Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A Celebrity In Need of Some Cycling Diva Tips

Clearly, Kate Hudson needs to check out the San Fransico Bicycle Coalition's "Diva's Guide to Biking" (which I have cited on this blog before) to find a more elegant way of keeping her dress in place. Or rather, the wardrobe staff on the set of her new film Earthbound need to read it. They can't have Ms. Hudson flummoxed by the wind up her skirt when she has a kissing scene with Gael Garcia Bernal! (He is a pretty pretty man).

Slow Recognition

Did I miss it earlier or has the Canadian bicycle company, Jorg & Olif, recently rebranded itself The Slow Life Company™? Their website features short articles on slow food, slow travel, and something they call "slow beauty." Certain sections of their site encourage reflection and thoughtfulness. I like two of their affirmations: The Slow Life Company™ is health and wellbeing without the spandex/ design and culture without pretensiousness.

I don't think there is another North American bicycle manufacturer that claims the Slow Movement to this degree, if at all. After recently finishing the book, "Deep Economy," I feel that--on the one hand--this is a shrewd bit of marketing selling a sense of membership to a community/movement to folks increasingly weary of the hyper-individualistic lifestyle of the past couple of decades. To me, their last affirmation--eco-consciousness without extensive activism--pretty much says, "All you have to do is buy this bike and you're in." Otherwise, why put any limit on the environmental activism that might arise from becoming a cyclist?

On the other hand, the sport of cycling has tons of corporate sponsorship so should I begrudge urban/utility cycling its corporate champion? Perhaps this could be a symbiotic relationship: Jorg & Olif make chic bikes that they sell as symbols of a slow life which may help keep people on their bikes after the concurrently active high fashion love affair with bikes is over.

In other slow developments, Blogger had finally named Copenhagen Cycle Chic one of its "Blogs of Note." Congrats! (In true slow fashion I'm just noticing this now, twelve days after the fact. There was also a road bike blog recognized on January 4th).

Saturday, January 16, 2010

More Skirtguard Help

On Friday, I received a package from Michael, the warehouse manager at Morgan Imports. He sent me the plastic skirtguards he recommended to me for free! I snapped one onto Praline in about 25 seconds. Feeling confident, I was ready try them on Brown Betty, but her brakes made installation slightly more involved. After loosening the brakes, I slipped the skirtguard on easily; nothing popped loose so I didn't think I would need the zip ties they sent me. The other skirtguard was a different story, but when I finally got it on there it turns out it didn't matter. The fenders on Betty are a Mona Lisa smile--slightly curved at the ends--compared to the half moon shape of Praline's fenders. The shorter sides of Betty's fenders had the skirtguards up against the tire so tightly that it barely rolled! Initially, I thought the second skirtguard was the problem because it was slightly bent. I decided to take that skirtguard off the bike and ride with the other one to check out its durability.

Unfortunately, the one skirtguard was still too close to the tire and in the course of my ride it actually removed rubber from it (that white dust on the stay and kickstand). Like I said, it's the spare design of Betty's rear fender that's the problem. The skirtguards fit well on Praline, but that bent second guard still rubs a bit. I think I can unbend it if I heat it up and bend it in the opposite direction.

If you have narrow fenders on your bike, a DIY option might be your best bet. I wanted to call Michael on Friday afternoon after running into my issues, but I my cousin was hogging our internet access at the time. Morgan Imports has a metal skirtguard that might require extra zip ties, but fit Betty better. I still intend to call and ask about it and get any tips about the plastic skirtguards that he or Charles might have. When I get a set of skirtguards on Praline or Betty for good, I'll definitely let y'all know.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Bike Friendly Media

via Coco, Le Freak, C'est Chic

I've been wanting to document a few of the new blogs popping up that are about utility cycling of feature it as a part of one's lifestyle, but frankly, I've had a difficult time keeping up with all of my Google Alerts. A couple are already in my sidebar-- I Dream of Cycling is representing the ATL and Gatas de Roda is representing Sao Paulo, Brazil. And I can't forget the new (less than three weeks old) Buenos Aires Cycle Chic. Apparently, I'm not a moment too soon in my ambitions because we cyclists need this positive [digital] print to offset the backlash reported by the old media. I found this amusing account in an article from SF Appeal:
"If you didn't know, bicyclists are, along with vegans, atheists, gays, ACORN, the French and, let's just admit it publicly, the international Jewish banking cabal, a threat to the very way of life every American is entitled to by an angry, vengeful baby Jesus.

