Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

1966 Hercules via old three-speed gallery

Cyclodelic bike via bliink photography

Everything old will be new again as far as cycling goes--people will continue primping old bikes for new commutes and bike companies will continue borrowing aesthetics and designs from old bikes. In fact the whole idea of utility cycling is a return to something fun and wholesome that we've lost as a society/continent/hemisphere. As people start to recognize what's good about cycling, they need to be reminded that streets weren't built for cars. It's a shame to ride such pretty bikes on the sidewalk as if they were unfit for the road. Someone out there is literally pining for some cycling infrastructure (and a few fellow cyclists to share it with)--let's see if we can get our fair share in 2010. 

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

I Got Skirt Guard Help (!)

the skirtguard of Filigree's Raleigh DL-1

Thanks to everyone who gave me suggestions and links regarding my skirtguard needs. Since I have two bikes I guess I'll try both of my options. First, I think I could manage making a skirtguard for BBII out of strings. If I pull the strings tightly over the fender, they shouldn't move around (much, if at all) and I don't have to worry about my brakes getting covered up or drilling holes in the fender or putting binder clips on the fender. I don't want to make any drastic cosmetic alterations to BBII because I'm not that handy (yet) and I'm not sure if I require a skirtguard on her. I feel that I'm sitting up so high that my skirts aren't really that close to getting caught in the wheel. Praline is a different story--I've already had one skirt caught in the wheel and since I'm sitting lower I feel that it's a definite possibility in the future. My second option is a plastic clip-on skirtguard from Morgan Imports.

I wasn't sure about ordering anything from the website because I'd never heard of the company before and they have such a wide selection of non-bike related stuff so I called them up (gotta love that Google Voice). It turns out that Morgan Imports is a legitimate business and even though they're not a bike shop they do know their bikes. They also knew about my skirtguard problem because Michael, the warehouse manager, reads this blog. (What a small world). Charles, the store manager, recommended the plastic skirtguard because it clipped on easily to his bike and acted as a splash guard. Michael suggested that I drill somes holes in them near my seat stays and bind them to the bike with zip ties for extra security. Charles said that they'd even send me some zip ties (even though he said he's never had a problem with his un-zip tied skirtguards).

Now I have two solutions for my un-skirted bikes. All that is left to do is the shopping.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Eau de Velo

This is the most unique corporate fashion/cycle chic tie-in that I've seen so far.

Photos via Experience PARISIENNE

Yves Saint Laurent invited several popular bloggers to explore the values of the Parisienne (also the namesake of their latest fragrance) in different cities around the US and write about their experiences. One astute blogger noticed the affection French women exhibit for bicycles and looked for a bit of that in New York City. (Then again, she would notice that since she was born in Paris).

Win A New Bike for Xmas!

I feel like Xmas came early for me this year because I got a new bike in November gratis. Now everyone has a chance to win a sweet new ride courtesy of Viva Bikes. Just guess the number of different bikes on display on their website. They even provide a hint--it's more than 100. Contest ends December 23rd.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Beating the Mean Streets Through the Legal System

Ignore the fact that this is an NYC ambulance. Consider the fact that this image is from a personal injury attorney's blog.

Los Angelenos should appreciate this, especially Bike Girl: according to, "the Los Angeles City Council Transportation Committee considered a bicyclist anti-harassment ordinance and moved to add this ordinance to the city council agenda for the full council to consider, probably in January." While this ordinance could be a significant measure of protection for cyclists, it appears that it's the personal injury lawyers who are highly excited about the law.

New In Urban Mobility: The Copenhagen Wheel

Besides providing a "bit of a boost" of energy, the information on traffic and smog levels provided by the Copenhagen Wheel could make commuting a little more pleasant for all and attractive to those who have yet to try utility cycling. It certainly diminishes the idea the a person must be ultra-fit to be a cyclist. This could be good for the elderly too, but I'm not sure about how they'd handle the remote access via smart phone. Honestly, I'm not especially keen on the smart phone access because I usually leave my phone at home when I'm out riding. Maybe MIT should develop a remote to go with the device (a simple one, for the Seniors' sakes).

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

I Need Skirt Guard Help!

It looks good from this distance...

...but then you get closer.

However, it passed the skirt test...

...and the coat test, as you can see from the basket cam.

The whole shebang is being held together by packing tape, fingernail polish, and a couple of zip ties. Does anyone know how to make a skirt-guard or know a reputable seller of such things?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A Positive Spin on Hipsters

They're all riding bikes on rainbows so they can't be that bad or maybe cycling is just that magical.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Hipsters Change. Cycling Remains The Same.

