Friday, April 9, 2010

About a Year

Looking through the pictures I took of a recent ride along the cherry-blossoming Charles River, I realised that it has been just about a year since I began Lovely Bicycle. I say "about a year", because I am not entirely sure when exactly I started writing vs. publishing the entries. But apparently it was right around this time, as in my first documented bike-ride the blossoms were in bloom as well.

It is customary to conduct some sort of self-assessment when a project like this reaches its 1-year anniversary. But when I think about why I started this website, I feel suddenly inarticulate and a little confused - because honestly I do not have a good reason. I am not an activist and do not seek to promote "a cycling lifestyle". Life has worked out for me in such a way, that personally I have not driven a car since 2007, and I love to ride my bicycle(s) for both transportation and recreation. However, if you happen to own a dozen SUVs and enjoy driving them, that is fine with me. If you collect bicycles solely for the purpose of photographing them in your garden and never actually ride them, that is fine as well. And if you are a die-hard Foresterite vehicular cyclist who hates bike infrastructure and loves 6-lane roads with 40mph+ speed limits, that's wonderful too. You are all welcome, if you feel that you can relate to some aspect of this website.

Neither is the motive of this weblog a diary-style documentation of my life. Those who know me in person are aware that my posts here create an amusingly incomplete and warped presentation of my actual life and personality. And finally, neither was it ever my intent (not that I am in any danger of this) to gain commercial success or recognition for this website.

When I first started Lovely Bicycle, the intent was to review the options that were out there for bicycles that were both practical and aesthetically pleasing for people with lifestyles and tastes similar to mine. This was driven by my own frantic search for a "lovely bicycle" in Spring of 2009. However, the weblog developed far beyond this premise and I am still no closer to explaining what motivates me to continue it - when frankly my life is quite hectic as it is and does not need extra projects.

I will be honest: This discrepancy of the blog getting larger and more time consuming (I now get over a dozen emails per week and it is becoming impossible to answer most of them) with my not having a good explanation for why I am doing this, has caused me some concern and I have considered discontinuing Lovely Bicycle on several occasions. An alternative option could be to start accepting selected sponsorships, and using any earnings from these to at least cut down on some of the consulting projects I do in order to stay financially afloat - thereby freeing up time to continue working on the blog. But I do not have a clear idea of how this could be done while still maintaining the home-made feel of this wesite.

In short, it remains to be determined in what direction Lovely Bicycle will meander next, if at all. But in the meantime, I can't seem to help continuing to take pictures of beautiful bicycles and writing all of this nonsense about them!

While taking the pictures shown in this post, I was approached by a couple who asked me whether their daughter could pose next to my bicycle for their home-made video of the girl reciting "Make Way for Ducklings" by Robert McCloskey. We moved the bicycle closer to the river, and the mother directed the daughter while the father videotaped. They did several takes of the recital and the child was adorable.

Of course I didn't have the heart to tell them that the "ducklings" in the river were in fact geese. Where better for me to share a story of such an encounter, than on Lovely Bicycle?...

28 comments:

  1. Bicycles do seem to warrant photographs, whether there is any greater purpose to them or not. Personally, if you just have the time to keep photographing and keep writing as-is, fine by me :) Replies or no replies, it's a great blog to read.

    Still, I understand the pressure of one more thing drawing on your time and attention, and I definitely understand the draw to lessen those as much as possible.

    Best of wishes in all.

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  2. "Where better to tell such a story, than on Lovely Bicycle?... "

    Except that the page being recited was how Mr. & Mrs. Mallard had to flee the inconsiderate cyclists of Boston to protect their family!!! But a gentle and well-behaved bicycle would be a welcome addition to that story, and the Boston cityscape.

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  3. wonderful as always... do what you can, when you can. It's a blog about an interest you have, after all!

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  4. Happy 1 year! While, we all know the time commitment can be extensive, I sincerely hope you continue to find the motivation to keep sharing your bike-life with us.

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  5. For me,and I'm sure with others, the Journey *is* the Destination. I don't mind saying that I've learned a lot here from you and your commentators, and gained lots of food for thought, not all pertaining to bicycles.

    And yes, the little girl is adorable.
    How is riding Velouria after a week on Marianne?

    Thanks.

