London Cycles, We Watch

Cycling is quite prominent in London, although the city obviously has a long way to go. The narrow streets, huge double-decker buses, and tiny speeding cars present special challenges for cyclists, but many Londoners are up for the challenge. Walking down the main streets downtown, I watched several cyclists go by each minute. A lot had sportier bikes and special gear, but the vast majority looked quite stylish. I saw a few Pashleys and some Dutch bikes, as well. I took as many pictures of interesting cyclists as I could manage whilst site-seeing. I don’t know how Riding Pretty, Chic Cyclist and others┬ádo it so well, because it’s been hard for me to hit a moving target.

My favorite find was this lovely lady on a Dutch bike. Love the flowing locks!

Beautiful

Beautiful

More cycling Londoners:

Dapper Chap in Hyde Park

Dapper Chap in Hyde Park

Ponytail compliments helmet

Ponytail compliments helmet

Red – stylish and high vis

Red - stylish and high res

Bloke on a Bike

Bloke on a Bike!

Another lovely lady with her Dutch bike

Another lovely lady with her Dutch bike

Another dapper chap in Hyde Park (on a Gary Fisher)

Another dapper chap in Hyde Park (on a Gary Fisher)

4-19-bike-back1 4-19-bike-ally

Walking the dog on the bike all day \’cause the filth took away my license…

Walking the dog on the bike all day 'cause the filth took away my license...

Woman v. Bus

Woman v. Bus

More blokes

More blokes

There was much more to our day than taking pictures of people on bikes, though. We started at Harrods where we ogled the rooms of scrumptious food that I imagine only royalty got to eat back in the day. We bought cheese (gouda with truffles!), croissants, baguettes, chocolates, and lemonade and sat at a bench in Hyde Park to enjoy our lunch.

LUNCH!

LUNCH!

Then we made our way on foot through Hyde Park to the shopping area around Piccadilly Circus.

Cyclodelic at Topshop

Cyclodelic at Topshop

We made sure to stop by Topshop to check out the new Cyclodelic line, fashionable cycling accessories made by women for women. Although we spent a good 3 hours in Topshop, we spent only about five minutes hovering over this display. We thought there would be more to it, but it is cute for younger women. There were nifty panniers and saddle bags in bright colors. There were also some scarves with wheel prints, bright cycling caps, and beaded ankle cuffs.

4-19-hat

I bought one of the ankle cuffs, a nice light blue that’s reflective and apparently can be worn as a bracelet when off the bike, but I don’t think I’ll be doing that. Trisha modeled one of their cycling caps. Not quite her style.

We ended our day with dinner at a cozy little French restaurant in South Kensington, where we are staying.

An unexpected and very entertaining aspect of our entire day was…wait for it…my tights. I recently bought some Betsy Johnson tights that look like regular hose but have painted butterflies on them. Little did I know the sensation they would cause all through London! It sounds absurd, but I do not think “sensation” is an exaggeration. Not quite pandemonium, though.

The tights that launched a thousand comments

The tights that launched a thousand comments

All day people approached me to comment on my tights. Several women told me how much they liked my stockings and a few wanted to know where I bought them . A scruffy middle aged guy stopped walking and said to me, “You’ve got butterflies on your legs.” I looked down and said, “Oh, my god!!!” and he laughed. An elderly gentleman in Harrods asked me where I got them, I think for his grandaughter who was with him and looked shy. A little girl, maybe 3 years old, walked up to me and stared while I was sitting on a bench in the park. Her mother laughed and said, “I knew she was going to stop to look at your stockings.”

4-19-tights

The situation became ridiculous while walking through the area of Hyde Park where people stand on soap boxes and give crazy speeches. A woman said, “I must tell you, your tights are very…interesting. They are very eye catching.” A guy with her said it looked like I had tattoos of butterflies all over my legs (that would have been painful and time- consuming). Then she said, “You’re making a louder statement than any of these men standing up here yelling.” (Thanks…I think?) As she was talking, another couple came up and started talking about my tights with great enthusiasm. THEN as these four people bombarded me and Trisha looked on with amusement, a woman stopped and took a picture of me! This was all very odd. Am I in the Twilight Zone or being punked? It was an entertaining way to meet the natives, though, who I thought were supposed to be reserved.

