Monday, 18 April 2016

Cycling snapshot// Dalwhinnie to Perth

This was day 5 on my John O'Groats to Land's End cycle. Dalwhinnie to Perth.

There was a sign saying; 'WARNING Drumochter Summit. Cycle track climbs to 457 meters. Weather conditions can deteriorate without warning and can be severe even in summer. No food or shelter for 30km. No snow clearance or gritting on cycle track.'

I thought I hope I don't see a bear (I'm a city girl,  don't know how this nature thing works) and I hope I don't get a puncture. In other news this was the day I got my one and only puncture.

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Cycling snapshot// Brighton Pier

I've cycled from London to Brighton more times than I can remember. There is nothing quite like that last downhill stretch where the sea comes into view. I usually end this cycle with a swim in the sea and some calorie replenishing fish and chips. 

This time, a couple years ago, stands out because in the queue for fish and chips, I overheard a mother say to her child "You'll like this fish, it's like tempura."

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Bike Art// Geoff McFetridge


I'm a big fan of the LA based artist Geoff McFetridge. I especially like his bird's eye view pieces because they remind me of riding open top busses. I spend a lot of time looking at the world from behind my handle bars so it is nice to see things from a different perspective up high. 


You can see more of Geoff McFetridge's work at championdontstop.com. For all his latest drawings and illustrations, follow him on Instagram: @mcfetridge

A few years ago I was doing some work in Mexico and I took these bird's eye view pictures of Ecobici riders.




 Does that remind you of one of those 'guess what this is?' drawings everyone used to do at school?
FYI, it's a Mexican on a bike.






Monday, 18 January 2016

2016, Let’s do this.

I'd like to introduce you to this amazing short video about the experiences of women who have done solo bike tours. It's by Brandy Machado and is a preliminary edit of a longer project she is working on.

My 2015 New Year’s resolution to not take any flights and see more of this island went really well. I cycled the whole length of Britain on my own with no support crew and very little clue what I was doing. I also did many mini cycling trips and I have LOVED every minute, even the punctures (an excuse to take a break) and especially the hills.

There is something very empowering about cycle touring on your own. You can dictate the schedule, the speed and do whatever the hell you want. I like to push my body, be reminded how strong it can be and how far that strength can get me. Also, having to eat all those extra calories is a added bonus. You don't have to decide which cake to have because you can have both.

Before I started solo touring I was scared I would get scared. Being a city girl I was unsure how I would cope with miles of open road and no people or buildings. People kept telling me I was brave which made it all sound very scary.

I was also asked if I would get bored or lonely. Well I didn’t get any of these things. I’m not one of those zen, colouring in book, yoga, mindful types but something takes over and pushes all those doubts away. Maybe it’s the fresh air or maybe some kind of survival mode kicks in and you just feel calm about everything.

I carry around an MP3 just in case I need some distraction or escapism but have only ever used it a handful of times as it's so nice to listen to the sounds around you and really take in the scene with all your senses. Ok that's enough hippyfied nonsense.

Soon I'm cycling to Amsterdam which will be my first real bit of winter touring so I'm going to wear ALL the gloves. I don't like to plan too much as I've learnt that it is nice to leave room for random adventures and see where the road takes you so watch this space.

I'm going to let the late great David Bowie have the final word.

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Tandem Time

There are pros and cons to owning a tandem in London. First the pros; everyone loves a tandem. It beats dogs and babies as a conversation starter. Lots of people point and shout ‘TANDEM’ like they’ve just seen a unicorn. Old people especially love it. I think in the old days tandems were everywhere so it makes them feel nostalgic. This one old man once stopped us and said "I have a story about a tandem....I was with these two Polish girls in 1943 and....." DUDE, that's a threesome, not a tandem.

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Bikes and boats// Bournemouth to Portsmouth


Last weekend I thought I’d take advantage of the extra hour-long weekend by taking my brother on a cycling adventure around the New Forest and South Downs. All I had to do was remember to stay upwind of his farts.


Saturday, 17 October 2015

My five favourite London spots

Brockwell Park BMX track 
Turquoise Island, Westbourne Grove

The River Fleet

Rotten Row, Hyde Park

Stanfords, Covent Garden

I never stop professing my love for my hometown and I’m so lucky I get to cycle around it every day. It’s constantly changing and I’m always noticing new things. Limiting my favourite spots down to five for the Time Out London Blog was hard and I feel bad for everything I missed out.
You can read the piece in full here. 

Monday, 5 October 2015

Cycling around the Isle of Wight anticlockwise



I know I’m always banging on about how much I love cycling around London but sometimes I need to put on my weekend pedals and find some roads that aren’t interrupted by traffic lights and roundabouts every few meters, where I’m not weaving between taxis and busses and where I can use some gears.
This weekend I took my bike, a pannier full of makeup and a wetsuit on a train and a boat and went to the Isle of Wight.

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

My cycling shorts story

Eartha Kitt in my kind of cycling shorts
Ok, so I know I have always said I’d never wear cycling shorts. The Lycra, the padding, the way they look, it’s just not my thing. Is it?

I get that for races or triathlons they are uniform, but I know people who cycle really short distances and wouldn’t even dream of putting their bum near a saddle without a layer of Lycra and padding in-between. It’s just not for me. I cycled from London to Paris wearing jeans and my bum was just fine. I think a huge part of my aversion stems from the fear that if I tried it I might like it then never be able to cycle in my normal clothes again. My ass might soften and I’d have to invest in a whole other wardrobe of Lycra. Also I spend a lot of my time waiting in traffic behind dudes in very sheer faded Lycra and I don’t find it hot, especially the dude I see on Holland Park Road who wears those white ones. NO. Just no.

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Eat, Sleep, Cycle: A Bike Around the Coast of Britain by Anna Hughes

When I was planning my solo, unsupported cycling trip from John O’Groats to Land’s End a friend of mine said “you should meet Anna, she cycled around the circumference of the island so if you think just doing the length is a big deal, she’ll put you straight.” Anna became my oracle and after just one phone call I turned my idea into a definite plan. When I met her she had just finished writing about her adventure and I was one of the first people to read Eat Sleep Cycle. I was lucky to have a friend like Anna on speed dial in case I needed advice or a pep talk.