Meet Jools, PR & Social Media Executive at Vulpine, TV presenter and founder of Velo City Girl. Jools is a cyclist with style, a regular at events such as L’Eroica and a source of inspiration for countless soon-to-be and ex-cyclists to get back out on two wheels and enjoying their bike. She has been recognised as one of the 100 most influential women in the UK Cycling Industry by BikeBiz and is regularly featured in a host of newspapers and magazines from the Financial Times to Bicycling Magazine.
From Commuter to L’Eroica Veteran
L’Eroica exists in two parts, and Lady Velo has ridden the lot; L’Eroica Britannia and L’Eroica Gaiole. The former is held in the Peak District and the latter in the rolling terrain of Tuscany, following many of the famed white roads of the Strade Bianche. A special event in cycling, participants not only ride historical bicycles, but wear vintage gear too. An event like this suits Jools down to the ground and she rates the 2015 L’Eroica Gaiole amongst her greatest cycling memories and achievements – partly due to the significant distance, and partly due to surviving the appalling weather.
Jools is a very stylish cyclist (a very different style from many of us lycra clad roadies!) and a bridge between many ‘normal’ people and dedicated cyclists. A real ambassador for the bicycle she has inspired many men and women to get out and ride, receiving messages from individuals that haven’t ridden for years thanking her for reminding them what they love about riding. She says that ‘she’s been blogging for 6 years and is still bowled over every time [she] hears one person has started riding because of her blogging’.
The transition from Jools Walker to Lady Velo
Jools’ first bike was a Raleigh Burner, a hand-me-down BMX of her sister’s that her brother lovingly restored for her. With a vehicle of independence Jools was off to the shops, out to friends houses and out about town. As a young teenager, however, she stopped riding and just relied on public transport around London. It wasn’t until she was in her twenties, whilst working at University of East London, that she bought herself a Pashley on the cycle to work scheme and was back out on two wheels; riding, blogging and rejoicing in cycling again.
Top tips from Lady Velo for women that are new to cycling
Top 3 pieces of clothing to avoid on the bike
“Well… I wear my everyday clothing on the bike so I would say nothing really! There is common advice to avoid skirts or long flowing dresses but I’ve done the whole Tweed Run in those before and never had any problems.
Although… I have had trouble with a particularly heavy acrylic necklace before. It was windy and I managed to, rather painfully, hit myself in the face with it.
So I guess no, there isn’t any clothing I would recommend to avoid, you can ride in anything, including heels! But perhaps be wary of accessories…!”
So what is your favourite item of clothing to wear on the bike?
“Jeans, you just can’t go wrong, so convenient and comfortable. Obviously I have access to a whole range of great clothing from Vulpine, and although it might sound a little bias, I definitely recommend both the men’s and women’s Oxford button down shirt. It uses a little bit of performance tech in casual clothing, so you can keep on the same clothing on the bike and in the office without getting sweaty.”
Do you have a motto to live, and cycle, by?
“…the thing that I say to myself?
‘Think of the freedom’“