31 May 2009

Updated photo of my commuter


I'm pretty happy to have finally found a silver rear rack. I think the bike is starting to look really good. Next question is whether to service the rear wheel (and lose the plastic pie plate) or build new city wheels with an internal hubs. I go back and forth. Bike projects are fun though!

30 May 2009

Cape & Islands Photo Submission

From reader P, a bike report from his trip to the Cape and Islands:

Went to Nantucket for a day and here's what I saw.

1. Cool Cape Bike (notice the nice basket and the fishing pole holders on the back)

Cape Cod fishing bike bicycle

2. Free waterfront parking. Compared to $17 on the spot for a day, parking elsewhere in Hyannis (for free) and riding a bike nets big savings (is that chic or not?)

bike in Hyannis

3. Cool rentals

rental bikes Nantucket Massachusetts

4. Abandoned cruiser (This has been there for over a month and I'd love to know its story)

Nantucket cruiser bike

Charlotte would like to ask that, if possible, the comments to this post be written in the form of a limerick.
"There once was a bike in Nantucket..."

29 May 2009

South End Knitters Strike Again

This time the street artists chose to leave beautiful handmade flowers festooning the bike racks next to some Community Gardens on the Southwest Corridor Park.

South End Boston knitters street art flowers bike bicycle rack
The flowers are all handmade to represent identifiable plants, and I particularly love the bee with the huge grin on his face:

South End Boston knitters street art flowers bike bicycle rack
I can only imagine what fun the South End Knitters had as they planned and executed this art installation. I wish I were a knitter, this group looks like a lot of fun!

South End Boston knitters street art flowers bike bicycle rack
I will have to put the flowers on my bike and return to take a photo of everyone bedecked in flowers!

South End Boston knitters street art flowers bike bicycle rack

28 May 2009

Royal Ascot Bike

red Royal Ascot bike bicycle three speed
Sent in by reader P, here's a mystery bike for you. P tells me:

The head tube badge says it's a 'Royal Ascot', but I haven't been able to find anything about them. Most searches turn up stories of people who bike to Royal Ascot, and while they're interesting, it's not the information I'm looking for. Perhaps one of your knowledgeable readers will know something about the brand.

The bike was in good condition, Sturmey-Archer 3 speed, classic English frame, braze-ons for a frame pump. It looks mostly original.

red Royal Ascot bike bicycle three speed
Does anyone know anything more about this bicycle maker?

27 May 2009

Elegant Simplicity

mature lady on a bike at MIT
This lady looks so elegant on her summer evening out. I love the classical simplicity in all that she does - from the bike which must have a coaster brake (given the clean lines of her handlebars) to the single silver necklace for jewelry - she knows the power of a simple statement.

26 May 2009

Cambridge Bicycle's Party Bikes

Here is a submitted set of photos from the Cambridge Bicycle bike party, which was rescheduled and I could not attend. Thanks are due to my friend C, who sent in photos and commentary. His thoughts, and my comments, below.

Apologies in advance about the blurry cameraphone pics, but I was at the Cambridge Bicycle commuter block party last night and thought you might appreciate these pictures of some swanky commuter bikes.

C, I do indeed, I think we all thank you so much for sharing these!

Independent Fabrications ladies bike
Red Independent Fabrication Step-through (!) with cork grips, Alfine internal gear hub and thermos holder.

I haven't ever seen this bike! WOW! It's beautiful!


don't remember maker of this one, but I just liked the wicker basket.

It's a gorgeous basket!



ANT Boston roadster
ANT Boston Roadster with blue powdercoat, Nexus internal gear hub, hammered Honjo fenders and one of Mike's chainguards.

I enjoyed chatting with the owner of this bike at the Friday party. I have been drooling on this bike on numerous occasions now, the owner of the bike is finally OK with it, though it's embarrassing to me.

Austro-Daimler commuter bike
Vintage Austro-Daimler frame, black with nice yellow accents. Pretty bike!

That is a beautiful bike, with a nice classically simple austerity to it.

The infamous "Man In Black" and his Velorbis won best All-Around commuter. The Sexiest bike awards were all grabbed by some rather h0tt fixed gears with nice custom paint jobs.

Thanks for the report C! Now we all want photos of your sexy bike!

UPDATE: I also have a photo of the larger group at the party, submitted by Lovely Bicycle:

Cambridge Bicycle block party

Summer Lovelies

friends riding bikes in BostonNot much to say these days, the weather is beautiful and the lovely ladies are out riding and enjoying it. Hurray for summertime!

25 May 2009

Let the good times roll!

Mardi gras beads on a bike
I saw these Mardi Gras beads on the bike and thought "instant party". I followed her a few blocks and they didn't seem to interfere with her wheel, though why remains a bit of a mystery.