    Corey K

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  6. Thanks for the comments : )

    Charlotte - Sorry, I meant that the encounter was an appropriate story to tell here, rather than the "Make Room for Ducklings" story itself! I changed the text to clarify.

    Corey - The Charles River ride on Velouria was a "recovery ride" after the 36 mile trip to Concord. The bicycle feels just as wonderful as I remember. Now that snow is no longer a worry, it will probably be my "relaxed bike" for the season.

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  7. Everyone must have seen that bumper sticker that says, "Practice random kindness and senseless acts of beauty." Well, I find I don't agree with it because I feel an act of beauty is never senseless. And a blog of beautiful photos of something that you and your readers are passionate about is never purposeless. If your agenda is elegance and pleasure, the world could use more like this. I have enjoyed your writing a great deal and wish you well.

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  8. I love this blog! I read lots of them and cannot get enough of bicycles, cycling and everything related. This is one of the most pleasant of all blogs, and I can't quite pin down why, must be the total package. Whatever you need to do to keep it going, do it! If we do not have similar lifestyles, we certainly have similar tastes. Happy year one and I hope there are many more. Cheers!

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  9. Happy Birthday! Keep up the great work!

    Alan@EcoVelo

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  10. All I can say is the blog is as interesting for the non cycling stuff as for the "official" stuff. Let's see, April is nearing the time the co-habitant morphs into "The Great Gatsby" from "John Reed."

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  11. Velouria, Congratulations on your anniversary, wherever on the calendar it may fall.

    Your blog is among my very favorites, precisely because it lacks activism, judgment and agenda! It appears to exist as an exercise in pleasure, following the interests and whims of its creator.

    I never appreciated opera until it was explained to me by someone who didn't particularly care if I liked it or not. The joy he felt when listening to opera shone through, unfettered by any attempt to impress, convince or win favor.

    In the years since, that has become the way I detect a true enthusiast... he or she is enthusiastic without trying to convert others -- the celebration of the thing is all there is.

    So thank you for creating a place where I can enjoy your bicycles and mine without feeling I'm making (or listening to) a "statement."

    Cheers!

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  12. I agree with the posts above! and why do people say God acts in mysterious ways? I don't know way and how, but I know that I haven't been so closer to my bicycle since I was 7 years old (I am now 32). It all started after reading this blog and getting motivated. I don't like lycra, reflective gear or speed. I just want to be who I am. By bike or by car, relating to people and things around me with the same acts of kindness that we are able to see here, described by you!
    Happy Anniversary Lovely Bicycle! :)

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  13. Happy Birthday to YOU ....ta da, ta da ....and Many MORE! (sung in my tone deaf & falsetto voice)

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  14. Ok, time to break out the weapons of blog preservation. Your blog is one of the most elegant and well-written on the blogosphere. As to writing on the bicycle blogosphere, your only competition is the Bike Snob himself.

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  15. I find your blog very useful, especially your comments about bike frames and seating positions. Thanks!

    Nico

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  16. Velouria, Please reject the 'earlier' comment sent to you ... too many 'typo' errors ... Sorry. Thanks.

    Many happy returns to you and your blog.;)
    You know , whenever I read your posts I focus on my life, how much life has been good to me that I could go on biking ... esp. when I bear in mind that some disabled people I know who are deprived of this 'basic' enjoyment of 'clean' living.
    Your write-outs on bikes have 'uplifted' bike-ownership to the level of owning a lamborg.. , a porshe, a bentley .....etc. I should know I assure you as .... (I think leave you to conclude what I'm saying.)
    As I read what you had posted my mind ... I beg you pardon... very very rarely focussed or drifted on your goodself....THIS IS HOW GOOD YOU HAVE BEEN WITH YOUR BLOG POSTINGS AND DEDICATION TO EVERYDAY CYCLING AND THE LIFE OF CYCLISTS ... OR WHAT IT SHOULD BE.
    Our (bf's and my) best wishes to you always.
    Lemony

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  17. I do care about activism, but I believe (as do many) that winning the cycling advocacy game means getting people to ride their bicycles for the simple pleasure of it, whether that pleasure is of style, convenience, or other. So I think your work is important activism, whether you intend it or not. I also just enjoy reading this space, and hope it continues in whatever form is most convenient for you.

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  18. What! No purpose? How dare you put forth a blog, to and for the public, without any agenda?

