feel good . do good . look good — cycling

Archive for November, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 30th, 2009

For your Thanksgiving viewing pleasure, I have some fall foliage bike flower photos sent in by folks who took my request for photos to the next level. Aren’t these fun?

Black and Chrome

Monday, November 30th, 2009

There is a reason that’s a classic combination.

Family Cyclists

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

Preparing for my Thanksgiving meal my thoughts are turning to families. Here are some little of my favorite chic cyclists in training:

Here are two mini-Parisians à vélo, the nephew and daughter of my friend. It seems it’s completely normal for these two to be out on their bikes. Even still, don’t they look delighted?

father daughter cycling
And here we have my college roommate’s husband and daughter on their way to work/school. My friend told me that they’re multi-modal, with a stint on the bus followed by a bike ride. At any rate, there is a group of ladies who ride the bus with them and are convinced that this little girl is the cutest thing ever (and she is). When Dad was fumbling with the bike one day the ladies swooped in to help with the girl. My friend commented on how glorious and humbling it is to feel that sense of community with a child – that it does take a village and even in our difficult world we, as a community, still pull together like that. It is beautiful, really.

I’m feeling sentimental, so I better sign off. Happy Thanksgiving to all your families!

Boots and Handbag on a Red Mixte

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

lady on a red mixte
It’s a grey day here in MA, but this lady’s out in style. I couldn’t tell if she was wearing a skirt with those boots, but she certainly was looking stately as she moved smoothly through the intersection, not too fast, not too slow.

Getting There!

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

bicycle photo updated 10 speed
What a treat to look back at my post from March 4, 2008. As of this weekend I have accomplished all the goals listed there and more.

chainguard and other upgrades on vintage 10 speedOn the list for upgrading I had:

Well, as to this last goal, I decided that an internal hub might be better for my needs while still accomplishing the winter protection I was looking for. My husband built the wheel and we got it installed yesterday. The only challenge was that my handlebars are not round, and not standard, so getting the shifter on was a big deal. Everything else went smoothly. I chose a new Sturmey-Archer three speed mostly because it was already sized for my very narrow dropouts and I didn’t want to have to spread the rear triangle. We laced it to a Salsa Delgado rim. My only complaint thus far is that I didn’t realize the hub would click whether I was pedaling or coasting. I used to be much more stealthy! But that’s not much of a complaint and I’m thrilled with how the bike now just smoooothly glides. I had no idea how much resistance had built up in the old wheel and derailleur. I know the derailleur was contributing because now when I backpedal I marvel at the lack of friction.

In the photo below you can see the results of my fender painting. After all these years of full-time commuting my Honjos are not looking as shiny as they did. I’m liking the pinstripe that now picks up my frame color on the fenders.

close up of drive train
I still have more upgrades planned. I have a tire and new brake pads waiting for a new front wheel, I’d like it to match the rear. Hmmm. Is that it? Might I be getting close to the end of upgrades for the bike? Is that possible?

driveside renovated 10 speed

I might have saved some money (maybe) if I’d just bought a new bike and was done with it. Especially now that there are some cute, affordable city bikes (though probably made in Taiwan).

I am perhaps more proud of this old bike. I created this. It’s my bike, there’s not another one like it in the world, and I have learned so much in doing this. My husband has also learned a lot, I have him to thank for taking the wheel-building class. We’ve both grown in bike knowledge (and if we can, anyone can).

There’s a wealth of old 10-speeds out there, and many are great bikes. Please don’t send them to the dump! There’s an adventure, sometimes frustrating, always informative, to be had in recycling them into lightweight beautiful city bikes.

You don’t have to ride your bike

Friday, November 20th, 2009

rainy day in Boston with a bike
As I reflected on the view you see here, the street in front of a favorite café this morning, I found myself dreading my commute. Rain, puddles, harried drivers, it just seemed like such a drag.

Then I remembered a post from Chicago Bike Blog, Justyna’s position on how we don’t HAVE to ride every day and I gave myself permission to not ride into work this morning. Then the funniest thing happened! As I began contemplating my alternatives I decided to ride anyway. It really seemed the least of the evils. In the end it turns out that was for the best, the rain ended and this has become a beautiful day. I strolled outside at lunchtime without even a jacket.

I’m grateful for this morning because it allowed me to remind myself that I don’t have to be a hero, and that riding almost all the time is good enough, and simply making it a choice is sufficient to bring back the joy.

So go ride your bikes! (but only if you feel like it)

Fun Faux Fur

Thursday, November 19th, 2009

Seems I should stop giving locations, you all are having so much fun guessing!

ANT in its native habitat

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

One thing I’ve learned in my time hunting wild bikes in Boston: If you see a bike in Boston that looks elegantly at peace in the surroundings, approach stealthily and it’s likely to turn out to be an ANT.

Here’s an example spotted near the John Hancock buildings.

lights and front rack

International City Bike

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

copper Raleigh International city bike
copper Raleigh International city bike
You all know that I’m a fan of the Raleigh International, particularly that model’s chromed lugs. I was interested to see this copper International, all dressed up in city components. It certainly makes a lovely singlespeed, and the bridgepiece for the rear brake is effective in protecting this bike’s tail light. It has the original cranks and pedals, and I believe the rear brake was put on the front because the brake pads were jammed all the way up in the slot, yet you can see that the clearance of the wheel looks like mine after I’d changed from 27″ to 700c wheels.

The bike is a looker, and if my experience is any indication, it will attract the attention of old men everywhere, internationally. It’s fun to strike up a conversation with them, I’m not sure if they miss their old bikes or their old youth, but they’re every one of them nostalgic. Aren’t bikes fun?

Long Shadow in green

Monday, November 16th, 2009

lady cyclistSkinny jeans and ballet flats go well with the singlespeed aesthetic.