The Pilen is a beautiful and utilitarian bike made in Sweden. The ride is super sturdy and smooth, while also being pretty swift, and the bike has loads of utilitarian features. I will point out all those features below, but first, here is my main thought on the bike: if I were forced to choose only one bike to own, I would choose the Pilen Lyx. My WorkCycles Oma is a fully upright bike that allows me to bike in any type of clothing, carry lots of weight, ride regally, and weather any weather. My Rivendell Betty Foy is the inanimate love of my life and gets me places quickly and comfortably. However, these two bikes must work as a team to compliment my needs and moods. Alone, each bike has weaknesses.
I’m not saying that I like the Pilen more than my bikes (never! I’m fiercely loyal to Betty and Oma) but the Pilen manages to combine the most important qualities of each: all-weather sturdiness, swiftness, beauty, and carrying capacity.
Swooping frame that makes it super easy to mount.
Pretty badge, sprung Brooks saddle and lugs.
Front basket with support from stays down to the front wheel. A spring to keep the front wheel from swinging around based on weight in the basket.
A rear wheel lock and chain guard.
Rubber-padded pedals to keep your shoes from slipping off (especially helpful with high heels).
Schwalbe tires. These are my personal favorite, because I’ve never gotten a flat on my Schwalbe tires since I’ve had them, after almost 4 years.
Internal 7-speed gear hub that you change by twisting the handlebar. This is my favorite system, the same that’s on my Oma, the Shimano Nexis.
Built-in branded bell! You ding by spinning it.
Extremely sturdy rear rack that is extra wide and can hold lots of goodies. There is so much I could do with that rear rack, even more than with my Oma’s sturdy rear rack.
Beautiful front profile. Sturdy kickstand (soooo helpful for loading and unloading), although I would prefer a double-footed kickstand for more uprightness and for easy access from either side of the bike.
Front generator light, meaning they’re powered by pedaling and never die. Rear battery-powered LED light.
The ride of the Pilen is quite upright. Not quite as upright as a traditional Dutch bike, but certainly comfortable.
The proportions of the bike worked very well with me (I’m 5’7 with a long torso). The ride was swift, easy, and smooth —not quite as swift as my Rivendell and not quite as smooth as my Oma, but an excellent combination of the two.
I cannot comment on how well the bike would age, but it seems like it would withstand the elements and wear-and-tear quite well. The only part I would be worried about is the chain, since it is not fully covered. I hate having to keep a chain clean.
Overall, I thought this bike was pretty kick-ass. I was impressed.
As always, I recommend that you test ride the bike – and as many others as possible – before making a decision. J.C. Lind Bike Co. is a sponsor of Let’s Go Ride a Bike, but my review is my own. For another perspective, including off-road performance, Lovely Bicycle had the bike for a month and you can read her review here.
All right folks, it’s another evening and another drawing/roundup of this year’s Summer Games winners. Every day this week through Friday, we will be posting a round-up of LGRAB 2011 Summer Games players and announcing the lucky prize winners. Winners will be randomly drawn from the entire pool of players.
For those of you looking for ideas for books to read about cycling, Molly has a review for you:
I picked up this kids book about the history of women and bicycles from the library several months ago and I keep renewing it without reading it. The Summer Games changed that. Actually, this book might have been recommended by one of you: Wheels of Change: How Women Rode the Bicycle to Freedom (With a Few Flat Tires Along the Way). It was interesting, but I would have liked more about the impact of bicycles on women’s day to day lives, and less on famous lady bike racers.
She performed a maintenance task–an impressive one if you ask me!
I accidentally did the same maintenance task for this year’s Summer Games as I did last year: Repacking a hub. I’m still not very good at it. If I’d planned ahead I could have counted many other things, since this summer I took an 8 week bike workshop through Common Cycle, and we learned everything from raising saddles to replacing cables and housing to headset adjustment. But I didn’t take pictures any of those weeks. I waited til the very last week, when we were doing hubs and wheel truing. Here’s the picture I attempted to take of myself; it was hard because my hands were covered in grease and all I had was my phone.
Molly also went on a group ride on her birthday (happy birthday Molly!) and took this lovely summer-themed photo. We need to do a flikr pool of these for us to pine over when we’re stuck in the depths of winter once again. Mm, sweet corn.
