Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A Bedroom or a Stable?

We are doing some serious restructuring to our apartment, and in the midst of it our bikes have all been temporarily crowded into the bedroom. So I took this opportunity to get a group shot. Here they all are: His and hers Pashleys, Raleigh DL-1s and Motobecane Mirage / Super Mirage. See? That's a modest three bikes per person. Still within the bounds of sanity, right? The helmet on the bedspread is a lovely Bern. I do own a helmet; I just don't wear it while riding a bicycle.

Hopefully, the restructuring will make bicycle storage and access more convenient. The Pashleys and Raleighs can't be hung on hooks like the Motobecanes (too heavy), so they pose a real design challenge. This is further complicated by the fact that our cats are drawn to the bicycles like magnets, and they tend to be a little destructive in their affections (chewing on the dressguards and cables). Well, we'll figure something out. Or move to a house with a barn, like I have been gently suggesting to the Co-Habitant...

26 comments:

  1. hilarious... and I empathize with your storage plight! My apartment has my 4 bikes scattered about; though somewhat strategically to keep them out of the way. Thankfully the cats are not attracted to them at all, and my roommates are very accommodating :)

    Now that living on the 3rd floor thing can be a real nuisance! Good luck with the re(structuring?)modeling!

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  2. Do you need one of those Swiss(?) houses with the stable on the ground floor and the living area for humans (riders) above?

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  3. Three bikes per person... a fine number, as there's a bike for every cycling need in your stable of thoroughbreds. Heh heh, and I thought our garage was crowded with four bikes! This photo is just wonderful! (Turn your back, and those Pashleys will sneak onto your bed you know.)

    You definitely need a house with a barn - that way the bike numbers can expand to fill the space available ;-)

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  4. totally sane! not that i am unbiased since we have four bikes each, plus the tandem & a folder which we share. coincidentally, i also have a Bern helmet which i don't wear while cycling either...

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  5. we never stored our bikes in our apartment since carrying them up three flights would be a bit unwieldy. for a while we were accumulating bikes on our front porch until our neighbor complained that the bikes were multiplying. that's when we started parking them in the basement. now they all hang on hooks in the basement (there are hooks for all ten of them) and they take up surprisingly little room! and the basement is actually easier to access than our porch...

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  6. Carinthia - well, not for every cycling need. Why there's the folding bike (Brompton!) and the mountain bike (Bombadil!) that we are stoically managing without...

    somervillain - You are not worried about security in the basement? We have a shared basement and I am not certain how secure it is, as there are shared laundry facilities down there and the door if often left open. Also, what about moisture/humidity?

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  7. filigree, security is not a problem, but we're sort of lucky. it's just a two-family house. we only share the basement with our downstairs neighbors, and they never use the basement or basement doorway. so it's more secure to have bikes unlocked in our basement than locked on our porch. in fact, all my tools (worth more than all the bikes combined) are down there as well and i never think twice about it. humidity is only pronounced during one or two months in the summer, but then we leave a couple of basement windows open to get air flow... during the rest of the year it's dry as a bone (especially in winter, with both furnaces and hot water heaters doing overtime). we also recently weatherproofed the basement windows and door, which previously were drafty, so now in winter it keeps a steady 52-55 degrees, even in sub-0 F days. i do agree that if we had to share the basement with lots of tenants who frequently left the basement door open, it would definitely be a problem for storing bikes! as it is, we're quite lucky that our neighbors never use the basement. funny, when we moved here eight years ago, we never used the basement for anything except doing laundry. since then, we've co-opted about 85% of it for our own use [insert embarrassed/guilty halo emoticon here], which includes storage and a workshop. the only real inconvenience to accessing our basement is that we have one of those half-height doors, and we have to contort our bodies in strange ways to get through the door with bike in hand, while navigating down a few steps into the basement.

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  8. "Why there's the folding bike (Brompton!) and the mountain bike (Bombadil!) that we are stoically managing without... "

    Definitely a need for a house and barn then!!!

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  9. What a great photo!

