Undoubtedly, the single most pleasurable thing about being involved in the bike biz is getting to know the people who will ride the bicycles you sell… and make that bicycle an everyday part of their lives.

We have met some wonderful people – and wanted to introduce you to some of them in a regular series of BEG Bicycles Bell(e)s… and Beaus, of course, too! (By the way, if anyone can come up wit ha better title, we’re all ears!)


First to take to the stage is Cathy Olmedillas, the founder of The Anorak Press, an independent kids publishing house, makers of the endlessly creative, beautifully put together happy magazine for kids,  Anorak Magazine and  PLOC, a magazine aimed at younger children and illustrated by 60s French legend Alain Gree.

Cathy lives and cycles in East London.

Tell us a bit about you and your bicycle?

Cycling is in my DNA, as I spent every weekend of my childhood cheering my dad in cycling races or going on rides with his cycling club. I have been cycling in London for ten years and I love the new cycling scene that’s appeared in the past few years, with its cafes and shops.

I chose a BEG bicycles (a BEG Bella in green) having seen it when one of our Australian stockists, Lark  featured your bikes on their blog and it was love at first sight! I had had ‘sit-up-and-beg’ bikes in the past, but they were all vintage and required a lot of maintenance. I thought that if I got a new one, I’d spend less money in the long run having to fix this and that. That was my way of justifying buying a new bike anyway! A couple of weekends later, I travelled to Cambridge to test it and I bought it! Nothing was going to stop me!

How do you use your bicycle in your day-to-day life?

It’s my number one method of transport around London. I do the school run with it and cycle to meetings with it too. I used to ride with my son at the back in a child seat but in the last four years, he has been riding his own bike.

How would you describe yourself as a cyclist? 

I am a leisurely (and happy) cyclist.  I am lucky enough to live and work in a borough like Hackney, which is brilliant for cycling, as it is not that congested and it has a nice canal to cycle along. Because I have cycled since I was a young child, I am very comfortable on any roads. Although, when cycling in central London, I become a tad edgier and a lot less leisurely but then, you have to be very confident to the point of almost arrogance, because often other vehicles are quite happy to just pretend you don’t exist and force you to cycle too close to the pavements. I have many times bashed the side of white vans to make my presence felt!! Which of course attracts torrents of insults, but I am used to it!

Do you have any little rituals or techniques with regard to your cycling habits? 

My son pointed out that when I brake, I take my right foot off the pedal and swing it back to forth. Until he mentioned it, I hadn’t realized I was doing that! Don’t ask me why, although I suspect I got that habit from an old bike which brakes probably didn’t work too well… Eeek.

Do you wear any special cycling gear when you’re out and about on your bicycle? If not, what do you wear?!

No I never wear anything special to go cycling. I may wear something loose and some flat shoes if I go on a long ride, but for day-to-day, I always wear whatever I plan to wear. It’s especially easy to do that with a BEG bike because you are in a sitting position, so heels and dresses work perfectly fine.

Have you bought any accessories (not necessarily BEG ones of course) specially for this bicycle – or for you personally as a cyclist?

Bella came with everything I needed: a great bell, wonderful saddle and chunky lights. I bought a red satchel last year to carry my laptop around.

What’s going through your head when you’re on your bicycle?

Generally plain happy thoughts! Cycling is such a wonderful experience, it’s cheap, fun, keeps you fit, it doesn’t hurt the planet and it gets you there quicker than walking!

How does cycling make you feel as a person?

Free. Happy. Good.

Any tips you’d like to share with people – ie regarding safety on your bike..?  How you lock the bicycle…?  How you look after it…?

Unlike in Copenhagen where you see unlocked bikes everywhere, London is not safe for bikes. In the last ten years, I have had three bikes stolen. I have three locks on Bella, one for the saddle, one for the front wheel and the back one that comes with the bike. I prefer the U-locks because they are much harder to break and they are cheaper.

Any ambitions involving your bicycle…?

I would love to go on a cycling holiday in Denmark. I love the family cycling culture in Copenhagen and would love to discover more of Denmark on a bike.

Your favourite ride…?

I have great memories of cycling races when I was a kid, although I never took part in them, it’s all the rituals I vividly remember like the men’s shaved legs, the smell of camphor oil, the gross injuries and the muddy winters with cyclo-cross. My favourite ride as a grown-up was with my friends Marcus and Rob last year. We cycled to Dungeness. We had fish and chips there and then cycled to beautiful Rye. Such a wonderful landscape, and believe me, we had plenty of time to appreciate it because the winds were so strong, it felt like we were cycling backwards! When we thought we were over the worst, a hailstorm broke over our heads. We were soaked and tired for most of the journey back, but we had a great laugh. I definitely want to find the time to do more of that this year.

Illustration (of Cathy and her bicycle!) courtesy of { Katie Jean Harvey }


Thank you, Cathy!