    Seriously, I like your blog, and Meligrosa's SF bikes'n'Coffee blog, which seems to have no more purpose than yours (she likes bikes and Coffee), and Copenhagen Cycle Chic, (while this one does have an agenda, its rather low key), and it makes no difference why you write, only that you do.

    It's a public service!

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  19. Out of all the bicycle blogs out there, yours is the one I visit the first and most often. It is your "writing all of this nonsense about them" that has engaged a deep desire in me to be peddling on two wheels again. In fact, because of your perspective and honesty, you have helped me choose the most practical bike I could buy to get back into the saddle with.

    Thank you. Your posts are an inspiration. Your are motivating more people to start a relationship with bicycling than you know.

    Bravo!

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  20. I thought this might be of interest to you: http://www9.dw-world.de/tagesvideo/index.php?t=reports_en&s=681

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  21. happy 1 year.

    For one hot second I thought that little girl was my own girlpie but realized it could not be possible!!!

    I do hope you continue on. I love your entries and find them fun, informative and just a highlight of my day when there is a new posting. I know how time consuming it all is though. For me the whole blog thing for me is about community and it has been so helpful to read about people doing things around the world that I like to do. So on days when I think- eh why even bother biking right now- I think- b/c it's fun and worth it. And when I feel all alone in my neck of the woods I know I got peeps across the river and across the country etc etc etc. anyway- whatever way you continue on- I will love to follow. Ever think of binding the years posts into a book and have it be sellable? Not that you are looking for making it commercial but I would actually buy it. I'd even buy it for people as a gift to say hey check this out- isn't it a fun read...

    anyway a though. I've thought of binding mine - not for sale but for safe keeping b/c I'm really a paper and pen type a girl living in an online world...

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  22. Happy anniversary, Velouria! I thoroughly enjoy your blog and hearing about your bicycles - it has helped reignite my own interest in cycling. I'm glad your blog isn't a hardline cycling advocacy blog - the fact that it IS simply about lovely bicycles, whether yours or someone else's, lifts my heart. I look forward to each new post and am grateful you've found the time to share your thoughts and photos amidst the other things you do. I hope you can manage to keep it going timewise or pick up some sponsorship from a suitable company. Ideally someone whose products you already like (eg Royal H cycles!).
    Happy spring cycling as the blossoms bloom again...

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  23. I really don't enjoy messing around with computers very much and only check out blogs when someone forwards something to me that catches my eye. I never followed one for more than 3 or 4 days till I ran across this one while looking for old Raleigh parts. That was january and I have been checking it out every couple of days since. I even went back and read most of the previous posts. It is just so pleasant and interesting. I'll probably keep reading as long as you keep writing.

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  24. I've been blogging for a bit over a year now and am equally reluctant to refer to myself as an activist. What interests and motivates me is probably different from others, with the possible exceptions of other bike bloggers. Blogging has been a good creative outlet and kept me motivated to try things that I would not have otherwise. The best part has been following the lives of other bloggers such as you.

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  25. I love this agenda-less blog. I hope you will continue!

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  26. Happy birthday! Time sure does fly.

    Lovely Bicycle is one of my favorite places to visit and I've enjoyed getting to "know" you. Your passion shines through in every post. As long as you have that passion and this project is fun for you, rock on without over-thinking it. If it stops being fun, you can move on knowing that you created something beautiful.

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  27. I dream about lovely bicycles, but hardly ever ride. Your blog is visually beautiful and your writing is inspiring. Have enjoyed it ever so much. Hope you will continue. I'm sure there are others like myself who follow closely but dont comment. Happy 1 year !

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  28. Just so you know I am utterly addicted to your blog, I sit while my three little children play in the morning, drinking my cup of coffee listening to Chopin reading your blog. You have inspired me to buy my bike, which has gained me freedom and independence as a mother without a drivers license. You see I moved from the states to Sweden almost four years ago when I had married my Swedish husband. I have not yet received my Swedish drivers license and my united states is no longer valid after one year. So to start to ride again has really given me a sense of independence. I thank you for this inspiration, I think you for your tried and true testing and honesty when it comes to bikes. And I thank you for your blog. Please dont shut it down. And if you do not want to write anymore at least leave it open so that people like me can find it and be touched by it just as I was. As crazy as it may sound I would love to have a warm beverage with you someday and chat about nothings, I have a feeling you are a very delightful woman :)

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