Tag Archives: Batavus

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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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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Evie – Future Batavus BUB Owner

Congratulations again to Evie of the lovely blog, Now for Then. She will very soon be the owner of a shiny new Batavus BUB courtesy of Fourth Floor Distribution.  Evie won the bike by completing two events for each of the three parts of the games.  However, she went far above and beyond merely completing the events; she incorporated the challenges into her life with enthusiasm and wrote about it all so wonderfully.  The fun radiates through her blog.  Here are Evie’s entries.

Bike date – ride with a friend and dress up.

Ride with your family.

Test ride a different kind of bike.

Go grocery shopping by bike.

Explore a new part of town by bike.

Go on a picnic by bicycle.

Evie, you and your bike Carmen are awesome!  I think she and Mr. Bub will get along very nicely.  :)

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LGRAB Summer Games Round III and Grand Prize Winners

The moment is here! Dottie and I wanted to find a way to draw for the prizes together, so we gave Wetoku a spin. The sound leaves something to be desired, but it was fun to be on screen together. Watch the video, or just click through the jump to see the list of winners if you can’t stand the suspense. :)

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A Red Batavus BUB

We are less than three weeks away from the final Summer Games prize drawing. The Batavus BUB is our grand prize, very generously offered by Fourth Floor Distribution. I have some more BUB photos that I’ll post periodically to keep you all motivated. You can see a previous photo of Mr. Dottie on a black diamond frame BUB here.

A Red Step-Through Batavus BUB from Copenhagen Cyclery

{Note that this is not the actual grand prize BUB, just one from the floor at Copenhagen Cyclery. The prize BUB is coming straight from Fourth Floor .}

Good luck!

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A Peek at the Batavus BUB

The Summer Games are getting really exciting, especially now that the prize-winning has begun! The Batavus BUB is our grand prize, very generously offered by Fourth Floor Distribution. I have several BUB photos that I’ll post periodically to keep you all motivated. Here, Mr. Dottie checks out a diamond frame BUB.

Mr. Dottie on the BuB

{Note that this is not the actual grand prize BUB, just one from the floor at Copenhagen Cyclery. The prize BUB is coming straight from Fourth Floor .}

Too bad Mr. Dottie is not allowed to win prizes – he and the BUB look pretty good together. Good luck to everyone else!

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All Is Calm . . . for the Next Few Days!

Merry Christmas everyone! I’m in Alabama with the fam, dressing our cats in silly costumes and making a few modifications to Le Peug with my dad. As Dottie mentioned, it might be a slow week on LGRAB but we have some big things coming in the New Year — including a top secret project to commemorate our first anniversary — so stay tuned.

Wishing you all the very best for the holidays and a wonderful 2010!

Bedecked Batavus

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Picture Message Gallery

You know you’ve secured your reputation as a bicycle fanatic when you start receiving random bike picture messages. It makes me feel happy to know that even my non-cyclist friends are now on the lookout for bicycles everywhere. It’s just a matter of time before they too succumb . . . right guys?

My friend Ali sent me this photo of a Batavus Course that she spotted in Charlotte. I’ve never seen a sporty Bat in the wild*, so this was a lucky sighting. If you look closely you can see the pinstriped lugs.

80s Batavus Course

1980s Batavus Course

And  Amy reminded me that Mormon missionaries are some of the most dedicated cyclists around when she snapped this image of a couple of them riding down a highway outside Birmingham.

Jehovah's Witnesses take to the road in Alabama

Mormons take to the road in Alabama—are those folding bikes?

Do your non-cycling friends support your obsession? How?

* I have seen them in the blogosphere—Cosmo just rode the SCS Spirit.

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Batavus TV

Many people come to our site in search of information about Dutch bikes. It’s pretty shocking that there’s not more out there–even on YouTube, it took a while to turn up videos featuring Batavus bikes. Here are a few of my favorites.

The first is charmingly retro, with a man in a straw hat puttering around on his Old Dutch (step-through!). It presents life as a series of choices and I guess he chooses the bike…but mostly I like seeing the bicycle infrastructure, including designated lights and paths, and the posse of bikes outside the grocery store, locked with O-locks only! Also, the music will stick in your head (sorry).

The second is your more typical gimmicky commercial, and features a sportier bicycle model…possibly a Personal Bike? The quality is too poor to tell.

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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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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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Nashville Is (Bike) Friendly!

Nashville is known for many things: country music, Southern gentility, comfort food, and Nicole Kidman sightings. Cycling is not among these distinctions.

Tandem at Halcyon Bike Shop - Trisha and I need one of these!!

Tandem at Halcyon Bike Shop - Trisha and I need one of these!!

When people speak of bike friendly cities in the US, they speak of Portland, Seattle, Minneapolis, Boulder, Davis, San Francisco, Madison, and Chicago. I am quick to extol the virtues of Chicago’s efforts to promote cycling. Does it follow that Chicago is bike friendly? Usually I think so, at least for North America, but riding in the chaotic and congested city is often stressful and occasionally scary.

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Copenhagen Cyclery – New in Chicago!

When I began searching for a Dutch-style bicycle last summer, no shop in Chicago sold them. I used a vacation in Vancouver and Seattle for test rides and then in the fall bought my Azor on the day that Dutch Bike Chicago opened. Since then, buying lovely bikes in Chicago has become considerably easier: Dutch Bike Chicago (Azor, Retrovelo), Boulevard Bikes (Pashley, Batavus), and Tati Cycles (Batavus) are the go-to shops, especially my beloved Dutch Bike Chicago.

Copenhagen Cyclery

Copenhagen Cyclery

Now Copenhagen Cyclery joins the group. Chicago’s newest bike shop opened this weekend in Wicker Park and, of course, I had to stop by to check it out.

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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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Up Close and Personal

Batavus Entrada Spirit

Batavus Entrada Spirit

A few of those details I was mentioning yesterday . . .

Dynamo headlight

Dynamo headlight

seatpost1

Seat tube decals and "hammered" reflective fenders and built-in Trelock

 

dutchbikesticker

Dutch Bike Shop

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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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Going International

You may have noticed my Batavus Day countdown ticker inching toward the finish line over there in the sidebar. Yes, folks, Let’s Go Ride a Bike will be going international in just a few days as Dottie and I head for London and then St. Petersburg, Russia. Of course, we’re planning some biking outings during our trip, and hope to be able to share them all with you.

In London,  we’ll be checking out the new Cycodelic product line at Topshop.

And of course, on Saturday, we’ll be visiting Littlehampton Dutch Bike shop to have tea with Paul and test ride my long-awaited Batavus…as well as every other bike they have in the shop. :)

Russian bike plans are a little more ambiguous, but we plan to rent bikes at least once: either on Krestovsky Island or during a day trip to Vyborg.

Anything we’re missing? Leave us a note in the comments! I’m especially interested in whether anyone’s used London’s Oybike rentals.

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Batavus Countdown

Coming soon to a blog near you

Coming soon to a blog near you

Now that Pinkie is gone, I’m counting the days until I get my new Batavus even more closely than I was before. (Looked for a little countdown ticker to put in the sidebar, but they all seemed to be for weddings and pregnancies.**) Here’s the current breakdown:

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