Monday, 31 December 2012

HAPPY NEW BICYCLE YEAR

Why look at us, another year has passed with more bicycle miles underneath our belts! I do hope you had a swell Christmas break. I spent mine in Berlin, a place where Milka (the god of all Euro snacks) is only €0.79 a bar and where the beer is plentiful and Radfahren its immer willkommen! 
Snaps from Berlin, soviet style
2012 was a pedaltastic year,  I have cycled the most amount of miles I ever have in my life and my thighs are now the widest they have ever been in my life. Oh how my muscles will gleam through a pair of cigarette jeans I plan to buy in January!

Looking to 2013 I aim to get those chunky bike thighs over to Holland because I heard a few little bike people mention that it's rad for cycling? Yes? And I also hope to pump up my tyres at least once a fortnight because in 2012 I got a puncture in my PUNCTURE RESISTANT TYRES! All because I didn't keep them pumped up. So as a result, 2012 will see me learning to love the bicycle pump.

I will also keep blogging to you fellow bicycle scenesters about my trusty bicycle commute to work and all my other two-wheeled gallivanting I do. Oh and talking about bicycle scenesters, I have found the  original BICYCLE HIPSTER. This dude was rocking the bicycle chic look before most of us were even born. Man, are they even headphones around his neck?


And with that, I wish you a HAPPY NEW BICYCLE YEAR! Make sure to keep drinking and keep cycling for a Merry ol' time. This chap knows how to do it.


Wednesday, 19 December 2012

My Cycle Training Moves Two Months On

That's not my house




































Back in October, I wrote a post about the cycle training session I had with David Dansky from Cycle Training UK. David is a connoisseur of the roads and I was lucky enough to get some tuition on how I really should be cycling instead of how I think I should be cycling. He gave me plenty of tips to make me the official Safety Queen I've always wanted to be.

It's taken a while to get used to, yes, and sometimes I slip back into my old lazy habits but I am certainly much more aware of my own conduct on the roads than I was before. There are three nifty moves which I have implementing on my rides:

Looking back, over my shoulder 


Doubling the amount of times I look over my shoulder has made a MAJOR impact in the way I cycle. For example, a private driver in a blacked out friggin monster BMW was way too keen to plough passed me on a single filter lane the other day. I took the primary position and whipped my head over my shoulder to give him the 'don't even try it' look. Yeah, I had to repeat the move 5 times because he seemed to be getting trigger happy with the revving but in the end he finally got the hint and backed off. Before my training, I think I would have only looked behind maybe once in this situation which isn't enough communication for a driver who is pushy and intimidating.  It's not all bad though, I also have a good 'Well hello there,  I'm just here!' gaze in my repertoire. I save that for the good guys!


                   Primary love


If you're not with the cycling lingo then don't worry, riding in primary pretty much means get yourself in the centre of the lane and stick to your guns. Great for narrow roads where it would be dangerous to let a driver over take you because of lack of space and it's particularly useful to avoid being flawed by someone opening a car door on you.

I've been rocking the primary move on many of the back roads on my commute. This move is perfect partnered with the 'don't even try it' or 'I'm just here' stare as explained above.





Don't go braking my heart


I get a C+ for this move because I keep catching myself not doing it! Resting your hands on your brakes is important in case you need to emergency stop because a dustbin or a dead rat is lying in your path (just normal street furniture of the roads of Islington). Unfortunately I get too carried away with the thrill of gliding down the road hanging back like I'm a bicycle gangster.

Like my Physics school report once said 'room for improvement'. Getting better at resting my hands on my brakes is going on my New Years resolution list.




With all these moves combined, I now feel confident in cycling around any of London's crazy roads, even through the City of London which has always been scary and off putting for me. Oh and before I go! I forgot to mention one more manoeuvre which I have found valuable on my commute and that is filtering to the front of traffic via the right hand side. With the boost of confidence I got from my training session,  I now ignore the inadequate cycle paths which encourage cyclists to travel on the left and I fearlessly pedal on the right of traffic at junctions. I've even learned how super fast it makes your journey and it's so much more safer than sliding down the left where drivers may not see you and you are at risk of vehicles turning left.


I'd like to once again thank David for offering the training for me, he really has shown me a better, safer way of pedalling around the city. If you are interested in Cycle Training then visit the Cycle Training UK website. Also, some local authorities may offer the training free, I know the Borough of Islington does.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

King of the Road

This year has been like winning the Oscars for me, first I win my work Bake Off competition with my devilishly gooey chocolate brownies and then I win the Levi Commuter #weride competition and land myself a lean, mean bicycle machine! Actually he's really quite the Gentleman bicycle. I just can't help calling these suave two wheels KING OF THE ROAD.

When Levi's contacted me about winning, I had no idea what type bike I was going to get except I knew it was made by the brand Charge. As soon as I heard it was ready I dashed straight to Regent's Street, gawped at those Marmite Christmas lights (what are they about?) and dashed into the Levi's shop. A kind assistant wheeled out of the stock room this beautiful and extra long bicycle before my eyes.

After a little chuckle of delight and surprise, I became the proud owner of the King of the Road!

But wait! How on earth was I going to fit this giant through my flat? I told you a few weeks back all about my manoeuver tactics to store my bike. Now I was going to have to pull out the big guns and rely on my Tetris tesselating skills. My first obstacle was the lift.....will it fit?


Oh yes it does! But only just!

My second obstacle was my narrow front door...
Oh yes it fits! But only just!

And my last obstacle was the balcony, where it proudly takes up the whole space like the chief bicycle it really is.
I have been riding the Charge Steamer everyday ever since.  I am the KING OF THE ROAD!