29 March 2010

Work it

Back on the Saddle after a slight absence - I've finally started cycling into work :)

Last Friday I received my set of keys to the secure Cycle Shed for staff on Campus, meaning that I have a safe location to lock Frankie in. Saturday was the day: I was going into the office and with there being no DLR running, riding in was the perfect answer. Although I've done a practice-ride to the office, this was a bit of a big deal for me, as I was doing it without the guidance of The Boy: cycling alone on the road = huge.

Left home at a reasonably early hour, so that I didn't get hooked up in any Saturday-traffic. This was a wise move as the main road that I had to take was pretty quiet - and there was a moment where I almost came off the bike, which shook me up! I'd not had an incident on it yet, so that was bound to happen at some point... and I now have my 1st cycling-related injury: a cut on one of my Knuckles - Ouch! Funny thing is, I didn't even realise my Knuckle was busted until I got into work and the adrenalin had calmed down. To be frank, I had more fear that I damaged Frankie... thankfully not.

Made it into work with no further incident and locked her up in the Cycle Shed - which looks a bit like a massive Greenhouse. There is a small gap between the door and the ground, which explains the untidy leaves & such scattered around:
No other cyclists were in work on Saturday (probably out having a fun ride I expect), so it was just Frankie alone in there. This was also the 1st time that I've left my bike unattended. Even though everything was locked and secure and I can see the Shed from my office window, I still had feelings of paranoia about leaving her. I know that a Pashley parked in there will draw attention from the other cyclists that use the sheds... I hope I can meet the other members of staff that use it at some stage too.

Anyway - other than the slight knuckle dusting I got, the ride was excellent! I was full of energy when I arrived at work, which made a change to how I usually feel. It was a million times better than getting on the DLR & put me in such a good mood. Sadly I couldn't ride into work this morning to repeat that sensation: I'm not exactly 100% well & having dizzy spells on and off, so cycling in would not have been wise for anyone! Actually sucked being on the DLR too. Fingers crossed I'll be riding in again this week...


25 March 2010

I'll be behind the Bike Sheds...

I got the news I was hoping for this morning: I have a bay in the secure Bike Shed at my workplace! Put in an application for one last week etc and its all been sorted... I'll be given the key tomorrow morning, so I can finally start riding Frankie into work. Coming into the office on Saturday (which isn't an ideal weekend, but work needs doing & I certainly won't say no to the overtime...) and the DLR is down - how else to get in but in style on a Pashley, right? The path to work should be pretty quiet too as I'm planning on leaving home early. Just hope that the weather holds up & I cycle in without any issues. This will be my 1st proper ride 'alone' - no Boy this weekend to guide me on his wheels. Anyway - I'll no doubt blog about the ride with pictures - will be iPhone quality only, as I don't want to lug my D80 around.

Speaking of pictures, an email I got from Clarins this morning which made me smile. They're currently advertising beauty products with the aid of this image:

I can't say that I'll be riding around in that outfit with a touch of Clarins on my skin, but it's nice to see the Bicycle being used in advertising in a kinda Chic / Cool & sexy way!

17 March 2010

Time apart...

The feelings of attachment to my Pashley are official: this weekend will be my first without Frankie and I'm going to miss her terribly! I'm heading to Portsmouth to see The Boy for the weekend, but will not be taking her with me. As I'm still not cycling to work yet (currently sorting out a personal Bay in the secure Bike Parking sheds for staff on the Campus), I can't peddle her in on Friday & have her parked-up someplace secure. I'm also no where near the point of being brave enough to ride to Waterloo from East London...

When the time does come for me to take Frankie to Portsmouth, I just know that it's going to be fabulous. The Boy lives in Old Portsmouth, so he is not far from the seafront. The idea of riding along that on a warm Spring or Summers day makes me smile a lot. The area is quite smooth too, so it will make for a great riding experience. Seeing this post by Dottie over on the rater nice "Lets Go Ride a Bike" has really got me thinking about the joys of Spring riding by the water too... beautiful! I must admit, I do envy The Boy when it comes to his journey to work on his bike, as he gets to take in such a lovely sea view every day.

In the meantime, I can work on more chic items to add to the Cycle-Wardrobe for riding in the Sunshine. Yesterday, these 2 chic-hits were ordered and should be with me tomorrow:

Chloé 'Jackson' enamel pendant - which I think would go rather well with a simple dress or skirt / shorts & tee combination...

