Posts Tagged ‘Cycle Chic’

One thing that really upsets me about cycling in the UK is how difficult it is to cycle with young children.  The ideal situation would be for children to cycle to school and the shops alongside their parents, however unlike in Holland where this is common place, in this country the roads are far too dangerous for the very young cyclist. The cycle paths are  not properly separated and don’t join up with each other making them useless for everyday transport.  The only family cycling we see in the UK is leisure cycling and here is the rub, to do it,  you need a car to get to the safe cycle paths!  To get to safe infrastructure  a family will usually have to negotiate  main roads and this is not safe when cycling with small children.

Yesterday we decided to attempt a family cycle ride at the local park and ride.  The large car park is closed on a Sunday so makes an ideal spot for a little cycle practice.  It also has some dirt tracks behind it which are just about passable in good weather.  The tricky bit was how to get there with no car.  Fortunately the road that leads to the Park and Ride has pavement or separated cycle path so my boy can ride there, however the road is too fast and the pavement too narrow for my little girl, who is only just learning to cycle.  So to make the journey the little nipper sat on a cushion on the back of my bicycle and her bicycle was pulled along behind in a trailer.

Once at the park and ride we had a great time riding around, imagining we were in a world without cars.

It was wonderful to cycle as a family again, something we haven’t done since our holiday last year in Assen.  We only had to ride a couple of pavements to get to the park and ride and will be making this a regular trip.  The really annoying thing is we still can’t cycle together on our everyday trips to the shops. Until the children are older or we get proper Dutch style infrastructure our family cycling will have to be occasional and not everyday.



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It has been a long time since my last post, so I decided it was about time I caught up a little. I have continued to bicycle everyday despite some pretty awful weather over the winter and I have continued to play my ukuleles at every opportunity.

The weather has really picked up in the last few weeks so Jim and I finally got together on our Raleigh Superbes for a quick ride in the park and some photos for the band.

And so dear readers I leave you with Duke Ellington and his 1933 recording of ‘Bundle Of Blues’.  This was transferred electrically using a Lenco Turntable and Quad preamp.



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Last Sunday saw yet another Taunton Tweed Cycle Chic ride.  This time we ventured from Vivary Park to North Curry, and numbered 19 riders.  The weather was positively continental and a marvellous time was had by all.  After meeting up we made our way through town, with Neil causing quite a stir on his 1882 Ordinary Bicycle (Penny Farthing).  The route took us along the canal and then down the beautiful back roads to North Curry.  We had a fine lunch and a few pints at The Bird In Hand and entertained ourselves with a selection of songs from the Saddlebag Songbook.  Thanks to all who came and made it such a great day.

I made a little film of the ride…

The soundtrack is ‘The Continental’ performed by the Lew Stone Band featuring Nat Gonella on vocals.  It was transferred from 78rpm record via my HMV163 Gramophone and a studio condenser mic.

Here are a few more photos of the day…


Thanks to Tom for some of the photos



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I love to throw a ukulele in my saddlebag and head off for a days ride. I felt I needed a compact songbook  to take along, so began compiling a collection of ukulele arrangements. I choose the songs of the jazz era , a heyday for both song writing and bicycling. The songs chosen are perfectly suited for the vintage chic cyclist.

The songbook is intended for the use of cycling ukulele players and/or singers.  It should be printed in A5 size and spiral bound to make it the perfect saddlebag songbook.  If you are not familiar with the songs contained in the book try searching titles on ‘You Tube’.

The Songs

Accentuate The Positive

After You’ve Gone

Ain’t Misbehaving

Ain’t She Sweet

All I Do is Dream Of You

All Of Me

Anything Goes

Bei Mir Bist Du Schön

Besame Mucho

Blue Skies

Choo Choo Ch’boogie

Daisy Bell

Dance Me To The End Of Love

Don’t Fence Me In

Five Foot Two

Hilo Hattie

Houdini Never Hung Around In Bars

I Can’t Give You Anything But Love

I Don’t Want To Set The World On Fire

I Love A Ukulele

I Wan’na Be Like You

I Wish I Could Shimmy Like My Sister Kate

I’ll See You In My Dreams

I’m Pau

If I Had You

In The Mood

It don’t mean a thing (if it ain’t got that swing)

