03 November 2011

Waterproof Cycling Backpack Recommendation?

Dear Readers,

Take pity on my poor husband who has not been on a bike in over a month(!) as he recovers from a big shoulder re-construction surgery.

His armchair cycling has got him shopping for a waterproof laptop-carrying backpack. I am particularly concerned with sight lines as he looks back, and he with it being a backpack because he really does need to keep his shoulders aligned for some time to come. He doesn't need a big bag, as he's actually carrying a very small netbook. It is too bad it doesn't have a solid-state drive.

He's considering this Chrome and this Ortleib, but we're somewhat overwhelmed with all the options out there. A few friends have weighed in with suggestions, PAC Designs looks actually really cool but I understand the messenger-style is a deal breaker in the context of his surgery. Readers, are there any others we should consider? Any comments for or against the two backpacks in contention?

Thank you ever so much!

26 October 2011

Little Green Shopper

I saw this shopper of ambiguous vintage in the South End and thought of you Velouria: Green frame, cream tires... It would be cuter if the fenders were green too, don't you think?  :)

19 October 2011

Sometimes you just need a car?

I have a new commute. My friend watches Future Cyclist two days a week. She's in Arlington just off the Minuteman. At first I drove to her and then rode my bike to work, because that's what we knew. I quickly realized how miserable it is to have my baby in the backseat while I'm stuck driving, so now we take the subway to Alewife, walk a ways to my friend's house, and then I bike to work... Some people make think we just need a car but these mornings together are the highlight of my day.

All this leadup to explain why I was on the subway and saw this Zipcar advertisement:

OK, I agree, sometimes you might just need a car. That's true. But the example given in the photo? That's just not the case there. Sometime you just need SOME BIKE RACKS people! For the $60 annual Zipcar subscription you could get a decent set of front and rear racks, solving the problem posed in the photo for more than just one year.

16 October 2011

My HandleBar

I finally have half a moment to post a photo from my brother's wedding this summer. We were enjoying a sunny afternoon in downtown Boulder when MyHandleBar rolled into town. This thing looked like so much fun I went running over with my niece and her grandpa (my sister's father-in-law, is there a name for our relationship?) Here they are for scale as we checked this thing out:

It is a mobile bicycle bar, with one driver and everyone else literally saddled up to the bar.
The geometry of the cockpit is "relaxed", to say the least. They need 3 people minimum, if I remember correctly, and can take on more than will have pedals. The slope of your hill can't exceed 5 or 6%, but given those constraints it looked like a blast. Maybe someday Harpoon will have one of these and we won't have to ride Brewery to Brewery, we can just bring the beer along!

22 September 2011

Boots in the South End

Submitted by my friend J.

16 September 2011

Freebie Friday

Wow, it has been a LONG time since this blog has had a freebie friday.

In hopes of making up for all that lost time, I would like to offer someone in the Boston area my custom-reinforced Cyclist-themed Bike Rack Wine Box.

For information about the box please see this post with the details and this post with more photos. This box will work best for you if you have a Blackburn rear rack, but should be customizable for another rack. Email me to discuss picking this up for free. *CLAIMED*

Happy Friday everyone!!!

15 September 2011

The Things We'll Do

Yes, this man is crossing the double yellow line. Yet he looks so handsome doing it, and I happen to know that he was crossing over to go to Flour Bakery. So you see, there were mitigating circumstances to his traffic infraction. I know people (in my family!) who fly across the country to go to Flour Bakery...

12 September 2011

Wooden Rack Box

Awesome rack-mounted box spotted on Mass Ave. I peeked inside it and the owner had a bike helmet in there at the time of these photos. I particularly liked the wide leather straps, this was clearly a DIY project.

06 September 2011

Whoa there stranger!

I am sure there is a treasure trove out there on the internet, but a quick Google search did not turn it up...

So this morning I left Future Cyclist with his nanny and got on my bike to head to work. Very first stoplight a cyclist pulls in about 2 cm from my shoulder. YIKES! I startled, and all I could think to say was "oh, hi." Later he passed me at the next red light, and then I very loudly said "On your left!" as I dropped him on the bridge.

