Look Mum No Hands!

20 May

The other day me and Dan visited look mum no hands to watch the Giro d’Italia. I’d read about this new cycling cafe and I was really eager to check it out… a place that combined my two favourite things, coffee and bikes!

I certainly wasn’t disappointed, when we first cycled up to it the first thing we saw was a beautiful Mercian ladies bike in the window! Then there is the lovely courtyard where they have an array of really secure bike parking (and you can have a little perv at all the other lovely bikes). Inside is a lovely space, with a bike screen to watch the cycling on (we also went to the Hackney Bicycle Film Society there) and they sure do know how to make tea and coffee.

But the best bit about it, is knowing that you are in a room filled with people, in a space set up by people who love cycling as much as you do!

So, if you are ever in the Old Street area I really would recommend popping in there!

photo by Risa Sano

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Mixte Project

19 May

my mixte

So this is my new bike. A beautiful steel, lugged mixte frame! It’s a Barry Hoban frame and is in near perfect condition. I’m really excited about restoring it and working on it during my mechanics training.

I want to make it into a light tourer/commuter bike, I just can’t work out exactly what I want to have on it. So far I plan to get some really good mudguards, a rack and these panniers. I just can’t decide how I want the handlebars…

Do I keep the drop road bars that are on there now for a more racy look and feel, or should I go for something more relaxed like this and have a basket on the front:

any thoughts?

Cycling is Good for You!

19 May

let’s go ride a bike is one of my all time favourite blogs. yesterday dottie made an incredible post about cycling and self-esteem which basically sums up how I feel about cycling and everything I love about it.

dottie of let's go ride a bike

“In our bipolar society, where the most obese population in the world is inundated with dangerous images of “beauty” by the media and where “fit” people drive to the gym to run on the treadmill, millions are locked in a struggle with their bodies.  Even healthy and otherwise happy young women waste immeasurable time fixated on perceived flaws and self-loathing.”

Since I was about 11 years old this has been how I felt and treated my body. I used to do Irish Dancing which involved doing around 16 hours practise and exercise every week as well as competitions which lasted all day at the weekends. I was really fit and very thin (too thin) but I hated my body. I felt fat and unnatractive and would take pains to cover myself at every opportunity. When we had P.E at school I would sit hunching my legs under me and crossing my arms over my stomach, trying to make myself as small as possible.

These feelings didn’t leave as I got older, they only became more ingrained, to the point where I would deny that I even felt like that anymore, that I didn’t care, while covering myself in baggy tops and dresses.

Then I bought a bike and decided to cycle to work everyday, and suddenly everything changed.

“The solution is a lifestyle change that favors simplicity over excess and regards the human body as a tool rather than merely a decoration. A big part of such a lifestyle is active transportation especially cycling. Riding a bicycle as daily transportation can radically shift both how you feel and how you feel about yourself.”

I began to love the idea that my body was capable of getting from one side of London to the other…and it wasn’t that hard! It was empowering to know that those muscley legs I always hated where powering me and my bike. I looked and felt better, I was getting healthier and loosing all the flab, but the best part was how good I felt on the inside.

Since I started cycling everyday I have not only come to appreciate the work my body can do and to like the way I look more, but more importantly my mental health has imporoved. I feel that now I know that I can cycle around London unscathed, I can do anything I put my mind too. And that really is a good place to be.

Hello!

19 May

Welcome to my new blog! This will be a place for me to indulge my obsession with bicycles! I’m about to start a mechanics course so expect updates about my progess there and also on the work I am doing to restore my lovely Barry Hoban Mixte.

I’ll also be posting interesting things that are female cycling related as well as my trip son my bikes around London.

A little bit about me: I’m Laura, I’m 22 and desperate to get out of my crappy office job. I’m going to train to be a bike mechanic, so hopefully that will be my way out.

Apart from cycling I like to drink coffee, make zines, embroider, read history books and listen to girl bands! I run a feminist club night too, which is pretty cool!

I’m looking forward to getting this blog going, I hope you enjoy it!