30 May 2011

Cycletta: An interview with Victoria Pendleton...

Photo from Grazia photoshoot, taken by David Yeo.

A fantastic opportunity came up for Vélo-City-Girl... I recently took part in a Bloggers Conference to interview World & Olympic Cycling champion Victoria PendletonAfter having watched her win Gold in Beijing 2008, this was a very exciting chance to be given!

I was invited to the conference to speak to Victoria about Cycletta: a series of cycling events created to encourage women to take up cycling, have fun doing so and build up confidence on two wheels. As the primary ambassador for Cycletta, Victoria is committed to inspiring more women to take up cycling as a meaningful lifestyle pursuit. This was a brilliant chance to ask Victoria about her thoughts on the event for the more leisurely rider, and of course talk about fashion on two wheels... 


You've been listed by Red Magazine as one of the most influential women of 2011. With the launch of Cycletta, how do you hope to inspire and influence more women into cycling?

The idea is to give women the opportunity to cycle on traffic free roads, and to make it as appealing as possible. I think that women tend to band together and do things in large groups fairly easily. We [as women] encourage each other and support each other, and I really wanted to get involved with this event to promote it. I think it's a great opportunity, if I can encourage more women to cycle. 

I only started cycling a year ago, and admit to initially finding it intimidating after having not been on a bike since I was 18! With you being the Ambassador for Cycletta, what do you believe are the advantages of having "Women Only" cycling events and do you feel this is a positive thing?

Yeah - I think so! The biggest draw for me is the traffic free roads, because there are a lot of women that lack confidence on the roads on their bikes There are a lot of women who are put off cycling by the amount of traffic on the roads. I think being given the chance to ride in a traffic free environment takes away that stress a bit, so that you can just enjoy what you're doing, and hopefully gain something positive from it & take forward with you. Knowing what it's like to train and ride with men, I know can get a bit competitive! Although I admit to being a competitive woman myself, this element may not appeal to all women, so removing any competitiveness may make it more approachable and encourage more women to come along to the event.

This ties in nicely with the three levels of cycling ability that are covered in the event. It's fantastic that it isn't just a "race to the end", as different people cycle at different paces. I'll be taking part in the event as a "Leisure / Commuter" rider on my Pashley Princess - clearly not a sporting bike, but that's the level of cycling that I enjoy. What would be your advice to other women like me who enjoy leisurely rides, who are thinking of taking part in Cycletta?

A Pashley Princess? Oooh, lovely! I think that when you cycle in a group like this, it will probably split out naturally, so those who want to go faster end up at the front, medium pace riders in the middle and so on. Of course, your level of ability and the machine you are riding will have a big impact on the distribution of riders. You'll probably end up cycling with people on the same level as you, so it will just naturally balance itself out. I say give yourself plenty of space and ride within your limits and don't force yourself to go beyond your own personal comfort zone. It's one of the best things that you can do, especially on a ride like this.

Now, I must ask some fashion based questions, as my cycling blog focuses a lot on Fashion on two wheels & "keeping it chic" while riding. When you are away from the track and not training, what would be the style of bike you ride for leisure?

I'm usually training 6 days a week on my bike, but when I'm not, I have an old Shopper Bike... I don't even know how old it is! It's a proper old black frame with fat pedals, massive handlebars and Panniers - it's ancient! I've got to remember though on that bike, going up hill I really can't give it too much welly because it's a bit flexible! I would love a new bike with a basket on the front, but I haven't found the right one yet. 

Victoria modelling the Wayne Hemingway "Union Flag" dress


We are all very familiar with you in your athletic clothing when competing in Championship and Olympic events, but have also seen you away from that style with some of the beautiful photo shoots you have taken part in! What would your day to day cycling wardrobe consist of?

