Tuesday, 7 December 2010
Friday, 26 November 2010
I think it's cool the guardian does frequent features on bikes and cycling lifestyles. I especially like encouraging the culture of the bicycle, for example in this article which lists the top 10 cycling novels.
personally I find the selection of women's clothes pricy and not very pretty, but maybe it speaks to certain female cyclists. In any case I'm not sure a reflective sailor bib is going to draw new female recruits to the cycling world...
Friday, 19 November 2010
Monday, 15 November 2010
Thursday, 11 November 2010
It has been a joy discovering a new city by bike. The freedom of moving across the varied and vibrant places which make up Paris, my Ato Z always to hand for the inevitable (but thankfully less and less frequent) moments when I get lost, has allowed me to appreciate the city altogether differently than if I'd opted for the underground solution to moving around. The character of different quarters, the individuality of each place and most importantly the transition between them becomes apparent by bike in ways in which can't be achieved by the teleportation effect of motorised transport. And it is officially quicker than anything else (independently verified by my race with a scooter and the metro to the pub last weekend).
Of course, here like elsewhere, we're still the minority, and the discriminated minority at that. Drivers don't give you enough room, busses cut you off, motorbikes and scooters swerve dangerously into cycling lanes. The most shocking thing that's happened since arriving here was being stopped by a young policeman for cutting through a red light. He dangled the vague possibility of an 80 euro fine before me as he unashamedly flirted his way through one of the most bizarre conversations of my life. I was completely taken aback by such an unprofessionalism but have since discovered that sexism of this type is common currency amongst French police officers.
Yet being in a minority can have its advantages. Since arriving here I've been warmly welcomed into a community of like-minded cyclists - women as well as men - who are interested, like me, in fixing bikes, teaching others to do likewise, campaigning for better provisions for cyclists, etc. If our numbers weren't so small I wouldn't have had the chance to feel integrated so quickly, in such a big and anonymous city. The mutual support network cycling creates is perhaps one of the most international and valuable aspects to the "little queen" (as the French affectionately term the bicycle) that I can think of.
Wednesday, 13 October 2010
For those not familiar, Reclaim the Night marches started in the 1970s as a response to the insecurity the majority of women felt then, and continue to feel now, on the streets at night. The movement has evolved to focus on the wider issues of rape and male violence, and this Saturday scores of women will march through Birmingham's streets, continuing this important campaign for safety and equality.
Wait...did I say march? Why am I talking about marching when this is a cycling blog? Marching is effectively glorified walking, and as we well know, cycling is much more awesome than walking.
To answer my own question, if you'll excuse me, Reclaim the Night may not be a cycling event, but it addresses many of the issues we face as female cyclists, and of course, simply as women! (And also we kinda stole the name for our rides).
The spaces that we ride (or walk) through everyday, are often those in which we do not feel safe. This could be because it's late at night, because we experience physical danger from aggressive drivers, or verbal abuse because of our sex.
We also feel unsafe because we are told we are unsafe; as a group we are disempowered by society's view of our inherent womanly weakness. I don't know about anybody else, but I'm really sick of being told that I'm more at risk because of my unfortunate possession of female body parts. Whether it's where or when we can walk at night, or the fact that female cyclists or more likely to be causalities in bike-car collisions. The truth is that in some ways we are more at risk, and this really needs to change, but so does this perception of the weak defenceless woman handed down to us.
Whether on wheels or feet it feels really great to come together and say that we should not be at risk because we are women, but also to say that as women we can be strong, we can and will take action to reclaim the streets as a place where we are, and feel, safe.
So...before I start going on about 'sisterhood' and whatnot – here are some practicalities!
Reclaim the Night – Birmingham – October 16th
Meet 7pm Victoria Square for a women only march
Mixed sex rally and after party with music, food and stalls
Friday, 17 September 2010
This is is typical of Northern Ireland's discomfort with a) activism or political belief outside sectarianism or mainstream politics b) bicycles - not the vehicle as such, but more the idea of riding one along any road where cars are present. Such an odd sight is the bicycle here that today on my rounds in town I spotted not one other cyclist (despite the rare sunshine) and I was also the object of a random scream at close quarters from young men in a car (this happens quite a lot) as well as a surprised word of encouragement from a friendly pedestrian.
Tomorrow's ride will take place along a 27 mile section of the A road soon to be made redundant by a brand new, £840 million dual carriageway to snake along within a stone's throw from the existing road. By cycling, I hope our bicycles, balloons and colourful attire will bring attention to the madness of investing in such a project at this time and highlight the alternatives which do deserve investment: cycling and public transport. An article in the Belfast Telegraph last week displayed some awareness of the country's unhealthy obsession with cars: http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/local-national/northern-ireland/love-affair-with-cars-driving-us-towards-disaster-14936618.html but didn't go as to as to suggest cancelling existing road projects, which those in the deprived North West consider it is their right to have.
