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Jude Brosnan

Cycling up to 30 miles a day on her bejewelled ‘Mexibike’ (check the pics below), Jude Brosnan seamlessly combines her love for cycling and writing by contributing to various cycling publications. We were delighted to feature Jude in Boneshaker issue 15, where she wrote and photographed a feature about bikes and VW Beetles in Mexico City. Here Rachel Bonney from michaux.cc speaks to Jude about her creative adventures on and off her bike.

JudeBrosnan Portrait Closeup2

You write for your cycling blog Ispeakbike, as well as for various other cycling related editorials such as Boneshaker. How long have you been blogging about bikes and how do you combine this with your other work?
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.

What inspired you to start your cycling blog Ispeak bike?
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.

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?
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.

JudeBrosnan Boneshaker

How has Eileen inspired you as a cyclist in today’s cycling standards?
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.

As a female cyclist how do you feel women are represented on the roads today compared to the 1950s when Eileen was queen of the road?
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.

Tell us about your cycle commute to work – how often do you do it, how far is it, and why you enjoy it?
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.

JudeBrosnan Michaux Handlebartape

How do you integrate cycle style into your everyday wardrobe and what key pieces do you find work best for cycling?
I don’t have a separate cycling wardrobe; I cycled to Paris in 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.

You have a tandem, who do you ride with?
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, who organise tandems for visually impaired and disabled people. I cycle with a visually impaired lady. We ride around parks and don’t stop talking.

Your bike has a definite Mexican theme. What is that all about?
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 (and featured in Boneshaker issue 15). 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.

Jude Brosnan is a brand ambassador for cycling accessories company Michaux. Read more interviews with inspirational female cyclists in the #michauxwoman series on michaux.cc

You can follow Jude on her blog ISpeakBike

Photos of Jude courtesy of Rosie Holtom


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