A couple of weeks ago, we hosted 'Girls Riding Bikes', a press event in conjunction with Tokyobike London. The mission of Goodordering as a brand is to help people rediscover the joy of cycling. Most people loved cycling as kids and some people, as they get older for some reason forget the exhilaration it brings - as cycling for them becomes competitive, dangerous, unglamorous or just too much hard work. We decided to invite 4 influential bloggers who had lost touch with cycling to get back on the saddle and go for a ride with us in east London.
And off we went, the first bit crossing over old street, i was so nervous that someone would fall off their bike or lose confidence. But we rode really slow and down the back streets towards the canal, everyone at their own pace, in control of their bike and most importantly, having fun.
The four brave ladies were Siobhan from @justauniform, Danielle from @FashionistaBarbie, Lucie from @lucieloves and Ella from @lapetiteanglaise. They all have huge following and great blogs and IG accounts. It was important to us that they were all ladies in the mainstream whose audience are not necessarily already cyclists, this would help us to be able to reach out to the most amount of potential cycling convertees! 😉
We met at Tokyobike, Shoreditch to get set-up with the bikes and get ready for the adventure ahead. I put together a great little ride which curated ride route included a tea break at GROW which is a creative bar/kitchen community space in a beautiful spot by the canal.
We started off at the Tokyobike store on Tabernacle street and then head north along Pitfield street via London Bike Kitchen to say hi to Jenni - who runs LBK a women-run, DIY bike shop. The idea behind LBK is to demystify the bicycle and help people (like me) become less clueless about their bikes. They have courses on everything from bike puncture repair and cleaning your bike to how to build your own bike from scratch. The business is also a social enterprise which helps people get mechanic training and definitely gives back to the east london neighbourhood by way of providing tools to local kids who are often seen hanging out there fixing their own bikes.
Jenni herself is also a hugely inspirational figure in the cycling industry, representing everything that cycling should be about in regards to accessibility, gender balance and just being a cool lady. Her and the also very cool Alex from Look Mum No hands have a hilarious and informative podcast called Wheel Suckers you should definitely check out.
Riding along the canal can be a bit treacherous but learning about the double ding protocol. (for anyone who doesn't know when going into a blind tunnel or corner, you do a quick double ding to say you are coming, its like the polite, friendly version of a ding).
We rode through Victoria Park, which i think is the best park in London (i'm biased), here we were really able to let our hair down. Riding alongside the girls reminded me of being a kid with my brothers riding along a deserted track, no cars around and total freedom and play around on the bike and be silly.
We had to stop off here for an ice cream - as professional bloggers and me having the brand, we are all always looking out for photo opportunities and you couldn't get more on brand than an ice cream van. I almost died with excitement having Jake our amazing photographer with us on the ride! I just wish we got a picture of him with the ladies wearing his full lycra!
The girls kept saying to me "this is actually so much fun" and Ella told me that she has been put off cycling for so many years because all her family are really into cycling in a sporty way and had been hassling her to get onto a bike, so much so that she rebelled and refused. Daniella said that she couldn't believe that within a short space of time - even just 30 minutes into the ride, her confidence had soared.
We went over the footbridge that joins Victoria Park to Hackney Wick, i remember riding over this bridge the first time and almost felt like i was crossing over from earth to mars, the landscape and vibe couldn't be more different between green, leafy Victoria Park and industrial, graffiti covered Hackney Wick. I love that east london has so many contrasts.
We stopped off for a refreshment at Grow Hackney - which is a community arts space, social enterprise, garden, music venue, recording studio! i love that businesses these days - like gender, do not need to define themselves. They do a little bit of this, a little bit of that, and exist in a community as part of a natural eco-system. Officially its a bar/restaurant and it is situated right on the canal. It couldn't have been be a better spot for us to stop and give our bums and legs a rest.
We could NOT resist stopping by this amazing wall of colour for a photo. By now we were recharged and ready for our ride back. On bike you see neighbourhoods in a different way, you are travelling faster than on foot but slower than on public transport or a car. Getting lost is also a rite of passage. Bicycle is hands down the best way to explore a new city, suburb or area.
On the way back to Tokyobike we stopped off at a fellow female-run bicycle business called Armourtex cycles. Yasmin and her team specialise in custom sprays and decals for bicycles, an important element for making your bike look great.
I liken it to going to get your nails done - stepping into the shop you just get an idea of all the possibilities open to you when respraying your bike. They make it really easy too, you don't need to take all the bits off because they do that for you. You just need to go in, choose a colour - or work on a custom design with the team - and simply come back and pick up your brand new-look bike when its ready. Hey presto. Even though its all about aesthetics, i think loving your bike and feeling an emotional connection to it is the first step to spending more time on it.
Around 5pm, it was time to head back to drop our bikes off back to Tokyobike, there was only one way back to Tabernacle street from Hackney road, and that was through the traffic! I was a bit nervous but so impressed with the progress that everyone had made during the trip. The picture above shows Siobhan and Lucie weaving through the traffic between taxis and cars like pros!
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