Blogger profile: Lady Velo

In a new series of guest bloggers for the London Cycling Campaign, we find out a bit more about Lady Velo, who blogs at Velo City Girl about cycling, fashion and all things in between.

Do you remember your first bike and how you learnt to cycle?

I do indeed! It was actually a hand-me-down from my big sister! She used to have a red and yellow Raleigh Burner BMX, which our older brother lovingly restored for me to have as my own. He was also the person who taught me how to cycle… on that very bike. Wednesdays after school he’d take me for rides around the neighbourhood… it’s a memory I hold fondly to this day.

What was your first memory / impression of cycling in London?

Admittedly, when I first started riding around London I wasn’t going very far: cycling with friends around the neighbourhood or riding to the shops and back. I was very carefree. It wasn’t until I got older and wiser to cycling around London that it started to make an impression on me… I became much more aware of the traffic around the city, which made me slightly nervous to ride.

Has that impression changed now and if so, how?

I still have my moments of nerves when riding around the city, but I love being on my bike in London. I’m much more aware and conscious of traffic on the roads and take care when I ride. I only got back on the saddle three years ago (after a ten year absence from riding) and I’m glad I’m cycling again.

What’s the best thing that has happened to you from cycling?

That’s a hard question as so many fantastic things have happened to me since I got back on a bike! The sense of freedom I feel when cycling has changed my life, along with the people I’ve met and the wonderful experiences I’ve had via my blog. I honestly can’t pinpoint it to one single thing, which says a lot about what cycling has done for me!

What style and colour bikes do you have?

I have four bikes: a black Pashley Princess Classic (a big traditional Dutch style sit-up-and-beg), a cream Pashley Clubman Urban (a retro fixie), a red and chrome Raleigh Twenty (1970’s shopper bike) and a black and chrome Colourbolt Ratty Black (a Ladies Frame in Ratty Black).

Do your bicycles have names?

The Pashley Princess is called Frankie & the Raleigh Twenty is ‘Southsea Sally’… I’ve nicknamed the Clubman ‘The Dandy’ & I only got the Colourbolt a few weeks ago but I have a name in mind… 

Tell me what your 3 great things about cycling in London are.

1. Discovering ‘new’ parts of London I wasn’t aware of

2. Meeting likeminded cyclists

3. Awesome cycling-friendly coffee shops dotted around the city

If you could change one thing about cycling in London, what would it be?

Well, my best riding experience ever was in Berlin… dedicated lanes as wide as car lanes. If we could adopt an infrastructure like that in London, it would be amazing.

How do you rate the cycle routes and paths around where you live and work?

I live right on the CS3 cycle highway – I was thrilled when this was completed, as the cycle route into the city from was I live wasn’t great at all. I felt more confident on my bike taking this route (although there are some major works going on in Canning Town at the moment which are disrupting it a bit). I’ve yet to start cycling to work as I changed jobs a few months ago (now working in SW London) but will be soon – from my place to Waterloo & cutting out the Jubilee Line (yay!) hopping on a SWT to Earslfield and riding the rest of the way. There are no dedicated cycle lanes from Earsfield Station to the office, but the route is possible & I’m looking forward to it.

How accessible do you think it is for people to start cycling?

There are many avenues for people out there to start cycling – from the CycleScheme (if you’re employer is a member of the programme) and community led cycling projects / cycling training to get people riding… but it’s about that information being wildly known and available. Checking with your local council about such initiatives is certainly a place to start.

Do you have any advice / words of wisdom for people thinking about taking up cycling?

It’s never too late to take up cycling and I say go for it! Definitely do some research into getting a bike suited to your needs, and check for local projects in your area that might be able to help (cycling training etc). Go at your own pace that is comfortable for you. Be safe, be happy and enjoy the freedom of a bike!

Illustration by Ste Johnson

Are you blogging about cycling in the city or would like to write articles for London Cycling Campaign, please send an email to info@lcc.org.uk

Become a supporter of London Cycling Campaign - to help make London a more liveable city for both cyclists and pedestrians.

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Shift into a low gear. Before shifting, ease up on your pedaling to decrease pressure on the chain. Find the gear best for you that matches the terrain and steepness of each climb.

Stay seated. Standing out of the saddle often helps when climbing steep hills with a road bike, but you may find that on dirt, standing causes your rear tire to lose its grip and spin out. Climbing requires traction, especially in loose terrain. Stay seated as long as you can.

Lean forward. On very steep hills, the front end may feel unweighted and suddenly pop up. Slide forward on the saddle, and lean over the handlebars. This adds more weight to the front wheel and should help keep you grounded.

Keep pedaling. On rocky climbs, keep the pressure on, and don't let up on those pedals. The slower you go through rough trail sections, the harder you will work. Does flex belt work

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