Not-stergram 21-27 June 2021

So welcome to our attempt to transitioning away from Instagram. Why? you ask. It’s complicated but basically 1) Instagram isn’t a neutral platform and we felt increasingly uncomfortable about feeding it with content when it censors stuff 2) Instagram isn’t a reliable archive of our photos and thoughts – they might just delete it one day and we can’t do anything about that 3) we aren’t influencers, content creators, or a brand, so we can afford to divest from instagram as a platform. We’re still going to be around to keep up with what everyone is up to, but we’re only going to post one a week-ish, to let you all know that we’ve done a round-up. We are trying this out for July, if we hate it then we’ll try something different and y’all just have to bear with us.

We are both feeling totally burnt out from our trip down South, which had some really nice times, but also some really stressful times, and also just not being at home was hard, and trying to keep on top of work and life when we were so out of routine and there were so many demands on our time…it was just… a lot.

L: I stayed at the st pancras youth hostel whilst we were down in London – it was great cos covid regs meant I had a private room plus bathroom for super cheap and it was up on the 6th floor and I had this view of st pancreas station and the british library (which i tried and failed to get a booking slot at LOL)

L: I also got to go on one of my fave walks along the canal from kings cross to camden, at like 6am cos I was nervous about crowds etc.

L: I got to see Natasha’s show at the Cartoon Museum, which was also a delight of cartoons generally. I’ve been thinking and writing a bit about single panel or four panel comics/cartoons? on insta so this was like, very interesting, and I loved loved loved Natasha’s animations which just felt such a fluid extension of her work. Also the very relateable panel by panel on discussion on display, a comic discussion between natasha and jenny about jealousy which has also been a new emotion for me this last year! woop.

Its Pride Month! Last year we took part in pride out’s Pride Ride and really enjoyed it, but this year we didn’t feel comfortable taking part. Whilst we really value the spaces that Pride Out creates for LGBTQ cyclists, we have real concerns about the recently announced partnership between Pride Out and Trek Bikes. We believe solidarity is a fundamental part of pride and Trek Bikes has consistently demonstrated its refusal to address the ways it actively profits from selling bikes to police, which are then used as weapons against protesters – like during last years Black Lives Matter protests. This blog post, from July 2020, from cyclist and former Trek Women’s Cycling Advocate Mildred Locke, goes into further detail about their own decision to step away from Trek, and the responsibilities we all have to hold brands to account: this is the link to the blog. There’s also further information on the @defundbikepolice Instagram. We’d really like to see Pride Out address this, but so far we’ve heard nothing.

A: Lastly, a wee review of some plus size cycling gear.

A: I bought these as a birthday present for myself after really loving the bib trousers sent by machines for freedom and wanting something shorter (I much prefer wearing shorts than trousers generally). I stumbled across Primal after a long time searching on the internet and was surprised to see they had cycling gear in a size 3XL. Plus they were colourful (which a lot of plus size gear isnt…) Obviously having it listed as such didnt guarantee it would actually be 3XL, or that it would fit, but I thought it was worth a shot.

I went for the Coriolis Women’s Helix 2.0 Bibs at £140 because I thought they looked cool. When they arrived I tried them on to make sure I didn’t need to send them back and then I waited a few months till my birthday.

I definitely went up a size in those two months and am currently about a UK size 22. But these fit well and are comfortable to stretch and cycle in. The fabric is stretchy and the elastic round my thighs didn’t dig in at all. I wish the front went further up my stomach- something that the machines for freedom gear does and that I find comforting. That being said, I was not uncomfortable! The chamois is not as thick as the machines for freedom and doesn’t fit the body as well, but MforF spent a lot of time getting this stuff right, and the primal gear isn’t bad (it seems really good after a first ride!), it’s just not as supremely comfortable at the MforF stuff.

Basically MforF have ruined all cycling gear for me, especially since I will never be able to afford them. But if you’re looking for cycling clothing up to a UK size 22, that is stylish, well fitting and not insanely pricey, then Primal would be a good place to look. Also, their cheapest bib shorts are £75 and cheapest jersey (on sale) £25, which seems pretty competitive. They’re also a UK based company, so good for saving on customs fees and shipping etc. And I think I look pretty forkin cute!