31 March 2008

Man's Urban Cycling Jacket?

My husband has asked me for an urban cycling rain-resistant jacket. Over our morning bike date we came up with the following wishlist:
  1. Color: light enough to be seen in the city, but dark enough to resist bike grime
  2. Length: short to avoid getting caught in wheels (Burburry trench coat is out)
  3. Storage: possessing a pocket at the lower back, accessed with an invisible zipper
  4. Reflectiveness: possessing French-cuff style reflective flaps at the wrist, reflective tape under the collar so it will reflect when turned-up, and a reflective flap which would come down over his backside, at car headlight level
  5. Style: finally the jacket needs to do all this and look completely normal otherwise

What are we forgetting? Any other suggestions? Stay tuned for developments and photos.

28 March 2008

Lance Armstrong to focus on bike-based commuting

Lance will shortly be opening a new bike store in Austin called Mellow Johnny's. The goal won't be selling racing bikes, though that would be logical. Rather he's looking to focus on the cultural side of cycling and get more people interested in a cycling-based lifestyle. A fun aspect of his store will be a counter where customers can sip coffee and ask questions as they watch bike mechanics at work. How fun would that be?

Lance said he'd rather encourage rookies to start riding than sell a faster bike to a veteran cyclist. I respect that, yeah Lance!

Read the article.

27 March 2008

Brooks cycling trouser cuffs

It is hard to find an attractive cycling cuff. Everything looks like you should be constructing the road, not riding on it. The only nice cuff I've found is this Brooks leather cuff for $40. It is classy, but I'm afraid I'll lose it.

26 March 2008

Capricorn - good looking hauler

Now I want to powdercoat a rack and bike to match! How very graceful it looks.

More photos on Velospace

Swarvoski crystal bike bell

Loving the crystal bike bells!

This vintage-style ding-dong bicycle bell with a universal clip simply attaches to your handbars. 200 Swarvoski crystals, each one placed on it by hand. Oooh - sparkly!

Many designs available from Etsy Seller sparkledawne, though I think the star motif is most suited to the medium.

25 March 2008

Commuter Helmets

Bell has a line of inexpensive helmets designed for commuting, called the Metro. They aren't ugly, for a helmet! (note: the visor is removable)

They say it is designed to blend with your street clothes. It is true that the softer lines look more natural for everyday.

It seems you you can attach your favorite blinkie light to the flasher strap, and it has the harness that adjusts to your head. It is vented for cooling but you can add the optional winter kit to plug the vents for comfortable cool weather riding.

They're on sale at Nashbar, models from '04, '05, and '06 in an assortment of colors. I just happen to gravitate to the blues, but there is a pretty fuschia, and a nice matte black.

I think think I need this helmet.

24 March 2008

Practical is chic: the Raleigh Twenty folding bike

For urban ladies with small apartments I offer a vintage folding option, the Raleigh Twenty. It's cute, it's small, it will fold up and fit in a closet, a balcony, a stairwell, whatever you have.

This folding bike is inexpensive (I've seen prices hovering in the $200 range) and can be made to look really sleek, or really cute.

In his completely charming way, Sheldon Brown loved his and provided a lot of useful information on maintaining Raleigh Twentys.

Chloe Sevigny's bike sure looks a lot like a Twenty.

21 March 2008

Cycling Skirts 2008

It is a fact of cycling that for a given distance it is more comfortable with the chamois found in padded shorts. I don't think there is any way around that. That said, padded shorts look ok on men, but they don't do women any favors. The visible maxi-pad look is one we've feared since middle school.

My solution has been bike shorts with a skirt over them. This can be an ordinary skirt, or one of the many reasonably cute skorts now available. Here are some options for Spring 2008:

Pearl Izumi makes a classic - I have a previous version of this skirt which has been complimented worldwide (well, in Paris and Connecticut). The fun part is the two zippers which make it sexier or more straight-laced (not that anything more is on display)

I am very interested in the yoga waistband on these shorts from REI. I think this skirt has potential and I look forward to trying it on in person.

The lightness of the fabric for these Sugoi Technifino shorts seems more wearable to me than the more obviously "sport" fabrics. Plus they're on sale! There are other options at Team Estrogen, some more or less sporty.

