For the last few weeks you may have noticed me riding Le Peug more often.
But I like to be fair (I was the kind of child who worried about stuffed animals being lonely if they didn’t sleep with me every night, which is why I only ever had one), so for the past couple of weeks it’s been the Bat’s turn.
The minute my butt hit the seat, I thought, no wonder I brought this bike back from the UK. Smooth, stylish, sturdy, easy to shift, built-in lights and zero maintenance. Why would I want to ride something else? Why have two bikes, again?
Funny thing is, I know I’ll feel the same way the next time I get back on Le Peug. Light, nimble, sporty and fast. Why would I want to ride something else? Why have two bikes, again?
The bike made it to U.S. shores in early May of 2009, courtesy of my lovely parents (story here). Since then, we’ve enjoyed all four seasons together, as shown in the photos below.
Dottie and The Bat on our Garden Party Ride
The autumn leaves . . .
And back to spring!
I really need to take more scenic photos of my bike this year
One year in, I still think the Bat was the best bicycle bargain ever. My fellow Americans, the pound is pretty low again these days. It might be time to start trolling the clearance sections of your favorite British bicycle shops and contemplating a summer vacation.
Here she is waiting outside for me during a happy hour last week.
As I was walking away, I looked back and found myself turning around to take a picture (or 10). Who cares what the rush hour drivers thought? And anyway, I knew my friend C wouldn’t get there for a few more minutes — she was trying to find a place to park her car.
Here in Nashville, it’s back to our regularly scheduled programming. Still cold and wintry, but the snow is all gone, so I’ve been able to ride again. The Bat was even talked into posing for a few photos to show off her new accessories — which my brother brought back from Amsterdam as a Christmas present.
I’m still very jealous that he got to Amsterdam first, but these new “On the Road” panniers went a long way toward making me feel better about it. They can carry a lot and fit perfectly on the rack. Great for grocery shopping.
Only problem is, they have to be buckled on and off the rack, which takes time (especially with cold fingers) and I don’t like to leave them on overnight, so I haven’t used them as much as I’d like to. Anyone have ideas for securing them to the bike? I know the canvas could always be cut, but I thought a thin cable lock or chain might be a deterrent — the kind of secondary lock people put on saddles.
One of these is carrying a little more than the other!
My other gift was a “brrring” bicycle bell, which my camera utterly refuses to photograph. Which meant googling “fietsbellen” to find a photo of one just like it! After going through 9 pages of results (those Dutch have a lot of different bicycle bells!) it finally turned up.
image courtesy of dag.nl
Mine is minus the battle scars, but I love the Dutch crown emblem. It looks great on the Bat, and is a big improvement over the stock bell that came on the bike.
Well, for the day at least! Afraid that continued neglect of my darling Batavus could lead to a pant-snatching incident, á la Oma, I took her out to enjoy one of the last days of fall. Together we posed in front of a scraggly tree that is desperately holding on to its leaves. Keep ‘em up there, little tree — I’m not ready for winter!
Off to work — I look skeptical of the self-timer feature
After two weeks plus of riding the Flik, my Bat felt . . . heavy. But also — stable! And comfortable. I know you roadies out there will probably say it’s just what you’re used to (and you’ll have a point — to an extent, I have gotten used to craning my neck on the Flik), but an upright riding position is SO much more comfortable than being launched out over the handlebars. The Bat was forgiving of my neglect and my sweater tights made it to work without complications.
Weekend plans include meeting up with Andrew, a local owner of a Bike Friday, during a ride through Shelby Bottoms. And, gulp, a viewing of New Moon. Don’t judge, people. As this spot-on article in the WaPo warns, it could happen to you.
While riding a bicycle through an unfamiliar college campus, on unmarked footpaths, crossing one’s fingers that the rain holds off and trying to avoid having haul a quite heavy bicycle up or down the flights of stairs that seem all too likely to pop up in the path from lunch back to work as the crow flies, one might, against the odds, be glad to see cars. And a parking lot. Especially when that parking lot leads to the street one was hoping to find.
Parking lot leads to road, which means: street signs!
Perhaps getting honked at on 21st isn’t so bad after all. I mean, if such a thing were to happen to a person, she might think that an alternative route clogged with impatient drivers wouldn’t be so bad after all.
Here’s a short video from my morning ride last Thursday. In summer my ride takes place much earlier, and I love the sounds of the birds and the quiet of the street when I am on the road before anyone else (at least, that’s what it feels like). Of course, it all seems much nicer when you can’t feel the humidity!
Other than the sweat factor, does your commute change in the summer?
Right now I have three bikes. They’re all in my living room. And I love it. Check out my posse:
There be things that my posse can do.
Don’t they look ready for action? I love the way the flash caught the reflector on the Bat.
Not sure what’s up with the angle of the seat on the Dahon and the Batavus, but other than that, they look ready to ride into the sunset. Speaking of bikes in the living room, I can’t seem to leave the Bat outside. If anyone has any interior bike storage ideas, I’d love to hear them. Have thought about the Cycloc, but it’s expensive and I’m not sure how it would work for a step-through frame. Anyone tried it?
There is a beautiful bike in my living room today and it’s all due to my fabulous parents.
You may recall my riding the Batavus in England and then heading off to Russia. Since I wasn’t going back via the UK, there was no way I could bring the bike home myself. Luckily, my brother and I had bought tickets for my parents to visit Prague and London last fall, for their upcoming 30th anniversary — and they generously offered to take the bike back for me. I arranged to have it delivered to their hotel, and they would simply take it to the airport on a shuttle, check it, and take it to Alabama. Easy peasy? Not so much, when you’re talking about a fully assembled Dutch Bike. Anyone who thinks they might be traveling with a bike in future, read on!
Mom and Dad decided to take the bike from the box and transport it in the cardboard sleeve, since the box was so unwieldy.
A Batavus packed in a cardboard sleeve for transport.
When they came rolling up to the check-in counter, the United Airlines people at Heathrow looked at them like they were aliens. The woman at the counter asked my dad what she was supposed to do with it…he said, “Well, I was hoping you’d put it on the plane.” They made them deflate the tires because they were worried they’d explode. Luckily, they were too taken aback to realize they could have charged $200 for transporting the bike. Score one for my budget!