Oh dear, oh dear. First there was Boris and his comments about cyclists running red lights and wearing headphones. Then there was Operation Safeway, with 2,500 police offices deployed at major junctions across London to hand out safety advice to cyclists. And now traffic police in London have reportedly been given targets for the number of cyclists they have to ticket each month.
All this in response to the recent spate of people being killed or seriously injured while cycling in London. Anyone would think it was their fault they got knocked off their bikes.
Actually, anyone would – and they do. That’s the problem. Read More…
There aren’t many things I know how to fix on my bike, but replacing worn brake pads is one of them. Mine had gone well beyond the point I should have done something about them – I wasn’t so much stopping as gliding to a gentle halt – so replacing them had become a matter of some urgency.
But before I could replace the old ones, I needed to buy new ones. Cue a visit to my friendly local bike shop.
Not so long ago, this would have filled me with terror. Even though I knew exactly what I was looking for – two sets of V-brake pads, please – the moment I walked in to a bike shop all confidence would disappear. Read More…
Two years ago, when the news broke that a female cyclist in her 30s had been killed at Bow roundabout, my dad says his first thought was that it was me.
My parents tend to keep their fears to themselves, so I didn’t actually find this out until it had been proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that I was alive and well – in other words, after I’d phoned them. Equally, while I’m sure the news this past week has had my mum lying awake at night worrying about me, I haven’t heard a peep out of them.
Because, let’s face it, for the parent of a cyclist in London, this has not been a good week.
Cycling with heels is one year old today!
If it were a child, there’d be a party with balloons and streamers, a huge birthday cake, more presents than one small person could ever play with, and a room full of proud parents and screaming babies.
But as it’s a blog, a party seems a little over the top. So instead – if you’ll allow me the indulgence – I thought I’d take this opportunity to look back over the past year.
I had no great master plan when I started Cycling with heels. I simply wanted to write. Read More…
One extra hour in bed. One measly little extra hour in bed. That’s hardly adequate compensation for six months of having to cycle home in the dark, is it? If it’d been an extra hour in bed every day things might be different. But it’s not, so they’re not.
I pride myself in not being a fair weather cyclist – I cycle to work day in, day out, all year round, in almost all weathers. Yet it’s always around this time of year – when the clocks have gone back and winter is just around the corner – that the temptation to abandon my trusty steed in favour of the Overground is at its strongest.
As if the thought of the long dark ride home weren’t enough to put me off, there’s also the small matter of tomorrow’s predicted storm to contend with.
My resolve could do with all the help it can get right now. Read More…
I can’t tell you how many times people have said that to me, or words to that effect. Tens. Hundreds, maybe.
I used to get mildly annoyed when someone tried to tell me I was a hero for doing something as ordinary as riding a bike. I used to think if they could stop being such scaredy cats, they’d see it was really quite simple: you just get on the bike and pedal. OK, you have to pay attention to the traffic around you, but you learn to do that quickly enough. I mean, if I can do it, then anyone can.
These days, though, I’m starting to think they may have a point. Read More…
Dear reader. I have a confession to make.
Almost every day I see lots of well-dressed women on their bikes. Women in leggings and short skirts, in skinny jeans, in peg leg trousers – even in leopard print dresses. Women riding rattling old road bikes, traditional uprights and shiny new step-throughs. Women, in short, who are the embodiment of cycle chic.
You may think, from reading this blog, that I’m part of this stylish sisterhood.
Alas, dear reader. You would be wrong. Read More…