Tillie & Coco

two ladies, two bicycles, two hemispheres

Category: Baskets

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.

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Psychic Bike

by tillieandcoco

Dear Tillie,

So I was wandering the streets of Newtown today, on foot as I still haven’t fixed my flat, and I came across this lovely bike:

It belongs to Psychic Sarah, a tarot reader who works at Pure Botanicals in Newtown. I’ve seen the bike many times and have even had a couple of readings by Psychic Sarah (she’s awesome if you’re into that kind of thing btw) but I’d never thought to snap a pic of her bike before. Unfortunately the lighting was all wrong so I couldn’t get a good photo without running onto the road. Luckily she has some much better pictures on her website and even goes on to describe all the different decorations adorning her lovely bike. One thing I love is the frame covered in chunky silver glitter! And I always love flowers on baskets. The tarot cards in the spokes are a very appropriate touch considering the bike also doubles as advertising!

Love Coco xx

Happy Mothers Day!

by tillieandcoco

Dear Tillie,

I was so lucky on Sunday. My mother came to Sydney to have a picnic lunch with her adoring offspring. My sister and her husband picked her up from the train station and I rode down to the park. My rather hungover brother made it down a little later.

We had the most wonderful picnic lunch! My sister, Sophie, is THE best cook! She made a platter of gorgeous sandwiches- cucumber, salmon, chicken with pistachio, and egg. She even made a little plate of special sandwiches for little old gluten-intolerant me! There was sparkling wine and sparkling water for those of us driving/riding.

After sandwiches I presented my contribution to the fare- chocolate pavlova with raspberries! It was the first time I made a chocolate pavlova and I was pleased with how it turned out. It wasn’t perfect but it was delicious!

After our desert my sister borrowed my bike to ride to the cafĂ© at the other end of the park for tea & coffees. When she returned she commented on how everyone looks at you when you ride my bike. It’s true, you do get a lot of stares on my bike. I think it’s because people are not used to upright bikes, the only kind of cycling people in Sydney know is the lycra clad sporty type. I like to think just being seen on an upright is educating people, challenging their perceptions.

Oh and the highlight of the day? My mother decided she was not to be left out of the bike riding fun so she hopped on my bike! It was her first ride in, oh, at least 30 years? She looks like a natural! And of course she loved it.

Go Mum!

Love Coco xx

PS. I rode the whole way there and back sans helmet. I kept it visible in my front basket but as I didn’t ride on the road at all (shared paths the whole way) I thought I’d get away with it. And I did. I even rode past two police women on the way home and they didn’t give me a second look. Maybe things are changing? Here’s hoping!

To market, to market!

by tillieandcoco

Dear Tillie,

Your Tweed Run adventure looked absolutely delightful! I hope one day I will make it over to London to join you! My weekend was not so eventful but I did manage to ride over to Eveleigh Farmers Markets on Saturday morning with my husband. These would have to be my favourite markets. The produce is of the highest quality, lots of variety, easy access to organic and gluten free food, and the setting is just so gosh darn gorgeous! The markets take place in the old heritage listed Blacksmith’s Workshop alongside Carriageworks in Redfern. It just seems so appropriate to be perusing heirloom tomato varieties in such an old weathered space. There is also a gallery on site so I can combine my favourite pleasures of food, cycling and art all in one place.

As you can see traveling by bike is a popular way to get to the markets!

Carriageworks

Once I got home I had to take a couple of photos of my fully laden basket!

Nothing quite compares to the blissful feeling of riding home after eating a gorgeous breakfast at the markets, dappled shade rippling over your basket filled with flowers and fresh produce- sigh!

Well, maybe eating the heirloom tomatoes…!

Love Coco xx