Apologies for the brief blog – I’ve just done my first solo navigation through Newcastle (I usually try and secure a native guide) on my way back from the Women and Cycling conference. I’d love to summarise the day but it would be almost impossible, but the main difference between it and a regular conference was that it was mostly extremely good fun and even when one of the speakers went a bit off piste about retail and the female brain (please, do me a favour and read Delusions of Gender before spouting out the usual guff about women not being able to read maps*) I was able to let off steam by sitting at the back with my internet buddies sending rude tweets about it. Plus I got to meet *the* Isla of Islabikes fame – in fact she came and joined my round table (she didn’t know how to get teenage girls cycling either, sadly).
But one slight downside of a women’s cycling conference is that you do actually have to think a bit about what to wear. At a regular cycling conference, simply managing not to turn up in lycra is considered dangerously cycle chic; the rest of the attendees are usually in suits. I had put more thought into my outfit than I’d done all year, and decided to break out my new purple cords in honour of the occasion, feeling rather pleased with the fact that I could actually fit in them (I’d bought them on the internet and been a bit ambitious about the sizing). This smugness lasted exactly long enough for to look down and realise I had immediately annointed them with oil. Seriously, cycle clothing manufacturers of Britain, stop messing around with reflective patches and special pockets for your u-lock. If we want more women to cycling then all non-black pairs of trousers need to come pre-patterned with the distinctive markings of a Brompton chain. It’s just going to save a lot of time and grief in the long run.
* present company excepted**
** and the fact that I am in the right house and only tried to unlock the wrong gate once on my way here suggests that even this one can, given a couple of runs at it, read maps.