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Friday, 30 March 2012

Graham and Green Warehouse Sale!!!

Exciting news, very short notice but exciting nonetheless! Graham and Green are having a warehouse sale this weekend...

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Bye Bye Velorution

I can't believe I'm saying this but one of my favourite shops for all things velo is closing down! Velorution on Great Portland Street is famous for it's bicycles and chic accessories and has been a fixture in Central London for the last 7 years. I've often walked by and longed after everything in their window display and I got my gorgeous Sawako Furuno helmet from there.

I received this email from them today;

"Dear Titania,

Velorution will be closing its doors on 5th May. You have five weeks to catch a bargain.We are discounting ALL stock items up to 50%. You are unlikely to find better bargains this spring. Our workshop will be functional until the 27th April, so if your bike needs a spring tune-up, do come and visit us.

Thank you for supporting us these past seven years; it has been a privilege to service you all. London has been transformed and that is thanks to you. In spite of all the broken promises by the politicians, you show everyday, by cycling to work or with your children, how beautiful this city could be.
Thank you for doing your part in realising the Velorution dream!"

A very, very sad day and I hope he continues to be part of the cycling community. Now, the silver lining here is that EVERYTHING IS 50% OFF! I have my eye on these two items...

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

The Pashley Accessories Collection

Pashley are about to launch a brand new collection. However, this collection is a little different as it's accessories and attire! Pashley do currently have an accessories range but it's very limited, I do however, like their gorgeous saddle bag (£100) and I wouldn't say no to the handlebar bag either...

I am very, very excited! There is very little information at the moment even though it was supposed to launch in February. However, you can register for more information here and be the first to receive the launch date of Pashley's newest collection. I already have.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

The London Tweed Run 2012

The London Tweed Run is back!!!

I was so desperate to go but it's so popular now that they've had to limit the places and award them on a lottery basis. Here's a quote from the website. If you want to go, register ASAP and keep those fingers crossed.

Due to growing demand for the limited spaces, the organizers are implementing a lottery system for spaces on the 2012 Tweed Run. The lottery will allow hopefuls to requestup to two places on the ride. Lottery registration opens on 10 March and closes midnight on 7 April. Winners will be chosen at random via an automatic process and notified by email on 8 April.

“The capacity of the Tweed Run is limited, and we want to make sure that everyone who wants to come has an equal chance of signing up. Having the registration close nearly a month prior will give the winners the time they need to make their travel arrangements, choose their bikes and of course their outfits in plenty of time.” says Tweed Run Event Director Jacqui Shannon.

Click here to watch the promo video!

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Make Your Own Panniers...

Loving this article in the Guardian today which tells you how to make your own panniers using just 1 metre, especially as I need a new challenge for my sewing machine!

The pattern comes from this great book which i've had my eye on for a while now. The full article complete with instructions and pattern to download is here

Sunday, 18 March 2012

To wear or not to wear... (a helmet)

I have been cycling to work this last week and on friday I wore a helmet part of the way back. It was a very, very different experience to cycling without one. To be honest, I prefer not wearing a helmet but I have one. A particularly gorgeous Sawako Furuno leopard print at that. I wear it if I'm on my bike at night or in the rain. My reasons for not wearing one are my own and I believe that as adults we have the right to weigh up all the information available and then make an informed decision. Personally, I felt that motorists treated me differently with one on, I also find them uncomfortable, alien and get very hot with them on thus affecting my concentration whilst riding. Am I a better cyclist without one?

After my experience and the rollicking I received from the boy when he found out I had taken it off mid journey, I thought I'd do a bit of on-line research which made me again question the attitudes of cyclists and drivers to helmets. Now, I'm not saying that I'm anti-helmet, just that whilst I'm aware that they can protect you, I found very little that changed my mind.

Here's what I found out...

Why you should wear a cycle helmet

1) They ought to prevent cuts, scrapes and bruises to the top part of your head, and mild concussion in the event of coming off your bike. One of the original purposes for helmets was apparently off-road cycling where hitting your head on low branches and stones next to the track then became a preventable danger.
2) If not wearing a helmet makes you feel sufficiently at risk to avoid cycling at all.
3) Some insurance companies sometimes claim a cyclist has contributed negligently to "accidents" they're involved in by not wearing a helmet, even when there has been no head injury. I know what you're thinking, shock, horror, insurance companies trying to get out of paying out! Not sure if this has been fully accepted by the courts as yet. Would be very surprised if it was.
4) It's a good place to put a rear light since it's the highest point available.
5) you can get a helmet-mounted mirrors.
6) Some organised events and venues, and countries, and partners, require them.
7) Thankfully, they are no longer as ugly as they used to be and there are a lot of great designs out there! Now you can match them to your outfit or bike.
8) They can keep your hair dry in the rain and some actually have a little visor to help keep the rain out of your eyes too. I don't like wearing hoods while cycling as it reduces my peripheral vision.

