harris tweed ride, glasgow, 2013, tweed run, fun

The Harris Tweed Ride is starting to become an annual event for me and some of my friends from Glasgow. It is a lovely way to catch up and have a jolly fun day out on bicycles. It particularly helps if the sun is shining. This year it was a scorcher – it was so incredibly sunny in Glasgow that people were trying to resist peeling off their tweed!

harris tweed ride, glasgow, 2013, soctlans, tweed run

Most of them resisted – at least at first and as you can see in the video below they looked splendid. The organisers did a brilliant job once again of ensuring that we visited some brilliant venues around town – including a quick trip on the Tall Ship – it really was quite a day. By the time we were back at the Blythswood Hotel sipping gin cocktails I was slightly sleepy – even if it is the most relaxed group bike ride I have ever been on.

I tried to capture the day a little in pictures and film snaps. So I mashed them together in the short film above – it is all shot on a hand held compact camera – so forgive the shakiness – I was also on a bicycle. But I hope it gives you a wee taste of the fun day out I had on the Tweed Ride. Continue reading ‘Snapshots of the Harris Tweed Ride – Glasgow 2013’

magazine cuttings

I got a nice surprise when I got home tonight. A small envelope had arrived with these goodies inside. A postcard from a friend to say hello and a few paper cuttings that they thought I might like. One is about a bike related design so I thought I would share it here. It is funny, I am quite the advocate of many digital things. But yet, in the age of endless emails and scrolling through (fascinating, after fascinating) blog posts… it is REALLY nice to get something like this through the post. Plus they are both really cool articles that I probably wouldn’t have stumbled across otherwise and they have subsequently got me thinking about cycling & picnics… Continue reading ‘Life’s a Picnic (on a bicycle)’

dundee, bridge, river, sunset, cycling, commute

The skies were still shining brightly well after dinner this evening, so after the horrendous rain yesterday, I decided to go on a quick evening cycling mission. I had a few aims – to discover a few new quiet streets to cycle along, and to push myself up a few hills and to try shake off the somewhat bad mood that I got into earlier when a bus cut in on me when overtaking*. I think I just about managed all three. Continue reading ‘An evening mission’

POP2, Pedal on Parliament, edinburgh, cycle, cycling, protest, scotland, 2013

The second Pedal on Parliament #POP2 took place last Sunday in Edinburgh. If you don’t know what that is – it is roughly 4000 people on bicycles cycling in a slow and peaceful protest down the royal mile in Edinburgh to arrive in front of the Scottish Parliament with one simple message to the Scottish government: “we are everyone.” Speaking to the crowd, one of the organisers David Brennan said:

“We aren’t ‘cyclists’, we’re everyone – from the mum taking her children to nursery to the road cyclist doing 100k at the weekend. But we’re also the kids in the back of the car looking wistfully out of the window because their parents can’t risk them riding to school, the people who drive to the gym to ride on stationary bikes because the roads are too fast and busy. There’s a real hunger out there for conditions where everyone can ride, from 8 to 80 and we’re calling on the Scottish government to make the investment to make that a reality. We need a step change in funding.”

POP2, Pedal on Parliament, edinburgh, cycle, cycling, protest, scotland, 2013, cyclist on stilts, tallbike

I agree, one of the brilliant things about the ride on Sunday was that there was such a diverse mix of people out on their bikes. From very tall to pretty small, from young to old and everything in between. In fact, when I got into work on Monday and said what I was doing on Sunday. One of the first things that someone said jokingly in response, was “ooh so you are a hippy.” Which is funny, as it just shows the stereotype for the type of person that would be out protesting about cycling. But actually, as with all stereotypes the joke is often on the person making it. The fact was, from what I could see (and hear) the crowd was made up of a diverse group of people, who simply share a common value and ability to see that adding a bike to your life (in some little or big way) makes sense.

pop2, parliament, edinburgh, cycling, protest, scotland, 2013 Continue reading ‘Pedal on Parliament attracts thousands of cyclists to Edinburgh’

paper cutting, escape, art, fun a day

I have just realised that I haven’t done a proper update about the Fun a Day project that I completed in January. The concept was simple, Fun a Day Dundee challenged the people of Dundee to do something fun and creative every day in January. I decided that I would get my daily kicks out of cutting out one word a day from a bit of paper – crazy fun! I was not particularly skilled at paper cutting before I started, so was just experimenting really and I tried to only make one attempt at each daily cutting as I didn’t have so much time to spend on it. I then ended up formatting the daily paper cuts into a postcard format with the title ‘A Postcard to Myself’ which is explained a little in the image below.

