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Interview with Bicycle Style Connoisseur Joyce Watts - CycleStyle Owner and a ByK Mum

We had the great pleasure of interviewing Joyce Watts, mum of 2 kids and owner of CycleStyle - (www.cyclestyle.com.au), about life with bikes. Joyce wasn't a natural bicycle rider as a child, but her time spent living in Europe opened her eyes to the ease and joy of urban riding.

Riding a bike is now a part of her everyday and it has become a passion. She sells great urban cycling gear online and blogs about life in the saddle and life with kids.

What do you do?
I was a corporate lawyer but my passion for urban cycling and trying to find practical and beautiful cycling accessories encouraged me to start my online store, CycleStyle. And since having kids, I have moved out of the corporate sphere completely.

CycleStyle stocks some really great urban cycling accessories that can't be found anywhere else in Australia - how did you come across these?
I lived in London for a while and got a glimpse of the European cycling culture.

Urban transport is so different in Europe - so much more a part of everyday life - and as a result, there's a bigger market for accessories to make that urban commute more practical and stylish.

Coming home to Australia I just couldn't find some of the products I had seen in Europe so I decided to source them myself.

cyclestyle-3-year_old_girl_and_her_balance_bikeHow many children do you have?
Two kids - a one-year old and three-year old.

What do you do in your spare time (pre-kids and post-kids!)
I love to cook and travel. I write a couple of blogs called MEL: HOT OR NOT - The decisive guide to Melbourne and TOT: HOT OR NOT - The decisive guide to parenting...we think. MEL: HOT OR NOT (www.melhotornot.com) reviews restaurants, cafes, bars, shops, events and culture in Melbourne and regional Victoria. TOT: HOT OR NOT (www.tothotornot.com) reviews family-friendly products, services, events, activities, dining out and recipes with a strong focus on Melbourne and regional Victoria.

How many bikes live at your house?
5. We recently moved and had a big cleanout so we let go of 3 bikes. And I'm lucky in that because I own a bike store I can borrow bikes from my suppliers pretty much any time I like!

What bikes do your kids own?
The ByK E-200L but we are soon getting a bike with pedals for our 3 year old girl.

How do you and your kids use your bikes in daily life?
We mostly use our family cargo bike - for shopping, commuting to daycare, going to the Melbourne Museum, the Gallery, into the City.

Where's your favourite family ride?
We love riding our cargobike to Edinburgh Gardens (https://goo.gl/maps/u3qmL) - it has wide, flat paths and a great playground for the kids and we often picnic there.

We also love to ride the Capital City Trail from North Fitzroy to Brunswick (http://www.bikely.com/maps/bike-path/Capital-city) - we can stop at playgrounds, visit one of our favourite cafes, St Ali North and go to Melbourne Zoo.

cyclestyle_joyce_wattsWhat bike do you ride yourself and how often do you ride?
Right now I ride a Lekker and I ride it when I'm going out somewhere and not taking the kids with me - at least once a week.

When I lived in London I had a Diamondback Hybrid and I loved it. It was a 'bitsa' bike made up of all different components and it had become a part of my life so I shipped it back to Australia with me! I have since let that bike go but gave it to Asylum Seekers Resource Centre as they're always looking for bikes to help asylum seekers access a cheap mode of transport.

What bike gear could you not live without?
My Kitsch Kitchen oilcloth panniers, because I use my bike to haul loads of stuff like groceries and camera gear. And a bicycle skirt-guard has come in handy on many occasions.

I learnt my lesson years ago by wearing a chiffon evening dress on my bicycle - it got caught in the wheels so had to cut it off at the bottom!

Skirt_guardWhat's your most endearing memory of riding bikes as a kid?
I remember riding a tricycle as a very little girl, and then my Dad taught me to ride a bike at about age 7. I also remember having a BMX for a little while but didn't particularly love riding a bike. Then I fell off when I was about 11 and didn't get back on again until I was in my mid-twenties. I was living in South Yarra and would walk along the river to get to work. It took about 50 minutes and everyone on bicycles would pass me, obviously going faster. This got me thinking that maybe I should try bikes again and pretty soon I got given a bicycle for my birthday. I got on it straight away and from there my love of the bike and urban cycling has grown.

What teaching tips do you have for mums and dads helping teach their kids to ride?
Use a Balance Bike! It will simply be more fun and they will learn balance and gain confidence that will just be innate when they get onto a bike with pedals.

What one piece of advice would you give to other parents who want to get their kids started in riding bikes?
Model your behaviour - if they see you riding bikes, they will be naturally inclined to do so and love it just as you do. For our family riding bikes is simply a normal part of life.

cyclestyle_logoLinks: (oh so many!)