Chloé square framed Sunglasses - nice retro shape to these & perfect for riding in the sunshine & stopping the sun-glare!...
Anyway... lets hope the bike withdrawal isn't too bad this weekend :)

13 March 2010

Routes & Rides

After nearly a week of not riding I was back on Frankie* today. There was the plan of heading out for rides in the week but due to working late (boo) and meeting up with friends (yay!), it didn't quite happen. It was great to get back on the Saddle today & continue finding my cycle legs. As it was just a casual ride to work out a cycle route, it called for casual cycle-chic - or my take on it at least...

Hat: Missoni
Track Top: Emilo Pucci for Adidas
Scoop Neck Top: Topshop
Jeans: Topshop
Trainers: Adidas

Bagwise - practical and the right size to fit in Frankie's basket: a Longchamp Le Pliage tote in Lilac:
I still need to decide on which Pannier I want, as quite a few have caught my eye....!

The cycle-plan I did today was the one for work, when I start riding Frankie to the office. I live pretty close to work (less than a 20 min journey, including the train), so riding-in would not be a huge mission. It would also be much nicer than being on a crammed DLR! Although I "know" the route, it's not that straightforward on foot or by pedal: there is Dual Carriageway to tackle... something that I'm not quite ready to be riding along as a still "inexperienced" cyclist. I've found one that I can happily use to get to work & back, which avoids the Carriageway. It also doesn't force me to cycle on the pavement and annoy people :) Sadly, the main Cycle-Path on this route isn't very well marked out at all - I guess as a cyclist, I'm now noticing these things, which I go past every day. I do wonder if my local council will get round to re-marking & painting it...

It was an enjoyable ride: The Boy came up to London this weekend with his bike, so again I had that much appreciated guidance & my Cycle Partner :) I'm looking forwards to eventually riding Frankie into work - sorting out the route today was a good idea & has boosted my confidence about doing it...

* The Pashley Princess has a name!

10 March 2010

Prêt-à-Porter - Vélo Style...

I'm amazed at how a bicycle can have an influence on a persons wardrobe and style... Since making the decision that a Pashley Princess was the bike for me, a wardrobe revolution was put in motion & is gathering pace!

Some of this style inspiration has come to me in many guises, including:
  • the visual romance of the bicycle itself: a traditional loop-frame like this conjures up images of classic style & grace. Add to this the quintessential Britishness of a Princess, and you get the idea of the style direction it may point you towards
  • international cycle-fashionistas, thanks to the excellent blogs/sites that I've come across. From those listed on here, to the blogs that I've yet to discover - there is so much out there & it's fabulous to look at the cycle-chic all over the world & gather inspiration from it
  • the corner of the City I live in and come from: East London. The City as a whole is quite a fashionable place, but there is something unique about East LDN and the occasionally quirky nature of its cycling fashionistas.
I've been adding various pieces to my wardrobe, including vintage-style Tea Dresses & Kelly Handbags (think "the girls from Mad Men" if that helps - also a huge influence), which will eventually have their cycling debut... perhaps when the weather is kinder! Along with Dresses, the other staple that I'm becoming more enamored with are Smart Shorts, which I think will be great for Cycling in. I have a few pairs already, but a new pair became one of the latest additions to my "Wardrobe Revolution" yesterday, along with the following pieces from Topshop.com:

(Coloured Tights will be thrown into the mix at some point, to keep it lively & add a touch of quirk to the look.)

I suspect that my cycle-fashion quest will continue & will of course be blogged about here. I'm also very excited at the idea of submitting to the 'Wardrobe Remix' on the very fashionable Vélo-Vogue blog. Of course, this will be done with the Pashley in shot... a formal introduction to her will follow in my next blog update.

So, are there any other cyclists out there (Male or Female), who have found their bike has had a direct influence on their style of dress?

    7 March 2010

    Girl Gets Bike.

    Cable Street, East London.

    I am now the proud owner of a Pashley Princess Classic!

    The day started off on a good note: no rain & bright sunshine - which is exactly what I'd hoped for... not to say that I'm going to be a fairweather rider, but I really didn't want my 1st experience of riding through the city to be in the wind and rain.