The capacity for bicycles to play a role in environmental activism is huge: they will also be a key part of the solution to travelling when the fossil fuels finally run out. Yes, we will travel shorter distances, and if we want to go far, well then we'll have to set aside a few days, but we'll be happier, fitter... and more in touch with our local communities.
Thursday, 16 September 2010
Next time we're going to do a daytime Sunday ride since it's starting to get dark and we would like to include families - if you ride with children get in touch with your top tips for an enjoyable all ages ride.
Tool club is tonight, 14 Rea Street South in the Bike Foundry workshop. It's for independent spannerers - bring your bike mechanic knowledge and make friends with our tools.
Thursday, 9 September 2010
AKA absolutely clueless!
We are currently working from Muthers Studios, 14 Rea Street South in Digbeth. View map here.
Contact us at info[at]birminghambikefoundry.org or femmepedale[@]gmail.com. x
Wednesday, 8 September 2010
Monday, 6 September 2010
You will need:
A patch, made of quite heavy fabric (you can use some jeans which are beyond saving, or pick something cheap and cheerful up from a charity shop). The patch should be at least 2.5 centimetres bigger than the hole on all sides.
Sewing scissors, pins, needle and thread (in a contrasting colour to the trousers for the adventurous)
A sewing machine, if you have access to one.
1) Turn your ripped up trousers inside out (take them off first).
2)Pin your patch over the rip.
3) Turn 'em right way out again.
4a) If you don't have a sewing machine, cover the whole area of the rip with a good, solid darning stitch (in this case, these are just fairly tight lines of running stitch, with the stiches in each line staggered against the ones in the last line).
4b) If you do have a sewing machine, you can use a darning stitch setting to cover the whole area of the hole OR
4c) You can also use a zig zag stitch to sew the edges of the tear to the patch. Use multiple lines of stitching to make the mend extra strong and reinforce the area.
5) Turn the trousers back inside out, secure the end of your thread nice and tightly, and trim the edges of the patch down to size.
That's it. The trews will live to fight another day.
Of course, the best way to avoid this kind of nonsense is to dispense with clothes altogether. Economical, but a little chilly.
Wednesday, 1 September 2010
1. Lights – annoying but necessary
Really should have fixed my dodgy back brake.
Anyway, bring your lights, make sure your brakes work, and join us...
September 10th – 7pm Central Library (also finishing point), for
Reclaim The Bad Weather Bike Ride!
Tuesday, 24 August 2010
Monday, 23 August 2010
Sunday, 22 August 2010
- repair kit which should contain, in order of use; a crayon to mark where the hole is, a small piece of sandpaper or other rough material to prepare the inner tube, rubber patches, rubber vulcanising solution (glue that sticks rubber together) and a little bit of chalk or talcum block to stop sticking to the tyre afterwards. Sometimes kits come with tyre levers, if not...
- at least two tyre levers, maybe three if you have a tough tyre to get off
- spare inner tube if the old one is beyond repair
- 15mm spanner to take off your wheel (most rear axles use this size, sometimes the front will need a 14mm. You can use an adjustable spanner if that's all you have but you will cause excessive wear on track nuts after a while.
- then of course you will need access to a pump to inflate the darned thing again...
Hope to see you there. x
Saturday, 21 August 2010
Monday, 9 August 2010
Saturday, 10 July 2010
Friday, 9 July 2010
Tuesday, 29 June 2010
Sunday, 20 June 2010
Saturday, 19 June 2010
Thursday, 17 June 2010
Wednesday, 16 June 2010
Thursday, 10 June 2010
Tuesday, 8 June 2010
Tuesday, 25 May 2010
Friday, 21 May 2010
Monday, 10 May 2010
Friday, 30 April 2010
- Jess rides a single speed blue and white Raleigh, although she's going to flip that hub and ride fixed gear soon.
- Laura rides a majestic Dutch bike, a Gazelle Toer Populaire to be precise.
- Una rides a Peugeot racer and also has a blue Condor on which she has toured the world.
- Lauren has recently started riding a 7 speed blue racer which has sailboat and sun set decals...jealous!
- I (Nancy) ride a fixed yellow Peugeot racer and I have a green Raleigh Caprice shopper which is also fixed at the moment but I'm going to swap it over to single speed when I get round to it.