Saturday, January 30, 2010

Royal H. Mixte Logos

Some of you have asked what the decals on my Royal H. mixte will look like, and I now have pictures. But there won't actually be any decals: the logos are being painted (stenciled) by hand, by Circle A in Providence, RI. I chose these designs out of many that were available, because I thought the aesthetic would suit my bicycle very nicely.

So this is what the downtube logo will look like:


And this is what the headtube logo will look like:

The image may seem a little strange in .jpg form, but on an actual head tube it looks ridiculously beautiful - like an expressionist woodblock print. I remember stopping in my tracks the first time I saw this design on another Royal H. bike, and thinking "I want THAT". Eventually I will get a headbadge made and attach it over the logo, but for now it will be painted. (Meanwhile, if you are a headbadge maker, do drop me a line - especially if you are local.)

The logos will be done in a dark gold (more like a bronze or copper) over the sage green frame. Circle A warned me that there won't be a great deal of contrast between the frame colour and the logos, but that is fine with me; I am not going for a contrasty look. The lug cutouts (or "windows", if you will) will be painted the same gold as the logos, and I've also asked Circle A to do the lug outlining. I can do it myself, but their work will no doubt be nicer, plus it will match the other gold detailing exactly. Here is an example of a fancy outlining job they've done on another bike, but mine will be a toned down version.

So there it is. I think the paint and logos are done at this point and they are working on the lug outlining. I haven't seen pictures of the painted frame yet, but I am sure it's gorgeous. The anticipation is killing me!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Cycling and Weight: Realistic Outlooks

It may be controversial, but weight is such a commonly discussed topic among women (albeit usually in private), that it feels disingenuous to pretend that I do not think about it myself. Specifically, I want to say a few words about the relationship between weight and cycling. In many cycling blogs, I find the recurring suggestion that "cycling will make you thin" - whether explicit or implicit. Transportation cycling is presented as not only convenient and fun, but as a natural form of exercise that can improve your physique. Replacing 20 minutes per day of sitting in a car with 40 minutes of pedaling does indeed seem like a great way to get in shape. But if your main goal is weight loss, what is realistic to expect?

Cycling is great exercise, and exercise leads to weight loss - if (and this is a crucial if) all else remains constant. In other words, if you used to drive to work and now you cycle, while maintaining the same diet as before and the same amount of physical activity outside your commute, you will lose weight.

The problem is that all else usually does not remain constant. For one thing, cycling makes us ravenous, and more often than not we end up consuming enough (or even more than enough) extra calories to make up for the fact that we cycled to work instead of driving. So while we do build up muscle which will cause parts of our body too look more shapely, our weight is likely to remain the same unless a conscious effort is made to also control our diet. This does not entirely coincide with the "cycling will make you thin" narrative - which presents the life of cyclists as filled with tasty foods, beer, and weight loss. If you cycle a lot, but also eat a lot, your weight will stay the same. If you cycle a bit, but eat even more, your weight will increase. That is the reality.

Even if you are not looking to lose weight, but are in the "cycle a lot, eat a lot" category, there are caveats to consider. Over the Summer and Fall, I cycled so much that my diet changed drastically just to accommodate the constant energy loss and hunger pains. Things that I hadn't freely indulged in for years - pizza, ice cream, obscene amounts of chocolate, random snack foods - became regular dietary staples. As long as I continued to spend large portions of my day on a bike, I could feel like a pre-teen at a slumber party again when it came to eating, with (seemingly) no ill effect.

But what happens when that amount of daily cycling becomes unsustainable - due to either the arrival of a harsher season, travel, or a change in work schedule? Once you get used to consuming large amounts of food, it can be extremely difficult to cut down, even after your level of physical activity decreases. The reasons for this are partly physiological (stomach size; metabolic processes), but to an even greater extent psychological. We use food not just for sustenance, but for comfort and for social bonding. Having grown used to eating pizza and ice cream late at night with friends, it can feel sad to give that up. Once we grow accustomed to a lavish diet during a period of intense cycling, chances are we will be tempted to maintain it even during those times when we do not spend as much time on a bike. This can lead to an overall weight gain for those who cycle.

