What should you do when you have a career in advertising and another in comedy entertainment taking up all your time? Start a third one, in the bike business.
Actually, in 2009, when ColourBolt started, it wasn’t exactly like that. I’d just finished producing and directing a comedy series for US TV, and found myself with no work once we’d delivered it. I bought some vintage bike frames, powder-coated them in various blacks – Bling Black, Dry Black, Wet Black etc – and built them up using a mix of new and vintage parts. The next thing I knew they were on sale in Tom Dixon’s store. I was suddenly in the bike business. Handmade frames followed, working with some of the UK’s best craftsmen.
ColourBolt (so named because there’s no logo, just a single red chainring bolt as a signifier) is a very different business now. Today, it comprises fully bespoke bikes sold through Velorution.
In 2019 we undertook our first collaboration, the Moulton X-Black. I’ve had Pick of the Day and Ad of the Week in my other careers, but I never imagined I’d get Bike of the Week in The Guardian. I’m usually a bit quiet on the self-promotion front but happy for as many people as possible to know about that one.
The creative process behind ColourBolt is similar to my advertising and entertainment work, in that they always start with an "idea". With ColourBolt that’s born out of the bike’s functionality and performance. The Ratty Black bike is so-called because the super-tough textured finish I sourced camouflages it when chained against the anti-climb surface on lamp posts. My personal favourite, the Scarred Black, has a mirror-polished, stainless-steel frame, then black sprayed over the top. Every time you get a scratch or a ding, the beautiful silver gleams through.
I enjoy and value the creative purity of ColourBolt. While it’s growing organically by reputation, I’m happy concentrating on making the bikes good, rather than focusing too much on the advertising and the content around them. If anyone else wants to take that part on, I’d be delighted.
Jay Pond-Jones is creative director at M&C Saatchi Accelerator, and producer and director at Studio Sixty Billion