Friday, May 28, 2010


At the store we are stocking bone-shaker magazine.  It's a publication put together by a couple of the guys at Bristol Bike Project.  Stunning photography, illustrations and bike related articles.  This is issue #1, set to be quite an exciting project I think.  They are available to buy at various stockists in Bristol and London, but if you cant track one down they are also available to buy on their website.

There's a quote on the back cover from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle that reads: "When the spirts are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking."

Thursday, May 27, 2010

new peddles

So I've been rather lame of late...not blogging.
Getting caught up in lots of random goings on...
  • went snowboarding in France
  • been to a few gigs
  • working on my accessories company
  • working in the shop
  • got mumps...or rather mump
  • went to a friends hindu/civil wedding
  • ...and (when I was back to full health after the mump) I've been riding
At the weekend I bought some new peddles.  My previous ones were a little bit small, I lost my footing every now and again.  So I got these Shimanos from 14 Bike Co.  Way more stable under foot, I kind of have a bit more umph to my stride!

Also the old peddles had a metal spike on them that kept catching on my trousers.  I know it is a design feature, but me and my trousers weren't getting on with it at all.
Hopefully I have now darned my last peddle inflicted hole!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

10 things I learnt last week

1    When your feeling tired and you want to have a break...keep going, it will soon pass.
2    London's road ways can be very confusing to begin with!
3    It's a lot easier to indicate if you're sat back in your seat.
4    Wear underwear that wont bunch up, because that can be annoy-ing I tell you!
5    Nobody thinks they look good in a helmet, so just get on with it and wear one.
   Cycling is thirsty work, drink lots of water (do not substitute for beer!)
7    Going up hill on a single speed is totally do-able.
8    I'm feeling like a kook, but that's ok because I'm still learning.
9    This is a big one...cycling in the city, it's really not that scary.
10  And jeans and a white bike seat do not mix! (check out exhibit A)

Friday, April 23, 2010

in my own time

So I got this bike with a view to commuting to work on it.  I've been riding it lots...just not in central London.  That's been something I had to psych myself up for.  And it wasn't just the intimidation of London traffic, there were also the snowstorms which swept the nation.  But now the weather has perked up massively, and I've been getting more road savvy so I decided it was time to ride into the West End to work.  Yesterday I had a day off, so I decided that it was a good time to do a dry run from home to work (so there was no pressure of needing to get in at a set time).
I checked out my maps and figured out a route that didn't look too bewildering.  Admittedly I got lost a couple of times along the way, on account of one way streets, but I made it!  And I tell you...I don't know why I had been putting it off for so long!  Granted it took me double the time it should have, but so what.  Now I know the route in there should be no stopping me.
I left my bike at work so tonight I can ride it home...just need to decipher the maps again, because it's going to have to be a completely different route on account of one way streets.
I heard a rumour that cyclist may soon legally be able to cycle down one way streets the wrong way...I hope so because it would make plotting A to B a lot less confusing!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Monday, March 29, 2010

spring has sprung

I haven't written in a while...the weather here has been fickle...and so too have I!
I have been out for a little raz here and there when the weather has been kind, but nothing note worthy.
Still loving the bike, although it's forcing me to see how unfit I have gotten over the winter months!  Now that spring has sprung I am going to start riding in to work and back (soon), which will be a round trip of about 2 hours a day.  A little daunting...but I am stoked about it.  I started out as very anxious cycling the streets of London, but gradually I have gotten more and more relaxed.  Riding out of the saddle, indicating, reading the roads better, are becoming more natural than...well 5 months ago.  Let me be clear, I am by no means cocky about my abilities!

Anyways, last week me and my dad drove to Luxembourg for a short trip.  I grew up there for a few years, and my parents still have a house there.  They've decided to sell up, and they recently found a buyer.  So I went over to say my good byes to the house, the village, the country (I don't know if I will ever return)...but most importantly while I was there I needed to sort through all my old belongings, and pack up what I wanted to keep.  There was a lot to sort through- and I ended up clearing out 2 full car loads worth of recycling!!

I managed to persuade my dad to let me bring my bike away with us.  So when all the boxes were sorted through we went down to the river front and I had a ride around.  It was a beautiful 19 degrees over there, the hottest day yet this year (not scorching but I whapped my shorts on never the less)!

I did take some photos...and I will post them up as soon as my computer stops playing up.

So I'm back blogging, and am really looking forward to Spring :)

Sunday, January 31, 2010


So I've been going through the cycle maps, and I've started checking out some of the marked roads.  I figured the only difference with the marked routes would be that the roads are quieter.  I have been pleasantly surprised to find that generally the roads are flatter, in better condition and are covered in cyclist stencils so drivers cannot help but be aware that we are around...more exploring next week I think :)
The government are currently investing £17.5 million into improving our roads for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians.  There is a lot of upheaval at the moment with road works, but it's really going to pay off.
There is also a massive project from the TfL taking place, to create 12 cycle superhighways connecting cyclists from the outskirts of London into the city centre.  Very impressive!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

taking the lead

A few days ago my sister came up to London from Brighton to visit me.  The main objective while she was here was to go clothes shopping as the January sales are on.  Now I love London, but to most who don't live here they find it way too hectic.  And my sister Fiona is certainly not the exception to that rule.  It is very hard to convince her to come up here for a visit, so I usually cave and end up going down to Brighton.
So while she was here, on this occassion I wanted to show her the more chilled out side to the city.  This started out as a morning bike ride around where I live and the local park. 

This was a big deal for me because it was my first time leading someone else around the roads, but I felt confident enough to do it.  It was really good fun, I don't think we've riden together for about 10 years!  She said she felt really happy having me leading, although I didn't look back to check where she was behind me enough-woops.

