Tillie & Coco

two ladies, two bicycles, two hemispheres

Category: Sit-up Bikes

Bicycle Evolution/Intelligent Design

by Alacoque

Hi again Tillie,

I’m back with the rest of yesterday’s excursion to the Powerhouse Museum. I had to pop in to see the eight bicycles the Powerhouse has put on display to illustrate how the design of the bicycle has evolved. Some of them looked like people powered tractors. There was even a tandem designed for a male and female to ride together with special steering so the male could take over when the female fainted!

The Draisine or Hobby Horse, 1817

Macmillan Treadle (or furphy), 1839

The Velocipede or Boneshaker, 1861

The photos aren’t that great due to the background but you can look up the bicycles in the Museum’s online catalog for better images and extra info.

Coco xx


Bumpy Rides

by tillieandcoco

Dear Tillie,

My trips around Sydney are becoming more bumpy but it’s not due to the notoriously potholed roads, rather my own baby bump!

Baby belly along for the ride

It’s quite nice looking down and seeing my little passenger along for the ride. I can’t wait to meet him or her. Baby likes going for rides but not when I hit potholes, I usually get a swift kick in the guts if I’m unfortunate enough to roll into one. The photo above was taken on an unseasonably warm and sunny day last week and I jumped at the opportunity to throw on a sundress and ride to my ultrasound appointment. Disappointingly there is no bike parking at the hospital and the fence outside was already chockers with locked up bikes so I had to backtrack two blocks before I found a free pole on which to lock up my poor bike! Annoying but lovely to see bike culture is well and truly alive in the Inner West. Also while I was flipping through the magazines in the waiting room I spied this little gem. Great to see cycling getting some mainstream press that has nothing to do with cycleway or helmet debates!

Now I haven’t done much posting lately but it’s really not because I haven’t been doing anything, in fact I’ve been rather busy. I went along on the recent Sydney Cycle Chic ride in Surry Hills. We had a lovely lunch at Deus Cycleworks on Bourke Street, then rode down the fabulous separated cycleway to Mike Rubbo’s exhibition ‘Nothing but bikes’ at Tap Gallery. Mike has a great blog called Situp-cycle and is a vocal advocate of utility riding. The bikes took over the street outside the Gallery. (I think they need more bike parking in Sydney! Smart business should contact the council to install bike parking outside their front door. I know I regularly shop at certain stores and visit certain cafés because I know there is easy, safe and secure bike parking nearby.) There is a lovely video of the day by Paul Martin here.

Deus Cycleworks café full of bike loving folk

Bike art at Tap Gallery


Gallery visitors came largely by bike

It's not often you see one of these on the streets of Sydney!

I also attended an event for Australian Engineering Week titled ‘City Cycleways- Commuter Pain or Gain’ run by Engineers Australia. It consisted of a panel of four: Omar Khalifa from Bicycle NSW, Michael Veysey from the Roads and Traffic Authority, Fiona Campbell – delegate from the Lord Mayor’s Office and was meant to include representatives from the NRMA (car advocates) but they chickened out at the last minute and were replaced by a lovely cycling engineer who’s name I cannot remember. The talk focused on the urban transport issues with city congestion and health the focus, two areas where cycling can contribute a great benefit. It was, on the whole, a very positive forum. Proof that engineers are indeed a smart bunch!

Well that’s it for the moment Tillie. I shall write again soon!

Love Coco xx

Tweed Run 2011: ‘What a lovely world it is!’

by tillieandcoco

What a lovely world it is!
-Tweed Run participant

Dear Coco,

And so it was, for the greater part of Saturday 9th April in central London, for everyone on the 3rd Annual Tweed Run. The fun started early when on my way to ‘the shadow of St Paul’s’ I saw numerous dapper chaps and a dashing dame with a beautiful cape cycle past. The lovely cape lady called out “good morning!” The city warmed up quickly, the Thames glistened, the spokes flickered, and for a few short hours cycling utopia took hold of the streets. Cars were held back at intersections by smiling ladies and gents with M for Marshall wrapped around their arms in, of course, tweed. Tally ho!

As the ride started forth from St Paul’s to Blackfriars Bridge, a Marshall grunted “no more than 5 miles per hour!” True enough, 10.5 miles at such a leisurely pace was perfectly doable, despite my questionable fitness. (I barely broke a sweat until my cycle home through the city, when suddenly bereft of my tweed-clad mob I reverted to full tilt.)

Just over halfway through the ride we stopped for a tea break at Lincoln’s Inn Fields, the oldest public square in London, opposite Sir John Soane’s Museum. Real leaf tea (!) for 500-odd people was served from proper pots in mismatching vintage cups and saucers. The queue was so long that volunteers walked the length of the line politely offering platters of cucumber sandwiches and Cajun spiced nuts, and everyone joked about how the British love a good queue, ho ho.

Whilst waiting in line for tea I made friends with a lovely couple who own a garden centre near Turnham Green station. Did you know you should always pick basil from the base of the stem, and only water it when it starts to wilt? At other stages in the ride I met Johnny, who has a daughter called Tilly and runs a cinema/cafe/venue called ‘Time for Tea’ which I haven’t been to yet but am only too happy to plug based on the card; and Arthur from Toronto who was travelling in Europe on business which happened to coincide with the Tweed Run. He does not cycle in winter in Toronto, but does so throughout the rest of the year. I also met Alistair who is half Welsh (shh) and cycles everywhere, including to meetings. He was slightly embarrassed by his non-vintage bike, but I have to say the presence of contemporary bicycles really made the day; as did the combination of people dressed like the early 20th Century texting away on their iPhones.

On my way home I had a short conversation at the traffic lights with a dapper chap who had enjoyed the day very much, and said “it’s just very silly, really”. I suppose this is true; but I also hope the Tweed Run is nevertheless still a protest – albeit a very polite one – against the continuing primacy of cars. I can’t tell you what a treat it was to cycle through the streets of London without the constant rumble of car engines. A notable quote of the day was “I’ve never enjoyed Old Street Roundabout before!” followed shortly by “What? No near-death experience?”So Tally ho to more Tweed Runs and more dressed-up cyclists in general. I hope Sydney follows (tweed) suit!

Love Tillie

Here’s to new beginnings!

by tillieandcoco

Dearest Tillie,
I am so glad we’ve decided to create this blog! We both have so many small yet wonderful cycling adventures and it just seems so appropriate to share them here, where others can also marvel in the simple beauty of the bicycle.

Firstly I simply must share with you this pic of my new favourite thing- my cup holder! (Ceramic cup for demonstration purposes only)

Oh the joys of a cup of tea or coffee while stopped at lights or slowly pedalling along in the park!

Its first outing was on Sunday where Warren and I stopped at Lindt Café for take-away mochas on our way to catch the ferry to Cockatoo Island. Riding around the island was blissful. The ride was organised by Sydney Cycle Chic and there was a group of us riding sit-up bikes for a film made by Situp-cycle.com (I’ll post a link to the film once it’s completed). I managed to fit a whole picnic in my basket, including a cutting board for our cheese. Was quite a sight!

Here’s to new beginnings!
Love Coco xx