23 September 2012

This Little Clubman Went To Market...

All photography by Ian James.

Three weeks on with the Clubman Urban and it's become my main commuting bike... something which has taken me by surprise. This doesn't mean Frankie has been banished to the back of the cupboard forever (never!), but it's become an unexpected addictive joy riding the Fixed Gear to the office. I finally had a chance this weekend with The Boy to take it out further than my working commute with a Saturday cycle to one of my favourite spots in London, Maltby Street.

My route to Maltby and back is a 11 mile round trip - one that I regularly ride along the CS3 through Limehouse to Tower Gateway, turning onto Tower Bridge Approach and then weaving into the Market.

The weight of the bike on this route made a huge difference. Being much lighter than what I'm used to, it wasn't as much of a struggle cycling up the Canning Town Flyover & and some other steeper (for me anyway) climbs of the route. Of course with every climb there must be a descent... something which I'm learning to get better at on the Clubman. It's still feels very "flighty" when coming downhill, even when in the highest gear so taking my time doing this while getting used to the change of bike seems to work better.

Arriving after our 5.5 mile ride, it was time to chow-down on some of the delicious treats on offer...
Our foodie-fuel stops for the day were @CornishGrill at Maltby Street, where the lovely Matt made sure we were suitably fed, and Little Bird London Gin for a cheeky little Negroni...

No food-shopping happened this Saturday being on the Clubman: when it comes to storage, this isn't the same as the Princess due to the lack of Pannier facilities. I'm still investigating the possibility of more storage space with larger Saddle / Handlebar Bags (and finding the best messenger bag or rucksack) but as this was just a flying visit to the Market, this was the perfect bike for me to get there & back home. When it came to my handbag for the day (because lets face it, I don't go anywhere without one), I used my Cyclodelic Saddle Bag - attaching it to the handlebars!

There will be more to come on the Clubman... especially seeing how it handles with the change of season which is hitting London now...

Further photography can be viewed in this flickr set by Ian James

19 September 2012

The Cycle Show 2012 - NEC Birmingham...

We've witnessed an epic summer of cycling this year in the UK, so how does a large event involving a lot more bikes sound?

The UK's number one cycling exhibition returns to the NEC Birmingham on 28th - 30th September!

Hosting some of the best known cycling brands (including some loved here on VCG), it's a great chance to check out some of the latest bikes and accessories coming in 2013. There is something for everyone at the show: from the more hands-on features like the Outdoor Mountain Bike test track and the BMX arena, to something for any mini-cyclists (with Kids tickets at just £1) out there with the Children's Test Track.

Of course, it wouldn't be right if GB's medal success wasn't part of the event! Cycling stars of the Olympic and Paralympic Games including Joanna Roswell, Lizzie Armistead and Sarah Storey will be at The Cycle Show across the weekend.

And, especially for the lovely readers and followers of my blog, there is a discount offer on tickets! Just enter the discount code LADYV to purchase a ticket for £12 in advance (normally £16 on the door).

For more information and to purchase a ticket please visit: www.cycleshow.co.uk/LADYV - and don't forget that discount code!

14 September 2012

Velodrome Magic & Paralympic Dreams...

"The greatest show on Earth" came to an end with the London 2012 Paralympics closing ceremony on Sunday. After applying for Track Cycling events at the Olympics & Paralympic Games (and sadly not winning any tickets in the lottery) The Boy and I were lucky enough to be invited to the Velodrome for the penultimate Sunday morning session...
The phrase has been used many times over for the games but it has to be said, it was extremely inspirational to watch the Paralympic Cyclists & be so close to the action too!
We attended the Velodrome as guests of adidas for their 'Front Line to Start Line' campaign. They were the official sportswear provider for the Olympic and Paralympic Games (something which I was vocal about earlier this year). Alongside this, adidas are also supporting the British Paralympic Association (BPA). Together, they have launched a limited edition t-shirt in partnership with Help for Heroes (H4H) to help injured service men and woman progress in competitive sport. Cycling stars from the games including Team GB member Laura Trott and Jon-Allen Butterworth (an ex RAF Serviceman) from the Paralympic Team are amongst those supporting the range...

For every one of the t-shirts sold, £5 will go directly to the BPA to support the 'Front Line to Start Line' campaign. The money that adidas hopes to raise from the campaign will help 'Front Line to Start Line' increase the number of athletes achieve their sporting dreams and support future Paralympians from a military background... a rather worthy cause indeed.

The T-Shirts, which are available until the 3rd October 2012 can be bought directly from adidas shops and their online store, and are also available from John Lewis.

Further photos from the day can be viewed in this flickr set.

4 September 2012

Cometh the Clubman...

The Pashley Clubman is here...
All photography by Ian James*

So, you may have seen me tweeting about an exciting bike-related update coming to VCG, and last week it arrived in the form of the Clubman Urban! I'm over the moon to finally have this wonder for a review*, courtesy of Pashley.

The Clubman arrived direct from the factory in Stratford-upon-Avon, boxed-up and needing assembling. Now, I'm not going to lie - I've never put a bike together in my life (something I will rectify) and I wasn't going to risk "building" the Clubman and getting it very wrong... so I owe a massive thanks to the Look Mum No Hands workshop for bringing the bike to life.

Aesthetically the Clubman is a retro thrill. The bike has a classic stripped-down look: a Reynolds 531 Frame (constructed traditionally with butted steel tubes brazed into lugs) and its simple & non-fussy ivory paint job is gorgeous. This, teamed with the chrome detailing throughout the bike makes a stunning combination. 
The 'Major Taylor' style drop bars wrapped in brown Brooks leather tape and matching Brooks Swift Saddle are beautiful finishing touches to the bike. 

Of course, aesthetics is one matter - riding a Clubman is quite another. This Urban is the S3X-3 speed fixed gear version. Before Saturday, I'd never ridden a fixie bike before...
Having been on a rather different breed of Pashley for the past two years, getting on the Clubman has started off a cycling education! Getting it in my head "no coasting... keep pedaling... do not slam on the brake" (yes, ONE brake) was my mantra for the day riding it back home. This week I'll be commuting on the Clubman - already I can say the ride to work & back on Monday was a whole new experience...

Clearly this isn't all I have to say or have planned on the Clubman... more detailed reviews and cycling trips will be coming up over time on here while I have her. Let this serve as an introduction to this little light beauty... and another chapter in my love affair with Pashley.

*more photos in this Flickr Set by Ian James

*The Clubman was kindly loaned to VCG for a review / test ride. 
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