Long Time No See!

21 Jun

Sorry I’ve been away for so long. I’ve been quite busy…becoming a City and Guild’s qualified bike mechanic! So next on the list of things to do is to find myself a job as a mechanic. I’m going back to the academy tomorrow to see if they can hook me up with a placement, fingers crossed!

Over the next week or so I plan to write about each day on the course, and hopefully post some tutorials about what I learned along the way. For now, here is a picture of the Barry Hoban I built for the course, only half done though, I’ve got to finish building the wheels tomorrow!

Barry!

Republic Bikes

27 May

I came across Republic Bikes today and they seem pretty neat. They have two bike designs to choose from, either a track frame of a dutch sit up and beg frame. The idea is that these are shared designs that you then make your own by choosing your own components.

aristotle!

I really like the idea of a pretty cheap off-the-peg bike that can really easily be made your own! The one thing I don’t like about my bike is that they are everywhere, and I’ve ended up spending quite a bit of money making it my own (not that I mind too much!).

I don’t know how good quality the bikes actually are, but from the pictures they seem pretty nice. Overall, I think it’s the idea of a sort of open-source bike that I really like!

plato!

Also, the open-sourced nerd in my enjoyed the fact they made the google-bikes!

Cycling while Pregnant

25 May

Yesterday I saw this really postive and inspiring article about cycling while pregnant. Just the day before I had seen a pregnant cyclist and had thought to myself I wonder if I would keep cycling if I was pregnant (which is a scenario I am unlikely to face as I don’t think I ever will be, but anyway).

awesome lady!

It was really nice to read that she hadn’t let the views (which were often negative) of others effect her and that she carried on cycling. It was also interesting to read how in European countries women wouldn’t think of doing anything different and would keep riding until the day of the birth (I particularly enjoyed the story about the lady who cycled to hospital!)

It was also interesting (and rather disheartening) to see the way people (mainly men actually) felt it was their responsibilty and right to tell ‘pregnant women’ what they can and can’t do. It’s as if more than ever, when you are pregnant you are public property to be poked and prodded by everyone and their dog. And to be told all sorts of conflicting information about the most mundane parts of life. It seems if some people had their way women would stay indoors for 9 months wrapped in blankets.

But, overall, there were lots of encouraging responses. It was rather ironic to see that most first hand experience of cycling while pregnant were positive, and it was people who had never been pregnant (or could ever be) that were dishing out the negative advice!

I hope that we start to see more positive and encourage article about the benefits of cycling, rather than endless scaremongering.

Cool Girls on Bikes!

21 May

via candy cranks

Girl Bike Gangs

20 May

awesome girl bike gang!

Me and Lydia went on an all-girl bike ride a few Sunday’s ago called Revenge of the 50 Fixed Women. I’ve been looking forward to going on this ride for weeks, the idea of a huge bunch of women riding fixed wheel bikes through London was like a dream come true.

When I woke up on Sunday morning (at 7am!) it was a lovely sunny day and I cycled off to meet Lydia in a nice summer dress…then halfway there it started to pour with rain! By the time I got there I couldn’t feel my feet, but the thought of how awesome this ride was going to be kept me going.

We got there and dried off a bit and went to the meeting point, and there was a little bunch of girls there on bikes so we went and said hi and as we were just getting off our bikes they cycled off! Thinking maybe I’d missed something we followed them and turns out they were in a coffee shop. Fine, we joined them and they even pulled up a chair for us.

Then the ride started and that was when they all got a look at my bike. My lovely bike is a Specialized Langster which I absolutely love and think is a great bike. But for some reason, which I can’t still work out, bike snobs seem to hate it. I think it’s just irrational big band hatred, I dunno and don’t really care. But once the girls had seen my bike their attitude towards me really changed. They stopped talking to me and I was left cycling for long stretches by myself.

Then one girl came and spoke to me, for her only to have a bit of a dig at my bike and tell me how wonderful hers is and how great a cyclist she was. I thought she was just a bit full of herself and shrugged it off and kept riding.

But then another girl on a too big rickety bike comes and talks to Lydia telling her how much she loves Lydia’s bike (which is an amazing bike) and then just comes out and says that everyone hates Langsters, that they are weird and crap.

It felt like I was 11 years old again and a gang of girls were laughing at my trainers in the playground. For all the rest of the ride and the social afterwards no one else spoke to me.

I don’t get it, this was meant to be a really inclusive and supportive ride for girls who perhaps were too intimidated to go on a boys ride, or just wanted to hang out with other girls obsessed with bikes. But it seems you have to have the right kind of bike or the right clothes. And I just didn’t have a cool enough bike. So even though I know pretty much as much as they did about bikes and could ride as fast and well as them they just didn’t want to know.

Why does there have to be so much girl hate? Even in a group that existed for the purpose of being supportive to girl cyclists?

more awesome girls!! (http://evoluer.me/)

I’m not going to let it put me off cycling though. I’m more determined now to love my bike and to fight against bike snobbery and girl hate. I want to start my own bicycle girl gang that is supportive and fun, that can dress up and go for rides, and then get dirty taking our bikes apart!

Bicycle Tattoo

20 May

This is an absolutely amazing tattoo, perhaps the best cycling tattoo I’ve ever seen!

amazing!

It’s by Jeremy Swan at Broken Art Tattoo and it’s owned by this lady.

Wishlist

20 May

I really really like this saddle bag, it’s the perfect size for fitting all the crap I like to carry round with me, and means I won’t be weighing myself down with a really heavy bag. Maybe I’ll treat myself on payday…

canvas bag from minnehaha bags