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...