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Christmas with Betty

January 5, 2012 in Bicycles, Town and Country Cycling



 

Happy New Year to everyone!

As you can see, we’ve been having a bit of fun over the holidays on this lovely  3 speed porter’s bicycle, Betty (in Chalk) who was looking resplendent all dressed up with our willow Grocer’s Basket.  We’re quite taken with the colour of that old postbox too…

 

Wear your skirt with pride!

November 25, 2011 in Enjoy the ride, Town and Country Cycling

We’re really pleased to introduce our very first EVER guest blogger, the lovely Jemma Leahy AKA Help! My Chain Came Off! (or should that be the other way round?!).  Jemma’s very funny blog is a dry take on the pleasures (and perils) of cycling in the ultimate urban environment, London, whilst never  losing sight of one’s style credentials.  This is Jemma’s insightful take on why all women cyclists should get their legs out – as well as their bicycles…  Thank you, Jemma!


GOLLY GOSH, STOP THE TRAFFIC PLEASE… I have noticed a MAJOR cycle chic problem on our roads and it’s not looking pretty. Please tell me, why aren’t more women wearing skirts on their bicycles?  It is very rare for me to see fellow skirted cyclists in the mornings, so rare that I feel like applauding when one gracefully cycles by. They certainly aren’t pedalling around my patch of London.

I try my very best to not change my wardrobe to suit cycling. I believe that you don’t need lycra and pink cycling jerseys to get to work in the morning and anyway, cycling leggings just don’t do me any favours! With my reluctance to succumb to the wonderful world of cycling attire, I like to think that I have mastered the technique of cycling in a skirt. So I thought I’d provide a few pointers of what I have discovered over the years in my quest to cycle in style.

Firstly, I couldn’t help admire these stylish women on their bikes from the Paris Cycle Chic blog (good for inspiration too!).

So let’s get down to business.

1.  Choosing your skirt

I have found that short body cons skirts and very tight pencil skirts are best to be avoided. It may be good for the office but trust me, there is no room for your lovely thighs and knees to move around when pedaling. You end up resembling an Egyptian mummy rather than a dapper cyclist.

Watch out for the shortness of your skirt. Going too short will alert the fashion police.  I have found that I can’t go shorter than 12 cm above the knee before I end up showing the world more than my thighs. To find out how short you can really go, try out a couple of skirts by cycling around the block before you brave a longer journey.

Make sure your skirt isn’t too flowing. This can be a problem if your skirt is also very short, the wind ends up flowing underneath it like a tent and you will be spending more time holding your skirt down than holding your handlebars.

For extra comfort, wear a skirt with a little bit of stretch in it. This can be a godsend when you’re manoeuvring on and off the bike and riding at speed.

Now that it’s cold outside, I find that wearing tights provides me with more opportunities to wear shorter skirts. A longer winter coat also gives extra good coverage. Bonus!

2.  Starting your journey

When getting onto your bike you may risk a brief flashing, or if your skirt is a pencil skirt, you may find you are restricted. Whenever possible, elegantly hop onto your bike using the curb of the pavement. The extra height makes it a whole lot easier and more eloquent. If there isn’t a curb nearby, just nip on quickly making sure to maintain that air of sophistication. Once on the bike, be sure to check that you are sitting on the back of your skirt. You don’t want to give the car drivers an extra reason to beep you. To do this, I like to stand up slightly whilst cruising and push the skirt down as I sit back on the saddle. It’s an art form.

3.  On the ride

When you cycle your skirt tends to hike up a bit, you can re-adjust when in stationery traffic or at traffic lights. If my skirt is short, then I like to cycle with my knees slightly together to avoid any mini flashes.

4. Off the bike

Getting off the bike is easy peasy if you have a ladies bike, they are made for such dignified manoeuvres! Just put your knees together and hop off. Get it? Knees together and HOP. Last but not least, if you are locking your bike and wearing a short skirt make sure to not bend over too far! So let’s all get this straight….let’s ditch the cycling leggings and WEAR YOUR SKIRT WITH PRIDE, repeat after me, WEAR YOUR SKIRT WITH PRIDE.

Thank you, Jemma!

 

The Big Chill

November 15, 2011 in Town and Country Cycling

Crikey.  It seems like a while now since we were gaily pedalling along, the sun (on occasion) beating down on us, full of the joys… and whether it was Kentish lanes or Kentish Town, it felt like we owned the road, as we congratulated ourselves on the abundance of benefits we as cyclists had over those poor POOR people shackled to their steering wheels…

But then those feelings of gay abandon and the spontanaeity of it all became just a tiny bit less forthcoming as certain, shall we say, ‘challenges’ decided to present themselves in the panniers of our cycling euphoria….

Getting up at the usual time but it feeling like the dead of night, a bunch of car keys glinting at us in an alluring way by the front door, once crisp jewel-coloured leaves creating a carpet of treachery, and those oh-so lung-aching temperatures… Our love affair with two wheels feeling like we may have hit the seven year itch.



