Velorutionaries aims to tell one person's cycling story, with a foray into their passions and finally, a glance at the bike they ride. This time it's photographer Viv Lawrence and his Schindelhauer Heinrich electric bike in the spotlight...

What do you do for a living?

I am a photographer specialising in photographing artworks and I also help artists who need the records of their work updated. Old ‘analogue’ film stock - negatives and transparencies - deteriorate even if they are stored correctly so I transfer this into the more permanent digital format. There is usually a lot of restoration to do along the way which I enjoy. 

What are you passionate about?

I trained at art school and then went to the Royal College of Art to study printmaking. Still images have special power because they exist in time and space, so in our seasonal and continually changing world, they are evergreen.

Artistic and creative endeavour is a conversation with the world that anyone can join in and I never tire of this conversation, revisiting galleries to look again at familiar pictures or attending exhibitions to see what has been newly created. 

How long have you been a cyclist?

I can’t remember NOT being able to ride a bike. I have always had a bike wherever I have lived and at the school I went to they were compulsory. 

What bike are you riding?

A Schindelhauer Heinrich electric bike. I had my eye on it for a while and when my previous bike failed, I seized the opportunity and bought one. It is in a different league to anything I have owned before. It brings the sturdiness of motorcycle engineering to a bicycle and it is very beautifully finished. It has bright lights powered by the battery and the eight gears that cover every need. It also has Gates Belt Drive so no more oily chains.

Schindelhauer Heinrich Electric Bike

Viv rides the Schindelhauer Heinrich electric bike. The Heinrich's power is provided by a Bosch Active Line Plus motor - an ideal choice for urban dwellers, thanks to its whisper quite assistance. Through an integrated battery (in the Heinrich's downtube), hidden cabling and an 8-speed hub gearing system the bike retains an extremely clean aesthetic.

We never tire of seeing a bike equipped with mudguards, pannier rack and lights - a bike is a mode of transport after all. The mudguards are of particular note. Manufactured by German brand Hebie, they include an unobtrusive rail for mounting pannier bags. Rated for a load of up to 8kg each side, not bad considering the mudguards only weigh 841 grams themselves!

Why did you choose an electric bike?

This is my third electric bike. I used one when I lived in the Netherlands 15 years ago where they were quite common, although the choice was fairly limited then. If you are meeting clients it is nice not to be in a sweat when you arrive, and if it is windy some assistance is always very welcome. The technology has moved on a lot and the range is far greater than it used to be and the batteries are lighter too.

What appeals to you about cycling?

You get to see where you live and the changes around you as they happen. And you know how long it takes to get somewhere. London is more bike-friendly than ever, although there is still some work to do here. I have two sturdy waterproof panniers which can even carry my photography equipment for a simple shoot.

Cyclists do often seem to be in a hurry, I notice, but I amble along and detour through the parks, just for the pleasure of it, if I have time. A journey on the bicycle is often interesting which is not the case on public transport.

How often do you ride and where?

I cycle every day for exercise apart from any other journeys I have to do. Where I live there are cycle paths in all directions which makes it easy to avoid sharing the road with traffic. The air is always good along the river apart from the great views and the wildlife, the boats and the ever-changing light.

What’s your favourite cycle route or destination?

I live by Tower Bridge and can cycle through Wapping and the Isle of Dogs to Greenwich using the foot tunnel to get under the river (although it’s closed at the moment because of social distancing). A pause to gaze at the Cutty Sark, then go on up through Greenwich Park to the Observatory and buy a coffee from the little café. It is a natural destination and there will always be other cyclists there to chat to while you all admire the view. 

Our thanks go to Viv for giving up his time to show us his Schindelhauer and tell us about his riding life.