I've had several private discussions now with cyclists who feel disappointed because they hoped to lose weight through cycling, only to have gained it. They don't understand what went wrong. Moreover, they feel ashamed because many cycling blogs do project the image of the "healthy and fit" (meaning slender) cyclist and contrast this image to that of the overweight driver who eats burgers and guzzles cola behind the wheel.

Cycling and weightloss only go hand in hand if you control for the other factors, and that is not always simple. For me it has been effortful to prevent out-of-control weight gain this winter, after my time on a bicycle fell to maybe 10% of what it was in earlier seasons. What has been your experience?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Master Builder: Mike Flanigan in His New Workshop

Last week we visited the new A.N.T. Bikes workshop in Holliston, Mass., and the Co-Habitant took a series of black and white photos of the excellent Mike Flanigan. My job was to take the digital test shots, which were mostly to meter light and try out compositions before the "real thing". So here are a few of these test shots, which A.N.T. fans might find enjoyable.

For those who are not familiar with Mike Flanigan, I do not think it is an exaggeration to say that he is a legendary figure in the bicycle industry. Not only does A.N.T. put out a truly unique product, but Mike's background is impressive in itself. He started out in 1989 at Fat City Cycles - one of the early pioneers in mountain bike design, based in Somerville MA. After Fat City was sold in 1994, Mike went on to co-found Independent Fabrication, another Somerville bike manufacturer that has attained international fame. And finally, in 2002, Mike branched out on his own with A.N.T. to pursue his unique vision of "not sport, transport".

Since discovering A.N.T. a year ago, I keep asking myself what exactly makes these bicycles so interesting and unusual? Others make TIG-welded frames. Others offer custom colours. And now that the concept of "city bike" has taken off, others build up bicycles designed for fenders, front and rear loads, and upright sitting. So what does A.N.T. offer that's different?

Ah yes - Personality. And I am not talking about Mike's own great personality. The bicycles themselves have a distinctly ANTian character that transcends the sum of their parts. A.N.T. bikes are the Meryl Streeps of bicycles, if you will. Yes, they are beautiful and their performance is impeccable - but there is something more, isn't there? And that elusive "more" is what we really find captivating.

And then there is the fact that Mike himself is a kind, generous and creative person, who sticks to his principles and follows his philosophy. It is endearing to hear the younger framebuilding generation in the Boston area speak of him. Everyone seems to have a story about Mike having helped them out at some point, or taught them something; he is somewhat of a patron saint around these parts.

So that is the man we had the privilege to photograph last week, and we thank him for the opportunity.

The Co-Habitant is a photographer, and he is now working on a project that documents different aspects of the Boston bicycle industry - from independent manufacturers, to bike shop owners, to bicycle collectors. It is an interesting thing to help him with and I hope he exhibits the photos when the project is finished.

I enjoyed looking at all the tools and machinery in the A.N.T. workshop, and more than anything I loved examining this fork. It is a segmented fork that I believe goes on the Light Roadsters. There is something about the look of these that I find very cool.

Here Mike explains something to the Co-Habitant, as his Antique Scorcher poses in the foreground. To see some of the other bikes A.N.T. has made recently, have a look at their flickr sets. I wrote a test ride report of a Boston Lady's Roadster here, and I think the latest series of mixtes (especially the gold and the white one) are particularly beautiful. And of course I am very curious to see what Mike will be building for the North American Handbuilt Bicycle Show 2010. I think he knows what my fantasy A.N.T. bike is, but that is another story entirely!

