30 June 2008

Project Update 2: The Wine Box

wine box bike crate
OK, so I've secretly been on vacation the last week, with the blog auto-publishing. I'm back now and so rested and happy. So happy, indeed, that we finished the wine box, though there will continue to be tweaking for the foreseeable future.

We decided that the best way to attach it is with four individually tensioned bungee cords. We drilled holes in the box and passed the elastic cording through and tied a knot. It was that easy! It doesn't seem to move forward and back, but I'm in the process of testing how reliable that is. The hardware store didn't have the clip I wanted so this test is one of necessity. So far I've carried about twenty-five pounds in it. The steering gets a bit squirrely with that much weight up high, but that's to be expected. The box itself works great.

bike box wine crate

The best part is that I don't have to unload the box. I just unhook the bungees and carry the whole thing up my crazy stairs to the apartment. It couldn't be easier!

Update for Melissa: Here you can see a close-up of how it attaches. I covered the raw ends of the bungee with electrical tape so that's the black strips on the tan bungees.
attaching wine box to bike

27 June 2008

26 June 2008

Racing Stripes

girl bicycle Boston
Racing stripes on red make you seem like you're going a lot faster than you are.

25 June 2008

Acidulé - Lemon Lime Remix

She's looking very fresh right after the thunderstorm.

Doesn't she have a pretty handbag?

24 June 2008

Adult on a bicycle

When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race.
~H.G. Wells

23 June 2008

The Boston Skyline

tall bike Boston
That's a pretty tall bike!

I wonder how it turns? Slowly, I'd hope, but not too slowly...

Carrying flowers by bike

Yes, he got major points for this!

22 June 2008

A new delivery service in Boston

Boston bike delivery serviceI was so busy with the photo I forgot to note the company name. I think it is "Organic" something.

Leather bag and boots

Here is another old friend, this time she's riding her own bike. I love how the leather grips and saddle match her leather bag and boots. Hot stuff!

21 June 2008

Fitted jean jacket and heels

I'm starting to notice old friends around the city, still stylin'.
You're looking good, friend!

20 June 2008


I was struck by this woman's confidence on the road. She wasn't aggressive, but still had a forceful presence (in a good way!).

Handlebar bag

ladies' bike handbag
Anyone have any guesses as to what she's reaching for?

ladies' bike handbag
ladies' bike handbag

19 June 2008

Capri pedal pushers everywhere

How did I not notice this trend sooner?

capri pants pedal pushers bike fashion
capri pants pedal pushers bike fashion
capri pants pedal pushers bike fashion
capri pants pedal pushers bike fashion
capri pants pedal pushers bike fashion
capri pants pedal pushers bike fashion
capri pants pedal pushers bike fashion
capri pants pedal pushers bike fashion

18 June 2008

Ironic Juxtaposition

pickup truck bicycle hauling goods
This lady we've seen before provides an amusing juxtaposition here.

Don't you just love her functional and loaded bike in the street next to the empty pickup truck?

pickup truck hauling bicycle
As Sheldon Brown quotes Victor Hugo -
Le beau est aussi utile que l'utile
When you're both? That's cycle chic!

The white Raleigh Sports is named

white Raleigh Sports LadiesK tells me that she's settled on on the name Maggie and that indeed, "the Lady's not for turning".

I want to add that the bike, however, turns as needed!

Happy trails to K and Maggie. Thanks to everyone for the suggestions and support.

17 June 2008


woman lounging with her blue bike
Yes, it's that time of year. On a sunny day just head off to the park, lounge in the sun with your love, snuggle a little. Quality time together - that's what counts!

What she said!

Alex in Chicago has created the best "letter to the newbies" that I've seen. I want to blatantly copy it here with attribution, but instead I'll just comment here. Please read the original text!

