Sunday, March 30, 2014

My Week on 2 Wheels

I'm not entirely sure where March went, it's been super busy here at HQ. Plenty of cycling has been done- an absence of longer rides, but come rain or shine, I've been out there for my commute and generally enjoying life on 2 wheels.

I was lucky enough to win tickets to a bike/cycling festival for the weekend, SpinLDN, and so this afternoon, off T and I rolled to the old Truman Brewery on Brick Lane for a look at all things urban cycling. Why thank you Cyclescheme for my tickets.


There were a whole swathe of exhibitors- everything from bike polo to manufacturers of some awesome accessories brands. We had a really good wander through which was great, recognised a few brands, including the one who make my own little fixie and generally soaked it all up.

I put a punt in to win this beauty from Tokyo Bike with my #SahnSelfie
My #sahnselfie via @tokyobikelondon it's a beautiful helmet right?! #spinldn


And met a few other stand out exhibitors:
Hill&Ellis at #SpinLDN

The rather lovely lady at Hill & Ellis was showing of some gorgeous pannier bags, I fell in love with this satchel as available for pre-order, but they also had some great handbag styles that had reversible straps and attachments- 1 side reflective, the other leather to fit the rest of the bag.

Lflect at #SpinLDN

The awesome people from Lflect specialise in reflective fashion, the scarf is reflective in flash photography- or more importantly, headlights. They also stock iron on reflective patterns, for shirts, accessories or anything else- they had a few last stock t-shirts of their own, sadly nothing in my size. But I'm still lusting this, this, & this.

And we also found an awesome company, Felvarrom that make upcycled products from bike parts. T fell in love with these belts, and when he couldn't find one to fit, they resized one for him, showing that stallholders and exhibitors who were prepared to engage were the ones to win business.

Felvarrom at #SpinLDN

One thing that I found hugely disappointed in was the willingness of exhibitors to engage. There were a number of stands we stopped to look at, showed an interest in, and wanted to ask questions at, but we were completely ignored by the people manning them. All of the mentioned exhibitors above are people who spoke to us, who answered questions or who simply smiled and said hello and let the conversation flow.

So there we are- a SpinLDN edition of MWO2W, and my (almost) total for March... it's not been a bad mileage month especially since I didn't manage any longer rides.

Not bad for march, considering I didn't manage any longer rides.


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Heels and Handlebars

Sometimes it feels like the cycling bit of my life and the rest of it don't sit naturally. On a daily basis I take myself from this...

Hell yeah!

Although, how freakin awesome are these AnaNichoola tights? They're FLEECE lined. And I'm still in love my Nike trainers as the day they landed....


To this- not quite polished and poised but it's definitely more office fixed desk than fixie girl.

But one thing that is enduring through this off period at the moment where I try and work out how to integrate all this stuff into on Chloe is shoes. And currently, there's 2 pairs (ok, more than that, but for now....) high up my lust list....

Because just like I pick my heels to match my mood, I'd like to select my trainers too. These black beauties are more Nike Frees-because they're just so damn comfy. My other big love? Super easy to pull on with jeans as they are for a ride!

Clarks Chorus Voice and Nike Free 3.0 Spartoo Shoes

And I already own a pair of this style of heels by Clarks, but who could resist this beautiful blue for the summer months? I don't think I can, especially since I know they are the comfiest heels I've ever owned.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Saving The World One Pedal At A Time

Dreams are funny things. When I was at school, I wasn't one of the kids who knew they wanted to be a doctor or mechanic. I didn't feel like anything I was good at had a particular career path or direction. When I went to university it was because I knew I needed to further my education in order to progress in whatever career, and to create some prospects. At the end of 4 years, I was still a bit stuck, until I started looking a bit harder at the forces. It was my only real *dream* or sense of purpose.

You might be aware that my partner is is ex-RAF and is currently with the 7 Rifles, a TA unit based in Mayfair and had previously intended to go regular with the Army after finishing his degree. Just before we were together and for the first 6 months of our relationship I trained hard for RAF selection, attended interviews, and started to take an interest in fitness that went beyond *just* passing selection.Long time lovers of Chloe Likes To Talk will know that despite scoring well on initial stages of selection, but I failed my medical spectacularly thanks to a weak muscle in my right eye. I had no idea how serious I was about my choice, but I realised the only career I'd ever thought might really suit me had been taken away from me, not because I didn't try hard enough or because I needed to come back having worked on something, but because of a defect I was probably born with, and can't fix.

Chloe no glasses child
Me, aged about 2, just before my eyesight problems were diagnosed. You can see one eye is not straight in this picture.

It's over 2 years since I had this particular knock, and I got over it, as you do. Some may find it odd or unbelievable but T's involvement in the forces has never been a source of hurt or difficulty, perhaps because the forces have been a part of his life long before I was a part of it. But my experience has changed me. My need to be fit for selection spurred me into running which after a fashion, I made myself enjoy, but I can't say I ever truly felt a passion for it. After my RAF rejection I fell out of love with fitness and exercise. But when I started working full time, especially in London where opportunity is so plentiful, I knew for my sanity as much my waistline I needed to find some exercise to suit me. I tried going back to running, and it didn't work but many of you have followed my adventures on 2 wheels in the last year.

Chloe younger fragile
A younger, more fragile me. This picture was taken not many weeks after my rejection letter.

