Tag Archives: Cycling

The Cycloc

Bikes are great when you’re cycling round on them but when you’re not they take up so much room. If you live in a flat and don’t have a garden it seems there’s little choice but to get a Brompton or lean your bike up in the hall and bash your shins on the pedals every time you go past. We’ve got our bikes in the shed but with two in there they take up all the floor space so there’s barely room for anything else.

I’ve seen hanging bike storage solutions before but none that look as good as the Cycloc.

Cycloc - green

Available in white, black, red or green for just under £60, it fixes to the wall so you can hang your bike up by the frame horizontally or vertically so it’s out of the way and your shins are safe.

Cycloc

These bikes look like an art installation, although I’m not sure how easy it would be to get the top ones down…

Cycloc multiple

The space in the centre is big enough to store your cycling accessories like gloves and lights and there is a slot so you can use an ordinary bike lock to secure your bike if you need to.

I think these are a wonderful idea and perfect for having at home (although maybe too pretty to put in a shed?) or in the office. Nag your boss to get some so you can cycle into work without getting your bike pinched from the lamppost outside.

What do you think?

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I Did Ride My Bicycle

After thinking about it and finally signing up, on Sunday I was up with the lark to drive to Woburn Abbey to cycle with 600 other ladies at Cycletta. I was feeling a little nervous but it was bright and sunny and with my padded knickers and cycle helmet on I was ready to give it my best shot.

The atmosphere at the start line was fantastic, there was some group stretching and everyone was chattering. The woman next to me was doing the ride as part of her training to cycle to Lands End later in the year which is 300 miles over three days and certainly put my 60km goal in perspective…

As we headed off, the first 15km was much more hilly than I had expected from the flat course that had been described and I started to question whether I had bitten off more than I could chew as scores of women overtook me. But at the treat stop after the steepest hill, I was relieved to hear that was the worst of the hills over with.

The scenery was breathtaking, the yellow rapeseed fields were glowing in the sun and contrasting beautifully with the lush greenery courtesy of the recent rain. On the flatter sections of the course I was able to look around and really enjoy it. There was a nice sense of camaraderie with women shouting ‘Pothole!’ to warn those behind them, ‘Treat stop in 100m!’ to keep everyone going and ‘Coming past on your right!’ to let you know they were there.

As I began my second lap of the course at around 32km there wasn’t another cyclist in sight. Just when I had convinced myself I’d gone the wrong way I would see one of the friendly marshalls or one of the motorcycle ride rescue crew, so I was left thinking that all the other cyclists had finished. I had expected to finish last so I wasn’t too upset, I was just hoping that they hadn’t packed up the finish line by the time I got there.

Then about 15km before the end I started catching up and even overtaking a few ladies and when I stopped to grab some water and a Jaffa Cake 13km before the end, I saw loads of women catching their breath at the treat stop. It was all the motivation I needed to hop back on my bike and carry on.

When I got to the finish line and saw my husband and daughter cheering, and the look of surprise on their faces that I wasn’t pushing my bike, I felt elated.

My Cycletta Medal

I finished the 60km course in three hours and twenty-six minutes which is by no means fast, but I came in 52nd place out of 76 cyclists. I’m so pleased I cycled all the way, as I’ve mentioned before I’m not naturally the sportiest of people and I’ve never spent three and a half hours doing anything physical in my life (barely even in labour).

Now my knees have almost stopped aching I’m hankering to sign up for another Cycletta ride this year.

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Saddlebags

For my Cycletta ride on Sunday I have a list of things I want to take with me and want a bag that I can hang on my bike rather than on my back. I never thought I’d want more saddlebags, I’ve carried a pair on my hips since I reached adulthood. But with the exercise I’ve done over the last six months hopefully I can start to minimise my physical ones and just have them on my bike.

I found them surprisingly expensive and a lot are pretty ugly too, but here is a beautiful one to start with.

Chritina Hamilton Bike Bag

Designed by trained saddler Christina Hamilton who qualified from the London College of Fashion earlier this year, this stunning design is from her final project. I am hankering after one so much. Christina won the Leathersellers’ Company Business Start Up Award and is setting up her own business so if anyone knows when and where they are available to buy, please let me know!

So until I can buy one of those, here are some other nice-looking ones.