1. time for a check-up
Nothing like having a bike you can count on. Here in Boston I know the shops are slammed, every time I've been in I've heard people dismayed to learn that their quick fix will take over a week. The Craigslist mechanics are a great idea. I know one such outfit, two guys who are doing bike repairs in their living room in Cambridge. Email windsorbikes@gmail.com to talk to them, and be sure to ask lots and lots of questions. As for the reflectors, Boston law says we can have a rear reflector or rear light.

2. get loaded
I love the beautiful totes and bungees end up making me frustrated. Girl, you want a basket on your bike. Every girl does at some level (depending on her bike). Give in to temptation and get a basket (I haven't yet and I really really want one!). It's a pain to carry the weight on your back. Get the weight on your bike, and if you have to bungee, so be it. You'll eventually see why I don't think that's the first choice...

3. stop being ms. nice gal
Oh, man, Alex you called it here! How hard is it, as a woman, to say "this is my place in this world and I'm entitled to it"? It can be very hard. But I know it is good for me, psychologically, every single day.

4. ignore the horns
What she said!

5. check it or wreck it
Absolutely talk to other cyclists. Road rage issues is a bond we, every one of us, share.

6. the most direct route is not always the safest
Don't think like a driver and you'll find your best way. Don't forget including all those places you keep meaning to visit.

7. slow the $%^& down
Note: cute boys will slow down if you smile, and you have the easiest opening line ever - "nice bike"...

8. it can be your fault
Set a good example for other cyclists and show cars how happy and considerate cyclists are. They'll be wishing they could lose two wheels and about 2,000 pounds.

9. they did not put ramps in the sidewalks for you
The ADA has created a problem between pedestrians and cyclists that has never before existed. Pretty please don't add to it! Just have both feet on the sidewalk, no problem at all with walking with your bike.

10. put away the ipod
What she said. I know I personally relish the "quiet" time and focus.

11. be kind to your fellow bikers
You're joining a close knit group of kind and humble people. Be kind in kind.

Alex's post is brilliant, just what I would have said. Thank you.

16 June 2008

Project Update 1: The Wine Box

wine crate bike basket conversion homemade DIY
Over the weekend we began the conversion of the wine box I found in the trash. I have to thank my mother-in-law for her help and ideas, she is really good at these projects. Her house is completely customized to her wishes.

reinforced corners bike basket wine crate conversionAnyway, first step with the DIY wine box bike basket, for any of you interested, is reinforcing the structural integrity because the staples in the box are not meant to last. As she drilled the holes for the screws she said that one staple had already given way. We used some quarter-round wood that she had in the barn, cut down to box-height, and screwed the panels of the box into this stronger wood.

We haven't decided yet about how to preserve the wood. My husband votes for natural aging, my mother-in-law and other friends vote for oil finish, and I just don't know what I can do. The appeal of a simple polyurethane is that I do it once, it's preserved and done, and I don't have to deal with smelly finishes over and over in my tiny apartment thoughout the heat of summer. The husband's advice is sound in that the box isn't going to degrade immediately and so I can wait and decide over time.

Sadly this box isn't written all in French, or from a winery in my hometown in California, or (like JPTwins' box) from the winery of my father. However the box was free, and it does have a cyclist on it. So I like it.

bicyclist wine box bike basket rack

Stay tuned! The next post will show how we plan to attach it so that I can remove it easily while still filled to overflowing with good things to eat.

14 June 2008

Slim, Stylish, and Smiling

Boston lady bike commuter
This is what 17 years of bicycle commuting looks like. As the French say, Pas mal!
She's definitely having more fun than the lady on her cell phone in the car.

13 June 2008

Bicycles and gardens go well together

Community Farm Share pickup on a bicycle
Well, you can see I need my wine box pronto! Today was the first day of distribution for my organic farm share. It seems there is something about bicycles, public libraries, and community gardening that all go together. I'm not the only cyclist enjoying a share in an organic farm and I'm not alone in maintaining and enjoying a Community Garden plot. I wonder why these things just seem to fit together so nicely, like a contentment jigsaw puzzle?

