Tillie & Coco

two ladies, two bicycles, two hemispheres

Category: Accessories

Let’s go for a ride baby!

by Alacoque

Dear Tillie and friends,

as you saw yesterday we had Wilhelmina’s bike seat fitted on the weekend and we couldn’t wait to try it out. We took her for a little cruise around the local foreshore, sticking to shared paths to allow us to both get comfortable with her on the bike before tackling traffic. We had to stop once or twice to fiddle with her helmet (see if you can spot the shot where she’d pushed it down over her eyes) and by the time we got to the park we had things all worked out. In fact on the ride home she was so comfortable she conked out (so cute)!

Thank you to my darling husband for being so snap-happy and capturing the moment. Tillie I hope you noticed the Sydney icons in the background- just for you!

Love Coco xx

Baby presents

by Alacoque

Hi Tillie & friends!

Guess who got a new baby bike seat and helmet this weekend…

Love Coco xx

P.S. A big ‘thank you’ to the wonderful Cheeky Transport for ordering in and fitting the seat for me! You guys rock!

Just another Tuesday

by Alacoque

Hey Tillie (and “hello” everyone else!),

this morning I headed into Newtown to attend a Seed Saving workshop at the Green Living Centre. The workshop was great! Jane demonstrated collecting and saving seed from carrots and tomatoes (two different techniques), then we planted broad beans in toilet paper rolls for The Great Crate– an installation that will be part of Art & About Sydney from 21st September to 21st October. For more workshops offered by the Green Living Centre have a look here (don’t worry I’ve already registered for the DIY Bicycle Panniers workshop!). I was too busy getting my hands dirty to take any photos but by coincidence the rocket in our community garden is going to seed so here’s a surrogate photo instead!

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Rocket going to seed
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Self-sown lettuce and a cheeky little tomato

As I had Willa with me I took the pram and walked to Newtown. It should have taken me 36 minutes to walk, according to google maps, but with three different stops in Victoria Park (1. ducks, 2. feed, 3. nappy change) it ended up taking  an hour and a half! This is why I need to get back on the bike. If I’d ridden it would have taken about 15 minutes and I would have arrived before those needs arose (well excluding the ducks but there’s always time to stop for ducks).

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Victoria Park
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Ducks!
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Bike locked up on King Street
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Pentimento window display

On the walk back through Newtown I stopped in at Cheeky Transport, my favourite bike shop, to check out their baby bike seats and helmets. Their recommendation? The Yepp Mini, a front mounted child seat. There were none in stock so I put my name down and will get a call when they come in. I said I’d be happy with either the lime or orange, which do you prefer?

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Willa also tried on a couple of helmets for size. This exercise reminded me of an eighties movie montage where teenage girls try on various hats but instead of over-actors in fluro clothes and spiral perms we had a rather mellow baby covered in banana and leftover rusk. We decided on the smallest one (I can’t remember the brand) and at half the price of the next model up I can totally cope with the cat and dog pattern.

Walking back through Victoria Park I spied these folks smoking lazily on the lawn in the dappled sunlight. Bike dropped casually beside them.

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When I was waiting at the lights on the other side of the park this bike ninja pulled up. BIKE NINJA!

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All in all a pretty awesome day!

Love Coco xx

Baby on board

by Alacoque

Dear Tillie,

wondering where I’ve been of late? Well I’ve been rather busy with this little lady, allow me to introduce Miss Wilhelmina Rose!

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Photos by Lucy Leonardi Photography 

I’ve been using four wheels rather than two lately and whilst pushing the pram can be lovely I’m aching to get on my bike. My dream is to purchase a Christiania cargo bike.

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They’re brilliant- you can fit multiple kids and the shopping in the front. They even make adapters so you can attach your car capsule/pram seat for babies that are too small to sit up on their own! Of course one is out of my price range at the moment but I am saving my pennies! They can be purchased in Australia from psbikes in Melbourne.

