… to all our customers, suppliers and friends! Anyone got any good rides planned over the bank holiday?
Lets hope the weather warms up a tad, and that all our new customers receiving their bicycles this weekend will be able to get our there and enjoy a ride. If the Easter bunny brings what we are hoping for, a bike ride and some furious pedalling will certainly be in order.
We’re open tomorrow (Good Friday), Saturday 30th March and then all back to normal from Tuesday 2nd April, but do send us an email… and chances are we’ll get back to you.
After being properly scuppered by the snowy conditions in January, we’re going to give it a go again with the Beg Bicycles February Joy Ride. January’s cancelled ride was such a good one, we’re running it again (or rather riding it) and we hope you’ll come along too for some great cycling company, super-tasty pit-stops (coffee and cake is always a pre-requisite!) and generally a good time.
The February ride is on Sunday 17 February. We’ll be meeting at Shepreth train station car park at 10.30am. To fortify us prior to setting off, we’ll have tea and cake at Teacake, a lovely little tea room in Shepreth, which we went to last January and is well worth a return visit for its warm welcome and the owners’ impressive knowledge of aromatic teas!
From there, we’ll cycle to Fowlmere, Newton, Haslingfield and Barrington (yes, we’re going up Barrington Hill, gulp!) and then have another well-deserved pit stop at the Royal Oak pub in Barrington. Keeping it informal, I won’t be booking a table for us all for this stop, so if you’d like to eat please do, or just stop for a drink, the choice is yours!
From Barrington, we’ll continue back to Shepreth. The cycle route is a round trip of 11 miles.
Look forward to seeing you on 17 February! Any queries, as ever, please do drop us an email here or call Esther on 07910 487 856. If you can let us know if you are coming along, that would be REALLY great!
By the way – the image above is, of course, a joke. We look a whole lot more sporty than that – and naturally go a lot faster.
Esther’s kicking off a brand spanking new year of our wonderful Joy Rides with a real treat for January! Yes, another year bites the dust, but the Beg Bicycles January Joy Ride proposes to blow away the cobwebs, while still retaining some festive cheer! We have not one but TWO potential foodie stops on the way. Well, we have to ease ourselves back in gently, don’t we?
The January ride is on Sunday 20 January. We’ll be meeting at Shepreth train station car park at 10.30am. To fortify us prior to setting off, we’ll have tea and cake at Teacake, a lovely little tea room in Shepreth, which we went to last January and is well worth a return visit for its warm welcome and the owners’ impressive knowledge of aromatic teas!
From there, we’ll cycle to Fowlmere, Newton, Haslingfield and Barrington (yes, we’re going up Barrington Hill, gulp!) and then have another well-deserved pit stop at the Royal Oak pub in Barrington. Keeping it informal, Esther won’t be booking a table for us all for this stop, so if you’d like to eat please do, or just stop for a drink, the choice is yours!
From Barrington, we’ll continue back to Shepreth. The cycle route is a round trip of 11 miles.
Really hope you can join us on 20 January! Any queries, as ever, please do drop Esther a line at email@example.com.
The October Beg Bicycles Joy Ride was one of those lovely scenic bike rides that clears the cobwebs and makes you glad to be alive! It really was a day of mists and mellow fruitfulness and yet again, a dry day! Our Joy Rides have certainly been smiled on by the weather gods this year!
We met at Newnham Road car park and then cycled through the centre of Cambridge (avoiding dogs, tourists, pedestrians!) and then alongside the river, admiring the hustle and bustle of rowing activity on and around the riverside.
From there, we swished through the autumn leaves out to Milton Country Park where we stopped for tea and cake. I enjoyed a large steaming mug of coffee and the gooiest chocolate muffin you have ever seen! Well, we’d cycled six miles, so needed refuelling! The conversation quickly turned to the merits of different cake and quite a debate ensued! We were delighted to welcome to the ride Miss Sue Flay of The Secluded Tea Party so we definitely had an expert on hand for our baking and caking questions!
Following a lovely pitstop in the fresh air and a good chinwag, we made our way back from Milton Country Park to the centre of Cambridge and said our farewells.
