I rode Coco to work Monday, before Tuesday’s snowfall sent me back to Oma and her studded tires. I was so giddy to have a new bike, I decided to take Coco on a spin to the lakefront during lunch with my camera and a roll of film.
I haven’t ridden Coco enough yet to provide in-depth opinions on how she performs, but I’ll offer some initial thoughts. She feels great! The ride is similar to Oma’s and nothing like Betty Foy’s. She weighs a bit less than Oma and is a bit more sprightly, but speed (or lack of it) and comfort are on pretty much par.
There are some notable differences. First, Coco’s balloon tires are super cushy and help me laugh in the face of Chicago’s potholes and train tracks (one of my biggest fears). Second, Coco has only three gears. I ended up using all three gears during my ride, depending on incline (ramps in and out of the Lakefront Trail) and wind direction, and the range felt spot on. Third, Coco’s geometry is almost straight up and down, but a tiny bit bent forward to reach the handlebars, whereas Oma’s geometry is a tiny bit leaned back with legs pushing a tiny bit forward. I thought this would make riding Coco feel substantially different after a few miles, but my body felt the same while pedaling and once I arrived at work, no more or less fatigued or energized.
I probably don’t even need to mention looks. She’s a beauty that I love to gaze at. Beauty should not be underestimated when choosing a bike. If you’re going to ride a bike every day, it should call out to you. Coco certainly accomplishes that!
After a teaser several weeks ago, I’m happy to report that a new bike has finally joined the Dottie household: A Velorbis Studine Balloon: designed in Denmark, made in Germany and sold in Chicago at Copenhagen Cyclery.
Rust-colored Schwalbe Fat Frank balloon tires, creamy white steel frame…
Integrated rear rack with briefcase hook…
Wheel lock, double kick stand, chain case…
Bell, comfy rubber grips…
3-speed Sturmey Archer internal hub…
Brooks saddle, rattan basket, fenders, all around super classiness…
Alas, no integrated lights, skirt guard or fancy leather grips, but that’s what keeps the price at a reasonable $1,295.
I want to be perfectly clear about my acquisition of this bike. I did not buy the bike, but it is not a tester or a freebie. Rather, it’s bartered using good old-fashioned economics. Companies advertising on LGRAB usually pay a certain amount per month. Instead of money, Copenhagen Cyclery is “paying” with a bike. I view it as a fair exchange for something Copenhagen Cyclery wants (advertising) and something I want (a gorgeous bike).
I also want to be perfectly clear that the exchange includes nothing about my editorial content. Copenhagen Cyclery will get an ad on the sidebar, nothing more. There’s no agreement that I will talk up the shop or Velorbis or write about the bike. Naturally, the bike will show up as part of my usual posting, just as my two other bikes show up, but I hope that you all will continue to trust that I have not turned into a corporate shill.
Incidentally, if other bike shops or companies are interested, Trisha is open to entertaining offers for an Abici or similar light and classy creature. ;)
Now that all of that’s out of the way, we can focus on the real important stuff. Like, what should I name her? She reminds me of cream and sugar, a cafe au lait, but how does that translate to a name?
On Saturday morning, I participated in a group ride along the Lakefront Trail, Go Green Go Dutch Go Bike, put on by Active Trans and the Dutch Consulate in Chicago. The event did not attract a huge amount of people outside the Dutch bike community, possibly because of the threatening skies and mid 40′s temperature, but the fact that we have a Dutch bike community is pretty cool. Socializing among ourselves was fun, including groups from each of the city’s three Dutch/Danish bike shops, Copenhagen Cyclery, De Fietsfabriek and Dutch Bike Co. Chicago is the mecca of beautiful bike shopping in America.
I rode an Oma bike from De Fietsfabriek (full review soon) and my husband finally rode my WorkCycles Oma. Once he stopped trying to launch off, he caught on well to the Dutch bike riding style.
Here is a secret to winter bike commuting: it’s not that bad. If you look closely at the individual days that make up winter, you’ll see that most of them are pretty nice. Sure, sometimes the windchill is -20 and sometimes a foot of snow falls, but the time between the extreme days is perfectly fine for bike commuting.
When I visited Copenhagen Cyclery this weekend, I also test rode the Velorbis Mobii Trike. Yay, trike! I’ve been wanting to test ride a three-wheeled beast for some time now. When I wrote about the WorkCycles Bakfiets a couple of months ago, I mentioned that I could not know for sure how I felt about it without riding a trike for comparison.
The Mobii (love the name!) comes in one size and two powder-coated colors: orange and gray. Designed and handmade in Denmark, this thoroughly modern, steel-framed stunner has the power to erase whatever old-fashioned connotations the word “tricycle” has.
The best part of blogging is meeting (virtually and in real life) so many cool people who share my passion for cycling. A community of like-minded folks is invaluable: I may have been the only bike commuter at my office, but I was never alone. This weekend was packed full of visitors from the online cycling community, and I had a great time.
There’s so much for me to cover, including the people I met, the cocktail party ride, new Gazelles at Dutch Bike Chicago, and the temperature dropping into the 30′s. I’ll start with the visitors.
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
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.