Emily’s Monday Fix No. 13 – Cycling Holidays

If like me you live in a city, this week why not plan a break, whether that be to the country side or as far away as Australia. I’m all for adventure and I love exploring and when I combine that with my bicycle I always see more.

On the way to Fiskado with the wrong shoes!

My all time favorite place to cycle is Kefalonia Island situated roughly 30 miles off the west coast of mainland Greece.  The whole Island is very beautiful and green but the northern end is like a second home to me. Surrounded by the Ionian sea there are spectacular views east out to Ithaki and out west to Greece’s most famous beach, Myrtos. Every time I’m there I borrow a bike and ride to the most amazing destinations on the Island, discovering ancient sites and ruins and secluded beaches, all through stunning country ride.

When in Kefalonia I stay in Agria Efamia, a small Village located in a central spot on the Island. Using this as my base I can ride to Myrtos for the sunset, Assos for a 32 minute hill climb challenge or Sami only 10kms away and rich with the ancient history of the three cities and the acropolis of Sami up in the hills. For a more challenging bike ride, Fiskado is very beautiful and the pre 1963 Earthquake, original Venitian style buildings are still standing. Just make sure you wear the right shoes for this one!

Kefalonia has no shortage of other activities too, I love swimming and jumping off the huge white rocks into the crystal blue water and the Greek nights with traditional music and food.  The best thing is that at the end of the day you can relax at any of the locally owned bars and restaurants and be well looked after while recovering from your days fun.

A view of Assos from the Castle

Tips for holiday rides:

Take a comfortable backpack, pannier or saddle bag for long rides and include…

A phone in case of emergency

Check a map first to get your distances right before. Road signs are pretty clear but not always so take a map with you.

Water and slow energy releasing snacks such as dried fruit, nuts and flapjacks

Make sure your bike is checked over and get your tyres pumped up before you leave. I’d love to have my fixed bike with me but having a geared bike helps so much in the rugged conditions while still being challenging.

Definitely wear the right shoes, I rode 3hrs to Fiskado in a skirt and silver flats, hmm big mistake!

Just because your on holiday doesn’t mean you have to soften up! Try setting a goal, test yourself, see great amazing things.. and then pass out on a beach!

For more info and all your travel needs contact Johnny at www.kefaloniatravel.com

Have fun and explore!!

Emily x

Emily’s Monday Fix No 12…Two Wheels Are Better Than Four

Lets do our bit where we can! In the past helping families getting their kids to school, I have almost always been expected to drive the children sometimes only down the road to and from school by car. This means traffic, finding a car parking space, petrol, insurance…etc!  I have been really lucky over the past few months to work closely with two lovely kids aged 4 and 6yrs who are so enthusiastic about riding there bikes that we now cycle to and from school everyday rain, hail or shine!
After initially meeting the family, the children quickly realised my love for bikes. Sienna, the 6yr old girl, was particularly impressed with my colourful tyres and immediately introduced me to her bicycle, keen for us to go for a pedal together. As my first week was during school holidays we had plenty of time to spend together exploring Victoria Park, London Fields and the Canals of the East and by the time school commenced they were very confident little cyclists.
It didn’t take too much coaching for me to feel confident that they understood road rules and safety. Teaching them to stay left and stop at every street so that we can always cross together. The key to Winter cycling success is to keep them wrapped up on crisper mornings by dressing them in gloves, scarves, tights and of course helmets, bells and lights.
With the recent cut of Cycling England leaving the future of Bikeability hanging in the balance, it is up to us as parents, nannies, sisters and friends to make sure that we don’t now have another generation lost to the joys of cycling. With safety always in mind the children have become  familiar with direction, road rules and correct cycling etiquette. In a city that is already leading the way in cycling as a way of life I think there is nothing wrong with ditching the car for two wheels at any time!
BENEFITS ARE…..
Time spent getting to and from school is quicker.
Save money spent on petrol.
It’s greener and saves our planet from car pollution.
Keeps the kids (and you!) fit.
Tires them out at the end of the day.
Exposes children to the popular and friendly bicycle community.
Gets the blood circulating especially in the mornings and will keep them warmer through winter.
The oxygen to the brain gets them alert for a day at school.
…and of course its totally fun!
Make every day an adventure and maybe even start a trend amongst the other parents and children at your school! Cycling for all ages is fun :)
Have a great week,
Emily x

