Lucy Everett: bike shop worker
Cycling is the way I travel in general; that means going out, for work, and for leisure. I wear all sorts of clothes – sometimes its lycra, sometimes jeans and a t-shirt, sometimes heels and a skirt. Actually, I find heels are really good for clipping over the pedals.
My all time favourite bit of cycling kit is the poncho that I bought in Vietnam for two quid. It's a shapeless old plastic thing but it covers me totally, which means I can wear a dress without having to worry about a jacket.
I wear a helmet these days. I never used to, but then I decided there was an awful lot between being OK and dying when riding. That's when I realised that I’d finally grown up, when I didn't worry about helmet hair or looking daft. Others can do what they like, and I'll do what I want to.
I ride a bike because I love that feeling of freedom that it gives me, and I also like not having to spend money on gym membership or an Oyster card. There is a hidden benefit in that it’s a great way to meet like minded men – especially if you bother to stop at red lights!
I've been working in the bike shop in Selfridges for the last few months. Not many people know its there, but it’s the only bike shop in the West End. We're on the first floor and up the escalators. Despite the not too suitable access, we are very busy. We've got a workshop there, and we get some quite famous customers. Madonna used to buy her bikes from us, but she never came in herself; it was always Guy Ritchie.
Apart from actually riding, I knew nothing about bikes when I started working at Selfridges, but I'm really getting into it now. It's made me realise just how male focused cycling is. Even if you're a bit of a techie, it's not very woman friendly, and I think that could put women off.
What I try and do is take a bit of time to speak to any woman who comes in, and see what she wants, rather than just palm her off with something that I think she'll buy. An old lady came in recently for a helmet and I spent a while talking her through what she was getting, prices and that sort of thing. Mind you, I did assume a bit that she wouldn't want a BMX style helmet or a top notch racing one!
I think the oddest thing that's happened to me when cycling was in India. I went to Mumbai for a TEFL course but it was too boring, so I bought a Hero bike and decided to spend the time riding around. It caused a bit of a stir. Women would come up to me in the street and ask me why I was riding a bike when I should be looking for a husband with a car. They couldn't understand that I didn't want either. Cycling there was seen as something that you do as a child or when you’re poor. I would also get messages from people or hear little stories about this woman riding around Mumbai on a bike – I became quite famous for a month!