18 December 2013

Product Review: Tracey Neuls Bike Fern Boot...

I had lots of fun playing dress-up in her Redchurch Street shop, and fell for her bike shoe collection in a big way, so I couldn't wait to put Tracey Neuls' Bike Fern Boot to the VCG test in the city...

16 November 2013

Where'd You Go, Vélo?

You could call this blog post rather out of character for VCG, but it's been rather out of character that I've not posted for a couple of months… and I feel I owe an explanation as to why. Things have been a little hectic on the other side of this screen, in a mixture of both good and bad...

15 September 2013

Tracey Neuls for Tokyobike - Cycling Shoe...

This week I visited Tracey Neuls in Shoreditch. As an East London girl, I cycle around Brick Lane a lot & often stop to window shop at the hanging display in her Redchurch Street store... so it was a pleasure to be invited to spend an afternoon trying on her stunning shoes, and have a preview of her exclusive shoe collaboration with Tokyobike for the London Design Festival 2013.

8 September 2013

Bicycle Film Festival 2013: 3 - 6 October

Next month sees the return of one of my favourite cycling events to London... the Bicycle Film Festival! 

October marks the tenth season of the BFF in the UK. This multi-faceted global event, travels to over 25 cities each year with the aim of encouraging global participation & awareness of cycling in all its wonderful forms.

The four day festival will play host to a mix of events including fashion, music and art alongside films. Highlights include the annual bike polo tournament and a led road ride with starting at Athlon Sports both on Sunday October 6. The BFF will also partner with VeloJam, the all women’s track racing day at Herne Hill Velodrome on Saturday October 5.

Last year I had the pleasure of speaking on the TFL Cycling Symposium looking at the future of cycling in London... this year it returns for the second time on 4th October, with unique viewpoints from a broad range of speakers.

As well as feature films including Moonrider and Janapar, the festival will also show collection of emotive short films from around the world.

The BFF runs from 3 - 6 October. Full program details and up to date information on the festival can be found on bicyclefilmfestival.com and tickets can be purchased from the Barbican box office or online at barbican.org.uk/film 

27 August 2013

Product Review: Michaux Shadow Saddle Bag...

"Sleek and stylish" were the first words that came to mind when I opened my delivery from Michaux. After reviewing their Weekender Bag, I was asked to review* their new Shadow Saddle Bag & couldn't wait to put it to the test...

The Shadow Saddle Bag is made from waterproof bonded canvas and finished with leather trims, featuring the signature Michaux reflective 3M Scotchlite material, to enhance visibility when riding. It's immediate to the touch that the quality of the canvas used is very high, and as with the Weekender, the Shadow feels like it's built to last.
The versatility of the Shadow is a huge plus on the cycle style and practicality stakes: with its adaptable leather straps & metal hoops it can be attached to the back of your saddle or handlebars OR easily convert into a shoulder bag / mini backpack...
(on this occasion I didn't attach the straps to the half-moon hoop, but it still sat well on my back)

Heading out for an easy ride around Southsea and my usual tea/coffee stop, the size of the Shadow was ideal for me to use it as my handbag for the day. The interior was big enough for me to carry around my daily essentials like my purse, keys, phone, inhaler and make-up - all held securely in place...

If you're on the lookout for a larger bag in a similar design to carry all your work bits and bike lock in, they are available from Michaux: the Shadow however is ideal for a leisurely ride or a weekend pootle on your bike. The Shadow is small, stylish and secure: small enough to attach to my saddle, along with looking good against the bike, and with its strong leather straps and metal fasteners, it's almost impossible for the bag to come away while riding. It also sits in place incredibly well if you wear as a backpack while cycling.

I'm pleased and excited to see the direction designer Rachel Bonney has taken with her new design, making a smaller handbag perfect for when you are on your bike and and don't plan on carrying lots of stuff around. Once again, Michaux show that style doesn't have to be sacrificed for practicality - it's a fashionable merging of the two, and with its classic design it's sure to be used rather often while off the bike too.

