Monday, February 16, 2009
I think I love indigo and blue equally; I consider them different shades of the same color. Even though people have often described sadness as, "the blues," I think blue is often a pretty, cheery color. I tried to highlight that with this selection.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Forget about the fickle fashion industry. Bicycles have yet another champion in the literary set. Nikki Giovanni, one of my favorite poets, has written a new book of love poems (about all sorts of love) called Bicycles: Love Poems. If you browse through the pages below, you'll see why she entitled a book of love poems, "Bicycles."
This canvas and leather bag by Alexandra Cassaniti is made to attach to your bike's handle bars. While Ms. Cassaniti isn't a household name (yet), she's apparently a big muckety-muck in the fashion world. She's been praised over at the influential "Oh Joy!" blog and highlighted by the Coolhunters. I'm thinking this is less of a cynical, let-me-appear-green-to-the-world move and more a product of someone who sees a lot of folks on bikes and figures that they might want a high fashion bag especially for their two-wheeled friend. We already know that the fashion giants are aware of chic cycling as a trend (as noted by myself and Mr. Colville Andersen for WWD), but maybe there are some in the fashion world who see the endearing/enduring merits of cycling. Perhaps, we'll see a lot more up-and-coming/indie designers produce bike-related items.
Monday, February 9, 2009
What kind of world do we live in when a woman can't retire her pink bicycle for the evening and find it where she left it in the morning? I have theorized that femininity is a deterrent to bicycle thieves--and I'm not the only one--but I wonder if that's true in these trying economic times? Or maybe pink is no longer regarded as overtly feminine? Or maybe bike theft is becoming a less male-dominated field (if you can call it a "field")?
While I'm all for gender equality, I don't want to see a rise in the number of female criminals, or girly bike thefts, or bikeless women cyclists. (I don't wish bike theft on any dudes either). Therefore, I implore everyone to lock up their bikes even if they are pastel colors and have streamers and flowers and whatever else on them. I would think customization of any kind (not just the ugly kind) would scream, "I am loved; don't steal me," but I guess some hard-hearted thieves just don't get the message.
*I have been pretty lax about bike security lately--I've been leaving Praline on the carport unlocked--but, apparently, the new people next door have sticky fingers so after reading about Pinkie, I went outside and locked up Praline.
Screenshot via Bike Jax
It's great that the Huffington Post has a bike culture section. Most of the writers appear to know what they're writing about, except for this one. Bless his heart, he tried. Lest you mistake my critique for sheer upity-ness, I admit that I made one of the very same mistakes he makes in his article when I first started riding. I once commented on Amie's blog:
"I would like a vintage...lightweight bike or British utility bicycle, something lighter than my vintage Ross 3-speed. There a lot of hills here and sometimes I want to be a little lazy and not have so much to push against gravity."
After hanging out at my local bike shop and reading all sorts of bicycle blogs, I discovered that the weight issue is irrelevant once you start adding bike accessories and stuff to haul onto your bike. Unless you like bruised and broken food, why would anyone need to ride quickly in completing shopping or errands? Unless one likes arriving at work or school sweaty and breathless, why would anyone need a lightweight bike to race to his/her destination as opposed to commuting there? There's not much out there in vintage bicycle land that's lighter than my bike anyway--not anything that I'd want to use for commuting. That's one of the problems with Mr. Lewis' article--he wants a bike that does more than get you from point A to point B. He wants a bike that's as "light as air and (unlike the three above) ready to jump off a curb and hit the hills with abandon." Umm, isn't that the description of something other than a commuter bike? Last time I checked, there aren't a lot of lovely patisseries and boutiques located "in the hills." The same goes for office buildings and universities. Truly, Mr. Lewis needs a mountain bike, and he would probably be able to afford one in addition to his commuter if he didn't have a yen for $700+ bikes.
My other issue with the article regards ergonomics--a term, apparently, unfamiliar to Mr. Lewis. Seriously, how can a bike be "too upright?" "Too upright" makes it sound as if the quality of uprightness is undesirable when it's actually a very comfortable way to ride. All of us homo sapiens walk upright, don't we? Maybe the bikes Mr. Lewis tested weren't properly adjusted for him or maybe he has terrible posture; I can't begin to guess at the circumstances that would engender such a comment.
Everyone is entitled to his or her opinion and those expressed by Mr. Lewis aren't so horrible as to work me into a lather. I'm more upset about the people seeking advice on commuting and mistaking Mr. Lewis' opinions for good advice. I'm afraid these folks will be overly concerned with weight and too resolved to purchasing an expensive bike through a payment plan. Granted, the old European uprights aren't plentiful on craigslist or Ebay so one might have to spend some change on a new one, but not necessarily the $650 cost of an Electra Amsterdam. I think the best piece of advice that could be offered to a new commuter is to enjoy the ride and let that ideal dictate what kind of bike, what number of gears, and which bike accessories. The pleasure in cyling comes from the ride, not the bike alone.
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Last week, I was going to write a post to inspire myself and others to get out in the cold, overcast gloom known as winter to ride more often. I was going to link to these lovely, melancholic pictures of the Welsh countryside and the brave accounts of a cyclist riding in frigid Nebraska. Then Groundhog Day came and went without Beauregard Lee seeing his shadow. Yeah, that's right. In the South, we have our own groundhog and he says we only have a few (2?) more weeks of winter. In that case, I don't have to work up the courage to ride under frosty, foreboding conditions for much longer. Thanks, Beau!
Sorry, Yankee friends!
Sorry, Yankee friends!