Tag Archives: Beautiful Bicycles

Dutch Bike Co. New York!

Bike Girl by Ed Fotheringham

Bike Girl by Ed Fotheringham

Lots o’ peeps have blogged about today’s Dutch bike / Style articles in the NY Times. (My friend Jeremy even sent me the link, which I’m sure he found through Bike Snob making fun of it.) I’m not crazy about the articles, a little too “Vogue.” Don’t you love how they refer to the bikes as having a “hefty pricetag” but when you look at their slideshow, it’s the same damn price as their featured “Navy cotton jacket with contrast detail”? A-holes. But this is good press for cycling. I was most excited about the mention that Dutch Bike Co. (Seattle, Chicago) is opening a third store, this one in New York City. So happy for their success! They are a really cool group of people and I’m proud to have been the Chicago store’s first customer. So here is a toast to Dutch Bikes and the fine people who import them!

(The lovely Dutch bike print can be ordered here.)

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Betty Loves Shakespeare and Dresses

Today I cycled to the Shakespeare Theater at Navy Pier to see Twelfth Night, a 12-mile round trip.  This is probably my favorite way to spend a Saturday. I do it quite often (see here and here). (This is amazing theater and younger folks in Chicago should know that they can get tickets for only $20 by using the code UNDER35 when purchasing online.)

Betty Loves Dresses

Betty Loves Dresses

If you look behind me, there’s another great example of how not to lock your bike – only a u-locked back wheel left.

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Betty Foy: the new lady in my life

Betty and I spent quality time together on the commute this week. The past three days Greg and I have been riding to and from work together. This gets me up and out the door earlier than I’m used to – 6:00 a.m. – but I’m going to try to stick with it. The streets are so peaceful at that hour and for the most part we can ride two abreast. Plus, we get to be there for the magical time when the sun rises, so that it’s almost dark when we leave and completely light when we arrive at our destinations.

Dottie, Betty, and the Sun

Dottie, Betty, and the Sun

I’m loving Betty. I’m not ready to give a full ride review because we’re still getting to know each other, but I can say a few things for sure.

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Saturday in Lincoln Square

Another beautiful spring day on bicycles. We enjoyed a few hours in the Lincoln Square neighborhood, visiting the bookstore, music store, Italian restaurant, coffee shop, and running store. Cycling there makes the whole day 100 times more fun, since it’s so much faster than driving or the el train, plus it’s impossible to find a car parking spot and the el is always sorta depressing. On bikes, the journey becomes part of the day, instead of a hassle to get through.

In Lincoln Square

In Lincoln Square

This morning I put the front rack and basket on my bike (it’s been off for a while to help combat the headwinds). The basket was stuffed full and the Oma handled like a charm. Thank goodness for those rear rack straps, which can hold pretty much anything, including my new yoga mat. The front rack is rated to carry 50 lbs and the rear rack 75 lbs, so I still have a long way to go before I run into cargo problems.

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Every Commute An Adventure

Today’s commute was a hodgepodge of scenery. As always, the gorgeous sunrise over Lake Michigan was the one constant. Will I ever tire of taking pictures of my bike and the sun? Probably not.

Sunrise over Lake Michigan

Sunrise over Lake Michigan

But this sun is deceiving. Let’s go back in time half a day and see what Sunday morning brought …

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Cocktail Party Ride

My fanciest ride was this weekend, to a fundraising gala for a domestic violence organization I volunteer with. Deciding to ride my bike was natural, as I have no car and taking a cab would have been lame when I live only two miles from the location. I was a bit worried about hurting my silk, lace and beaded Badgley Mischka cocktail dress and silk Anne Klein heels – my one and only black tie outfit. Turns out I had no reason to worry: the ride was effortless in every way!

3-21-dress-bike2

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Cocktail Party Ride

My fanciest ride was this weekend, to a fundraising gala for a domestic violence organization I volunteer with. Deciding to ride my bike was natural, as I have no car and taking a cab would have been lame when I live only two miles from the location. I was a bit worried about hurting my silk, lace and beaded Badgley Mischka cocktail dress and silk Anne Klein heels – my one and only black tie outfit. Turns out I had no reason to worry: the ride was effortless in every way!

3-21-dress-bike2

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Say Hello to the Future – Rivendell’s Betty Foy!

