Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A New Addition to The Family

I'm getting a "new" bike and, in part, it's due to a new blog I discovered called, "2whls3spds." The author, Aaron, wrote about getting his dream bike, a Raleigh Superbe. I thought that was so uncanny because one of my dream bikes is a Raleigh Superbe in chocolate brown. According to Aaron, some nice member of Bike Forums connected him with his bike. I don't know this website really well, although I've visited before, so I clicked on its link in his sidebar. I investigated the link about classic and vintage bikes and clicked on the thread about Ebay and/or Craigslist finds with the idea of contributing the story of how I found Praline. However, the thread appeared to be more about sharing good finds for those looking to buy as opposed to sharing the story of a bike one had purchased. I wanted to participate so I went to Craigslist and that's when I saw it-- a chocolate brown 1972 Raleigh Sprite. I know the Sprite wasn't the top-of-the-line like the Superbe, it lacked the Surperbe's slick accessories like the fork lock and the generator lights, but it is the right color and it has the ergonomic riding position of a European utility bike. I told myself that I could get it if I could get the seller to lower her price; she lives very, very far away from me so I needed the extra incentive.

There was just one problem. The listing for the Sprite had been on Craigslist for a week. I thought that there was little chance of the bike still being available. I was excited to get up today and call the seller to find out if I was in luck-- that would be serious luck because I also planned to bargain with her. Well, today I was extremely lucky because she still had the bike and agreed to sell it to me for $50! I'll be picking it up on Friday! It's not in pristine condition, more like rideable, but rusty. From my discussion with the seller and the pictures it appears that the rust is merely a cosmetic issue on the handlebars. I also need some handlebar grips, but these sound like a worthwhile investment of energy and money on a $50 Raleigh Sprite.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Detour


It was less of a detour and more of a, "There's no way I can pull that huge hill. Let me turn around." I just didn't have it in the tank this morning. In an earlier hour when I'm a little more fit, I'll try again. I'll still end up walking my bike up most of the hill--it was staggering. I should've taken a picture of it, but in my shock, I didn't think of it. Next time. Next time I'll get it and shots of the Etowah Mounds on the other side.

For now, I have a picture of an interesting house I saw on the way. It looks like it has portholes.

Cyclist Harassment

Normally, when you see that phrase you think of motorist harassing cyclists or maybe the police department's behavior during Critical Mass, but I'm referring to something much more mundane and insidious. Today, we had a visit from Art, a local long-distance commuter. He rides everywhere. He probably puts an average of 30-40 miles on his bike a day. He turns Walmart bikes into mere parts with wear. He's a nice guy with a small footprint and a past that he's trying to put behind him. Unfortunately, some of that trouble has been brought on by his devotion to cycling. He said that while living in a suburb of Phoenix, AZ about twenty years ago, he was stopped by the police for being in the "wrong" neighborhood; he lived there. They stopped him until they began to recognize him. He was recently stopped by police here for cutting across an abandoned lumber yard. A lot of places in North Georgia have been vandalized by people looking for metals in old buildings and catalytic converters from vehicles so I understand the police officer's vigilance, but he didn't have anything on him and he couldn't carry anything on his bike. The officer still arrested him--for burglary of all things. His public defender got the charge reduced to theft by taking, despite the fact that he didn't take anything. He had to stay in jail for three weeks. He said he's been arrested and harassed by the police in this town before.

I have a theory about all of this (and that's where the insidious part comes in). I think that the police, suburbanites, and a lot of other folks look down on cyclists. They place so much status in owning a car that if you don't own one you're a "have not". You're indigent or an immigrant or a ne'er-do-well if you're not a child or an enthusiast clad in gear that proclaims, "I'm a cycling enthusiast who has paid a lot of money for my bike and these funny clothes." They feel the same way about pedestrians and people who take public transit. I once had a guy tell me that I looked homeless because I had stopped into a Fellini's Pizza for a slice on my way home walking from the grocery store. I had two bags I think. That's it: I was walking with two grocery bags. I was totally looking cute that day so it wasn't a wardrobe issue; I don't have wardrobe issues of that variety.

The de facto "have not" status of those traveling by their own power or using public transit may be the greatest obstacle for mass adoption of these green methods of traveling. In fact, in North Georgia most news stories or public service announcements about going green relate to hybrid vehicles or carpooling. It seems that there's little hope of prying people's hands from the wheel if they're going to be doing something good for their bodies, good for the environment, and good for America's economy and national security if it means they must be discrete about their financial status. I hope, in the not-too-distant future, the conspicuously chic start riding bikes in Marc Jacobs and Louboutin's with Louis Vuitton panniers so the rest of the nation can feel comfortable on a bike.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Stuff

I'm sure I've mentioned before how fortunate it is that being a slow cyclist facilitates shopping. There are things you need for the road, like a helmet and fenders, and there are things you need to express your style, like really cute shoes. One of the reasons I write this blog is to highlight all that is stylish in slow cycling. I also want to highlight some things that should be.


