31 March 2009

Staying Light Longer

cold weather riders man woman bike date BostonWe even have enough time for a casual ride/bike date after work.
Hurray for bikes!

30 March 2009


Green Raleigh Superbe bike chainguard dynohub
There have been a confluence of references to Raleigh Superbes in my life recently. It started with Bikes Not Bombs, and their Superbe which was gone by the time my friend went out there to buy it. Commenting on his eventual Sport, Chiara mentioned the Superbe. Intrigued I found one on Craigslist in Providence for $350 (deleted now, must be sold). Finally, when reading about putting an internally geared hub on my city bike I came across Sheldon's Superbe.

Raleigh Superbe 1966 English greenI was delighted when I found one at the bike shop in the basement of the Cambridge Antique Market (201 Monsigneur O'Brien Highway). The nice folks there even let me try it out, even though I told them I was just looking. It is a 1966 and it doesn't have the chaincase that the others do. (edit: while the above had chaincases, some originally didn't) Yet you can see in the photo that it is a Superbe, and the rest of the bits are there (locking fork, dynohub, Brooks saddle). My first thought was "smooth". The bike glides. My next impression was a bit of the "joliness" of my Raleigh Sport. My current townie is fun, but he takes himself a little bit seriously. These old Raleighs seem a bit more relaxed. I wish I could justify a new bike. This Superbe is listed at a suberbe value and I'd really like to bring him home with me. I need an excuse - at 5 bikes I'm running out of excuses to buy yet another. Anyone???

Raleigh Superbe Green

27 March 2009

Man's Urban Cycling Jacket

men man cycling bicycling jacket coat reflective DIY

men man cycling bicycling jacket coat reflective DIYFor the last year we've been hunting for an urban cycling jacket for a man. We had many criteria: light color, ease in the shoulder, amenities for cyclists - some of which had to be compromised in order to buy a jacket off the rack.

men man cycling bicycling jacket coat reflective DIYWe found a good start at a Christmas-time Orvis Warehouse Sale for $35. The fit isn't perfect but it makes a good prototype. It has working buttonholes on the sleeves, which makes me very happy! It has a Norfolk jacket pleats allowing more reach and a double vent back, which is easier on a saddle.

I bought 3M Scotchlite reflective tape and piping. Now it's time to make this jacket reflective! My husband just wants a swath of reflective tape along the waistband, but that's not enough of a challenge for this crazy lady. Have any of you seen particularly clever examples of subtle and transformable conspicuity? (yes I know that's something of an oxymoron)

DIY cycling jacket in actionHere's what I've done so far:
1). Added tape along the inner edge of the cuffs such that when he folds them back there is reflection.
reflective tape cycling jacket bicycle safety

2). Added tape along the underside of the collar, so that when he stands it up there is reflection.
reflective cycling coat
We both want some kind of reflection along the back of the coat, and just differ in how to accomplish this. Some ideas include:
  1. Just sew some tape on there already! (owner of the coat's idea).
  2. Add a back off triangle to the center vent back. It could snap up hidden into the coat when not in use and unsnap down below the flap when he's riding.
  3. Similar to above, but using 3MScotchlite, a flap on the back that was a few inches and folded up into the jacket and folds down to reveal a reflective strip.
  4. Add some more subtle reflective cord along the seam lines of the shoulder gussets and down along the vents, I'd like to add piping but Orvis did too good a job of sewing it closed. I would also appliqué a piping-like stripe of 3MScotchlite along the sleeve seams for side visibility.
  5. Sew along various seam lines with reflective, but not metallic, thread (I've never seen such a thing, just heard about it, seems it's used on EMT's coats)
  6. Add a soft elastic reflective belt which comes out of the front pockets and clips in back when he wants to be reflective.
  7. Add a center back pocket (like in a jersey but with an invisible zipper) , the doing of which I would outsource to a tailor. If we did that I could add a blinky hanger and store the blinky in that pocket.
  8. Add screen printing with EZ Print Reflecto.
  9. Other ideas you might share with us?
We'd really love your feedback on this project!

UPDATE: Looks like the New York Times discovered Rapha doing something similar, but they don't have it available to buy.

