Tag Archives: Batavus Entrada Spirit

Back on the Bat

After more than a year of languishing in my stairwell, giving me sad looks, the Batavus Entrada Spirit is back on the road. I pumped up the tires, dusted off the cobwebs and leaves and rode the bike on tiptoe to work late last week (the seat was still adjusted to D from when she visited for my birthday in 2011!).

All fixed up and ready to ride

 

On my way home, I stopped to let a mechanic at my LBS help me with the seat adjustment. This seatpost has always been a bear. Screws get stripped so easily for some reason, and they have to be threaded further up than a lot of screws are, and even then they don’t always tighten enough to make the seat completely immobile. She patiently went through two or three of them to find the right one. Thank goodness for bike mechanics. And double thank goodness for a bike mechanic who finally promised to order me a quick-release lever for this bike!

So this week, the Bat and I have been fighting the humidity together. As well as bad hair. And magically disappearing makeup. For those of you who think that this dress is too skimpy for the office (aka my grandmother, who likes to say that I ride my bike wearing “nightgowns”—love you Grams), rest assured that a scarf and suit jacket are stowed away in my new Po Campo bag. Along with two books, a camera, a pound of coffee beans, and the normal stuff one might carry in a purse.

While the Bat was gathering dust, I had somehow convinced myself that the reason I was neglecting it was that my other bikes were better suited to Nashville’s hills. Riding it again, that’s just not true. So…I guess I’m just going to continue to own four bikes.

As well as one new set of eyeglasses.

Anyone else dusted off an old friend lately?

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How Preparation and Maintenance Affect Winter Bicycling

Trisha’s post yesterday about the difficulty of riding in Nashville after snow has me thinking about the important role that city preparation and maintenance play in winter commuting. If streets are not cleared quickly after a storm, even a modest snowfall can ruin several bike commuting days.

Southern cities are getting more wintry weather this year than they’re equipped to handle. I heard on the news that Atlanta has 8 snow plows; in contrast, Chicago has hundreds. I assume road salt is in similarly limited supply.

Without salt and plows, Trisha has to walk her bike over large icy patches in Nashville

On top of this, Southern bicyclists are likewise less equipped to handle the weather, as there’s usually not enough snow to justify purchasing snow tires or studded tires. This results in more of Trisha’s commutes in Nashville being thwarted than mine in Chicago, despite the much greater snow totals in Chicago. You can see this happen with Bike Skirt Elisa’s commute in Alabama, too.

Meanwhile, this week in Chicago, I took one day off bicycling when the snow was actively falling on Tuesday. The next day, after 5 inches of snow, all but the small side roads had been cleared of snow and ice.  Plus, to handle any surprises, I have studded tires.

Streets are reasonably clear a day after a Chicago snowstorm

Unfortunately, the bike lanes are still a complete mess, which is something the city needs to work on improving, but at least I could ride in the main lanes safely.

Unfortunately, bike lanes are mostly ignored in the snow-clearing process

Therefore, it seems like so far this winter, snow and ice have been more problematic for bicyclists in the South than in areas to the north that regularly get snow.

Of course, I have not forgotten about the crazy blizzard action going on around New York and New England. How long does it take after one foot of snow falls before roads are reasonably clear for bicycling?

And for everyone else, feel free to leave a comment stating your location and how well your city has been dealing with wintry weather this year.

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What is this, New England?

I cannot count how many times I’ve heard those words over the past week—most recently, this morning, when I strolled into Fiddlecakes through falling snow with ice crunching underfoot in search of a cheddar and bacon scone (totally worth it).

Yesterday I rode to work. It was right around the freezing mark, so not too cold, and the night before the roads had seemed pretty clear. Thinking I wouldn’t be walking, I traded the snow boots I’d been trapped in all weekend for my heeled leather boots. Mistake! Icy, slushy patches had me on foot for about half my commute. Fearing I wouldn’t be able to spot these in the dark, and feeling discretion was the better part of valor, I accepted a ride home with a co-worker. The Bat is currently installed in my office, hoping for clearer streets (and perhaps an earlier departure time) tonight.

More pictures, from a snowy walk to watch my alma mater Auburn win the National Championship at the Melrose on Monday night.

