One of my favourite parts about the entire pattern development process is working with our athlete models. I decided early on in the life of FehrTrade Patterns that a) I didn’t want it to just be me modelling our patterns all the time, and b) I didn’t want to use traditional models, as I’d seen way too many covers of Runners World with the same waif blonde doing that awful “fake running” pose! I know so many incredibly inspiring women and men in the fitness world that it’s only right to share them all with you, too.
I honestly couldn’t have picked a better athlete model for the cycling bib shorts vew of our Rouleur Leggings. Jenni is the founder and director of London Bike Kitchen, a non-profit bike workshop space here in London. James and I have both taken classes at LBK (his were more advanced, but my “Intro to Bike Maintenance” class was PERFECT for me!), offering the chance to learn about stuff like indexing gears or caring for your brakes, or everything you need to know if you want to go bike touring!
They said it best on their website:
We believe that the bicycle is a vehicle for change. We believe the bicycle has the power to transform lives. It provides economic, social and environmental benefits. The bicycle brings freedom, health, education, and fun to every day life – we want the bicycle to be the chosen mode of transport in London and the world.
They also host events, like regular meetups for women and gender non-variant people who like bikes, and another for women of colour, too. Plus you can use the space like a drop-in workspace and make use of their extensive tool library (and that fancy bio-reactor cleaning machine that eats grease off your filthy chain that I don’t quite fully understand!). Oh! And they’ve got a saddle library, too, so you can actually go and get your sit-bones measured and then borrow a saddle to ride around on for a while to figure out if it’s going to feel heavenly on your nethers or result in the dreaded “flap mash” (a term I learned from LBK’s hilarious monthly newsletter!)!
Jenni is also a huge advocate for safer, saner cycling in London, too, doing talks all over the place and co-hosting the hilarious and thoroughly educational Wheel Suckers Podcast, too. In a recent episode I learned that Jenni names all her bikes (seen here is Barbarella!), and suddenly I felt like I was left missing out by never naming my steel workhorse hand-me-down bike! (Any suggestions?)
Not just all the above, but Jenni is a fellow American expat (holla!) and one of the friendliest, most giving people I’ve ever met. She is such an amazing fount of knowledge for all things bikes, and is so happy to share her knowledge and de-mystify and democratise bike maintenance. So much of the cycling world can be an insular, snobby boys club, and Jenni’s work with LBK goes a long way towards breaking that down. I mean, she even wrote a book explaining exactly how to build your own bike!
This all comes at a time, however, when LBK’s future is uncertain. They will be evicted from their current premises next year, and are currently fundraising through the sale of merchandise to help offset the costs of packing up and moving to a still-yet-uncertain space. With Christmas coming up, I can’t think of a better way to shop for that bike-mad person in your life (we all know one, right??) than a cap, water bottle, patch, or teeshirt (my personal favourite is the “Fix Shit or Cry Trying” series!).
Let’s give it up for our latest athlete model, Jenni!! 👏