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Pashley Princess as Winter Bike

In several posts now I have expressed my frustrations with winter cycling and my disappointment over not riding as much as I did during warmer months. But today I realised that winter is more than halfway through already, and I have been cycling all along. Not as much as in the Summer and Fall, but cycling none the less. So it's not so bad, really. Not because I am becoming more brave or skillful, but simply because it doesn't snow all the time and the temperature isn't always below 30°F. On some days it is even enjoyable again.

Since mid December I have been riding my Pashley Princess exclusively. Initially I considered getting a "beater bike" for the winter, but came to the conclusion that I should just stick with the Pashley. It was definitely the right decision.

I don't need a winter bike, because the Pashley Princess Sovereign is a winter bike. For one thing, everything on it was designed to withstand the elements: The fenders, internal gear hub, fully enclosed chaincase, enclosed hub brakes, dynamo-powered lighting, extremely durable powdercoat and rustproof components make her essentially a zero-maintenance bike in winter weather conditions. I know that some feel the Princess is "too pretty" to ride in the winter, but the prettiness in no way detracts from her toughness and utility. It simply does not make sense to get a sub-par winter bike because you think your bicycle is too attractive to be used the way it was designed to be used.

The other major benefit or riding a Pashley Princess in winter, is its incredible stability and indifference to weather conditions. I had noted this several times when riding in the rain, and it is also true in slushy winter weather. I am trying to put my finger on what feels so good about this bike in bad weather. It is probably the combination of the heavy frame, stable handling, wide tires and enclosed brakes that makes it feel just so wonderfully stable where other bikes don't. I can ride this bike through a flooded road and corner at close to normal speed, and it will behave the same as on a dry road. It's pretty amazing and certainly helps in winter, when there is either slush or lake-like puddles from melted snow everywhere.

Pashley's platform pedals interact well with all of my winter boots and I have not had to worry about slipping.

And my trusty Carradice Barley saddlebag has proven itself to be completely rain and snow proof even in the nastiest weather. All in all, I cannot think of a nicer winter setup: I simply ride the Pashley and don't worry about a thing other than watching out for sudden chunks of hard snow on the road.

Speaking of obstacles on the road, here is a stunner I experienced cycling home at dusk yesterday. On one of the side streets near my house the asphalt cracked so much that it formed a "step" in the middle of the road, with 8+ inches of elevation change. If you are coming from the direction this picture was taken, you can see the rise as you approach. But coming from the opposite direction (as I was last night) you really cannot see the drop that awaits you; it just looks like a regular crack. So I basically launched my Pashley into the air by riding straight over this crater at full speed. I am glad to report that the bike handled it fine. It landed hard, but was very stable, and just kept going as if nothing happened. I did stop to check the tires and rims afterward (as well as take some pictures, in disbelief that such a thing could have formed right in the middle of the road overnight), and everything is perfectly fine. I wonder how other bikes would have fared under the same conditions.

Having ridden the Pashley Princess in both warm months and cold, I can say that she is really at her best in poor weather conditions. I can think of few other bikes that are so well suited for the title of "winter bike". And if she is beautiful to boot? Well, I won't hold that against her!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Matters of Identity

Well... I thought that I could quietly change my blogspot username without anybody noticing or caring, but it's caused some confusion. So I announce it formally: Yes, I have changed my user name here from Filigree to Velouria. It is still me, and I did it to consolidate my velo-identities. I am "Velouria" on flickr and several other bike related e-venues, and it was much easier to change the blogspot user name than to change all the others.

Though the change exacerbates my already overwhelming identity crisis, I believe it is for the best. Plus frankly, it didn't feel right when some would refer to me as "Fil". If I were to have a male name, I see myself as more of an Armand, or a Victor, or perhaps even a Thaddeus. Thank you for understanding and enjoy your Sunday.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Green, Green and... Green? Contemplating a Sage Decision

As you probably know by now, my main bicycle is Eustacia Vye, a Pashley Princess Sovereign. She is green. A dark forest green.

This is Eustacia.

And over the holidays I received a Rivendell Sam Hillborne frame, which will eventually be built up as my "road bike". It is also green. A shimmery olive green.

