Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Well I hope everyone had a great Christmas!?
I myself did what I set out to do (drank, ate and slept)...and feel very relaxed from it. 
Got some pretty great presents; including a tool pouch for my bike tools.  It even matches my bike- score! (I pasted this photo of it from their website, but man I really do wish I owned those shoes!!!)

I still don't know how to fix a puncture or adjust my brakes.  All the gear and no idea as it were!  Thankfully I haven't had a puncture as yet (touch wood).
I just found out about a website- London Cycling Campaign, set up to promote cycling, and to support it's members.  They give some pretty good step by step guides on bike maintenance, that I'm going to study.
It also has a link for the TfL (Transport for London) free cycle guides.  I had heard that you can get these maps, but totally forgot about it.  I have started to find my own routes to ride, but there may well be some better ones to try.  So I've ordered myself a couple.  Looking forward to finding canal paths and ways through the parks :)

Also I decided to buy myself a Christmas present, a helmet...and about time too.  I know I should have bought one straight away.  I wear a helmet when I snowboard, so it definately makes sense to when I'm riding on tarmac.

Well I'm going to brave the cold and get out on my bike a least a couple of days this week for a ride...got to work off all the Christmas snacking!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve and I'm at work in the shop...  only one hour left to go and then I can start the Christmas celebrations- lots of food/drink and cheesy movies.  Already got on it last night actually, watched Little Women; an absolute classic!
It has actually been quite funny at work today- last minute Christmas shoppers are cr-azy!
But yes, cant wait to get over to my parents place :)

Monday, December 21, 2009

embrace the snow!

I found this video today of a fixie rider in New York who's embracing the recent snowfall. Fair play!

Turning Tricks - Episode 18 from KrEEEstowfUr on Vimeo.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

riding in the snow

So this week saw the first snowfall in the UK this winter, and extreme snowstorms over Europe.  It has caused massive disruption to travel everywhere.  It's full on!

Weirdly central London hasn't been too badly effected.  The snow just hasn't seemed to settle all that much, so at the moment we just have icy puddles dotted about.  Not too bad on foot...but when it was snowing on Thursday night I decided to go for a ride...
I was really quite anxious about visibility, it was fine though.  There weren't too many drivers on the roads, and I'm really liking taking the back roads.  They may not be the quickest way to get about but they certainly are more scenic.
I stayed focused on keeping my wheel straight as I rode over ice.  And with that in mind it wasn't too intimidating.
I hadn't thought about how blustery the wind would be.  When I was faced into it I could have probably walked faster!  This did piss off a few drivers, but there wasn't much I could do...but just keep pedaling.
I'll get out again next week...just got to psych myself up :)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

the first snow...

Today I was out Christmas shopping...much like a lot of people...

At about 10.30am it started snowing and it did not stop.  It was magical I tell you.

Alas it did not settle but,
It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas!

Monday, December 14, 2009

give me a hand

So I'm having a few problems when riding, that I'm hoping someone out there might have a pointer or two to help me out. It all comes down to balance I think...???

  • The first one is, that when I'm indicating to turn, I lose my balance and veer in the other direction. At the moment I'm having to do a blinker motion with my hand- which isn't very obvious. Drivers probably think I've just got cramp in my hand or something! So a bit of a safety issue this one.

  • The other problem I'm having is that when I'm really peddaling my heart out my upper body and arms are moving, and so in turn the handle bars, so I do a slight zig zag up the road.
Any suggestions are welcome...

Thursday, December 10, 2009

down by the river

Had a really nice ride along the Southbank the other day.  There's always so much going on down there in the summer time, but this time of year it's a lot quieter so you can switch off a bit and take in the views.  I didn't have my camera out with me, so please excuse the phone photo...but the sky is still quite stunning I think.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

fair weather cycling...

Each morning lately, that I've intended to cycle to work it's been called off on account of rain.  I have given it a go, but it doesn't fill you with confidence when you can't feel traction! So I'm still just riding around my end of the city in the evening...when it's dry of course.  I have been really enjoying it, as the roads are a lot less busy!  At times I have the road to myself- which is a rarety in London I tell you!  It's a great way to wind down at the end of a day at work.  I am working full time in a clothes shop (10am to 7pm) and I've also just had another order placed for my accessories brand (I'm crocheting every spare moment I get)...it's hard to find free time to go out riding, but each time I get home after a cycle I am buzzing.  I'm getting the bug :)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

trains, planes and automobiles...

I got back from India a couple of days ago. It was an amazing trip...we explored the west coast of Kerala and Goa- on tuck-tucks, Ambassador taxis, a house boat, a canoe, trains and planes. I totally fell in love with the country, the people were so friendly, the colours so amazingly vibrant...I will definitely be returning there at some point!

The biggest culture shock for me when we first arrived in Kochi was the road systems...I would say, or lack there of...but everyone does abide by some key rules.
-There is a hierarchy on the roads, the bigger your vehicle the more right of way you have. (this means buses and trucks never want to use their brakes, so over the course of the trip I saw a fair few drivers run off the road!)
- Drive with the horn, and overtake where possible. As a driver approaches a pedestrian, cyclist, other vehicle, cow or what have you, they are to honk their horn until they have overtaken that obstacle. It's pretty much a symphony of horns.
- In Goa I noticed that there were speed restrictions depending on what mode of transport you are driving. For example, if you are on a scooter you are restricted to drive at 40km/h, but if you're driving a truck it's 60km/h on the very same road!