The last Beg Bicycles Joy Ride for 2012 will be on Sunday 25 November. Further details to follow – and hope we’ll see you!
Thanks to Sue and Esther for the images.
Someone switched on Autumn all of a sudden, but there is still time for some lovely seasonal bike rides before the weather turns wintery! We’ve got lots of great rides lined up in the coming months, including our regular Cambridge ride this Sunday (21st October). Joy Rides also crossed the channel this month (Le Joy Ride Paris?) for a very scenic ride along the Seine, and we’ll be doing another one in November. Details to follow for any Parisians who would like to come along. Chapeau!
For the Beg Bicycles Joy Ride on Sunday 21 October, we’ll be meeting at 10.30am at the Newnham Road Car Park in Cambridge
From there we’ll be cycling through Cambridge and out to Milton Country Park, where we’ll enjoy a cuppa at the country park cafe before completing a circular route back to Newnham Road. The ride is approximately 8 miles. Really hope you can join us!
Don’t forget, you can find out more information about Beg Bicycles at www.begbicycles.com and can read all about our previous Joy Riding exploits here!
… And Other Areas:
A Guide to Cosy Winter Cycling
Your Nether Regions
We’ve been thinking long and hard about cycling in the colder months here at BEG, and considering ways to make your ride all the more pleasurable, whilst being practical and useful. Autumn and winter cycling has many charms but a chilly backside on an icy cold saddle certainly isn’t one of them!
So one of the new products we’ve come up is the BEG Sheepskin Saddle Cover. Be kind to your behind, with these luxurious, beautifully-made covers that give a really toasty, very soft and comfortable ride. They also work a treat if you are breaking your new Brooks saddle in, and finding it rather hard-going!
Our natural sheepskin saddle covers are made in Great Britain from 20mm pile sheepskin, so are very sumptuous, soft and certainly a treat for your derriere! They are designed to perfectly fit Brooks B66 and 67 saddles, but because of their drawstring and toggle construction, they nicely fit many other saddles we have tried them on.
There is but one danger.
Once on, you may never want to get off. Could be a long ride.
We’ve been wanting to write a blogpost for ages about our friend Tiffany. We first met Tiffany when we spied some of our BEG collection on her lovely foodie + cycling blog, www.tifamade.tumblr.com, and then we found out that we had two things in common… pink bicycles (sigh!), and a love of Paris (it was living in Paris that inspired us in the first place to start BEG – as have probably said 67, 000 times!).
So please allow us to introduce Tiffany of Tifamade, urban cyclist, creator of Tifamade (delectably handmade lunches and beautifully styled catering brought to you by bicycle), doyenne of the gourmet Parisian sandwich, calligrapher (Tiffany did our ‘Glorious Summer of Cycling‘ lettering), photographer, cyclechic designer and general uber-cool girl about town (and not just any town. Sorry. Forgot, we’d mentioned Paris already. It is lovely though)…
Hello, Tiffany! Tell us a bit about how you got into cycling your gorgeous pink bicycle all over Paris selling such delectable goodies from your vintage suitcase?
Hi BEGsters! So the long story is that I was living in Pantin at the time, and used the Canal Hoche/St. Martin to commute to Paris centre. I saw a triporteur for rent at a bike shop on the canal and couldn’t help thinking there should be some use for it. And I happened to stumble upon (ride upon?) the suitcase at just the same time. I was dating a coursier à velo (bike courier) so cycling was kind of a household thing.
Where did your love of cycling come from?
My dad is a huge cyclist who comes to France each year from the States for one of the big races. I grew up looking for a way to spend time with him, and that necessitated loving bikes too.
What gave you the inspiration to start Tifamade.
I thought about all the great food trucks in the United States, and then thought that I’d never be able to do that in Paris. So I decided to use my bike instead.
What’s your best-sellling sandwich?
Maybe I’m projecting because I love it so much, but anytime I make sandwiches with beet hummus, I get a lot of love. Beet hummus is a nice mellow way to eat beets if you aren’t already a huge fan of them.
