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. 7

This week Amy arrived back in London and we were straight into preparations for the I Bike Cambridge Exhibition. Its been a weekend of cut and paste; printing, mounting and framing. We have been lucky in that the majority of the hard work has been done already during Summer last year where Cyclodelic ran design workshops with the wonderful students from CSVPA, Impington Village College and Netherhall Sixth Form college. Our job is to display their posters, photographs, t shirts and bicycles beautifully, invite guests and make sure the event runs smoothly. As usual lots of attention has been paid to detail and presentation and I cant wait to get there and put it up. We are all looking forward to the day ahead, this Monday will certainly be all about bicycle bling… cant wait to show you all!!
Tips for putting on a show with jet lag OR a show with someone with jet lag!
  • Make a list and check it twice
  • Adhesive glue and Gaffa (WILL hold the world together)
  • Have fun and celebrate at the end with our Sunday afternoon friend Bloody Mary!
  • DON’T leave vital props outside at the mercy of feral animals or Hiro!!! ;)
Have a fun week, and wish us luck today!
Emily x

Monday Fix No 6 Sky Ride

What a kick start to my Sunday! I set off on an early morning ride to Stockwell Skate Park to watch the filming of Fixed Gear London’s Christopher Delia before leaving to participate in the Mayor of London’s Sky Ride. This event is held every year for the public to have the opportunity to cycle free of traffic around a six mile loop of the vibrant city’s most famous land marks. It was a hugely successful event, well organized by the officials of the ride. I saw pimped up bikes and crazy outfits, BMX’s, Fixed Bikes, Tandems, Go Bikes, Road Bikes and tiny little children on bikes. It was a lot of fun. There was plenty of entertainment en route and the weather was fine and perfect for cycling with not a drop of rain in sight!

My personal highlights were  flying through the tunnel along Embankment to the beat of live drums and passing Buckingham Palace, waving to the Queen. Im sure she was watching us all! I think there will be a few bruises starting to appear today after all the stacks I saw along the way, hope everyone is OK! The London Skyride is a great way to encourage us all to live a cleaner, greener, healthier life style.  Thank you Boris, we heart you!!

Emily x

Skyride map

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

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!