LLBean now sells cycling skorts! I never would have guessed that. I particularly like the Shebeast skirt.

I don't usually gravitate to the Terry products, but they are a resource.

Mixte Inspiration from eBay.fr

What I noticed on eBay France:
  • The racks are just large enough to hang something on, no larger
  • The handlebars often are slanted to mimic the slant of the split tubes, and rarely are they drop (road) handlebars
  • Mixtes are plentiful and inexpensive relative to the US, there wasn't even one singlespeed

Product Review: Carradice Bike Bureau

Both my husband and I have only positive things to say about the Carradice Bike Bureau. We've both used it for daily commuting and found it to be well planned and easy to use. I was happy to find an accurate and more complete review than I would ever write, if you're interested in learning more about this particular bag click here.

Charming split ash bike basket

Another attractive basket option (it's almost Easter, I've been excited by baskets) is this Split Ash Basket from Young's Bicycle Shop. I really like the simplicity of the design. This looks like a wooden basket which will age well.

20 March 2008

Classy Simplicity

I've been watching all the English 3 Speeds go by and been missing mine. This one here is a very classy bike.
More photos at Velospace

19 March 2008

Reward Offered for a decent looking bike helmet

I would pay a lot for a helmet that doesn't look stupid. This one isn't too bad, it would be especially pretty on someone with blue eyes (mine aren't, Ms. M I'm thinking of you for this one!). It's currently on backorder at Performance Bicycle and available at Cadence Cycle.

If anyone sees a decent looking helmet, please let me know!

18 March 2008

Gitane Mixte - fun looking commuter

  • Fenders? Check
  • Rear Rack? Check
  • Bell and Lights? Check
  • Vintage Style? Check
  • CUP HOLDER? Hell yeah! You can ride to work with your morning coffee on this one. That's foresight!

More photos at Velospace

17 March 2008

I'd rather be on a bike tour in Ireland...

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I would love to be on a bike in Ireland today, wearing wool and rolling past the cliffs, the pubs, the green green hills. I wouldn't roll past too many pubs, but no matter. You can drink lots of beer when you spend all day riding a bike. A dream for someday... maybe I'll go visit my relatives in Cork.

Erin go braugh!

Photo by Cascade Bicycle Club

Fishing creel on a bike

So clever! Why didn't I think of that? This would be so stylish on an old green Raleigh, maybe ridden by my dad...

Photo by Villisa Review

14 March 2008

Rave Review: Earbags

Earbags bicycling bikes cyclist
Please allow me to rave about my favorite winter cycling gear.

I LOVE my Swedish earbags. They are sold at many places: REI, Filene's Basement, and online. They're slim, they're warm, they stay on easily (even with my elvish mutant left ear), and they fit underneath hats and bike helmets. In the dead of a Boston winter they fit under both hat and helmet at the same time. They aren't particularly noticeable, as you can see in this photo (mine are black, but you can hardly see that). They store in my purse or my pocket without much bulk, and I'm glad to always have them with me. I'm not sure I could cycle in the winter with out them.

I look forward to the day when spring has finally arrived, but in the meantime I'm always glad to have my little earbags in my pocket.


13 March 2008

Custom commuter accessories for a Brompton

My husband rides a folding bike for his commuter. This makes finding accessories for commuting very difficult. He bought a rack-mounting Carradice bag intended for folding bikes but complained that it's boxy nature caused things to bounce around. To help with this I made him a divider which is positionable with velcro (like the interior of camera bags), and a tool roll which isn't a roll but rather shaped to fit the bag.
The first question was what he would want in his tool roll.
The intended purpose of the kit is urban riding so suggestions included:
  • spare tube
  • tire irons
  • adjustable wrench
  • phillips screw driver
  • allen wrench multi-size thingie
  • patch kit
  • pump
  • latex gloves for grimy repairs
  • pepper spray
  • knife
  • small first aid kit (alcohol pad and a little jar of liquid skin)
  • batteries
  • a clifbar (never know when you will get hungry or get a hole in your tire and need some foil)
  • zip ties
As you can see, we went with a sub-set of those suggestions for the tool kit.

Because of the shape of the bag we decided to make it a flat envelope, rather than a roll. It secures, as you can see, with black velcro. The red tabs help lift it.

