Straight outta Brompton

Claire is a lot more than a folding bike rider, but I have been dying to post this image but in preparation for the show, I am reserving every ounce of creativity for working out how to print the zines. So no sense shoe-horning the link. At the same time, however, I feel like The Work Cycle, an initiative from Barcelona looking at seeing how you and your bike fit your work culture, is something that Claire might get into. So it’s not all that much of a stretch.

Before I get too far ahead of myself, however, I wanted to ask. It’s easy with friends to often assume that because you “know” them, you don’t have to “get to know them better”. You know what I mean?

So, Claire…who are you again?

1. What was your first bike?
I actually can’t remember my first bike. As I child I wasn’t particularly fussed about riding. Huddling under a doona on the couch and reading my book was much more interesting to me. I got back into riding in my early 20s as a holier than thou environmentalist, going through a series of heavy made-in-china hand me down bikes from friends, and later through bikes from a bike swap scheme. When I started dating my (bike mad) partner he took one look at my bike and laid it on the line. It was going to be a bike upgrade or he was leaving. And that was it. I got my first credible bike, a Giant CRX3, shortly afterwards.

2. What are you riding right now?
I have 3.5 bikes: my Giant; ‘whitey’ – my On-one In Bred white mountain bike; an Avanti Sub-Rosa.1 road bike; and I share ‘Brompty’, a green Brompton folding bike, with my partner.

3. How the hell did that happen?
I do not know, but bike storage is now pretty high on our list of priorities when house hunting.

4. Favourite ride-on song?
The birds tweeting, the wind rustling through the trees, and the complete absence of any car noise –my favourite riding soundtrack by far.

5. Anyone to thank for getting you into cycling?
Melbourne for its flat roads and multitude of cyclists providing unspoken encouragement. My partner Jon, for showing me that 100kms is not that far, biking holidays are fun, and hills are not that scary in the right gear. And a sexist guy at the 3-ring circus MTB event, who through his derision inspired me to move beyond team support status to actually riding in events.

6. If you could take your bike anywhere, where would that be?
Somewhere quiet, in the mountains, where I can ride for hours with beautiful scenery and hardly any car traffic.

7. On a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being “like eating a good breakfast” and 10 being “this is the meaning of life”, how important is cycling to your life?
How much do I love it? 10. How important is it? Maybe an 8. Cycling is my main form of transport, it gets me fit, and it makes me happy, but I can live without it for blocks of time without any detrimental impact on my mental health.

8. How do you feel about helmets?
I have to admit that when I don’t wear one I feel naked. I’ll be half way down the street and wondering what have I’ve forgotten. Having said that, I’m not convinced that requiring people to wear helmets is very helpful. We want more cyclists on the road to improve road safety, not less.

9. What interests you about women and cycling?
I ride with a bunch of lovely ladies on Sunday mornings and have oft wondered – why did we all choose to ride in a women’s only cycling group? Something to explore for my first post perhaps?

10. Complete this sentence: “riding my bike makes me feel…”
pretty darn happy.

Categorized as brisbane

By Eleanor Jackson

Eleanor Jackson is a Filipino Australian poet, performer, arts producer, cyclist, writer, gal about town, feminist, freewheeler, and friend.

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