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April showers: how to cycle safely in the rain

After a long, dark winter, spring has finally arrived, which means much more opportunity for getting out and about on our trusty bicycles. However, whilst we will be experiencing lighter evenings and warmer temperatures, April is notorious for having changeable weather and plenty of showers. Read on for our top tips on cycling safely in the rain.
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Sawako Q&A: Melissa from Holland Bikes

Bonjour! Bienvenue to Sawako Q&As. 

 

Today's guest is lovely Melissa from Holland Bikes in Paris.  

Holland Bike has been working with us a several years now as our distributor in France, spreading Sawako products all over France, partnering with a number of local bike shops along the way. 

For instance, Sawako's exciting appearance at Bon Marche in Paris a few years ago was their work. 

 

This friendly shop is now offering bike tours in several locations. Visit their shop when you are in France next time!

Now let's find out Melissa's cycling style.

Melissa from holland bikes French retailer

 

What kind of cyclist are you? Sporty/commuter/weekend/beginner etc.

I ride my bike every single day, to get around, to go to work etc…but for me my bike isn’t a sport, it’s a way of getting around.

 

Which lifestyle brands are you following at the moment?

I like the French brand Sezane for its style. Concerning bikes, in addition to Sawako, I follow the brand Basil which offers nice and practical bike accessories.

sezane

 

Tell us about your business and why you started it. What are your core values?

We sell, repair and rent real Dutch Bikes in France. Our core value is to share the Dutch way of life an introduce it to the French market.  We wish to inspire people to use their bikes instead of public transport or cars.

 

Besides your business, what is your passion?

I love travelling and discovering the nature that the world has to offer us. I usually manage to integrate my passion for bikes into my passion of travelling.

 

As a woman in a male dominated industry, what is your role in inspiring other women to cycle?

Although the industry is dominated by men, I don’t think that biking is dominated by men. We try to choose bikes and accessories that can be practical and trendy in order to respond to female buyers.

 

What would you say is the difference between cycle chic and cycle geek?

For me cycle chic is about fashion. Cycle chic is when you have classy accessories to match your bike.

Cycle geek on another hand is more practical. It is more about the technology to use on your bike and the connected accessories that you can add.

 

Where’s your favourite place to pedal?

My favorite place is in Nice, my hometown.

Nice France

 

What was your first bike?

My first real bike was an Old Dutch from the Dutch brand Batavus.


Black croc, leopard or glitter?

My favorite one is the Leo !

Melissa with leopard helmet

 If you could cycle anywhere in the world where would it be?

Ocean road, Melbourne, Australia.

 

Tell us your secret cycling style tip.

I like to change accessories quite often on my bike. When I change one item, like my bell for example, I make sure that all my accessories match.

 

For almost each season I have a display of accessories. Here were my accessories last few months : 

 

Autumn : the collection Black Katharina from Basil (bag+ saddle cover) + Sawako Madison Black 

basil and sawako autumn look

melissa from holland bikes france

Winter : the collection Sawako Leo (helmet + bell) + the blue bag Basil Portland business women 

 basil and sawako winter

Spring/Summer : the collection Indigo Boheme from Basil (bag/bell/saddle cover) + the helmet Sawako Furuno Leo

 

What's on your cycling soundtrack?

It depends on my mood but for sure you will find the song Train from Thylacine.

 

Thank you, Melissa!

HOLLAND BIKES
www.hollandbikes.com

4 fois vainqueur du Grand Prix des Vélos de Ville
Adresse : 24, Rue Firmin Gillot,  75015 Paris, France

Tel : 01 48 42 11 11

 

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Three gorgeous hairstyles you can wear under your helmet