This 1940s style pannier from Cyclechic looks just as good off the bike as on. It’s made from water-resistant woven pine and is £55.

Bobbin Bicycle Pannier - Cyclechic

This pannier inspired by vintage boat bags is so enormous I bet it would hold everything you could ever need. It also has a padlock so you can secure it to your bike. It converts to a shoulder bag and is made from waxed canvas in three colourways, at £44.99 it is also from Cyclechic.

Linus Sac pannier Beige - Cyclechic

The Liv Classic Large Handlebar Bag is made by bike brand Giant. It fits on the front under the handlebars which means you can keep an eye on it when you’re riding through town and it transfers to a handbag with a shoulder strap for when you’re on foot. I’m assuming it isn’t waterproof though as it comes with a raincover. The retail price is £44.99 but Wheelies are selling it for £40.49. It also comes in a dark green canvas with dark brown artificial leather trim and in a medium size.

Giant Liv Classic Large Handle Bar Bag

Finally this shiny red handlebar bag from Cyclodelic is waterproof and coverts to a nice little clutch bag. It is handmade in London and costs £69.

Handlebar Bag Red - Cyclodelic

I was tempted by a basket but I think they’re too twee even for me.

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I Do Want To Ride My Bicycle

It’s taken me an age but since my post back in January about maybe wanting to ride my bicycle, I’ve finally decided I definitely want to ride my bicycle. So much so, I bought a bike and cycling helmet.

My new bike

After wobbling along by the side of the Thames and around Richmond Park with my trusty helmet on, I even plucked up the courage to ride on the road and, rather amazingly, didn’t get honked at. There were tears at one point when I bumped down on the crossbar a little hard and there may have been a mini-tantrum when I couldn’t get up a hill, but other than that I really enjoyed cycling around. My husband had fun too, insisting on me wearing a hi-vis vest and tucking my trousers into my socks and then shouting “Nerd!” at me round Richmond Park.

So, buoyed up with a false sense of competency I signed up for Cycletta’s ride at Woburn Abbey in Bedfordshire on 13th May. I didn’t just sign up for the 40km. Oh no. I signed up to do the 60km ride. Having ridden a bike a grand total of four times in the last twenty years it may not be my smartest idea, but I’m going to invest in some padded trousers and give it my best shot.

Cycletta organise seven 40k bike rides a year around the UK that are open to women only and cost about £45 to enter. Although fairly pricey, the routes are traffic-free and well marshalled with a ride rescue crew that come and help out if you get into any problems. There are plenty of free things after the ride like goody bags and pamper sessions. Fancy keeping me company?

P.S. I’ve chosen to ride for Tommy’s, the baby charity who have a target to halve the number of babies that die in pregnancy or birth by 2030. I’m hoping this will motivate me and stop me from chickening out on the day of the ride. If you’d like to sponsor me and help Tommy’s with their research, click through to my Just Giving page.

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I (Maybe) Want to Ride My Bicycle

Last October I chickened out of joining my new mother-in-law and sister-in-law on a Cycletta bike ride and opted to cheer them on at the finish line instead. How lame of me…

But they’re doing it again and despite having only ridden a bike twice in the last 20 years my hankering for fitness has got me thinking of joining them to test the theory of whether you do ever forget.

This gorgeous and not-so-expensive bike from Made.com is tempting me even further.

Hollander Bike Made.com

Cycletta organise seven 40k bike rides a year round the UK that are open to women only and cost about £45 to enter. Although fairly pricey, the routes are traffic-free and well marshalled with a ride rescue crew that come and help out if you get into any problems and there are plenty of free things after the ride like goody bags and pamper sessions. For spectators there are food stalls and entertainment so kids aren’t screaming round the fields like loons waiting for their mums and aunties to ride past.

For the really motivated, some of the locations have an option to do an 80k route! I am in awe of anyone who even contemplates riding the equivalent of two marathons on a bike.

Some of the locations have places where you can hire bikes and this worked really well for my sister-in-law, unfortunately my mother-in-law got a dodgy one and the gears dropped off a couple of kilometres in meaning she had to do almost the whole route in second gear. But she did it!

Cyclists out there – am I mad to consider a 40k bike ride in May when I’m not a cyclist?

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