Monday, August 30, 2010

Handlebar Hoopla, What Now?

My Royal H Mixte is almost built up, save for the fenders, racks and lights. I don't want to post glamour shots before the bike is completed, but let's just say it has some unusual features! The build has been slow, but more or less trouble-free so far... until we ran into an unexpected glitch with the handlebar setup.

My idea for this bicycle was to install VO Porteur handlebars with Silver bar-end shifters and Guidonnet brake levers.  In theory this seemed like a good plan, but in practice several things have gone awry...

First, the stem length we thought would work (6cm) is apparently too short, because when I lower the bars down to where I want them, the bar-ends overlap too much with my knee if I sharply turn the handlebars while the pedal is in the up position. So we had to exchange the stem, and thankfully the shop that sold it to us was willing to do that. We are now installing a 10cm stem and will see whether that eliminates the overlap.

But the bigger problem is the Guidonnet brake levers themselves. They look fantastically French and provide plenty of braking power, but I find their placement awkward.

As you can see in the pictures, the Guidonnets are shaped like a pair of short rod-brake levers. They are installed in such a way, that their curve is meant to follow the curve of the handlebars. And because the Porteur bars are quite narrow, my hands end up in a position that is too close to the stem when braking - which I find suboptimal in its effect on the bicycle's handling.

{Edited to add: I have now test-ridden the bicycle with these brake levers extensively. When going over 12mph, the handling in this position stabilizes; slower than that it is somewhat shaky. It is basically a very aggressive position close to the stem, similar to the "fixie grip". The levers are good if you want a  bike with swept-back bars to handle aggressively in city traffic. The levers are not so good if you don't.}

As you can see here, the Guidonnet levers don't allow you to brake from the upright position on the handlebars, but make you lean forward and move your hands closer to the stem. I find it counter-intuitive to brake in an aggressive position and shift in a relaxed position; should it not be the other way around?  I will test ride the bike some more once we install the longer stem, but I suspect that I might have to admit that the Guidonnets were a mistake - which leaves the question of what to do instead.

One possibility would be to install inverse brake levers (which I already have lying around) and fit the Silver shifters into a set of Paul's Thumbies handlebar mounts, as Renaissance Bicycles has done on the build shown above.  I have never seen Silver shifters mounted on the handlebars before, only the (considerably less classic-looking) Shimanos. Having spoken to Bryan from Renaissance about it, I learned that he has rigged up a system to make the Silver set-up possible, and I am considering emulating it.  The problem is, that the Co-Habitant is vehemently against this plan: He insists that placing the shifters on the handlebars would "cheapen a high end bike". I understand what he means, but I disagree when it comes to the Renaissance method involving the Silver shifters; I think it looks surprisingly elegant. Honest opinions?

The alternative solution would be to get rid of the Porteur bars and take the Albatross bars from Marianne - installing them in the same upside-down manner, only with bar-end shifters and with the entire bar wrapped. I could do it, though I was really looking forward to having the Porteur bars on this bicycle. Maybe there are other possibilities I am missing? I would like for this bicycle to retain a vintage French look, which I feel is better achieved with the Porteurs than with the upside-down Albatross. Suggestions welcome!

{Edited to add: the Guidonnet levers have now been sold; thanks for your inquiries!}

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Cycling and the Beach

If you live in a beach town, it is easy to hop on a cruiser and pedal to the shore, have a swim, more or less dry off, and pedal home. But what about incorporating the beach into long, strenuous and hilly touring style-rides? This has been our dilemma when taking trips to Maine this summer. In the absence of folding bikes (and frankly, I don't think folding bikes would be appropriate for the terrain here), we strap our roadbikes to the car, and get around entirely by bike once we arrive to our "base" location. In rural Maine, everything is far away from everything else - at least by Boston standards - and it is normal for us to cycle 5-10 hilly miles from one destination to another, multiple times in a day. We often pass our favourite beach in the area, but swimming can seem like such a project when your bicycle bags are already stuffed with photo equipment and other things, and the beach has no changing rooms. 

Plus, when a 10 mile ride with plenty of uphill lies between the beach and the nearest town where you could freshen up, believe me that you don't want any sand to be stuck in your body's crevices, and neither do you want to pedal in a bathing suit. The Co-Habitant has tried wearing his swim trunks on the bike, and regretted it. 

