Friday, 13 July 2012

Cartographers know where it's at// Map Top 10

  I've always had a thing for maps. When I was a kid I used to LOVE the maps in parks that said 'You are here'. There is probably some psychological blurb that says I'm trying to find my place in the world or something. I have been doing a lot of work recently on mapping London, I think they capture a moment in time like an x-ray and are strangely beautiful.
I spotted this map covered bike in Greenwich being shielded by a little spokey dokey wearing number.

As a cyclist you soon learn to navigate your way around the city and I've even had Taxi drivers ask me for directions.  I'm an old school kind of girl, I shun GPS and following the blue dot. If I don't know where I'm going, I look it up on an old fashioned A-Z before I go out. Any excuse to stare at a bit of map porn. Talking of which here are some of my favourite map type things:

1. Carven Map Print Silk Shirt Dress available at

I so love this dress but I love the kidney I would have to sell to buy it even more.

2. Crumpled City Map. Available at Waterstones £8.50.
When asked in interviews 'What is your weakness?' The number one answer is 'I can't fold maps'. FACT. This map just crumples right up. It's my absolute favourite thing ever. It's lightweight and100% waterproof. I use it for sitting on when chilling out in parks and for drying my saddle in the rain.

3. London Map Tee by Tee And Cake available at Topshop £25.
Do Topshop know how cyclist friendly this top is? With its longer back, people behind you won't have to see your pants.

4. Jezebel Charms London Map Bracelet available at British Library Online Shop £30.
Cyclists like to tell people how far they cycle. Who? Me? Um, about 35 miles a day. People never ask. I want this so I can say 'Oh, this bracelet? It shows Kew to Greenwich, but I cycle WAY further than that', as I press my wrist up against their eyes.

5. Future Map Pink London available at Heals from £45.
 I love those big maps of London you see in cab ranks. Recreate this look at home with a  1.3m x 1m, detailed, street-level map. Roads are coloured to highlight signed cycling routes, quieter routes (recommended by other cyclists), greenways through parks and canals and off-carriageway alternatives to busy roads.

6. Writing London Map by Herb Lester £3.
Have you met these guys? They are great, I want to be them. Herb Lester Associates publish beautifully illustrated guides for tourists and locals: witty, pretty, curious and opinionated. If you are bookish like me get their Writing London map which is a whistle stop tour of interesting literary facts. I'm going to cycle it the second I've handed in my dissertation (providing I don't pull my usual all nighter stresscapade of running out of printer ink and cycling in at 9.58 with a post it note apologising that it's all in magenta).

7. Create Your Own London Map available at John Lewis £12.95 
 I can fullfill a third of my childhood dream of being a Cartographer/ Mermaid/ Ghostbuster with this 'Create Your Own' map. Hours of fun. HOURS.

8. Foska A to Z Cycling Jersey. Available at Foska £48.95 
I can't stress enough how much I hate this kind of thing. However, I do see this Forza A to Z jersey on loads of MAMILs everyday so thought I'd better add it. I don't know, maybe if I got close enough to one it would be helpful if I was lost. Still, until I can see less ass, I'll keep my distance.

9. Scratch Map UK & Ireland. Available at Pedlars £15.95

I'm planning on cycling around Great Britain. I said that in a fit of rage when a friend teased me for never leaving London unless via Heathrow Airport. Hopefully coins will still exist by the time I get around to this epic cycle I speak of as I'll never be up for ruining my nails by scratching the hell out of one of these maps.Scratch off the foil surface to reveal the places you have visited in vibrant colour.

10. A-Z (London 2012 Street Atlas) Available from Amazon £5.51

Least we forget.

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