Monday, 30 July 2012

Help! My chain came off vs. Evans Cycles: ROUND THREE

LOOK! Look what I found in the post at my work the other day. My oh my, it's the Evans Cycles Lookbook, Summer 2012. I think its time to get the ol' magnifying glass out to investigate whether they have improved on their last catalogue by considering their female customers more.

You may remember that I was disappointed by their last catalogue which was a macho-fest of lycra men and packed full of aggressive, masculine connotations. It desperately ignored the female consumer by under-representing women through a lack of female models and womens products on offer in the catalogue, and not to mention a very unappealing typeface and colour scheme! Click here if you want to read the back story! And click here to  find out about my follow up meeting with the Evans Team.

Right, lets get that magnifying glass out. So, what do we have here? A Front cover with.....hold, two, three, four.....FIVE women on! Great start Evans! This makes the catalogue so much more inviting for the female consumer! It's a well known fact that women like to see other women on the cover of magazines to be able to aspire to 'the look' being portrayed.
Women are on the front cover - Way to go!

And what's this? No masculine, flashy, bold red and black typeface and text background! But instead replaced with a soft, neutral blue with a white typeface. Much more inviting to all demographics. A grand job so far Evans!
Well, well, well, looks like we have a dedicated 4-page spread on Women's clothing. And the background colour of the text boxes is blue, not pink! Way to go Evans!

 Page 31 shows a section on women's bicycles....

And now we are at my favourite addition to the catalogue, the use of the small 'W' circles, which indicate if a bicycle is suitable for women. This came about after I assumed that most of the bicycles in the previous catalogue were for men because they had cross bars and seats which looked most uncomfortable - of course they must have been for men!  However, after my meeting with the Evans team, I discovered that some of these masculine style bicycles were in fact for women. We discussed the best way to inform customers who would have been unaware of this (like myself) and it was decided that a 'W' symbol would be a suitable indicator.

So, in conclusion from my 'catalogue investigation' I am pleased to see that Evans Cycles have listened to my feedback and taken on board some of the changes. It will never be the case that bicycle companies will succeed in representing all demographics in their marketing material, but at least women are starting to be acknowledged and taken seriously in this very gender- bias industry. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK! GIRL POWER.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Cycling the jazzy way

Call me square or call me Napoleon Dynamite....

I have bought a pair of vintage, clear glasses for my bicycle commute to work. I'm bringing back some late 80's/ early 90's jazz to the roads of London and boy, do our roads need a bit of JAZZ!

Taking influence from Julie from The Julie Blog, she recommends wearing clear glasses when cycling to protect the eyes. Lately my eyes have been like a Hoover for grit,  so on the weekend I went to ROKIT to get the most RAD glasses I could find. It will be a relief to not have to spend my ‘red light moments’ at traffic lights not rubbing my eyes and smearing my make-up over my face trying to get the grit out.

Thanks Napoleon for your look! #Peaceout

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Crossing the line - Cycling on a zebra crossing

The other day I had to make a split decision whilst riding my dreamboat bicycle. It wasn’t a decision between life and death, no, no, no, more trivial than that.  It was a decision of whether to let the grown-up man on a bicycle cross the zebra crossing in front of me.

Should I stop and let him pass like I would for a pedestrian? Or do I sneak across quickly? Because, quite frankly, he isn't a ‘pedestrian’ when he is sitting on his bicycle!

I am not ashamed to say that I am a dedicated follower of the rules of the road, however on this occasion, there was no time for me to consult the highway code manual. And I certainly wasn’t told about this rule in my cycling proficiency course circa 1994! 

This called for a moral judgement. Yes fellow cyclists, I had to use my brain and think about what is correct and legal, for if I was to make the wrong decision,  I would risk my reputation as 'safety queen' on the roads FOREVER! It was a tough call.

I weighed up the situation in the split seconds I had, it was hard:

  • The man is ON his bicycle which means he is a cyclist. If he was off his bicycle and pushing his bike then he would be a pedestrian. A zebra crossing is a 'pedestrian' crossing. 
  • Why should I take the effort to stop for another cyclist who is not taking the effort to cycle his bike on the road?
  • He isn't a child but a grown man about 50ish.... Old enough to navigate the roads on his bicycle....Geez.
  • I am conscientious and like to cycle politely
Reflecting on these points, I decided to bolt over the crossing and not let him pass - safely of course, I wasn't planning on running him over #safetyqueen! However, as I was travelling over the crossing, I felt a mega pang of guilt because the car travelling alongside me STOPPED TO LET HIM GO! Which made me look like I was selfish and not a caring cyclist on the roads. Oh lordie!

I needed clarification fast, to answer the question, SHOULD YOU STOP FOR ANOTHER CYCLIST CROSSING A ZEBRA CROSSING?

According to UK Cycle Rules, It seems I did the right thing. They say:
 ...You won’t need to give way if: 
                        They’re not a pedestrian. Someone who is walking while pushing a bike is a pedestrian. But someone who is riding their bike across the crossing isn’t a pedestrian – it might be a good idea to get out of the way, but you won’t commit an offence if you cut in front of them. (Crank v Brooks [1980] RTR 441, 442-3)

So because this cheeky chap wasn’t a ‘pedestrian’, meant that I had the right of way, not him. Making split decisions on the road is a tough job to do I tell ya! But, I am glad that my reputation has remained unscathed, phew!

Have you ever been in this situation and what did you do?

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Pinnacle Californium bicycle

The Dreamboat visiting Alexandra Palace
You may not have recognised me cycling around London over the weekend for I have undergone a magical bicycle transformation! I have been given the pleasure of testing out the new Pinnacle Californium bicycle from Evans Cycles (Oh don't you know? We have made up now!). Who could turn down cycling this beautiful, red bicycle?

Check at the big basket
Straight after I collected the bicycle I got outside the shop and two women stopped and swooned at it. After our collective swooning and mutual appreciation for the shininess of the bike, I took it straight out for a spin to see what she was made of, or rather I should say I took her for a cruise – because riding this bicycle is like cruising along a road of butter, smooth and sumptuous! The upright position of the frame feels like I have a front row seat of the mean streets of London (best show in town!). You just sit back and grip onto to the lovely wide dutch style handlebars and watch the town/city/countryside pass you by.

In post-box red, the bicycle has 3 hub gears which is enough for me for I am no drug-taking-Tour-de-France rider, oh no not me! The first gear is perfect for city hills proven by my success at cycling to the top of Alexandra Palace.

Maybe it’s because I’m used to a clunky 1980’s bicycle which is slowing disintegrating with every ride, because this bicycle feels like pure comfort, so much so that I have renamed her the DREAM BOAT. Yes, The Dream boat and I are so happy with our companionship that I have been riding around and around and around in circles on her ever since, in fact, I am writing this post whilst going round and round. Please see video below for evidence and a full view of the bicycle (turn up the volume!):

So far there have been no qualms with the way she rides, but the real question is, will the dream boat stand up to my daily commute? I’ll keep you posted….