The Shadow Saddle Bag retails for £150 & is available in Black, Olive or Claret from Michaux.

*This bag was kindly gifted to VCG by Michaux for a review. 

4 August 2013

Cycle Saturday: Filming with Newsnight and a final hurrah...

(UPDATE: The feature is up on the BBC News Magazine site, which can be viewed anywhere in the world! Click here for article and video)

I was back out on my Pashley Princess yesterday for a ride to Broadway Market (fast becoming a favourite place to ride to) for one of my Cycle Saturdays with The Boy. This one was a bit different though, as I spent the morning filming a piece for Newsnight with BBC Hague correspondent Anna Holligan...
Keen cyclist Anna, along with producer Hannah & camera man / editor Suraj set off from The Netherlands on 31st July for a grand bike tour to London. I was thrilled to be asked to be a part of her journey, taking about what it's like cycling in London. Thankfully the August weather held out for a sunny day of riding and recording at Lock 7 Cycle Cafe...
It was an absolute pleasure meeting Anna, Hannah and Suraj, chatting about Anna's experiences of cycling Dutch style vs London... and having a go on her Burgers bicycle: my FIRST time trying out a back-pedal break system! The cycling feature will be shown on Newsnight next Wednesday at 22:30 on BBC2.

Saturday was also the final hurrah for the Clubman. After enjoying it for a very extended loan, it's now dismantled and packed up for its return to Stratford-upon-Avon... but not before The Boy took it out for a final spin around East London with me!

(a mention for Mr James' Cycle Style)
Storm Cap - Vulpine
Merino Button Jersey: Vulpine
Jeans: Diesel
Shades: Chanel
Trainers: adidas
Bag: Crumpler

Certainly a new riding experience to what I'm used to, the Major Taylor bars meant a totally alien riding position... a far cry from my sit-up-and-beg relaxed style. On longer rides it was quite hard on my back, especially with my Scoliosis (I also think part of the problem was the frame size being a tad too small for me and Ian found this too) - not the most comfortable position, but I tried it all the same. 
The S3X-3 speed fixed gear was a strange concept to get my head around... this seemed to be the case for most people I met and found this out about the bike! I ended up riding the bike in 2nd gear all the time: for some reason, changing the gears was fiddly on the bike, and on occasion it would 'snap' out of a changed gear. However, riding fixed DID spark off a love for both of us, with Ian now wanting to get a fixie of his own! 

After finishing the filming, we rode on to the new Look Mum No Hands on Mare Street for a caffeine-shot and some good eating. 
Hat: From a market stall in East Village, NYC
Shades: Ray Ban
Necklace: Tatty Devine
Top: Topshop
Denim Boyfriend Shorts: Topshop
Sandals: Dune
Pannier: Bobbin Straw Pannier

Has to be said - the new LMNH is becoming a favourite hangout of mine, with a brilliant menu including hot food and some amazing coffee blends on offer... not to mention Earl Grey tea that looks like THIS:

All riding days should end with a pot of tea like this and a charming cycle back home.

23 June 2013

Boris Bikes, Fashion & Filming - Bike Week UK...

What better way to mark Bike Week in the UK by being out on the saddle? It was a tale of two bicycles for me: a day on a Boris Bike rather far away from home, and another going for a spin around Shoreditch on my Pashley resulting in a street-fashion shoot...

It was an early start on Tuesday morning, catching the train up to Berkshire to film with The Cycle Show. I spent the day with the crew at the Transport Research Laboratory in Wokingham.
We filmed a bicycle safety feature at TRL. It was fantastic and an education to be there, and check out the safer cycling innovations they are developing. It was also quite the experience riding around on a Barclays Cycle Hire bike all day outside of London, on smooth open roads in what looked like an eerie / deserted forest...

After a long but fun day, it was wonderful to come back home to some surprise cycling-related post from a friend... thank you @BlackDogCycles for these wonderful magazines!
I've not come across Dandyhouse before - looking forward to getting a chance to sit down with a pot of tea and have a proper read of them all... I do like the look of these.

