Beautiful Bicycles: Kate Spade for Adeline Adeline Abici

Whew. That is a mouthful of a name.


So I just call her “Kermit Allegra.”

The first thing you need to know about Kermit Allegra is that, despite being one classy lady, she fits in pretty much anywhere. And she’s especially at home with me in Nashville.

I had ridden an Abici before and dreamed of one pretty much ever since. But superstitiously I feared getting one, because of Nashville’s hills and because reality seldom lives up to memory/dreams.

Well, the Abici ended up being one of those exceptions that proves the rule. Thank goodness. Despite being a single speed, this bicycle’s light weight and sporty geometry make it a pretty solid hill-climber and a joy to ride. The Kate Spade for Adeline Adeline Abici is a Granturismo Donna that has been customized by Kate Spade. Customizations are minimal, but include a rear rack, a front headlight with a vintage look, a special logo and, of course, the signature Kate Spade green color. The bicycle is priced at $1,100, vs. the $995 price tag for the non-Kate Spade Donna, which is a fair additional amount to pay for the addition of a rack and front light (although I have minor issues with both of these components).

The front light has a vintage look. It is battery-powered, which doesn’t bother me—but the fact that the button to turn it on, which is on the back of the light, is jammed up against the front fork (shown in the photo above) does. Perhaps this design flaw will be corrected in future iterations? There are plenty of attractive lights with a side switch.

I take consolation from the creamy ivory grips in marbled plastic and the classic ding-dong bell.

And the Brooks B17 saddle, which was comfortable for my 20-mile ride, the longest for the two of us yet.

The KS Abici’s rear rack is not the Pletscher that is shown on the product page, but something different and curvier. With the addition of rack straps, it is quite functional despite the delicate lines, though unfortunately there is no good place to attach a rear light.

The frame is lugged, with a delicate swoop to the top tube that is oh-so-Italian. The fenders and enclosed chain case make this an all-weather ride, while the coaster brake and front handbrake allow you to keep your hands free to sip a drink. (Drink holder is after-market.)

Kermit Allegra offers you a sweet treat

Kermit Allegra offers you a sweet treat

Despite my single-speed qualms, so far I have ridden this bike everywhere that I have ridden my Peugeot or Batavus—and then some. As someone who prefers to use strength over rapid spinning when it comes to pedaling, I haven’t found the single speed to be any more challenging than my geared bikes, even on the toughest hills. Sure, I’m not speeding up them, but I wasn’t doing that on my other bikes, either.

The reasons for this remain something of a mystery to me, since I have spent more time enjoying the effect than investigating the cause. I have read that there is some loss of power due to the friction between the chain and derailleur  when you’re riding a geared bike, but the reported loss percentages vary between 5% and 20% (and some claim it’s complete BS).

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What I know for sure about this bike is that it suits me perfectly in myriad ways. The 47.5 cm frame makes all my other bikes feel too big. The bright, cheery color makes it impossible not to smile when you see it. The single-speed makes riding feel carefree and easy. The drawbacks: less than perfect lighting solutions; rack is not functional without the addition of straps.

If you, too, are looking for your bicycle soul mate, I recommend giving the Kate Spade Abici a whirl. At the very least, you’ll have fun.

Trisha on Rolleiflex

{If you couldn’t tell by looking at them, all photos were taken by Dottie.}

Kate Spade Abici for Adeline Adeline, as reviewed here.

MSRP $1,100 includes:

47.5 cm lugged steel frame
Front caliper brake
Rear coaster brake
Enclosed chain case
Ivory marbled plastic handgrips
Brooks B17 saddle
Front battery-powered headlamp
Rear rack
Fenders
Kickstand
Bell

Add-ons by me:
Rack strap
PDW Bar-ista

This bicycle was given to me in exchange for ad placement on this site. However, the views expressed in this post are completely my own.

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Dreaming of bright, spring colors

This photo of Olivia Palermo for Tattler Russia makes me want to dress up, find a pretty spot and take glamour shots with my bicycle.  :)

olivia_bike

Maybe when the snow melts and the weather warms up.

The vibrant colors remind me of past Kate Spade-themed posts.

Adorable Trisha with her Kate Spade Abici.

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Me with my Kate Spade Dress

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Sadly, right now everything outside my window is grey and cold.  Is spring coming soon?!?

{Olivia Palermo image found here.}

Inside Shinola—Detroit’s newest old name brand

bixbybell

Few things make me happier than the increase in the rise of affordable city bikes available in North America. When I bought my Batavus in 2009, I went all the way to England to get it, because Batavus bikes were only sold by a few North American dealers. Now Public and Brooklyn Cruiser and even mainstream manufacturers like Trek have added city bikes to their lineups for well under $1000.