Now that I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time talking about tights, I’ll end with the obligatory phone booth shots.

4-19-phone 4-19-booth-dot

We’ll be back tomorrow with thoughts on our last day in London and pictures of the city’s cycling infrastructure

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22 thoughts on “London Cycles, We Watch

  1. jj says:

    those *are* amazing tights! i would totally stop you on the street to ask about those. ah, i’m so jealous of your trip! it’s been *far* too lon since i’ve been to london and i miss it so much. more updates! more pictures!

  2. Lynn says:

    I’ve just realized I need more butterflies in my life. And more red in my photos.

  3. I think Trisha looks great in that cap. Maybe another color perhaps?

    Be careful, you might end up on the Tele, because of those stockings. ;)

    • Trisha says:

      yes, I’m not sure anything in the neon color field is my color! And I fully expected to see Dottie and her tights on the BBC news last night.

  4. grambev says:

    I’m enjoying your fun descriptions of everything enormously, Luv, gram Bev

  5. Carrie says:

    Hey those ARE great stockings! About those reserved Londoners… My hubby always gapes because people seem to speak to me all the time on the underground and whatnot whereas he spent his entire life in and around London and no one ever spoke to him. Londoners aren’t supposed to speak to each other, he tells me! They seem to have a “you’re not from here so it’s safe” radar or something :)

  6. Ashley says:

    Very cool, tights:)

    Oh, I heard this on the radio this morning, and I thought you and Trish would be interested!

    http://en.cop15.dk/news/view+news?newsid=719

  7. Jon says:

    I haven’t been in London since 1983. I loved it, and found that my then very apparent Southern accent elicited the same kind of reaction as your tights. Before the week was out, I found myself talking like Elvis. My sister, who was with me, was pretty amused.

  8. Love the pics! Sounds like you are having a blast!
    Cheers! ;-)

  9. Trisha says:

    Sensation is definitely NOT too strong a word. Those are just the people who actually spoke to her about the tights; I counted dozens more staring and talking to their companions about them. I am the woman who accompanied Dottie and her Butterfly Tights to London…

  10. MamaVee says:

    well I must agree the tights are awesome. I want a pair! Love the entry and can’t wait for the next post!

  11. meligrosa says:

    oh butterflies, love thos tights! and you two look like ur enjoying yourselves :D /xoxo

  12. E A says:

    Looks like you’re having fun! …. and sunny days in London?!? (Rainy days back home…. )

  13. Carolyn says:

    Love your stockings! That is so cool that they were not at all reserved, or rather maybe it’s spooky? I don’t know….neat to get attention I suppose. Maybe the next craze? Butterfly stockings….

  14. Charlotte says:

    I too envy those tights – great find!

    The first cyclist is lovely, the way her jacket ties to nip in her waist is especially nice.

  15. What a wonderful time you two must be having! I love that pink cap on Trish! Tights are whimsical and fun as well!
    Thanks for the shout out about the photos. I work hard at trying to get the best in motion, chic bicycle photos, and I am still learning!!!

  16. bikebythesea says:

    Looks fun! Thanks for sharing.

    Love the photo of the guy “biking” his dog. I want a dog just so I can do this.

    This reminds me of the bike Tweed Run in London. (Check out these photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/booksnake/sets/72157613120369572/)

  17. [...] By Trisha So, the St. Petersburg cycling scene was quite different from the London one Dottie wrote about last week. Though we spotted more bikes than we expected to see in a city that doesn’t exactly make [...]

  18. Nicole says:

    We’re getting better since the launch of the Barclays cycle hire scheme. ‘Boris Bikes’ have really captured the spirit of the city. I hope you can cycle London the next time you visit.

    I love the site, Dottie and Trisha. I wish we had such an influence in Lindon. I’ve just begun my blog with the hope of gathering a similar community together. Any women cyclists out there in London and the South-East, get in touch through the blog.

  19. kupferpreise says:

    … [Trackback]…

    [...] Read More Infos here: letsgorideabike.com/blog/2009/04/london-cycles-we-watch/ [...]…

  20. [...] of months ago, Dottie and I will be traveling to London, Paris and Amsterdam together this fall.┬áLast time we were in London, we didn’t have a chance to arrange a meetup and we wanted to rectify that error. London [...]

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