Tillie & Coco

two ladies, two bicycles, two hemispheres

Category: Bikes on trains

Downpour

by Tillie

Hi Coco,

As you know, I have family in town for three generous weeks. Mum and I decided to go cycling today in Battersea Park – the best halfway point as it was easy for her to get to on the Tube, and easy for me to take my bike on the train two stops to Clapham Junction. I used to cycle around Battersea Park on my way to work before we moved, so I know the area well – and was delighted to find that Cycle Superhighway 8 has been installed along Battersea Park Road. The familiar path led me to Sloane Square station via my old route to work (now all dressed up in Cycle Superhighway blue) where we had hoped to collect a Boris Bike and then take a turn around the park.

Sadly, it was not to be. Just as I turned off the Superhighway I was suddenly caught in a tropical downpour, with no awnings or dense trees to shelter under anywhere in sight! I was soaked through in less than a minute, with rain dripping off the brim of my winter helmet (the only sensible part of my ensemble) and straight through my shoes. By the time I found Mum I was very much resembling a drowned rat. She bought me a nice hot cup of tea and a muffin and then we dodged further downpours on the Kings Road until I had to take a window of opportunity to dash back to Clapham Junction and back onto the train. It did start raining again but by that point I was too drenched to care. Now I’m at home wearing my biggest jumper, googling ponchos and waterproof seat covers.

Completely inappropriate shoes

Bell and rain

Albert Bridge and clouds

Richmond Park

by tillieandcoco

Hi Coco! Summer has struck.

I heard somewhere that the temperatures over Easter are a whole 10º above average for this time of year. It feels like Australian weather! Yesterday we cycled to Richmond Park through Wimbledon Common, which meant taking Blackie off-road, onto dusty, gravelly tracks. Thankfully I didn’t fall off, which would have been very un-dashing. We went through dense woodland that felt very Coleridge – all pretty, dappled light and cool shade – and then out into Putney Vale and the A3, where there was a wide footpath part reserved for bicycles. From there we crossed over to Richmond Park, which has a very different feel to the Common.

Richmond Park is very large. It has roads for traffic, but the speed limit is 20mph to accommodate cyclists and horses. The roads and relative lack of cars obviously makes the park an attractive place for hardcore lycra cyclists, who whizz past in the blink of an eye – zhoosh! I’m not sure if this is their version of leisure cycling or whether they’re all in training for something, but I was very much outnumbered, and frequently overtaken. All that off-road cycling gave me very dusty feet.

We found an ice cream truck and had a rest under a tree. A woodpecker could be heard, but sadly not seen. What a great sound it is! London was very hazy yesterday because of pollution, which just made everything feel even warmer. We’d left at 10am, and the heat of the day was very much at its height by 1pm. We caught the train home to avoid sunstroke, which took us on a scenic tour of southwest London. I’ve been cycling for quite a while now, but I’m still surprised by the distance you can cover on a bicycle.

Because it’s lovely and warm here, I think I can safely assume that it’s cooling off slightly in Sydney? I am looking forward to hearing about your cape!

Love Tillie

Blackie is Back, Alright! (oh dear.)

by tillieandcoco

 

Worst blog title yet? Anyway, hi Coco! After a long cold weather induced cycling hiatus, I’m finally back. Between cold weather February and my trip to America, this happened:

Spring has sprung

And, as we all know, Spring = Cycling!


I’ve proof-rided Blackie’s seat (way overdue, I think I’m meant to do that weekly) and pumped up her tyres (ow, my arms!) It took me a whole half hour to locate my lock and key. On the 9th of April I am going on the Tweed Run, which is 10 miles (plus getting to central London somehow) and if I don’t start fitness preparations urgently I will probably not make it to the tea break. I also definitely need to avoid sweaty face chic.

Today I took Blackie on the train for the first time. It was actually much easier than expected, but as Vauxhall has no step-free access I went to Waterloo and cycled to Pimlico from there to have lunch with Megan. It was a perfect day to be cycling – neither too hot or cold and not much traffic. After such a long absence I was slightly nervous about getting back in the saddle, but needn’t have worried. It was just like, well, riding a bike!

On the train, which is actually quite busy on Sundays, I found a bicycle space in the first carriage, which had very few people, unlike the carriages further down. The bike spaces are ‘flexible’, so there is a row of folding seats if there’s no bike or pram needing room. So, I got on the train with my enormous Pashley with mega wicker basket, and there was a guy sitting in the flexible space with his iPod on, playing with his phone, and instead of vacating the area for one of the many free non-flexible-space seats, he just sat there like a blob. As revenge, I took this surreptitious iPhone photo of him, and pixilated his face off, A Current Affair style. Haha.

Er… thanks very much iPod Dude, that’s cool, I’ll just stand here awkwardly with my giant bike and block the door.

After delicious crab salad and rose lunch with Megan, I found that some muppet had used my basket as a litter-bin. What part of a bicycle basket looks anything like a bin? The stupid thing was that there were real litter-bins available in the vicinity, but no, they had to disrespect my basket.

Ugh!

I should add that this is not an isolated incident! Last year I took this photo.

Double ugh!

This was particularly insulting as it happened at work. Oh, and it’s an empty coffee cup, which means I could have had nasty stale milk stains in my basket! What kind of world is this?
The train ride home from Waterloo was much better. I easily found a space, and another bicycle even turned up – a folding bike owned by a very considerate woman who is obviously a much more dedicated cyclist than me judging by her many panniers. She secured our bikes with the Velcro straps and then untied them before my stop so I could get off in time.


And, because it’s practically summer, the clocks have just changed. Hello, light evenings!
xx