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.
The other day my parents asked me what I wanted. Until then, I hadn’t given it any thought. I hastily cobbled together a list, comprising mainly of things I need that – due to impending student status and consequent loss of income – I don’t have the money to buy myself.
Given that I won’t be spending much money on Christmas presents this year, I can’t reasonably expect lavish presents in return (and, to be honest, I probably wouldn’t get any even if I could afford to splash out more). Thus the bike-related items on the list will keep me dry (new waterproof trousers, to replace the ones I ripped earlier in the year) and help me fix stuff (new multi-tool, to replace the one that fell apart in my bag).
While they’re undoubtedly useful, they are also somewhat prosaic and dull. That got me thinking. What if money was no object, and I could have any bike-related gifts? What would be on my wish list?
Hill and Ellis Bertie bag
I love satchels. I love their classic style, and their durability. In fact, their only flaw – as far as I can see – is that I wouldn’t be able to carry one on my bike. Though I’ve experimented with different kinds of bags on my bike, the only ones that work for me are panniers. So if someone came up with a satchel pannier, that would be pretty much my ideal bag.
Thankfully, someone has. And I want one.
Designed and made by Hill and Ellis, who also make the Dorothy bag I reviewed (and fell in love with) last year, I just know it’s going to be practical, well made and utterly gorgeous. What more can you ask for from a bike bag?
Tracey Neuls Fern bike shoes
While I’ve got most aspects of cycling in normal clothes pretty much sussed out by now, I still have problems when it comes to shoes. The few times I’ve tried cycling in heels, it hasn’t gone particularly well – my feet always slip about, and I invariably end up with the pedal caught between the heel and the sole of the shoe.
I’d just about accepted that, for as long as I keep cycling everywhere, my shoes will always be the weakest link in my outfit – and then I came across Tracey Neuls’ shoes at the Spin London show earlier this year.
A shoe, with a heel, designed for cycling in, that both looks good and is comfy…can this really be? Apparently so. This might just be the answer to my cycle shoe problems.
Vulpine Harrington jacket
I’m not a fair weather cyclist. I’ll keep on cycling throughout the winter in all but the absolute worst conditions. Given this, I need a jacket that’s going to be able to withstand everything the London winter commute can throw at me – rain, wind, grit, puddles, dirt and cold.
In an ideal world, I’d also like a jacket that wouldn’t look out of place in a bar, restaurant or the theatre. The jacket I have now – an Altura Night Vision, in a lovely aubergine shade – is certainly a vast improvement on the ugly fluorescent number I had before, but it still looks unmistakeably like a cycling jacket.
Vulpine’s Harrington, on the other hand, just looks like a jacket. With its promises to keep the elements at bay, it sounds like the perfect blend of form and function to see me through the dark, cold winter months.
UPDATE: Thanks to Vulpine’s rather fabulous sample sale at the end of January, I’m now the proud owner of a Harrington jacket for the bargain price of just £60. It’s every bit as wonderful as I thought it would be.
Pashley Aurora bicycle
I know, I know. I’ve just bought a new bike. I’ve been through all the arguments about practicality versus style. The bike I have now – the lovely Eva – meets all my bike-related needs. I don’t need another bike, and I certainly don’t have space for one.
From the moment I laid eyes on the Pashley Aurora (again at Spin London earlier this year) I lost a little bit of my heart to it. Combining classic features and old-fashioned craftsmanship with dynamic styling, it is both modern and traditional – and utterly, totally beautiful.
STOP PRESS In case The Girls’ Bicycle Handbook (which I reviewed earlier this year) is on your Christmas wish list, author Caz Nicklin will be signing copies at Just E-Bikes in Notting Hill this Saturday, 6 December from 2pm.