In the meantime I’m going to purchase a baby seat for my Electra Amsterdam. I like the look of the Bobike mini+. It’s a front mounted seat (great for chatting to baby as you ride) and it attaches to the bike’s handlebars. This is important as my bike doesn’t have a cross bar which is what many front mounted baby seats need to be attached. It also comes in cream (same colour as my bike) with cool retro spots!

ImageOf course Willa will also need a helmet. Baby helmets aren’t that easy to come by, especially ones without hideous designs. Nutcase has a ‘Little Nutty’ range. I like this ‘Star Bright’ one 

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but of course this ‘Modern Dots’ style would really compliment the Bobike seat!

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This helmet by Limar appears to be lighter but I’m not a fan of their current designs. Too cheesy.

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Of course I’ll have to go in store to check these products out in person. Ultimately it’s about what works for Willa and myself!

Hopefully we will be all decked out soon enough. I can’t wait to take my darling daughter for a ride along the foreshore!

Love,

Coco xox

Bikeminded Cake and Coffee Cruise

by Tillie

I finally sorted my back rack and pannier! I can totally fit the kitchen sink in that thing.

Hi Coco,

I had the best weekend of cycling. I have even overdone it and couldn’t cycle in to work yesterday due to a serious case of jelly legs – I could barely do stairs. On Saturday I went on the Bikeminded Cake & Coffee Cruise with some great folks from the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, Bike Heroes, and a number of other bloggers. We started off at Pedlars in Notting Hill for coffee, then set off on a very interesting route of quiet back streets through the Borough. In all, we had five stops to drink coffee / eat cake. The cakes were all delicious, and cleverly varied: a cupcake, macaron, friand, and an afternoon tea spread to finish, complete with vintage cups.

The only downer was being told off by staff at The Chelsea Teapot for taking this photo:

Clearly an attempt to steal cake designs.

It was great to learn about new places to buy cake. The shops were mostly in little side-streets I would never know to visit, which brings me to the other highlight of the day, the route! We were led through quiet residential streets – easy to chat to other cyclists and a much more interesting and enjoyable than tackling busy roads as a big group. It’s easy to think of your city in terms of the main streets when you’re used to taking the bus or driving everywhere, but it’s possible to get around quite easily on back streets, as long as you have a map (or a sat nav or whatever). I met the lovely Jemma from Help! My Chain Came Off, and Lady Velo, and Simon from The Fixed Factor, and lots of other great people who love cycling and cake. The excellent Kate (who wrote Part One of Kate & Nic) did an amazing job. She arranged for temporary cycle parking, bike valets, marshals, and a cycling photographer. IT WAS FAB.

Photo courtesy RBKC

Also courtesy RBKC

Don't mind if I do, man with friands!

On Sunday I clearly had not had enough of cycling and went on a picnic with Sergei. We didn’t go far, but as we had both cycled epic journeys on Saturday, it felt far. I was delighted to discover this eminently sensible sign at Wimbledon Park:

Have I mentioned that it’s Autumn?

In preparation for the colder weather, I have purchased some Bern winter earwarmers from London Cycle Chic. They are SUPER warm! It’s great not getting cold ear headaches cycling in the early morning. I’ve also ordered the Pashley rear light to fit my new rear rack, as it’s quickly becoming dark in the evenings and foggy in the mornings. Even though Pashley no longer offer dynamo lights separately (sadly), you can still purchase the rear LED light. John from Pashley customer services very helpfully gave me the part number and a comprehensive list of stockists. Thanks John!

How are things in Sydney? Tell the baby hello from me.

T x

Cycling to Work

by Tillie

Hi Coco! After almost a year muttering excuses like “I don’t know the route” and “IT’S REALLY FAR” I have finally begun cycling to work from my newish home, Wimbledon (which isn’t actually that far). Still unsure of my miles, it’s about 20km to do the round trip, and takes me an hour. I cycled in a slightly different way with a colleague and that only took 45 minutes! I am a huge moron. Still, the longer commute has necessitated a few investments, and I am in the process of pimping my ride with lights (long overdue), a rear rack and a capacious pannier, because throwing all the things I need for a workday into my basket (even though it is giant) is not ideal.

