feel good . do good . look good — cycling

Archive for September, 2008

Lipstick Red Raleigh

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

red raleigh sports 3 speed
This bike was parked outside my coffee shop this morning and I thought it was too darling for words. I think the red ones must be rare, I haven’t seen too many of them. This one was in perfect condition.

I am not a vehicle – rant

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

bicycle car share the road sign vehicle
Last night, as I tried to make an unprotected left turn against 3 lanes of cars I thought to myself “This just proves that I am not a vehicle”. I have neither the power nor the safety features to compete on a level with the cars.

This morning that was brought home again to me, in a scary way.

I live on a one-way 1.5 lane urban street (enough room to double-park, but not really two lanes). My husband and I rode to the red light and stopped, as is the law. There was a car behind us who wanted to make a right on red. Being reasonable people we moved to the left, me more than he, and the car turned right.

The light then changed. I proceeded into the intersection, crossing it somewhat diagonally to make my way over to the right-hand side of the street. While I was in the intersection a BMW SUV going about 45 miles per hour swerves and honks and nearly clips me. She was insistent on her “right” to go about 2X the speed limit down this tiny one-way residential street. Thank God I wasn’t turning left, I would be dead.

Naturally we caught her at the first red light. I was able to see into the car and saw she was looking over her new parking ticket. I imagine that played into her algorithm of aggression towards me.

I told her “You need to chill out”. She told me to get out of the road. I started to get really angry at this point and told her it was the law that I ride in the road. She said I had to be at the side of the road. In retrospect I could have tried to explain what had happened with the other car, but really – is there anything I can do in the road that merits that kind of aggression? She just kept repeating that she had a car and all I have is a bike. This is the exact same statement another man used for acting in the same way towards my husband a while ago.

With people like that in cars I know we will never be equals. There is evasive action I must take as a cyclist in order to stay safe.

Later this morning I was stopped at a red light. There were at least 10 cars stopped with me. I looked ahead and there was a Construction Zone sign taking up the bike lane. I knew that I would have to move left into the car’s lane in order to get past it. I looked both ways and ran the red light, getting beyond the sign and back in the bike lane before the cars caught up, making the whole thing less confusing and thus safer for everyone. This is a violation of the “Same Road, Same Rights, Same Rules” idea, but for the better.

There were some cops directing traffic outside my office this morning. I was shaken up enough to stop and run all these experiences past them.

  1. With respect to running the red light (I confessed!!!) they said that what I did this morning was reasonable and courteous, despite the tickets given in Cambridge to cyclists running reds.
  2. In the situation with the lady in the SUV, they said that I should just get the plate number. I can submit it to the RMV and get a hearing. They will listen to both of us and possibly take disciplinary action. I asked if it would help create a history of aggressive behavior, should she do worse next time and he said it would. I think it is worth getting the license plate next time, just in case.

I am now 100% in favor of “slow, then go”-style Idaho bike laws. While the concept of courtesy is more difficult to legislate and enforce, I know that I am not a vehicle.

Rainy Day Portrait

Friday, September 26th, 2008

bicycle rain brooks plastic bag
It is raining today, and I didn’t see a single fellow cyclist on my way into work. I’ll try again on my lunch break. In the meantime, here’s my bike in his raincoat.

Blur, even at low speeds

Thursday, September 25th, 2008

3-speed blurry bicyclist
I took many photos of her, all turned out blurry.
Time for a new camera, the blog is suffering as mine keeps failing at key moments.


Wednesday, September 24th, 2008

abandoned bike
A sure sign of cooler weather: the cute bike which was beloved in the summer is about to be impounded by the police as abandoned property. Too sad.

Girls and bicycles

Wednesday, September 24th, 2008

I’ve been traveling, but I thought you might like this image of some girls who spent the whole afternoon riding around the downtown of a small town in New Hampshire. Sounds like a good day to me – girlfriends and bicycles? Sign me up!

Helmet hair? Add a hat

Monday, September 22nd, 2008

If you can’t carry it any other way, just wear it with your helmet. Easy on, easy off…

helmet and hat bike bicycle

Bicycle Stylist?

Friday, September 19th, 2008

Our local Craigslist has an ad up for a “Bike Stylist”. It reads

Bike Stylist – Do You Love Your Bike?

Want your bike to look like a hardcore dream-ride? Want to breathe new life and functionality into an old bike? I will help!

You deserve the style and performance of a well spec’d bike. Like a good interior designer changes mere living space into showplaces, let me turn your bicycle into usable sculpture you’ll be proud riding.

I have worked at a bike shop and am abreast on all the latest parts that will make your ride more comfortable, capable, and stylish. All budgets will be worked with. You will be happy and your bike will be too.

I can definitely see a market for this service – it really helps to have a friend who knows handlebar diameters, and issues with French bikes, all the 26″ tire sizes, etc. It can be hard to know even what is possible for one’s bike. If you don’t have that friend, hire one!

Don’t forget you can scroll through the ideas collected here tagged DIY and customization for ideas and inspiration. There’s plenty more out there and I hope to encounter it. If you have a very customized bike and want to share photos, won’t you email me?

The bicycle you love is the bicycle you will ride, and that’s worth a lot.

My new old road bike

Thursday, September 18th, 2008

lugged steel Raleigh International bike bicycle touring bike like a Rivendell
Tiago, I know you’ve been waiting anxiously, so for you and everyone: here is my new, old, elegant bicycle for sport. It’s the copper bike on top. This is the bike I will ride from country inn to country inn on vacation with my husband, who rides the red Pinarello. This is the bike I will ride when going several towns over. This is the elegant sporty club(wo)man bicycle which will be perfect for me after our Randonneur-type conversion and slight modernization.

vintage classic lugged steel with chrome Raleigh International touring geometry

This new bike was handmade (like all my bikes!) in Carlton, England in August of 1974. It is Reynolds 531 throughout with chromed Nervex lugs, chrome stays, chromed fork. Full vintage Campagnolo (except brakes, which I intend to modernize anyway). The frame has a geometry somewhere between sport and touring, and is part of the inspiration for modern bikes like those sold by Rivendell but recycled, with vintage flair, and some modernization challenges/opportunities.

I will hold on to my French road bicycle because of the memories and because it is the bike that got me into cycling. It wouldn’t fetch enough to be worth selling if I wanted to, which I don’t. I’m a little sad that it won’t be in full rotation anymore, but we knew when we bought it quickly in Paris that it was too small, but we had places to go and see and wanted to get on the road. I’m not getting any shorter for a long time yet (I hope!) so this new bike will be much easier on my back and knees. Plus it’s pretty enough to hang on our living room wall as functional art.

On the fashion side, I tend to wear aquas, blues, and greens, and I thought the copper bike would complement my wardrobe nicely. I’m such a girl.

This just in: Bikes are in fashion

Wednesday, September 17th, 2008

bicycle chic bike fashion America
There’s been so much written about bikes being fashionable this summer that even I’m getting blasé. Yet here I go again, you see here the 5th Avenue window of Bergdorf in Manhattan last weekend…

bicycle chic bike fashion America

PS – the JMW Turner exhibition was wonderful (and overwhelming!).