Beware the wrath of the cycling gods

Shadwell - not the most convenient place to get turfed off the Overground
Shadwell – not the most convenient place to get turfed off the Overground

I fear I may have offended the cycling gods.

No sooner had I published my last blog post than I started to develop a chest infection. Cue three weeks (and counting!) of hacking up a lung and generally feeling pretty rubbish.

So rubbish, in fact, that I’ve been unable to cycle for most of that time. Continue reading Beware the wrath of the cycling gods

The end of the affair?

Will my love of cycling return with the spring?
Will my love of cycling return with the spring?

The insistent buzz of my alarm woke me with a start. I reached out into the pre-dawn darkness to switch it off, then snuggled back down under my duvet. Getting out from the cosy warmth of bed has been proving a challenge of late, and on that particular morning my legs were having none of it.

‘C’mon guys,’ I urged them after five minutes had gone by. ‘You can do it.’

Nothing. Another few minutes went by with no sign of movement, so I made them an offer: ‘If you get me out of bed I won’t make you cycle into college today.’ That got their attention. Continue reading The end of the affair?

Follow, follow, follow, follow…

CS7 - no more than a strip of blue paint, and sometimes not even that
CS7 – no more than a strip of blue paint, and sometimes not even that

…Follow the painted blue line.

Now, obviously, the big news over the past week has been the announcement that the long-awaited ‘Crossrail for bikes’ will go ahead. But here at Cycling with Heels, I like to keep things old school. So, while everyone else has been getting excited over the promise of being able to ride across London in a fully segregated cycle lane, I’ve been getting my first real experience of the original cycle superhighways. Continue reading Follow, follow, follow, follow…

Dear Father Christmas…

I wonder what will be under the Christmas tree this year?
I wonder what will be under the Christmas tree this year?

It’s December. How did that happen? One minute I was riding home from work in broad daylight, trying to find ways to cool off, and the next minute it’s dark and cold, and I’m wearing head-to-toe waterproofs on an almost daily basis.

And it’s almost Christmas. That kind of snuck up on me, too. Life has kind of taken over lately, hence why this blog has been so quiet. What with getting ready to be a student again in January, and sorting out a visit to my boyfriend in America for the new year, I almost forgot about that little thing called Christmas. Continue reading Dear Father Christmas…

Have puncture, will fix it

Puncture - just what you need on a Friday evening
Every cyclist’s worst nightmare – particularly on a Friday evening

5pm, Friday 31 October: the end of another week. The only thing between me, my sofa, a glass of wine and an evening spent ignoring the local trick or treaters was my ride home.

But, as pushed down on Eva’s pedals and set off across the work car park, I quickly realised something wasn’t quite right. Her back wheel felt alarmingly bouncy: what should have been firm and supportive was instead distinctly wobbly.

With a sinking heart, I got off to inspect the wheel. Though I was pretty certain what had happened, I still gave the flaccid tyre a quick squeeze just to confirm it.

Yep. A puncture. Continue reading Have puncture, will fix it

Cycling, driving and convenience

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The Peak District – where I saw more people out on their bikes than I did in the centre of Sheffield

Given how long I’ve been living and cycling here, you’d think I’d be used to how many cyclists there are in London. Maybe it’s because I don’t get into central London very often – especially not during rush hour – that, whenever I do, the sheer mass of bikes flooding through the traffic always takes me by surprise.

I had the day off work recently. After visiting the Imperial War Museum for the afternoon, rush hour found me at the intersection of Waterloo Bridge and Aldwych. As I waited to cross the road, I watched in amazement at the phalanx of cyclists whizzing past. At every red light around me there were even more – at least twenty or thirty, maybe more, at each junction – bursting out of meagre advance stop boxes and snaking back through the traffic.

Compare that to my experience when I went up to Sheffield to deliver the trusty steed to his new retirement home. Continue reading Cycling, driving and convenience

I could’ve cycled, if I’d wanted to

Cycling, Croatia-style
Cycling, Croatia-style

The clack of toe cleats against hard floor was unmistakeable. I glanced up from my guidebook, which I’d been perusing in the vain hope it would help me decide where to go next, to see the source of the noise – a guy dressed in t-shirt and cycling shorts, carrying two Ortlieb pannier bags, and wearing a cycle helmet.

“Did you cycle here?” I asked. A rather obvious question, perhaps, but a girl has to start a conversation somewhere.

Indeed he had. As the guy – an American called Scott – worked through his post-ride stretches, he told me about his trip. Setting off from Zadar, in Croatia, he was heading down the coast to Montenegro, for a week long swimming camp – 2km of open water swimming every day – after which he would get back in the saddle and cycle back up the coast again.

I could feel my muscles starting to ache just listening to him. All that effort – and he called it a holiday? Continue reading I could’ve cycled, if I’d wanted to