Monday, 28 October 2013

Women's cycle clothing... it's rubbish.

The Ride to Work voucher has arrived!

I am shopping furiously and working out the exciting new bits and bobs I will get. What depresses me, though is the dearth of women's clothing.

Yes, there is some but, on Wiggle for example, I was idly browsing clipless shoes (purely for giggles, obviously) and 84 options came up for men, in comparison to around 20 for women. In addition, while I love pink and wear it with abandon, not every woman does so why is it THE colour to denote the clothing was aimed at women?

And when it comes to sizes, are the designers aware that women have breasts? I'm a strapping size 16, so I expect to wear XL in sports wear, but even a size 18 in Muddy Fox stuff can't get over my boobs comfortably. Yes, I have boobs, that's why I picked a woman's jersey, I thought it might accommodate them.

Pearl Izumi jerseys I have from way back fit comfortably at XL, but most brands are obscenely tight. I am pretty top heavy but I would have thought a size above the rest of me would accommodate that, surely?

I'm also shocked that women's jerseys are so short. Again, when dealing with boobs, one has to factor in extra length in the front and back to accommodate them, it's not just about expanding the chest area width wise.

I think I will keep my Ride to Work voucher for the bike, panniers, lights and a lock. The clothing I'll have to work out when the sales hit and I can find stuff that actually fits. Sigh...

Friday, 25 October 2013

A possible new bike: the grandad special

So, the Ride to Work scheme is on again at work and the whole company is moving to a new location soon. The commute by public transport is a nightmare for me, but I reckon the cycle would be well under an hour.

Reg, my trusty Sirrus is ready to be put out to pasture. His odometer is showing a hideously high number that's gone above 8,000km (5,000 miles) and a friend's husband who worked as a bike mechanic visibly blanched at the state of him when he checked him over for me.

He will be kept as a second and I have a huge soft spot for him. He and I have done wonderful things together.

The problem with Ride to Work is that, suddenly, all those tasty looking numbers you passed by are available. But what to choose?

My grandad is a proper cyclist. He is now well into his eighties and only gave up two wheels in the past couple of years when he physically wasn't able to cycle any more. Bicycles have bridged the generation gap and it's what we talk about most of the time when we're together. He and 'uncle' Steve toured together often and it was the cycle to work in a rhubarb field where grandad and my grandma first courted.

On my 30th birthday he apologised when he 'only' gave me his bicycle tools. There was no 'only' about it, I was hugely touched and they're something I treasure.

Grandad's bike of choice was his Dawes tourer. He's always loved the brand and it was a bike he loved to ride. It was natural, therefore, that when I decided a tourer would be my next bike, I looked to Dawes.

Unfortunately, the classic Galaxy models are HIDEOUS. They're an insipid and ugly green. They're also very heavy and just not elegant at all. I generally fit men's frames better than women's, but I don't want anything so obviously and chunkily masculine.

But then I saw him, a flash of a vintage-style paint job, carbon forks, leather-look grips and seat. I have a serious bike crush, he's a Dawes Clubman and I'm desperate to try one to see if he's The One.

Of course if he is, the next problem is the name...

Monday, 14 October 2013

Three years - a baby, two weddings, a new job and yet the potholes haven't changed...

So I have returned to my old company in west London. My cycle commute is once again along the Uxbridge Road and, while many things have changed in the three years since I was last a regular on the road, the potholed hideousness that is the road surface hasn't.

In the summer of 2010 I was at the peak of my cycling. I travelled everywhere by bike, I was the fittest I've ever been, I was just happy. Then breaking my wrist was the first in a chain of lifestyle altering changes. I was sold to another company that was nearly two hours' commute from home under TUPE (boo), I discovered I was pregnant (hooray), my sister got engaged (hooray), my parents moved to France (initially boo, then hooray), I had Eenie (hooray), sister got married (hooray), I got married on the quiet (hooray), I couldn't go back to work (boo), I filled my time helping with a local parents' group (hooray), I got a new job (hooray). And that brings us to now, today.

Suffice to say, much has happened, it's been three bloody years after all, so why the hell is the Uxbridge Road still a pothole addled mess of a road? Muscle memory means I routinely pull round certain stretches of road out of habit and what shocks me is that in many instances the problem spots from three years ago are still a problem now. Why are there routinely 5cm or deeper holes all over the place? Why has no one rectified the hideously bumpy stretch of bus lane just before Shepherd's Bush? Why has no one addressed the melted tarmaccy mess of lumps in the eastbound lead up to the bike box on the junction with Gunnersbury lane?

I can't help noticing that the particularly bad stretch of cycle lane heading west from Ealing Broadway towards west Ealing is dominated by new developments. There are several new office blocks, hotels and residential flat blocks being thrown up on that section and nearly every one of them seems to need the road drilled. That I can understand, but who is responsible for checking the road has been put back in a state befitting its use? I can't use that section as the bumps put me at risk of coming off my bike.

I'd use the A4 off-road cycleway but that's another hideous mess worthy of a post all its own.

I am not impressed. I may, in fact, write to my local paper (oh dear God, I AM that person now)...

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Back in the saddle

It's been nearly three years since a baby, work woes and various life and technological crises got in the way of my blogging.

I'm back, I'm on my bike and Eeenie Weenie is now a strapping toddler. The rage has also returned.... Watch this space.