Sean Kelly at Look Mum No Hands

If you’re still stuck for some Christmas prezzies for your cycling friends and family at this late stage, you could do worse than popping down to uber cool Cycling Café, Look Mum No Hands in Old Street, London, and earn some Bonification with their new Sean Kelly mug.

They’ve just extended the LMNH range of Sean Kelly products with a new mug, “Make the Calculation, Take the Bonification” after the success of their Sean Kelly tribute T-shirt. In case you weren't aware, Bonification means picking up time bonuses on sprint or mountain stages. And for the first 50 lucky purchasers, the mug comes with a free set of Look Mum No Hands and Sean Kelly temporary tattoos - to make you look even more of a hard nut! 

  This guy's not afraid to eat cake

This guy's not afraid to eat cake

For those of you that need reminding, Sean Kelly, 59, was one of THE cycling hard men of all time who excelled in the Classics such as Paris-Roubaix. His background as an Irish farmer’s son was key to his tough guy approach so that, when some of the softer riders would despair as the rain set in over the muddy cobbles of the Arenberg Forest, Kelly would come into his own and mercilessly crank up the pace. He’d leave a tangled mess of crashed out riders wallowing in the ditches of the Belgian countryside behind him. There are numerous shots of Kelly caked from head to toe in mud, relishing every minute of it.

Kelly still rides every day he can, whatever the weather. As he says, “I check the weather, I go out and do my spin, then only when I’m back do I decide if it was too wet or not.” 

And if you take a look at his website, seankellycycling.com,  where he sells a range of his own clothing, it’s no surprise to see that, firstly, Sean himself appears as the model and , secondly, he is doing so with the background of a wind and rain swept rural Ireland. This guy doesn’t need the glamorous backdrop of alpine hairpin bends and Rapha models to prove himself. Because not only was he one of the best Classics riders of all time, with one of the longest careers to date (1977 – 1994), he had a string of stage victories to his name in the Vuelta, Giro and, of course the Tour, as well as making Paris-Nice his own, with seven consecutive victories from 1982-1988.

Kelly was a difficult character to fathom for many of the cycling journalists of his era. Robin Magowan found him, “closed, withdrawn and extremely suspicious.” He was a pro’s pro, through and through, who had little time for small talk, showing his worth on the bike rather than in interview. 

  Kelly commentating on the Tour de France in 2009  By Pierre Diéterlé (Jean de Gribaldy.com) (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

Kelly commentating on the Tour de France in 2009 By Pierre Diéterlé (Jean de Gribaldy.com) (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

Surprisingly then, he went into commentating himself for Eurosport in retirement. His Irish drawl and 10 second, “Weeeeeeeeell…” at the start of each sentence has had TV watchers split down the middle in true Marmite fashion of either loving or hating him. He has been described as a good cure for insomniacs by some, while others love his no nonsense comments such as, “weeeeeeeell, that was a pile of  horse… (pause while he tries to think of a polite word, then gives up)…horse shit that caused that crash there.” We also love his pronunciation of “Pelatowne” and his classic use of the word, “Bonification”.

 

So get down to Look Mum No Hands for your matt black Bonification mug  for only £10, and raise a toast to ‘King Kelly’, as he was known by his comrades in the peloton. There are not only temporary tattoos with each mug, but LMNH is also asking you to send in photos of you posing with it and their favourite will win a prize. Hashtag your instagram pics with #bonification #lookmumnohands.