26 April 2010

Stylish Safe Simplicity

After I posted South End Simplicity, a reader submitted a beautiful bike that is clearly a friend to that one, also with cloth-taped handlebars, but this one features a brake lever (and brake!):

singlespeed bike
I love the cloth tape on my handlebars. The natural feel in my hand is particularly nice for a city commuter on which I do not generally wear gloves (weather permitting). With my inverse levers I never had to wrap around a brake lever, however this bike looks great! I particularly like how the curve of the cable housing is integrated with that of the handlebar. It all looks so graceful.

cloth tape handlebar wrap with a brake lever
The final classy touch is, of course, the wooden end caps. They make me think of a wine bottle stopper, or a child's toy, both much nicer than the plastic-y things that come in the box with handlebar tape. C - did you make these? Is there any place a person can buy a set?

classy wooden end caps for cloth handlebar tape

A beautiful, simple, bike.

23 April 2010

Purple Suede Heels

girl on a three speed with purple suede heelsThis lady looks beautiful on her old three speed, but I just love the unexpected shoes!

22 April 2010

Sweet Summertime

summer commuting bike
The owner of the Singlespeed Basket Bike contacted me to share this photo of his other bike - an Al Vitus frame with some mixed 9 speed components, put it together for a summer commuter.

As if summertime wasn't already sweet enough! Beautiful.

21 April 2010


chic cyclist in a trench coat
This lovely lady is enjoying a self-guided tour of Boston courtesy of the loaner bikes for guests of the Liberty Hotel. I followed her as she lingered outside the Gucci window, and mused that these free bicycle loans give new meaning to the hotel's name.

20 April 2010

Friendly Fender

bicycle fender with messageA happy surprise was parked on Newbury Street. I've never before seen such a friendly fender, this bike is clearly the kind of bike all the other bikes want to be friends with, just a based on its reflective stickers.


19 April 2010

Boston Marathon Ride

My friend J and I biked the marathon route this morning. From Boston to Hopkinton was nice enough, but the trip back was everything I had hoped it would be. The roads were closed, the excitement was building, we even had people cheering for us, and inexplicably the weather was cool but bright and lovely. There were hundreds of other cyclists out. The police were cheerful and smiling and there were lots of wonderful volunteers setting everything up. We were back in Boston safely before the first racers and all in all it could not have been a better ride.

I'm happy to rave that my friend J rode her brand new road bike for her first ever long bike trip today and she did a great job the whole morning. Seeing how happy she was really made the ride for me.

There was one surprise - we stopped for a snack and when she saw my snack the wonderful possibilities of long distance cycling somewhat crystallized for her.

Yes, it's true, it's a RULE - if you're riding more than 50 miles you are allowed to have chocolate chip cookies before lunch if you want to. Even your mother will agree. So tell all your friends - ride a bike = eat chocolate chip cookies. It's pretty great!

16 April 2010

South End Simplicity

elegant fixed gear bicycle
This is perhaps the most elegant stripped-down beautiful basic bike I've seen. While I personally like my bikes with brakes, this isn't my bike, and the aesthetic is just wonderful from the cream tires to the black frame to the custom leather accents.

U lock leather cover
This custom leather-accented U-lock is perfectly matched to the saddle.

simple saddle
My husband thinks the saddle came this way, I think that the owner carved off the skirt his/herself. The hammered rivets look lovely on this bike.

The inherent classiness of this bike is eye-catching from behind...

... and from the front.

elegant fixed gear bicycle
Bravo to the person who put this bike together, it's beautiful!

14 April 2010

Have a few hours to spare?

Oh my goodness, thanks to Urbanista I have discovered My Old Bicycle. What a treat! So many beautiful bicycles so beautifully photographed... words can't do it justice, you just have to settle in and peruse yourself, the details are just too incredible. I'll add some morsels here:

elaborate bicycle handlebars
Just look at these handlebars!

pinstriped bicycle cranks
Handpainted pinstriping on these cranks (matches pinstriping on the lugs and fenders)

horsehair bicycle fender flap
How about this horsehair fender flap?

Those are just a few of my favorite details, check it out and be inspired.

12 April 2010

Singlespeed Basket Bike

singlespeed basket bike
Spotted in Cambridge, this bike was notable for having what appear to be Pier 1 Imports-style baskets front and rear, but perfectly sized to fit correctly on those respective racks. It makes for an elegant and proportional look.

bike front basket
The headlight is mounted to the rack under the front basket.

bike rear basketThe rear basket is larger and the rear wheel accented with an array of spoke cards. I'm not sure I've seen quite this much spoke accessorizing in general, I find it fun on this bike.

I like it!

09 April 2010

"We all have to respect each other"

I think Nicole Freedman's statement regarding the two recent cycling accidents pretty much sums it up. We just all have to respect each other.

Please, stay safe and courteous. What sad days in Boston.

08 April 2010

This little light of mine

I think of cute determination on the rare occasions when I see a Brompton. With Harris Cyclery and Broadway Bicycles now selling them it's become a lot easier to welcome a Brompton into one's tiny Boston apartment.

So while today is (so far) merely a two Brompton day, on Monday I saw a record-shattering four Bromptons around town, meaning three that weren't my husbands!!! (for the record, I didn't see Sexy Brompton or Elton from Harris, so that means there are at least 6 Bromptons in Boston!)

Last spring I saw a wonderful Brompton tail light modification. We have now implemented a version of this ourselves. Here you can see the new Planet Bike blinkie mounted to his rear rack:

blinkie tail light BromptonThose two brass pieces are corner braces from the hardware store. I think a pack of four of them cost $2.50 but I could be off by as much as 50%. I just don't remember. They hold a Planet Bike Taillight Rack Bracket - you will need a set of screws and bolts (we conveniently had some, if you don't have some plan to buy these too).