I know other people have had to put their riding on hold because of the weather—let’s hope we get back to our regularly scheduled programming, i.e. less snow, ASAP.

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FAQ’s – Part II

Earlier this year, Trisha and I opened a Formspring account and welcomed you all to ask us questions.  We’ve been answering the questions on Formspring individually as they come in.  Now we’re putting the answers together as a cohesive FAQ section, although some of the questions are not so frequent.  :)  This is the second half.  Read the first half here.

Amsterdam is flat. Chicago is flat. Is Nashville flat? What effect does topology have on how bike-friendly a city is? I suppose Portland is not flat.

I don’t think Portland is flat, no. And Nashville definitely isn’t! IMO that is not the biggest consideration for bike-friendliness, although it may be an obstacle in developing a large bicycling culture since hills can be intimidating. You will develop the necessary muscles, and there’s always the downhill stretches! And hey, as Dottie pointed out in a recent post, there’s no shame in walking your bike up a hill if you need to.

Don’t your feet get sweaty when wearing heels? Even when I wear just flats its definitely not as comfortable as when I wear socks + some sort of sneaker

No, my feet are actually cooler when I’m not wearing socks and sneakers. Maybe you could throw a bit of talcum or baby powder into your heels before you set off and see if that makes a difference.

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FAQ’s – Part I

Earlier this year, Trisha and I opened a Formspring account and welcomed you all to ask us questions.  We’ve been answering the questions on Formspring individually as they come in.  Now we’re putting the answers together as a cohesive FAQ section, although some of the questions are not so frequent.  :)  This is the first half.  We’ll post the second half soon.

How and when did Dottie and Trisha meet?

Trisha and I met through our mutual friend, Erin, at a group happy hour. The first meeting I really remember was at a Russian dinner party I threw at my apartment. Trisha showed up with a shirt that said, in Russian, “I love Russian.” Awesomeness. Soon after, we went to a midnight showing of Gremlins and I drank too much beer and had to leave before the movie ended (beer buzz + crowded theater + gremlins driving Barbie cars = overwhelming). From then on, we were fast friends.  :)  That was, I think, about 4 years ago when I lived in Nashville for law school.

What saddles do you use on your bikes?

I (Dottie) have Brooks saddles, which I love. On Oma it’s the B67 with springs – the most comfortable saddle ever. On Betty it’s the B17S – no springs and took longer to break in, but still great. Trisha’s Batavus came with a Selle Royale and her Peug has a vintage saddle.

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Camera Karma

As Part II of the LGRAB Summer Games was coming to a close (how has it been six weeks since we started these??) I spent a lot of time reading everyone’s entries and planning how to participate myself.

So imagine my joy when, last Wednesday, I realized I was carrying a load (small box of books, plus a laptop) on my bike.

Then imagine my chagrin when I arrived home, pulled out my camera to get some photographic evidence . . . and realized I had left my memory card in my iMac at the office. Duh.

Luckily I had a backup method: telephone!

The haze over the lens pretty much says it all about the sort of humid, sultry weather we’ve been having lately. And the uptilted seat? well, that’s something that will be addressed when I write up my “complete a bicycle maintenance task” post.

I plan on being a much more timely poster when it comes to Part III!

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Playing favorites

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?

Anyone else have trouble picking a favorite bike?

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Cute as a bug

. . . my Batavus, that is.

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. ;)

Where will your bike take you this week?

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Bat-cessories

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.

Have you added anything to your bike lately?

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Back to Bat

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.

Happy Friday!

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The Bat Hits Broadway . . . Eventually!

Just when I start thinking, yes, I am a badass city cyclist, something comes along to humble me. This is probably as it should be. My most recent lesson in humility was 8th Ave. South. I have always avoided this most direct route to downtown, preferring instead to go a couple of miles out of my way to take the Music Row bike lanes, since it’s a steep climb on a busy road. But on Saturday I had a friend along who needed to go that way to get out of town (more about that later), and I figured it was a good time to try a new route.