    At the moment I have one on the porch, two in the foyer and the poor Surly is locked in the stairwell because my back is too bad to carry it up and down the stairs.

    A barn sounds lovely!

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  10. Great topic! This reminds me of the one (only) advantage of having an apartment literally on the ground floor. I just open the door with one hand, and wheel my bike into the living room with the other.

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  11. You've inspired me! to do a show n tell... now I want to post pics of my abode and my dear bicycle 'flat mates'.

    Otherwise, the helmet. What is for? Is it a kayak helmet, equestrian helmet? Certainly not a bicycle helmet? As I understand you are loathe to wearing a bicycle helmet, interrupts your freedom thing, or the 'cycle of fear' rationale? Oh, well no bicycle helmet cover for you this year under the Xmas tree.

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  12. Giffen - We are also on the ground floor. But: we have very narrow doors and passages, and our small apartment is crammed full of stuff (we lived in a house before moving to Boston), so navigating the bicycles to the front door is a bit of a daily nightmare. Also, there is a small set of stairs between the front door and the sidewalk. And while it's not much, carrying a freakishly heavy bike like the Pashley up and down them is not exactly enjoyable. I don't know how I will do it once those stairs stars icing over : (

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  13. RidingPretty - Yes, please post pictures of your abode!

    The helmet is a bike helmet; it is the very pretty Bern Berkley. I bought it when I bought my Pashley, just in case, but I do not feel comfortable with the idea of wearing it for many reasons. Looks or being cool is not one of them, because the helmet looks great on me. It is to do with not being convinced by the available research that wearing a helmet while cycling is better than not wearing one. I would rather not start a debate on this here and I respect everyone's choice to wear or not wear one. But I believe the evidence to be mixed, and I also believe that in some cases a helmet can actually be harmful. The "culture of fear" thing does play a role in my choice as well, but it is a secondary role.

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  14. Although it's very safe for bikes to store them that way, it's rather inpractical (ok, that depends on how often you use them, probably not all bikes regularly) and expensive. Hope you will find a good solution. A barn or small garage would certainly be nice :).

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  15. Such a familiar scene... We have a dream of installing a bicycle garage integrated as part of our house with a garage-type-door we can just roll up and ride our bicycles through. Some day.

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  16. i agree that helmet use should strictly be a cyclist's own decision and not be mandated. i choose to wear one because i have seen firsthand an example of where a helmet likely saved someone from serious head injury or death. while this example is purely anecdotal, as a scientist whose job it is to interrogate scientific data daily, my interpretation of the available data is that there is more net benefit than net risk to wearing a helmet, so that's how i base my decision. i'm also aware of the psychological phenomenon of risk compensation, and i try not to let that cloud my judgment when riding, although it probably does affect all aspects of our daily behavior. i also don't buy into the "culture of fear", but do practice common sense in most aspects of personal safety. it is largely about personal comfort levels, and these vary from person to person.

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  17. I have access to a barn, and depending on your barn you're better off with the bikes in the basement. In our case we've rented a heated storage locker where the mountain bikes live. They were getting destroyed in the barn (mostly rust) and they're easier to get to now. It's worth the money to keep them in good shape and we don't use them in town anyway so the locker is convenient enough.
    If your barn is more weatherproofed and does not contain chickens and an old brown mare then you may have better luck.

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  18. As a New Yorker, I can empathise with you in your dilemma. My ex and I once shared an apartment in which we had nine bikes. (Now why did I break up with such a person?, you ask!) Actually, I locked my "beater" in on the street. Our living room had a long wall; that's where five of our bikes hung. The rest, we just stood up wherever there was space at the moment.

    And, by the way, we had four cats. We used to joke that we were "The Brady Bunch": Each of us brought two cats into our relationship.

    Now I'm living in a one-bedroom with two cats and three bikes. My two Mercians hang from a Racor rack in my living room. It's like a kind of wall unit: The bikes hang from the sides; in between are shelves for my helmets, gloves and other accoutrements of cycling.

    At the moment, my Raleigh three-speed is parked on the street. But as soon as I clear out the foyer, I will keep it there. (I moved in at the beginning of this month.)