Of course, selling bikes at that price point means having the frameset built overseas. If you want a city bike built in the US, your choices are myriad, but your price options are not: Most run upwards of $2000 for the frame alone. Which is not a criticism—if you’re getting a handbuilt frame from Ant, for example, it is cheap at the price. But what if you want similar quality on a smaller budget? That’s the gap that Shinola is trying to fill with their line of city bicycles.

shinolawelcome

When I was in Detroit last week, I was able to visit Shinola and learn a little more about the brand—and the bikes. The brand Shinola has been around for quite some time—and yes, it’s the same one that inspired the famous catchphrase.

Headquartered in the famous Argonaut Building, GM’s former design headquarters, the entry to the offices is a nod to the brand’s history of shoe polish production. Now, however, the company focuses on bicycles, watches and leather goods.

shinolaheritage

Original Shinola products

The first thing everyone asks me when I tell them what Shinola makes is why those three products—so of course it was the first question I asked Alex Stchekine, Shinola’s bike assembly specialist, when I arrived. The answer? People who geek out over watches and people who geek out over bikes have a lot of overlap—and of course, bikes and watches are both efficient, useful technologies, and can be investment pieces that are built to last. As for the leather goods, well, if you’re going to make watchbands, bike saddles and grips, you might as well make bags, wallets and journals. (Plans are in the works to make leather bike bags to match the bicycles.)

alexandme

 

As an aside, apparently people are *really* eager to see Shinola watches—even more than the bikes! They’ll be available for men and women soon, and feature quartz movements and leather bands made in Missouri.

women's watch/men's watch

women’s watch/men’s watch

 

This is where the watches are assembled.

This is where the watches are assembled.

But I know our readers are here for the bikes, so let’s move on! Shinola is starting out with two models: The Runwell and the Bixby, which are sold as complete bikes. The Runwell has 11 speeds and retails at $2950. The Bixby, a three-speed with a distinctive decal and geometry, retails at $1950. Both come in three frame sizes and three colors, and the Bixby comes in a relaxed diamond or a step-through frame. The diamond Bixby is sold in black or the emerald shown below; the stepthrough Bixby is sold in black, cream or mauve.

runwellheadbadge greenbixby

Made in the same Waterford, Wisconsin, factory that formerly built Schwinns and now produces its own line of bicycles and those of some other small manufacturers—including a few of the higher-end Rivendell models—the bikes are then assembled in Detroit. They can be shipped fully or partially assembled.

allofthebikes

runwellframes

Runwell frames

Whether they’re building bikes, watches or leather journals or bags, attention to detail is important at Shinola. Most of this post will focus on the Bixby, since that’s the bike I test rode, but let’s take a minute to admire the lugs, custom dropouts and reinforced front fork on the Runwell. Can you see how the cables are routed through the frame?

doublefrontfork

shinoladrivetrain

shinoladropouts

Both bike models feature internal Shimano hubs, Shimano disc brakes, Velo Orange fenders and stems. The saddles and grips are custom Shinola-branded leather. Somehow, I cut the nose off this one when taking the photo! But the feel was similar to a new Brooks B17, although I think the nose is slightly longer.

Shinola saddle

Shinola saddle

These are pictures of a Bixby, which is accented with warm copper rivets, pedals and grip borders. The Runwell accents are silver.

shinolagrips

pedalsblog

The tires are Schwalbe, of course.

waitingwheels

And the bell is a Crane.

bixbybell

Each bike also has a serial number.

shinolabadgeserial

The Argonaut Building is also home to the College for Creative Studies, and several students have worked on projects with Shinola dealing with bike design. The walls are decorated with student prototype ideas—elements of some of them have made it into the final Shinola designs, including the elegant cream decal on the Bixby. You can also see here, again, how the cables are routed through the frame.

bixbyblog

Here’s one example of a student project. We at LGRAB support the creation of a bicycle meant to haul wine!

studentprojectbike

I only got to ride the Bixby around the offices, but here are my impressions of it.

meandbixby

FIrst, the posture was more agressive than any of my other bikes, with the saddle positioned slightly above the handlebars. I felt perched on the bike, although still fairly upright. Obviously this is something that could be adjusted by raising the handlebars, but it also felt like something I could get used to easily and seemed to be a good position for this bike’s geometry.

ridingbixby3

ridingbixby2

The 47cm Bixby fit me almost perfectly, something that, as a short-torsoed 5-feet-and-change girl, I find to be pretty rare. The only other bike that I’ve ridden that fits me as well is Kermit Allegra. This is the only size ladies’ Bixby listed on Shinola’s site, which says it should fit riders up to 5’8″. I’m not sure that would be true if the 5’8″ person in question has long legs. The inseam measurements say that the 47cm Bixby fits those with inseams between 25-32, and as usual that seems like a better way to judge whether the bike will fit you (my inseam is 28 inches).

ridingbixby

Stopping power felt good, and pedaling was a breeze, though obviously there was no real challenge on terrain like this!

inspectingbixby

inspectingbixby2

That said, this bike is light! Hard to say without a comparison around, but for a bike with fenders and a steel frame, I was surprised to find it so easy to lift. They don’t list weights on their site, but I’d say that it is under 30 pounds—at least as light as my Abici, if not lighter. Of course, it doesn’t have lights or a rack on it yet.

pickingupbixby

Alex told me that response to the bikes has been better than expected so far. They’re currently building about 50 a month at Waterford, and they expect to build around 500 this year.