25 March 2009

Bikes and Gardens

bikes and gardens
As this lady swoops past the Boston Public Garden, you can see that both the bicyclists and the greenery are re-emerging in our public spaces. Hurray! We're all looking forward to spring!

24 March 2009

Remember Kids, Don't Ride on the Sidewalk

My friend and I were just talking about why she shouldn't ride her bike on the sidewalk (and when to bend that rule). I think this image captures what I was trying to say far better than the thousand words it's purportedly worth.

I saved this image a long time ago, and can't provide attribution. I'd love to fix that...

23 March 2009

Brrr - it's still cold!

winter cyclist Boston KHS Green ladies frame
She was bookin' across the bridge - it's cold out there today!

winter cyclists Boston KHS Green lady frame

20 March 2009

New Bike Excitement - Gentleman's Green Raleigh

I am very excited to have helped my friend N get a new old bike. His previous folding bike had been stolen, so this time he wanted something that he can ride elegantly wearing tweed. He says it's heavy enough he "goes slowly and stops slowly". We're going to work on improving that 'stopping slowly' part with some salmon Kool-Stop Continentals. We're also going to ensure he gets a U-lock this time - this bike is shiny and pristine, down to the fender stays. Take a look:

British green Raleigh three speed 3

British green Raleigh three speed

British green Raleigh three speed

British green Raleigh three speed

Lesson Learned

Last night on my commute I witnessed an accident between a cyclist and a van. Everyone was very nice and very scared and we all didn't really know how to proceed. The girl on the bike was very shaken up, then man in the van looked afraid for his job.

In talking about the incident later, I was brought to realize that I should have called the police, just to file an incident report. That intersection would have a history and the cyclist would have recourse for a new fork (or bike).

Lesson learned - even if you don't want to press charges, just always plan to call the authorities.

19 March 2009

Funky Mix(te)

She's got it all goin' on! I LOVE the gold leather jacket.

18 March 2009

Sunny Blues

man commuting Boston bicycle bike
This guy just seemed so cool as he coasted through the intersection on a sunny morning.

Springtime Helmet

bike helmet decorated with a flower
OK, it is probably not truly chic but it makes me smile.

Here's my helmet on the shelf in my office after our ride in today. I was inspired by the toddler's helmet cover but the flower is a $5 corsage from H&M. It is placed on the left so the drivers of cars can see it. They were a lot friendlier today, many more smiles and waves. I may have to leave the flower on!

17 March 2009

Independent Fabrication SuperCommuter

IndyFab Super Commuter
My neighbors down the road have introduced a sexy new commuter bicycle. I wonder if this signals a new direction for IndyFab? They've always been so sporty, are they getting into townies?

At any rate it's a beautiful bike and somehow very youthful and masculine to me. Gentlemen, what do you think?

16 March 2009

Update: Cheshire Cat Bike

So wouldn't you know, the day I posted the pink Seven bicycle I got to see it myself, in person. C saw it in Harvard Square, I saw it early Sunday morning on Newbury Street. The bike is so well thought out when you see it in person, so I took lots of photos for you. I think Sweet Georgia Brown got it just right in her comment, if the Cheshire Cat rode a bike, this is what the cat would choose. And I think we all know what kind of smile this girl has as she rides this bike!
girl ladies Seven titanium bicycle pink silver customI hadn't previously noted the pink anodized cranks, and the pink Chris King headset. It's like subtle bike jewelry.

custom made titanium rear pannier rack Seven bicycle bikeWe were most impressed by her custom curvy titanium rack. Isn't that gorgeous? Makes me want to learn to work with metal, just so that I can make one too. Incredible.

custom titanium handlebars Seven cycles
I'm now of the opinion that these handlebars were custom made for her bike, probably from titanium they had in the shop. Clearly this lady, or someone who cares about her, is a bike builder at Seven Cycles.

15 March 2009

Guest Photos: Sunday Seven

How's this for a girly bike?

My friend C spotted this Seven parked in Harvard Square, and apologizes for cell-phone camera quality, though I think it's fine. We can see the bike.

Does anyone know what that style of handlebar is called? I've never seen it before. The striped fenders are new to me too.