Now I must make my final decision about the colour of my Royal H. mixte frame. And the colour I am choosing is this one:

Sage green ...which, although different from those other two, is yes, also a green. Is it madness to have three modern bicycles that are all green? A rhetorical question I guess!

The paint will be done by Circle A. Cycles in Providence, RI, who are renown not only for the excellent bicycles they build, but also for their beautiful and durable liquid paint jobs. Initially I thought that I would get this frame powdercoated, but the logistics proved that liquid would work better. Choosing the colour is difficult, especially over the internet. So I am mailing Circle A. a little packet with physical colour samples, and they will choose the colour that matches them best. Hopefully it will look something like the sage green above.

If you could have a bicycle any colour you want, what would it be? Does it depend on the type of bicycle (silver racing bike, black roadster, etc.) or would your choice be universal? And has anybody else besides me ended up with all of their bicycles in the same colour family? I feel a little strange about this preference for green bikes, but apparently not strange enough to choose a different colour!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Featured

Yesterday I was pleased to learn that my mad little velo-world was featured in an article called "Bicycle Glamour: Everyday Cycling vs. Competitive Sport" on deepglamour.net. This was most unexpected - first, because Deep Glamour is not a bicycle-related publication, but even more so because I am familiar with the author's writing.

Deep Glamour is a weblog run by Virginia Postrel, who is a contributing editor of the Atlantic Monthly and the author of several books including The Substance of Style: How the Rise of Aesthetic Value Is Remaking Commerce, Culture, and Consciousness. I like Ms. Postrel's work very much, and so you can imagine how nice it was to discover that she wrote about my website. To my further delight, the article mentioning Lovely Bicycle was not only interesting in itself, but quoted me properly and did not distort the meaning of my words. I've had bad experiences with journalists in my non-bicycle life, and frankly I expect the worst when anything is written about me in publications - so Hurray for journalistic integrity!

Deep Glamour is a cultural commentary blog that "explores the magic of glamour in its many manifestations" - something I suspect many of my readers might find appealing. I appreciate Ms. Postrel's writing about bicycles in the way they deserve to be written about - in the context of glamour and romance.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Can We Have It All? The Mirage of the Perfect Bicycle

This post has been long in the making, its birth finally inspired by the plight of a fellow velo-bloggerist - whose story I will use as a case study here. Taking care to keep her identity hidden, I shall refer to my fellow velo-bloggerist as "Dee".

[image: "Dee" rides cargo trike]

Case Study: Dee and Her Search for "The Bike"

Dee lives in the suburbs. She rides an enormous cargo trike, in which she carts around two children, groceries, drycleaning, sleds, and whatever else the day might bring. Being young, fit and vivacious, Dee hungers for a personal bike - one she could ride on her own with joyful abandon. Her husband agrees that she must have such a bike, and a reasonable budget has been allocated. All seems rosy ...until Dee tries to decide what bike to get. Let's see, what are her criteria? She wears mainly dressy clothing, she plans to ride the bike in all seasons, and she always carries a bag when she is out and about. An upright sitting position, internal gear hub, enclosed hub brakes, a chaincase, and a good basket set-up would be ideal.

["Dee" completes triathalon]

But wait. Dee also dreams of going on longer, zippier rides on this bike, in hilly areas. Perhaps try touring some time. She wants to keep up with her husband when he is on his carbon fiber road bike. She wants speed when she feels like it. And did I mention she has completed a triathalon? All this brings a different bike to mind: derailleur gearing, handlebars that allow for a variety of hand positions, lighter weight.