These baskets should be made for adult bikes too! In all the colors of the rainbow. I don't usually go for quick release type baskets, but if Kettler added some hardware to secure that basket to your bike and a handle, it would be perfect. And I would buy one for my second bike. Of course, I don't have a second bike, but I will one day. And this basket will be just waiting to adorn it. Although it may very well be pink or green or orange.

Now, in order to keep up with all the great stuff I find, I've created a standalone Amazon store. Just click on the link under "Treats" in my sidebar and it will whisk you there. I happened upon a lot of cool items when I was building the store and I covered some accessories that I haven't yet mentioned on the blog (but I will). This way you don't have to go into my archives to see my recommendations; most of them are in in my store.

Yay for shopping! If you see anything you like that I haven't listed let me know at grits9600@yahoo.com. I'm always open to suggestions.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Pedalling Playlist #1 (Experimental)

I think it will be only a matter of weeks before I get my portable speakers. I'm going to put a purse or something in the bottom of my basket so that the speakers don't get scratched up. In anticipation of my bike's audio system, I've already started thinking up playlists. Here's a playful one with lots of cartoon songs and such.



Unfortunately, Box.net won't let me order the files the way I like so I think they're in alphabetical order. This was the order:

1. Happy, Happy...
2. Lolly, Lolly...
3. My Hero...
4. Three Is A...
5. Mah Na Mah Na
6. Peanuts Theme
7. Pinball Number...
8. Instanbul
9. I Love Almost...

Bonus: If you're a woman or a man who really loves WW.
10. Wonder Woman Theme

Monday, July 21, 2008

A First

This is the first time I've seen a bike commercial in car-centric North Georgia and it's a good one.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

New Pretty Bikes: Part 1

Do my eyes deceive me or do I see NEW BIKES!!! I can't show you a picture of the new Paul Frank Picnic by Nirve Bicycles, but you should check it out. They have a lot of new stuff going on over there-- sports cruisers, automatic transmission, and petite sizing.

Now lookey here!


What a lovely shade of lilac! They also have this bike in a nice shade of blue. I have to give Giant props for coming back to the pretty as they've backed way off since their days of pushing the Areva in Seventeen magazine. I like the two-tone seat although it really should be white and dark gray w/dark gray handlebars. Lilac and gray are great together. I love the blue and black though.

Trek is doin' the damn thang in 2008!



I love the way they're workin' this orange! I don't recall them having the Cruiser Classic, Cruiser Classic Steel, Calypso, or Cruiseliner bikes last year. They could've had the Lowstep and I just missed it. They've been busy at Trek! Brava!

With all these new beauties to take in, I dare not post any more pictures, but stayed tuned for more.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Getting Along with Your Counterparts On Public transit and in cars

The Atlanta Journal Constitution printed an article about Courteous Mass. One thing I took away from the piece was the fact that many riders said there wasn't much honking of horns from motorists. They cited one guy in a car acting like a jerk, but he could have been the kind of jerk that drives a big truck or SUV and treats other motorists like crap too. (I can't stand those types). This event and others like it will hopefully raise the awareness of motorists. When they see cyclists on the street behaving like cars, I think it will diminish the "us vs. them" mentality.

Education would help a great deal too.



If people knew that roads haven't always been dedicated to moving cars around, I think it would give the public pause. Moreover, thinking about enjoying the public spaces in your city as opposed to passing them in a blur might encourage people to use alternative transportation. Of course, Mr. Copenhagenize himself, Jan Gehl, schools us a bit in this documentary. Too bad this aired on The Sundance channel instead of PBS.

When we finally get together on public transit, we'll probably need some guidelines to ensure that we all have a comfortable ride. That's where these ladies come in. They don't have advice specific to cyclists yet, but then again we're such a polite bunch it may not be necessary.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Doing My Civic Duty



The Cartersville Civic Center is my precinct's voting location. It's not far at all so I rode my bike there. I think everyone should paritcipate in elections. It also wouldn't hurt if everyone rode a bike to places within short distances instead of driving.

Monday, July 14, 2008

How did I miss this: Slow en masse


On July 11th, the Atlanta Bicycle Campaign had a Courteous Mass as opposed to the better know Critical Mass. They followed all the traffic laws. All 103 riders stopped at stoplights which meant much slower progress through the city. Good for them! Slow is the way to go!

Visibility on the cheap


I would love to have tires with reflective sidewalls, but I don't have that kind of money at the moment. Instead, I have reflective rims(?). I don't know if that's the right term, but I know that I have a bunch of conspicuity tape between the spokes of my bicycle wheels.


