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.
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