Along with the gorgeous mast that Trisha designed, we’ll soon have a new addition to Let’s Go Ride a Bike. My decision is made, finally! Long-time listeners may remember my first steps to finding a bike to replace my stolen Jamis. I oggled bikes the I could not afford, such as ANTs and MAPs. I encountered annoying bike shop guys. I toured Chicago’s bike shops. At one point I thought I had something on the horizon, but that did not work out. After (almost too) much thought, I’ve decided that I will purchase the Rivendell Betty Foy. This was one of my original loves that’s pretty much perfect and reasonably in my bike budget (which, by the way, comes completely from selling my car and renting out my garage parking spot).

Betty Foy - Size 52

Betty Foy - Size 52

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Say Hello to the Future – Rivendell's Betty Foy!

Along with the gorgeous mast that Trisha designed, we’ll soon have a new addition to Let’s Go Ride a Bike. My decision is made, finally! Long-time listeners may remember my first steps to finding a bike to replace my stolen Jamis. I oggled bikes the I could not afford, such as ANTs and MAPs. I encountered annoying bike shop guys. I toured Chicago’s bike shops. At one point I thought I had something on the horizon, but that did not work out. After (almost too) much thought, I’ve decided that I will purchase the Rivendell Betty Foy. This was one of my original loves that’s pretty much perfect and reasonably in my bike budget (which, by the way, comes completely from selling my car and renting out my garage parking spot).

Betty Foy - Size 52

Betty Foy - Size 52

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Beautiful Lugged Steel Mixte

Check this beauty out!

ebay-betty.

Lynn of Bike Lite – an expert at stumbling upon great old bikes – found this 1950’s lugged steel mixte on eBay and noticed that it looks a lot like Rivendell’s Betty Foy. Intriguing! Is a bike like this a show piece or a viable everyday travel option?

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Spring Cleaning

Spring is here for real! Time to swap out the Schwalbe Marathon Winter studded tires for the good ol’ regular tires and clean up the nasty snow grit. On Saturday I spent a couple of hours with my garage set up as a temporary workshop to accomplish these tasks.

Riding Smurfette

Riding Smurfette

While my husband changed his tires, I installed the Wald basket and Planet Bike rack on Smurfette. Now everything is set up – except the bell. I don’t want just any bell and have been trolling eBay for something vintage. I think Smurfette now looks quite snazzy!

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Abnormally Attracted to Bikes?

Cycling has become a central part of my life. I have a strong emotional connection with my my bikes, especially Oma. I don’t know if this type of bike love is more common among women and their bikes, or if it’s common among men, too, or if it’s not common at all and I am abnormally attracted to my bicycles. Ha.

Makool Loves You Locket

Makool Loves You Locket

Regardless, I found a little something to honor this relationship that I can carry around with me all day, even when I’m stuck in my skyskraper at work.

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Smurfette and Blue Suede Shoes

The sping-like weather and vibrant blue bike inspired me to dig out my peep-toe blue suede shoes for a ride to brunch. My first real ride with Smurfette (Trisha’s brilliant name suggestion!) was very satisfying. She’s quick and light with a ride almost as smooth as my Oma, if you can believe it. Twice during the short ride, drivers who came to four-way stop signs first waved me on, perhaps catching some of my happy vibes.

Blue Suede Shoes

Blue Suede Shoes

Good thing, too, because the brakes were not in tip-top shape and the rain that started as soon as I set off was not helping. Mr. Dottie aka Greg fixed the howling sound, but the stopping power was still suspect. After brunch I stopped by Roscoe Village Bikes for a little help and they roughed up my brake pads and rim to help with friction. Unfortunately, poor stopping power in the rain is simply a side effect of steel rims, but improved after that.

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Smurfette and Blue Suede Shoes

The sping-like weather and vibrant blue bike inspired me to dig out my peep-toe blue suede shoes for a ride to brunch. My first real ride with Smurfette (Trisha’s brilliant name suggestion!) was very satisfying. She’s quick and light with a ride almost as smooth as my Oma, if you can believe it. Twice during the short ride, drivers who came to four-way stop signs first waved me on, perhaps catching some of my happy vibes.

Blue Suede Shoes

Blue Suede Shoes

Good thing, too, because the brakes were not in tip-top shape and the rain that started as soon as I set off was not helping. Mr. Dottie aka Greg fixed the howling sound, but the stopping power was still suspect. After brunch I stopped by Roscoe Village Bikes for a little help and they roughed up my brake pads and rim to help with friction. Unfortunately, poor stopping power in the rain is simply a side effect of steel rims, but improved after that.

