Sunday, April 29, 2012

New Amsterdam Bicycle Show 2012

Rolling Orange/ Fietsfabriek
Dominated by a sea of transportation bicycles and accessories, Dutch-style and otherwise, the New Amsterdam Bicycle Show lived up to its name and then some. Only in its second year running, the show was a lively display of trends in North American urban cycling. 

New Amsterdam Bicycle Show
Held in a contemporary ground floor space in SoHo, the rooms began to fill with visitors from the minute its doors opened at 10am on Saturday. 

New Amsterdam Bicycle Show, Beer Garden
By mid-day the crowds were impressive, with every seat in the Beer Garden annex occupied by hot dog eating and beer drinking attendees. 

Grolsch Bike/ Republic Bikes
Grolsch sponsored the show with free beer, and had a couple of bespoke bikes on display. This one with the charming backward fork is by Republic, and there was also a Fietsfabriek cargo bike nearby. 

Viva, Brooks
In a general sense, I would describe the New Amsterdam Bicycle Show as similar to Interbike, only focused predominantly on transportation cycling. 

Horse Cycles, Hand Made in Brooklyn
A secondary focus of the show was on small, independent manufacturers and craftspersons. A few local framebuilders were represented, and there were lots of bespoke and hand made accessories on display. 

Benjamin Cycles Truss Frame
My favourite handmade bicyce at the show was this truss frame by Benjamin Cycles (whose website I cannot find - help me out someone who knows them?). 

Benjamin Cycles Truss Frame
Not only is it a truss frame, but the two tone stencil paint job is spectacular.

Horse Cycles
Nearby, Horse Cycles had a nice display of beautifully lugged frames.

Horse Cycles
But what really stood out was their frame with what appeared to be silver octopus tentacles wrapped around the tubes. Not for me, but it was certainly noteworthy.

Amy Munro's Formigli Bicycle
I have been wanting to see Amy Munro's Florentia Formigli bicycle for a while, and here it was at the show - gold lugs and all. 

Bianchi Pista Classica
And catering to the bespoke/ lugged aesthetic, Bianchi showed off their newest Pista Classica model - celeste with custard yellow lugwork.

Taliah Lempert
Of course with all these bicycles, it was only fitting to have a bicycle painter at hand. Taliah Lempert was in attendance, and her bicycle paintings booth was extremely popular.

Bicycle Paintings Jersey
There were even bicycle jerseys with her paintings on them, as well as coffee cups and coloring books.

Susi Wunsch, Velo Joy
Unlike industry-only trade shows such as Interbike, the New Amsterdam Show is open to the public, which makes the atmosphere more dynamic and casual, not so corporate-feeling. It is also good for the vendors, because they can sell their goods at the show and offset the fees of attending. 

House of Talents Baskets
These House of Talents baskets - displayed at the Adeline Adeline/ Velojoy booth - were selling particularly well and it seemed like everyone was walking around with one. I am not surprised, as I've been testing them over the winter and they are are excellent; I will have a review up soon.

Clever Hoods
Another hot item were the Clever Hood capes. These sold so well on the first day, the owner had to restock overnight. The brisk trade created a happy environment of pleased vendors and attendees alike. The show had a relaxed and exciting vibe to it that I enjoyed.

We Flashy
As far as trends, the big one that was hard to miss - and I mean that literally - was reflective wear. It seemed like a dozen manufacturers were showing garments and accessories that were both fashionable and offered reflective properties. We Flashy introduced an entire line of tees and sweatshirts with reflective designs. Bicycle Habitat offered pant cuff straps with glow in the dark views of the NYC skyline. Halo Coatings brought a prototype of  spectacles that light up in the dark.

Dargelos Lightning Vest
The Dargelos Lightning Vest creates ethereal silhouettes that looked stunning during the fashion show when photographers used flash. 

Vespertine NYC
And then there was the tailored wool brocade vest by Vespertine that every passer-by oohed and aahed over. The texture, construction and quality of this vest is hard to describe without dedicating an entire post to it, and I will try to get my hands on one for review.