Haven't you read the chapter of Das Kapital where Karl Marx demands painted bike lanes, ample bike parking, and the freedom -- erm, sorry, tyranny -- of bicyclists to treat stop signs as yield signs? No, you probably didn't, because as a real American you don't actually read, and because you've never, ever committed any traffic violations while driving. So, continue to fight for God and country and never give an inch to those damn pinkos demanding that you "share" the road!"
Bwahh ha ha! I hope you found that as funny as I did even though I've seen a site where the blogger ends each post "Yours in Christ" and documents the depravity of cyclists, like those riding in the World Naked Bike Ride or riding with their children. It seems this blogger hit a cyclist, was found at fault, and had to pay for the damage she did to her car herself which means that all cyclists everywhere are a menace to drivers and the American way of life because it is, of course, inextricably linked to the automobile. I'm not even going to link to this woman's blog; she doesn't deserve the traffic.

Luckily, people are still blogging about cycling--better yet, cycling with their kids! Two moms receiving Xtracycle sponsorships are blogging about their two-wheeled adventures. One mom is committed to a year of transportation using less than 25% of the vehicle miles traveled of the average American. The other mom is a teacher living in Virginia ( yeah, Old Dominion!).

I've also found bikes featured on style blogs like this one and this one where the blogger's bike was pictured in Italian Vogue (shown at the top of this post)! For the longest time, I've been meaning to mention the lifestyle/decor blog, Lovely Velo, written by a travel planner who specializes in cycling trips (!). Lastly, I want to mention the personal/cycling blog, church of the granny bike. I like seeing blogs where bicycles are integrated into the blogger's sense of style or daily life and I hope that these few are the forerunners to many more like them.

We Bike Bon Temps

Anna Pacquin on a Nirve Hello Kitty Cruiser via zimbio

I really like the show "True Blood" so I had to post about its two cycling stars. There are a few photos of Anna Pacquin on a bike around the web, but Ryan Kwanten has an interesting tale of cycling which I excerpted from a lengthy interview. Kwanten plays Jason Stackhouse, brother of Sookie Stackhouse, the show's heroine. Before he got this big break he experienced some lean times while trying to find a steady gig. Regarding the frenzied search for work, he says
“In pilot season, sometimes you’re going to three auditions a day. So I got to know the bus routes back to front, and I’d take my bike on the bus and cycle the last few kilometres. For about six months, I was doing that every day.
One day, my last audition was at DreamWorks. So I got my three buses and rode to the building. It’s like Fort Knox trying to get in, so I get through the three or four layers of security and make it to the office, and I chain my bike up outside, on a log, and rush in. I’m in the waiting room, and suddenly this assistant comes running in sweating and says, ‘Someone’s parked in Mr Spielberg’s spot! Someone’s parked in Mr Spielberg’s spot!’ I’m looking around at all the other guys, thinking, ‘Wow, someone’s really in trouble.’ A minute later he reappears and shouts, ‘It’s a bicycle! Does anyone here have a bicycle?!’ So I go out, and Spielberg’s waiting there in his huge SUV, and my bike is literally lying across the ‘S. Spielberg’ sign on the log.”

Perhaps the Spielberg crew doesn't appreciate alternatives modes of transportation because he didn't get the part.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Supermodel Loses Her Super Cool Bike

At right, bike parking in Cambridge. At left: supermodel/student, Lily Cole, in happier times on her Pashley Princess Sovereign. Pictures via the Daily Mail

Despite her attempts at cycle security, British supermodel, Lily Cole, had her bike stolen somewhere on the Cambridge University campus. Said Cole, "I don't park it at the station. The station is like a cesspit of cycles. It's a bit ugly, so I don't take my bike there. I don't think it's nice to put it in so much danger."

It's bad enough to have one's bike stolen, but to add insult to injury the thief ripped the cute wicker basket off the bike and threw it to the ground before taking off with Ms. Cole's bike. The model/student regards that as, "the most hurtful part of the ordeal." "I bought the bike because it had a nice basket and they just left it there," she said.

I recognize the fact that Lily Cole is in the unusual position of not being a desperately poor undergrad and can easily purchase another bike, but it still sucks enormously to have your bike stolen.
© courtnee cycles chic
Maira Gall