Anyhow, enjoy your Memorial Day!

24 May 2009

23 May 2009

Brompton Tail Light Modification

Planet Bike blinkie blinky tail light modification for a Brompton folding bike
My husband's only complaint about his Brompton has been the stock lighting system. He tried to use it for a while but eventually stripped it all off. It just wasn't worth the hassle.
I'd like him to use more lights on his bike, so when I saw this clever Brompton set-up I took photos for him. Then I realized that some of you might be interested too.
At first I thought it was a DIY bracket, but after visiting Bikes Not Bombs I saw that they sell a Planet Bike rack bracket for the Planet Bike light, and that must be what we see here.
What is important, and may not come across in the photos, is that the light is low profile enough that it's protected by the wheels on the rack and does not need to be removed to fold the bike.

Planet Bike blinkie blinky tail light modification for a Brompton folding bike

22 May 2009

Mystery Cargo Bike spotted at 77 Mass Ave.

DIY homemade cargo bikeThe homemade cargo bike has been spotted at MIT. Seems fitting.

Someday I have to meet this person!

21 May 2009

Springtime Cool

lady cyclist Dorchester white trousers
It takes a brave woman to ride a bike in Boston, and a braver one still to do it in white trousers. This lovely lady is doing all that, and topping it off with a lilac nod to springtime. I love it!

Photo submitted by dotbike. Thank you!

20 May 2009

Natural Elegance


She looked so elegant in the late spring evening light, I think it was the drape of her shawl and her headscarf. Her mode of transport, the clothes she has chosen, I expect this lady is quietly elegant in the rest of her life too.

19 May 2009

Perfect Green Raleigh

perfect green RaleighI think this bike may be perfect in every way. Beautiful old frame, gorgeous Brooks saddle, working headlight, great colors, Carradice bag, and those streamers. Those streamers get me every time. On whole, a perfect balance of practicality, classic aesthetics, and whimsy.

18 May 2009

Bike Flowers

flowers on bike
The second set of bike flowers went north of my border, to add more cheer to Canada. Don't they look happy? Best wishes for happy riding Jennifer!

The first set can be seen here.

15 May 2009

For Pat: The Liberty Hotel Bike Service

Liberty Hotel Boston bikes
On my way to work after the Bike Week party I did a double-take when I saw all these beautiful Electra bikes all lined up. It was damp this morning, which must be why they have those saddle covers.

Hotel guests get to use them for up to 4 hours free. After that it's $5/hour.

Liberty Hotel bikes

"Boston Wants It"

The Boston Bikes party this morning was a happening scene, and I was overwhelmed by all the people, all the bikes, all the stalls of bike goodness. It was more bike love than I could take in at one moment. Thank you all!

lady elegant cyclist black heels fishnetsThis beautiful cyclist is one of the most frequent contributors and commenters on this blog. I was thrilled to finally meet her in person. I don't know if you can tell, but she's sporting fishnets. I was drooling on her basket, it was terribly embarrassing. And yes, I think the banner is right - Boston wants it.

bicycle portraitNicole Freedman was also out taking bike photos. She spotted this beautiful bike before I did - add excellent photographer to the long list of things that she does well.

dapper gentleman cyclistHere's my best-dressed gentleman. He's wearing the hat that all the young men are sporting now. In his case I think the hat is as old as these young men who are co-opting the look. Anyway, I think he looks great and I'm glad he's out on a bike.

Boston bikes partyThese two gentlemen are working on a petition to plow the Franklin Park bike path in the winter. I love the incongruity of those clipless shoes with a suit!

What a great morning! Happy Bike Week!

14 May 2009

A real "Sport Utility Vehicle"

sport utility vehicle rigid mountain bike commuter
Whoever coined the phrase "sport utility vehicle" touched on some intrinsic part of the American psyche. Evoking adventure and practicality, the phrase is very much in tune with how Americans like to think of themselves. Sure, there are those of us who love all things European; haute couture, design, ballet, opera, etc. but I think we all at some level understand the American appeal of the Jeep Cherokee and a Brooks Brothers sack suit.

Budd bikesI've been watching bike trends for just a short time really, and love the resurrection of the old three-speeds, but it's my prediction that the rigid mountain bike of the early nineties will be the next style to be pulled out of basements and retro-fitted for commuting. Indeed in conversations with local framebuilder Matt Budd I mentioned that his design (at right) reminded me of this idea, and he was very enthusiastic, as that was exactly his inspiration.

There are many beautiful Dutch/Danish bikes available, and there are gorgeous custom bespoke bikes which defy categorization, but it's my opinion that the converted rigid mountain bike, like this one I photographed yesterday, may be the true American 'sport utility vehicle' (with bonus points, as it's a lot more sporty and a lot more utilitarian than the Ford Explorer!).