I would post a picture of the hill I was facing, but they never look as bad as they feel. Let’s just say it is the kind of hill that has a reservoir at the top of it, and a Civil War-era fort, and the climb lasted for at least three long city blocks. We made it to the top but I spent a lot more time in first gear than I expected to — and had to rest for at least a minute in front of the Scientology Center before moving on (luckily no one came out to recruit us).

But! It was all worth it when we got downtown and the Bat got her first glimpse of Elvis (yes, if you’re wondering, he IS from Memphis, not Nashville — but we have kindly provided several statues for drunk tourists to pose inappropriately with).

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Together Again

This week I am in Nashville, vacationing at the Trisha Resort and Spa. Highly recommended, as it includes a pool, cats, bikes, alcohol and delicious home-cooked meals. Except for the ride from the airport on Tuesday, I’ve yet to get in a car. Here we are last night setting out for a Yazoo party in celebration of its new beer, Sue, a high-alc, cherry-wood smoked porter. Yumm.

To the beer party!

To the beer party! Special thanks to photographer C

I must say a bit about the hills. And the humidity. Ugh. Very articulate, I know, but that pretty much sums it up. Trisha is a Southern warrior, I tell you!

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A Hypothetical Situation

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.

The lot you're looking for

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.

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Me and the Bike and the Morning

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?

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My Batavus Entrada Spirit

Now that I’ve had my Batavus Entrada Spirit for nearly a month, it’s time for the review.  The short and sweet version: I love it. Buying a bike I’d never ridden was a risk that paid off.

On our way to work

On our way to work

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My Posse Can Do

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.

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.

Another snap:

Oh boys you give me the beat.

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?

Song that inspired the title is after the jump.

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Most Fun You Can Have on Two Wheels

Much fuss is made in cycling circles about the factors that keep people from bike commuting: lack of safe parking, no showers at work, unsafe streets, etc. Sometimes, however, the biggest challenge is much more fundamental: being scared to ride a bike. Not scared of traffic or anything like that; scared of the bike itself. Starting, stopping, staying upright, wobbling, and turning all create reasons to stress for those who have not ridden a bike since childhood. Such was the case for Dottie when she started riding again after more than 10 years, and for my friend and former college roommate Kristi, who was visiting this weekend along with the Dotties. Despite having led ski groups and trail rides–talk about something to fear!–Kristi was a bit intimidated at the thought of being on two wheels.

Kristi Rides A Bike

Kristi Rides a Bike

Luckily, such fear is easily overcome for those willing to give it a try. Check out Kristi turning the fear to fun ratio upside down with Dottie’s helpful guidance and me yapping in the background.

more about “Kristi “, posted with vodpod

From here, we took it to the streets and she was amazing. Come back and ride the Bat anytime, K!

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Not So New

Traveled more than 2,000 miles and not a scratch — but the Batavus’ first ride in America left a mark on both of us.

Legs can't stop a Dutch bike.

Legs can't stop a Dutch bike.

The Bat is not unscathed.

Dings and scuffs.

No, we didn’t fall — but when you have to try to lock your bike to a lamppost there’s a lot of opportunity for something to go wrong. Not sure exactly how it happened, but one moment I was tethering the bike to the pole, the next it was falling and I was shooting my leg out to try to stop it. We both got scratched and the Batavus is no longer a perfect specimen (me, well, I was already messed up). Being the klutz that I am, and Nashville being as light on real bike racks as it is, this is quite likely to happen again — it happened at least once with both my other bikes, but it didn’t hurt quite so much. I can’t be the only one who’s had this problem. Can anyone share tips on how to keep a beautiful bike beautiful?

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Bringing the Batavus Home

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 for transport.

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!

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Batavus Day Is Finally Here!

Dottie and I made it all the way to Littlehampton today and picked up my bike. Paul and the folks at the Littlehampton Dutch Bike Co. were as helpful and friendly in person as they’d been over email, and we were able to take a little ride around the town — once we figured out what side of the street we were supposed to be on, it went well. (Luckily we didn’t have to go through any roundabouts!) My Batavus had a lot of details that I didn’t notice online, like the reflective tape on the fenders that makes them look like they are hammered, and the whimsical abstract details on the tube. Oh yeah, and the ride is pretty smooth, too.

Can you tell I'm excited?

Can you tell I'm excited?

More pictures, anyone? Continue reading

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