Archives for category: Accessories

At the SkyRide I was excited to come across a British company selling some seriously stylish (and by all accounts, very waterproof) cycling jackets. Now, I already have a couple of waterproof jackets – one is for walking, and one is a cycling jacket – but both of them are fairly short and neither of them are particularly fashionable. Once you see the beautiful macs from Water Off a Duck’s Back, I’m sure you’ll agree that ‘fashionable’ is definitely the right word to describe them…

WOABD-Ladies-and-Bike

In fact, looking at them, you probably wouldn’t even realise that they’re cycling coats at all…

WOABD-Ladies-3

But, there are loads of really nifty touches to these that make them perfect for cycling – such as reflective bands on the wrists, back of the waist tie, and the collar.

WOADB-Ladies-on-Bike

The sleeves are extra long so that they can cope with the extension of your arms when you’re reaching for the handlebars. There’s even a special clip at the base of the coat that keeps it from flapping open as you cycle. And, there’s a detachable hood as well.

WOADB Ladies 1

You can probably make out the gorgeous purple lining in the hood too – beautiful! You can even tuck your coat neatly into the hood to make it more portable. Best of all, the coats are waterproof – not just, as the site points out, showerproof.

The coat comes in black or stone (love it, but I’m totally scared of getting it dirty!) for £130 – not cheap, admittedly. In fact, probably more than I’d pay for any coat, but let’s just say the sun was shining, my credit card was calling me, and Antonia was offering a special discount at the event which shaved off a few pounds…

Check back later for a real review of the coat in action – I’m pleased to say I’ve not had to use it yet, but my favourite season is approaching and I’m sure there will be plenty of showers!

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I mentioned before that I’d been searching Etsy for some great bike accessories and hadn’t found much. Well, I’ve been keeping up with my searches and found a lot more than I originally thought! I decided to put them all together in an Etsy treasury list here, so you can check out these extremely beautiful objects and the talented folk who produced them!

Etsy treasury

Find my Etsy treasury list here!

What are your favourites? I have to say, I’m totally loving the barrel bag and the mudflaps – seriously cool.

Although I’ve yet to buy any special cycling clothing, except for headwear, that doesn’t stop me from looking… Whilst a lot of cycling jerseys for women are… uninspiring, to say the least, there’s an excellent selection at Minx-Girl. The site is right up my alley – cycle gear for women who aren’t going to put up with flourescent pink monstrosities…
Maloja Viola Freeride Jersey

You might remember me saying that red is my thing at the moment, so I was instantly drawn to this amazing red jersey from Maloja. Check out that gorgeous embroidery style detailing around the neck – love it! You can find it here: currently available in large for £44.25. (It’s also available in blue here.)

Keeping with the theme, this sleeveless number is cute beyond belief:

Maloja Sunrose Jersey

Check out the pretty alpine scene – and the gingham, and the stag…

Maloja Sunrose Jersey back

And, check out this amazingly roomy back pocket! The Maloja Sunrose sleeveless jersey is available here for £44.25 in large and extra small.

Maloja Sunrose Jersey Lake

This is a short sleeved version of the tunic above, with a snazzy dark blue colour added into the mix. I love this one, it’s sporty and cute at the same time, and I’m totally a sucker for the stag. This jersey is £48.00 and is available in extra small here.

I’m totally loving Minx’s range, and Maloja’s designs are amazing. I’ll have to keep a look out for designs like these in my size! Check out Minx’s huge range of great cycle tops here.

You might remember me mentioning before that I was interested in looking for alternative cycling helmets. I have an aerodynamic helmet from a cycling shop at the moment in a light electric blue – and it’s fine, there’s nothing wrong with it at all, but there are plenty of really cool helmets out there that I’d much prefer to wear.

After discussing the Ribcap, I thought I’d do a bit of investigation and actually purchase one. They’re quite difficult to find in the UK, as although they’re a European company, their official UK site seems to be a reseller rather than the company itself.

Given the rather limited range, I went with a Marley beanie, because red is sorta my thing at the moment:


The original RRP of this hat was £60 ($95), but this was on sale for the more reasonable sum of £27.95 ($44.59). I think I would have been incredibly disappointed if I’d paid full price for this.

So, first of all, the safety claims. Ribcaps have a material sewn into them in rib shapes which is slightly soft under normal contact, but which hardens when knocked. So, it’s malleable to mould to the shape of your head when wearing, but in theory, if you knock your head against something, the material will harden to protect you. Because there are gaps due to the way the material is sewn in, the Ribcap can’t protect you from a pointed surface, as there’s a possibility the impact could fall between these ribs and into the fabric. However, on a smooth surface, the ribs will absorb some of the impact. The greatest protection Ribcap claims to offer is against ‘mild concussion’.