Always too late at this sort of thing I thought later that what I wished I'd said was something more like "I don't usually let a man get this close to me 'till I've got his phone number" or something like that.

Witty people, or people with better Googling skills, what could we be saying in these situations, something that indicates no-harm-done but next time say something!?

31 August 2011

Coolest thing I saw today

Someone was moving their apartment via pedicab! Lots of boxes labeled "kitchen" and stuff. No photos though, my hands were full.

Stay safe out there, lots of inexperienced drivers at the wheel of very large moving trucks.

25 August 2011

New Mixte on the Block

This mixte has moved into my neighborhood. I'm loving all the chrome, the VO double-hammered fenders in particular, and the stitched leather handgrips. I'm definitely doing that next time I re-wrap my bars.

The cloth tape protection is a nice touch!

I'm tempted to leave a note saying this bike is too sexy to spend the night outside. We've had a lot of bike thefts recently. My husband commented that he hopes it's not another of those "boyfriend builds his girlfriend the perfect bike but she doesn't fully appreciate the effort" stories. Hmmmm.

15 August 2011

Family Cycling in Montreal

No, it wasn't us, though I wish it were! My friend J sent this inspiring photo from her vacation. I am working on a longer post in this vein, but everything takes so much LONGER now.

Hope you're all having a great cycling summer!

15 July 2011

Lace Tights and Platforms

Submission from my friend J, this lady was spotted in the South End.

13 July 2011

Advice Needed and Gratuitious Baby Photo

We've enjoyed my friend E's photo submissions here on the blog, but now she needs some advice and I'm not sure I can help her. She'll be visiting home again and bringing her European-biking boyfriend with her. He's bringing his bicycle and wants to bike from Boston to Woods Hole.

I know it can be done, my husband has done it, but his route is less than ideal. He uses the Boston Brevet 200km route to begin, then hacks together the Cape portion of it. Navigation is a major hassle, and the bike path over the bridge is almost impossible to find, with access hidden behind a strip mall.

There must be a better way!

I know some people who have biked from Boston to Plymouth. I found this Boston-Plymouth bike route online, but am dismayed to see there are 606 cues over 80km! That strikes me as extremely complicated.

Does anyone have experience/advice for how to bike from Boston to Woods Hole. Thank you!!!

And just because I'm a doting mother, here's a photo of Future Cyclist practicing his chant "Allez les cyclists!":

11 July 2011


Now that Future Cyclist is strong enough we were able to get out for a short jaunt en famille yesterday. Our friends loaned us an old Burley trailer. We immobilized the car seat in it with a motorcycle tie-down cord (also on loan, I don't know what it's really called, but it's sure robust!) and off we went on a brand-new (and thus very smooth) rail trail.

FC prefers the bike trailer to riding in the car, and we had a few hours of bliss, but he also just doesn't like being by himself in a carseat away from his family so I can't claim that the whole afternoon was perfect. As far as we could tell his complaints were merely that he was lonely. Eventually Daddy rode alongside the baby and chatted with him until he fell asleep again.

My friend who loaned us the trailer said that once they got it life "went back to normal again". Even if it's imperfect, I know exactly what she means.

06 June 2011

Weehoo Bicycle Trailer

Thanks to my sister visiting we had time for a grown-up bike date yesterday so where did we go? The bike store of course!

While I was there the saleslady told me about a new child trailer, the Weehoo. Upsides are said to include the enclosed chain, the adjustable seat position, the fact that it *is* a seat (not a saddle) so the Future Cyclist could nod off without falling off, and it even has pockets for water bottles.

She showed me the video on the website and I instantly said "Wow, that looks like Colorado!" I was specifically thinking Lafayette, where my sister lives, but I wasn't surprised at all when I got to their Facebook page and see that they're based just down the road in Golden, CO. Now that Coors doesn't give out unlimited free beer at the end of the tour I don't know many people who go out there (except on a bike ride) but when we're home for another family wedding later this summer I may have to check out a Weehoo - it will be a while before we can use one, but once we can it looks like just the tool to resume our bicycle adventures!