If you know about bikes, you can already see the problem here. The two "ideals" for the different styles of riding she plans to do, are in conflict with one another. The heavy loop frame, North Road handlebars and the internal gear hub that will protect Dee's ivory silk trousers as she pedals elegantly to her meeting in town, will not get her up hills alongside her husband's roadbike. Likewise, the sporty geometry and derailleur gearing that will allow her to glide uphill on those long rides, will not be kind to her dressy outfits once she is back to her town life. Not to mention that derailleur gearing is a pain to maintain in the winter season, and the caliper brakes that come with sporty bikes do not work as well in poor weather as enclosed hub brakes. As Dee shops around, goes on various test rides, and continues to weigh her criteria, she realises that she cannot have both sets of features on the same bike. What is she to do?

["Dee" wears elegant duds]

Here is a list of what, in my view, are the options available to a person in Dee's position:
A. Recognise that you need two bicycles rather than one: you need a city bike and a sporty bike. Adjust your budget, your manufacturer(s) of choice, or your purchasing timeline accordingly.

B. Determine what kind of cycling you will be doing most: city or sporty? Based on this, buy a bicycle that is ideal for that type of cycling, recognising that whenever you will be doing the other type, you will be riding a less than ideal bike and it may be difficult.

C. Try to find a bicycle that you see as the best possible combination of some city features and some sporty features.
Based on anecdotal evidence, my impression is that many people in Dee's position are naturally drawn towards Option C. Option A seems financially prohibitive. Option B seems scary, because it involves accepting that you will not be able to do some of the things you want to do on the one bike you're getting. Option C appears to make sense: It seems like a sensible idea to get a bicycle that lets you do some of this and some of that.

However, I think that Option C is often a mistake, and that those who choose it may ultimately be unhappy. A bicycle that has some city features and some sporty features is not "the best of both worlds" as we wishfully think, but rather, a compromise. Let's say Dee finds a bicycle with upright geometry and derailleur gearing. A comfortable bicycle that can handle hills, right? Well, yes, that sounds reasonable. But what about riding it in the city wearing those flowing silk trousers? And what about caring for that derailleur in the winter? During times like these, Dee will be wishing she'd gotten a "real" city bike. And what about those long rides, when her hands will begin to go numb because of the North Roads' limited hand positions? Well, during times like those she'll be wishing that she'd gotten a "real" sporty bike.

Essentially, "kind of good for both" means ideal for neither. That is my main caveat against buying "compromise bikes", especially if you plan to spend a great deal of money on the bicycle and rest all of your hopes and dreams on it.

While at first glance it might not seem possible that you can afford Option A, there are most definitely ways to do it. One suggestion, is to buy the dominant bicycle (for the style of riding you will be doing most) new, and the supplementary bicycle (for the style of riding you will be doing less of) vintage. This is the route I went when I bought a new Pashley for the city (retail price: $1200) and a vintage Motobecane for sporty rides (typical C-List price: $150). The extra cost of the Motobecane was marginal, but my needs were pretty much satisfied between those two bikes. A year later, you can save up and upgrade by replacing that second vintage bike with a new bike, if you feel that's necessary.

The main point that I hope to bring across here, is that the idea of that one bike that is perfect for every kind of cycling is a fiction - a dream that's as futile to chase as our own shadow. There is no such thing as the perfect bicycle, only the perfect bicycle of its kind. Versatility is good, but there is a fine line between versatility and compromise. It is up to you to decide where that line lies.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Meeting of the Roadsters

Last Saturday night, we had an informal get-together to discuss forming the vintage bicycle society I mentioned last week. There were four of us in total: somervillain, Cycler, Astroluc, and myself. I will take this opportunity to showcase my remarkably photogenic acquaintances and some of their bikes:

This is Cycler from Biking in Heels, with her recently acquired Raleigh DL-1. Cycler is an architect living in Cambridge and commuting to work downtown. The Co-Habitant is an avid reader of Biking in Heels - He especially likes it that her posts about bikes are supplemented with descriptions of her cooking.