Vespertine NYC
With New York City being one of the fashion capitals of the world, it is only fitting that some good ideas about how to combine hi-viz and fashion should develop here, and it's interesting to see the creativity with which various designers are approaching this.

New Amsterdam Bicycle Fashion Show 2012
The fashion show held on Saturday - called Postcards from New Amsterdam - highlighted the local approach to bicycles and fashion as well. Directed by Nona Varnado and Hudson Urban Bicycles (HUB), the show was well coordinated and almost aggressively focused - leaving me with a better sense of how the outfits related to the bicycles the models were shown with than the show I watched at Interbike last year.

New Amsterdam Bicycle Fashion Show 2012
As far as transportation bicycles, a dizzying variety of brands and styles were represented. Some were displayed by the manufacturers themselves, while others were brought in by the local bike shops. I was especially excited to see the Achielle bicycle and the Viva shown earlier, neither of which I had seen in person before. I had a chance to test ride an Achielle while in New York City, and will have a review of that shortly.

Worksman Cycles
The locally made Worksman Cycles were on display, and I was excited to see some locked up around the city as well - some new and others decades old.

United Pedal Saddlebags, via Bicycle Habitat
Aside from the high-viz and the transportation bicycle trends, one final trend I noted were bags - lots and lots of bags, most of them handmade locally. My favourite was this small United Pedal saddlebag, at the Bicycle Habitat booth.

Truce Bags
Truce offered a more contemporary selection of messenger-style bags in bright colours.

Fabric Horse Bags
And Fabric Horse added funky tool bags to the mix.

Cooper Bikes
A couple of manufacturers unveiled new lines of bikes, and one of these was Cooper - yes, as in the automobile Mini Cooper!

Bobbin Bicycles
Fresh from celebrating their North American grand opening, the candy-coloured Bobbin Bicycles were on display as well.

Brooklyn Cruiser
There was much, much more at the show, and my image collections on flickr and instagram should give you an idea of just how many interesting things there were to look at.

Grumpy Old Wheelmen
The attendees were pretty intriguing also. Lots of glamorous New York fashion types - though my favourite outfit of the day was this one!

Taliah Lempert's Bicycle Paintings
I attended the New Amsterdam Bicycle Show on Saturday only and am now back in Boston. Today was likely even busier, since both Bike Snob NYC and Grant Petersen of Rivendell were giving their talks. If anyone was there for this, I would love to hear about it. My overall impression is that the New Amsterdam Show proved to be pretty good for the exhibitors. If you are a small manufacturer or an East-Coast bike shop, I feel that this show is more relevant than Interbike on a number of levels, as well as more accessible financially. And for the attendees it was a blast as well, with all sorts of cool products on display they might not see elsewhere, and special discounts on most of the merchandise sold.

New Amsterdam Bicycle Show, Beer Garden
Having attended as "media," I do have a couple of suggestions for the organisers as far as improvements for next year. The lighting conditions were inconsistent, and quite poor in some parts of the space - which I felt was unfair to those vendors who were assigned those spaces. It was also difficult to take photos without using a flash unit and getting on everyone's nerves, which I don't like to do. The other thing, is that in my experience it is customary for trade shows to provide a free wireless internet connection for media, so that we might share our impressions of the show without having to, say, go to the Starbucks around the corner every couple of hours. Some secure storage space for equipment would also have been much appreciated. Maybe next year there could be a curtained off little Media Room?

Opus Bikes, Po Campo
That said, the New Amsterdam Bicycle Show was fantastic and I hope it will be even better next year. I will certainly try to make it again, and I recommend it to anyone within reasonable traveling distance.

54 comments:

  1. Great review and photos!
    About the Grolsch Bike - looks like they have
    managed to increase toe overlap and move trail to new levels. They might have to cut back on the free samples for the assemblers.
    Love the Mimbres Figures on the Benjamin Cycle too.