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Special Delivery

Today a special creature entered my life: the late 70’s Bridgestone Kabuki that iciclebicycle found in the trash.

The suspense

The suspense

That I have a new (old) bike is still sinking in, since it happened so fast.

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Do Women Make Bikes?

Though I would have loved to be there in person, I enjoyed visiting the Handmade Bicycle Show virtually. The pictures and descriptions of all the beautiful, handmade bikes were amazing, and it was refreshing to see so many bikes made for the kind of utlitarian riding that Dottie and I do.*

But as I scrolled through the winners on Cyclicious (pic nabbed from there as well), I noticed something — winner after winner was a man. The group photo at the end really brought it all home.

NAHBS winners -- not a woman in the bunch

NAHBS winners -- not a woman in the bunch

OK, so the winners were men, but surely there was at least one woman exhibitor at the show? A scroll through the list of names turned up several promising possibilities. Nobillette? Nope, a man’s last name. Parlee? Three men.  Sadilah? No again, though that company’s owner named his business after his two daughters and I love his explanation of why he decided to do that.

Am I missing something? Why don’t women build bikes, when we know they ride them? Women make up only 10-20% of engineers, depending on the exact engineering discipline and which survey you look at, but I don’t think it’s out of line to expect that out of dozens of exhibitors, there might be one woman.

Don’t get me wrong, these men built beautiful bikes and I’m sure they deserved their wins (was especially glad to see the M.A.P. I was drooling over  in Dottie’s post take a prize).  But I’m thinking a woman who makes  utilitarian, step-through bike frames especially for women might find a waiting market.  Terry Bicycles are just for women, but they’re mass-produced. Natalie Ramsland, who hand-crafts her Sweetpea Bicycles, is a woman, but she wasn’t at the show. As she points out on her site, it’s especially hard for women to find bikes that fit, so why aren’t there more companies like hers out there? And why do the ones that exist seem to focus on diamond-frame bikes, instead of step-throughs**? I might have to get my dad to give me some welding lessons next time I’m home. . .

*Utilitarian pricing, not so much, but handmade rarely=inexpensive.

**Terry Bicycles does have a nice-looking mixte on sale right now.

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All Schwinns Go to Heaven

Schwinn

Schwinn

This sadly rusting beauty is one of thousands of Schwinns that populate Chicagoland’s streets and sidewalks. During the summer, it seems nearly half of all bicycles that go by are old Schwinns. Once upon a time, of course, Schwinns were made in Chicago. That’s all history now.

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Handmade Bicycles – oooooh, aaaaah

Trisha and I considered going to the North American Handmade Bicycle Show, meeting in Indianapolis as a midpoint between Nashville and Chicago. I especially wanted to ogle A.N.T. bikes. Trisha’s visit to Chicago last weekend made the traveling less desirable and we gave up on the idea. We can still attend virtually, though, via the photos on the website. Here are my favorites:

Bilenky Cycle Works – Philadelphia, PA

Bilenky Mixte

Bilenky Mixte

M.A.P. Bicycles – Portland, OR

M.A.P. Mixte

M.A.P. Mixte

And, of course, A.N.T. – Holliston, MA

ANT Roadster

ANT Roadster

I have a bias for step through frames, obviously. Every one of the bikes showcased in the pictures is a bike style I love. Yet these types of bikes are pretty much impossible to find on the regular market – not even knock offs. What’s up with that? (as, I’ve been told, Trisha’s grandpa would say) Any other favorites out there?

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Fate and a New Old Bike

Fate has intervened to bring me a blue beauty.

Bridgestone Kabuki

Bridgestone Kabuki

Iciclebicycle found a bicycle at a dumpster while recycling, took it home, and blogged about it. I read about it, wanted it, and let him know. Voila, the vintage almost-mixte Bridgestone Kabuki will soon be mine, after he fixes it up a bit and ships it my way. Then I have plans to attach bells, baskets, racks and any other cute accessories I come up with. I still plan on acquiring another bike; this Kabuki will be a loved member of my growing brood. I have a fondness for former street urchins, as my cats have the same history. You can read more about its ancestry and tangential link to Rivendell at the link.

UPDATE: Progress!

Kabuki Coming Together

Kabuki Coming Together

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