I got back on a bike again later in the week, but this time it was my beloved Pashley! It's been a little while since Frankie has been out around town (don't worry, I've not forgotten her), and on Friday we went for a spin to Shoreditch.
We did little cycling street-style shoot with Women's Health Magazine. I'll update with more details on it when possible, but here is a little peek at my "blue style" for the day, involving a touch of Westwood, some Tatty Devine & a new Michaux Club Saddle Bag in the mix! While in Shoreditch, I bumped into the fantastic LCC and Bikeworks who were offering free bike maintenance as part of Bike Week... it would have been rude not to get Frankie checked over!

I hope if you took part in Bike Week you enjoyed it, or it's encouraged you to get on a bike... happy cycling :) 

17 June 2013

Swedish TV embraces CycleChic & Updates...

Whoa - a bit of a radio silence from VCG on front... sorry about that! Life has become a bit hectic with lots of exciting bicycle related things going on... all of which I've been desperate to blog about & trying to find the time to do it! I'm filming again with The Cycle Show, which returns to ITV4 this July for its second series - huzzah! More updates on that as it happens, and look out for the odd Instagram sneak-peaks from me...

In the meantime, here's an update on another piece of cycling-tv which has come to life. Back in February I met up with the lovely Caz Nicklin of Cyclechic for a rather chilly but fun day of filming in Chiswick. We couldn't say too much about the project, but can now reveal it was for a Swedish television show called 'State of Style'.

The feature focused on the cycling-style scene in London and how cycle-chic has become a fashion movement in its own right. Caz gave a lovely interview about her love for cycling, fashion and her online shop Cyclechic.

I was thrilled to be asked to feature with Caz for the piece, riding around together for the day... even through the nippy weather, it was a blast!

19 May 2013

Four to the floor: VCG's new Colourbolt Bike...

Can a girl have too many bikes?! When I started cycling I thought one would be enough... fast-forward 3 years and I'm now the proud owner of my FORTH set of wheels, a Colourbolt Ratty Black.

As detailed in this post (originally published on the Vulpine Blog) this is how VCG has become a four-bike blog... yikes.

When you’re a bit of a bike fiend, nothing beats the pure excitement of getting a new set of wheels. Two weeks ago I pretty much combusted with utter joy after picking up a new addition to my family… a Colourbolt ‘Ratty Black’.

I’d first laid eyes on the bike in April at Bespoked Bristol. British bike builder and founder of Colourbolt Jay Pond-Jones and his colleague Kendal had Ratty on display alongside his other bicycles. I couldn’t stop walking over to their stand to check it out and ended up admiring it all weekend. I wanted to ride around on this bike so badly… but I didn’t see that going down too well in the crowded hall. The draw I felt to the bike was unusual as it was nothing like the bikes I own; a Pashley Princess – a big classic traditional Dutch style bike with its solid and weighty frame and the Clubman, a fixed gear retro-racer, also steeped in traditional design. The Ratty Black with its Columbus Spirit Frame and Carbon Fork was sleek, gritty and sexy. She looked urban and tough - not overdone with logos, just subtle details like the single red coloured chain ring bolt, the LightSKIN LED seat post and these amazing square pedals that stood out. It was the beauty of the understated modern design that really got me.

Three weeks later and I was back in the company of Colourbolt at SPINLDN. Ratty was back on show again for the weekend, and again I was admiring her.  Two days into the event and with a lot more space in the Truman Brewery, Jay kindly let me take Ratty for a quick ride. I couldn’t believe how much lighter, faster and how much smoother it was compared to bikes I’d ridden before. Ratty felt so good and my mind was made up… this bike had to come home with me.

On the last day of SPINLDN, Jay and Kendal fitted me for the bike, with final tweaks to the tyres, chain and handlebars done by John of Tokyo Fixed… It was like being an F1 driver at a pit stop! All set up and ready to go, I cycled out of the Truman Brewery with my new baby and a ridiculously massive grin on my face.

