Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Challenge: There's a Wocket in my Pocket

I've always assumed I carry a crazy amount of junk in my pockets when out on the bike, I certainly feel weighed down, and thanks to Trobairitz I can have a nosy peek at the contents of other bikers pockets !! Am I a squirrel also......?

OK, so huge North Face wallet (I'm a bit of a North Face queen, can't help myself, it appeals to the outdoors geek in me). Camera, for the odd occasion when a ride coincides with blue skies. The black cloth is a glasses cleaner - it's bad enough having smears on your visor, it's no fun adding to that with messy specs! Stand-thingy for the times when I park up on gravel and don't want to watch my bike pitch over into the undergrowth. Bike keys, wheel lock, lock and house keys. Then the phone and ipod. I only ever wear one earphone though, I don't want to be completely shut off from the sound of traffic. So there you go, not too bad, not too squirrel like!

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Barcelona and bikes

Last week I escaped the office and joined a couple of friends in Barcelona. The trip was about getting time with two wonderful people who live in California and, as a result, I only see them every year or two.  And what a great meeting place ! They were 3 beautifully warm and sunny days, 24 degrees from dawn till dusk. I got sunburnt (not great health wise I know but it served as a reminder that great weather exists somewhere) The hotels were great, the food amazing, the beer hit the spot and the laughter came thick and fast. I explored the work of Gaudi and wandered the streets of the old city. I was also surrounded by 2 wheels !

There was such a chilled out attitude to travelling by bike. ATGATT (all the gear all the time) goes only as far as helmets ! Its regular jeans and t-shirts, or suits as they head to the office. I recall seeing one  proper bike jacket the whole trip. After a while it becomes normal and I could imagine myself just leaping on a bike in my regular clothes.

Two young women were on a scooter, the pillion texting as they shot through the traffic, I wish I’d got a photo! Although the majority were scooters, there was also a huge array motorbikes; every shape, size, make. Triumph Rockets nestled in amongst battered scooters, men in suits commuted on Harleys and left them next to battered 125s. or enormous 1200 GSs. If there wasn’t room to park on the road they parked on the pavement. If they had to ride down the pavement to reach a spot , that was fine! No pedestrians kicked off!

There was an interesting campaign about motorcycle injuries - 21 a day in Barcelona. To be honest I think this is pretty good going (not that any accidents are acceptable) bearing in mind the lack of protection, and that they ride like lunatics! I'm surprised the figure isn't much higher. I really like this campaign though, the free standing 'bikes' were dotted about around the city, in amongst other bikes so they weren't immediately obvious - which actually made them more powerful in an odd way.

I have no idea what the attitude of other road users is to bikers – excluding the cold facts of the safety campaign (probably as bad as every where else) but as a bystander, stood in 24 degrees, it certainly looked like a great city (& region) to explore on a bike.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Helmet or Heels: I'm comfortable in either!

Those who know me will have a hard time imagining that heels rank anywhere near helmets for me (except when 'power dressing' for work and then it's just a costume). But the title of this post isn't about my fashion preferences, it's about a fab website that profiles women riders. I had a devil of a job finding female role models on the web when I was learning to ride so Helmet or Heels is a welcome addition. Recently yours truly was profiled (see my profile here). Check the site out, and if you're a female biker get in touch with Pam who runs the site, we want to read about your journey into biking.

Friday, 4 May 2012

Giggle bike

The fab chaps at Jack Lilley let me run off with their bikes from time to time, occasionally with a genuine need, sometimes for fun. This time the Tiger was in for it's first service so I was given the keys to a Street Triple. I've ridden one before so I happily threw my leg over, turned the key and ......giggled! It was so small compared to my Tiger it was like getting on a toy bike. I couldn't help but grin and giggle! That's not a criticism by the way, I love it. Fun, nippy, light, not too tall. As I rode it to work it hit me, it would be a great first bike. It looks great, you'd look great on it, ladies short of leg would probably be fine, easy to handle. The only risk is that you could cause some trouble on this thing :-) . So if you're thinking about your first bike, check it out, you'll have a grin and a giggle if you do!