30 November 2009

Black and Chrome

There is a reason that's a classic combination.

26 November 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

For your Thanksgiving viewing pleasure, I have some fall foliage bike flower photos sent in by folks who took my request for photos to the next level. Aren't these fun?

25 November 2009

Family Cyclists

Preparing for my Thanksgiving meal my thoughts are turning to families. Here are some little of my favorite chic cyclists in training:

mini parisians à vélo
Here are two mini-Parisians à vélo, the nephew and daughter of my friend. It seems it's completely normal for these two to be out on their bikes. Even still, don't they look delighted?

father daughter cycling
And here we have my college roommate's husband and daughter on their way to work/school. My friend told me that they're multi-modal, with a stint on the bus followed by a bike ride. At any rate, there is a group of ladies who ride the bus with them and are convinced that this little girl is the cutest thing ever (and she is). One day the bike rack on the bus was difficult and the ladies swooped in to help with the girl while dad took care of the bike. My friend commented on how glorious and humbling it is to feel that sense of community with a child - that it does take a village and even in our difficult world we, as a community, still pull together like that. It is beautiful, really.

I'm feeling sentimental, so I better sign off. Happy Thanksgiving to all your families!

24 November 2009

Boots and Handbag on a Red Mixte

lady on a red mixte
It's a grey day here in MA, but this lady's out in style. I couldn't tell if she was wearing a skirt with those boots, but she certainly was looking stately as she moved smoothly through the intersection, not too fast, not too slow.

23 November 2009

Getting There!

bicycle photo updated 10 speed
What a treat to look back at my post from March 4, 2008. As of this weekend I have accomplished all the goals listed there and more.

chainguard and other upgrades on vintage 10 speedOn the list for upgrading I had:

Well, as to this last goal, I decided that an internal hub might be better for my needs while still accomplishing the winter protection I was looking for. My husband built the wheel and we got it installed yesterday. The only challenge was that my handlebars are not round, and not standard, so getting the shifter on was a big deal. Everything else went smoothly. I chose a new Sturmey-Archer three speed mostly because it was already sized for my very narrow dropouts and I didn't want to have to spread the rear triangle. We laced it to a Salsa Delgado rim. My only complaint thus far is that I didn't realize the hub would click whether I was pedaling or coasting. I used to be much more stealthy! But that's not much of a complaint and I'm thrilled with how the bike now just smoooothly glides. I had no idea how much resistance had built up in the old wheel and derailleur. I know the derailleur was contributing because now when I backpedal I marvel at the lack of friction.

In the photo below you can see the results of my fender painting. After all these years of full-time commuting my Honjos are not looking as shiny as they did. I'm liking the pinstripe that now picks up my frame color on the fenders.

close up of drive train
I still have more upgrades planned. I have a tire and new brake pads waiting for a new front wheel, I'd like it to match the rear. Hmmm. Is that it? Might I be getting close to the end of upgrades for the bike? Is that possible?

driveside renovated 10 speed

I might have saved some money (maybe) if I'd just bought a new bike and was done with it. Especially now that there are some cute, affordable city bikes (though probably made in Taiwan).

I am perhaps more proud of this old bike. I created this. It's my bike, there's not another one like it in the world, and I have learned so much in doing this. My husband has also learned a lot, I have him to thank for taking the wheel-building class. We've both grown in bike knowledge (and if we can, anyone can).

There's a wealth of old 10-speeds out there, and many are great bikes. Please don't send them to the dump! There's an adventure, sometimes frustrating, always informative, to be had in recycling them into lightweight beautiful city bikes.

20 November 2009

You don't have to ride your bike

rainy day in Boston with a bike
As I reflected on the view you see here, the street in front of a favorite café this morning, I found myself dreading my commute. Rain, puddles, harried drivers, it just seemed like such a drag.

Then I remembered a post from Chicago Bike Blog, Justyna's position on how we don't HAVE to ride every day and I gave myself permission to not ride into work this morning. Then the funniest thing happened! As I began contemplating my alternatives I decided to ride anyway. It really seemed the least of the evils. In the end it turns out that was for the best, the rain ended and this has become a beautiful day. I strolled outside at lunchtime without even a jacket.

I'm grateful for this morning because it allowed me to remind myself that I don't have to be a hero, and that riding almost all the time is good enough, and simply making it a choice is sufficient to bring back the joy.

So go ride your bikes! (but only if you feel like it)

19 November 2009

Fun Faux Fur

fur trimmed coat on a bike
Seems I should stop giving locations, you all are having so much fun guessing!

18 November 2009

ANT in its native habitat

One thing I've learned in my time hunting wild bikes in Boston: If you see a bike in Boston that looks elegantly at peace in the surroundings, approach stealthily and it's likely to turn out to be an ANT.