However, my husband says "Don't even think about touching my Yo Eddy!"

sport utility vehicle rigid mountain bike commuter

12 May 2009

Question for my readers

Dear Readers,

Let's pretend that you heard that your bike community was planning a "Bike Fashion Show". What sort of things would you want to go see? What would get you excited?

I'm purposely being vague here, I'm hoping for some brainstorming. If y'all want more direction I'll be more concrete. But just throw things out there - what would you like to see?

Thanks!
-Charlotte

Bike Week Festivities

Mass Bike tune up stationBike Week is a day old and the energy has been great! I'm seeing lots of cyclists out, and even more I'm seeing lots of cyclists talking to each other. I think it is great for new cyclists to see that bike riders are a friendly, generous group and we should all make an effort to be extra friendly this week.

I had a brief chat with the father shown in the photo with his son on the trail-a-bike - they ride every day and were surprised to discover that they could get their tires pumped up by a cheerful MassBike volunteer, and get a free Clif Bar.

Broadway Bike pancake breakfast
I have to thank Broadway Bicycle School for throwing their annual pancake breakfast again this year. The pancakes have real blueberries in them, the coffee is surprisingly good, and the social scene is the best. I saw over half of my Boston bike friends in the space of a half hour. I wish we all got together more often.

Thank you Broadway Bike!


The only negative news is that there have been Cambridge police officers waiting around both sides of 77 Mass Ave to pull cyclists over. I'm sure they'll tell you they're doing it for your own safety, but just be careful out there. It kinda seems like they're looking to make some ticket money off the brand new cyclists who don't know the traffic laws yet.

11 May 2009

Happy Bay State Bike Week!

It's Bike Week across the country. Who's excited? I'm excited!

There are lots of fun activities in MA, certainly something for everyone. I am having a hard time choosing which I'll attend but my general list is as follows: I know the pancake breakfast at Broadway Bikes is not to be missed - see you there tomorrow. Tomorrow night (while I have class) there will be a film screening that I wish I could attend.

Thursday has the Back Bay breakfast I'll surely stop in for, and then later in the day will be the Cambridge Bicycle Shop open house. A little birdie told me they're going to have Toscanini's so I think I'd better stop in there. I wonder if I can enter my bike for their “Best Commuter Bike Contest”? I finally got a silver rack for the rear (very excited!!!) but it's en route I don't think I'll have a matching set in time. Oh well. There are lots of other things going on there, it looks worth checking out.
UPDATE: the event at Cambridge Bicycle has been postponed due to nasty weather. The rain date will be next Thursday, same time, 6pm-9:30pm. Please help spread the word!


The Swiss Consulate invites you to breakfast on Friday. I already have plans with our local government (Mayor Menino's Bike Week Festival) but if I were coming from anywhere near the Consulate in Cambridge I'd stop by to see the Swiss too.

How about you? What are you doing for bike week?

08 May 2009

Behind the Brown Jacket


I've been blogging for a while, and start to see old friends again. She's always looking so pretty! I was slow to get their shot so it's hard to see her sheer brown stockings, tall brown suede boots, and well-cut jacket. I'm also unclear whether or not she has a hand in raising that next generation of chic cyclist on the next bike over - whether daily or just in passing she is certainly setting a good example!

07 May 2009

Rack Basket

rack basket on a bike
I've never seen a basket mounted the way this gentleman has done. The rack supports it nicely.

I may modify and use this idea. Send in photos if you do too!

05 May 2009

New Bike Racks

long bike racks
Hmm, they have new bike racks over near Cambridge Brewing Company. Must have been installed in the last week.

I think I like them. Nice look. They seem protective but it could be tough to get in there if there are lots of bikes. Of course that's true of the old designs too. Not sure how space-efficient they are. What do you think?

04 May 2009

Bicycles and Taxis

bicycle taxi atercation
I saw the cab turn right on red without even looking for this handsome gentleman. In this photo you can see that they're now "having words".

bicycle taxi cab problemOur cyclist then went on his handsome way, his green bag matching the green frame of his green transportation.

01 May 2009

Beautiful Bike Flowers

Happy May Day!

Yellow bike, pink flowers
Xue was the first to respond to the free Friday bike flowers, and here they are on her bike. I think they look better on hers than mine! Helps that her bike is so cute.

rolling with flowers on her bikeIt adds a nice touch of springtime, and when she's ready to move on the flowers come right off.

handlebar flowers on a yellow bikeThis photo of the bikes in the grass may be my favorite, just because it reminds me of lounging on a warm summer day. Happy bikes, happy day.

summertime bikes