Now, I am all about Pashley, but I was disappointed to learn last week that I can no longer order accessories directly from them, so had to do a famous Evans ‘special order’, just like that time I was told that a replacement tyre would take two weeks. (Two weeks? That’s slower than Airmail, and their factory is in Stratford-upon-Avon!) I was also told that they don’t sell dynamo lights separately anymore, so I had to buy a battery light instead, which is fine, except that it keeps falling forward no matter how tightly I turn the “self-tightening” screw. Looks like I’ll have to improvise with some wire.

And while I’m having a moan, why couldn’t Pashley come up with a better name for my bicycle? I went to my favourite shop Evans again today, in what is becoming some sort of weekly punishment, and when one of the 400 sales assistants asked “which Pashley do you have?” I had to say “the Princess”. Why does my bike get a crap name like that, when their other models are called cool things like “Britannia” and “Sonnet” and “Guv’nor”? Even the “Poppy” models sound less lame than “Princess”, and they come in baby pink or light blue, when the Princess only comes in the much more street-cred black or dark green.

I’m also having gear trouble: I have no 1st gear, and 2nd and 3rd are really loose. I consulted the Pashley Manual, but the instructions for gear adjustment may as well have been written in interpretive dance for all the sense they make. Today is the V&A Bicycle Picnic for Bikeminded, so I hope I can at least get to Holland Park without freewheeling.

Huh?

I finally have a front light, though it doesn't stay up properly.

Albert Bridge, which features prominently on this blog. As one of the sections of the route I have to walk, it invites taking out the camera.

Crossing Albert Bridge

Wimbledon Park Station, which is a favourite landmark on the way home, because it means I'm only one tube stop away. Note the sign for a fruit sale called "Abundance Wimbledon" in the foreground! *QUAINT ALERT*

I am sure to get fab legs from heaps of cycling to work.

12 Leather Treasures

by tillieandcoco

Dear Tillie,

I just came across these 12 Leather Treasures on the Bicycling websites and thought I would share (there is something so nice about bikes and  leather!): http://www.bicycling.com/bikes-gear/bikes-and-gear-features/12-leather-treasures

Love Coco

 

 

 

Parts & Accessories

by tillieandcoco

Dear Tillie,

A problem you may not have encountered, seeing as your bike is so awesomely kitted out, is getting accessories to fit and match your bike. Now I love my Electra Amsterdam but I didn’t take into account the difficulty of acquiring parts and accessories when I bought her. See Electra is an American brand and they only make two shipments to Australia a year. That leaves one playing the waiting game and performing lots of weird finger crossing in the hope your local retailer will manage to get the part you’re after. That’s what has happened with my rear rack. Basically I can’t get it here. I tried, they tried, but it just didn’t happen. SO I’ve gone for the alternative- a basic Topeak rack that I am customising for my bike. The other accessory I very much wanted but couldn’t get here (they don’t import them) was skirt guards. I ended up buying them from the online Electra shop, but as they don’t ship to Australia or accept international credit cards I was forced to use a shipping forwarding company called Hop Shop Go. This meant I could get the product here to Sydney but the shipping costs were greater than the skirt guards themselves! And of course they only had them in black.

So that explains why today I spent the morning sanding off layers of paint from my rear rack and sanding on some ‘tooth’ on my plastic skirt guards in order to be spray painted to match my bike. After I had sanded, wiped down and dried my parts I tied them onto my clothesline, laid down a drop sheet and got painting! I used White Knight’s Rust Guard Epoxy Enamel in Cream. It offers ‘superior rust protection’ and is self-priming- very handy!

Now I just have to wait for the bloody things to dry so I can attach them to my bike (so impatient I know!). I was planing on stencilling something on the skirt guards (flowers, sugar skulls, pinup girls perhaps) but I couldn’t decide what and realised it simply meant more time watching paint dry (which is as boring as, well, watching paint dry) so for the moment they will remain plain old cream, but I’m going to keep my eye out for some stickers/decals. If I get inspired in the future I can simply take them off and paint again.

Anyway, what do you think so far?