Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Sandals by GAP

Although I have been writing about these lovelies I haven’t done a specific post about them.

These strappy sandals have been a delight to cycle in during the hot weather. The double straps hold the sole securely around the ankle and prevents slippage which can be a problem with some sandals. An alternative would be getting a gladiator type sandal which has more straps and can be even more secure, but I prefer to have more of the foot getting fresh air.

GAP had a range of these sandals at the beginning of the season at £20 each. I got one in black and ended up getting a second pair in dark brown when I got a 20 per cent discount voucher. I have been using both of them depending on my outfit.

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Trying to keep out of the sun

It has been hot this week. I have been cycling when I can, pushing the bike up hills and riding the trains (out of rush hour) to keep out of the sun. My reading for the train has been The Independent on Sunday Review Magazine which had a cycling special on 27.6.10, probably to coincide with Bike Week. I found the article by writer and comedian Alexei Sayle hilarious, which is all about the changes he has seen in his thirty years of cycling

The Gap sandals are getting a good work out. So glad I got two pairs.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Pedicure , potholes and Peckham

It is Bike Week this week and it finishes this Sunday 27th June. I am not really sure who decided to have Bike Week or what the purpose is, but there are various bike events going on around the UK. I am not taking part because I already cycle and the best way to promote cycling is to just do it and in style. Hence the pedicure and strappy Gap sandals which go well with the Brompton. I had to get to an early meeting in Peckham this morning. It is nice to see cyclists in shorts, flip flops and sandals while the hot weather lasts in London. I was enjoying a speedy ride in the sun but then I had to slow down because there were so many little potholes. Time to pump up the wheels.

I am also not taking part in any bike event because I have been spending time gardening early in the morning and after work. It is the last week to get my tomatoes and sweet corn into the ground.

Friday, 18 June 2010

Cycling in London at night - more about lights

Yesterday evening I went to an event in Shoreditch, east London. I took the Trek because I was worried about my Brompton being stolen. (I can afford to replace the Trek but would have to save up to get a new Brompton even though I am insured.)

But as the train was pulling into London Bridge station I realise that I have FORGOTTEN TO PACK MY LIGHTS. My little lights are still dangling on the Brompton.

Although it was after 6pm I made a quick dash to Evans Cycle Shop at London Bridge to get a set of lights to get me home after sunset. I did consider going without, because I didn’t want to have another set of lights. But I wasn’t keen on the idea of cycling with no lights at night. (Illegal too.) As a driver I get upset when I see cyclists who do this. So I parted with £17.99 and got these Loop lights by CAT. They cost £19.99 but I get a discount because I am a member of the London Cycling Campaign.

I enjoyed my trip to Shoreditch in rush hour. I had forgotten what it was like to dodge buses and taxis and the view of the Thames River from London Bridge is stil worth it.

At 9.30pm I set off back to London Bridge to get my train. I was struck by the large numbers of night cyclists. Lots of people mainly in everday clothing using their bikes to go out and then peddal home. I can see that some cyclists are also people who work in the city and have gone to pubs and bars after work.

I get a lovely second view of the sun setting in the west as I pedal across London Bridge to the station. I arrive to discover there are no trains going to Greenwich. No trains at all because someone was killed at New Cross. (No idea what happened, but it is usually an accident or suicide.)

I cursed because I don’t have the Brompton and now I cannot get the tube or Dockland Light Rail Way to Woolwich. But I was grateful that I brought the new lights.

I left the station just after 10 pm with the other cyclists who were grateful we had an alternative to getting a taxi (very expensive) or waiting in the long bus queues.

I didn’t take a cycle route because it was faster just to stay on Tooley Street through to Surrey Quays, straight on to Deptford, up to Blackheath and into Greenwich. The roads were fairly clear, not busy but not empty. I was home in just over an hour. I saw more cyclists. A good journey to make on a midsummers night. I would have missed this night ride if I had taken the Brompton thinking I would have been safer going by public transport. It would have also taken longer.

I am also very grateful for my Gwyneth Susie Clarks sandals which are a joy to wear and cycle in.

I am impressed with the CAT Loop lights. Good lumination and very easy to place on a bike. I like the fact you have to press hard at the back to switch the light on. My other CAT lights are always turning on accidentially in my bag because the power switch gets knocked.

One last thing on lights. Some cyclists forget to check whether it is time to change the batteries in their lights. I saw a few dim and fading lights. Bike lights should be at their brightest or near close to this. I know I find it hard to tell and I am always checking. My older CAT lights then to fade a little then just stop working so I was scared of being caught out which is why I got the little lights.

The Loop lights remind me of the ‘alien’ cameras in the old War of the Worlds sci-fi film.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Little lights

I am growing very fond of these little lights. They appear to be as bright as my large LED lights, give a good blink effect when needed and small enough to even carry in my purse. Best of all they remain out of the way when I fold the Brompton. I usually have to adjust the large LED light before I fold the bike when I am getting on a train and sometimes the handlebar doesn’t clip in properly because of the light is in the way. But no problem in the folding with these tiny lights.

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Sunshine and roses

I’ve been working from home again this week so I only got time to cycle to the supermarket today on the Trek bike. After collecting shoes my little luxury is having fresh flowers and there are lots of sweetheart roses about at the moment. I feel like I am in Amsterdam and not on a train going through Woolwich.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Men on bikes

I was on the bike and stuck at the lights behind these two men. We were just outside Bank Tube Station and the various changes of lights takes about three minutes. Time enough for me to get out my camera and take pictures after I noticed that each of them had noticed the other. They looked at what the other was wearing, the bike and then faced forward again.

I quite liked both outfits. Mr Sporty was doing a vintage Tour de France style which reminded me of the old cycling film ‘Breaking Away' which I still like even if does little to inspire girls to get on a bike. I also liked Mr Laid Back as his outfit said ‘hey it’s a Saturday afternoon and yes you can cycle in Birkenstock sandals.’ I particularly liked his bag. Good to see men on bikes expressing their fashion gene in whatever style.

Speaking of cycling films I did see American Flyers a couple months ago. I haven’t seen this one in a long time. I don’t think it stands the test of time compared to Breaking Away.

Saturday, 5 June 2010

More stuff on security

Apart from a very wet Tuesday we have had brilliant weather this week. Too hot to speed around on the Brompton so I have been slowly pedalling on the Trek bike and keeping cool.

I tested the Bike Park at London Bridge Station, (see photo above).  It has signs saying that the bikes are monitored and cameras but I wasn’t that confident. The bikes are mainly secured on those flimsy floor racks. London Bridge is in the process of renovating the station and my guess is that the Bike Park is a temporary fixture and the hopefully the new one will in place soon.  The bike was still there when I came back after a couple hours.

I often go to the Angel, Islington and this is a hot spot for cyclists of all types. The citizens of Islington love their bikes which is great considering how well served they are by public transport. Yesterday the Police were out offering a free etching and registering service for all bikes. Unfortunately the Trek was at London Bridge and the Brompton at home. I was given a leaflet telling me how to register my bikes online. My Brompton is registered at the Brompton site but I am not sure if the bike was stolen and then found if the Police would go to Brompton to trace me.

The website where you can register your bike in the UK is the UK National Property Register at   But I hope that I never have to use this service.