I could spend the rest of this already quite long post extolling the virtues of cycling, I'm quite good at that, but instead I feel the need to tell you this:

Cliche or otherwise, exercise has changed my life. Not the overcoming of major illness or injury, not the sort of life changing that means I've changed my career or been able to raise money for others, but at 24 I'm fitter and stronger than I have ever been and even better than that I've finally reached a place in my head where I'm confident, I don't feel weighed down by self doubt but neither do I feel that I've reached a limit of things I might achieve. Fired up for life, without the fear or aggression I've typically put forward first.

Mostly cycling, but general fitness and exercise have brought this sense of 'peace' (for want of better wording) to my life and this is one of the many reasons I can't advocate it hard enough. I wish I could have gotten the idea of fitness and the enjoyment that can be derived from the necessary into my 13/14/15yo head, and I wish I knew how to advocate sports and exercise to young women in a way that would be appealing to them and that would impress the value.

If you're reading this feeling lacklustre about getting out there and running or cycling or swimming or boxing or lifting weights or playing hockey or ice skating, and you remember why you love it and what it gives you back, I feel I might have achieved something here. Failing that, I've put down on proverbial paper some thoughts that have been a rolling around my head for some time, and from it perhaps had some bright ideas. Ok, maybe not bright, but ideas.

Sportswear, Cycle Maps and Nike Free Trainers
Me. The best example of the current joy I find. Trainer chic.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Chloe Likes To Eat

One of the many joyous things about visiting my parents is being cooked for by dad. The only problem is that however simple the dish, his version is always loads better than mine.

This particular weekend he was having a bit of a retro moment, and 2 courses of 3 came in glasses...

Starter in glass retro prawn cocktail
Starter in a glass- underneath the rocket there's a prawn and avocado cocktail thing. V tasty.

But the one I really wanted to show off was dessert, and that's mostly because I intend to make as many variations as I can conjour.

Mango yoghurt ginger ale jelly dessert
Mango & Ginger Dessert

See above- died mango, natural yoghurt with vanilla seeds, topped with ginger beer jelly . And very tasty it was too. Now granted, I won't be tarting too much up with handmade jelly any time soon. But- this dessert would be just as awesome on a school night with some frozen berries, natural or flavoured yoghurt and perhaps even a little (not handmade) jelly if I were to be super organised...

Revolutionary? No. But a bit of needed inspiration for a sweet treat it definitely is. And sometimes, inspiration is definitely the necessary thing. Like everyone I think, I get hugely stuck into cooking and eating the same things.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

All My Life

I've been a bit quiet this week, since it started with a pretty vile headache/nastiness which in hindsight I suspect might have been a migraine of sorts. Lots of dark rooms, sleeping and general feelings of urgh/rough.

Being useless and trying to not go to bed stupidly early.

Thankfully I was back to being a bit more human by end of play Wednesday in time for a trip North to see family this weekend.

Useless creature.
This creature was kind of pleased to see me- I have my uses. He was snoring.

Catching up with some of the elderly family- Monty is 11+ now, but still as pathetic as he was in his puppy years.

Edward Bear
This guy is just a little older than me, but pleased to take me to bed!

After a tough week, it's the little things that make it all better.

Quite a lot of food and drink have been consumed- best thing about catching up with mis padres is that dad likes to cook and the slightly depressing thing is that when I eat dad's food I realise mine is.... just ok. I'll be sharing more of the foodie things later in the week, but here's a sneaky little preview....

Chloe Likes To Eat mango desert

It's now the end of the weekend, and I have hopefully a better week ahead. T is away at the moment which has it's own blessings and challenges. I'm a bit gutted I had to spend so much time on a train in the beautiful sunlight. I haven't clocked a single kilometre on bike all week either. Needless to say I'm desperate to be getting out next week.

Happy weekend all.


Sunday, March 2, 2014

My Week On 2 Wheels - February In Review

Another week done, and we're now a whole 2 months, 1/6 into 2014.

Cycling wise, February has evened out into a bit of a 'mnieh' month with some awesome highs but some pretty low mileage. My aim for the month was 250KM and I ended on recording 218KM and I squeezed another cheeky 8 in when I didn't take my phone out after work too. So yeah, a bit of a fail there.... bit like this....

No idea how I got so much bike oil/grunge all over me. It's a beautiful dry sunny day....
I really really have no idea how I got this much bike grunge all over my foot.... It was a beautiful, dry, sunny day!

Luckily there have been plenty of exciting things to make up for my slightly lacking distance. Not least that I've been selected as the Cyclescheme Super Commuter for London and the South East which not only entails reviewing some cool new kit, but gives me an opportunity and a platform to talk about and encourage cycling- doesn't sound like me at all right?! As the first challenges are coming through, forgive more than a little excitement.

I also did some reviews in February, in particular this one on sports bras

Marks and Spencer Sports Bra Leopard Grey Pink Black

Mmmmmmhm. I went there.

So that was my week and month on 2 wheels,and now it's onwards with March. I'm on another challenge to hit 300KM in March, not least because the weather will hopefully improve some but also because I have me some training to do. Yeah, I signed myself up to cycle London-Cambridge in April with the Breeze Network (Sky's women's cycling network). All encouragement and advice welcome at this point since I'll be riding my little single speed. And if anyone, y'know, wants to give me a road bike since I'm now desperate to have one as well as my beloved Foffa, I'm right here!