Obviously it’s impossible to compare the Bixby to the competition in any meaningful way after a short indoor test ride, but I was impressed with the attention to detail and the quality feel of the bicycle. Luckily, those of you in the market for a bike at this price range can check the Bixby or Runwell out for yourself. Currently they are available at Copenhagen Cyclery in Chicago, and in a few other shops across the country, but Shinola will be opening two storefronts in the near future: One on West Canfield street in Detroit, and the other in Tribeca in New York City. I really enjoyed my test ride of the Shinola Bixby and might have to take another spin when I’m in NYC this spring.

{Thanks to Bridget and Alex at Shinola for setting up the visit and being so generous with their time, and to my brother Charlie for taking most of these photos!}

Re-discovering Nashville

trisha abici

Howdy!  I recently got an iPhone and I’m intrigued by all the blogging/twitter/picture possibilities.  Therefore, those of you who follow us on Twitter may have seen that Trisha and I were hanging together in Nashville this weekend.  Working on some fun blog-related stuff.  :-)

On Saturday, we biked to the park and picnicked for a few hours with a bottle of wine and some good cheese.  I rode the Flik folding bike and Trisha rode her beloved Kate Spade Abici.

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trisha abici

nashville

Other than blog work and bicycling, we’ve basically been eating our way through Nashville, with stops at Barista Parlor, Rolf and Daughters, Hattie B’s Chicken (for a Nashville bike brunch and meet-up with my friend Erin and her baby Finn), and The Pharmacy.  Love Southern Food!

hattie

erin

hattie2

pharmacy

We also absorbed some culture at the Frist Art Museum.

frist

tulips

Finally, a bit of shopping, including some long-desired, ultra-local Imogen + Willie jeans for Trisha and Wolford tights for me (I’ll review them here, as I’m hopeful they are the perfect winter tights).

Re-discovering Nashville with every visit (after living here six years ago) is always a treat.  The city is on a huge upswing, including improving public transportation and bicycling facilities.  Every time I visit, there is more to see and do!

See you in London

The Harp Bar, Covent Garden

So as I mentioned a couple of months ago, Dottie and I will be traveling to London, Paris and Amsterdam together this fall. London readers, would you join us for the Very First LGRAB Overseas Happy Hour at The Harp Bar in Covent Garden* for a pint on Sunday, October 14? We’ll be there between 5pm and 7pm, most likely on some sort of two-wheeled conveyance.
:)

 

We’re so excited to have the chance to meet more of you in person! Let us know in the comments if you can make it! Cheers.

 

{ Related: our post on the NYC reader happy hour last summer at Adeline Adeline. }

* Thanks to reader Liz for the rec! Pint on us if we like the place.

Fashion Friday: Bike Spring!

bike spring

Happy Friday!  The weather in Chicago is absolutely beautiful, with blue skies and sunshine.  I am in the mood for wearing a bright spring dress and fun sandals, hopping on my bike, and riding around all weekend!  I plan to do just that, once I get this work day over with.  :)  Along with all that bike riding, my weekend plans are to go to farmer’s market, start planting a balcony garden (tomatoes and herbs!), develop some film, read a lot, and relax.

In that spirit, here is some spring bike fashion inspiration.  This is a new Fashion Friday series and the goal is to inspire – a mindset, a style, a look-alike thrift store outfit – not to advertise any particular brand.  If you are not interested in fashion, feel free to skip over these posts, but in the answers to our survey, readers overwhelmingly requested more fashion content.  The people have spoken!  :)

Nutcase “Dots” helmetSolandra T-strap sandals and Primary Blooms dress from Anthropologie, Kate Spade New York Abici from Adeline Adeline

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Let’s Go Ride a Bike 2011 Year in Review

[Ed note:  We found this draft in the archives, which we were tweaking so much, we forgot to finalize and publish.  Better late than never!]

Holy crap it’s 2012. We’ve had an eventful year over at Let’s Go Ride a Bike.

Travel

Dottie visited Nashville in April to celebrate Trisha’s birthday and photograph her new Abici.

We went to NYC together and organized a social at Adeline Adeline.

Dottie B-cycled in Denver and toured breweries by bike in Fort Collins.