Photo from the Weehoo Facebook page

01 June 2011

SoWa Bike

This bike was getting a lot of attention at the SoWa Open Market (Sundays in the South End). There was an Italian family touching it, I got to feeling a little bit uncomfortable with their enthusiastic appreciation - it seems that bike groping etiquette is different across cultures. Would you touch another person's bike? Most particularly, would you explore the firmness of their Brooks saddle?

19 May 2011

The Burlington Bike

How awesome is this bike? The owner must have found a stretchy cling map somewhere, I can't figure out how it came to be so perfectly and seamlessly attached to the bike.

Certainly there is some careful application involved.

The lugs are perfect for this sort of treatment.

This was the coolest bicycle we saw in Burlington, outside of the Old Spokes Home. When I was visiting their WONDERFUL museum upstairs in their shop I got a phone call that someone very dear to me had died, so I didn't get you any photos. You'll just have to go up and visit yourselves and I promise it's worth stopping in.

17 May 2011

Family Cycling in Burlington, VT

There were lots of families out cycling in Burlington, but this family, with kiddoes racing around and Dad on the wheelchair bike bringing up the rear, brought a tearful smile to my face. That's the most beautiful bike I think I've ever seen.

09 May 2011

Sabertooth Bakery in Burlington, VT

I recently made my first visit to Burlington VT which, as far as I can tell, is Boulder CO with a lake instead of the Flatirons.

There were many wonderful bikes there but my first photo is the Sabertooth Bakery, because not only is her bicycle-powered bakery cute but tasty as well! I only tried a donut but it was just the right size and sweetness for a little pick-me-up without sugar shock. Hurray for bicycle bakeries!

05 May 2011

Life is Beautiful!

Hello everyone! First off, a HUGE thank you to you all for all the good wishes!

Spending time at home with the baby has been lovely and overwhelming and I'm just now catching up on things. I've got some photos of chic cyclists to share with you, though I'm slower on the draw these days, but first I wanted to share a little about my current favorite project...

Future Cyclist was born four days after those bike date photos were taken. My mother in law said he'd arrive with the full moon, just like his daddy, and he did. This year that day was also the spring equinox, which I think is a nice day to be born.

You can't see it in this photo but his eyes are the same blue as his bicycle hat (printed on the hat is a thought bubble with a bicycle in it!) He had dark hair which is falling out now. He is very strong, he lifted his head up the day he was born, and he has five fingers or toes on each hand or foot. In short, we're thrilled.

My labor was completely drug-free and relatively short - 6 hours of active labor - which I attribute to my mental game. I tried to welcome each contraction as my body doing what it needed to do, and so I wouldn't fight it, just keep moving. Cycling training was invaluable for both overall strength but also for breathing appropriately at each stage. I was just doing what I was supposed to but the hospital staff was impressed with me. It all seemed simple to me based on cycling but perhaps it isn't?

I was impressed with the hospital as well. We delivered with just a midwife and a baby nurse. Most of the time it was just us ladies chatting as I relaxed in a jacuzzi tub. Rather enjoyable, all things considered. But our boy arrived a whopping 8 lbs 13.4 oz (4011 g) with broad shoulders. At one point at the end they urgently called in a SWAT team of highly trained OBs and nurses who averted disaster and then left us to our privacy again. I respect what Giselle Bundchen is trying to do with her homebirth advocacy, but I'm very very grateful we had that SWAT team available to intervene only that one necessary minute.

I've been on the bike once since delivering, but will be riding more and more. I can't wait for the day when I get to bring him along. Until then we're just practicing pedaling his legs (best way to help with tummy gas!).