Emily’s Monday Fix 11….Cycle Safely

It was around midday and I was helping Andrea move her belongings by bike from her old apartment on Ball Pond Road to our new place. I was perched at the windowsill watching the world go by as andrea packed her things up. Noticing she needed help I jumped back inside and helped her fill one bag…..what seemed like only a few minutes later I heard the sound of an ambulance out the front but thought nothing of it. We headed down stairs to cycle our first load only a km up the road when to our shock we had walked into the most horrible scenario imaginable. A cyclist half underneath a huge heavy tip truck turning left at the lights. They were still. There was one ambulance, and a few pedestrians at this early stage. It seems I had missed the actual accident from the windowsill by only minutes. I could see the cyclist under the truck and their bike not far away, wheels all twisted and bent. It looked like the impossible and certain defeat of life for sure. I could see the face and upper body under the truck wheels, I felt so heavy hearted. It was silent and everything seemed still, it was a very serious accident. There were a few other cyclists walking past, we were all very concerned. You could see we all felt compassion for our fellow rider in trouble. The paramedics began to attend to the injured cyclist, still not moving. It seemed wrong to hang around on the street watching as another ambulance and two fire trucks arrived so we decided to cycle up the road to drop off one load. Coming back 20 minutes later and the whole street all the way to Kingsland Rd was closed. I went up stairs and resumed my place at the window sill praying they would be OK. It didnt look good.

It appeard the truck turning left at the lights did quite a large turning circle around the corner, the driver must not have seen the tiny cyclist on the inside, perhaps there was some confusion as to the direction the truck was going. The truck ended up pretty much in the centre of the intersection turning left.
It was a very sad sight, after over an hour they had the stretcher out, paramedics were under the truck helping ease out the lower half, eventually the rest of the body came out, it seemed the body had not been completely caught under the wheels after all. I couldn’t tell if the cyclist was male or female as their body was lifted up onto the stretcher. Neck and back in braces we saw them lifting both arms, alive and moving! I was so anxious by the whole past hour but so happy to see movement. So, so happy. To watch all those paramedics work so hard and so calmly on saving that life was very moving. There were about 8 medical people there, police to section the road, firemen on stand by in case, I supposed, they had needed hydrolics to lift the truck. I noticed a young man there, possibly a friend, some people from the neighbourhood and a few passing cyclists. All desperately wanting the injured cyclist to live.
Since the accident there has been much support and concern posted on the London Single Speed Fixed Gear Forum, with well wishes of  a speedy recovery. I have since found out from a family member that the injured cyclist was a 23 year old woman who is in recovery.
I often forget as a cyclist on the road how easy it is for our soft unprotected bodies to get taken away in an instant. Although I don’t want anything to stop me from cycling, since that day I have felt shaken. Despite my assertive nature I have clearly been affected by what I saw. If one good thing comes out of this accident it is that I will NEVER go near a lorry or bus again, I will take no risks and I intend to pass this message onto everyone I meet. There is no point trying to rush past HGV’s for the sake of a few seconds because we have to assume that on a bicycle you can’t always be seen.

Tips

Cycle sensibly and assertively to help yourself stay safe.

The picture above illustrates all of a lorry drivers blind spots in red. Look how vulnerable we are. It is pretty shocking to see just how large their blind sport are. I would not like to be a truck driver…
Please be super safe on the roads because its not worth dying today.
Emily x

Monday Fix No 10

This week I have definitely been feeling the cold and gloves are once again becoming a bike ride essential. Rather than letting the weather stop me I’ve kept warm and dry by testing our new Cyclodelic waterproof jacket, cycling to Hampstead Heath for a two lap run almost every day – first lap warm up, second fast, about 15 km total.

Andrea (Cyclodelic’s official photographer) rode up to the Heath with me one of the days to share the experience and take some shots of our sports dresses in action. On the way back  along Balls Pond Road it was the final straw for my pedal cages (which Amy and Chris have been telling me to change for months) when at the lights on Balls Pond Road I couldn’t get my foot out and fell straight to the ground! Rather embarrassing. Thank goodness it wasn’t in front of my ex boyfriend whom I’d passed earlier that day!! So this week we are saying bye bye to cages and hello! to Power Grips.

Power Grips

Its the 10th Monday Fix so i thought id celebrate with my Top 10 must do’s this week…..

