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A Q&A with the author of The Girls’ Bicycle Handbook, Caz Nicklin.
When Caz Nicklin started riding a bike she soon became aware of the predominance of Lycra-clad performance riders. Her decision to shine a spotlight on stylish casual bike commuters around London, UK, lead to the creation of her blog. Frustrated with the lack of chic cycling products available in London, Nicklin began selling Bern helmets from her home, eventually developing an online shop with Lavinia Smith.
Nicklin has now written and published “The Girls’ Bicycle Handbook” that, she explained, aims “to promote cycling as a desirable, accessible lifestyle choice and to encourage more women to take to two wheels.”
What was your motivation in starting the London Cycle Chic blog?
Caz Nicklin: I had just started cycling in London and was overwhelmed by the benefits it had on my life. But at the same time I was frustrated by cycling’s outdated image and the lack of useful, relevant advice out there. The way cycling was promoted seemed to lack any femininity and as a result was putting many women off. So I had the idea to start a blog posting images of women looking amazing on bikes and back it up with relevant, practical advice that would appeal and help fashion-conscious women like myself to get into cycling.
Who do you hope will discover your new book, “The Girls’ Bicycle Handbook”?
CN: The key market for the book is women who have either just started cycling or who want to start but still have lots of questions. I hope the book invites these women in, inspires them, and also gives them solid advice from which type of bike to buy to cycle safety, maintenance, and what to wear on your bike.
I also hope the book will appeal to those who have been cycling for a while and love being part of the cycling community. The book not only has advice for beginners but also has info on cycling with babies and young children, advice on fitness and taking cycling to the next level as well as profiles on inspirational women who are doing great things in the cycling world.
Where in London would you recommend an out-of-towner visit by bike?
CN: I would recommend hiring a Boris bike and cycling through Hyde Park. It’s a beautiful park and there is always something going on. Last time I cycled through it, there were 100 Royal horses rehearsing a march with a brass band. It really gives you the London buzz and it’s so pretty especially in spring when the blossoms are out.
What are the top 5 items for your bike that you never leave the house without?
CN: Bern Helmet – I always wear a helmet as it makes me feel more confident on the road. I love the Bern helmets as they’re comfy and flattering and the brim keeps sun and rain out of your eyes.
Single Pannier – Single panniers revolutionized my life by bike, as suddenly I could carry all my stuff safely and easily when cycling. The one I am using at the moment is from Linus and basically looks like a handbag when off the bike. It’s gorgeous.
Lock – I have an Abus Bordo folding lock. It is easy to store when cycling and its super strong. I park my bike all over so a strong lock is essential for me.
Rain Poncho – I always have a rain poncho tucked away in my pannier, just in case of a pesky shower. My current fave is from a brand called Otto London and always cheers me up as it’s bright sunny yellow!
Incredible Bike Band – This nifty little band attaches your smart phone to your handlebars and is vital when I am cycling to new places and need to check the route.
What is one thing you wish all women who are curious about riding bikes knew?
CN: That cycling makes you happy! The combination of endorphins released from the exercise and the sheer thrill of riding a bike is proven to lift your mood and be good for your mental health. I start to get withdrawals if I have not cycled for a couple of days. Cycling always makes me feel more positive about life!