Oh, to put it into cycling terms, I had thought that labor couldn't be much worse than the Boston Brevet Series 400K (253.5 miles and 14,951' of climbing). In the end my labor was more like a 200K for which I hadn't adequately trained. Doable, but you certainly felt it the next morning! Yet we were walking around town by day three. Hurray for bicycle training!

18 March 2011

Bicycle Date

The single thing I will miss most in the coming months will be the wonderful times my husband and I have shared out adventuring on our bikes together. We'll get Future Cyclist on our bikes as soon as is practical but, in the absence of grandparents, it will be a little while before we get to venture out again together.

With this great weather we've been having we had to have one last bike-date, to Cambridge Flour in the morning  (always delicious) and to dinner and a movie in the evening. I should probably blame my hormones, but I just absolutely loved seeing L'Illusionniste. There is far less cycling than Chomet's last film, The Triplets of Belleville, but if you're a girl who ever adored her father, or the father of a girl, you might enjoy it. There is very little speaking, it's more of a mime, like a ballet, which allows so much more for the viewer to add herself. The animations are gorgeous - it's one of the prettiest films I've ever seen. And it's good and French, so no saccharine Disney film here, though I think the ending is beautiful, sad in the same genre as The Giving Tree.

I'm hoping to get out on the bike this weekend, but this baby is nearly past due so if you don't hear from me for a little while you'll know why, ok? Have fun cycling out there!

17 March 2011

Love her coat!

I got to ride in earlier this week, but today I was sadly on the bus. I was happy that the bus driver passed this lady, in her cool coat, with respect and a safe distance. Not all bus drivers have been so courteous. But today is a good day!

15 March 2011

Early Spring Elegance

The heels are lovely but the grey sweater with the yellow gloves on a golden bike with a straw basket really tickled my early spring fancies.
So pretty!

06 March 2011

Exciting Development

There is a free newspaper, The Boston Courant, which is delivered to our apartment regularly, maybe weekly? I don't read it much, but this week a headline caught my eye:

Space for Bikes Not Cars at New Building

It seems there is a new residential development in the former Renaissance School building. It appears this is right downtown, near the Public Garden and Back Bay.

I don't know if the bike parking will be sufficient or not. The article states that they have 767 square feet of storage for up to 80 bicycles. The building will have 128 units, broken out as 76 two bedrooms, 29 one bedrooms, and 23 studios. Certainly that's less than one bike per unit, so my family would have trouble taking only our fair share. Of course we could keep doing what we're doing - parking some bikes in the apartment itself. In any case it would be fun to live in such a bike focused building.

I wonder if they'll release photos of the bike storage design? I'd love to see how they have it set up!

03 March 2011

Speedy Townie

Believe it or not, he was going so quickly it was hard for me to get a good photo of him!

28 February 2011

Rainy Day Sorbet

Seeing this sorbet-colored Brompton made me so happy the other day (though riding our Bromton 36+ weeks pregnant was not as much fun as I'd hoped - I felt ready for the clown car). Anyway, here's hoping this cheerful bike helps cheer your rainy day.

What do you think he has in that box?

24 February 2011

Beacon Hill Elegance

Loved her boots and red coat (which we now allow in Boston!) as she cycled onto the Common.

PS - It's a strange New England thing to leave Christmas decorations up until Easter. I've been here for a while now and I still don't understand it.

23 February 2011

Fabulous Dutch Cycling Video

My friend E sent this for us with the message:
I thought of you when I saw this video of bicycling in Holland in the 50s because:
  • loads of chic ladies (and gents!) on bikes
  • several shots of innovative transport methods using bicycle power
  • all kinds of interesting baby-transport baskets and wagons
  • plus, a nice little dutch ditty at the end.

She's right, and I think the flowers at the end are as fun as the space-pod baby trailer towards the beginning. What a cheerful way to start the day. Thanks E!

22 February 2011

Helena Handbasket

OK, terrible title, but it was the "drag queen" name my friend chose for her bachelorette party, and she was just married on Saturday. Hurray!
Happy honeymooning J!

Back to Boston cyclists...