I wanted it to be all silver so I bought two packages of tape. Unfortunately, in the process of taping up my wheels I lost some silver segments and I figured I miscounted. I would have to use red tape after all. I later found the missing pieces and I could've ripped off the one red streak I had on my wheels at the time, but I figured the alternating colors were for the best. If red and silver weren't really conspicious they wouldn't sell it that way, right?


Of course, I have a blinky too, but it wasn't cheap. Not by a long shot.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Chic Cyclists Are Good Employees

I don't know if that's true or not, but I don't see why it wouldn't be. I certainly hope my prospective employer holds such a belief. Today, I was asked during a job interview about what I like to do in my spare time. I told her that I aspire to be a chic cyclist: no spandex, no lycra. Just riding a bike, trying to look as cute as possible, taking in the sights during the ride. She laughed and nodded her head in agreement with me. Maybe, I have sown a seed in my prospective boss! Perhaps, as it germinates, she will think of me with gratitude and hire me! That's my best case scenario-- I really want the job! I also happened to notice on my way there the nearby MARTA station. I planned my likely route there in my head. That's an example of positive thinking isn't it-- imagining your bike route to the train station from, what you hope to be, your future workplace?

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Murses

If you peruse the comments of the Slow Bicycle blog, you'll see that several people think that accessorizing one's bike should be suggested to all aspiring to slowness, including me. I think that fenders are a must, but everything else is up in the air. Maybe some cyclists like wearing those reflective thingies around their pant-legs to keep their cuffs from getting dirty, like garters that everyone can see. I can't say.
Maybe some cyclist prefer to carry bags instead of using a bicycle basket. I can totally understand that because I love handbags, but I think that as a cyclist adds variety to his/her routes and destinations, a receptacle mounted on one's bike is going to be needed. A bag-loving cyclist could always opt for panniers-- they're like bags for your bike. Maybe you could buy more than one set and coordinated the bag your carrying with your bike's panniers. Or not. I figure that most messenger-bag-sans-bike-basket cyclists would be guys. That said, here are some mostly unisex bags.

This is one of the least expensive bags--you can get 20% off the price using code SRTN.

This TRKFLD bag is expensive, but they have unique patterns and they're long-lasting.

This is an economical choice (especially when it goes on sale) from Urban Outfitters. I love plaid; it's classic.

I didn't even know LeSportsac made messenger bags. They have a line for men too, but it's pretty bland.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Let's Think Back To Sunnier Days

I'm not blue about the downpour we had today; we need the rain. I'm not happy about the fact that it cut my ride short, but c'est la vie. The extra time indoors reminds me of the lovely pictures I took at the park a while ago.





There was a double wedding in the park and Fudgie, the pug, was in attendance. Since it was a double wedding I guess she felt that she ought to get really decked out and have her nails done too. She was on her way to the reception when I took this picture, but I I flagged down her human companion and asked her if I could take Fudgie's picture. I got Fudgie's cooperation by giving her a hot dog.

Outside of canine couture, the other pictures I have aren't as pleasant, but I felt compelled by a post on stupid bike lanes to take these pictures.



This bike lane stops abruptly where the road was repaved and the outline of the bike lane was never repainted, but it doesn't matter that much considering where the bike lane ends.


At least the stop sign might give a cyclist enough time to get out of the way of exiting cars.


I think this is just silly for a park that has miles of paths for pedestrians. How come they can't plan a reasonable bike path?

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Check my bike mehanic skills!

BEFORE

AFTER

I ordered this Wald basket through my local bike shop a couple of days ago. I picked it up today and put it on myself. I also removed the front reflector because I thought it was superfluous since the stuff I'll be carrying will block it. It's not often that I handle a socket wrench and screwdriver--I should've taken a picture of that too!

Now all I need is my headlight and my booming system (iPod + portable speakers)! I find carrying around my music preferable to carrying around Buttons. Even though she seems to enjoy the ride, she's definitely a significant added weight. She could really use the walk.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

I have plans for you, my dear

Praline Supreme will soon be getting a pretty significant accessory--a basket. I like this one. It should be sturdy enough to hold the huge amounts of plastic bottles I take to the recycling center. It might it even hold my sister. (Don't worry. My "sister" is my mom's Yorkshire Terrier).


Praline will also be getting some more retroreflective tape between her spokes and a Knog Skink headlight (as soon as they launch in August at a better price than $29.90). In the distant future, she'll probably have her tires replaced with white ones. But back to the basket. I may get really crafty with it and make some sort of padding to make my sister more comfortable if she decides to travel in it. I don't even know if I'll enjoy having her along for the ride as she's not one of those poorly-bred, runty, misnomered "teacup" Yorkies. She's a classic Yorkie and she's a little bottom heavy (my mom gives her too many treats). She's probably nine pounds more than I want on board. Then again, this lady seems happy with her traveling companion.