How do you find cycling in Paris?
I started wearing a helmet religiously last year because my mom was getting an ulcer worrying about me. I say a lot of bad words under my breath because, to be honest, it can be a little sketchy sometimes. For the most part, I really enjoy the universal bike lane and Sundays when cyclists have a lot of freedom throughout the city.
We hear you also design a mean line of cycling accessories..?
Thanks, I try! I’m always trying to solve some design problem because I don’t necessarily want to roll up looking like a hard-core cyclist. Hence the cute bike lock sock and the pant guard. I’m still waiting for my millions, however.
What’s next in the Tifamade empire?
I’m dying for a cargo bike. But like with other bike-related designs, I’m looking for something that isn’t too cargo-y.
…and for once we’re not talking about our bicycles!
The fabulous Laura Wright, classical soprano and classical music chart topper, is riding our very own Bella in this week’s Hello magazine (and our 100% lambswool picnic blanket makes an appearance too!). We love Laura so this is all rather exciting!
Laura’s having an incredible year. Having been top of the classical album charts in 2011 with her album The Last Rose, Laura became the first soprano to perform at the Olympic Stadium in March and has been selected to record the new Diamond Jubilee song, ‘Stronger As One’, which HM The Queen mentioned in her Commonwealth Day Message at Westminster Abbey in March where the song was premiered. She’s also just sung at the FA Cup final – and at our favourite – The RHS Chelsea Flower Show. Her new album, ‘Glorious’, was released yesterday – a unique collection of great British songs, old and new, which will celebrate and commemorate the Diamond Jubilee – where she will fly the flag for Britain!
Anyway, we think Laura looks just beautiful - and Bella isn’t bad either!
Many thanks to the team at Hello, Laura Wright and our friend, Selina Lake.
As you may have read on this humble bike blog a few weeks ago (or not. Sit up at the back and pay attention), we recently got together with BikemindedRBKC, the fabulous, creative and highly motivating cycling campaign set up by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, London to do some mutual nosying to see what each other is up to.
We were delighted to be featured on their fabulous blog, Bikeminded last month, and now it’s our turn to find out all about the great work they are doing in the borough to promote cycling. We spoke to the lovely Katherine King, Road Safety Manager (and urban cycling guru), RBKC who told us all about what they are up to as a borough, and about her own cycling lifestyle. And if you see lots of smiley, happy cycling folk on the streets of the London, chances are you are probably standing (or better still cycling) in Kensington and Chelsea.
Councils of the World…. your turn to pay attention!
Tell us how the fantastic Bikeminded blog came about and some background to the campaign…?
Thank you! Am glad you like our blog, the feeling is mutual. We received some EU money in 2010 to promote cycling and wanted to develop a campaign that would be a hub for cycling information in Kensington and Chelsea, and a way for people to connect with other cyclists. We also wanted to promote everyday cycling and show that people can be their same stylish selves on a bicycle. We did a lot of research to find out what motivates people to cycle and have tried to base our campaign on the top reasons people always mention for cycling.
How has the uptake to the campaign been…?
We’ve had an amazing response- both from local people and from the cycling community. We’ve made some great connections with people that have a real passion for cycling and are keen to help us promote it. We’ve got a growing twitter and facebook following, which is great for finding out more about what cyclists in our area need.
Can you tell us about who is cycling in Kensington and Chelsea?
Kensington and Chelsea is very similar to most of Central London. We have higher levels of people commuting to work- about 8% of people cycle to work, but just 3% of people cycle as their main mode. We have a lot more work to do to get people to hop on their bicycle for every day journeys rather than just the commute or occasional ride through our parks. As in other parts of London there are more young, professional men cycling than any other group.
Have you noticed any cycling trends emerging in your part of London – or london-wide in fact?
Cycling is definitely becoming more fashionable and we see more and more people out on gorgeous looking bicycles. People who’ve put some real thought into their outfits and how they look on their bicycles. That is really great to see as for a long time London has lagged behind the cycle chic capitals like Copenhagen and Amsterdam. We’ve also had the Boris Bike effect here so we see a lot of people out on leisure rides over the weekend and men in suits riding off to work.