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    1. "... Mimbres Figures on the Benjamin Cycle"

      Ah Mimbres Figures! Thank you : )

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  2. I'm fascinated with the examples of merchandise at the show. The baskets and rain caper are certainly items of interest to many, especially with the growing popularity of commuter cycling. I also like the idea of the Cooper bike. It's nice to see those (Shimano?) thumb shifters come back in vogue. I think I would've spent some serious money at this show...the atmosphere is right up my alley.

    Thanks for your helpful links to the manufacturers.

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    1. The cooper bike is sporting the Sturmey-Archer thumbshifter, which does look like the shimano (and other makers) thumbies of yesteryear. http://www.sturmey-archer.com/products/shifters/cid/3/id/10 Available for 5speed, 3speed, and even the s3x.

      -rob

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  3. Fantastic report and great photos! Thanks.

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  4. Hi, just returned home about an hour ago from the show. I rode down from Beacon, NY to hear Grant Petersen and buy his book. (I thought Bike Snob was scheduled to speak Saturday?)

    The show had some interesting-looking bikes, I guess. I got overwhelmed by all the pretty little things about 90 seconds into it--it all looked the same, even though I know it's not. I would have rather spent time looking at the bikes in the valet parking area. They said they parked 275 Saturday and were up to about 200 today when I checked out at 3pm or so. But then, I'm an honorary Grumpy Old Wheelman; really, it's great to see so many people interested in these types of bikes.

    I also got to see Taliah Lempert and pick up some of her cards. I'm planning to save up and get one of her "striped" prints--yummy! I interviewed Taliah back when I had my own little bike blog, in 2001:

    http://tinyurl.com/87nk8u6

    I'm an admirer of Mr. Petersen. It's fashionable in some parts to bust on him, but I believe his influence helped create a way of looking at bikes here in the US that is in some measure responsible for the success shows like this now enjoy. It was a pleasure to meet him and chat about "unracing" and double top tubes. I read some of his book on the train ride home.

    Product review: The hot dogs with spicy red cabbage were excellent.

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  5. Benjamin took a class from me last year [that Truss bike was built during the class]. I helped him out with making a frame fixture recently and he will be working hard to make bikes in Brooklyn. His girlfriend is a painter and did the artwork on top of the powder coat [very nice].

    Ben is a great guy and I look forward to seeing more from him [and I have been bugging him to make a website]

    antbikemike

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    1. Thanks Mike! That is fascinating to know and I had been wondering how he got the idea for the truss. Hopefully Benjamin will have a website soon, and I will be happy to link to him and send business his way.

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    2. He may have also gotten the idea for the truss from all the truss-frames produced about 100 years ago....=D

      It's cool that Mike Flanigan is teaching framebuilding classes; seems like more-n-more big-name custom guys are doing that these days. It's my undertsnading that Mike never did it til Marty from Geekhouse talked him into training him...
      -rob

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    3. you were missed at the show, mike! but i understand you're up to here with production! my husband (and his no. 3) say hello!

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  6. For a vendor who must choose between this show and Interbike, which would you recommend? And what about yourself, if you could only attend one?

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    1. Unless they are looking to sell mass produced goods at high volume, I think this is a much more relevant show that will yield greater returns. And for me it was certainly more relevant. I enjoyed Interbike, but 80% of the stuff shown there was of no interest to me. It was exhausting to have to walk through the whole thing just to find the stuff I cared about, whereas here everything was in one manageable space.

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  7. great write-up as always. Was at the show yesterday and saw some great stuff. I definitely got a kick out the Grolsch fork. For originality and fun, the guys from Brooklyn Cruiser had me in stitches and it didn't hurt that both they and their bikes were pretty easy to look

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  8. Can't believe you did not stick around to see Bike Snob and Grant Peterson! But also, why were you not giving a talk of your own? You are just as famous ;)

    It looks like the show was a lot of fun though! Love the tiny cargo bike, the Viva, the orange Horse logo, and the lugged Bianchi.

