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!!!