It's going to all work even better when I put that produce in a wooden box and use a bungee cord net to keep it all safe. My filets/string bags did not work well as pictured. However I hope the veggies will be as good as pictured:

organic food share
Though it's clearly off-topic, I'm so excited about our local food I want to share what we got:
  • two heads of lettuce (chosen from many varieties)
  • .33 lb salad greens
  • .66 lb spinach
  • 1 bunch radishes
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 3 Hakurei turnips
  • 1 bunch chive flowers

We'll be eating well tonight!

My community garden plot isn't doing as well yet. It's off to a slow start but I'm starting to get some flowers and I think the dill and basil will be taking off soon. I'm hoping!

community gardens

Found a wine box to make my bike basket!

I'm very excited, I've been waiting a year and a half to do this (since we came back from France). This particular box did not contain the very best wine, but it's wooden and was previously on its way to a landfill and will be a perfect prototype project.

Looking into wine box bike baskets, they seem to all be in the front but this box is so large that I think it may need to go on the back. It will be just the thing to pick up my Community Food Share, with a bungee net over the lot.

I'm currently researching how to attach these boxes, here is what I've found so far:

1. A holder basket plus struts, which look nice in that you could bring in the box in bad weather.

2. A nice front rack
Relevant text includes:
The wine box is fastened to the rack with 8 hefty zip ties which are passed through holes drilled in the box. I reinforced the box with a couple of long square-drive stainless deck screws on each corner as wine boxes are nailed and will probably work loose otherwise. To protect the box from the weather I coated it inside and out with marine grade teak oil left over from another project. An oil finsh can be easily recoated as needed, will allow the wood to weather gracefully to a warm hue over time and won't chip off when banged around. In true Bakfiets style, I also drilled a couple of drain holes at the back, lower end of the box to keep standing water to a minimum when it's left out in the rain.

3. Perhaps my favorite, from Vélo Vogue, which is very simple with just struts and hooks. It looks like the light is mounted to the underside of the box.

wine box bike basket custom DIY modification
Photo from Vélo Vogue.

If anyone knows of other inspiration, please comment. I will be sure to post lots of photos of whatever we end up with!

11 June 2008

New Bike Excitement!!!

white Raleigh three speed

Raleigh 3 speed Ladies sportA new bike is so much fun, even if it's vicarious excitement!

I'm all fired up because my friend K got a new bike this evening. It is a 1971 Raleigh Sports, purchased from the same folks where Swiss Miss got her bike: Menotomy Vintage Bicycles.

It just goes to show you - she's been waiting for a white Raleigh ladies' bike since last fall. Patience is a virtue, and K is very happy with her bike.

A short walk down Newbury Street garnered numerous compliments from the passerby. K was chagrined when a cute boy on a green Raleigh Sport commented on her bike. Only as he was riding away did she notice that he was cute... she was too busy checking out his bike!

She's working out what to name this girl bike. We have a strong contender but are happy to take suggestions!

white raleigh three speed

Elegant Summer

I saw her pedaling sedately in our scorching heat and was captivated with her ensemble: note how her bag coordinates with her outfit, they're hard to see but her earrings and bracelets do too. While we were chatting she told me that her children have their own bikes and she gets many compliments during family outings, riding calmly together.

She feels no need for speed. She gets there in her own time, gracefully.

As I rode away I tried to think of words to describe the encounter. "Gracious" and "regal" were the ones which came to mind. She made my day more beautiful. That's the definition of cycle chic.

It's been SUPER hot here

tank top and jeans on a bike
98 degrees Fahrenheit, 37 degrees Celsius. No joke hot. This lady looked cool in her tank, with the flowered bag on her handlebars.

tank top and jeans on a bike

10 June 2008

Retailer Jacob appropriates bikes

bicycle retailing
There's no denying that this is becoming a real trend this season.