Having also done a photo shoot recently dressed in  full Victorian clothing, I know that anything has to be more comfortable than that on a bike! When I do cycle into town, I'd probably be wearing flat Ballet Pumps, a nice little Blouse and some Skinny Jeans and probably my Mac - there is never a situation when a Mac is not appropriate to cycle in! It's difficult sometimes in Jeans when you're sat up on the saddle, so I'd insure the length of the top that you cycle in is ok. Don't wear too little a Blouse because obviously no one wants to see your "builders bum" when you take your Mac off! Wearing a decent length t-shirt would help avoid that!

Victoria - thank you so much for answering my questions today in regards to Cycling and Fashion! What would be your three top tips for all riders taking part in the Cycletta events?

My three top tips would be: 
1) Go at your own pace
2) Invest in some cycle shorts - this is always a good idea!
3) Make sure that you are adequately hydrated and have some food / energy bars on you - if you run out of energy it's no fun. I say be well prepared like a girl scout! 

****
There are two Cycletta events scheduled for 2011:
Cycletta South: Whipsnade Park on Sunday 11th September
Cycletta North: Tatton Park on Sunday 2nd October

Entry to the events cost £45 and the deadline for entry is 31st July 2011. 
Registration and full event information can be found on : www.cycletta.co.uk
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25 May 2011

Lady in Paris...

Saint-Michel (Paris Métro) - 2004.


If I remember the outfit correctly...
Top: Urban Outfitters
Skirt: Once a pair of Levi's 501 made into a skirt!
Sandals: Birkenstock

I found this picture during the massive clear-out of my bedroom. It was taken in August 2004... Memories that come back: I'd just finished Uni & was out in Paris with 2 of my best friends for a short break / friends birthday celebration. 

This was long before the days of Lady Vélo happening, but take a look... even back then I sure had an eye for a pretty bike. Next time I'm there, I have to see Paris on two wheels :)
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23 May 2011

Bikes and Coffee...

There is a wonderful relationship between Cycling and Coffee. This is something that makes me rather happy... especially when it's a combination of beautiful bikes and a beautiful brew :)

I attended the first CoffeeSaturday Pop-Up event at Prufrock Coffee last weekend, with The Boy*.

We didn't cycle there, as I was still slightly under the weather & he needed to get his Speculoos for the Bake-Off there in one piece! However, in between sampling all the biscuits and drinking lovely coffee throughout the day, I did manage to do a lot of Bicycle spotting:

in the window of Prufrock Coffee

locked-up on Leather Lane


on Hatton Garden with a helmet

Gorgeous Guv'nor in St John's Square

All of these two-wheeled beauties were either inside of or very close to coffee houses - something tells me I'll be seeing a lot more of this on my Coffee / Cycling date this weekend!

*Yes - "The Boy" finally has his blog up and running... do go and have a look :) 
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19 May 2011

Prehistoric Pleasure...

Yesterday morning took a very happy turn (I have a rotten Cold & Asthma issues at the moment) when the Post Man knocked on my Door. I wasn't expecting a delivery on Wednesday, but those girls at Tatty Devine are pretty fast indeed...


 This is my awesome "thank you" present for being Customer of the Month!
I've wanted this Dinosaur Necklace for ages, so thank you very much TD for asking - amazed I got it :)
Expect to see the debut of Dina the Dino on my Pashley soon.

And I have to say, this made me smile when I saw it on Wednesday afternoon:

Front Page joy for the Pashley & Cycling in style... huzzah!
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17 May 2011

Devine Intervention...

Now, I'm guessing most of you may have realised I am a massive Tatty Devine fan & have been collecting their pieces for a while. Their beautiful jewellery features very heavily in my style & pops up frequently in my "Bike Wardrobe Remixing" posts. So, it's an absolute pleasure (whilst squealing like an overexcited Seal Pup) to announce that Tatty Devine named me their "Customer of the Month" for May!


I was absolutely over the moon when I received an email last week from the lovely Sonja at Tatty Devine to say that I had been chosen. It was a total joy to answer the questions, and a challenge to myself to keep my lips sealed until it was official :)

To know that Tatty Devine has been reading and like Vélo-City-Girl is a total honour - not just for me personally as a fan, but for the Blog & the message of riding in style. I've only been Cycling & Blogging for just over a year, so to have one of your biggest fashion inspirations recognise the Blog and its theme is absolutely fantastic. This feels like wonderful exposure for keeping it chic on 2 wheels, and hopefully inspiration for more of us to do it!