Meanwhile, in Wiltshire, Kate from mixed baby greens was making headway on her four events. First up: writing to a council member about a much-needed improved crossing. She heard back that it was in the works. “Which means that from Friday onwards I’ll be able to ride the cycle-lane, stop and cross the road safely exactly where I need to, and head straight to the off-road route into town.”
She also took a new road home and performed a maintenance task: replacing the old pump and bottle cage on her bike with a new, more coordinated one.
And she snapped a photo that is the perfect combo of summer and bikes. I love it!
One of the best things about having a bike blog is having all sorts of cool people contact you to say that you’ve inspired them to create their own blog. Kathy in Chicago is among that number and you can read about her adventures in multi-modal commuting at Train-Bike Bike-Train. Kathy test-rode a cargo bike and videoed the results—click on the photo to see the video.
JoAnna rediscovered cycling a year ago when she was in Paris and hasn’t looked back (a woman after our own hearts!). For the Games, she completed seven tasks: riding a bike on vacation, writing a letter, reading a book, cleaning her chain, riding on a greenway and participating in New York’s Summer Streets.
She tuned up her bike and went out for a ride, ending up in a new part of town and discovering a new friend along the way.
How have I never realized that my favorite droid has been waving to me all summer long as I biked to and from work? I honestly couldn’t be happier to have met this new friend. Isn’t it just the summeriest, happiest thing, to have droid along your ride?
(our answer: YES!)
Yvonne, aka The Knot Whisperer, also got in on the fun. She very responsibly biked to jury duty, making me horribly jealous because, oddly, I have always wanted to be chosen for jury duty and somehow have gone 12 years without being tapped (yes, I know it will probably be boring. I still want to be picked for the team!). She read The Lost Cyclist, a fascinating true tale of a man who biked around the world back in the late 1800s.
I couldn’t help putting myself in Lenz’s place as he traveled through Japan and China without speaking a word of those countries’ languages. While it’s true that I went to St. Petersburg, Russia, without knowing a word of Russian, I went there as part of a writing seminar and was therefore hardly on my own. I can’t imagine how frightening it must have been for him, all on his own, especially back then when foreign countries were truly foreign to most people.
She wrote asking for improvements to the Ashland/Armitage/Elston intersection, aka the “Intersection of Terror.” And she rode a cruiser on vacation! Sweet.
OK, now that you’re all inspired: it’s time to reveal the winners, drawn by Dot.
First up: Bates Crate Porter Crate, a beautiful, functional, handmade carrying crate for your bike.
It goes to . . . Kathy F, whose adventures were featured above.
Though we’ve already penned our odes to fall and tights, and recapped our fun-filled summer, I left work this afternoon to find an overcast morning had brought forth one last glimpse of summer sun. So of course, Le Peug and I headed off to enjoy it. Our destination: Sevier Park, starting point for the LGRAB Garden Party Ride, home of Sunnyside Manor and less than a mile from my house.
The latest issue of Momentum arrived at my house earlier this week, and I finally had a chance to page through it last night. As one of the few mags out there on utilitarian cycling, there are always interesting things to read, but this issue brought the extra pleasure of features on two of our favorite fellow cycling bloggers! First came the Hanadas in an article on DIY bike crafts that provided a lot of inspiration. We’ll see if it provides anything else—I’m big on finding projects I’d like to do and never finding the time to actually do them!
I hadn’t gotten over the thrill of thinking, I know them! when I turned a page to see Miss Sarah of Girls & Bicycles, looking stylish as always in an article on biking while pregnant. The entire topic was new to me when she first started posting about her experiences on her blog, so it’s wonderful that she and the other women interviewed in the article were able to further spread the news that pregnancy and cycling can mix.
Momentum is available for free in local bike stores in many US and Canadian cities—check out their list to see if yours is included. If not, you might have to spring for a subscription like me, but supporting such a venture is well worth the $20. But if you’re overseas or on a tight budget and don’t mind reading on the computer, a PDF of each issue can be found on their website, too.
Le Peug has been well-loved. There are a few deep scratches on the top tube and down tube, some of which have rusted over — not especially pretty.
Le Peug and friends at happy hour last week
I had been thinking since he arrived that a touch-up might not be a bad idea, so on Sunday morning I read a fewposts on bike forum and decided I knew enough to give it a try. The process seemed simple: sand off rust, clean with alcohol, mask (if using spray can), apply primer, apply paint. One of the bike forum visitors even suggested a good match for white Peugeots: Duplicolor White Wheel Paint, which I thought I had a good chance of finding at the O’Reilly Auto Parts close to my house.