Friday, 26 November 2010

Stylish cycling

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

We weren't joking when we said Birmingham is a crap place to cycle!

Some of you may have seen this Midlands Today report on Birmingham Cycling already, but if you haven't it's worth taking a look...

P. S. note the single woman amongst all the shots of cyclists.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Ladies Brake for Cake!

So, here is the latest fun filled event/extreme weather endurance test from Femme Pédale:

Meet up for Birmingham's female cyclists,
Cannon Hill Park Bandstand/Tea Rooms,
Sunday December 12th, 1pm.

Join fellow female cyclists to share bike stories, problems, and triumphs.

We want to know what women cyclists want, and what we as a group can do about it!

Cyclists of all abilities welcome – no matter if you ride everyday, or once in a blue moon.

If the weather is good, join us for a wintry picnic in the bandstand, if it's poor, a cup of tea in the tea rooms! Afterwards there will be a gentle cycle ride for those inclined through Cannon Hill Park along the Rea Valley Cycle Route. Both the event and the ride are child friendly.

P.S. If you'd like a pdf of the event flier, please email, and there might be a prize for the most realistic bike cake...

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Cycling in Paris

This is officially a blog for women cyclists in Birmingham and the midlands but as many issues around cycling are international (and I like to maintain my link to my former home) I thought I'd make a long-overdue offering.
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.