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    1. do you know anything about that little cargo bike?

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    2. Anon - It is a Fietsfabriek children's cargo trike (I think) and it was displayed by the Rolling Orange bike shop in NYC.

      Anna - I think I am more useful behind the camera than giving a talk. Also, both BSNYC and GP are on book tours.

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  9. I was at the show on Saturday and said hello to you! So cool to see you in person, you are real! And I love the skirt you were wearing.

    So here is a question. I tried to take pictures at the show for my design class and they look crap. I tried with flash and without, it does not matter. It's so crowded and there are always people behind the bikes and more bikes. Everything just blends in. Any tips on documenting shows like this?

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    1. Yes, I am quite real! Nice of you to say hello.

      Assuming you have a camera with manual controls, set the aperture as high as you can. This puts only the parts you want to photograph in focus, not the stuff in the background. Otherwise, use an iphone and play around with contrasts and filters - it seems to do a better job in this kind of environment than other point and shoot cameras I've tried.

      Aside from this, you just learn to be assertive and reposition things how you need them when possible, stalk and wait for people to move aside, and so on. Don't be afraid to ask an exhibitor "look, I need to photograph this - can I move it?" They usually say yes.

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    2. I think you meant to advise to open the aperture up as much as possible (lower numbered settings) rather to set it higher. The lower aperture settings will throw objects in the distance out of focus. The same effect can be obtained on a p&s camera using the portrait setting.

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    3. Yes. Where I come from, "high aperture" = low f number.

      For most pictures here I used ISO 800, no flash, and f=2.8-3.2 at 1/60-1/80.

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    4. Yeah, I think people say it different ways and it ends up sounding the opposite (though you can always make it out from context).

      I like high aperture to mean the most light going through the lens. After all, lens manufacturers talk about "maximum" aperture in their literature and they always mean the smallest possible number when they do. So, high/maximum to me is smallest ratio of focal length to opening, or biggest amount of light.

      I don't even know what the "correct" way is anymore (if anyone can even argue to establish a "correct" anything in photo stuff).

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  10. IMO the 23 lb aluminum hybrid is the prototypical USAnian transportation bike. I see far more of this type of bike on the road in PDX than bakfiets, mixtes, roadster or omas. In fact, the only oma-type bike I ever see is owned by a blogger.

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    1. Sure. Trends are exactly that: trends. Years later, if they last, they will trickle down to common street use in every American Town X.

      During my time in NYC however, I did see quite a few people on upright step-through bicycles, mostly in lower Manhattan and Williamsburg. They couldn't all have been bloggers.

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    2. ...Oh and also the aluminum hybrids I've ridden have been waaay more than 23lb! : )

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    3. To be fair, Todd rides his Oma so that makes two.

      I see today this blog has reverted to LB! full force: fashionista lower Manhattan and Wburg plus Boston = lots of loop data points.

      So I don't get Viva; yeah that juliefierce has one but in the shop today I see all the original Vivas I reported on here a long time ago marked down to roughly half price, while a middle-aged woman in street clothes was test riding a carbon 29er that, oddly enough, came in 'round 22 lbs.

      Yes, Interbike is for the industry and this show is for the niche-istas and that niche is rapidly growing but for pure product-at-an-affordable price these guys can not compete. Aside from the aforementioned concentrations of glamobikers the market for the loop frames is very limited I think. Mixtes are a different animal. The Viva Juliette demonstrates exactly how to build a nice looking bike that doesn't function well as one. And I'm applying standards in the $500 range, let alone 4 figures.

      I like loop frames well enough but their design functionality has severe limitations if the rider wants/needs to climb or do a longer ride. The compromises of the mixte seem less glaring in comparison.

      wrt show preference for a vendor I'm sure there are a few that attended both and others who would've liked to but for the expense. The fashion shows put on by both the Unilarge show and this one seem very similar, judging from the pictures; we have one here too, similar/same products.