Sawako helmets are the most stylish ones around and enable you to look elegant and classy whenever you're riding your bike. What our helmets can't do, however, is guarantee that you'll get to work or to a date without the dreaded 'helmet hair'. But, all is not lost, as there are some very easy-to-achieve hairstyles that will still look great when you arrive at your destination. Here are three of our favourites. 
Colourful headscarf
This look is so simple that it's almost cheating, but works incredibly effectively. It keeps your hair out of your face if it's long and keeps it under control if it's short, plus it stops your it from becoming greasy if you have a long journey. Once you arrive at your destination simply remove and voila! It's as if you've just stepped out of a salon.
SMLXL
Waterfall crown braid
If you want to tie your hair up and get it out of your face when cycling, but don't want to go for a boring old pony tail, this half up/half down do is for you. It might appear complicated but it's actually surprisingly easy to pull off and will look just as good when you remove your bike helmet as it did when you first created it. Check out this tutorial to get you started. 
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Low bun
The low bun is perfect for those low maintenance moments when you're in a hurry or you simply can't be bothered. By keeping the bun low you can easily wear your helmet, as the bun will sit at the nape of your neck and below the bottom of your helmet. It will keep your hair firmly in place and stop it flying around in the wind, whilst giving you a soft and feminine look. 
SMLXL
Need a beautiful helmet to go with your hair? Visit our shop now
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The 3 most stunning cycle routes in Ireland

Happy St Patrick's Day! We're celebrating the patron saint of beautiful Ireland the best way we know how, with a look at some of the Emerald Isle's best cycle routes. 
Wild Atlantic Way
At an impressive 2,500km long, this cycle route probably isn't one you'd do in one go, unless you're a very serious cyclist. It runs from Belfast all the way round to Cork, so if you're looking for a relaxed cycling holiday you can just choose the amount that would best suit you. The rugged landscape is absolutely stunning and you will see everything from sea life to surfers to lighthouses.
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The Kingfisher Trail
The Kingfisher cycle trail follows small country roads through the beautiful rural landscape of the border counties of Fermanagh, Leitrim, Cavan, Donegal and Monaghan, forming a 'figure of 8' shape. There is very little traffic, making it perfect for family holidays, but plenty to see, including many beautiful lakes and local flora and fauna.
SMLXL
 
Mourne Mountains 
As the name suggests, this is a very hilly route, but it will be worth it! The Mourne Mountains inspired CS Lewis to create Narnia, so you can imagine just how beautiful the landscapes are. Expect panoramic mountain views, picturesque villages and some challenging slopes for mountain bikers. 
SMLXL
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5 fab cycling tips for spring!

Though it's officially still winter, spring is definitely on its way. Warmer weather, beautiful daffodils and budding trees are definitely pointing us in the direction of the summer months. If you've avoided cycling during the winter but are ready to get back in the saddle in time for spring, we've got a few tips to make the transition back into cycling that little bit easier.
Get back into healthy eating
If you've allowed your diet to go south over winter, as many of us do, now is the time to clean it up a bit. Eating healthily will give you much more energy, plus you'll find that all that extra Christmas weight shifts much quicker if you combine eating well with cycling. Of course, you need to eat plenty when you are doing regular exercise, so make sure you have a balanced diet of carbs, protein, fibre and healthy fats.
Prepare your bike
If you haven't used your bike for a few months, it's very important that you service it yourself or take it to your local bike shop for them to look over. A bike that hasn't been used for a long time is vulnerable to damage from everything from rust to flat tyres, so giving it a service will make sure it's both safe and operating at its full potential.
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Check your helmet
As with your bike, it's really important to give your helmet a careful examination for signs of wear and tear or damage. Although it may seem unlikely that anything will have happened to it, it only takes a fall from a shelf to crack a helmet and render it unsafe. If you need a new one, we've got a fab selection of stylish ones in our shop!
Ease yourself into it
If you haven't cycled for a few months, immediately embarking on a 30-mile marathon won't do your body any favours. Go for a few shorter rides to ease back into it and get your fitness up to speed again. 
Make sure you're fully equipped
Just because it's spring, it doesn't mean you don't need to take into account weather conditions, as the temperature drops quickly when it gets dark and there's always the chance of rain. Check that your lights are still working after a winter in storage and make sure you have a suitable jacket, such as our brand new Urban Sports Jacket.
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