Why you shouldn't wear a cycle helmet

1) Cycle helmets are only designed to withstand impacts of 12 mph onto kerbs from waist height. If they were any more protective than this they would be too heavy to wear on a regular basis.
2) They were never intended for collisions with cars. Not sure very many people know this (particularly motorists). They're not a cycle-equivalent of motorbike crash helmets (and you can't wear one of those because your brain would boil). They're not safety gear in the sense of being designed to save your life. They work by the outer shell keeping the polystyrene in place whilst it absorbs the deceleration by being crushed. Counter-intuitively if the shell breaks in the initial contact the total energy absorbed is a lot less: a broken helmet is one that didn't work. This means above about 12.5mph the helmet has little effect; certainly it won't reduce a crash at, say, 30mph by an amount equivalent to crashing at 12.5mph.
3) Because they protect that which feels the most important and vulnerable they can lessen the perceived importance of proven safety devices e.g. brakes that work and lights with charged batteries, not to mention knowing what you're doing. It's disturbingly easy to mistake a reduction in fear for a reduction in actual risk.
4) According to Dr Mayer Hillman, Senior Fellow Emeritus at the Policy Studies Institute in London, who has undertaken the only major international research of the evidence on the use of helmets, you're better off not wearing a helmet. "By wearing helmets, cyclists are, at best, only marginally reducing their chances of being fatally or seriously injured in the rare incident of a collision with a motor vehicle." He believes protective devices encourage higher levels of risk taking. At this point I'm going into driver mode and recalling the number of super speed, think i'm invincible, helmet donning, Lycra wearing maniac cyclists I've had cut me up in my car (and on my bike) lean, bang on and practically crash into my car, swear and shout at me and other drivers... Dr. Hillman believes that in feeling vulnerable you will instinctively behave more cautiously. However studies show that when you don't wear a protective device you compensate for the risk you run. "You're much better off cycling with extra care than you are wearing a helmet and riding with an exaggerated sense of security," says Hillman.
5) They mess up your hair. They take up a fair bit of space when not being worn.
6) More seriously, despite all the vent holes they're very hot. Many people lose focus if they're too hot, even faint.
7) Motorists probably don't know how weak these helmets actually are. Research has shown drivers go closer to cyclists wearing helmets than those without, though it isn't known why. (Bath University research, not mine!)
8) Very worryingly, there is some concern that helmets, because they're wider than the head, make rotational brain injuries more likely.
9) If you are pro-choice the Department of Transport views a Mandatory Helmet Law as unfeasible partly because of the current low wearing rate.
Here are some numbers:
~ Many places have made helmets compulsory since the early 1990's. All found either no effect on deaths and serious injuries or that they got worse if you include that cycling tended to drop significantly. For example, Western Australia had a drop in cycling of 30% but a drop in head injuries of 11%-21%. No one knows seems to know why this should be the case.
~ A 1988 US study of 8 million cyclist crashes over 15 years showed a correlation between increased helmet wearing and increased risk of death. No one knows why.
~ UK child cyclist figures show twice as many girls as boys wearing cycle helmets but with the same head injury rate.

The problem is you can't show how many cyclists have avoided head injury by riding with more vigilance, using their lights, and brakes correctly, wear reflective clothing etc. (visit 's shop for some great & stylish reflectors) and most importantly, know what they are doing! Most boroughs in London offer free adult cycle training but have relatively small take up. Do you know what to do at the lights, when approaching a HGV etc?

Personally, as I say, most of the time, I don't wear one and it may sound silly but I feel safer knowing I'm perceived as more vulnerable by my main source of danger. I should also add that thankfully motorists are usually very nice to me. I've never been beeped, shouted at or anything else negative by a driver. A cyclist, yes, but never a driver. That being said, my bike is hot pink and I did read somewhere that drivers attitudes to female cyclists are very different to males cyclists. When I feel like I need one, I wear it. It all boils down to personal choice and knowledge, responsibility and awareness of all road users.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Sew Over It

Continuing my current obsession for crafting, I have recently completed an 4 part course called introduction to sewing at the amazing Sew It Over in Clapham. Its such a pretty and creative shop with everything you could possibly wish for to create mini-masterpieces at home and lovely helpful staff. Everywhere you turn the are examples of what you can do and they have loads of classes.

In Session 1, we learnt the basics about the sewing machine and make a cushion cover. Considering my skills up to that point were non-existent I was ecstatic!

Session 2 we made a tote bag and I chose the most beautiful fabric I'd've seen in a long time. You can choose from their selection for all of the things you make on the course.
The next session was probably the hardest as we learnt how to insert zips and made a lined a little make up bag. I came over all create at this point and made a little corsage broach to go with it.

In the final session I made a lined make-up bag! with a corsage and altered some vintage dresses that didn't fit quite right and I even turned one into a skirt and a top! It was a really inspiring course. The staff are super friendly and the store is so amazing, I wanted to take everything home. As that might have been frowned upon I took my inspiration home and crafted my half term away!

Location:Clapham North