Tag Archives: Beautiful Bicycles

Bike Love

I love my bikes, Betty and Oma. They make me so happy. Some mornings the prospect of a refreshing ride to work is the only thing that gets me out of bed. Even when the rest of my day is not going so well, I can always count on my bikes to lift my spirits. They allow me to leave all the bullshit behind and focus on the moment: the sun on my shoulders and the wind in my face. That’s what people mean when they say riding a bike makes them feel like a kid again.

Before Bike

Before Bike

After Bike!

After Bike!

Today was one of those perfect days – when the sun is shining, the air is crisp, the sky is blue and I feel like a kid again. Thank you, Bikes!

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Bike Love

I love my bikes, Betty and Oma. They make me so happy. Some mornings the prospect of a refreshing ride to work is the only thing that gets me out of bed. Even when the rest of my day is not going so well, I can always count on my bikes to lift my spirits. They allow me to leave all the bullshit behind and focus on the moment: the sun on my shoulders and the wind in my face. That’s what people mean when they say riding a bike makes them feel like a kid again.

Before Bike

Before Bike

After Bike!

After Bike!

Today was one of those perfect days – when the sun is shining, the air is crisp, the sky is blue and I feel like a kid again. Thank you, Bikes!

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An Evening of Stylish Bikes and Advocacy

Trisha’s visit to Chicago was action-packed with bikey fun (our own little Pedalpalooza), including the Active Transportation Alliance membership mixer at Dutch Bike Chicago. The evening was an enjoyable way to connect with like-minded cyclists in a stylish and laid back environment.

kid is to candy store as Trisha is to Dutch bike shop

kid is to candy store as Trisha is to Dutch bike shop

First, we perused the shop. Trisha was especially interested in pawing the fabulous Po Campo bags. They look even better in real life than online. We also visited all of Oma’s Azor cousins, some fine-looking Retrovelos, and the new line of Vive bikes.

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Beautiful Bicycles: Abici Granturismo Donna

Though we’d altered Oma, she still wasn’t a perfect fit for long rides with lots of stops and starts–so for the cocktail ride, the nice folks at Copenhagen Cyclery in Wicker Park agreed to give me a loaner. The shop’s manager, Phil, and owner, Brent (who was on the Cocktail Ride with us looking quite dapper) set me up with the elegant red Abici Granturismo Donna.

Abici Granturismo Donna

Abici Granturismo Donna

This sexy red single-speed with a rear coaster brake and a front handbrake was easily the most attention-getting bike I’d ever ridden, so it was lucky I had a few of Copenhagen Cyclery’s cards to give out to curious passers-by.

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A Chic and Rainy Night on Bikes

The inaugural Summer Babes and Elegant Bachelors Ride was a chic and fun success, despite the 90 degree temps that quickly devolved to rain. Everybody looked fabulous and we fit in everywhere we went, especially the swanky Nomi lounge. We’ll have to plan another one soon for later in the summer!

Let's Go Ride a Bike and BikeCommuters.com Together

Let's Go Ride a Bike and Elizabeth from BikeCommuters.com - luckily she lives only two blocks away!

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Famke Janssen Rides My Bike!

That beauty there is definitely an Azor Oma.  I’m such a trendsetter. First Ellen, now Famke.

Famke Janssen rolls like Dottie

Famke Janssen rolls like Dottie

Spotted at Copenhagen Cycle Chic.

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Beautiful Bicycles: Sweetpea JJ Fantastic Mixte

JJ sure looks happy, with good reason! She is the proud owner of the first Sweetpea Mixte, which has taken its place in Sweetpea’s Love Line as the JJ Fantastic. What a gorgeous bicycle! And how fabulous to have a badass bike like this handmade in Portland by a woman! Natalie Ramsland, the builder, and her husband Austin operate Sweetpea Bicycles to “build bikes for women” with the idea that “Every woman is different. Every bike should be too.” By the look of their finished products, that line easily could be “Every woman is beautiful. Every bike should be too.” Check out JJ’s mixte and then check out Sweetpea Bicycles if you are considering a custom bike and have been squirreling away the cash for a long while.

JJ and Her Sweetpea!

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Sarah’s Unique and Stylish City Bike

The best thing about this blog is hearing from other cyclists through comments and emails. Recently, we got an email from Sarah about her new and very cool bike Sapphire.

