Desperate Bicycles - Handlebars

Artist: Desperate Bicycles
Song: Handlebars (7”) (1977)

Desperate bicycles

In March 1977 the Desperate Bicycles booked a studio at Dalston in East London to record their first single. The band possessed only an amp and a bass-guitar and the studio supplied the other instruments and equipment; "with a lot of courage and a little rehearsal" they recorded two songs, “Smokescreen” and “Handlebars”. The first record was released in August 1977 as an edition of 500 pressings on the band’s own Refill Records label. The records cost £153 to produce, which comprised the three hours studio time, the price of pressing and the sleeves. The record was unusual in that it featured the same tracks on both sides and was a mono recording. The song "Handlebars" ends with the Desperate Bicycles' strident DIY rallying cry "it was easy, it was cheap - go and do it!". Roger Stephens and Danny Wrigley hawked the “Smokescreen” single around the small independent record shops, and distributors such as Virgin and Rough Trade. The first pressing sold out within four months resulting in a profit to the band of £210. Using this money a second pressing of 1,000 was made, which sold out in a fortnight.

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