Picture 7

Now I am reflecting on when I mentioned cycling in my Fun a Day… In January I cycled to work pretty much everyday and yet I didn’t include it in my Fun a Day project that often. I guess, I didn’t do so many long rides and I was busy trying to add a little bit of fun to the dark January days in other ways for the purpose of this project. I wonder if the fact that starting to cycle after a slightly over indulgent festive period and in the cold weather was sometimes not always fun? I remember that on the first week back to work, that commuting up the hill I ride on my way home was much tougher than it had been just a few weeks before…  As this Dreich paper cut that related to my cycling one day may suggest!

dreich, paper cut, art, fun a day Continue reading ‘Reflecting on my Fun a Day project’

bike lock, jammed, theft, prevention

I had to break into my own bike today and it was a little too easy. I think I always knew it would be, but I had hoped that it would put up a little more resistance. I always use more than one lock on my bike. One more expensive one and admittedly one cheaper one. The cheaper being the above pictured combination lock that I use for securing my wheels. However, recently when I went back to open it – it had jammed and just refused to open. Pretty annoying at the time, as it left me walking home and consequently walking to work.

Admittedly I have never tried to cut open a bike lock before. So I did a quick Google searched and came to the conclusion that I would probably need bolt cutters at the very least to have a crack at it… which I don’t own. So I did a call-out on Facebook for some help and a friend offered to give it a go with two pretty basic hacksaws. I wasn’t too confident he would succeed, but he did, rather quickly! Continue reading ‘Another adventure with my bike…’

Janapar is the Armenian word for journey. Janapar is a also film that launched earlier this week, where Tom Allen tells the story of how he cycled 12,000 miles round the world, with neither maps nor guidebooks, in his quest for freedom and adventure after finishing university. A real adventurer!

Although this tells the tale of Tom’s journey cycling into exotic places – it also focuses on how he fell in love with an Iranian-Armenian girl along the way. Tom gives honest accounts of emotions he is feeling along the way, mixed with a fascinating insight into the people he has met on his journey and the incredible places he discovers. So in fact it becomes a film about love, passion and people. I like his naivety, his honesty and the fact that he seems to wear a pretty fun stripey shirt throughout alot of the film!


Filmed over four years by Tom – I was impressed at some of the images he managed to capture, considering he admits that filming was fairly new to him at first. I have since taken a look at his Flickr images that capture a range of his different cycling adventures and I think he is a very talented image maker.  Along the way he captures some amazing sweeping landscape shots of mountains and deserts, mixed with some brilliant shots of people.

I downloaded the film on Tuesday night and ended up staying up later than planned to watch Tom’s tales of discovery. So with the film fresh in my mind as I drifted off to sleep, I ended up having some adventure packed dreams of my own… Hopefully one day I will make them a reality too. So now it’s Friday and I’m watching it for a second time! Plus I have just discovered all these cyclo touring films on Vimeo, so that’s my plan for the rest of tonight sorted.

Watching it has also got me thinking about this image below, that I took earlier in the year.

chalboards, signage, london, street signs,

Continue reading ‘New Cyling Film: Janapar – Love on a Bike’

I picked up a surprise package today and it truly feels like Christmas has come early. Inside the brown paper packaging was not just one, but two beautiful books – two editions of the Bicycle Portraits books by Stan Engelbrecht & Nic Grobler. I mentioned their project briefly on this blog back in 2010. However, what I didn’t say at the time is that I also donated to their Kickstarter* campaign, as I was really inspired by their project. I had been thinking about photographic and cycling adventures myself at the time and as they had already collected some lovely colourful images – I found it surprisingly easy to pledge to give money to these unknown guys via the click of a computer key. Two years later and I’m pretty happy at getting these books as a physical return. Continue reading ‘Bicycle Portraits: Everyday South Africans and their bicycles – A quick review’

Trakke Messenger bags have been on my radar for a year or so now. I was reminded about them at the tweed ride in Glasgow where they were sporting a stunning Harris Tweed version. However, it is the yellow waxed cotton one that is on my wishlist and watching the short documentary above has made me want to invest. Unfortunately, I haven’t saved up quite enough to treat myself to one yet… so I reckon I’ll start putting some pennies in my piggy bank for now. As I like the ethos of the company, I like that it is a start-up from Glasgow School of Art Students (where I studied), I like that the bags are made in Glasgow and generally I like the simple style of the bags and the fact they are built to last.

So yes, just a quick Sunday night blog post – as I thought I would share this with you. Enjoy.