I'm so happy to see Decatur, Georgia's own Paste Magazine publish something that is causing such a stir around the Web. The connection between hipsters and bicycles really resonated with people as I saw the article first mentioned on The Bike Blog Book and then spotted an article in the school newspaper of the University of Idaho. According to UIA's Argonaut, even if the hipsters are just riding their fixies for fashion, they are dedicated enough to their carefully cultivated images to keep riding in the cold. Filigree also has her own hipster analysis accompanied by a Paste graphic she spotted on Bike Snob NYC. Despite the poor reputation of hipsters as shiftless poseurs, I think this could be positive for cycling. Seeing all those fixies chained up outside the pub on a cold winter evening might make the average person believe that they have the physical and mental wherewithal to ride year-round too.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Cycling Makes You Smarter and Nicer

via Treehugger/NYT

First, I spotted Anna's post about a Swedish study entitled, "Cardiovascular fitness is associated with cognition in young adulthood." Then, I saw a link to an article (I can't remember where) about a study that showed the negative effects of gasoline fumes on the brains of rats. The Wired article I read says that researcher Amal Kinawy of Cairo University found exposure to gasoline fumes made rats more aggressive and anxious. Moreover, some of the changes in the brain are described as "damage."
“Rats exposed to unleaded gasoline showed indications of increased damage caused by free radicals and altered levels of neurotransmitters in the brain cortex region, in comparison with the control or leaded-gasoline groups. Furthermore, inhalation of both fuels induced significant fluctuations in neurotransmitters in the hypothalamus, hippocampus and cerebellum.”
Brain damage?! The health benefits of cycling just reached a whole new level. Perhaps, in the interest of public health, the CDC should revive the "Is your trip necessary?" posters from WWII. Of course, they would need to change the imagery to suit the times--one person sitting in a huge SUV amongst a smoggy sea of other solitary drivers in SUV's ought to do it.

Le Freak C'est Chic

The Hell-a-Copter Bike

Okay Miami, apparently you like to get freaky with bikes. Ryan Doyle is giving a three-part "freak bike culture" exhibition at Art Basel on December 3-6.

Here's a little taste of one of the exhibitions, Tall Bike Jousting, and here's an interview with the artist at Bike Blog NYC.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

For Girls of All Ages

My heart swelled with happiness today when I spotted a little girl on Arthur learning how to fix her own bike at her local bike shop. I would've been happy to see such a thing on a kids' show in any case, but the fact that a little girl was learning about her bike made it just that little bit better. Maybe she'll grow up to be a woman who teaches her kids about utility cycling.

Now if that weren't enough, I found a cute activity on the Arthur/PBS Kids site where parents or teachers can supervise a "bicycle makeover" for their childrens' trikes and bikes and Lance Armstrong is going to be on the December 8 episode entitled, "Room to Ride; The Frensky Family Fiasco?" In this episode, Binky and his friends campaign for more bike lanes. Is it not said that, "a little child shall lead them?" Go, kids, go!

For the "big girls" out there, I've found that the magazine, "More," a title "celebrating women40+" seems to be slightly keen on cycling. One slideshow on their site highlights six bikes for commuting to work. There are "uplifting" articles: one is the narrative of a woman learning to ride a bike at forty and the other is the narrative of a woman who is able to ride a bike despite an injury that was supposed to eliminate her mobility. There may be more material in the magazines that isn't available on the website. In the September issue, I found a small column about a woman trying utility cycling in New York City. After three days, she writes, "Navigating through heavy traffic, I feel empowered as I scoot between cars (illegal) and cut across red lights (also illegal)." You'd think she'd know better at 40+, but she's a mere babe in the world of bike commuting; she'll learn.

The Future Is Wow

This foldable electric mini-farthing is called the, "Yike Bike." I'm reserving my judgement regarding the title of, "bike." The website doesn't mention being able to peddle the thing under your own power and you can't carry anything on it. On the other hand you can ride it in the street in rain or snow--supposedly without getting mucky because the design of the frame prevents it--and it should connect with public transit without much of a hassle. It beats the heck out of a Segway. But five grand?! Yikes!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Expanding My Blogging Horizons

I tried to take some "panda" photos the other day and this is what I got. It was my first attempt so hopefully I'll get better and I'll be able to take some "what was in my basket today" shots.

I did get one nice shot.
© courtnee cycles chic
Maira Gall