So here is my solution: I bring a bathing suit and a thin Pashmina or wrap instead of a towel. These take up almost no extra space in my saddle bag. Once at the beach, I remove my shoes and socks, wrap myself in the pashmina, and change into my bathing suit underneath it. If you don't have a pashmina or wrap, a long oversized t-shirt can work as a "changing tent" as well. After swimming, I "air dry" while either walking around or sitting on rocks (rather than sitting on sand); then I reverse the "changing tent" process. After this, the bathing suit can be wrung out, placed on a rock to dry off a bit, then placed in a plastic bag and packed away into the saddle bag together with the pashmina. After de-sanding my feet and putting my socks and shoes back on, I am ready to keep cycling. All this is a surprisingly low-hassle process. 

Of course, one thing to make sure of before you stop at a beach like this, is that your water bottles are full. Also, never try to prop up your bike on the sand using a kickstand; carefully lay it down instead (drivetrain side up). Even if it seems as if the bike is stable on the kickstand, the sand's consistency changes with the wind and the tide, and the bike can easily fall. Oh, and if you go swimming, leave your bike as far from the water as possible - the tide can come in faster than you think!

Swimming in the ocean and cycling are two of my favourite activities, and it feels wonderful to combine them. Interestingly, the ocean water seems to be a great complement to high-intensity cycling - relaxing the muscles and giving me extra energy to go on. Anybody else have this experience?  

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Seymour Blueskies

As some have already noticed, I recently acquired one more bicycle that I have not yet written about. It is a vintage Trek roadbike - fast and aggressive, with super-responsive handling. Don't ask how I got the bike; sometimes these things just find you. It was in exactly my size, and came along at a time when I had begun to experiment with more aggressive road cycling. I wanted to try a "real" roadbike without spending more money, and here was my chance.

So please allow me to introduce Seymour Blueskies. He is a Trek 610, built in 1982. The lugged steel frame is made with Reynolds 531 tubing, and cro-moly fork and stays. The frame is 52cm, with 700C wheels. It is an interesting blue-gray colour that Trek called "gunmetal"in its catalogues.

The 610 was a higher-end model, and the previous owner built it up with nice components - though over the years they had become somewhat of a medley.

The wheels were handbuilt using Rigida racing rims with a gunmetal finish, a Campagnolo rear hub, a Suntour XC 9000 front hub, and double butted spokes. The drivetrain is Suntour Sprint 9000, with Suntour downtube shifters. The stem is vintage Nitto and the handlebars are ITM. The bicycle also came with a Brooks Finesse Titanium(!) women's saddle.

I have kept all of the components as they were, except for the brakes and brake levers, which we replaced with new Tektros. We also added cork bar tape, installed SKS fenders and a bottle cage, replaced the original clipless pedals with MKS Touring pedals (with Powergrips), and attached my Zimbale bag and a Crane bell from another bike.

I prefer cloth tape on handlebars, but these bars have a weird, squared-off shape to them with a carved-out channel for cable routing. This can all be felt though cloth tape, making the bars uncomfortable to hold without a layer of cork. They are also a bit too narrow for me, and if the Trek ends up being a keeper I would like to replace them with something like Nitto Noodles, or a vintage equivalent.

The reasoning behind the SKS fenders was initially budget-driven, but I am very happy with this choice. They are quieter and less fussy than Honjos; I hardly even notice them. The Co-Habitant hates SKS fenders, because he thinks they are "ugly". I do not find them "ugly";  just more sporty than Honjos - which was exactly the look I was going for here. Incidentally - even with the fenders, saddlebag and waterbottle, the Trek is the lightest bicycle I own.

After a few weeks of ownership, I have also just replaced the original Michelin 25mm tires with 28mm Panaracer Paselas in white. The Michelins that came with it are supposed to be fantastic, but they felt hard as rocks and made for a very harsh ride. The Paselas, on the other hand, feel as if I am riding on a cloud. 28mm tires are probably the widest this bicycle will fit with fenders, and that is fine with me.