The reactions of my friends to this have been mildly negative. All of them wear helmets and I don’t think any of them would consider wearing this instead of a helmet. My husband certainly wasn’t keen on it being used as safety equipment, and another friend was quite incredulous at the idea of me wearing it cycling.

But forget that, let’s just be a bit shallow about this for a minute… what does it look like on?

Tah dah!

I have to say, I don’t usually wear beanies, and I think they look sorta dorky on me, but I’ll make an exception to avoid ‘mild concussion’.

The unfortunate thing about this cap is its tendency to make you look a little bit like a pixie… Because of the stiff ribs, the top doesn’t really mould itself to your head, so you end up with a bit of a peak at the top. Also, there’s a large gap of protection at the top where the ribs don’t meet, which is a bit worrying. But I suppose if you’re going to be landing upside down on your head, a Ribcap isn’t going to help you…

In summary: the Ribcap is an excellent idea and I can definitely see it would be useful in sports or activities where it’s not traditional to wear headgear, but where head protection might be a good idea (ice skating, even walking on icy pavements). However, the claims floating around about the kind of protection it offers are not backed up by the company itself, and I think that third-party claims about the protection it does offer has been somewhat over exaggerated. It will only protect you from bumps and bruises and maybe offer some mild protection if you knock your head, but it’s certainly not going to offer you the same protection as a helmet. If you have a choice between this and a helmet, the best advice would be to wear the helmet every time. But if your choice is more likely to be between this or nothing, this is obviously the better choice than a naked head… And, it’s warm too!

…when I have such an awesome bike basket…

That’s right, folks – I pimped my basket with a garland of fake roses that I picked up on eBay. It’s not exactly the best way to prove yourself as a serious cyclist, but frankly, I don’t care. Maybe I’ll make someone happy with my silly flowers – who knows?

I was actually surprised when I started checking out Etsy for bike accessories – there’s just not a lot out there. There are scores of bike prints on cushions and T-shirts, bicycle jewellry, and even hair accessories made out of inner tubes, but not a whole lot of cycling clothing or bike equipment. However, what is there is pretty amazing, and I found these cute bike reflectors which are simple, yet really stylish (and useful)!

The reflectors come in a variety of different designs, sizes and shapes, and range in price from £9.50 for a small (in the sale) to £17.73 for an extra-large size.

Check out Ya Betta’ Supa Don’t’s bike reflectors section for more!

If you have a gorgeous vintage or Dutch style bike, I can imagine these custom headbadges looking right at home!

Headbadges 2

Made by Laura Crawford of Tangerine Treehouse, these one of a kind badges are hand-crafted to your exact specifications, all for the very reasonable sum of $80 and up, for copper (silver is from $95).

Headbadges 1

These are so beautiful and charming, I wish I had one – but they would also make an excellent and thoughtful gift, too! (I can totally picture one based on the bird from the Zelda logo, which would be perfect for my hubby!).

If your tastes run to the more electic, you might get a kick out of this bike mustache:

Bike Mustache

The mustache comes in copper ($45) or sterling silver $55), and is also available on Etsy.

Bike Mustache 2

It’s so cool to see artisan products like this are available for your bike – proof that cyclists are just inherently cool and slick people, maybe?

I love Bobbin Bicycles’ site – if I was an affluent girl about London-town, I’d pop in a pick up a Pashley Princess in black (or maybe a Pashley Sonnet Bliss Claret), a cycling mac and some leather gloves, and then cycle around Piccadilly Circus, dodging buses. Alas, I need something a bit cheaper and a bit more practical, when it comes to my bike, but I still love to browse. One of my favourite products is the Miss Bobbin Sash:

sash

Priced at a rather reasonable £20, this is a reflective sash that you can wear over your coat or clothes, and personally, I think it looks awesome! I wish I’d had something like this last year when I was jogging at night – it’s a useful item that really doesn’t need to be limited to cycling use.

sash2

It shows up quite well in the dark, and because it’s so prominent, you don’t need to be wearing light coloured or reflective clothing underneath to be seen. Also, I would imagine you could store it in your bike bag so you never get caught out on a dark night (or morning!).

lrsash2

I love the colour schemes of these as well – and check out those cute little buttons!

Find the Miss Bobbin Sash at www.bobbinbicycles.co.uk.

Even though it’s not something that gets given much thought in the summer months, making sure you’re visible at night is one of your most important jobs as a cyclist. I can’t count the amount of times I’ve been in the car and I’ve only just managed to see a pedestrian or a cyclist on a dark street – but when it’s you, it’s easy to forget how invisible the darkness makes you.

