Dottie and I have both had a lot of questions about our Basil bags. Now that I’ve had mine for 6 months, it’s time for a review. I have the Basil Blossom “Postmenbag” in white, and have been extremely pleased with it since I bought it at Copenhagen Cyclery in June. (The bag is also available on Amazon.)
Based in the Netherlands, Basil has been producing Dutch bike accessories since the 70s, and their whimsical patterns and quality construction have made them a well-known name. They make bags, panniers, seat covers, baskets and more, and their line is becoming available in more and more bike shops across the U.S.
The Postmenbag is basically a messenger bag modified to attach to a bike rack: the back is reinforced to add structure, and the design on the nylon fabric is moderately reflective (there are two reflective stripes on each side of the bag).
Thanks a lot, Prince! You forced me to shop at Target for the first time in a long time.
Coveted end-of-the-aisle placement
The 2 miles surrounding my home has everything I would ever need to buy: bikes, books, music, wine – you know, the basics. So when Greg suggested that we swing by Target today, I was highly resistant. Once I heard the reason, however, I had to oblige. Prince is his favorite singer (he has fond memories of pedaling around his family’s farm blasting Sign o’ the Times on his Walkman) and the new album is being sold exclusively at Target. sigh. I don’t hold a grudge against Prince; he’s doing what he has to do and getting by without a record label, which is great. Good for him. But still – Target? I guess I should be thrilled he did not choose Walmart.
All this time I’ve been riding around with a poorly positioned saddle. How could I not have realized it?
New Saddle Position
On Sunday I brought Oma to the Dutch Bike Chicago doctor for a regular check-up and to have her studded tires swapped (a task I could not figure out due to the enclosed chain case). He was super helpful with everything, fixing a spring that keeps my handlebars from swinging around while parked and treating my Brooks saddle. He noticed from the saddle’s breaking-in pattern that I was riding too far forward and offered to adjust the tilt. Of course! Once he mentioned it, I realized that I often have to scoot myself back while riding, but it never occurred to me to investigate. I thought maybe that was simply how the saddle was supposed to be, nevermind my instincts. As you can see in the picture, the saddle is now titled up slightly, making the back part level with the ground.
Huge improvement! On the way home I realized how bad it was before when I kept pushing on the handlebars to scoot myself back, only to realize that I did not need to scoot back. Why didn’t I address the problem before someone in the know brought it up? I don’t need to be a bike expert to know what my body is feeling. This super comfy saddle is a lesson learned.
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.
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!
We moved to Alabama from Minnesota when I was a kid. It would have been less of a culture shock to move to Canada. Among the many things I found different about Alabama, aside from the sometimes incomprehensible accents and inability to call pop of any variety anything but “Coke,” was the more formal way everyone dressed, especially for school and church. Mothers and grandmothers were always in full makeup, perfectly coiffed, with their daughters sporting huge hairbows and the equally huge bangs so popular during the early 90s. The one exception to this rule seemed to be the grocery store, where you’d occasionally bump into those same women, especially the grandmothers, wearing curlers under a brightly covered scarf to pick up a gallon of milk. This was a sight you’d never see up north—whatever primping Midwesterners did happened in the privacy of the home. Not so in the South, where tempers, opinions and, apparently, hairstyling techniques, were never kept hidden. They didn’t seem to mind being caught in what was, to my eyes, something of a state of undress. And they had a point: after all, did we think looking that good was effortless?
All this is a rather long way of saying that, while I came to admire that attitude and their confidence, there is too much of the Midwesterner in me to ever pull it off myself. I’ll never be quite as well-groomed as those stylish Southern ladies, but I’ll never show up at the grocery store in curlers, either. You never know who you might run into—especially in Nashville. Don’t believe me? Check out what Le Peug and I saw at Kroger after picking up some tortillas to make this recipe:
Le Peug has gone country
Since there were no crowds gathering in the store, I’m assuming we didn’t miss seeing Loretta herself (who is working a new album!), but I waved just in case she was waiting on the bus.