1) Try moving the impossible by bicycle. This week I helped Andrea move house with Chris’s Mission Workshop bag which definitely lived up to the hype.
2) Tip the legendary guitar busker guy next time you pass him at the ramp on the way to Sainsbury’s.
3) Send out your CV to the dream job you want but that you keep procrastinating about.
4) Give your number to that gorgeous guy you spotted, at the least he will be flattered, you might make his day, he may even call…
5) Relax in a bath and put on face mask, just don’t open the door to the postman unless your prepared to scare.
6) Paint your nails red with the best nail lacquer in the  world OPI ‘The Thrill Of Brazil’ .
7) Walk/run/cycle a bit faster.
8 ) Eat dark chocolate…mmm.
9) Buy a print of a work of art you like and get it framed and on the wall. We are getting never ending joy from our Artcrank purchases.
10) Have fun like a kid and laugh!
Super Artcrank by Laura-Kate Draws
Don’t let the colder weather stop you this week, get out there, have fun with your friends and be safe. Have a great week!

Emily x

Monday Fix No 8… Artcrank, Poster Party

Friday evening found us event hopping from Cycle Style at Smithfield Market to Artcrank, A Poster Party for Bike People exhibition at the bike friendly store, Look Mum No Hands. After saying hello and catching up with friends Amy, Chris I and found ourselves with glass of wine in one hand discussing the unique and interesting bike impression, poster art! A wonderful selection of artists, exhibited really well on wall and suspended in mid-air along the window side of the store, all at an affordable price ranging between £10 and £20.

Bikes are the world’s most fun and accessible way to get around. Posters are the world’s most fun and accessible art form. ARTCRANK brings them together.

ARTCRANK began in Minneapolis in 2007, and has expanded to DenverSt. LouisPortlandSan Francisco and Des Moines. And is holding its first international show in London.

Every ARTCRANK show features posters created by local artists from the host city. Admission is always free, and posters are priced to let everybody take home at least one.

Here is the one I bought, love it and cant wait to get framed up!….

Mayor’s flagship Barclays Cycle Hire scheme hits 250,000 journeys

Nearly 60,000 members now signed up to use the scheme

An incredible 250,000 journeys have been made on Barclays Cycle Hire bikes since the Mayor and Transport for London’s (TfL) brand new public transport system launched over three weeks ago.

Nearly 60,000 people have already signed up as members, and between them they are now making around 15,000 journeys a day. Thursday 19 August was the busiest day so far, with more than 16,700 journeys made by Barclays Cycle Hire.

Daily membership has proved to be the most popular option to date; more than 34,400 people have already signed up to use Barclays Cycle Hire for just £1 a day. Annual membership is also providing hugely popular, with over 21,700 members choosing to pay £45 a year to use the scheme, working out as just 12p a day. A further 3,400 people are weekly members, at a cost of £5 for seven days use.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “In the past three weeks we’ve seen the streets of centralLondon transformed, as our bikes become a familiar and immensely popular sight on London’s streets. Nearly 60,000 people have already voted with their pedals, making more than 250,000 journeys on the Capital’s newest icon and proving that London really is a cycling city.”

Nick Aldworth, Project Manager for Barclays Cycle Hire at TfL, said: “These are early days for Barclays Cycle Hire, and we are still working with our operator, Serco, to learn about and improve the scheme. We appreciate Londoners’ patience while our brand new public transport system beds in.

“However, 250,000 cycle journeys in, it is clear that Barclays Cycle Hire is already proving hugely popular with those who live and work in the Capital. Around 93 per cent of all journeys made by Barclays Cycle Hire members have been under 30 minutes, which means that the vast majority of people using the scheme aren’t paying any more than their daily £1, weekly £5 or annual £45 access fees.”

Since launch, engineers have been continuing work on installing more docking stations across centralLondon. Barclays Cycle Hire launched with 315 docking stations, and the total number is now up to 335 – making it even easier for Londoners to access the bikes and return them at the end of their journeys. When complete the scheme will have 6,000 cycles and 400 docking points.

The creation of an easy to use cycle hire system was a key pledge of the Mayor’s manifesto. Just over two years since his election, Barclays Cycle Hire is now transforming the way that people make short trips around central London.

