As we’re a Kickstarter funded project ourselves, we’re rather partial to browsing through other inspiring new ventures and digging into our pockets when we find something that catches our eye. Pilgrim Cycle Co, with its focus on celebrating the soulful side of cycling, on embracing everyday adventures and seeking out simple pleasures in your city, certainly struck a chord. We caught up with founder Tom Probert to hear more about his first collection of hand screen-printed t-shirts and his plans for the future...
What inspired you to launch Pilgrim?
I’ve always loved exploring on my bike, and I’ve always wanted to start a clothing brand. Nothing out there reflected the things I love about cycling lifestyle, and last summer, while (fittingly) riding across the Pyrenees, the idea for the brand started to take shape in my head.
What’s your background?
I’ve been a graphic designer in London for about six years, and I’ve been going on long cycling trips since I was about 15. I’m trying to combine these two things I’m passionate about.
What do you love about cycling?
Freedom and simplicity. I love how you can carry everything on your bike that you need to live, and go anywhere you want. That idea of self-sufficiency makes me feel both secure and excited – a potent mix.
Cycling is slow and quiet, which allows you to take things in properly, and just by being on your bike you invite adventure.
The physical effort in cycling elevates simple things to special experiences – after five hours riding through driving rain, a humble pasty becomes the best thing you’ve ever eaten! Cycling is also good for the mind and the soul – it’s the best way I’ve found to get the creative juices flowing, and it’s a perfect way to unwind after a stressful day…plus it’s just FUN!
Tell us more about these t-shirts you’re making..
I’m interested in the cool places cycling takes you and what you experience along the way. The t-shirts are the canvas for telling these stories. The plan is to collaborate with illustrators that fit Pilgrim's ethos and gradually explore the soulful side of cycling.
I see cycling as central to an adventurous, natural lifestyle, and Pilgrim is for people who share this philosophy. If you’re into surf culture there are amazing brands out there like Deus and Mollusk that fit this laid-back, free-spirited kind of ethos. But cycling brands are telling stories about glorious suffering and racing – there’s an idea that you have to push yourself to go faster and the focus is internal, on your own performance. I’d like to create an alternative.
And what is important to you when you’re designing and making your products? What’s the ethos behind your process?
What’s important to me is that everything is done to the highest possible standard, using the finest materials and working with the best craftspeople. I want to do things that create an emotional bond between product and owner and have a sense of timelessness.
What are your future plans?
Once the Kickstarter has finished I’ll be launching the Pilgrim website where the first collection will be available. I’m keen to get it into the real world, too, to start engaging with people on the Pilgrim wavelength so I’m planning to get a cargo trike that becomes a market stall!
Within a couple of years I want to have developed a Pilgrim cycling jersey, jacket and bag to complement the t-shirt collections. I’m lining up some potential collaborations already and it’s this kind of thing that really excites me – finding and working with talented people who express the same ethos using different skills.
How can we get involved?
The Pilgrim Cycling Co Kickstarter is still running so you can still donate for whichever of the rewards you fancy, and share the project with your pals. The next target is £5k, which will allow me to start work on the next collection and get going on the cargo trike! Have a look, back the campaign and look out for Pilgrim at a market near you soon!