Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Goodbye My Dear Bicycle

Last Sunday was a sad, sad day. It was time to say goodbye to my Raleigh Caprice forever. It's nothing personal, my balcony has just run out of space. It's not her, it's me.

To be honest, she has been having a few long term health issues and has been victim of neglect this past year. As a result she has become malnourished with pretty much no air in her tyres, her skin has turned all rusty and there is something not quite right with her pedals. Call the Social Bicycle Services please!

 I decided that a new home with a new owner will do her some good. So last Sunday I plonked her outside the front of my block with a friendly sign.

When I left 20 minutes later she was gone. I wish her good luck and I hope she gets the make over she deserves. SHE DESERVED BETTER THAN ME. Godspeed my Raleigh Caprice, I will never forget you!x

Friday, 23 November 2012

Toasty Winter Cycling

My new hot, hot gloves for cold, cold rides

Golly gosh, have you been caught out by the cold weather yet out on the bicycle? I caught quite a winter chill when I went on the Sustrans Autumn Wheels bike ride. Ok, so wearing a thin pair of tights might not have been the most sensible item to wear, but sheer tights are in Vogue YEAH? Even Madonna is wearing them.

Sheer tights on the Sustrans bike ride...brrrrrrrrrrr
Cycling in the cold isn't always jolly so I'm calling for ACTION! It's time to bring out the big guns and I'm talking about those granny knits which have been tucked away for 9 months. Remember my ‘Jacket Potato- esque’ look last winter? Well this chunky jumper is making a comeback and will be reunited with my bicycle at long last.

But I can't just rely on my jumper to keep me warm, I need increase my layers so I'm looking to add a few sneaky warm additions to my bicycle wardrobe, keeping it pure cycle chic of course!

I’m ditching my wool gloves in favour of vintage sheepskin gloves I bought last weekend (see photo above). These old timers are mighty thick and I'm a little concerned that they might immobilise the use of my fingers, but hey, as long as can still ring my burger bell then that's all that matters!

I have recently discovered the delights of VeloVixen, a company offering beautiful women's cycle clothing or in other words not shrill pink, ugly, monstrosities you see all to often in cycle retail! I'm swooning over their clothing range almost as much as I'm swooning over their super sweet romantic story about how they came up with the idea of VeloVixen #gush.

So taking inspiration from their website, I think a pair of Ana Nichoola arm warmers would be ideal to make me feel snug. I have also got my eye on this Icebreaker Merino Oasis Crewe as a base layer to sneak under my big fat wool jumper.

Comfy Arm Warmers

Base Layer

So when the air is brisk and London looks like this...

Beautiful Battersea Power Station
I should be the toastiest cyclist that has ever hit the streets of London!...Now just got to add them to my Christmas list! How are you planning to keep warm on the bicycle this winter?

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Storing my bicycle

Lack of space for storing a bicycle can be an issue if you live in a city. When I lived in Brighton, I didn’t have any bicycle storage. I had to watch my bicycle rust away all alone outside in the sea air. Now  living in London I am delighted that I have a flat with a little bicycle sized balcony offering protection from those pesky bike stealers and the worst of the British weather.

The only problem is that it is a bit of a mission to get my bicycle to the fourth floor of my block and through my flat to the balcony. I have to squash it in the lift (which I am VERY thankful for having!) and dodge the walls, furniture and the hallway through my flat.

Myself and the walls of my flat are always victim to scrapes and bruises from the sharp pedals on my bike. At least my arms get a workout each day with the heavy lifting!

To show you a little part of my journey to get my bicycle into my flat, I have made a GIF animation below. This is from arriving at my front door onwards.

When it rains this operation is most unpleasant, no one likes to carry a dripping wet bicycle through their lounge!!

How do you store your bike? And do you have any tricky manoeuvres you have to do?

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Championing Active Travel

Active travels my name and Champions my game, oh yeaaah I am an Active Travel Champion! That's right, I will now be championing the wonders of cycling and walking to all those nearest and dearest and the wider community around the radius of where I live. It's a voluntary position I have taken with the charity Sustrans. To quote from their website, 'Active Travel Champions are volunteers who help people be more active through walking or cycling for more of their everyday journeys.'

That's me!

And check out my super cool T-shirt and badge #sheriffstyle

It's all well being given a T-shirt but I need to make sure I have champion related occasions to wear it! I have a few projects I am planning to do and the first is speaking to my work colleagues in my next team meeting about cycling and walking and my new volunteering position. I also would like to plan a haunted themed bicycle ride and invite colleagues/ friends/ community people who wouldn't normally take to two wheels.

Bicycle art at the Sustrans London Office
It's not in my nature to be aggressive in my approach to promoting cycling and walking, I prefer to just offer a little encouragement to those who would like to try it but don't know where to start. I am super excited to have another bicycle related thing in my life in addition to this blog because you can never have enough bicycle related things hey!

Oh and by the way, do you fancy going on a pretty Autumn bicycle ride or walk in London? Sustrans have arranged an 'Autumn Wheels and Wandering day' on 10th November from Buckingham Palace to Richmond Park. You are invited! It will be a jolly ride/ walk led by Sustrans volunteers, which means I will be there, oh yeah! Donning my Sheriffs badge and red T-shirt.

If you would like to come along, make sure to register by e-mailing Friends, family, everyone is welcome.

Over and out.