Cycling and walking

About me

I decided to interview myself - ! -as that somehow seemed the easiest way of telling readers about me.


Q "Why is your blog called "What this bike needs...."?
A Because I love the books by Quentin Blake about Mrs Armitage, e.g. "Mrs Armitage on Wheels" which I used to read to my children. I feel a bit like her. And I really do look at my bike sometimes and think "Hmmmmm, what this bike needs......".

Q Name?
A Yes I've got one, it's Elizabeth but most people call me Lizzie. 

Q How old are you?
A Ooh, maybe a teensy weeny bit past 60.

Q Marital status?
A Married, with 4 adult children and two grandchildren.

Q Where do you live?
A In a tiny hamlet in Oxfordshire, in the house we lived in when we first got married. We moved back here last year after 32 years in our old house. I still miss it at times but don't regret moving.

Q Do you go “out” to work?
A No I don't. A few years ago I had to go “out” and find jobs because money was so tight but I found it extremely hard doing this after 25 years at home bringing up our children. For a period of a few years I had a variety of very part-time jobs, the last one being in a health food shop. I have to admit I hated most of them, though not all of them all of the time! At present I earn a little money doing sewing for people – anything from darning to quite major alterations. 

Q What are you going to blog about and why?
A Over the last 2 or 3 years I have found a wealth of information on blogs which has answered the many queries I have with regard to sewing and cycling and all things frugal. After a while I began to feel that I too would love to be able to share with people things that I was learning and doing. Hopefully I've got something useful to offer! Here's a bit about -

Sewing – I have done this since I was a young child. My generation all learnt to sew. I did
'O' - Level needlework at school, and sewed a lot at home too, and made a lot of my own clothes. My first wearable garment was a blouse I made at 15 – I can still remember buying the blue flowery cotton fabric to make it. I still like making my own clothes, but also love making bags, mainly from previously used fabrics. I have also taught myself how to do alterations. I love mending things too. About 3 years ago I developed an interest in older sewing machines, particularly vintage Singers, and taught myself quite a bit about refurbishing them.

Cycling – again I have always cycled, or at least since I got my first bike age 6 (with stabilisers). I have scars on one knee from when I fell off it onto the foundations of our garage that was being built at the time! But it is only in the last 6 years or so that I have done more of it. I got a new lighter aluminium bike in 2014 and started doing longer rides, but had to admit I didn't like this bike after all. I got a lot of shoulder pain from the riding position, and also found that I could feel every bump in the road. Then I found out more about different types of bikes – in particular touring bikes. I went back to my old steel one (a mixte Trek, which fortunately I had hung on to) and found I liked it a lot better than the new one – which I sold.
I even realized for the first time that this older Trek had eyelets for a front rack on it.....so I thought “This bike was made for touring.....”. And I am very keen to do some – not round the world though, as many women have done. This country will do me. The idea of just getting on a bike and being able to pedal off somewhere different, a bit further than your feet can get you in the same time, in the fresh air, for very little cost, is very appealing to me!

Q Other hobbies?
A All things creative! I have had a go at weaving on a peg loom, lucetting, crochet, kumihomo, making braid rugs, painting old furniture and decoupage.  I also love walking, and the outdoors generally. Ever since I can remember I have also had a very keen interest in the environment and man's effect on it – as a teenager I can remember walking down the street in the town where I was brought up and hating the pollution that cars created. Unnecessary use of cars has always made me angry.

I love reading and have always got a book (or two....) on the go. I read the Bible and any books that help me understand it better, in particular David Pawson's “Unlocking the Bible”. I find myself going to the non-fiction shelves in the library much more these days – favourites lately in particular have been travel books by cyclists.

Q Anything else that describes you?
A Someone who is interested in all sorts of things and finds all sorts of things interesting! A fan of Radio 4 - it's on a lot when I am at home.