
    – Steerer tube 1 1/8in diamteter, 350mm long, threadless
    – Axle to crown: 398mm
    – Rake 44mm
    – Ample clearance for fenders or 45mm knobby tires



    Battleaxe Fat Fork
    This is a suspension corrected fork for the Soma Juice (as well as our upcoming fatbike), it uses a 135 O.L.D. rear single speed hub, it will fit a 26×4” or a 29×3” tire, and it has all kinds of braze ons for front rack mounting. The idea is to replace a suspension fork for loaded bike packing, where you may want to put a lot of weight on the fork for stability, so it’s built super burly. Using the rear hub means you probably already have a wheel you can pop in there, or get one prebuilt. That way if you want to run a fat front and swap it out occasionally for a skinny tire it’s as easy as undoing the QR.

    – 485mm axle to crown
    – 135mm hub spacing
    – 3 sets of braze-ons
    – Forward facing dropouts
    – International disc brake tabs
    – 300mm 1-1/8″ threadless steerer



    How do you match your forks and frames? Let us know!

    In the next post we’re announcing next month’s bike part!
    Send an email to info@southerndistributors.co.uk and we’ll keep you updated.

    We hope you found this post useful! 

    If you want us to cover something specific, please let us know on Facebook and Instagram – we’ll be more than happy to!

    Hana, Southern Distributors

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    We’re getting closer to warm summer days, ladies and gentlemen. Spring is upon us, and it’s time to pull out your bike from the shed and upgrade it.

    Here at Southern Distributors we want to give you the best service and offer a step-by-step guide to each and every single bike part you need to customize your bike for your specific purpose. Last month we covered the five types of SOMA frames every biker should know, so you can make an informed decision and choose the right frame. Check it out if you haven’t already!


    Where February covered to the body of the bike, March is dedicated to the neck of the bike: forks. You’re going to be introduced to the different brands of forks and which frames they match best with, so you can build the best bike for your use! Southern Distributors offers you wide range of different types of forks from mountain forks and low trail forks to road steel and track forks.



    Check out the SHOP for the various brands that offer high end forks. We guarantee top quality bicycle forks from IRD, SOMAPake and Tange. Browse the various brands and their selections of forks.

    In the next post we’re going to match the frames and forks for top performance!
    Want us to notify you? Send an email to info@southerndistributors.co.uk and we’ll keep you updated.

    If you want us to cover something specific, please let us know on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram – we’ll be more than happy to!


    Hana, Southern Distributors

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    Choosing the right frame for your purpose can save you loads of time, money and energy. Whether you ride your bike for pleasure or for practical reasons it is vital to choose the right frame, as the strength, weight and design of the frame determines the abilities of the bike. It’s no good having a bike with a weak frame for loading cargo back and forth, nor does it make sense to have a heavy bike for cross country riding. Find out what frame suits you purpose!

    1. Cyclo-Cross

    Double Cross Disc. Source: SOMA Fabrications

    By far the bestseller, the Cyclo-Cross appeals to so many riders for the sole reason of it being one of the most multi-functional frame types. The it-bike for roads, trails, touring, city biking and of course cyclo-cross these types of frames are very versatile.

    Check out our Cyclo-Cross frames: Wolverine and Double Cross Disc

    2. Mountain

    Sandworm. Source: SOMA Fabrications

    I’m not sure if Marvin Gaye were talking about these frame types when he sang Ain’t no Mountain High Enough but he might as well have. Made of steel Mountain frames offer the best combination of value, comfort, and resiliency of all the popular bike materials. Everything you need to get on top!

    Check out the colourful collection of SOMA’s Mountain frames: B-side, Juice, Valhallen and Sandworm



    3. Road

    Pesadero. Source: SOMA Fabrications

    Hit the road Jack! Okay, I’ll stop with the lyrics now. Whether you want to keep it extra smooth or be the fastest rider out there SOMA Fabrications offer you a broad variety of Road frames. Frames designed for endurance, speed and comfort perfect for long rides along the tarmac.

    Curious? Look: ES, Fog Cutter, Pescadero, Stanyan



    4. Loaded Touring/Cargo

    Grand Randonneur. Source: SOMA Fabrications

    Whether you need to carry stuff on a regular basis or want to tour the world on the back of a bike, these SOMA frames are designed to have exceptional strength and carry just about anything you throw at them.

    Get the frames: Saga Disc Graphite and Grand Randonneur


    5. Track

    Rush. Source: SOMA Fabrications

    The geometry is on point, the tubes are carefully specced and the frame offers a fast, precise and exhilarating experience. Don’t miss out on riding the lightweight Rush.

    Check out the frame Rush








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    February is still moody and chilly and we wish for the sunny warm days ahead.  Well, Spring is only two months away so let’s start preparing for it!

    Here at Southern Distributors we’re embracing the new season with the launch of a monthly dedication to SOMA Fabrications. You probably already noticed the subtle hint for February in the title: it’s the skeleton of the body, the core of the bike, it’s the frame.

    In the following weeks you can read all about the new features of our frames, what the upgrades are and how to choose the frame that’s just right. Mark every Tuesday on your calendar and stay updated with our newsletters. You don’t want to miss out!

    This year will be with new trendy colours and upgraded versions. Believe us, all of them are ACE!

    If you have any requests, please don’t hesitate to share your thoughts, opinions and experiences on our Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram  page.

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