I’ve been riding around on her (yes, she’s a girl) for the past two weeks and already know I’m addicted to this bike. A world away from what I’ve known, I’m discovering a whole new riding style, which is blowing my mind. Pretty amazing that what started off as me staring at something unusual has turned into an exciting adventure. 

Thanks Jay for letting me have that test ride… you’ve started off a new cycling revolution in me.  


6 May 2013

Boy on a Bike - The London Tweed Run 2013...

Last month saw the 5th anniversary of The London Tweed Run. As I was unable to attend, The Boy (Ian James) went along to represent for VCG! Here is his report on the day along with some beautiful photography he did at the event... 

I was determined to be more prepared for the Tweed Run than ever this year. But it was always going to be a bit different as sadly Lady Velo was going to be out of town ogling lots of lovely hand-made British bicycles at Bespoked Bristol.

So, that left me, The Boy on a bit of a solo mission. But you’re never alone on the Tweed Run: it's a very friendly occasion. Each year it seems that more and more friendships are formed and there is usually a chance to hook up with those you met previously.

This year I decided to meet up with the Loughton Brothers; two lovely Northerners I've met on every Tweed Run we've attended, that were flying the flag (literally) for Lincolnshire. Being typical Northerners they love a good pint of ale so we met for a Friday night pre-ride drink, sinking a few jars, trying some of the great local ales and craft beers that London has to offer. This is where a plan was hatched to change a few details of the carefully planned arrangements that Jools had made. I was originally planning to ride her Pashley Princess with some lovely VCG bunting that had been custom made for the occasion...

I had got myself a three-piece Tweed suit from a costume hire company in Haslemere and something in my head was nagging me to swap to the Pashley Clubman Urban. It seemed much more in keeping with my attire and also it would be something a bit different as you don't tend to see as many of them on the road. It's certainly a steed that doesn't fail to draw admiring glances. 

Every year the route is different, with this year's starting in the quadrangle courtyard of University College London. A chance to fix ties, cravats, attach bunting and greet fellow Tweed Runners old and new happens at the meeting point. Then we were off, weaving our way up to Regent's Park.

It's always great looking at the array of bicycles and outfits; the Penny Farthing cyclists always inspire awe and wander and there was more than a few well co-ordinated Tandem duos weaving though the bunch.

Now four hundred Tweed clad cyclists tally-hoing their way through central London makes for some spectacle and it's always fabulous to see the look of surprise on the faces of Londoners and tourists alike as we wend our way past attractions like Buckingham Palace and Trafalgar Square! Even the frosty demeanour of the capital's taxi and van drivers is thawed as we breeze by honking our horns and dinging our bells.

We stopped for lunch at Lincoln Inn Fields, sipping tea from fine bone china cups & eating handfuls of crisps from ride sponsor's Tyrells. The Tea Stop is also where the wonderful 5th anniversary Tweed Run cake was unveiled! Having sacrificed the cargo carrying capacity of the Princess's basket I was rather bereft of lunch time supplies, so my thanks go to the Loughton brothers for sharing their Scotch eggs, sausage rolls and a rather decent bottle of ale from the Lake District. We also enjoyed a cheeky cocktail at the St Germain picnic saw us ready to ride once more.

It was only a short hop up towards our ending of the Tweed Run - King's Cross to the Star of Kings pub. This was a good job as the rather foreboding clouds passing overhead had been threatening to let go all day... the heavens opened just as we got into the shelter of the pub!

Yet again, Ted and Jacqui along with the excellent Marshals did a marvellous job of organising the Tweed Run. It was a fantastic experience and I'm thrilled to have been there for the days events. I can't wait to see what's in store for the next 'Run... and perhaps Lady V will come along for the ride.

The Boy.

More of Ian's stunning photography from The Tweed Run can be seen in his set over on Flickr:
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