Now, for the ride quality... The vintage Trek handles very differently from the Rivendell Sam Hillborne. The best way I can describe this bike's behaviour, is that it wants to go fast and does not like to go slow. At slow speeds the Trek feels unstable and difficult to maneuver, especially when cornering. It took me a few rides to learn how to handle this without panicking, but eventually I got used to it. By the same token, it becomes amazingly stable and precise at fast speeds: Once I exceed 16mph, it seems to magically "relax" and almost floats above the asphalt. Accelerating is easy - almost too easy! One turn of the pedals, two turns - and before I know it, I am flying.  This is great fun now that I am more or less comfortable on a roadbike, but even a couple of months ago I would not have been able to handle this kind of cycling. When riding the Hillborne, I feel that I am exploring - I can go fast, or I can go slow. Riding the Trek, I feel that I preparing for a race - going slow is not really in the cards.

All other factors remaining equivalent (road and traffic conditions, my energy levels, etc.), the Trek is a faster ride than the Rivendell. I cannot tell how much faster exactly, because conditions are never identical on any two rides - but when the Co-Habitant accompanied me, he said the difference in my speed on the two bikes was noticeable. One explanation for this could be that the Trek's handlebars are set lower, but it could also just be that the bike is designed to be a bit racier. On the flip side of the speed advantage, the Trek is not as comfortable as the Rivendell (which is insanely comfortable) and encourages over-exertion - leaving me feeling far more exhausted after a ride. One curious thing about how I feel on the Trek, is that my hands always hurt at the beginning of a ride - but stop hurting as the ride progresses and I pick up speed. This is surprising, because when something hurts at the start of a ride, it typically only gets worse the longer I cycle - so each time I get on the bike I have to suspend disbelief and remind myself that my hands will stop hurting in a few minutes. And thankfully, they always do. I also find it challenging to hold the drop portions of the bars on the Trek (something I have already mastered on the Rivendell) without losing some control of the bike or at least weaving a bit. I am sure this will feel comfortable eventually, but I am not there yet. Just yesterday, I was finally able to use the downtube shifters for the first time - after having tearfully declared that they were "impossible" time after time on previous rides. Everything takes practice.

When I first got the Trek, I was not at all sure that I would be keeping it. We modified it just enough to make me comfortable, and it would be easy to resell this bike at no loss. I wanted to experience a "real" roadbike without the coddling qualities of the Rivendell, and now I have. So what next? Well, I don't know yet, but I don't really want to let it go. It has been bewildering to discover that I kind of, sort of might actually be good at road cycling, and I would like to see this discovery through. Depending on how much time I have in a day for a ride, I take either the Rivendell (for long rides), the Trek (for medium, but fast paced rides), or the fixed gear Moser (for shorter, intense rides) - and together they are helping me understand my potential.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Wheeling and Dealing: Can We Learn from Owning (and Selling) Bicycles?

As you have probably noticed, I own more than a couple of bicycles at this point. I have also sold a few and may be paring down further before the summer's end. Most of the bicycles I've owned have gone through a variety of experimental alterations - some minor, others major; some successful and others not so much. So, what is the point of it all? Were some of these bicycles "mistakes" that I should not have gotten in the first place? And are my various projects ultimately wastes of time and money if I end up selling the bicycle in the end?

Bicycle ownership for me has two purposes. First and foremost, it is utilitarian: Ideally, I want to own several bicycles, each of which will excel at a designated function - such as commuting or cyclotouring. But I also enjoy learning about different kinds of bicycles. This includes understanding bicycle history, geometry, positioning, and the differences between manufacturing styles. And I would argue that this kind of knowledge can only truly be gained through owning and riding a variety of bicycles; just reading and chatting about it is not sufficient. For me, bicycle ownership has been educational, and no bicycle I have acquired and subsequently let go of has been a "mistake": They have each helped me understand something crucial.

Some things I have learned through my experiences:
. the relationship between bicycle geometry and bicycle handling
. how to adjust my position for maximum comfort on different kinds of bikes
. which components work best for me, and why
. what is really my optimal bicycle size
. how to maximise a bicycle's strengths and compensate for a bicycle's shortcomings
. how to determine whether my cycling limitations are due to lack of skill or to discomfort
. and, of course, how to perform a variety of DIY adjustments

Though there have been frustrations, there have also been great rewards. The Pashley Princess was a dear fried whose beauty inspired me, and thanks to whose stability and reliability I immediately became comfortable with vehicular cycling. The Raleigh Lady's Sports taught me all about vintage English 3-speeds, plunged me into an obsession with cream tires, and, ultimately, made me realise that I prefer loop frames to straight step-through frames. And the Mercier mixte helped me understand derailleur gearing by allowing me to boldly experiment with drivetrain conversion, as well as to experience an authentic French city bicycle from a bygone era.

