29 April 2010


I'm obsessed with Mixte bikes! They are so beautiful!

(they are ladies stepthrough frames with a double top tube making them elegant but super strong!)

p.s. I promise I will blog about something else other than bikes soon!

28 April 2010

Thank you!

Thank you for all your lovely comments to my last post! I thought I'd reply here to make sure you all see. It really cheered me up to see that you girls agree. The day really knocked my confidence, by the end of it I felt like I did as a teenager back at school and could barely look anyone in the eye, let alone talk to them.

But I'm not going to let it get to me. I don't need to be around people like that. I don't need to fit in to something so exclusive and bitchy. I think Lydia was right to say that bikes are seen as a boy thing, so girls who are in to them can be extra mean to try and 'keep up with the boys.' That makes me sad, but I think it's true of lots of underground and alternative scenes, that you have to try and out do each other all the time to be the most indie or punk or whatever, and then on top of that girls feel like they need to be one of the boys.

I think if I didn't have such supportive friends who really understand the idea of girl love and support, this really would have affected me, and I hate to think that those same girls might put another girl off cycling forever. Women are a minority in cycling and are often just used a dainty accessories. Those of us who are into riding fast and fixing bikes need to support other girls so they aren't too intimidated to join in.

I'm not going to change and try and fit in with these girls. Instead I want to work to create my own supportive and friendly girl cycling gang! I want to teach other girls how to fix their bikes and go on rides around town with them!

Also, I think I am going to buy this bike and use it to work on when I go on the mechanics course. It's beautiful!

27 April 2010

Girls and Bikes

 dream girl bike gang by ellenbig

Me and Lydia went on an all-girl bike ride on Sunday called Revenge of the 50 Fixed Women. I've been looking forward to going onthis ride for weeks, the idea of a huge bunch of women riding fized wheel bikes through London was like a dream come true.

When I woke up on Sunday morning (at 7am!) it was a lovely sunny day and I cycled off to meet Lydia in a nice summer dress...then halfway there it started to pour with rain! By the time I got there I couldn't feel my feet, but the thought of how awesome this ride was going to be kept me going.

We got there and dried off a bit and went to the meeting point, and there was a little bunch of girls there on bikes so we went and said hi and as we were just getting off our bikes they cycled off! Thinking maybe I'd missed something we followed them and turns out they were in a coffee shop. Fine, we joined them and they even pulled up a chair for us.

Then the ride started and that was when they all got a look at my bike. My lovely bike is a Specialized Langster which I absolutely love and think is a great bike. But for some reason, which I can't still work out, bike snobs seem to hate it. I think it's just irrational big band hatred, I dunno and don't really care. But once the girls had seen my bike their attitude towards me really changed. They stopped talking to me and I was left cycling for long stretches by myself.

Then one girl came and spoke to me, for her only to have a bit of a dig at my bike and tell me how wonderful hers is and how great a cyclist she was. I thought she was just a bit full of herself and shrugged it off and kept riding.

But then this other girl on a too big rickety bike comes and talks to Lydia telling her how much she loves Lydia bike (which is an amazing bike) and then just comes out and says that everyone hates Langsters, that they are weird and crap.

It felt like I was 11 years old again and a gang of girls were laughing at my trainers in the playground. For all the rest of the ride and the social afterwards no one else spoke to me.

I don't get it, this was meant to be a really inclusive and supportive ride for girls who perhaps were too intimidated to go on a boys ride, or just wanted to hang out with other girls obsessed with bikes. But it seems you have to have the right kind of bike or the right clothes. And I just didn't have a cool enough bike. So even though I know pretty much as much as they did about bikes and could ride as fast and well as them they just didn't want to know.

Why does there have to be so much girl hate? Even in a group that existed for the purpose of being supportive to girl cyclists?

22 April 2010

Urgh, a horrible horrible man at work is talking about how left wing he is. While making homophobic remarks. People like him make me sick and embarassed to have anything to do with left wing/liberal politics. In his and his cronies minds it is just a fight for the white working class man. Anyone else's struggle just doesn't exist to him and are just used in cruel jokes. I hate that he is the 'liberal' voice of the office and everyone thinks he's really radical, when in fact he makes the Daily Mail look tame.

21 April 2010


Also, I've got my hands on 7 months of free rental from lovefilm. Anyone got any films, documentaries or games they think I should watch?

Time on my hands

I haven't decided yet whether I miss having the internet at home yet. I'm starting to think that I'm better off without it. I've been practising drawing and I'm starting to really like the way I draw, I did a whole sheet of facial expressions and I'm quite proud of them. Instead of the internet I might treat myself to a scanner so I can show you all this stuff!