Winter cycling indisputably has more ‘challenges’ than the throw-a-leg-over-and-go style of cycling that summer allows.  But we’ve got some tips to help you get the most out of your bicycle and your winter rides, be they your daily commute, dashing out to the shops or a Sunday morning joy ride.

1. Your mother always told you, but it’s all in the preparation!  Book your beautiful bicycle in at your local bike shop for a full annual check-up.  You can get away with it in summer, but winter really is the season for servicing. Your bicycle should ideally have a thorough clean to ensure that all parts are grime-free, some good all-weather lubricant should be added to the chain, cables and parts where metal meets metal and a thorough check-over of all working parts to ensure that bolts, brakes and gears are all adjusted and tightened correctly.  They’ll check your hubs for wear and tear, make sure the lights are functioning correctly and that your tyres have sufficient tread, are the right pressure and dont show signs of damage.  A veritable luxury winter spa retreat for bicycles!

2. Be seen.  We’re big advocates of getting noticed on your bicycle, but it’s never more important than in the darkness and gloom of winter… And we’re talking about safety, not style for once!  Beg bicycles already have several clever bits of kit to make sure you are seen… Our bicycles are all fitted with German-made top quality, powerful Busch und Muller Lumotech front and rear Senso halogen dynamos – reliable and powerful halogens that not only feature a sensor so will switch on automatically as soon there is a hint of dusk, but which will remain illuminated, even when at a standstill.  And all of our bicycles have Schwalbe Delta Cruiser tyres as standard which  have reflective sidewalls for added visibility at night.

3. Now is the time to make sure that you yourself are as visible as possible on snowy days and dark nights and that doesn’t mean letting all your sartorial principles go out the window…. There are some fabulous cycling specific wardrobe staples out there these days. How about this completely water-proof classic trench, with clever built in reflective panels on the collar, belt and cuffs from British-brand WaterOffADucksBack (£130.00).  They also do great short men’s version (£140.00).  We love the ingenious reflective pin-on buttons from SpotMe too…

4. Keep warm as toast! Our new super-cosy His ‘n’ Hers Chapka Helmets (£85.00) will banish chilly ears from winter cycling and keep your head – as well as your sartorial reputation perfectly intact!  We’ve also got dashing  Tweed flat cap helmets and super-elegant ladies hat-mets  (both £85.00) in our helmet shop.

5. And whilst we advocate cycling ALMOST 24/7/365, if it really is blowing a snowstorm out there, there is always the bus, hideous as it is! And still better than the car!

Stay warm – and safe – on your wheels!

Illustration courtesy of {Lee White Illustration}

World View

September 22, 2011 in Bicycles, Town and Country Cycling

We’ve been shipping to Poland, the US, Australia, Italy, Mexico and Singapore recently…  the world s a very small place these days and we’d be delighted to give you a shipping cost to wherever you are if you can’t see your home country on our website.

Please just drop us a line on hello@begbicycles.com and we’ll happily look into shipping rates for you…

 

Joy Rides

August 14, 2011 in Joy Rides, Town and Country Cycling

A long, long time ago, when cars incredibly still ruled the world (or thought they did, ahem!), when people scarcely knew their neighbourhood, not least their neighbours and when unimaginably afternoon tea wasn’t quite as ‘de rigeur’ as it is now, us folks at BEG had a vision. Our wildest dreams, that bordered on feverish fantasies, involved not only supplying the world with stunning bicycles but also gathering friends and soon-to-be friends together, hopping on our bikes and heading out to somewhere, anywhere, exercising our minds and bodies and feeling the breeze!

With this is mind, we are delighted to be launching Joy Rides – genteel, easy-paced bike rides in Cambridge and the surrounding area for local folk and their trusty wheels. Knowing that many people would like to go for bike rides more often, but either don’t have anyone to cycle with, are concerned about safety or simply don’t know where to go, Joy Rides are for anyone of any age who has a bike of any description! The free rides will be held monthly initially, require no special ‘gear’ whatsoever (just a bike) and will always involve the pre-requisite tea room or pub garden pit-stop along the way!

We’d like to encourage more women in particular to ride with confidence and with company! Cycling has so many positive benefits from feeling more in touch with your local community, being great for your mind and body and being completely accessible to all. We hail from just outside Cambridge so our first foray into organising our Joy Rides is on our home turf (but watch this space!). Cambridge has always been one of Britain’s most cycled cities, with 21% of the city’s population riding bikes, and its cycle-friendly infrastructure, gorgeous city centre and stunning countryside and villages make it ideal for a jolly good bike ride!

Want to come and join us?

Joy Rides’ inaugural (and gentle!) bike ride will be at 10.30am on Sunday 21st August 2011 and will be a gentle amble from the city centre along the towpath to Grantchester for coffee and cake at the delightful Orchard Cafe and then back again. The meeting spot for the start of the ride will be in front of the Fitzwilliam Musuem on Trumpington Street, Cambridge. Everyone welcome!

