Tuesday, May 01, 2007


I always see the chicest girls on bicycles. That's my excuse for no longer taking street pics - by the time I've spotted a victim, they're gone in a whirl of heels, flying fabric and hair. And they always have those cool old school bikes, as evidenced by the sterling work of The Sartorialist (who took the pic at right).

He's a bike man for sure.

I do have a very old, very beautiful Triumph that belonged to my mother. She fell off it and cracked her chin open when she was 10 so that means it's well, it's definitely vintage, no - antique. It needs new tyres and it's a little rusty but a little TLC and it'd be fine. Only - and I know this is bonkers because who would want to steal my rusty old bike but if it was pilfered I would be devastated. So, it lives in a shed in Dorset waiting to be lovingly reconditioned.

A London bike requires a slightly different set of criteria. The fact is there's not many places I can cycle to without navigating a huge scary road full of freight lorries. Also, the last time I regularly cycled was on the pavement. Basically I am terrified of falling off and I am not ready to die yet.

I went along to Evans which is frequented by many cycle couriers which I thought must be a good sign. As soon as I walked in I saw my bike. I mean it just was my bike and I knew it. A lovely boy with half blue hair was helping me, and I told him I was going to get some lunch and would be back soon. When I got back there was a girl on my bike. I looked at blue hair boy and said, "There's a girl on my bike." After discovering it would take over a week to get another one, I wandered round the back of the shop smirking to myself. For I knew it was my bike. After about ten minutes the girl left empty handed and blue hair brought the bike over to me. At some point before I took it out for a spin he mentioned another bike called a Pashley Princess which had a basket and was like a real old fashioned ladies bicycle. I was momentarily blindsided by the knowledge that a bike named Princess existed for grown ups. I was torn, but then I took my bike out for a spin along the south bank and loved the way it positively glided glid? glided smoothly over the cobblestones. It also has a tres comfortable cushioned saddle.

So, although the Pashley Princess was charming, I had to remind myself I already have one - a real original one - just like that. I wanted a bike that wasn't desirable to thieves, thus one with a step through - apparently there aren't too many females ready to crack your bike lock open with a car jack out there. I needed to be visible - thus an extremely dorky light coloured helmet with graphics that wouldn't be that bad actually if only they were on a treatment menu at a holistic day spa. All bike helmets are vile. This is why you see all these stylish young things risking life and limb scooting around Paris, New York and London with the breeze running through their hair. I'm telling you, there's a big gap in the market here bike helmet designers. You could save a hip cyclist's life. But for now I had to ask myself; do you want to look cool or do you want to keep your brains inside your skull rather than splattered all over the pavement? There is one helmet that kind of looks like a WW11 military helmet which initially won me over, but I looked like an extra from 'Allo 'Allo wearing it (I was actually wearing a trench coat at the time, just to complete the look.)

So, my new bike is fine. It's fine. It's got two wheels and handlebars, it's not the love of my life like Duckie is but hey, tootling along in the global warming enhanced sunshine feels just dandy.
It's so....pleasant cycling around. Such was my euphoria after my first ride round the neighbourhood that all l I could say was Bicycle! in the manner of a small child presented with an enchanting new toy. This led a friend to ask if I'd been sniffing glue, to which I replied, "Bicycle!"

p.s. I am ignoring the entire Kate Moss Topshop thing, lalalalala, fingers in ears, eyes closed, don't want to know how many fatalities there have been so far, not interested, not worth it...


Anonymous said...

i ride my bike everywhere...and i am thrilled when i see women with heels riding as well! oh and kate...elle m'ennuie.

Fi said...

Sigh. My bike was stolen, I am too scared of a repeat theft (though the stealing of mine was also a repeat, of the stealing of my boyfriend's) to buy another one.

So, in spite of being jealous, I am very happy for you and your new bike!


PS. Thank you for ignoring Topshop malarkey. I cannot take any more opinions.

l'embrouillamini said...

Oh, the Pashley bicycle is beautiful! That basket is made for baguettes and croissants and a little posy of flowers! Or maybe Lola! You could find her a little helmet of her own.

Moving on... would love to see a picture of your bicycle. I was thinking of hiring a bicycle just like that in Paris and having a day of cheesy bell ringing and baguette collecting. Perhaps I will steer clear of the Arc de Triomphe. xx

p.s. I'm also steering clear of the Kate Moss collection. However my curiosity got the better of me yesterday and all that was left at 10am in the Newcastle store was one black "Kate Moss" vest a.k.a. Topshop vest with KM tag on. Silly silly silly.
Adieu! x

Bombay Beauty said...

This happens to me too. My father gave me a pen once, which I used all the time until I lost it (in London in fact, in Mayfair). At some point he replaced it for me, and said I should keep on using it. But I couldn't bring myself to do it. What if I lost this one as well? And you know how pens are. Their wanderlust is legendary. Harder to keep caged than a lion. More slippery than an eel. Anyway, it now sits at home in my pens that must not be used collection. When it comes to bicycles, I actually used my father's for many years, a Raleigh, neither ancient nor precious, though certainly his and no longer in production. After driving it around for 7 years I gave it back to him when I was moving to New York. He kept it in the garage for a number of years until he got rid of it! Imagine! And if there's an irony here (in an O. Henry sort of way) it's that he got rid of it and decided to keep a folding Raleigh that used to be mine. A final note before I allow myself and you to go. I now use a Dahon folding bicycle. The trouble is that it is easy to disassemble (read steal) and everyone asks me if I can do tricks on it (it does look rather like the bicycles that circus performers use).



Mrs Fashion said...

Have you read June Vogue?
Agyness Deyn admits to owning a Pashley Princess! Just had to tell you...

Mrs F x

Lola is Beauty said...

Yes I saw that too Mrs F...they are lovely - quite expensive though, I'd be forever worrying about it getting scratched or people throwing rubbish in the basket!

Julia said...

What a jinx (although not really considering I've also been gaga at The Sart's photos of girls on bikes). I just love the idea of scooting along on one, wearing flat shoes and my hair all perfect. Maybe a scarf. I don't even care if the bike isn't red (or cream) and shiny. But I wouldn't look as flawless as they do, but my friend and I are determined to attempt it when we hit Europe next month...