Alice Vincent | Journalist
“When I’m on my bike, it gives me quiet, distraction-free mind space. It’s where I do my thinking.”
One of the few entirely digital journalists in The Telegraph, Alice Vincent is currently Entertainment Writer. She can often be found reporting from music and literature festivals, covering entertainment news and reporting features about film, music, books and art. Alice uses her daily cycle commute to enjoy some distraction-free mind space ahead of her busy day.
Michaux Club: Tell us some of the contributing factors that have inspired you to become a journalist and entertainment writer?
Alice Vincent: I spent my teenage years devouring copies of the NME and I always liked writing and storytelling so it sort of made sense really. There was never really anything else I wanted to do but find things out and write about them; I’m inherently quite nosy, which helps!
MX: What are the key subjects and observations which inspire you most as a journalist?
AV: I always feel so privileged to be privy to the working minds of very creative and talented people – that is always fascinating. But I love a good story too – there’s a lot of really weird and interesting things happening in the world. On the flipside, I think it’s really important to point out inequality; whether that’s gender, race or disability based. Too often the stats are overlooked – I don’t think I’ll ever tire of pointing it out until things are more balanced.
MX: The American suffragette Susan B Anthony said in 1896, “[The bicycle] has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. It gives a woman a feeling of freedom and self-reliance..” How do you feel cycling has changed you as an individual and the surroundings you interact with culturally and personally?
AV: Freedom is the word. On a personal level, I really struggled living in London for the first four months before I got a bike here. The minute I started to navigate the city on two wheels I felt part of it. I love that I know its backstreets and how to get from one end to the other without looking at a map, I felt free – and completely in love with the city. I have become more aware of cycling safety and environmental concerns in London as a result. But mainly, when I’m on my bike, it gives me quiet, distraction-free mind space. It’s where I do my thinking.
MX: As a female cyclist in 2014 how do you feel women are represented on the roads today?
AV: Poorly, unfortunately. I feel like women on bikes have to fit into two camps: the twee, weekend peddler and the Lycra-clad commuter. The majority of people I share my cycle commute with are men, and it makes it a more aggressive environment. Women need greater accommodation in all aspects of cycling: from the range of bikes and accessories on offer to greater acceptance in bike shops and on the road. We cycle differently, and that should be respected, not criticised.
MX: Tell us about your cycle commute to work, how often you do it, how far it is, and why you enjoy it.
AV: I try to ride in every day. It’s tiny now, just 3.6 miles from Camberwell to Victoria, which takes me about 18 minutes. I used to have a full 45 minute ride from Hackney and in some ways I miss that great adventure. I love it, it wakes me up, it allows me to breathe. A bit of fresh air in the morning.
MX: How do you integrate cyclestyle into your everyday wardrobe and what key pieces do you find work best for cycling?
AV: I rarely cycle in my work wear – it’s not that I’m overly smart, but tailoring just doesn’t look great after it’s been on a bike! For my commute I wear leggings and a retro-style running jacket, both from Nike, which I love for their colours and design. Otherwise I cycle in skinny trousers and always a lightweight sports jacket; in winter I wear one from Vulpine which is tailored but incredibly waterproof. I always swap my heels for my Nike Flyknit trainers, which are super light.
MX: What is your favourite bag from the Michaux range and why? Tell us a bit about how you use it, where you go with it and what you carry in it?
AV: I love the Shadow saddle bag, which can clip onto my saddle but I usually wear it as a rucksack. I actually wear it out most, in clubs and bars, although it’s perfect for casual daywear too. I like it because it’s compact, but roomy, and never fails to elicit compliments from strangers! I also got caught in a hailstorm wearing it on the Northumbrian coastline, and I think it held up better than I did!
Keep up with Alice at The Telegraph Online here.