      Anyway that's my take on it from the land of ether.

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    4. Actually the show had lots of products at affordable prices, but they've been covered before and were not unique to the show, so I did not find hem noteworthy. Lots of Linus, Electras on display, that sort of thing. Brooklyn Cruisers and most Bobbins are pretty inexpensive as well.

      Re loop frames, I agree with you from a greater Boston perspective, where I almost never stay within the flat urban part of the city itself but travel to the hilly outskirts at least several times a week. But from a Vienna perspective I never felt limited by the loop frame bike I rode there, even at 30+ miles a day for transportation. When I think of what accounts for the difference, it's the abundance of flat routes not only within but outside of Vienna, and the presence of real infrastructure. NYC seemed more like Vienna than like Boston to me in that respect.

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  11. Nice review; you really captured the feel of the event. It was also nice to run into you at the show. My fiancee picked up the House of Talents basket and the Vespertine vest. My photos didn't turn out as nearly as good as yours did, but here they are:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/30490050@N04/sets/72157629564817486/

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  12. Oh and PS: I am really excited about the upcoming Achielle review! Any other interesting bikes you got to test ride?

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    1. Oh yes. I have hundreds of images to process. You can look forward to reviews of:

      Achielle
      Jensen (same bike as the Velorbis Scrap Delux)
      Wren
      Retrovelo Klara
      and Miss Mercian x2 (different eras)

      Stay tuned : )

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  13. Hi, I was at the show Saturday. I had come to this site because I had wanted to make some Swiss Army Ammo Panniers and had just googled it and your site came up with a review. I liked your style of writing. But when I was at the show on saturday I think I saw you at the show and had some sort of "I've seen this girl somewhere..." kind of moment so I approached you and asked if you were a bike blogger and you curtly said "NO! If I was I'd be Anonymous" and then that left me perplexed as I thought it was you but then I came back to this site and your pictures are plastered all over here. I had merely wanted to compliment you on your analytical style of writing instead you made me feel like a creeper. Thanks.

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    1. Oh gosh. I thought it was obvious that I was joking with you. I still don't quite know how to react when people recognise me. After all, it is I who's the creeper - lurking with my camera and all.

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    2. I recognized you at the fashion show and watched in awe as you juggled the big SLR and the iPhone while models and bikes were coming down the runway. I am a very shy person by nature and it took me awhile to get up the courage to say hello and tell you how much I enjoy reading this blog. You were very gracious.

      I enjoyed the show and was very pleased with my single purchase---a Cleverhood raincoat at wholesale price.

      Carol

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  14. "Jensen (same bike as the Velorbis Scrap Delux)"


    Huh???

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    1. According to the owner of HUB NYC, who sells it. And they do look identical. Pictures and review soon, with a more detailed explanation.

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    2. Update regarding this: I am now having a conversation about it with Velorbis. They disagree with the information that the bicycle shop owner was given and are looking into it. I will wait to post a review until I find out exactly what this bicycle is. Meanwhile you can see the pictures here.

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  15. Interesting. I've come close to buying the Scrap Deluxe on several occasions. Guess I should wait for your review now.

    Speaking of Velorbis, have you seen their leather bags? Yummy. I have the old school leather satchel, the weekend bag and the messenger. Half the reason I want the Scrap Deluxe is just to have that cool briefcase holder on the rear rack. (Somewhere, GRJ is rolling his eyes at me...)

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    1. Actually I'm no aesthete any more but have a cool leather satchel that would be great as a pannier/laptop thing.

      Build a bike around a bag - I got no problem with that! Make it a good bike though. Wait for V's Retrovelo review before you buy.

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    2. I used to be a fan of leather satchels in my pre-cycling days, because, while heavy, they were more durable than other options available at the time. More recently I have discovered that some fabrics are extremely resilient without the bulk of leather. Also solid state drives for laptops have become the norm, eliminating my concern over plopping down my bag. So, I now prefer fabric bags, mostly for their weight saving properties on and off the bike. Both my Po Campo Loop Pannier and Philosophy pannier seem indestructible, and I just don't feel the need for leather.