Anyway - you can read the full interview and see pictures (including my ever growing collection) on the Tatty Devine Blog, so PLEASE check it out... and be sure to peroooze the jewellery also:


Once again, thank you so much Ladies... expect to see more Lady Vélo in Tatty Devine for sure! x
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16 May 2011

Windows into Bike Fashion...

I've been spotting a lot of bikes in fashion advertising at the moment.
This is no bad thing - anywhere I see cycling and fashion being mixed together is always a happy place for me!

Stripes + Spokes

Bermuda's & Basket

Saddle and Shorts

I'm enjoying seeing window displays like these around London... fingers crossed it encourages more people to cycle & perhaps with a bit of flare... you never know, eh? 
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8 May 2011

Two-wheeled beauty...

Sometimes, there is nothing better than seeing a beauty on a bike.

Spotted her on Shoreditch High Street, waiting at the Traffic Lights. I loved her gorgeous Pashley and relaxed outfit. Also loved the shopping poking out the top of the basket - always a nice touch.

There were a lot of chic girls on pretty bikes around Shoreditch yesterday - a lot of whom I've taken some fashion inspiration from... so thanks Ladies... keep it gorgeous, innit? :) 
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5 May 2011

Loving Aubin & Wills...

The latest acquisition to my cycling wardrobe arrived yesterday.

Ever since walking into Aubin and Wills to collect my Tweed Run pack, I've been in love with their clothing. I'll be perfectly frank; I'd never ventured into an A&W before, and had no clue how gorgeous their line is. Totally resisted buying a whole new outfit for the Tweed Run when I walked in there - that was hard...

Thanks to my regular clothing haunt The Outnet, I picked up this vest top for just £12. It's another item that will be ideal to cycle in - not too hot, freedom for your arms & has a very British feel to it. A&W clothes look like a perfect match to the Pashley I say :) 
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2 May 2011

Discovering London...

Thanks to "The Wedding" and May Day, London was blessed with another long Bank Holiday Weekend - so what better way to spend the Sunday than a on a cycling Tweet-up? We met-up with the lovely @thefixedfactor for a cycle exploration of London. The route (which was suggested by Simon and planned by The Boy) covered some of the Docklands and the South East, including my old University stomping ground, Greenwich.

The weather is still being kind for the BH Weekends, so riding in a T-Shirt and Jeans combo was not out of the question... here was my Bike Wardrobe for the day:
Sunglasses: Gucci
Earrings: Grandmothers
Necklace: Tatty Devine
T-Shirt: See by Chloé
Watch: Sekonda
Jeans: Topshop
Sandals: New Look

Meeting point was 10:30a.m St Pauls. It was nice to get into Central London early - hardly much traffic & a relaxed ride. Parked-up at Paul for Coffee & Pastries to get us ready for the day ahead:
The Pashley and the Ridgeback...

Simon's Condor Pista - beautiful bike!

Once fuelled-up, we headed for the Docklands & South of the River...

Now if you follow me on Twitter, you know there is no way that I can't not mention food in the day :) Lunch Stop was at the Trafalgar Tavern - a beautiful pub in Greenwich that I have not been to since I left Uni - the food there is rather "Nom" & exactly what our bodies needed (along with some liquid refreshment, of course)

One of the most enchanting parts of the ride was "discovering" Russia Dock Woodland. It wasn't a part of our loosely plotted route & none of us knew that the place existed! It was a lovely surprise on our cycling meander, with some lovely bits of nature and life dotted along the way...

It really was a fantastic day, and such a brilliant way to explore more of the City!
Thank you Ian for the route and Simon for the suggestion... and thank you BOTH taking turns in carrying my Pashley up and down the stairs we encountered on the day - you are both utter Gentleman!
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