I did get used to it after a short while...but I really don't think I would have liked to be a cyclist in those conditions; being bottom of the food chain and all!
So now I'm back in the UK, and we are having a freezing cold winter by our standards (5 degrees Celsius! Does that make me a wimp?!), with lots and lots of rain. It's hard to motivate yourself to go and ride. This weekend I'm going to do the full cycle into work...and now I have typed it that means I have to do it! It's good to have this incentive.
The thermals and gloves are out- wahoo :)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

a short hiatus

Tomorrow I am off to India, on a much needed holiday. To be honest I cannot wait to get away from what has been a manic 6 months. I am going to be travelling around Kerala and Goa with two of my friends, Katy and Jessie. It's a 10 day trip, so I'll be back in London at the end of the month. My bags are packed, and I'm raring to go...shame I can't take my bike with me :(I will be taking lots of photos while I'm out there. I've got two really old plastic cameras- one Holga, and one Lomo 4 lens camera. I did a Photography degree years ago, and I'm hoping this trip will re-ignite my passion for it!

Wish me luck :)

Monday, November 16, 2009


The word cadence is defined as balanced, rhythmic flow.

Other bikes I've riden, I've not felt the presence of this. You pedal a bit...coast a bit...and
repeat. Having just one gear presents a
new challenge in this way. As I ride now
I need to consiously ride differently
...to get in flow. And once you have it,
you feel like your gliding around the roads. Learning to ride a single speed bike is tiring

...but it really does have its rewards.

Friday, November 13, 2009

night riding

I'm not confident to do the commute to work in the morning and back in the evening on the bike yet, as it's about 50 minutes each way. That's at my current rate...in time I should be able to get it down to 35 minutes...or that's my aim anyway.

So for now I feel like I'm in training.

After work I get the bus home (usually have a nap on the way), eat some dinner and go for a ride.

As it's winter it gets dark by about 4.30pm, so it's pretty dark out when I'm out riding. I've got my lights on obviously, but at night you do feel a need to be a lot more vidulant out and about. It's good training.

So for now I am a night rider.

Monday, November 9, 2009

the day after

So I got up on my day off, to head in to the west end to collect my bike from work. To bring her(I'm still deciding if I want to name my bike) home! Taz met me there, to guide me through the streets of London. I twinged a little when I looked upon the plastic bike seat again. I knew I would not love this bike until I got a new comfy seat. So after lowering my bike seat a little, off we headed to Brick Lane Bikes, in the east end.

For some reason I felt less daunted riding than the day before. And cycling through the back streets of Soho I had a big smile on my face. It got a little scarier as we rode on the main roads, and stop starting at traffic lights. But sure enough, whenever I felt I wanted to stop for a breather, there was a cycle path to hop onto.

When we got to Brick Lane I found the sort of seat I was after...lots of padding!

I feel far more comfortable riding now :)

So after a long coffee break, we continued the journey back to my house. There was a hill or two we encoutered. As we approached the first one my face dropped. In my head I was thinking "I'm riding a single speed, I can't do this!" But it was the route we had to take, so screw it. I got some momentum behind me first, but it was fine. Sure I had to catch my breath for a few minutes afterward...but it was fine.
And although I was immensly exhausted (we ended up cycling around for 2 hours in all!) I had this amazing release of energy when I got home, and I couldn't stop smiling.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

a "what a day" week

I declair this week to be a what a day week!

This week...
I've been given a job promotion to Assistant Manager, my accessories brand got launched on the web and I was this close (gesturing with thumb and forefinger) to being evicted from my home. Clearly that was the massive low point!
So I was really excited yesterday morning when Condor bike shop got in touch with me to let me know my bike was built and ready to collect. I chose that bike shop because a friend of mine, Tom works there. I thought it would be great to collect it from someone I know, and buy my bike accessories.

My eyes shon when I saw my Roll, it's beautiful!!!

Tom took me through the ins and outs of the bike, adjusted it for me and everything. I could not stop smiling!
My friend Taz met me there, to escort me to work and show me the route to take.

Now then I would love to say we rode off, I took to the bike right away, traffic didn't phase me and I felt in my element. I shall never need to take public transport again!

But that would be a lie.

The thing I hadn't taken in to consideration, when choosing where I wanted to collect my bike from, was what the roads are like around the shop. Condor, as it happens, is on a rather busy main road in central London, Grey's Inn Road. The route from there to my work in morning traffic was pretty full on for a novice! As I said in my last blog, I have never riden a road bike. The posture of it is completely new to me (being hunched over the handle bars), and so I felt a little uneasy. After cycling for about 10 minutes I needed a break. Not from physical exhaustion, it was just quite draining. We alternated between walking with the bikes part way, and riding part way. I was relieved to get to work, have a cuppa and chill out! Also I was feeling a little sore from the bike seat :(

As you might have assumed already, I did not ride home last night. I reluctantly left my bike at work and took the bus.

I need to aquaint myself with the bike first- slowly slowly. So today I have the day off, I am going to collect my bike, and ride around London's east end. Taz and I are going to ride the backstreets and parks. Well that's the plan...we'll see how it goes. I want to build a great bond with this bike, and I'm sure I will...you just cant rush these things.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

an introduction for beginners

So then... I've taken on this project with Globe Bikes, to write a blog about my experiences on the Roll for the next 3 months.

I live and work in London- which can have a tendancy to be overwhelming in itself. I take the bus and the tube to and from work. Not surprisingly it has been grating on me for some time now. The thought of getting a bike is something I had been toying with for a while, but the thing that always put me off was...well...cycling in London! I haven't properly ridden a bike since I was about 9 years old, riding my moutain bike at the weekends. Road cycling is a thing apart!

My bike should be ready to collect within the next few days. Yes I am feeling quite anxious, but mainly just excited. I think getting the bike was the biggest battle; now all I have to do is ride :) And I feel at ease, as one of my friends is going to ride with me for the first week.

People say having a bike in London opens up a whole new side to it. I can't wait!