Next was the divider. It is merely a piece of plastic foamboard cut to fit and enveloped in fabric which had pockets pre-applied. By adding velcro on the sides of the divider and inside the bag we are able to position it wherever he needs. Now he has a slim tool section and the rest of his bag free to bring me home more wine!

Chic Fenders - wooden or chrome

If your going to the effort of looking nice on a bike, you'll want to protect yourself with something nearly as attractive.

Wooden Fenders:
I want these wood fenders on my next bike, which may be one I'm building up for my sister. They need just the right frame to set them off...
For my dad, the Surfer Series from Full Wood Fenders would be just the thing. He'd want a surfboard rack while I'm at it. The wooden checkerboard they offer is also stunning!
For my husband's folding Brompton, I think we'll have to DIY.
And, because this blog is mostly my own shopping list, here's a site I want to revisit: Sale Fenders.

Chrome Fenders:
I think the best value in chrome fenders is offered by the Vélo Orange Fluted fenders. However for my commuter I just had to have these Honjo hammered fenders. They just look right on my bike, bringing out that silver Dawes badge. Installing them was not trivial. I recommend printing out and reading twice the official instructions and also the Velo Orange instructions. We found we needed a happy medium between the two. The Flickr photo pool also helped, particularly the photos with comments.

Reisenthel bike baskets

They're not cheap at the moment with the dollar devalued, but these Reisenthel bike baskets are certainly full of Euro insouciance! I mean, it's a basket but not, you know?

These are specially made for bikes and come in several colors/patterns. I like that you can remove the basket and bring it with you in the store. Do your shopping with this basket, check out, and load your groceries directly into the bag, eliminating wasteful shopping bags. I've read that the connection to the bike is simple and stable, but be sure that you have enough clearance. The bottom of the basket is cloth and will sag with heavy loads.

Fun little Azuki mixte

I guess I have a thing for these classy mixtes - they're just so cute!
This is another one off Velospace

12 March 2008

Classy and inexpensive rattan bike baskets

I'm looking for bike baskets for a friend and have found some charming options. This basket from the Basket Lady is timeless and very pretty. It would go well with a bike I have in mind for my sister E.

Product Review: Rivendell summer gloves

Most commutes don't last long enough to need gloves in the summertime (your mileage may vary). Cycling-sport clothes don't really fit this blog's charter.

Yet all these concerns melted away admiring the Rivendell summer gloves. They're just so classic, cheerful, and just plain pretty. It is pouring rain out at the moment but they make me think of hot summer rides and the very desirable crochet-glove tan lines. All these happy thoughts for $15? I'm ordering them now!

UPDATE: These gloves arrived and they're sized for monsters. I don't know if any woman could fit in these. I wear a size 8 glove (extra-large for women) and these gloves were extremely uncomfortably huge. They were on their way back to Rivendell in less than an hour. So bummed.

Another Update: Rivendell was super cool about taking them back and refunding my money. Thanks!

11 March 2008

Lock your bike

You know you need to lock your bike. But how? It is true that there is a right way and a wrong way.

Sheldon Brown's advice on locking your bike should be required reading for all bike commuters.

I have a keycode-access shed at work and a locked shed at home, so I just need to carry an ordinary cable lock for quick stops. I have a boring black lock but I can't help but think that there must be something better!

Here is one option: For the lightweight cable lock that one carries all the time, these French snake locks are fun (if you can stand snakes!) The snake is available in many colors to complement your bike.

Jolly Bikes are bringing happy Gazelles to Boston

Are you looking for a custom bike purpose built for commuting, and don't want to build it yourself? A pair of ladies in Boston (Jolly Bikes) will import a Dutch Gazelle just for you, in your choice of an array of colors. This legendary Dutch brand Gazelle (in business since 1895) has a reputation as the "Mercedes Benz of bikes."

Because Gazelle thrives in the fertile soil of Dutch cycle culture they've thought out every aspect of bikes as transportation and so they are practical, thoughtful, stylish, and not cheap in any sense.

Here in America the Jolly Bike ladies then take your order a step further, with a custom painted jasbeschermer (coat/dress guard). What would you have painted on yours? I might have mine painted to match their cute panniers/saddlebags.

This bike looks like it was custom made for my mother. I wonder if I could get her riding with a bike that was this personalized? For her I'd have the jasbeschermer painted to reflect all her children. I think she'd like that.