1. A membership key costs £3. Members must pay an access fee to use the scheme which is £1 for 24 hours, £5 for seven days or £45 for a year. The first 30 minutes of any journey are free from usage charges. Currently, those wishing to use the scheme need to register as a member by visiting: www.tfl.gov.uk/barclayscyclehire
.
2. Examples of journeys that can be carried out within thirty minutes, taken from TfL’s cycling Journey Planner, include:
o The Regent’s Park to Notting Hill Gate (25 minutes)
o London Bridge to Hyde Park (27 minutes)
o Tower Hill to Bond Street (23 minutes)
o Regent’s Park to Westminster Abbey (16 minutes)
o The British Museum to Green Park (15 minutes)
o Old Spitalfields Market to Speaker’s Corner (27 minutes)
o High Street Kensington to Leicester Square (19 minutes)
3. Members of the scheme must be at least 18 years old, and you need to be at least 14 years old to use the scheme.
4. Barclays Cycle Hire, which is operated by Serco Limited on behalf of TfL, is the most sustainable and environmentally friendly form of public transport ever seen in the Capital.
5. Barclays Cycle Hire and Barclays Cycle Superhighways are building on the massive 117 per cent growth in cycle journeys on London’s major roads since TfL was created in 2000.
6. Barclays Cycle Hire operates across central London. Docking stations and hire bicycles are available in Camden, City of London, Hackney, Islington, Lambeth, Kensington & Chelsea, Southwark, Tower Hamlets, Westminster and several of the Royal Parks.

Nancy Ryder
Senior Press Officer

Monday Fix No5  Kimono Winter

As one wise old cyclist said “Its not the wrong clothes, its the wrong weather”. As we all know, the inter season weather is unpredictable and it’s hard to know what’s best to wear when out all day in the elements! Just this weekend in London I was caught in heavy rain, wind and sunshine all in the space of one weekend.

How did I combat this? Well,  I thought I’d test run our new season water proof, fleece lined Kimono Jacket!! With its gorgeous soft performance fleece lining, snug fit and extra long  batted wing sleeves there was,  of course, room to cycle even with my hands down on the drops, feeling fast in the new bright red colour way. Just like my much loved  Kimono Softshell Jacket I felt protected from the wind but also from bursts of heavy rain.  My favorite detail on the jacket is the subtly placed side reflectors and the purple zip detailing. With a high collar around the chin I also found it easy to unzip the jacket after a tough hill climb up to Highgate!

All the team at Cyclodelic are really excited that our new winter range will be launching in September and we will be continuing to test the new pieces ourselves as Summer draws to a close.  Most of all I’m looking forward to introducing you to the 2010 Waterproof Kimono, look out for it, coming soon!

Monday Fix No. 4 – Flying with your bike!

This week Amy is off to Australia for three weeks to show at Ausbike and research the bike market in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. I thought it would be a good chance to find out the rules and regulations on flying international with your bike.

After chatting with friends and doing my own investigating I have found out that it is not as difficult and expensive as at first thought. International travel is still highly desired amongst many bicycle travelers; so how do you fly with your bike and avoid the fees imposed by most major airlines?

First of all find out your check in luggage limit, usually the wieght of your bike can be included in this, meaning you only get charged a fee if the combined weight of your suitcase and cycle exceeds it. In most cases this still allows you to carry a substantial amount of other luggage.

There are plenty of bike bags and hard cases available. If you are on a budget get a bike box from your local bicycle shop and pack this out with newspaper / bubble wrap. Avoid cycling to the airport – better to be ready packed. And finally, if you are not breaking your bike down yourself do make sure you know how to build it back up at the other end!

For more information we found the following sites useful or just check your individual airline…

Bicycle Touring Pro

Cycle Tourer

Monday Fix 2 – The Benefits of Low G.I. Foods

This week I thought I’d share with you, the benefits of a low GI diet.

Why not introduce a few different foods into your diet that may help you get more out of your day by slowly releasing energy and making you feel fuller for longer. GI or glycemic index, measures the speed that your body breaks down carbohydrates and converts them to glucose, the vehicle your body uses for energy. The faster the food breaks down, the higher the rating on the index. When trying to lose weight I find it critical to avoid foods that have High G.I. and to eat Low G.I. foods instead.

Different sports require different dietary needs, for example before going for a jog or running High G.I. foods work best; fruits such as bananas and dried apricots, jam on white toast and sweet sugery sports drinks that have energy that can be burnt up fast for immediate results.