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    3. "...mostly for their weight saving properties"

      I can't believe you admire clunky Dutch bikes and talk about weight saving properties in the same breath! Does the weight of a leather bag really matter when you're willing to ride a 50lb bicycle?

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    4. Ha. Well this is a topic in of itself. The short answer is that I feel there is a difference between (a) acknowledging that heavy is necessary when making a certain kind of bike/accessory/whatever versus (b) fetishising weight for weight's sake. If there is a way to make it lighter without sacrificing functionality and driving up cost significantly, I believe it is beneficial to do so.

      And I feel the same way about speed. Yes, if we want an upright bike with hardy tubing, speed will be sacrificed compared to a roadbike. And that is fine, especially for a city bike. But to me that doesn't translate to celebrating slow for slowness sake, like the so-called "slow bike movement," which strikes me as an absurdity.

      If a city bike can be fast, responsive and light without sacrificing its utilitarian features, I prefer that to a bike that is intentionally slow and heavy.

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    5. "I used to be a fan of leather satchels in my pre-cycling days, because, while heavy, they were more durable than other options available at the time. More recently I have discovered that some fabrics are extremely resilient without the bulk of leather. Also solid state drives for laptops have become the norm, eliminating my concern over plopping down my bag. So, I now prefer fabric bags, mostly for their weight saving properties on and off the bike. Both my Po Campo Loop Pannier and Philosophy pannier seem indestructible, and I just don't feel the need for leather."

      That's partially why mine has been collecting dust for 15 years. That and they're just not in style here.

      I have a set of leathers for moto, also a set of synthetics. I prefer to ride my bike these days with as little clothing as possible.

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    6. "like the so-called "slow bike movement," which strikes me as an absurdity"

      risk tolerance and skill level determine what a cyclist sees as utilitarian. for example, after riding flat bars in the city for decades i am now itching to convert one of my commuters to drop (waiting for hydraulic brifters to become more affordable).

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    7. Thanks, GRJ! Also interested in the Klara, so will wait for the review. I really should just plan a New York trip because I'd also like to try the Kate Spade Abici. So Adeline Adeline could help me knock out quite a few stones. :-)

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    8. @ Anonymous Apr 30, 2012 09:45 AM, there's a review of this bike here

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    9. Thanks Vicki! Very informative!

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    10. That review is fantastic and the author has another blog here that you might like. Keep in mind however that diamond and step-through frames do not always handle the same, even if they are from the same make and model.

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    11. as someone whose everyday city bicycle is an omafiets, i'd like to offer that "heavy" does not necessarily equal "slow." the momentum of my 40 lb bike flies me past many a roadie here. they often make it a point to catch up and have a conversation with me, convinced it's motorized. moreover, a robust frame and well-sized wheels make for greater riding pleasure over questionable pavement (which abounds in nyc), along with a sprung brooks saddle. i'm a reformed roadie who chose this bike 8+ years ago. it's more of a cadillac than a honda, but between the pure pleasure of riding my azor and the fact that i've moved an entire storage unit's contents on it without tipping over, i'd say utility is in the eye of the beholder/rider.

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  16. I would not be bummed to see all that stenciling get adopted to normal commuters too.

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  17. Beautiful bicycles. Looks like a great time.

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  18. the postcards from new amsterdam fashion show would not have been possible without the phenomenal efforts (and exceptional patience) of juliet dibiase. this is juliet's second year coordinating both the looks and the models, and it couldn't have come off as beautifully without her!

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  19. here's an email for Benjamin Peck of Benjamin Cycles: benjamincycles@gmail.com

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  20. It looks like the website is on the white sign in the photo, over the man's left shoulder. It's benjamincycles(+third word).com. Perhaps you could blow up the photo and make educated guesses?

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    1. That is what I thought, but that URL does not exist. Perhaps he is in the process of setting it up.

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