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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.