Cycler's DL-1 is an earlier model than mine, but in better cosmetic condition. I wish I had this earlier model - or at least the decals from it - because the lettering is more attractive than on mine. I also covet her cream-coloured handlebar grips. Cycler is pretty handy at DIY and even made the basket support for this bike herself. The wicker basket is attached with zip ties and seems stable; the headlight is mounted directly onto the basket and reminds me of a camera. Cycler is having an issue with her chaincase, whereby the one she ordered does not seem to fit her bike. Sadly, she discovered this only after stripping the chaincase of paint in order to have it re-powder coated. Not sure what she will do now, and this was a big topic of discussion.

I have already introduced you to somervillain, who has a beautiful collection of vintage bicycles that I am slowly working through photographing. He had things to say about Cycler's chaincase issue and many other DL-1 related things. The resident DL-1 Guru, he knows pretty much everything there is to know about these bicycles; I continue to be amazed.

Here is somervillain's DL-1 next to Cycler's. You have already seen this beautiful bicycle here, in full colour. Somervillain is a research scientist by career who in the past few years has discovered the richly rewarding satisfaction of rebuilding vintage bicycles. He commutes from Somerville to Cambridge year round, in the winter riding his "Cannondale beater".

And finally, I introduce Astroluc: "Hack Artist Extraordinaire ...who also likes bikes". I admit that I was taken aback by how gallant and polite Astroluc is. Not that he is not gallant or polite online - but, well, in person he is even more so. Astroluc does not own a vintage Roadster ...yet, but is considering acquiring one. For now, he commutes around Boston year-round on his sporty Cannondale and reports all sorts of fascinating local sightings on his blog.

We are still fleshing out our ideas about the club and it's moving along nicely. Next time we look forward to meeting several others who could not make it to this meeting, and hopefully the Co-Habitant will be able to join us as well. Just as soon as we settle on a name for the club, we will cobble together a website where our goings-on will be documented for the benefit of members and far-off readers. Stay tuned, and get in touch if you'd like to take part.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Velo Suicide (Don't Do It!)

An alarming phenomenon has been brought to my attention that I wish to share with my readers. We don't give this a great deal of thought, but perhaps we ought to: People are not the only ones effected by the winter blues; bicycles feel them too.

[velo suicide; image by Astroluc]

In Boston, this most recent and serious victim of vSAD (velocepedian Seasonal Affective Disorder) plunged to his death off the bridge into the frozen Charles River. Thank you to Astroluc for bringing this tragic and under-reported story to the forefront. We do not know why this bicycle chose to end his life. Perhaps he was not ridden enough once the winter season began. Perhaps he was not loved enough. It could even be that I am to blame - with my incessant talk of "lovely bicycles" and my rants against welding marks. Clearly I have been insensitive to the fragile self esteem of our dear velo friends, and for that I am truly sorry.

[velo suicide: close-up; image by Astroluc]

To all the lonely, isolated, unloved bicycles out there: Please do not despair. You are all lovely and special in your own way. If your owner has neglected or abandoned you, know that there are options out there - such as Bikes Not Bombs, who will take you in, feed you hot soup, restore you to good health an find you a new home. Stay warm and keep away from the Charles River. And to all the bicycle owners out there, be aware that velo suicide can take on epidemic qualities, as one of my favourite educational films so poignantly illustrates. Take care of your bicycles and don't forget to tell them you love them this winter, even if you don't ride much.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Bike Wash!

We had big plans to go skiing over the long weekend, but they were derailed by 44°F temperatures and heavy rain, even up in Maine. So instead we "washed" our bikes.

It was the Co-Habitant's crazy idea (as you have probably noticed by now, he is much more fun than I am). We had just returned from our trip and were getting ready for a quiet night at home, when he looked out the window and proposed that the rain might be a good opportunity to wash the winter crud off the Pashleys. "Let's take them around the block," he suggested.

As we raced down a road heading out of town a half hour later, it became apparent that we were on a joyride. In a downpour. In 44°F weather. In the middle of the night. The bikes were clean and shiny when we got home, and we were soaking wet and shivering. Good times! And now for some hot tea...