This pretty cyclist braved the cold temps to bike down Charles Street with a blinkie attached to her basket-backpack.

While baskets of that type are a look that make me think summer and beach, it was refreshing and cheerful to see one in the depth of winter.

14 February 2011

OK, I blame hormones

But this is kinda cute, right?

Available from hellobanjobaby on Etsy.

Hope you all get to ride today with your Valentine!

  Charlotte, the possibly hormone-addled

09 February 2011

Bike Lane Wall

If you can't tell from the photo, the snow continues to just before the next intersection, where the bike lane area is plowed again. There's the snowy tree space all along this where, theoretically, the snow could go, if they were to plow it.

Is there a reason why they don't?

08 February 2011

More than just Winter Quiet

I apologize for the silence on this blog. I haven't been able to ride and have been finding it just unbearable to think about cycling when I can't get out on my bike.

I thought I could ride yesterday but heard that we were expecting snow in the evening so I reluctantly took the bus. It was warm and puddled all day. Today I waited for the bus for half an hour then gave up in disgust and went home for my bike. If snow was not actually falling from the sky I wasn't going to worry about it. Maybe I still won't be able to ride home. Whatever.

This morning I rode slowly and safely, walked when I was nervous, and have been grinning like a fool with the endorphins from actually getting to ride my bike for the first time in almost a month. I feel so much happier!

I also got to use my new bike accessory:

I am not the only cyclist with big news, and I have been spending a bit of this last bus-bound month reviewing Totcycle archives. I've been lucky that I have been able to ride so much during this pregnancy, with only one other three day obstacle in December. We're 34 weeks today (hurray!) and as a person who has had setbacks, this seems like a nice, safe, good time to finally announce!

My husband thought you would all have guessed our news when my Italian "baby-moon" photos featured more Moms on bikes than sexy Italian bicycles, but I guess it was subtle enough. Now you all now know why I was so obsessed with lights this autumn!

I fear this blog may divert a bit into mom-bike territory, as even the Dawes for my own mother is getting reworked as our family station wagon (for when Future Cyclist is big enough).

In the near term I hope the Future Cyclist and I will be able to snap some good cycling photos for you all when we're out on walks. I'll also be back on my bike ASAP after s/he joins us, which should coincide with the nice weather arriving. I'm trying not to think about missing brevet season (and a PBP year at that!) and focusing instead on perhaps volunteering at checkpoints. We already have a baby-sized cycling cap and are working on cheering... "Allez les cyclists!"

So please bear with me as time rolls along, the seasons change, a focus shifts, and my bicycle transforms to continue to reflect my needs at any given time... aren't bicycles awesome?

03 February 2011

Not a bike

Yet nonetheless essential for getting around Boston these days. It's hard to tell but these Original Muck Boot Company "Ice Pick" boots have metal spikes embedded in the sole to ensure good traction on ice. I'm very concerned about slipping these days so these boots have been a lifesaver (really!).

26 January 2011

Cool Guy

Got to give him credit - he was out riding today!

24 January 2011

Crazy question for you all

I got this email from a friend of mine, and am stumped by the "under bike shorts" part of it. I don't usually think of wearing underwear with bike shorts:
I have a very crazy question for you. My dad has decided that he is going to do the cross-country bike ride starting in March, and he was just over here asking my husband a lot of questions about gear etc.  Dad mentioned that a few years ago my mom gave him some underwear that had a leather insert and those were the most comfortable underwear he ever had for wearing under bike shorts. He said they were like the same kind of underwear that horse jockeys wear or something.  We had no idea what he was talking about, and I'm sure you can imagine what came up when I googled "leather underwear" and the results actually got worse when I added "horse jockey" to the search terms.

Of all the people in the world that might have an idea of this product that my dad is talking about which lives in the intersection of the Venn diagram for cycling, horse riding, and appropriate undergarments for all activities, you have to be one of the best :).  So - any idea what he's thinking of?

So my cycling friends, any thoughts? Is Dad thinking of just old-school chamois or is there some other garment out there, hidden behind all those photos we don't really want to look at?