13 March 2009

Gary Fisher City Bike

My colleague just visited to point out this bike. His wife is considering one. Isn't it lovely? It's nice that they come in large enough sizes, and the Nexus internal hub would be really great. The cycle chic side of me really likes the matching basket.

Has anyone taken a test ride? What did you think?

12 March 2009

Guest Photos: Cycle Chic Iceland

cyclist bike bicycle cycle chic Iceland Icelandic Reykjavik
My friend in Reykjavik sent me this photo of her friend M coming to visit on a really lovely and bright day. The cyclists are out in Iceland, spring must be on its way!

Bike Makeover #7: Bright blue Fuji

repainted Fuji bike

before photo Fuji bikeMy friend "Baldman" is at it again. This time he had a largely complete bike but the paint was deteriorating in several places and the whole bike needed some TLC. He repainted in sky blue, adding cream colored panels on the body. Then he custom-made decals like he'd done for Amanda's bike. The use of the gold was not planned, he'd run out of the colors he'd planned to use. It looks great with the leather of the saddle and the DIY mudguards he makes. He still plans to shellac the grips which will darken the brown.

Will anyone else help me convince him to open an Etsy shop selling these mudguards?

DIY decals bike panel paint jobIt seems that "La Stronzo" is self-deprecating Italian. You can look it up if you want to, but I'm not going to do it for you here.

11 March 2009

Winter Bikes of Boston

rusty chain derailleur bike bicycle BostonToday is a dark rainy day here. I am hoping that by sharing all the winter photos of bikes around Boston which I've not yet published maybe I can drive winter out of town.

Check out these tough bikes that, with more or less grace, have withstood the winter of 2008-2009.

silver grey dutch bike Boston bicycleThis "Dutch" bike looks so sturdy with her fenders and the chaincase fully enclosed. On this day it seemed more to protect the chain than to protect the rider's trousers. I am sure there's much less salt in there than on my bike! I am not so sure about leaving the helmet outside though. Could be icky.
silver grey Dutch bike Boston bicycle

Dawes bike bicycle Boston snowMy Dawes ran like a champ, despite the enormous piles of snow.

ANT bike Boston bicycle snowThis ANT was waiting in an office park with quiet dignity. In summertime these racks are full of all manner of bikes. In winter it's just the ANT.
ANT bike Boston bicycle snow

Schwinn coffee townie bike bicycle snowI was happy to see a Schwinn Coffee in person. They look so nice in the catalog, but the price is so low, I wondered what they'd be like in person. They seem like a good choice for a city bike if one really wants an affordable shiny unscratched NEW bike. I think one can do better for the money second-hand, but if that's not an option then this certainly is a reasonable one.

old three speed bike BostonHere's the affordable second-hand option, a mis-mash of Raleigh parts in typical Bostonian 'function-trumps-all'. This is certainly a winter battle-wagon, and chic in its own eccentric way.

Yeay bikes!

10 March 2009

Cute Pink Bike Bag

I'm not normally a pink girl, but I'm drawn to this bag at Nashbar. Must be craving springtime flowers! The brighter light puts me in a mood for shopping.

Does anyone have this bag or seen it in use? Is it large enough to be useful?

Riding in the light

The sun is getting stronger, and we're starting to see more folks out again. Hurray for Daylight Savings Time!
bicyclist BostonI like this lady's leather bomber jacket, and her leather bag strapped to her rack. The ol' bike is cute too, I'm guessing a Raleigh Sprite?

06 March 2009

Practical Schwinn

I love the rear view mirror on this bike! The permanent baskets are also very practical.

05 March 2009

Best of Boston

Innovation is everywhere, but it is a particular strength in Boston. I think of this as the best of Boston - tinkering, innovating, families, community, practical fun...

modified tandem bicycle child transport
I've seen these two often but they're always going to quickly to get a good shot. The younger one always has a huge grin on his face, he's pretty happy to be out with Dad.

04 March 2009

In Like A Lion

This winter isn't giving us very many breaks.
This morning was 20 degrees F, -8 degrees C. Strong, cold wind out of Canada. Brrrr.