    As the weather was nice but stil pretty cold, I went for the cycle-outfit that I thought would be practical for the weather, but still stylish (it was really too chilly for one of my new tea dresses):

    Coat: Warehouse
    Jeans: Topshop
    Vintage Saddle Bag: Absolute Vintage

    I also had on a wonderful vintage diamante Bike Brooch that I bought & promised I'd wear the day I went to collect the Pashley :)

    The Boy set off on his Ridgeback & I made my way on the train to London Bridge to meet him there, as he was going to be my guide home... and make sure that I didn't break my arse attempting to cycle! It was funny being sat on the Underground, knowing that this wasn't going to be my transport back to base. Not going to lie - there was a real element of nerves and fear about cycling back home, after having not been on a bike for years & using real roads... but of course I was excited about it too.

    Got to On Your Bike, met The Boy & sorted out the last of the CycleScheme paperwork. When the man dealing with me wheeled out the Pashley from the storeroom, my heart melted - it was glorious, graceful & mine. This was also the 1st time that The Boy had seen the Pashley and he was also very impressed with how great it looked too. They were very helpful in OYB: the lights had already been fitted for me, and they made sure that the Saddle and Bars were the correct height and comfortable before I set off.

    And then it was all down to me.

    We walked our bikes to a quiet area near to Monument station (I didn't realise such a thing existed) and I had a practice-cycle. It was certainly much needed, as I really couldn't find my balance for a while which was a worry for both of us! The lack of balance was a combination of getting used to being back on a bike, building my confidence up & not wanting to smash the Pashley on its 1st outing! Eventually that old adage "you never forget how to ride a bike" kicked in, and I was doing it! We set off on the planned cycle-route back to East London - I rode in front & Boy followed, to watch how I cycled & I know to keep an eye on me. Other than being really wary of the cars on the road, it was such a free feeling. Already I predict my addiction to cycling and the Pashley will be pretty big...

    I feel that I'm not quite at the point of being able to write a full review on it, even after having done the ride home. There is still so much to learn about the Pashley: exactly how it handles etc. What I can say though: the ride was smooth, and more than enjoyable & has got me psyched-up about cycling as much as I can. It's a beautiful example of craftmanship & really captures the romance of riding.

    Getting back on the Saddle (especially this one) may have been the best decision I've made in a long time.

    2 March 2010

    The Cycle Revolution

    So, lets get this started...

    Even at 20something, I'm nowhere near as accomplished as the bloggers I've listed as my inspiration here. I'm essentially a new girl to the world of Cycling - both as an adult & in this City.

    The last time I actually owned a bike was years ago: I'd been given my sister's BMX, which had been lovingly restored by our older brother. It was simple (if not a little boyish), but I loved it. He taught me how to ride on it & used to take me to Gloucester Park on a weekend to go cycling & build up my confidence on 2 wheels. As I got older I started to ride less & eventually stopped all together, but the desire to pick it back up was still there. Back then it was 'easy cycling': around the park, down to the shops or with friends after school - carefree and simple. As an adult, the idea of it was taking on a whole new perspective: Safety (not that I have a problem with this), being aware of cars & traffic... trying not to become pavement pizza. In all honestly, the idea of riding around my own beautiful City gave me the fear... something that I didn't want at all.

    Fast forward to now & all I can think about is getting back on a bike - and preferably the one that I'd been lusting after for ages. My boyfriend rides and is a keen and experienced cyclist. He's been a major source of encouragement of getting me back on the Saddle, and making me realise that I didn't have to be a top athlete or something to own a bike and just enjoy riding. My idea of it being a world dominated by aggressive commuting riders who have the fastest bikes with 101 gears, Lycra outfits (no thanks) & all the cycling knowledge ever kinda put me off & honestly made me feel that maybe it's not for me. But thanks to blogs like the ones listed & The Boy I've realised it's not all like that - and I can do this just for me & the sheer enjoyment of riding... and hopefully looking as chic as hell on my wheels!

    This weekend it all begins: I'll be heading to OnYourBike with The Boy to collect my new ride that's been in their storeroom waiting for me: a black Pashley Princess Classic.This is the bike that I've been lusting after for so long...  a simple and absolutely beautiful piece of traditional bicycle craftsmanship. Combining this with my love of Photography, Fashion & London, I'll be noting all things 'bike & visual' here.

    There is no real structure to this blog - it's going to be side-project to keep track of all things cycle, chic and enjoyable about riding... comments & followers are more than welcome... and I'll also be tweeting too - link is on the right of the blog (in red) if you care to follow :)
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