I do not see myself as a collector of bicycles, but I am happy to serve as foster parent to a few that will ultimately be passed along to another owner - learning all I can from it in the meanwhile. As for the financial costs of the purchases and the alterations - I have been lucky to more or less break even, and that is good enough for me. I have also been lucky to get lots of advice and help from experienced bicycle lovers not only locally, but from all over the world. Thank you all, and I hope that some of my experiences have provided useful or entertaining information for my readers.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Pashley Guv'nor: A Retrogrouch's Dream

When borrowing bikes from Portland Velocipede, I had thought the Co-Habitant might like to try something entirely new, like a Gazelle or a Brompton. But he is a die-hard Pashley fan and seized the opportunity to ride the Pashley Guv'nor. The man is not overly fond of writing, so I will do my best to communicate his impressions - though the picture above pretty much says it all.

The Pashley Guv'nor is modeled on the 1930s Path Racer, and its faithfulness to this concept is remarkable. The frame is relaxed, with the same frame geometry and 28" wheel size as the Pashley Roadster. But while the Roadster is made of high-tensile steel (heavy, utilitarian), the Guv'nor is made of Reynold's 531 tubing (super light, high-end).

Additionally, the Guv'nor features fancier lugwork, and is equipped with sportier and more luxurious components - such as the racy upside down "North Rroad" handlebars, a Nitto stem, leather grips, and a Brooks B17 Titanium saddle. It is available as a single speed or a 3-speed, and a crazy limited edition with 4 speeds and golden lugs exists as well.

The Guv'nor is fitted with cream Schwalbe Delta Cruiser tires, and it intentionally lacks fenders. No lights or racks either. Like a traditional path racer, this bicycle has a high bottom bracket and horizontal chain stays. Because of the high bottom bracket and the slack seat tube, there is a huge amount of seat post showing, which exaggerates the aggressive appearance. Although the Co-Habitant's Roadster has the same amount of exposed seat tube, this is disguised by the huge rails and springs of the Brooks B-33 saddle that the Roadster is fitted with. The flat and unsprung B17 on the Guv'nor, on the other hand, leaves every millimeter exposed.

Front and rear drum brakes give the bicycle a clean appaerance.

They also allow for black rims with golden pinstriping (not really captured in the pictures, but it's there).

Drivetrain and track fork ends. The one aspect of the Guv'nor's components the Co-Habitamt dislikes are the cranks; he thinks they are "ugly" - though personally, I do not think they are bad looking.

Close-up of the handlebars, with brass bell and retro-style Sturmey Archer 3-speed shifter.

The vintage-looking shifter is a nice touch.

As I did on the Abici, the Co-Habitant rode around Portland, Maine on the Guv'nor - even taking it along into a dining establishment. No one seemed to mind and the bicycle received compliments.

The Pashley Guv'nor, waiting for his beer and calamari. Unlike the Pashley Roadtser, it is extremely easy to maneuver and drag around due to its light weight.

In terms of ride quality, the Guv'nor handles like a cross between a roadster and a road bike. It is very light, fast, and maneuverable - yet also stately. Some aspects of the geometry can take getting used to: Because the saddle is so far back due to the slack seat tube (plus the seat post has set-back), the handlebars are extremely far away. The Co-Habitant thinks that Pashley should have either used a shorter stem, or a seat post with no set-back; otherwise the posture feels too extreme - especially in combination with the slack seat tube and the forward position of the pedals.

Riding the bike around town was tremendous fun for the Co-Habitant, and of course he would love to own such a bike in a world unhindered by practical considerations. But the Guv'nor woud hardly be a reasonable choice for regular commuting, given its lack of fenders and lights. And while in theory, these could be installed, doing so would ruin the authentic Path Racer look - which is the very heart of the concept behind the Guv'nor. Ultimately, the Guv'nor was not designed for practicality and makes no claims to be a daily commuter. It is a trophy-bike, meant to be taken out in fair weather and enjoyed for its unique ride quality and vintage aesthetics. More than anything, it is the concept itself that is impressive: Pashley created this bicycle true to the original and made it painfully handsome in the process.

