51) Fashion, and me on a bike.

“It’s loud and it’s tasteless” Fashion – David Bowie, singer and molester of underaged groupies.

Hi there girls and boys, I hope you’re well.

I own two pairs of cowboy boots. One pair was a gift from Ellie, sent from Texas when she was working there. She saw them and thought of me she says, although we don’t often need cowboys or girls here in Tynemouth. They aren’t over the top but have enough style and patterns that people sometimes comment when I wear them with jeans, as I love a boots and jeans combo. They’ve a bit of a heel so my 5’11 can be 6’1. They feel very comfy and on a motorbike can look good, but for everyday use they are perhaps a tad too embellished. Is wearing them fashionable? I can never tell what’s in or out.

I browse Reddit every now and again, and it like most platforms has ads. One of these is for a company’s app which promotes itself as a self styled arbiter of fashion that apparently tells men what looks good on them in five minutes. I would argue that anybody can do it in five seconds, and for free….but that would be from my eyes. These people, that have never met you, are going to tell you what to wear…? I don’t think so. An app that does it for you? If they think you can’t come up with your own style, are they telling you that an app will? The same as apps that come up with a nickname for you, just …why?

I keep hearing that 70’s flares are coming back but have yet to see any. Perhaps in the trendier parts of London there may be one person that is strutting their stuff in pants that have all the allure of a dead fish, but here in the north we are made of stuff not so easily led. I’ve attended 70’s styled fancy dress parties in flares. They are fucking dreadful, apart from the ease with which they show off your bum. A good or bad thing?

I look in horror at images of me that others have and will not delete or shred, cheers ladies, in which I have the non-existent dress sense of the early 2000’s. But that’s what everybody wore, the hairstyles etc. I suppose when anyone looks back, that’s what they say. There is an image of us at 15, Ellie, Abby, myself, Kate, Rebecca, Jessica, Pari and Beth. We are in Newcastle, sitting on the grass outside of the civic centre. Our clothes are terrible. Shellsuits, stone washed denim, big jewellery, Madonna inspired big hair.. christ. It sits on my kitchen wall, a poster-sized reminder that nothing stays the same. I travelled to India a few years back, and included a visit to see Pari on that trip. While I was ecstatic to see her after five years, I was saddened to see that the exact same image, amongst other pics of that time, was on her wall as well. It can’t be escaped! The situation worsened at uni, as we encountered people from all over the world with their own sense of what looked good. I was a mess.

Watching the BBC news this morning, there was an article on whether people would pay more if they thought their clothes were produced in an ethical manner. “Yes” has to be the answer, but in the back of my mind there is the nagging doubt that the extra paid would go to the six year old in Taiwan, but rather straight into the clothing retailer’s pocket. The same article told me that renting clothes, at least for the fashion conscious, is a growing trend. You wear a dress three times, then send it back. But then who wears it? These things, if you again believe the arbiters, have a season so surely no right minded fashionista would be seen dead wearing a blouse that is a day out of date?

I have t-shirts that are over ten years old. I wouldn’t go to the shop in them, but they do for lounging around the house or attending to my plant-pots. The clothes that have been rented go where? The amount I spend on clothes isn’t much. I work in charity shops and see some clothing that is new, tagged, so nab a bit every now and again. The best one was a short leather jacket, some brand or other, and it fit me like a glove. I wore it twice only, the second time being in Leeds where it was stolen from the bench I was sitting on. I hope the thief got some use from it. Then fell down a well. I’d much rather shop in Primark, and those of you that follow the blog may know why, than say a boutique down a side street in Durham. Yes, the more expensive item may look more upmarket, to those that are allegedly in the know, but who looks at what somebody is wearing? A while back there was a fashion to wear a tshirt that said TOKYO 8 on the front. These were everywhere, but I didn’t see people stopping in the street to point out and laugh at two wearers of the same thing.

None of my t-shirts have any branding, apart from the Arena stuff, or the dreaded random words thing on them. You see “San Francisco Wave Riders Original Wear”, or “Harbour Patrol Captain”, or “Kylie Minogue Close Protection Squad”(in my mind) or similar imaginary logos.. why?

On the occasions when I’m invited to a red carpet or other posh charity do, yes, I dress up, but I rarely go and buy a whole new outfit. If somebody sees me in a LBD from two years ago, so what? There is only so much you can do with a dress, unless you go down the route of the never ever worn creations you see at London fashion week, or other places where designers have made something from bin-bags, fishing nets or the contents of their bathroom. Toilet-roll leggings, anyone?

Wear what you want, when you want.

I spend a good while on a bike in an average week. For rainy afternoons there is a static bike in my basement. It’s not one of those mega expensive Peloton machines you see on the ads, if I want a gymbunny shouting at me I can have that for free at work, but a more modest version. The other bike I use at the moment is a bog standard mountain bike, nothing flash, and all I use it for it a short ten minute ride to go from Durham station to work and back. I also use the stationary bikes at the gym, when the guardians are otherwise engaged kissing their biceps..

You can pay silly money for a bike. Ten thousand, anyone? My needs are somewhat lesser, but I’m going for a higher spec than the one I currently own. Mountain bike or a road bike? I do a little bit of camping so a mountain bike would be good for off road, but they can be heavy. After a look about on Youtube and the excellent GCN, as well as taking a walk down to the end of the c2c and asking actual cyclists, I’ve discovered gravel bikes, basically a road bike with wider and grippier tyres. A fully specced carbon fibre road bike is another beast altogether from what I’m using and as I’ve absolutely no plans to become a weekend professional, not required.

I took a trip online to see what was available, and my my, silly prices abound! After a few tests thanks to https://www.edinburghbicycle.com in Byker, I settled on this gorgeous thing. And it’s in PINK!


I was amused to find out that proper cyclists don’t wear underwear. I’ve mentioned this strange phenomena previously, commando-liking daredevils. No underwear.. I mean.. no underwear? But I understand that while cycling, underwear can cause chafing and I don’t want a chafe there! Proper cycling shorts have padding and judging by the saddle on this they’ll need it. Having tried on the cycling gear, it leaves little to the imagination. I’m swapping out my comfier saddle from the mountain bike so to avoid being cut in half. Somebody pointed out the lack of mudguards but I’ve a pair on order, a clip on set.. not having any manky spray on my back, thanks!

The next day.

I was so excited about this arriving that I couldn’t sleep! The van pulled up, the bike was set up for my height etc. Off for a quick pedal to Whitley and back, should take no more than ten minutes. Six hours later and I returned, having gone up to Blyth. The thing is so smooth! I’m a tad sore but hey, feel great.

I wont say that the outfit was good looking but it does show off the curves in shop windows.. you vain bitch.

As ever, thanks for reading


In the bath

24 July, 2021


2 thoughts on “51) Fashion, and me on a bike.”

  1. Well these days I’m sporting an eye patch and a black shirt with parrots on it so I’ve got the fashion thing licked! *LOL* At my age style is truly a matter of wear-what-you-want-and-thumb-your-nose-at-the-world. Or indeed salute it otherwise.
    I miss being able to ride a bike though. I had one of the first 10 speeds ever made way back. I used to go places on it. Keep on bikin’, and enjoy life.


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