31 July 2012

Product Review: Ally Capellino Tommo Bag...

Time for another cycling product review, and this time it's brought to you by Ian James! He's guest posting on Vélo-City-Girl after falling in love with the Ally Capellino Tommo Bag and insisting on reviewing* it. The Boy has put the bag through its paces on his bike, and brings us this review of the Tommo... 

So, ‘The Boy’ here doing a guest post on a rather lovely bag for Velo-City-Girl. This is entirely because from the moment I saw the Ally Capellino Tommo Despatch Bag I had to have it and have pretty much stole it from Lady Velo! It pretty much hasn’t left my side (on and off my Cannondale) relegating all my other 'Manbags' back into the closet.

The Tommo is a courier style bag with a shoulder strap and a second smaller strap that you can bring up from the hip to attach to main strap in front of the chest: this stops the bag from slipping off your back.  The straps are finished with old-fashioned metal D and O rings so you need to spend a few minutes getting the fit right for you, but once in place they remain tight, it just lends to the classic feel of this bag. There are no plastic clips or synthetic straps here; it feels like a bag you’re going to have for many years to come, both in terms of build quality and looks.

Aesthetically it couldn't be further from the modern courier bag. We are talking rugged canvas in natural tones, with leather straps to buckle it shut and a canvas shoulder strap. It’s very reminiscent of the old style photography kit bags back before nylon and other mod-cons were even invented. The nature of the canvas means the bag will only grow in character as you take it with you on your adventures... and trust me a bag this useful is going to see some action.

Another attribute this bag shares with its real-life courier counterparts is that it’s big; I mean it’s huge – easily big enough to get a laptop, digital camera, chargers and change of clothes for a weekend away. It wasn't until I picked it up that I realized how much space there is inside. This is because the bag is rather cleverly cut so the sides taper in towards the top, so when it’s not got a lot of stuff in, it folds flat and isn't at all cumbersome. Inside are a couple of pockets to put keys, cards and things you want easy to hand, there’s also a compartment suitable to store a laptop computer, while outside the main compartment is a zipped compartment which I use to put spare tubes, my micro-pump and other bike kit.

As big as it is, it doesn't feel at all cumbersome, the lovely canvas while tough and rugged is also soft and pliable. The upshot is the bag is really comfortable to carry, it feels more like a cosy sweater than a bag and probably a large reason why it has rarely left my shoulders.

If there was a couple of things I’d change then I’d say that the laptop compartment is a bit small. I have three laptops and only one of them fits in the slot and only without its protective sleeve. Also a pocket or compartment that could be accessed without having to undo the straps would be useful to gain quick access to a mobile phone. But these are minor gripes, I adore this bag, whether I’m just popping into town, commuting to work or doing my favourite weekend trip up to the Smoke to see the Missus – this is the bag for all occasions. I’ve even have it earmarked as my bag of choice for hand baggage on aeroplane flights.

The Ally Capellino 'Bags for Bikes' range also includes a rucksack and a pannier bag, both built to the same style and exacting standard as the Tommo. Visit the Ally Capellino website to see the full range.

*This bag was loaned to VCG for a review. 

21 July 2012

A Flame in Newham...

With less than a week to go before the start of the Olympics, I must admit my excitement for the event has been building up. First there was the emotional BBC documentary on Victoria Pendleton earlier this week (which featured the Cycletta event which I interviewed her about last year), and now the Torch has finally made it to Newham - home of the events and where I'm from.

As it was passing so close to home there was no way that I could miss it, so I headed out to Green Street Market this morning to have a look...

I loved this old bus... yes, there are lots of corporate names on display - but it was a nice spectacle all the same...
... the back of the bus was even better - spot the lovely bicycle on the back!
This dude on a bike was also part of the parade! He was quite a happy bloke... be ace to know who he is if anyone can tell me...
And here it comes...
...the Olympic Torch! 

Seeing the flame come through the borough was fantastic, as was the atmosphere from the crowds. It made a pleasant change to be chatting and laughing with people in the market, instead of the usual barging to get to the shops and walking through the area with blinkers on. Everyone was in a good mood and had something to smile about. I just hope the 'legacy' the event leaves behind in Newham will be of benefit to the area and all of us who live and work in it.

More photos can be viewed in this flickr set. Now, bring on the cycling events... good luck Team GB! 

18 July 2012

Cosmopolitan Blog Awards 2012...


