I have a confession. I just can't bring myself to ride in the freezing cold. I have no desire to be showered by a muddy wave of water from underneath a passing bus or struggle to stay upright on an icy morning. I must toughen up. This is an edited version of a piece I wrote a few months ago for a friend. Check out her website – www.girlsonbikes.net
When I moved to London I knew instantly what sort of a girl on a bike I wanted be. A lady biker. The girl wearing a flowery frock and high heels pedalling along seemingly effortlessly, passing buses without a care. Not even breaking a sweat. Zipping between cars on a vintage bike complete with wicker basket groaning with veggies and bunches of flowers from a farmers market.
I’m almost there. I’ve got the bike, the basket, too many flowery tea dresses to count. I have been known to bring home a basket full of old tea cups and a bunch of roses. I've mastered the art of riding in heels on my old Raleigh. Unfortunately confidently zipping between cars on my own still eludes me. Buses and black cabs are way too terrifying for that sort of behaviour.
Thankfully not all girls on bikes are like me otherwise it’d be awfully dull watching them cycle by on sunny day in London fields. Let’s pay tribute to a few of the many different styles of girls on bikes:
Fixie riding girls
Hot and fast. Girls riding fixed-wheel bikes are leaving the boys for dust at the traffic lights. The trend that emerged from the cycle-courier circuit a couple of years back is just cool. Aesthetically speaking, what is there not to like about the often candy coloured and slick bikes? And while we’re talking about fixie riding girls we have to mention the Trixie Chix. This team of London trick-turning ladies are giving the boys a run for their money on the bike polo court and the streets of London.
The artschool indie kids
Wearing tight attire picked up at a Brick lane thrift store these girls weave their magic as they glide by on an 80’s ten speed or folding shopper. These girls have no issues with mounting the curb if the road or two busy, or if they just feel like it. They’re probably riding to art school or their part-time job at the pub or vintage shop. Think Bat for Lashes video “What’s a girl to do?” with the crazy masked guys on bikes.
You get my drift. But I’m not talking just Pashley princesses here. Not all us lady bikers can afford those. New or old it simply has to be easy to dismount and ride wearing a skirt without the fear of showing the world your knickers. A basket, wicker or metal, is essential. Probably more suited to English country lanes than Kingsland Road. Long hair is usually a prerequisite and heels are optional.
The corporate commuter
Sturdy, practical urban bicycle designed to get them from a to b in a hurry whilst toning their thighs. Often fitted with paneers to stow away the laptop and work clothes, otherwise a back pack is essential. Usually seen wearing lycra exercise gear and fluro vest. Helmet always. Usually seen around rush hour heading to or from the City...