Friday, March 7, 2014

The Girls' Bicycle Handbook.

An exciting package appeared in my letterbox this week. Actually, two exciting packages appeared and they were all BOOKS.
"But this blog is not about books! It's about bicycles and fat bottoms of the unappealing, Mom-jeans kind," you interject. Because you like to cut me deep.

But! (Butt?) One book was about both Bicycles and tangentially, Fat Bottoms. I received a copy because my Fat Bottom is IN IT and 'IT' is a lovely slice of publishing entitled The Girls' Bicycle Handbook by Caz Nicklin of London Cycle Chic.

Here it is nestled in some ivy because lord knows we can't look
at anything now unless it's Instagrammed within an inch of reality.

It's subtitled Everything You Need To Know About Life On Two Wheels because it contains exactly that if you are a girl person who rides a bike or would like to get back on her bike without lycra or racing anybody to work. (Although there's a section about that if you want to!)

The Handbook blends bicycles, history, fashion, advice, and stories into a healthful smoothie of informative reading and pleasant pictures. It's like your favourite bicycle blogs in physical format, quite literally as many Lady Bicycle Bloggers of all stripes are to be found within. The virtual, pink-spoked circle has crossed over. But the bulk of the book is a 'How To' garnered from Caz's experience as an everyday cyclist and purveyor of bicycle chic. The focus is firmly on cycling for transportation and incorporating your bicycle into your life without drastically changing your style or identity. I was very pleased to see the section on maintenance as this is something I've wanted to learn more of ever since I became reacquainted with bicycles. It begins with the most basic procedures like how to pump up your tyres and ends with things you can do to spend less time and money at the LBS so even if you know NOTHING, you can start here.

Common Noises and What They Mean is a very useful subsection of this.

The guide is comprehensive enough that if you are yet to acquire the two wheels of the subtitle, there's advice on finding the right bike. If like myself you are already 'rollin' and subsequently doused in a tide of 'hatin', there is still plenty to enjoy with tales from women around the world, women biking with families, women who have gone to the next level for fitness or even… Yes. Here be the rarest of Roadies - The Lady Lycra. Softly calling from the pink-washed finish line, "One of us. One of us!"

The Girls' Bicycle Handbook officially launches on April 3rd, 2014 and is currently available for pre-order here at London Cycle Chic. (Fat Bottom not required.)

More ivy and the other books that arrived this week.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Nutcases and Australians Go Out in the Midday Sun.

Several heatwaves have swept Australia since Christmas so I thought it might be optimum time to test out the comfort of my new helmet. One of the reasons I'd been a bit reluctant to buy a 'full' style helmet was because Ginger had his stormtrooper version and had proclaimed it to be both heavy and HOT.

"Ve have vays oft making you bicycle!"

When the Nutcase Simi Mini Dots arrived I was pleased with its lightness but had no idea how it would feel in summer. I had resolved to find out ASAP but ended up only doing a short journey the first hot day. I waited a bit for a proper trial through the sun scorched paddocks between Ulverstone and Turners Beach.

First trip, The Nutcase. And her new helmet.
Just a short trip, coffee and picking up some shopping.

Despite the sea breeze the route is one of direct sun with little to no overhead trees and many wind breaks so it was a good sample of sweaty bike conditions in the very high 20s (Celsius. About 82 Farenheit). Also I am bad at forgetting to go slow once the joy of being on a bicycle hits me. It was fairly spectacular weather and we set off around midday, passing many happy Tasmanians leaping into the sparkling Leven river, enjoying the Ulverstone water-slide or frolicking on the beaches. I was more than a little sorry I had not brought my bathers.

Bathers regret at Ulverstone Surf Club.

Ulverstone Surf Club renovation has been completed and now offers a bank of unisex toilets as well as… A BIKE RACK! Wonders will never cease. Now it just needs a drink fountain and it will be the perfect pit-stop for everybody.

Ginger's Trek pretending to lock-up.

We cycled out to Le Mar café, enjoyed an icy drink in their alfresco area and zipped back. At no point did I think to myself, 'This helmet is too heavy/hot!'. It seemed to provide just as much ventilation as my other helmet, ie 'an okay amount when you factor in lots of dark hair attracting heat to your head'. The padded chin strap felt a lot more comfortable than my other helmet, not at all sweaty and the visor seemed to cut more sun. As always in an Australian summer, the best air-conditioning is constant movement paired with the occasional sea breeze. And of course I felt jaunty in my polka dots as well as more visible. I'm officially satisfied with my Nutcase purchase and would do so again.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

The Green Mile. (How do you get there?)

When there's nowhere official to park your bicycle, what to do? Lock up to any old thing outside? Or take it right into work and safely behind bars? That was the convenient solution for the owner of this (probably 1980s) Repco, sealed within an entry to Albert Hall in Launceston last spring.

Subsequently I couldn't get any closer to the cheerful vintage number, underlining its very effective security. Of course it's only my conjecture the rider was on business but regardless, if you had reason to lock-lessly leave your bicycle on the doorstep here, you probably would too:

Albert Hall - Launceston, Tasmania.
Photo from Wikipedia.
It rather makes the humble Repco feel regal, don't you think? It certainly makes you inclined to forgive the absence of an official bike rack.