Here's an example spotted near the John Hancock buildings.

full bike ANT

full bike

front rack bike

rear view of bike

lights and front rack

17 November 2009

International City Bike

copper Raleigh International city bike
copper Raleigh International city bike
You all know that I'm a fan of the Raleigh International, particularly that model's chromed lugs. I was interested to see this copper International, all dressed up in city components. It certainly makes a lovely singlespeed, and the bridgepiece for the rear brake is effective in protecting this bike's tail light. It has the original cranks and pedals, and I believe the rear brake was put on the front because the brake pads were jammed all the way up in the slot, yet you can see that the clearance of the wheel looks like mine after I'd changed from 27" to 700c wheels.

The bike is a looker, and if my experience is any indication, it will attract the attention of old men everywhere, internationally. It's fun to strike up a conversation with them, I'm not sure if they miss their old bikes or their old youth, but they're every one of them nostalgic. Aren't bikes fun?

16 November 2009

Long Shadow in green

lady cyclistSkinny jeans and ballet flats go well with the singlespeed aesthetic.

13 November 2009

Fringe-Tied Suede Boots

fringed suede boots on a bike
Just too delicious! If I had those boots I think I'd wear them every day. She's sure hauling a lot of stuff on that bike, good thing she has a bike to carry it all.

12 November 2009

Black & White and Red all over

black and white jacket red bike
Love her coat and the hat and scarf which match the bike. Her look gave me a happy feeling on this cool morning.

09 November 2009

Simple City Bike

I just liked the clean lines of this bike, it's clearly a useful bike. I was especially amused by the plastic bag tucked in the Brooks saddle. Yep, I've got one of those too (though mine's in the bike bag).

Philosophical Question: If you were walking down the street in a sudden downpour, would you use that plastic bag to cover this stranger's saddle?

06 November 2009

Shiny Green Vintage

vintage bicyclePerhaps I've never seen a vintage bike in a condition as impeccable as this bike spotted outside a swank South End restaurant. The gleam of the chrome was overwhelming in the evening light.

I'm not sure how safe the child seat is, but I love the black and white plaid with the green and chrome bike.

vintage child bicycle seat

05 November 2009

Red Riding Boots Redux

red boots riding a bike in Boston
I'm sorry for the blurry photos but look at those great red boots! I have come to realize I've had a thing for red boots ever since coveting my step-mom's red Italian snakeskin and suede boots many decades ago. I doubt I will ever find red boots as sumptuous as hers, but in the meantime, aren't these wonderful?

04 November 2009

Chainguard for a Dahon Folding Bicycle

My friend B just installed a chainguard on his wife's Dahon folding bike which she uses as her commuter. As folding bikes present their own challenges he was kind enough to document the process for us all.

Bike: Dahon Mariner
Problem: Pants in the chain.
Inspiration: Commuting Cyclist's chainguard

velo orange chrome chainguard for a folding bike Dahon
First, I ordered the chrome chain guard from Velo Orange for $10. Next, I picked up the Metal Strapping Kit (under $3 at the local hardware store), though it turns out it wasn't needed. After playing around with the chain guard, I realized I'd have more room by removing the plastic protective front chain ring, so off it went.

The chain guard is about 4" longer than the Dahon chain stay, and without modification the upper edge (parallel to the ground) would push it ~1/2" out, causing the chain guard to interfere with the pedal stroke. So, I clamped the chain guard to the kitchen counter and hacksawed its upper edge so that it could be bent up and around the seat stay later on.

hacksaw the chainguard

mounting hardware for the front of the chainguardThe chain guard comes with two clasps, the larger of which does fit around the seat tube and position the guard in the right position. The clasp rests on the rear derailleur cable hanger and pinches the rear derailleur cable a bit, but the shifting is still smooth. No need for the metal strapping per the other website. Lining up the clasp, screw, washers, chain guard and nut was a pain, but brute force triumphed in the end.

front of chainguard mounted

duct tape hack to attach chainguardWith the front end attached, I needed a way to secure the rear end in a way that wouldn't rattle. I thought about using an inner tube to pad the seat stay but settled on using an old mountain bike grip that had been looking for a purpose for about a decade. Duct tape holds the grip in place (and matches the frame color), and a zip tie snugs the guard against the padded seat stay. Some nudging here and there, and the entire chain guard is out of the way of the pedal and doesn't rub the chain. In retrospect it would have been easier to do most of the bending and sharp edge buffing prior to securing the front, but I got it pretty well folded away and smoothed out in place. I was tempted to take it off, but the screw was enough of a pain that I decided to live with it as is.

chainguard mounting rear of folding bike

My wife took it for it's first ride yesterday, and she did say that she felt her pants start to get chomped in the chain once during the ride, but they didn't get sucked all the way in. We'll see how it fares.

chainguard on Dahon folding bike