Thank you for any leads!

21 January 2011


So, do you think there were bicycles here, or was it something less exciting?

19 January 2011

Happy day but no photos

Today I got to ride for the first time since the big snowfall last week. What a relief it was! I was in a much better mood all day and I honestly felt safer in the street - the plows and salt/sanding made the road surfaces much more consistent than the sidewalks and by avoiding rush hours I had no problem taking the lane when needed.

Beacon Street has a de facto bike lane. There's so much snow that the normal parking spaces are filled and the cars are parked in the travel lane, leaving a bike lane's worth of travel lane free and clear. It was perfect!

I can also confirm empirically that with my old metal pedals there is no problem wearing YakTrax while riding. Indeed in the few times I walked my bike for safety I was glad I didn't need to stop and put these on. They were there when I needed them and did not catch or snag on my pedals while I was riding.

My husband has the camera on a business trip, so I regret that we will continue to be light on photos here at Chic Cyclists, but I hope to soon be able to share images of some of the hardy souls I've been seeing out and about - and their extra-tough bikes!

Stay warm...

12 January 2011

Snow Day and thoughts

Today is a snow day, hurray! I'm warm at home with some tea and a little extra time to ramble on a blog.

Over the holidays, due to elaborate circumstances I won't get in to, I ended up driving to work for several days in a row. That was surprisingly an enormous gift I won't soon forget, and something I'd like to urge every cyclist to do from time to time. (Boston Biker did the same, but I can't find his post. Boo.)

There are lots of complaints about how poorly cyclists are treated by drivers of cars. I was driving during a low traffic period (between Christmas and New Year's) and let me tell you, between cars the lack of civility was much worse. I was thrilled to get back on my bike and the relative civility of the bike-car interaction. In a car the hostility, the jockeying for position, the never-ending competition of it all was exhausting.

In addition to showing me how uncivil drivers are to each other, my few days driving was a wonderful reminder of what it's like to share the road with a cyclist. I saw the same spots where I feel pinched each day from the driver's perspective and it helped me understand how the conflicts can arise.

I'm sure I'll complain about rude drivers again, but I hope to remember this surprise Christmas gift and to maintain a more expansive view of sharing the roads in Boston.

07 January 2011

White Raleigh is very Orange

As a Raleigh fan, of course this Carleton-made Reynolds 531 Gran Sport caught my eye as it was parked in Kendall Square. It's been updated in a manner consistent with my personal preferences to make an attractive, practical city bike.

I was particularly delighted to see such a functional front rack, and all the more happy when I got back to my desk and saw that there is currently a coupon available for exactly this rack: Velo Orange Porteur Rack

The whole bike seems to have been updated with Velo Orange parts - racks, grips, handlebars, saddle, bag, and I particularly like those chrome fenders.

I'm not sure about the bag though. It is looking a lot floppier here than my Giles Berthoud bag, on which it was modeled. I would be interested in speaking with the owner of this bike and learning how much exposure the bag has taken. It's all academic though, while one thing is certain - this bike will catch your eye, even if you're running late. Gotta go!

06 January 2011

Link: How to talk about cycling with a Conservative

This was sent to me by a liberal friend, and I'm finding it amusing enough, and general enough, to want to share it:
How to talk about cycling with a Conservative

These "across the aisle" arguments have worked for me in the past and, except for continuing to (lightly) include the climate change issue, I think I've largely embraced this more widely accepted set of points, and certainly moved into the national security as related to dependence on foreign oil realm when discussing the global implications of tiny choices at home.

I think my favorite line in the article might be:
"Note: Some business suits actually contain trace amounts of Lycra and Spandex."
Go read the article, you'll see...

Actually I'm wrong, my favorite line is:
"people who choose to ride should be able to do so safely, as taxpaying citizens worthy of full protection of their individual rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of that special kind of happiness one gets from riding a bike."


(Note, I looked into the Edison video and it was FILMED by Edison, but he's not actually riding the bike)