Many thanks to Portland Velocipede for loaning out this bicycle.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Abici Granturismo Donna: Maine Impressions

While in Portland, Maine over the weekend, I rode an Abici bicycle, courtesy of Portland Velocipede. The Co-Habitant and I cycled around town a bit to visit some of our favourite spots from when we lived in the area some time ago. Two things about the city that are of relevance to cyclists: It is hilly, and there are no bike lanes. But not to worry: The hills are short and the lack of bike lanes does not seem to matter. We cycled on the roads, and the biggest obstacle was pedestrian traffic in the waterfront area (It was a Saturday); the cars seemed to be fine with cyclists. At any rate, I felt comfortable enough to get a good impression of the bicycle.

The model I rode was the Abici Granturismo Donna, single speed (also available as a 3-speed), in violet. The colour looks subdued on Abici's website, but in actuality it is highly saturated. I think pastels look good on an Italian bicycle no matter what the colour - though for my personal bike I would prefer something more neutral, like cream or slate gray.

The design of the Abici Granturismo is different from classic Dutch bicycles and English roadsters, but typical of an Italian lady's bicycle. The step-through top tube is asymmetrically curved, with the bend happening toward the rear of the bike, unlike a traditional loop-frame. You can see the same design from a number of Italian manufacturers, including Orco Cicli and Bella Ciao. It is also the design of the "Mrs. Cinelli" bicycle I had admired at the Larz Anderson Bicycle Show. (As an aside, I have tried to research the history of this frame style, but have had no success - so would appreciate any information or tips.)

Both the single speed and the 3-speed versions of the Granturismo model come with a coaster brake and a front caliper brake. The chain is fully enclosed, except for an opening at the rear for easy wheel removal. As far as design goes, the Abici is an appealing bicycle - though a couple of things puzzle me. For example, why was it made with derailleur-style dropouts, if it is designed for internally geared hubs? This is not so much a criticism, as a genuine question. Could it be that they are planning a derailleur version in the future? Also - and this is a minor thing - I was surprised by the lack of headbadge. Is it an intentional act of modesty to place the company's insignia only on a tiny part of the chaincase? If so, it is an interesting concept (but I nonetheless love headbadges!).

Continuing with the scrutiny of the details, here is the seat cluster. This part of the bicycle is beautiful.

Equally well done is the lugged connector between the top tube and downtube. The Abici is gracefully lugged throughout, except...

... yes, except for the welded unicrown fork. The contrast between the wealth of lugwork on other parts of the bike and this fork makes me want to cry. Why Abici, why? I am privy to the wholesale upcharge on lug-crowned forks, and it is not that high.

I know that some of you must be tired of my complaining about unicrown forks, and others might simply not understand what the big deal is, so let me explain my views: If a manufacturer claims to make an elegant, classic, high-end lugged steel bicycle and they go through the trouble of getting the details right and ordering all those complicated lugs, it makes no sense to omit the fork. The fork is a part of the bicycle just like the tubes are, and, in my view, its design ought to match the design of the frame. If the welded unicrown fork is a cost-cutting measure, then why stop there and not make the entire bike welded to match? If you consider this view extreme or unreasonable, then fair enough - but I cannot help my tastes.

Aside from the fork-crown issue, I have no complaints about the Abici Granturismo. On the contrary, handling and riding it was a pleasant surprise, as it was very different from any other city bicycle I had ridden previously. The main thing, is the sporty handling: from the steep-ish angles, to the aggressive sitting position, it handles like a roadbike that happens to be a step-through. It is fast, responsive, and light.

How light? Without exaggeration, it felt like half the weight of a Pashley or a Gazelle. Of course it had no rear rack, no lights, etc., etc. - but even taking that into account, the weight difference is considerable. I could drag a bike like this up and down the front stairs all day without complaining. Of course the downside to a light, sporty bicycle, is that the ride does not feel quite as cushioned as on a humongous Dutch bike or English roadster. So, as they say, choose your poison.

Because of its sporty geometry, I could mostly tackle the Portland hills on the Abici in its single speed - but the 3-speed would have been better. I should also note that it took me a while to get used to the coaster brake on this particular bike (despite being a lover of coaster brakes). Initially it felt counterintuitive, like having a coaster brake on a roadbike: In an aggressive riding position, you just do not expect to be braking in that manner. But the front brake on the Abici worked extremely well. So, just as I would on an actual roadbike, I ended up using mostly the front brake - activating the coaster brake only on occasion, and eventually getting used to its presence.