Trisha visited  Chicago for Dottie’s 30th birthday bash, and again the next month to try out the Chicago bike commuting lifestyle.

 EventsThe 2nd Annual LGRAB Summer Games!Trisha started a brunch for Nashville cyclists—we meet on the second Sunday of every month. Cruising to brunch in Nashville

Twelve Women-Who-Bike brunches happened in Chicago, on the first Sunday of every month.

LGRAB friend Ash of One Less Minivan organized monthly Critical Lass rides, which Dottie joined, beginning with the first in May.

Sara and Dottie organized a Cupcake Ride of select Chicago bakeries, ending with a rose garden picnic.

Dottie also joined in on a Seersucker Ride.

We both checked out the Tour de Fat festivals in our respective cities of Nashville and Chicago.

Trisha takes refreshment after the Nashville Tour de Fat

Beyond the Written Word

We started a podcast series and have posted three interviews on our iTunes page: with the men of Grid Chicago, the women of West Town Bikes, and Trisha and Dottie of LGRAB. :)

Trisha added Kermit Allegra to her bicycle stable.

We also continued our videos via our YouTube page and posted several this year: riding Chicago’s first protected bike lane, a busy Chicago commute, a calm Chicago commute, Chicago’s second protected bike lane, and a ride along the Lakefront Trail.

Cheers to another year of happy bike rides, friendship and fun! We can’t wait to see what 2012 has in store.

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Cheers to the cyclist’s happy hour!

Dottie and I had a great time at our first NYC cyclist’s happy hour. Co-hosted with Adeline Adeline, the evening was filled with interesting people, beautiful bicycles and just a wee bit of vino. :)

Wine uncorking!

Gracious Adeline owner, Julie

Steve and Jeanette chat in the bustling shop

The summer heat had just broken, and it was a beautiful evening for test-riding bikes.

Malaika takes a Linus test-ride

Julie and her pink Linus, Kate Middleton, stars of The Julie Blog.

 

Hilarious and huggable Amanda from Amanda's Project.

 

Gazelle test-riding

 

Abici test-riding

 

Chatting

 

Chatting with Kristin, aka neighbortease. :)

 

still more chatting: Steve, Dottie and Julie

Women! Bikes! (This one's Carol and her nifty commuter)

 

Riding away

Meeting longtime commentators and fellow bike lovers and bloggers was such a blast (here’s Julie’s take on the evening, Amanda’s take, and one from The Bike Writer). Next time, ladies and gentlemen, we’re coming back to ride. Thanks to Adeline Adeline for hosting the fun.

 

{B&W shot and developed by Dottie; color snaps courtesy of Trisha’s iPhone}

Meet LGRAB in NYC

Save the date: Dottie and I will be at Adeline Adeline in NYC for a happy hour on Thursday, August 4. Come test ride bikes and raise a glass to city cycling with us starting around 6 p.m. Free wine, food and cycling cheer = fun times.

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Summer Games, halfway point

Well, it’s the halfway point of the LGRAB 2011 Summer Games. How are you doing with your events? If you need some inspiration, check out some of the submissions we’ve gotten so far.

Wendy and her husband took a group ride in Cleveland. As she points out, group rides are a great way to build confidence and learn from more seasoned riders. She also wrote a letter to the city council requesting a bike rack outside her local grocery.

Our friend Melissa is going gangbusters on the Games from her new home in Denver. She test rode a different bike and fell in love with the Electra Townie.

Melissa and the Townie

Looks like a good fit! She also commuted to her new job by bike for the first time. “I was definitely more awake during the day and the ride home helped me relax.”

A&P of The Notables also test rode a different sort of bike (I love reading about people doing this). They enjoyed the Giant commuter model they tried, but are talking about a trip to NYC to see what Adeline Adeline has to offer.

Daniel of La Pedaleada went on a group ride and performed a maintenance task—and videotaped them both! Check it out. I need to proofride MY Brooks…

Cathey decided to perform a maintenance task on her Globe—checking the tire pressure and filling them up. “I never thought I would enjoy doing work on my bike, but now, strange as it may seem, I kind of have my fingers crossed that a tube will need replacing or my chain will need work. I can’t wait to keep learning!” she writes.

Deb went on a group ride to celebrate her one-year anniversary of cycling. Her official mileage tally: 1,140.98 miles. Makes me wonder what mine would be if I kept count! Maybe in 2012. :) She also explored new territory by riding the entire width of her township in Michigan.

Reader Annie from Minnesota has already completed FOUR events. She, too, has logged more than 1,000 miles on her bike in the last year. “I made up a Tshirt that I wear often when I ride.  It says, “Bicycle Minnesota” on the front and “Ride, Fat Girl, Ride” on the back.  It makes me smile,” she tells us.

Keep the entries coming!

p.s. are you adding your photos to our Flickr pool?

 

 

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