    Carrying your Pashley up three flights of stairs will certainly be a challenge. I hope your environs don't get a lot of snow and ice this winter. I think now of some houses I've seen in Montreal. They have spiral staircases on the sides of them. That, in the city that spends more on snow removal than any other except Moscow!

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  19. somervillain - Don't forget that I am an academic trained in data analysis as well, so my decision is likewise based on that. I like the idea of compensating for risk compensation.

    Anna - Having the bikes stuffed into one room like that is definitely impractical; they were only placed there temporarily while we rearranged the flat. Until now, the bikes were in my studio, which is right next to the front door and is a much larger room. The bikes had more space there and were convenient to take out, but I had no room to paint. Now we've come up with something that will hopefully distribute them throughout the living space more evenly.

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  20. As for helmets: I have had three experiences in which wearing a helmet may have spared me serious injury, if not saved my life. In fact, one of those accidents actually broke my helmet in half! But I was fine.

    That said, I don't think helmets should be mandated. For one thing, I cycle more than the average rider and under conditions most other cyclists do not. For another, I'll admit that one of my accidents (the one that broke my helmet in half) was the result of a risk I took that most cyclists wouldn't dare. (I was young, stupid and full of testosterone!) Finally, I am the sort of person who doesn't like the government telling me or anyone else what to do. My mantra is one of my old professors' bumper stickers: Keep your laws off my body!

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  21. Justine - 9 bikes and 4 cats sounds like great fun! The political belief closest to mine is probably libertarianism, so I agree re government intervention.

    Charlotte - Yes, our barn would have to be weatherproofed, which only makes it more of a distant dream!

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  22. filigree, you said:

    "somervillain - Don't forget that I am an academic trained in data analysis as well, so my decision is likewise based on that."

    yes, i know you are an academic! that's what i love about data analysis, it's subjective and open to interpretation (notice i didn't state that the data supports or negates a benefit of wearing a helmet... but that *my interpretation* leaned one way over the other :-)) there are so many ways to interpret data, which is why things like peer review and scientific advisory panels exist. you should see the discussions and debates that arise over the simplest results in my field! at any rate, at least everyone agrees that it should be a personal choice...

    as for barns. i have a deep love of barns that stems from my family having an old 3-story dairy barn on a former dairy farm in upstate NY (once the dairy capital of NYS). alas, the barn suffered decades of neglect and finally succumbed to the unbearable burden of four feet of snow eight years ago: it collapsed (an all too sad but common consequence of the decline in small agriculture in the region... collapsed barns and abandoned farms are a common sight in upstate NY). i would love to have a barn some day for nostalgia's sake, but probably a more practical dream would be to have a purpose-built workshop and studio. our old barn was built for a very specific purpose: cow troughs and stalls on the first floor, hay storage on the second, and a drive-up ramp with stone bridgeway to the third floor loft, to pitch the hay off of the haywagon down to the second floor. if still standing, it would not be practical for any other use.

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  23. I love the six bikes in your bedroom. For some reason this make me feel great affection for you guys. Our three regularly-used bikes live in our downstairs front room -- one of the only reasons we can have heavy nice bicycles in NYC. And our two never-used bikes live in the basement. I am about to donate them to recycle-a-bicycle.

    My parents have a beautiful 18th century barn in Connecticut and many family bikes lived there over the years -- but now my father brings all of his bikes into the house because he wants them nearby (for emotional reasons, not safety reasons). Cute!

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  24. Thanks neighbourtease : )
    I think the positioning of the bicycles around the foot of the bed creates an imposition of intimacy. Looking at the picture now, it also looks like the ones hanging on the right are "climbing" up the wall. I knew they were alive!

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  25. Ahhh, bicycle helmets... nowadays I just encourage people to do their own research. With so much information available on the 'web, there is no excuse not to.

    BTW, I think it's quite interesting how different Google results are for "bicycle helmet brain injury" and "bicycle helmet rotational injury".

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  26. Haha! I'm so glad we have a garage and shed. Except it encourages Don to keep adding to his massive collection of can and bottles.

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