Three happy films (& links) for February: Bike science fiction, Lee Craigie and WorldTour

If you, like me, live in the UK, you’ll know that February can be a hard month – so often grey, dreary, dreich, and feeling like it will never end.  Cyclocross is over, and the Spring Classics are yet to begin.  But there are also so many positives too – sunny days feel so much better, for their rarity, and days are getting noticeably longer; the first Spring flowers are out; and in the women’s cycling world, we get tons of great film-ettes that remind us that the winter is nearly over.

I’ve seen three that I love this week – and they include a book giveaway too, because I’m sharing the joy and want to give two lucky readers a nice gift!

1. Lee Craigie’s ‘Escape’ film

You probably already know I’m a huge fan of the Adventure Syndicate, a group of women who share their bike-based adventures to inspire and encourage others to do more.  One of the Founders, Lee Craigie, has made a little film for UK charity Sustrans, sharing her love of cycling as she rides the Caledonia Way.

It’s a gorgeous little film, combining a love of bike riding with gorgeous scenery, and Craigie’s soft Scottish accent.  It’s uplifting, inspiring and happy, and you all should watch it!

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Presents for women’s cycling fans 2016 – this year’s books (and a giveaway)

It’s become a tradition that I pull together posts full of present ideas for women’s cycling fans and cycling fans/cyclists who are women, for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Solstice etc etc, or birthdays, or just because you want to treat someone (yourself).  And it’s also a tradition that I start with books published in 2016, either by women, or about women and cycling, because I do love a good cycling book.

If you want to see the previous posts, the 2014 booklist was the first, and included everything from autobiography to poetry, chicklit to history, science fiction to economics, and even books about men’s races!  Last year’s booklist had cycling and women’s health, more autobiography, photography and art, and more.

This year’s collection includes autobiographies, of course, but also a Young Adult novel, photography, economics, colouring books, fiction, city planning, global warming, a cookbook and some general bikey books.  It’s amazing how many things I found just from this year, and I always love the variety – and while this year’s theme was definitely ultra-endurance, and colouring, there are books about track, road, cyclocross and “everyday” cycling, including cycling for amputees – even a love story set at my favourite race, the Aviva Women’s Tour!  If you can find more that have been published in 2016, especially books in languages other than English, please do let me know in the comments, or on twitter, and I’ll edit them in.

As always, I don’t get any financial benefit from sharing these books, BUT if you buy though my Amazon Associates, I get a little cut of Amazon’s costs (don’t worry, this doesn’t affect the writers’ royalties, it just helps me).

Like last year, I’m going to start with a giveaway, courtesy of Microcosm Publishing.  They sent me a copy of Pedal, Stretch, Breathe: The Yoga of Bicycling, by Kelli Refer, which was published in 2013, and if you’d like this book leave me a message below or tweet me at @_pigeons_, telling me you want it, and I’ll pull a name out of a hat for whoever gets the free copy on Friday 25th November.  There’s another giveaway later in the post, too….

If you don’t win it, it can also be bought directly from Microcosm, and if you browse around the bike section of their catalogue, you’ll find all sorts of other books about bikes by other authors, as well as a whole section of bike zines.  So what else have Microcosm published this year?  All their books can be bought from their site in paperbacks, e-books and more – click through the title link for that, author interviews, little videos about the books and more.

screen-shot-2016-11-15-at-18-47-45The Velocipede Races by Emily June Street (Microcosm Publishing, ISBN 978-1-62106-058-1)

I am always delighted by the different genres Microcosm link bikes to – so a Young Adult Feminist Steampunk novel was always going to make me smile.   Here’s how they describe it:

“Emmeline Escot knows that she was born to ride in Seren’s cutthroat velocipede races. The only problem: She’s female in a world where women lead tightly laced lives. Emmeline watches her twin brother gain success as a professional racing jockey while her own life grows increasingly narrow. Ever more stifled by rules, corsets, and her upcoming marriage of convenience to a brusque stranger, Emmy rebels—with stunning consequences. Can her dream to race survive scandal, scrutiny, and heartbreak?”

Order from my Amazon Associates linkUpdate!  Feargal McKay’s review on Podium Café.

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Inspiration and aspiration – Emily Chappell and Lee Craigie on The Adventure Syndicate

Podcast interview logoI’m really excited about this brand new cycling-and-women project, The Adventure Syndicate, that brings together nine amazing women who have incredible adventures on (and off) the bike, to share their stories, and inspire other women (and men too) to have their own cycling experiences too.  I interviewed two of the Syndicate members about it – cycle courier, solo round-the-world-ish cyclist, and author Emily Chappell, and Scottish cross country MTB star and Cycletherapy founder Lee Craigie.  They told me how it came about, who else is involved, and where they want to take it all in the future – including how everyday cyclists can get involved in their North Coast 500, and hang out with them in Inverness on the weekend of 16th May.

 

 

This is just the start, so make sure you bookmark The Adventure Syndicate website, and follow them on twitter, instagram and facebook. There’s more information about each of the Syndicate cyclists here, including links to their personal sites.

You can find Lee at her website and on twitter, and learn more about the Cycletherapy Project.

Emily is on her twitter and website – and if you missed my interview with her about her excellent book, What Goes Around, the audio is here, and a partial transcript is on Podium Café.

Emily wrote about the North Coast 500 here – and you can follow them on the Adventure Syndicate media – and join them en route, as well as before and after in the Velocity Café in Inverness, on 14th and 17th May.  Emily’s post about riding up Mont Ventoux is here.

Emily and Lee talked about Findra, the Scottish cycling clothing company for women (which men are wearing too!) – and here’s that snowboarder being chased by a bear…

Big, big thanks to my Patreon supporters, who fund me to do interviews and lots more women’s cycling work – you can join them from as little as #/€/$ 2 a month over here.