Anyone interested in coming along should contact Catherine at Beg Bicycles on 01223 655 222 or hello@begbicycles.com to register their place and get more info. And if it’s easier to meet us and pick up the ride at the Orchard Cafe, we’ll be the ones in the orchard with a random assortment of bicycles, hanging out in the deckchairs and without a glimmer of lycra or carbon fibre in sight!


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Thrill seeking…

May 23, 2011 in Bicycles, Town and Country Cycling

Image courtesy of {100 COPIES}

I’ve always been one of those people who gets a bit of a kick from leaving things ALMOST too late.

A sort of cheap thrill.  A mini-frisson from the risk that it could all go wrong.  The delicious sensation of leaving it until absolutely the very last minute to go through to departures at the airport (sigh – the joyful frenzy of airside shopping), not getting ready to go out to dinner until seconds before the cab is due to arrive, knowing a work deadline is terrifyingly looming, but purposefully being very busy all weekend and then staying up all night and working like a demon.

(There surely must be a German word for this, in the way that schadenfreude and doppelganger sum up a notion perfectly, leaving gaping holes in the English language…)

I think this is why I LOVE cycling and it suits me so well.  It must be one of the most staggeringly obvious things to say, but it still never ceases to amaze me just how much ground you can cover on a bike.  That slightly too long walk to the tube, the irritation at hanging around waiting for the bus, heart-racing realisation that you’ve left it a bit late for the school pick-up (again)… that general need to plan ahead that I loathe so much all become issues of the past.   Since taking up city cycling, I get an ‘almost too late but saved by the bike’ thrill time and time again – because cycling is just so utterly convenient.   Have bike lock key, few basic essentials you grab as you race out the door, bike right outside and actually never run the risk of leaving it too late.  Because it’s all about calculated risk and not really ever screwing up.

Of course, now that cycling everywhere means I shouldn’t be late, the new (and very sad) thrill in my life is never putting the bike lock key back in the same place…

Oh I do like to BEG beside the Seaside

May 17, 2011 in Bicycle inspiration, Bike Candy, Press, Town and Country Cycling

Sorry.  TERRIBLE title, but didn’t we have a lovely time, the day we went to… not Bangor but Broadstairs, and the equally lovely Whitstable, home of the famous Whitstable Oyster Festival.

We’re constantly being asked by the press – and our customers – for new pics of BEG Bicycles out and about ‘on location’ and because summer is nigh upon us, this seemed like a perfect excuse to get Bella out there, parading by the sea.  She certainly stole a few looks on the beach!

Full shoot final images to follow soon, but here are a few of our faves to get everyone in the summer cycling mood… and oh, those billowing nighties.   Blooming marvellous!

 

Cycling to heaven

April 30, 2011 in Town and Country Cycling

Sometimes a book comes along that makes you want to – literally – stroke every page, put it to the very top of your coffee table pile, breathe in its honey-scented aura, and worship at it’s printed alter.

Such a book has landed on our desks and we are utterly smitten.  Matt Carroll is launching his new anti-lycra, pro-slow cycling book Escape Routes– A Hand-Picked Selection of Stunning Cycle Rides Around England this week and it’s truly the bee’s knees of the cycle ride guides.  Matt’s gorgeous tome embodies everything we love…  well-thought through and beautifully scenic bike rides throughout Britain (including some of our fave places like Holkham in Norfolk, Southwold in Suffolk and Deal in Kent),  lush photography of beach huts and stately home gardens, the sweetest hand-drawn maps and the prerequisite list of stop-off spots for a little light refreshment – and very idyllic they are too!

 

 

Here’s the official blurb about the book…(or should I say Bible)…

To be released on 3rd May 2011, Matt Carroll’s Escape Routes challenges readers to ditch the car and get pedalling.  It features a hand-picked selection of 60 stunning countryside rides across England.  Whether you’re simply after a seven-mile pootle or want to escape for the day on a leisurely 20-mile jaunt – taking in proper country pubs, gorgeous Grade I-listed manor houses and pottery studios in Cornwall – this guidebook has something for everyone.

Matt used to shave his legs, don the Lycra and spend all his money on carbon fibre frames. However things have changed and he is now a self confessed ‘reformed cycle geek’ and is on a mission to encourage us to enjoy the ride with his ‘Slow cycling’ campaign. (Precisely our kind of chap!)

Instead of stressing about how many calories you’ve burnt, the number of miles you’ve notched up and being first away from the traffic lights on the way to work, Matt believes we should all take things a little slower.

 

 

We’re really happy to be teaming up with Matt to promote the book in the coming weeks, and are delighted also be stocking Escape Routes in the BEG Bicycles shop from next week.  In the meantime, have a look at Matt’s brilliant promo videos, including a great ride in Hertfordshire for townies here.

 

 

Feels like we’ve cycled and gone to heaven.