It Had To Be You

It’s Only A Paper Moon


Leaning On A Lamp Post

Love Is The Sweetest Thing

Mack The Knife

Minnie The Moocher


My Blue Heaven

My Melancholy Baby

Night And Day

Nobody knows You When You’re Down And Out

Noughts and Crosses

Pennies From Heaven

Roll Along Prairie Moon

She Tunes Her Ukulele GCEA

Shine On Harvest Moon

Singin’ In The Rain


Sweet Georgia Brown

The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea

The Girl From Ipanema

The Glory of Love

The Hypnotist

The Sheik Of Araby

The Trail Of  The Lonesome Pine

Till There Was You

Tiptoe Through the Tulips

Tonight You Belong To Me

Ukulele Lady

When I’m Cleaning Windows

Without My Walking Stick

Zing Went The Strings Of My Heart

NB: You may notice a couple of modern songs in the list, I included them because they are in the style and just great songs.

If you are a cyclist and would like a free copy of the “Saddlebag Songbook” then just leave a comment and I will email a link and password for the download page.



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I haven’t blogged for some time but it’s time to get things moving again.  So before I launch into rants about crap cycling in Taunton… a little fun. Last week the members of Taunton Tweed Cycle Chic took to the cycle paths and rode from Vivary Park to Maunsell Lock.  The weather was hot, hot, hot so we only managed Tweed through town, but with bells ringing and loud ‘Good Mornings’ we certainly got noticed. Thanks go to Brian from Bicycle Chain for leading us off. We stopped for lunch at the canal side cafe and strummed ukuleles using the new ‘Bicycle and Ukulele Saddlebag Song Book’ (Post a comment for a free copy!).  So here for you delectation are a few photographs of the day set to a toe tapping soundtrack from Django Reinhardt.

The ride was great fun, because of the superb weather and the great company but also because the majority of the ride was car free and on separate infrastucture.



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A couple of weeks ago friends Steve and Alison invited Jim and I for a little tweed run down at Vivary Park.  They have recently acquired vintage bikes and have began developing a website for Taunton Tweed Cycle Chic.  Here are a few quick snaps of a lovely afternoon.

The Bikes


The Bicycles in the bandstand  Raleigh, Triumph and Pashley.


Steve taking photos


Alison with cup of Tea



Nipper and Jim playing some ukuleles!

More about TTCC to follow…



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Skirt Guard

Ukulele player and work colleague Fran has fitted a skirt guard to her bicycle. This is significant in that most bicycles in the UK don’t come with skirt guard fitted. Fran after many years of cycling is now finally able to ride while wearing a skirt.





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So not much ukulele in the last posts… So here are a couple of pictures of the little Nippers showing how easy it is to carry a ukulele by bicycle.

uke carryuke carry2



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I ride a Pashley Roadster and Jim (Night Owls lead ukulele player) rides a Raleigh Roadster. We have both been cycling all our lives and use the bicycle as our primary mode of transport, but the roadsters are new bikes for us.

The Pashley is for me a return to my childhood days when I rode a 3 speed sit up and beg. I loved that bike, it transported me to school everyday and was my first taste of teenage freedom. After 20 years on my Dawes Galaxy touring bike I decided it was time to return to the simplicity and comfort of a traditional bike and so the Pashley has become my new number one.

So with two new bikes Jim and I decided it was time don our tweed jackets and head into town for a bit of posing… We had rather a jolly time and filmed our afternoons riding for blogging purposes. So here is the film complete with ukulele soundtrack.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Roadsters! – Bicycle and Ukulele from Nipper on Vimeo.

It is worth noting that in Taunton bike parking on the High Street comes complete with a ‘No Cycling’ sign…



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Here is a video podcast from Top Shop featuring the gorgeous Pashley Sonnet Bliss and the ukulele styling of Noah and the Whale.  The video was released last year, but with the combination of ukulele and cycle chic, I just had to blog it.



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