Sarah and Sapphire

Sarah and Sapphire

Sarah’s husband recently bought her this bike on Craigslist, made by Aarios in Switzerland. Does anybody know anything else about this bike or Aarios?

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First Dutch-Style Bike Spotting!

On Tuesday I had to go to Vanderbilt. As the Bat and I rode over during our lunch break, we spotted this beauty anchoring a bike rack full of mountain bikes: an Electra Amsterdam!

Snazzy, stylish lady bike.

Snazzy, stylish lady bike.

I wanted to park the Bat next to her for maximum effect, but alas, the spaces next to the Electra couldn’t fit a 700 cc tire—there’s a reason the Electra is at the end of the rack. The Bat is parked in a similar space between the two racks. Now if I could only run into this bike’s owner on the road. Maybe one of these days.

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Summer Babes and Elegant Bachelors: A Stylish Cocktail Ride

Let’s Go Ride A Bike has teamed up with John Greenfield of Vote with Your Feet to encourage Chicago cyclists to turn it up a notch when it comes to style. All Chicagoland cyclists are invited to don their finest party attire and join us for a fun and classy ride about town. The route is still being finalized (John’s doing all the work) but we will be stopping by a few of the best al fresco drinking establishments.

summer ridev2

For those who would like to get into the spirit early, come out to the Active Transportation Alliance’s member-only mixer at Dutch Bike Chicago on June 25 from 7 to 9 p.m. Active Trans members get in free and attendees can sign up for memberships at the door – a totally worthwhile cause. I hear there will be an urban obstacle course to navigate with a Dutch bike (I think that’s called my daily commute), alcohol, and a 20% discount on chic bike bags.

(The swanky pair on the flyer is JJ and Mac – looking good!)

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Here’s Oma!

It’s been mentioned that I am neglecting Oma. I don’t think I’m neglecting her in real life, although I usually ride Betty for my commute, but I’ll try to post about her more often. She’s still my favorite bike in the whole wide world and every time I get on her after a brief hiatus, I’m amazed at how totally plush she is.

Oma Outfit

You can tell I'm posing because the kickstand's down

Today I rode Oma to work, taking the city streets instead of the lake path in the morning, and also wore my work clothes – drivers are definitely nicer when I’m dressed like this. Usually I don’t ride in work clothes, preferring to change when I get there, but this morning I was going straight to a panel discussion and did not have an opportunity to change. There’s really no reason not to wear work clothes when I’m riding Oma, since she’s made for that sort of thing and I sweat much less on her – although I am a sweat-er – but it’s easier for me to leave all my suits and shoes at work in an empty office that I took over (can you say walk-in closet?). My three-inch chunky heels presented no problem at all. My tweed skirt is a bit narrow, so when I take off from a stop I have to launch myself straight up, then straight back while fully lifted, and then straight down. A small price to pay for fashion.

Post Script: I want to highlight three newer blogs that I’m absolutely in love with. Readers here probably already know them and I read a huge amount of bike blogs, but I’m so taken with these lately that I must share.

Lovely Bicycle!
– as the name says, lovely bicycles, plus a lovely bicyclist to narrate!

Change Your Life – Ride A Bike! – of course, Meligrosa and Adrienne’s fabulous joint blog.

Bikes by the Sea – seriously, there’s a place constantly this gorgeous and I’m stuck living in Chicago?? plus another lovely cyclist to share the pretty pictures.

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Bikes in the News

I don’t have cable. My boss teases that I am one of the few people under 70 who will be affected by the digital TV conversion next month (for the record, I’ve been ready since February 2007). This does not affect my life in any major way, but it does explain why, on the few occasions I turn the TV on in the morning, I watch the “news” shows on one of the major networks.

“Today” used to be the default, just because everyone else watches it, but once I found out that Harry Smith rides his bike to work, I decided to switch to CBS’s “Early Show.”

Yesterday morning they had a segment on “choosing the perfect bike.” I think Dottie will be pleased that they chose the Jamis commuter! Since I’m not a road bike aficionado, I was underwhelmed by their other choices, but check it out for yourself. My favorite part was when the lady showing the bikes said that you don’t have to spend thousands, but “the thousands are pretty great, I’m not going to lie.” I’m off to write a letter to the show saying they should have suggested a Batavus.