What are the initiatives the RBKC undertaking for cyclists in the immediate future…?
We have a fantastic film competition which we’ve just launched, inviting film makers to show us why they love cycling. We heard that film is the most shared medium on the internet so we thought if we could generate some great films then we’d have a good chance of spreading the cycling message. It’s also a great way to support young film makers in the area as there are some excellent prizes up for grabs. We’re also about to open up a series of one way roads to two way for cyclists, which will mean that cyclists can avoid some of our main roads and that it’s easier to find your way around on a bicycle.
You’ve organised some really fun events for locals. Can you tell us a bit more about these…?
We thought about how we might be able to entice people out on a bicycle through their other interests- especially those people who might think about cycling but need some motivation to give it a go. So we’ve designed some tours with themes like film, music and theatre, which will introduce cyclists to some of our quiet back streets and hopefully give them the inspiration and confidence to cycle more often. We had a few sell out tours last summer so are excited about launching this summer’s series.
You asked me this question in our interview so ‘back atcha!’ How do find inspiration for your blog, which is wonderfully up to date?
When I started writing the blog I thought I’d run out of things to say within a couple of weeks, but there are always great things going on and new areas that we want to explore. At the moment we’re concentrating on cycling films because of our film competition, and are about to launch a cycle style competition with Harrods so we’re trying to focus a bit more of the fashion side of cycling.
What would you say to encourage anyone who is toying with getting back in the saddle but fears the mean streets of London…?!
When I first moved to London I’d never cycled in traffic before so was terrified. But I took some cycle training which was really fantastic for teaching me to cycle assertively, and then spent the first few months sticking to the canals and quiet roads. I’d definitely recommend that anyone thinking about cycling take up our free cycle training offer- most boroughs in London have free cycle training for residents. It’s great for building confidence and helping any new cyclist to understand the tricks to keep them safe. And make sure you plan your route and keep to roads that you are comfortable cycling on. If you ever find you’re feeling things are getting a bit dicey then just get off and walk to a street you’re happier cycling on.
What type of cyclist are you.. and what bicycle do you ride?
I guess I’m an everyday – utility cyclist, I try to cycle most places just because I prefer it to being squashed on a tube or waiting for a bus, it’s also a much more pleasant way to experience London. Over time cycling in London my confidence has grown and my knowledge of the quiet back routes has gotten better so I’m pretty comfortable going most places on a bicycle now. But I’m too lazy to wear special cycling clothes, I think I should be able to cycle in whatever outfit I’ve planned for that day so if it’s a special dress or something then I just cycle slower. I’m a fan of high, high heels which are of course far easier to cycle in than walk in which is one of the great benefits of cycling! I ride a pink Electra Townie, which I’ve had for 7 years now and it’s looking a bit battered. I should upgrade but it’s hard to let go of an old friend.
What would your ideal day out on a bike be in London…?
I love heading out for brunch at the weekends and my current favourite place is Caravan on Exmouth Market in Islington so I often take a lazy ride over there through the parks. Then cycling through Central London is great at the weekends since there’s so much less traffic so I’d head down into Soho or Marylebone for a mooch around the shops and probably a gelato since it would clearly be hot and sunny on my ideal day! And seeing as it would be so warm and sunny, I’d probably meet friends in the park for a picnic. I particularly like Regents Park or Kensington Gardens since they are so central for meeting up with people.
Thank you, Kathryn. And keep up the fabulous and very inspiring work, RBKC!
And here’s another one.
Because. Summer. Is. On. Its. Way. Honestly.
(Thinking about it, just how empty and sad would British lives be if we couldn’t have the opportunity to make little witty sidelines about the weather. Saying that, we’d get one heck of a lot more cycling days in, so the British weather, whilst it makes for character-building IS A BAD THING).
Thank you Prima magazine for such a great feature, and particularly to Selina Lake, the stylist. Selina – we are undoubtedly on the same styling wavelength! I’ve always had a bit a thing for peeling cricket pavillions.