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Winter: The Beautiful and the Damned Difficult

So winter is not going anywhere; we are smack dab in the midst of it. Unlike some of my fellow velo bloggerists, I am fortunate enough not to suffer from SAD-like symptoms or "winter blues". I love winter! The Co-Habitant does as well, and whenever we have the chance we travel North to get even more of it.

In my own neighborhood, winter is quite beautiful as well. The snow, the bare trees, the crisp air, that somewhat surreal quality of light - I love it all.

What I don't love so much, is winter cycling. Sorry, I really am trying. But I just don't love it. The combination of how time consuming it is to get my clothing just right and how much more vigilant I have to be of the road conditions, adds stress and sucks much of the joy out of it for me. I still cycle, but unless the day is exceptionally warm, it has become an activity that I do mostly out of necessity. I look at Dottie's pictures and narratives on Let's Go Ride a Bike, and I am in awe on a number of levels. But not everyone's experience is the same, and I think that's okay. I have the right wool, the right boots, the right bike - but most of the time I still do not find it easy or enjoyable. If this disappoints some readers or says something terrible about my character, then so be it, but I prefer to be honest.

A couple of weeks ago, Un Vieux Velo humorously pointed out the "competitive winter cycling" phenomenon that was spreading through the blogs and flickr after the Christmas blizzard, and to some extent I do think it's true that we - perhaps unconsciously - sometimes try to outdo each other (Coming Up Next Week: "My blizzard was blizzardier that your blizzard! And I biked to work in a bikini!").

But jokes aside, I do feel some responsibility if I present an unrealistic image. Despite the snowy scenes I show, I do not mean to pretend that I am a stoic winter cyclist. Quite often I am miserable. If my destination is close enough I prefer to walk. And while I don't drive myself (don't like it), the Co-Habitant does, and for a number of reasons we use the car much more often now than during the warmer seasons. And that's perfectly fine with me.

If you love winter but don't love winter cycling, I think the only thing to do is just to let it go and not try to combine the two. You cycled only twice this week? Fine. No need to feel bad. Enjoy taking a walk around the neighborhood instead. Or forget the bike and go skiing, if that's your thing. Or sit by the fire place reading cycling magazines and watching the snow out of the window, if that's what makes you happy. It's all about improving the quality of your life, rather than proving a point. Happy Winter, and enjoy it in any way you like.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Boston Area Roadsters: a Place to Call Our Own

An announcement for those in the Boston area who own vintage Roadsters and other lovely 3-speed creatures: A few of us are getting together and starting a club of sorts. Well, more like an appreciation and preservation society: We envision a project that will enable people to learn about their Roadsters - including how to work on them and either restore them to their all-original glory or convert them to reliable modern commuters.

[somervillain's 1986 Union Unitas]

We are also interested in photo-documenting as many vintage Roadsters that exist in the Boston area as we can, with the aim of eventually putting together an archive of the sorts of things people have done to these bicycles. Boston really is a mecca of vintage 3-speeds, and we would like to commemorate that.

[somervillain (right) with John Pyper of Open Bicycle]

We have been generously granted a "club space" for our pursuits at Open Bicycle, which is located in Union Square in Somerville, Mass. We can use this space to get together and work on our bicycles cooperatively, to organise workshops, or even just for "Show and Tell". Open's lounging area and workshop facilities make it an ideal meeting place, so a big Thank You to Open Bicycle for their support.

[my 1936 Raleigh Lady's Tourist, on display at Spoke Count]

So far, this project is in its early stages and 4 people are involved: myself, somervillain, Biking in Heels, and the Co-Habitant. I should add that somervillain is a walking encyclopedia when it comes to vintage 3-speeds, so the opportunity to receive his advice and help is quite exciting. Our plan for this club is very much open-format and will depend on the dynamic of the group. If you would like to take part, or be informed of our activities, please drop me a line at "filigreevelo-at-yahoo-dot-com" or post a comment here.