I really shouldn't have worn a dress to ride in- not compatable!
When we got to the park we bombed it about and I showed her the allotments for the local farmers market and the deer, rabbits and chickens that are kept there. 
Then of course it was time to get on with shopping, but it was a great way to start the day off for her!  I think this is the start of her coming to visit more- yey :)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

critical mass

So I've been psyching myself up to doing an organised bike ride around London for a while now.  A few months back I heard about Critical Mass.  It was an idea spawned in San Francisco in th early 90s, and a few years later one was formed in London.  They meet at 6pm on the last Friday of every month by the National Film Theatre on the Southbank, with no set route or intent for each event, it forms its own agenda.  This month it is this coming Friday (the 29th), and as luck would have it I cannot get out of work.  In November I was in India, December it was Christmas Day, (there was no way I wanted to do it then!) so February 26th I'm in...
Photo courtesy of

Friday, January 22, 2010

mappin' it

So I received the free London cycle maps in the post last week.  I've been looking over them and attempting to memorise the routes (I don't want to look like a tourist by pulling over and getting out my massive maps- it's a faux pas!)

Routes are clearly mapped out by colour.  Yellow is for quieter roads recommended for cyclists.  Blue is routes signed for cyclists that may be on busier roads.  Brown indicates there are provisions for cyclists adjacent to busy roads.  Light green is routes through parks.  Dark green is for canal paths.
I think the main thing is to remember visual landmarks, so I've been making mental notes for these at each turning.

But the most genius thing on these maps (which appeals to my sense of humour) is the Mayor's introduction...
"Cycling is a splendid way to discover London, which is a beautiful and diverse city with a wealth of both iconic sights and unique hidden gems.
More and more people are becoming switched on to the joys of cycling, and this guide will help you to join them- exploring some of the thousands of short cuts and little known routes that open up new and exciting sides of the city.
As a keen cyclist myself I know that London can provide some trully stunning biking experiences.  I hope this guide helps you enjoy cycling as much as I do."

Too true Boris...too true!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

i put a tiger in my bike

On Friday, after going out for a morning spin (which FYI was very good fun- dispite the roads being very wet!), I descided to head down to a bike art exhibition in Shoreditch- J'ai Mis un Tigre dans mon Velo (loosely translated as...I put a Tiger in my Bike).  With photography from Cedric Viollet, illustrations from Guillaume Jolly and paintings by Jerome Romain.
The show is sponsored by RVCA clothing, who have an Artist Network Programme set up.
From what I can gather, the exhibition has been touring around various different galleries around the world.  If you hear about it coming to a town near you, then you should definately go and check it out!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

fill in the blank

I ____ snow...
The word there used to be love, but this winter my feelings have changed.  It comes down to the fact that I am now a cyclist.
Yesterday morning I opened my front door to that very magical sight of fresh snow... but I was sulking all day long.  I thought the residual snow from this last weeks fall had melted away enough that I could get out for a ride soon.  But then the heavens opened and brought us this dump.  (ok so it doesn't look deep, but trust me, there was plenty!)

Thankfully due to an amazing fluctuation in temperature, it is starting to melt away already today.  This has caused warnings nationwide of flash floods- lets hope it doesn't get too out of hand!

But I'm happy to say that this means I can go for a ride tomorrow on  my day off.  I cant wait!!!

And although I am now a cyclist, I am also a I can't use the word hate.  I need to get out to the moutains soon to bring back the feelings of love for the snow!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Thursday, January 7, 2010

all the more reason

Ok so I'm a wuss, I haven't been riding into work.  I know the temperatures in London aren't all that cold (it's hovering around 0 degrees), but all the snow keeps melting and freezing all day long so it's leading to sheet ice.  I've already done the splits a few times just walking on the pavement!  So at the moment I'm only getting my bike out when I feel safe.  So I'm commuting in on the bus and tube.  Hell if the bus driver is only going 10mph then what luck would I have on the roads!

For 2010 the TfL have increaded the charges on all journeys.  Single journeys on the bus have risen from £1 to £1.20 and journeys on the tube from £1.60 to £1.80.  That really does add up over the course of a week.
So the economic motivation for commuting in on a bike is now even more...motivating.  Bring on some warmer weather!
Also a guy who works at head office of my shop (howies), posted this video on our website blog this morning.  In London we are all trying to steal a minute of time where we can...a need for speed!

Bike vs London Underground from Andreas Kambanis on Vimeo.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

out with the parents

Last summer I went on bike rides along the canals with my dad...but only when my mum would let me hijack her bike.  Since I got my Roll we've been talking about the 3 of us going for a ride together. Well it's a new year and I'm trying to stop just talking about doing things and them.   So today I managed to convince my parents to brave the cold, wrap up warm and get on their bikes.

They moved to London a few years ago and are living along the river front on the north bank of the Thames.  There are some really great bike rides along Wapping waterfront, Limehouse Marina and through to Victoria Park (not that we rode that far today though).

I was looking to forward to showing off my bike, as they hadn't seen it yet.  They were quite impressed with how light weight and agile it is.  And lets face it- it's so much faster than their bikes! ha ha
Our family has always had mountain bikes in the past because we lived near some beautiful forest trails.  A couple of years ago my mum bought an urban hybrid, which she's been enjoying riding around town.  My dad's bike is getting on a bit now, and he's considering buying a new one.  I let him have a little ride on the Roll, and I think he's strongly considering a single speed now...oh yes, a convert!

We turned back home when the night crept in, but we got a beautiful backdrop of Canary Wharf all lit up.

Loving this bike!!!