Jude Brosnan | Journalist
I cycle through Hyde Park and see horses. You don’t see horses on the tube.
Cycling up to 30 miles daily on her Mexican-wrestler themed ‘Mexibike’ Jude Brosnan seamlessly combines her love for cycling and creative writing by blogging for various cycling editorials, as well as for the Time Out London blog. We speak to Jude to learn more about her creative adventures on and off her bike.
MX: You write for your cycling blog Ispeakbike, as well as for various other cycling related editorials such as Cycle Chic and Boneshaker. How long have you been blogging about bikes and how do you combine this with your other work?
JB: I can’t remember a time when I didn’t write about bikes. I’m a journalist so my work might differ day to day but cycling to everything remains constant so I always have something to write about. Cycling keeps me motivated, I always see things that inspire me. Einstein came up with the theory of relativity on his bike. Yesterday I made up a song about sweary taxi drivers. Basically the same thing.
MX: What inspired you to start your cycling blog Ispeak Bike?
JB: I was doing an MA in creative writing specialising in modern urban narratives of the city. My thesis was on mapping ghost bikes in London. I started the blog as a way to document my bike related research. It sort of stayed and evolved. I want to show everyone that you don’t have to go nuts on Lycra if you don’t want to, you can be a serious cyclist and still look like yourself.
MX: You recently starred as Eileen Sheridan ‘one of the greatest women riders’ in a documentary film about life on her bicycle. Tell us how you landed this role?
JB: It was sheer coincidence. The director needed someone who could ride a vintage racer all day in the freezing cold and my name came up. To turn me into Eileen took over 100 kirby grips. She lives around the corner from where I went to school. I probably cycled past her. We met just after filming and really hit it off.
MX: How has Eileen inspired you as a cyclist in today’s cycling standards?
JB: She was a pioneer in a time where there wasn’t all the bike paraphernalia we have today. I told her I wished she had worn a cap or helmet back in the day because my head was freezing during filming. She loves all the gear that is available today. It goes to show you don’t need anything but passion and determination.
MX: As a female cyclist how do you feel women are represented on the roads today compared to the 1950’s when Eileen was queen of the road?
JB: I think I see just as many women next to me at the traffic lights as men. I’ve always cycled, I used to cycle to school so it’s second nature to me.
MX: Tell us about your cycle commute to work, how often do you do it, how far is it, and why you enjoy it.
JB: I live way out west so everywhere is a good 10 miles away. If I just cycled to work and back it would be 26 miles but I always end up adding extra mileage to that. All my friends cycle so if it’s someone’s birthday we’ll put on party hats charge up our speakers and ride somewhere far.
I love my city and never get bored of cycling around it. It’s constantly changing and I notice new things everyday. I cycle through Hyde Park and see horses. You don’t see horses on the tube.
MX: How do you integrate cyclestyle into your everyday wardrobe and what key pieces do you find work best for cycling?
JB: I don’t have a separate cycling wardrobe, I cycled to Paris is jeans. I have a few tricks like always carrying a safety pin to make skirts into culottes so I don’t show London my pants and layering up because I get really cold. I carry a spare pair of everything. The other day I got so soaked I had to change my watch.
MX: You have a tandem, who do you ride with?
JB: I ride tandem mostly for fun with my sister as stoker. We have taken our Christmas tree home on it and have cycled it from London to Brighton a few times and nailed every hill. It’s our family Volvo and night bus rolled into one. I’m involved with Charlotte’s Tandems which organise tandems for visually impared and disable people. I cycle with a visually impared lady. We ride around parks and don’t stop talking.
MX: Your bike has a definite Mexican theme. What is that all about?
JB: In the past few years I’ve done a few stints in Mexico City. I love cycling around that city too and did some stuff with Ecobici, the Mexican version of Boris bikes. Cycle culture is rapidly growing over there. They close this main road every Sunday so families can cycle around traffic free and there are lots of bike groups that meet up and go on rides including the bicitekas. I did a little project on bikes and VW Beetles that is on display in Look Mum No Hands.
I got this bike soon after I returned to London, I always personalise my bikes so it was only fitting that this one was decorated in homage to all things Mexican. I call it my Mexibike.
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?
JB: Living up to my name I tend to carry the world upon my shoulders so I love the lightning rucksack. I might have a wet suit, a laptop, a dance costume, running kit or eight changes of clothes with me so I need a bag that fits a lot inside and is comfortable to wear.
You can follow Jude on her blog ISpeakBike here.
Photography of our MICHAUX WOMAN series by Rosie Holtom www.rosieholtom.tv