The bracket is compatible with Blinky 3,5,7 and Superflash - had I known this I would have bought the Superflash, which is by far the best tail light ever.

Yes, the light is off-center. The holes were drilled into the rack slightly off-center. Don't know why.

side view tail light Brompton bike blinkie
Here you can see how the corner brackets and the rack bracket still keep the profile of the light within the Brompton's carrier wheels. This means that the light does not strike anything when the bike is folding and unfolding.

rear view of a BromptonHere the light is safely folded under. You can also see another light dangling from the seat. I cannot find this light anywhere on the web, but I know it's out there. We bought it at Harris but they don't list it. It's great for a Brompton because it is so flexible and not impeding the seat post.

three tail lights on a Brompton
In one weekend we went from one tail light to three. Three tail lights are probably overkill, but given the dangers of cycling Boston it makes me feel better to know that he's visible. The helmet-mounted light moves with his movements (including checking traffic where it can't be seen anymore), the seat-mounted light swings wildly with all movements, and the rack-mounted light is low, but constant, and that's good.

Finally, apropos these darling Bromptons, you must remember:
Ce n'est pas un petit vélo, c'est un vélo qui sait se faire petit.

07 April 2010

Whimsical Reflective Stars

bicycle reflector shape star starsLove these little reflective stars stuck on the rear fender for a little smile, and a little safety. Safe riding to everyone!

06 April 2010

Places to go, things to carry

lady with cargo on her bikeWe saw this bike parked outside our café and were marveling at the amount of cargo this person was carrying. Imagine our surprise when a lady about our mothers' age emerged from the café with a box of pastries, added it to her load, and pedaled off in her black ankle boots and little red riding jacket. Definitely not the urban warrior we expected, but an urban warrior all the same. I want to be like her when I grow up!

lady with cargo on her bike

05 April 2010

Sunny 3 Speed

beautiful brown three speed bike
This classy three speed bike made me smile. I love the white sidewalls on the tires, the beautifully broken-in Brooks saddle. For necessary modern upgrades we have the Continental Kool Stop brake pads and the Planet Bike blinkie, both of which I enjoy on my own bike (more on that soon).

vintage basket on a 3 speed
Those worn cork grips complement the brown frame perfectly, and Grant "Beausage" Petersen would certainly approve. The Crane bell is the perfect touch, of course, and I can't neglect the vintage basket. Everything is perfect.

classy three speed bike
Since starting this blog I've learned to appreciate many subtle things about old 3-speed bikes (painted fender stays? check!) This one has them all. Perfect.

03 April 2010

Marathon Monday Ride

My friend Cris alerted me to this ride last year, after I'd sadly already missed it. Won't make that mistake again! See the press release or read on....

Be a part of history with this bicycle endeavor. Since 1986, every Patriot's Day, a group of 40+ cyclists, lead by Hal Gabriel, join forces to bike the Boston Marathon path. It's a 52 miles excursion from Boston to Hopkinton and back. Be assured you will not be alone and there is enough support to get everyone through this trek.

Upon the participants return, the Greater Boston Central YMCA will provide free refreshments and Fitness Foundry will dole out free T-shirts. It's a Win, Win event.

Here are the details on 'Hal's 25th Annual Boston Marathon Day Ride':

52 Total Miles. 26 miles each way.
BYOB: Bring Your Own Bicycle
Cost: Free
Experience: All are welcomed
Date: April 19, 2010
Start Time: 6:00am EST
Estimated End Time: 10am
Location: The front steps of 'The Greater Boston Central YMCA' on Huntington Ave., Boston, Mass.
Weather: Rain or Shine.
Pre-requisite: Must sign agreement form to participate in physical activity.

Things to Consider:
Please arrive 20 minutes early to prepare for the ride.
They ride to the starting point in Copley Square.
There is no competition. Ride at your own pace.
Weather elements. Dress accordingly.
Be cautious of potholes.
Be smart and alert to surroundings.
Have Fun and Enjoy the Ride.
Hal’s motto for this year is “Keep Moving”…
Be well and stay active

Sounds like the closest I'm ever going to get to participating in the Boston Marathon so I'm planning to ride. Hope to see you there!

02 April 2010

Yellow Dawes Galaxy

Yellow Dawes GalaxyThis tiny yellow Dawes Galaxy can often be spotted downtown where I always say hello. It's a tiny bike, as you can see from how short the headtube is, it's almost too short to allow those elegant lugs.

The bike is essentially original and in very good shape. I don't know if the bulb horn was stock on a Galaxy, somehow I think that was added!

engraved Dawes handlebarMy handbuilt Dawes shares many of these same components, despite being a later non-Galaxy model (probably a double five). Mine also originally had engraved drop handlebars, though mine were not as fancy as these beautiful bars.

Yellow Dawes Galaxy hand built bicycle
Here you can see the older-style Dawes torch headbadge (which my mother's bike also sports), and the Galaxy's original fork. I adore the gold swirling edge on that badge. My lugs are more elaborate, but I have a similar headset (and need to replace it).

A cute, cheerful vintage bike for sure!

01 April 2010

Single Rose

Rose on a red bikeSpotted parked in the South End, you know I smiled when I saw this racy-looking chromed red singlespeed, with a rose on the handlebars.

I imagine the person who rides this bike - probably someone who is usually a speedster, but was given this rose-ring by someone dear to them and so s/he abandoned the minimalist aesthetic to keep it close, there on the handlebars.

Or maybe it's a conscious reminder to 'stop and smell the flowers'?

Whatever the story, I love flowers on bikes in general, and the dichotomy of this mental image in particular.

rose on a bike