But, before cycling, longer lasting energy is required and this is where Low G.I. is best. Foods such as brown long grain rice, natural oats, apples, orange and  kiwi fruits, almonds, legumes such as lentils, chick peas and beans, raw tomato and low fat yogurt. All these have a low glycemic index and with slow energy release will keep you fuelled for longer. If it was not for these foods I would not have made through the 120 miles of the Dunwhich Dynamo over the weekend!

This week I found it helpful to introducing beans and lentils into my salad lunches adding to spinach leaves, cucumber and fresh tomato for a hearty, long lasting meal that kept my energy levels up after the exertion of the Dynamo over the weekend! Legumes are high in fibre and protein and pass through your digestive system quickly but keep the hunger pains at bay. Always drink lots of water up to 3 litres a day and try to make the most of the long summer days by getting up an hour earlier for a brisk walk or even better a jog. A hit of caffeine always gets me out the door and in 23 days you should be in a routine to see you through the next few months. Reward yourself with a low G.I. breakfast when you get back! Enjoy feeling the benefits of your new found energy :)

Quick tips:

  • Wash lentils before cooking to reduce the effect of bloating that can occur.
  • Canned legumes are a great alternative to cooking if out of time.
  • Lightly season your salads and add herbs for extra flavour.
  • Remember to include all food groups in your diet including good fats, carbohydrates and protein.
  • Have a fun and energetic week!
Emily x


Emily’s Monday Fix No.1

Regents Park Summer Sessions 10K

It was race day yet again and waking up to a glorious morning of sunshine was a good start. Despite my urges to press the snooze button one more time I rolled out of bed and headed straight to the caffeine. In the past I have focussed more on the prep side of training but with so much on at the moment, I felt as if I may not have done enough for this Regents Park 10k Summer Sessions Run. As I sipped down the effects of my second cup of coffee, I guessed that it is always natural to have doubts before a race -so- as I am not one to give up, my positive attitude told me just to go for it and I jumped into a cold shower!!

Feeling refreshed, I pulled out my gorgeous Cyclodelic Sports Dress, stepped into my trusty leggings. Then. Aghh!! Hairy legs! I had been in legging hibernation for too long. Before I realised what I was doing I had the shaver out and was dry shaving in a last minute fashion….hmmm I do not advise!!

Zipping down from Highgate on my new fixed gear, through the Heath, Camden and Primrose Hill and into the park, I was starting to feel warmed up. Congregating at the starting line, the crowd gradually growing until the countdown began and we were off. The first of three laps and I felt slow and low on energy. The fact I was getting over taken may have been a large contributing factor but then in my half awake state I had gone and started right at the front of the pack! For this reason, my advice is not to start at the front of the line unless your name is Paula Radcliffe, because you will be overtaken which is not good for your mental state in a race!

Second lap in and I was running at a good constant pace, aware that I was almost on time. I needed to run at 15 minutes per lap to reach my goal time of under 45 minutes. I was not far off. Everything was in check and I was feeling great turning heads in my Sports Dress.

After keeping a close eye on a runner ahead of me through out the race, I was NOT going to let her beat me to the finish line. I kept this on my mind and she became my pacer, my challenge, my goal. The fact she was tall, and skinny with toned arms and a physique to die for egged me on even more. If I could beat some one so fit looking then I would be happy with that if nothing else! So kicked into gear I gave it one final push and overtook the whippet of a woman I’d been chasing, reaching the finishing line in my record time of 47 minutes. It may not have been the goal time I was hoping for but it was still a personal best.

So if your already hooked on running and ever have the great opportunity of running in a race keep these few things in mind along the way….

  • If you have a goal time in mind, wearing a stop watch and timing each mile really helps.Most races have the miles and kilometres clearly marked along the way for this exact pourpose. Then you can have a clear idea of were your at and keep tack of your progress allowing yourself to make up time or give yourself a break accordingly.
  • Running can be a solitary sport, participating with a friend is fun because then you can analyse and banter about the journey of the race together, there is always a story to be told and it is nice to compare notes with someone! Not to mention coffee and breakfast to look forward to afterwards :)
  • Having a cheer squad to rally you on each lap doesn’t hurt and may inspire the non converts amongst your friends to give it a go next time!
  • Save some energy for the final sprint to the finish line, there will always be a whippet woman wanting to beat you to it!
  • Finally, DONT EVER WALK!… EVER!