The Abici Granturismo Donna is a great choice for those looking for a sportier, lighter, more maneuverable step-through bicycle that is still more or less upright and comes with (or can be fitted with) all the trappings necessary for everyday transportation. Be aware that its handling and weight are radically different from that of classic Dutch bicycles and English roadsters, and whether this is a plus or a minus for you depends on your preferences. The price is very reasonable, and I would seriously consider buying the Abici for myself, if it were not for their choice of fork.

Many thanks to Portland Velocipede for loaning out this bicycle.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Ye Olde Fantastic Bikeshoppe! A Visit to Portland Velocipede

[edited to add: Portland Velocipede became a sponsor of this website in January 2011. This post was written prior to that time.]

We were in Portland, Maine (the real Portland!) over the weekend, and stopped by the Portland Velocipede. The establishment is just half a year old, but already an iconic presence.

Portland Velocipede focuses exclusively on transportation cycling. They sell Pashley, Gazelle, Batavus, Abici, Linus, CiviaBrompton and Bakfiets - as well as accessories by Brooks, Velo OrangeBasil, Po CampoNutcase, and more. As far as I know, no other bike shop on the East coast outside of NYC stocks this type of merchandise all at once.

The shop occupies a huge, warehouse-style space that was once an art gallery, and they certainly make good use of that space. Almost an entire wing is dedicated to a flock of Pashleys. The Roadster, the Guv'nor, the Princess, and even the Tube Rider - they have them all.

In another part of the shop stands a herd of Gazelles, as well as several Batavus models (the Old Dutch, the Flyslan, the Bub and the Personal Delivery).

The famous "paperclip bike" (Batavus Bub), suspended from the ceiling.

For me, the main point of interest were the Abici bicycles, which I had never seen in person before. This shot reminds me of the "I want candy" scene in Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette. The colours, the colours! Well, I have now not only seen an Abici bicycle in person, but have ridden one all over Portland.  I will post a test ride report shortly.

I had also never seen a Bakfiets in person before. Those things are beautiful! The Co-Habitant immediately wanted to cart me around in one, but I opted out of that form of entertainment. (Well, maybe next time!)

Instead I examined the Gazelle Toer Populair, which is the contemporary version of my Gazelle A-Touren. It saddened me to see that the Gazelles currently in production are not manufactured in the same manner as my late 1990's model. The "loop connector" is now welded rather than lugged, and the seat cluster is partly welded as well.  It is still a beautiful bicycle, but why are manufacturers of classic bicycles moving in this direction? I suppose it cuts costs, and they figure customers will not notice or will not care? It is a sad thing to lose such beautiful details. Thankfully, the fork crown on the Gazelle is still lugged and chromed with the little embossed gazelles on it, and its lugwork elsewhere has remained the same as well.

Having now seen Gazelle, Batavus and Pashley side-by-side, I would say that the quality of craftsmanship is by far the highest on the Pashley, with Gazelle in second place and Batavus in third. If I had to buy a new bicycle today and choose from what is available in American shops, I would probably still choose a Pashley Princess (albeit I would now go for the largest, 22" frame).

Whether you turn your eye to the bicycles, to the accessories, or to the clothing, Portland Velocipede is a sea of gorgeous colours and inviting textures.

As I wandered around the shop I felt as if I was lost in some alternate universe: Too much, too beautiful! Some of the items I knew about, but have never seen in person - and now here they were, all together. Other items were new to me, such as the clothing line by Sheila Moon (pictured above), and a spectacular line of panniers from Linus. I wish I'd had the presence of mind to photograph it all systematically, but I am a mere mortal and cannot be expected to remain calm in this kind of bike shop - so this is what you get. As mentioned earlier, we did extensively test-ride bicycles: I rode a lilac Abici and the Co-Habitant rode a Pashley Guv'nor, so reports are forthcoming.

Amazingly, the charming owners (Gillian and Josh) trusted us not to abscond with their precious candy-coloured inventory - for which we thank them!  We also thank them for establishing this wonderful shop in New England, and for all the energy and care they obviously put into it. Portland Velocipede is a magical place and an invaluable resource for those interested in classic transportation bicycles.