Friday 30 July 2010

The London Cycle Hire scheme is here!

Hooray! today is the first official day of the London Cycle hire scheme for those who have registered. I set off on my virgin voyage from Old street station, cycled up to our warehouse and then docked it back in Shoreditch Park. Apart from a little panic at the funny noise it made at me when I docked it back in it was all plain sailing.

A few tips on getting started
1. Register - To be one of the first to get involved you need to register for an annual membership through TFL's website. It is fairly straight forward. You need to pay £45 and then an additional £3 for the key. I registered on Saturday and the key arrived promptly on Tues.
2. Activate - you need to either phone or go online to activate the key before you use it.

3. Find your nearest docking Stations - You get a map of all the Docking stations when you register, as long as you are in the catchment area there are lots of them and you can't miss them. Apparently there are a couple of good apps out there though for locating the docking stations.
4. Push key in - wait for green light and then pull out your bike.
5. Check the time - Your first half hour is free so its a really good idea to check the time just as you release the bike.
6. Helmet? - It entirely up to you if you wear a helmet or not. personally I prefer to wear a helmet when cycling in central London so I brought my nice lightweight Nutcase with me in my bag and popped it on before I began cycling
7. Bags? the bike has a bag holder with a bungee strap to secure it. I managed to get my Kate Sheridan handbag in there but you may require a rucksack or messenger bags if you have a lot to carry.

8. Adjust your seat- The saddle is easily adjustable and has a number system so you can remember which height works for you and off you go.
9. Gears and lights - The bike has 3 gears which are very easy to adjust on the right handle bar and there have automatic dynamo style lights.
10. Dock back in - by pushing the bike into an empty docking station, You don't need to put the key back in and please do ignore the funny noise... this is just the bike saying hello to the docking station apparently!

Cyclechic's accessory suggestions for getting started on the cycle hire scheme

Lightweight Nutcase helmet £45

Fjallraven vintage laptop messenger bag £61.99

Friday 23 July 2010

The launch of Going Going Bike...

What a good idea! An (ebay like) auction site dedicated to bikes and bike accessories. Going Going Bike launched this week and to celebrate I was invited to launch party at Look Mum No hands. It was a great evening and I think the beginning of a successful business venture for the founders, James and Andrew.

Instead of the predictable drinks and chat, they had the rather fun idea to make the longest ever bike daisy chain. Not a serious record breaking challenge but it definitely added a buzz to the evening.
I have often wondered how many unused bikes there are in London. The Going Going Bike team have unearthed some statistics on the matter and apparently there are more than 1.5million unused bikes in London, with 200,000 abandoned in gardens – that’s almost enough bikes to make a line from London to Istanbul!
So if you do have an old bike, in need of some love. Dust it off, take a few snaps and get it up on Going Going Bike. Or if you are after a second hand bike yourself get bidding. I have already seen a rather nice ladies Peugeot on there.

Bike buddies - James, Andrew, myself and the lovely Andreas from The London Cyclists

Wednesday 14 July 2010

The Cycle Hire Scheme lauches in 2 weeks!

I am terribly excited about the forthcoming London Cycle Hire Scheme. The official launch date is Fri 30th July and I, for one, can't wait. The Cycle Hire scheme will make my life a whole lot easier. My commute to the office is currently too far to cycle everyday (Chiswick to Old street) I did take my bike on the overground for a while but had to travel out of peak hours so that didn't really work. Once I am in in East London I usually have to do trips to our warehouse or meetings nearby and usually end up trying to borrow my colleague's bike or surrendering to the obvious... public transport. So for me it is going to be the ideal solution.
My Mum is equally as excited! She commutes into Euston and then has 20 minute walk to her office. She will soon be able to hop on a hire bike and cut her journey by a good 15 minutes.
And I'm pretty sure its not just me and my Mum who are going to benefit from the Cycle Hire scheme. I imagine there are thousands of people who live and work in London who will be able to jump on a bike as part of their day to day journeys.
There will be 400 docking stations all over central London, take a look at the Cycle Hire scheme area map for exact perimeters. The docking stations will be no more than 300m apart so you can always find one to fit in with your journey. TFL have invested millions in the scheme and have recently secured Barclays as the sponsor. The scheme is predicted to increase cycle journeys in London by 40,000 a day on top of the current 500,000 journeys a day.
I had a go on one of the bikes at last years Cycle show and they are very comfortable to ride. They maybe a bit heavier than the average city bike but they're a smooth ride and are a rather nice shiny blue colour. They also have a front carrier for your bag with a bungee straps attached to keep it secure.
If you are excited about the scheme but feeling a bit wobbly about cycling in London. Follow us on twitter Follow cyclechic on Twitter We will b e giving out lots of helpful tip and advice once the Scheme starts.

Wednesday 7 July 2010

Cyclechic's little black book: Cyclelab, Shoreditch

A new cycle repair workshop has popped up in our neighourhood and our friend Matt has been down with his poorly bike to check it out...

There’s a new bike shop / juice bar in Shoreditch called cyclelab My bike badly needed a service so I booked it in on Friday. They took it on Monday rather than saying “come back in 2 weeks”, which was a good start. It got better: I was offered a free coffee, and the guys there are very friendly. The quote for a service (new chain, new cables, new brake pads and general sorting out) came to £90. On Monday afternoon I picked up my bike and the bill was for £78. The bike is running better than when I bought it. It’s the best service I’ve ever had. They’re a little independent shop, and I highly highly recommend them if you ever go anywhere near Shoreditch.

Thursday 1 July 2010

Bagelgum Bicycle Films

Missed the Tweed Run this year? Here's a wonderful taster of what went on. This film was made by Bagelgum, a streetwise video magazine that both inspires and showcases new and emerging ideas and talents across music, film, arts, comedy and contemporary urban culture.

I have just been shooting an interview for there next film about cycling tribes. My Pashley Popppy and I met the crew down at London fields this morning, struck a few poses and and waxed lyrical about bicycles and vintage dresses.. what fun!