Well, ring my bell...  this Monday I found out VCG made the final shortlist for the Cosmopolitan Blog Awards! Vélo-City-Girl is up for Best Lifestyle blog... and I owe every single reader / follower a massive "thank you" for nominating me! Running VCG is an absolute pleasure, and it's fantastic to know that it has struck a chord with so many people... and of course brilliant to see Cycling & Fashion (and everything that happens in between on my bike) is being picked-up on a wider scale.

There are some familiar & fabulous blogs who have been nominated in other categories, including Anna of South Moulton St Style (please check her out and give her a vote in the New Fashion Blog category) - so do have a look through all the categories! 

Now, although being shortlisted is a huge achievement, it would be amazing to win the category AND represent for Cycling as a lifestyle option that's enjoyable & fun! So, I'd be over the moon if you would vote for Vélo-City-Girl! You can vote by clicking on the button above or on the right-hand side of the blog... every vote counts, and there is no way I could have done this without the love and support of all of you out there!

Thanks once again for nominating me... lets pedal VCG along further with some votes! x

Massive thank-you to Filip Milovac for the video! 

11 July 2012

Pink Lady...

It's rather hard to believe it's Summer in the UK at the moment. Torrential rain, dark skies and wearing wellies in July? I think we've been robbed of the sunshine for long enough! Something that has injected some rays of light into my world is the colour Pink. Now, I'm not usually a pink girl, but thanks to the Cambridge Satchel Company releasing their limited edition 'Pastel' range of bags, I was inspired to put together a fuchsia-fashion mix (yes, a handbag can set off a whole new outfit for me) which I reckon would look damned ace on the Pashley...or any bicycle for that matter...

  • Levi's Demi Curve Ankle Jeans: I've been converted to their 'Curve ID' range since developing muscular thighs and a rounder bum since taking up cycling. Sadly my trusty Baxter jeans from Topshop were no longer cutting it for my cycling-shape (note to Topshop - a bit more room in the thighs would be nice, thanks) - and these jeans with a decent amount of stretch-elastic in them are a godsend.
  • Converse All Stars: You can not go wrong with a pair of Chucks! Seriously comfy classics that are also a joy to cycle in... rain or shine these work.
  • Frida Khalo Brooch by Tatty Devine: Fearless Frida... feminist icon and a floral fancy. Made by the fancy-fillies at Tatty Devine... Yep - that's a whole lotta F's there. It's a pretty brooch & will look good teamed with almost anything. Investment.
  • Essie nail colour in 'Super bossa nova': this will certainly look bright against your handle-grips! Essie make some pretty durable colours, so should last the distance when you're on your bike.
  • Pink Ray-Bans: I love how summery this colour is. The Wayferer will never go out of style (I swear by my tortoiseshell ones) and these ones will certainly inject some colour on your face!
  • Rose-Pink Satchel by the Cambridge Satchel Company: The bag that set this whole thing off. I've been a long-time fan of the CamSatchCo - even though I have a vast amount of handbags (anyone who knows me can vouch for this), my 13" brown satchel rarely leaves my side. Incredibly study and well crafted bags, they last the distance & can cope being bashed about on a bike ride.  Their limited edition 'Pastel' collection is ridiculously pretty and this pink one is calling my name...

Hope this has injected a bit of sunshine into your day... Lady V x


8 July 2012

London Nocturne 2012...

The London Nocturne came back to the streets of Smithfield Market last month. With another eclectic mix of bikes and varied agility races, there was something there to please everyone...
Penny Farthings arriving for the 18:50 pm race...

Gent on a Guv'nor - not sure he was racing though!

Team preparations... 

Fast riding in the Leigh Day & Co Kermesse, which I especially enjoyed watching...

Of course while I was there, I was on a mission to hunt for more cycling-fashion! It was brilliant to see some new faces amongst the established cycling brands with pop-up stalls at the event - one of which was the Michaux Club
Founded by Rachel Bonney (pictured above), the Michaux bag range began when Rachel decided to make a cycling bag for herself which she could "wear comfortably, stay waterproof and be saftey conscious on the roads and also look good in work meetings and out socilising". The result of which saw her bags becoming popular amongst her friends & demand from the public for her bags and range of accessories...
With a new range of canvas & leather handbags coming out later this summer, Michaux is certainly a brand to keep an eye on and is totally on my cycle-style radar.

Sadly I couldn't stay until the very end to see all the racing events, but you can see the rest of my London Nocturne photos here on Flickr.
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