The self-appointed ambassador for beautiful bike bags

Swing Velvet

For those in search of a bag that works on and off the bike, there’s now even more choice than ever

Once upon a time – a little over two years ago, to be precise – I started out on my quest to find the perfect bike bag.

Back then, the majority of bike bags out there were generally rather ugly and utilitarian. Surely, I thought, given cycling’s ever growing popularity, there was a market for stylish bike bags?

Judging by the response I had to my initial post, I was right.

It’s by far my most popular post, representing around 10 per cent of my total page hits to date. It’s also had more comments than just about any other post – and is still getting them now. Continue reading

A typical London cycling death?

Woman and man cycling on bike path

Are women on bikes more at risk then men?

The news this week that a female cyclist has died after being hit by a lorry in Denmark Hill has brought cycle safety into the spotlight once again.

So far this year six cyclists have been killed on the capital’s streets – all six of them in collisions involving HGVs. Five of those killed have been women, prompting Edmund King, president of the AA to describe the collision which led to death of Claire Hitier-Abadie in February as bearing “all the hallmarks of a ‘typical’ London cycling death – a female cyclist killed by a tipper truck turning left”. Continue reading

Beyond pink: The rise of the female-specific bike shop

Everyone BikesWalking into Everyone Bikes, in Battersea, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d wandered into a boutique rather than a bike shop.

Everything here has been laid out with an eye to its visual appeal – from the helmets, forming a colourful display along one white, minimalist wall, to the clothes, draped from wooden hangers towards the back of the shop. There are bikes, yes, but they don’t dominate the shop. It’s a calm, clutter-free space – one that owner Alex Coleman describes as “a relaxing environment” and “a comfortable place to come and ask questions.”

If this doesn’t sound like your typical bike shop, that’s because it’s not. Continue reading

This is not a post about the Tweed Run

Anyone for tea?

Anyone for tea?

About two and a half weeks ago I took part in the Tweed Run. I was going to write about it on this blog.

I started a post. It’s still sitting there in my drafts – a bare skeleton of a post with a few complete paragraphs to flesh it out. I’d like to finish it. I may still finish it (hopefully before next year’s Tweed Run).

But in the meantime I’ve been so extraordinarily busy with my course I just haven’t had time. It’s there on my To Do list popping up every day – ‘Finish Tweed Run post’ – and then every day I guiltily push it over into tomorrow’s tasks.

When I have 10 articles to research and write for my portfolio before the end of May, two exams to study for in the next two weeks and two hours of practice for shorthand every day, not to mention all the reading for my other classes – and that’s before I even think about getting some work experience – then anything not strictly related to my course gets pushed further and further down the list.

So I write this as a form of a apology, in the hope that at some point in the future I’ll be back to writing more often – though I have no idea when that will be, nor what format any future writing will be in.

In the meantime, I’m going cheat a little by posting up an article I wrote for London Cyclist a couple of weeks back. Hope you enjoy it.

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

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

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

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

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

Cycling, driving and convenience

2013-12-26 14.32.01

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