10 March 2008

Shifting gears: new bikes will do it for you

Shimano has developed an automatic transmission with a computer which will shift your gears for you which they call "Coasting" components. All you do is pedal and enjoy the scenery. I'm more of a manual transmission girl myself, but if you're interested in the latest in Shimano bike technology you can check it out on bikes from the manufacturers Trek, Raleigh, and Giant (above).

08 March 2008

Reflective Belts

Riding late at night you're going to want lights and reflective gear. The girl above (photo by JeremyHughes) is an inspiration to me as to how to wear a reflective belt and not look completely like a crossing guard. I have a coat very similar to hers which I bought specifically for my commute. Looking into belts I see I can get them in white or aqua, which I might prefer over the safety yellow. I think the aqua might be just the thing! Available from ZF Reflectives for $14.00, I'd adjust mine permanently and sew it in place, so that I could remove a lot of that clunky hardware.

I actually rather like these colors, I think even this yellow would look cute with the right ensemble, and the red! the green! There are lots of options here...

Hot new old bike - Modern Vintage

Here's an inspiring new old bike! I think my favorite part is the retrofit Raleigh headlamp. I would love to have one of those. I also like how this bike looks old but is not. It can't really fall into any time or place. It's... timeless.

More photos on Velospace

07 March 2008

Helmets can look cool

Witness this woman's helmet, matching her bike:

Photo by malouette

Lacy bike baskets

Available in green, black, and white, these bike baskets were inspired by vintage Swedish crochet tablecloths. This is just the kind of thing I'd expect from the SFMoMA, but I was pleasantly surprised by the $50 price tag. This basket seems to me to be practical art. It is described as being used as a shopping basket as well, canvas strap included. I only wish I knew what it was made from (probably shopping basket plastic?).

I'd love to see the black lace basket on a black bike. Not terribly visible, but oh so elegant!

Helmet covers - hot or not?

I haven't decided if this Fresh Talent helmet cover is chic or silly. I had a jockey-style silk helmet cover for my equestrian helmet when I was a child, I may be projecting my feelings about that helmet cover/fashion faux pas on this helmet cover, which is why I say I'm undecided.

  • doesn't look as helmet-y
  • washable
  • the reflective ribbon is brilliant (in every way)
  • changeable on a whim

  • looks like a helmet cover

What are your thoughts? Is is hot or not?

Relatively cute SPD compatible shoes

For long rides one often wants to "clip in", attaching special cycling shoes to special pedals. All cycling shoes are stylistically over the top, comes with the territory. But these aren't bad, they have a slightly Camper look to them and could be reasonably worn when not actually cycling. They're now on my list!

Available from Team Estrogen

Bike Makeover #2 - mixte from the 70s

What a happy bike! It just seems to invite you to go for a ride.

This is not my makeover so go read the inspiring makeover story posted by Doug Shaker. My favorite part is the tribute to the bike owner's golden retriever. I find it so empowering to see all the wonderful things that can be done to make exactly the bike you most want to ride.

Chic Safety - Interesting reflective stickers

Safety gear often looks clunky. These vine stickers are the best I've seen for safety without the dork factor.

At $4.95 from Team Estrogen I think they're worth trying out. I think they could look good on a helmet, a bag, or possibly the bike as shown, particularly on the top tube of a mountain bike where the handlebars often hit and chip the paint. There the sticker would serve double-duty protecting both the frame and you!

Ultimately these are probably better than the clunky safety gear - drivers see variation better than blobs; patterns, lines, and dots all help. Plus they're more attractive than the reflective duct tape look!

06 March 2008

Gilles Berthoud panniers are sexy

OK, I don't have a reason to use this (yet) and I don't have the $315 budgeted, but aren't these panniers sexy? The corset-styled laces just... I'm getting too excited here.

When I have the money and a plausible excuse, Peter White Cycles, you'll be hearing from me!

Winter Minty: cute bike!

I think I have a soft spot for these blue and green bikes. But still, this one is so simple and chic! I love the chain guard, it's like an elegant bracelet accenting a simple, classic outfit.

(I'd personally need a bike with fenders and brakes and such, but this is like haute couture - just for the inspiration)

More photos at Velospace