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Archive for September, 2009

Make Way for Ducklings

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

I’ve seen some discussion about schools not allowing children to arrive by bicycle. I can tell you that is not happening in Cambridge! On our way to the café this morning we saw at least 15 little people under the age of 8 pedaling to school. This photo is of a bike rack in front of one of the schools, every rack and street sign was full.

Bike Party Boston

Friday, September 11th, 2009

My husband came home all excited from a leisure ride the other day. He was riding with some guys on “carbon fiber rocketships” and they were telling him about a criterium race that’s going to be held in downtown Boston. They are all super excited to see the real professionals racing in our city’s streets, up close and personal. Even though it’s not strictly chic cycling you can call us both really excited, the adrenaline in this setting makes lycra seem appropriate. We did get to see the end of the Tour de France in Paris, but by then they’re no longer racing each other. This race will be the thrill of competition at close quarters in our town so it will be fun.

Here’s the race course downtown:

Mayor's Cup bike race
The only thing I think is too bad is that they didn’t take a page out of l’Eroica‘s book. My husband has always wanted to do that because his old Italian bike will apparantly qualify him for a bottle of chianti at the finish, in recognition of his appreciation for old Italian things. I hear that the upcoming American Eroica will double the purse for winners on Italian bikes made before 1990.

I think the Mayor’s Cup would be more fun if they were to highlight our incredible bike builders here in Massachusetts and have some kind of recognition for people who complete the race on handmade-in-MA bikes. I can’t imagine they could double the purse for the pros (already k!), but maybe there could be some special made-in-Boston Harpoon beer, or something like that, for the first made-in-MA bike to finish? Wouldn’t that be nice?

There will be a concert and party afterward, and of course the next day is the annual Hub on Wheels. We’ll be seeing you all there!

Boston Pedicab makes me sad

Thursday, September 10th, 2009

My Mom is here! Hurray! Her last visit to Boston was in 2007. When she was leaving I asked what the highlight of her trip had been. My wedding shower? Visiting our family? Nope. The highlight of her trip was taking a pedicab downtown to dine at the harbor.

“OK” I thought, “we can start this visit off with style”. I had it all planned. Mom would arrive at Logan and take the Blue Line just to Government Center where my husband and I would zip over by bike. We’d dine on the waterfront and caravan to my apartment by bike & pedicab for mom and her suitcase.

I checked the Boston Pedicab website, we would be well within the service area, timeframe, and guidelines. Just to be safe we made a point of finishing up our cappuccino before the bottom of the sixth inning, knowing that a home game would make cabs scarce. I had no idea that a home game meant that they would refuse us service entirely. They don’t say that on the website!

All this has led me to the sudden shocking revelation that Boston Pedicabs are a fun gimmick if you can get one, like the horse-drawn carriages or the rockin’ party bus, but not a reliable transportation solution. My own mother doesn’t read this blog and I think our experience last night underlies why – we loaded her into a gasoline cab and raced across town to not leave her on the stoop too long because pedal power remains a fringe activity, not something my mother can embrace.

I sit here chastened, no longer so smug in my certainty that bikes are a solution for our city transportation needs. Bummer.

Parallel Parking

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

blonde on her bikeShe was looking summery as she parked her bike in front of the café. I think of this as an “extreme step-through” frame, is there a more technical term?

Sexy Brompton

Friday, September 4th, 2009

OK, so you all already know that I’ve got a thing for men who ride Bromptons. So when I saw this handsome man I chased him down and asked to see his bike bag (and also take his photo!).

Brompton cyclist Boston
I noticed his very tasteful summer clothes and his clever black pant clips which discreetly protected his jeans. They’re so discreet you can’t even see them in this photo! Anyway, C, you’re clearly a man with good taste who recognizes elegant design.

He showed me his front-mounting Carradice bag and I’m now convinced that this is the only bag to use with a Brompton. The Brompton-made bag leaves a lot to be desired and the original Carradice rack bag has issues of its own. But they’ve finally gotten it right with this bag and there will be one coming in the mail to my house right away.

Carradice bag on a Brompton

I was particularly impressed with the mounting system onto the Brompton proprietary front carrier block, and structural support for the rest of the bag. Carradice has outdone themselves this time, it’s an incredible piece of engineering, well thought out and well executed. I was especially impressed by the two pockets facing the rider while the bag is mounted. I imagine those would come in particularly handy for sunglasses and headlights, etc.

Carradice front bag for Brompton

LEGS! in Back Bay

Thursday, September 3rd, 2009

I wonder if she has the secret to her great legs there in that bag?
Looking good!

Boston Tweed Ride Preparations

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009

Massachusetts cycle chic

Image from Wha’ppen

Massachusetts has a long history of both bicycle manufacturing and chic tweedy cycling, as evidenced by this vintage bicycle poster from Northampton, MA.

I’m very excited for our Boston Tweed Ride on Sunday October 4th, 2PM and am working on outfits for myself and my husband. Have you got yours? Will I see you Sunday afternoon?
I hope so!

Spotted this morning

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009

UHaul soldier ride bicycle advocayThose of you who have lived in Boston over the period of Aug. 25-Sept. 5 know what’s going on – the entire city is FILLED with vans, trucks, and UHauls, many driven by students who have never operated a vehicle of this size, and all parked haphazardly everywhere.

It kind of feels like a slightly dangerous party.

Anyway, on the side of a UHaul this morning I saw an announcement for Soldier Ride, a program to help combat wounded veterans return to an active lifestyle by cycling. I think this is exciting on many levels. Certainly I am thrilled that our veterans are getting support, I hear so many horror stories about the VA hospitals, etc. that it’s good to hear a supportive story for a change. These testimonials make me get all teary-eyed. On a completely selfish level, I’m thankful that these heroes are out cycling, acting as ambassadors of the activity perhaps to people who otherwise wouldn’t consider cycling a respectable endeavor. Thank you soldiers. Again.

The blog about the effort is available here: http://wwpsoldierride.blogspot.com/

Pretty Electra Bike in the South End

Tuesday, September 1st, 2009

Electra bike