There are loads of great products you can buy, but the one that’s struck my fancy the most at the moment are Fun Reflectors, which are small stickers in various shapes which you can add to your bicycle to help you show up in the dark. Obviously these are only novelty items, not actual safety equipment, but I think they make a pretty neat addition to your night-time arsenal! Mine arrived today (do I need to remind everyone, embarrassingly, that I still don’t have a BIKE yet?) and they look fab – the packaging is nicer than I expected, and the stickers look really sweet. I ordered flower shapes in silver, because I didn’t want them to show up a lot on my bike (I’m going to place them on the rims) and also because silver seems to show up the brightest in the light.

Fun Reflectors

Check out www.funreflector.com for the shop (free worldwide delivery) and a whole range of different stickers. Don’t forget you’ll also need to have lights and reflective clothing as well! Meanwhile, I’m working on the latter and just got in some grosgrain ribbon with a reflective stripe down the middle – no idea what I’m doing with it yet! Any suggestions?!

It seems as though when you start a new hobby, it’s easy to stumble upon never before realised controversies that were lurking all along, under the surface of everyday life, completely unobserved by everyone else. For fans of foreign TV programmes or movies, there’s the dub versus sub debate. For bento box lunch enthusiasts, there’s some snideyness amongst people who only use ‘proper’ Japanese boxes, versus those who use western lunchware like Tupperware or Laptop Lunches. With vintage dressing, I know there’s some debate about repro clothing versus authentic, really from the era vintage clothing. To be honest, a lot of these are more to do with perceived elitism and snobbery than anything else, which I guess you get in the cycling world too. I was expecting a similar debate around lycra/safety clothing versus streetwear to crop up quite early on in my enthusiastic web surfing, but I must be dodging those sites completely. The one thing that keeps jumping out is helmets versus no helmets, and I’ll explain why that’s a bit of a shock for me.

As a child, the school laid on cycling proficiency lessons for us, which mostly seemed to involve dodging between traffic cones and being able to hold your hand out to signal right and left. The one thing that was totally gospel was helmet-wearing, and I guess, due to a lack of real cycling between then and now, as an adult, the idea that helmets were an essential part of cycling has always stayed with me. I see a lot of cyclists on the roads now, especially as I’m looking out for them, and I rarely see anyone without a helmet. Those that do are generally quite obviously making smaller, neighbourhood journeys. In order to get to the next shopping area from me, you have to travel down and up a rather large hill, and all the cyclists I’ve seen tackling this are wearing helmets.

For me, personally, as a new cyclist, I feel compelled to buy and wear a helmet. I don’t feel confident enough in my ability to cycle, in the roads, or in the traffic flow, to go without one. That could change,but in the meantime, I’ve been researching the most stylish options available for cyclists, and I’ve found some pretty neat ones!

Perhaps the most traditional looking helmet on my lust-list is the Nutcase, a cool-looking solid type of helmet from the US which resembles a BMX biker or skateboarders helmet.

Love the cool Union Jack design – and although it doesn’t have as much ventilation as the average aerodynamic helmet does, it still has some airholes there to keep your head cool. Priced around £45.

I also really like Sawako Furuno helmets, which you can buy at cyclechic.co.uk.

They’re quite pricey (from £60 up to £73) and I haven’t seen one that I’ve fallen in love with – yet. The colours are very pastel, so if that’s your style, you’ll love these! They’re very subtle and girly.

My favourite find so far has to be the cool Yakkay helmets, which come with interchangeable soft covers!

I’ve heard they can make your head sweaty, but it seems like a small price to pay for such stylish and protective headwear!

They come in three different sizes, so I’d have to purchase them in person to be sure I was getting the right size for me. They’re a bit pricey to buy sight-unseen, and I’m sure they’re not really waterproof either. But, they look great! They range from about £30 for a cover to £104 for a cover and helmet, depending on the style.

By far the most intriguing of my finds is the Ribcap.

Made from an amazing material which hardens when struck with a hefty force, the Ribcap looks like a soft beanie type wooly hat, but the manufacturers claim prevents head trauma. Sounds good to me! They look a little hefty for the summer, but I can imagine them being really good for the winter.

The Jackson may not look much on the mannequin, but it looks great on the model!

Again, they’re quite pricey (£50-60), but they do look good, and seem like a less restrictive choice if you don’t like the feeling of a traditional helmet. If you’d like to see the Ribcap being put through its paces, and want to find out more about what it’s made of, check out the Youtube video below of the Gadget Show.

If you’d like to see some more amazing helmets, I found this excellent site which has some really cool examples: Helmets Rock Hard.