Not being on the internet all evening (I sit on it all day at work) means that I've had a chance to do alot of reading and thinking that I think I have really cut myself off from for the last few years. I bought Gender Trouble by Judith Butler to read again and I'm hoping by the end of it I will have some more ideas about my 'queer' identity, which I want to write a zine about. I'm still on the look out for some less academic/more personal queer books and zines if anyone has any recommendations!

I've also been thinking alot about what I eat and consume, and I think I am going to take the plunge and go vegan (I can't be super strict as the medication I take contains animal derived products so it will need lots of research to replace these). Last night I baked a vegan chocolate and banana cake and that pretty much convinced me I can cut out dairy :)

It's been really nice, after so many years together (6 in August!) me and Dan still find new things to bond over. After both becoming obsessed with bikes we're now both becoming interested in sustainable and low impact lifestyles which I guess has been fueled by cycling. I find myself mroe and more thinking, 'I could just do that myself' and I finally feel like I am in a place where I can just do that. So this weekend I am going to clean out my cupboards of anything with animal or harmful products and replace or make everything with much kinder things.

Does anyone know of any good websites/blogs/books/zines about vegan baking/lifestyle or just more generally ethical living?

9 April 2010

Wenches with Wrenches!

 image from laura of the women at grease rag who run a safe space for women and trans folk to learn about bikes! (check 'em out! grease rag)

So I think I know what I am going to do with my life. This probably sounds totally lame, but since I've started cycling my whole outlook on life has totally changed. I've always tried to be someone who lived by the D.I.Y ethic and I tried to keep active, live healthily and create as much as I can, but usually I'd just end up sitting at home on my laptop looking at things other people had done.

But then I bought a bike and started to cycle all the journeys I used to make by bus or tube. And I suddenly felt completely free, I wasn't paying extortionate amounts to sit on a crowed train and I could get there quicker. I could go wherever I wanted whenever I wanted. I really don't know how to describe the feeling of freedom that cycling gives you. I started to learn about the backstreets of London, see all the things you miss when you're stuck underground and I started to learn how to even fix my own bike.

The feeling of being able to do anything soon started to seep into other parts of my life, things that I've always wanted to do, I looked at again and thought, well why not? I never thought Girl Germs could become such a good night so easily, or that I could manage to be an alright dj for the whole night.

Now, instead of waking up late at the weekend and laying bed all day thinking about all the things we could do, me and Dan get out our bikes and cycle to somewhere new!

So, back to the plans. I've got to the point where I can't cope with sitting in this office anymore. I can no longer live with the thought that I am wasting 8 hours of my life every day sitting at a computer doing nothing. I need to do something that I am in control of, and I think that is what is going to happen.

Me, Lydia, Dan and Taki are working on a business plan to open a bike shop/cafe. It will be a social enterprise, so as well as selling bikes/parts and fixing bikes we will also provide education and training to people in the community.

But as well as this I am going to do a City and Guilds in Bicycle Mechanics. I put down the deposit today so it is definitely happening! It looks like a really great course, they teach you all kinds of repairs, and by the end you have built a bike up from scratch, you can even bring in your own frame and build your dream bike. And when you're done they can help you do a work placement with awesome bike shops like Brixton Cycles and Lunar Cycles, and getting a job somewhere like that until our bike shop is up and running would be amazing!

So, I've finally admitted that earning lots of money in an office job just isn't for me. I'm glad I've realised it now.

8 April 2010

Moving on...

Lots of things have been happening recently and I'm starting to come out of that limbo stage my life has been in for the last few months. Now that things are starting to have some order again I hope that I will be able to keep everything in check like making sure I answer all the emails I get, send out all the zine trades etc etc blah blah.

So, what's been going on? Well, I finally moved into my new house. I'm not sure how I feel about it yet, I like having my own space, but I'm feeling lonely already. My new flatmates aren't the warmest or most welcoming people in the world. But it will be a challenge to establish myself there, at the moment I feel a bit like a lodger and not a flatmate, that I have to fit in around them. Hopefully that will change.

My new place doesn't have the internet, which I think has turned out to be a good thing as I've now realised how much time I waste on it! So far I have restarted my art journal, done loads of embroidery, watched some films and listened to my entire record collection! I like that I now have to find ways to keep myself busy and entertained and I'm looking forward to all the good things that are going to come out of it.

I'll post some pictures of my room and the things I've been making soon. Also, this weekend me and Dan are going to take lots of pictures of the cat that lives in his garden called Fat Head, he really does have a massive head.