ETA: I can’t seem to embed the video, but you can watch it here.

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Bikes in the News

I don’t have cable. My boss teases that I am one of the few people under 70 who will be affected by the digital TV conversion next month (for the record, I’ve been ready since February 2007). This does not affect my life in any major way, but it does explain why, on the few occasions I turn the TV on in the morning, I watch the “news” shows on one of the major networks.

“Today” used to be the default, just because everyone else watches it, but once I found out that Harry Smith rides his bike to work, I decided to switch to CBS’s “Early Show.”

Yesterday morning they had a segment on “choosing the perfect bike.” I think Dottie will be pleased that they chose the Jamis commuter! Since I’m not a road bike aficionado, I was underwhelmed by their other choices, but check it out for yourself. My favorite part was when the lady showing the bikes said that you don’t have to spend thousands, but “the thousands are pretty great, I’m not going to lie.” I’m off to write a letter to the show saying they should have suggested a Batavus.

ETA: I can’t seem to embed the video, but you can watch it here.

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Beautiful Bicycles: Velorbis Dannebrog – Victoria

Way back in January I started a “Beautiful Bicycles” series, wherein I discuss the beautiful bicycles that I came across during my intensive research leading up to purchasing my Azor Oma. Although the first in the series is consistently one of the most viewed posts on this blog, I had yet to do a second in the series. Until now. I present the Velorbis Dannebrog, very similar to the Velorbis Victoria Classic.

5-23 velorbis plate

Earlier this week I briefly discussed the Velorbis Dannebrog in the context of my visit to the new Chicago shop, Copenhagen Cyclery. I decided that this gorgeous bike definitely deserves its own post.

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Fun Utopia: Chicago Closes Highway for Cyclists

Sunday morning Chicago held its annual Bike the Drive, an event put on by the Active Transportation Alliance where the city closes Lake Shore Drive (the main scenic highway that cuts down the city parallel to Lake Michigan) to motor traffic and opens it up for cyclists. An estimated 18,000 cyclists participated! What an amazing sight and beautiful way to reclaim our streets!

An estimated 18,000 biked the Drive

An estimated 18,000 biked the Drive

We had to wake up at 4:00 a.m. to get ready and cycle the 7 miles downtown to get started at 5:30. Totally worth it for the sunrise alone.

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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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Chicago's Tweed Ride (and My Crash)

On Saturday, the inaugural Chicago Tweed Ride took place. London and San Francisco have held such rides recently, and it’s fun to see how the different cities interpret the ride. Chicago’s a good city to carry on the tweedy fun. The ride toured Chicago’s speakeasies, stopping at a couple for food and drinks, which were needed as the ride started at 1 and ended at 7. I enjoyed riding with so many others who appreciate slow bikes and style. I did not know a soul, and had a good time meeting everyone. Without further ado, I present Chicago’s tweedy goodness.

5-3-socks

5-3-light 5-3-plaid

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Chicago’s Tweed Ride (& My Crash)

On Saturday, the inaugural Chicago Tweed Ride took place. London and San Francisco have held such rides recently, and it’s fun to see how the different cities interpret the ride. Chicago’s a good city to carry on the tweedy fun. The ride toured Chicago’s speakeasies, stopping at a couple for food and drinks, which were needed as the ride started at 1 and ended at 7. I enjoyed riding with so many others who appreciate slow bikes and style. I did not know a soul, and had a good time meeting everyone. Without further ado, I present Chicago’s tweedy goodness.

5-3-socks

5-3-light 5-3-plaid

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London Cycles, We Watch

Cycling is quite prominent in London, although the city obviously has a long way to go. The narrow streets, huge double-decker buses, and tiny speeding cars present special challenges for cyclists, but many Londoners are up for the challenge. Walking down the main streets downtown, I watched several cyclists go by each minute. A lot had sportier bikes and special gear, but the vast majority looked quite stylish. I saw a few Pashleys and some Dutch bikes, as well. I took as many pictures of interesting cyclists as I could manage whilst site-seeing. I don’t know how Riding Pretty, Chic Cyclist and others do it so well, because it’s been hard for me to hit a moving target.

My favorite find was this lovely lady on a Dutch bike. Love the flowing locks!

Beautiful

Beautiful

More cycling Londoners:

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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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