Wednesday, August 26, 2009

On the Street

Great video piece this week at New York Time's On he Street, talking about Central Park to over the Brooklyn bridge being closed over the weekend & taken over by wheels.

Seattle Sharrows

There has been a lot of street painting in the last few months (apparently not helping Nickels all that much). It seems that every day I notice a new street with Shared Lane Pavement Markings or sharrows, most recently I saw the little white bike on 15th Ave E. Taken from SDOT, "Shared lane pavement markings (or “sharrows”) are bicycle symbols that are placed in the roadway lane indicating that motorists should expect to see and share the lane with bicycles. Unlike bicycle lanes, they do not designate a particular part of the roadway for the use of bicyclists." This is all a part of the Bicycle Master Plan; sharrows will make up 1/4 of the planned routes.

Some residents will argue that it doesn't do much for bicycle advocacy or make riding in Seattle that much easier - I disagree. There is an interesting discussion over at Totcycle. At this point motorists still need to be made aware of cyclists & more people need to feel comfortable & safe riding in Seattle (as if the hills aren't intimidating enough, safety makes it even scarier). In an ideal world, Seattle streets would look like Stockholm; with seperated cycletracks, three sets of lights at intersections (pedestrian, bike & motorist), & people of all walks would be riding their bikes. Until then, I'm happy about the sharrow boom. It's just a little more proof that I (cyclists) deserve my part of the road.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Cargo Bikes

Another option in getting your goods where you're going is a cargo bike. They seem to be the perfect option for someone with children, someone that uses their bike for grocery shopping or getting equipment to work, a person that lives somewhere flat, &/or a person with a couple thousand to drop on a bike. I think they look super fun & really convenient (just not for me & these Seattle hills).

Metrofiets are handmade in Portland, OR

Bakfiets are pricey & foreign, but can be bought at specialty bike shops like Clever Cycles (Portland), Rain City Bikes (Vancouver, BC), and Dutch Bike Co. (Seattle) .

Joe Bike sells a variety of cargo bikes in varying costs & uses; Portland based of course.

Yuba Bikes
sell in the states, but are German based & reasonably priced.

Madson Cycles are another stylish option & available across the US.

Christiana Bikes also seem nice, though I'm not sure they are available outside the EU.

Other resources include: Bikefix & Cargo Bikes (the list).

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Seattle Bikes

I love this Critical Mass set from Dapper Lad Cycles - vivid colors, great people shots & a view on cycling in Seattle.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Getting It There

Carrying your lunch, clothes or other things to & from work can be quite a hassle. Should you carry it on your back, or should you make your bike do all of the work?

I've been using a Gama-Go messenger bag for the last two years, but often find that it doesn't hold it all, not to mention that it weighs me down & wrinkles my shirt. While I love the look of Chrome, Timbuk2, & R.E. Load bags, I was discouraged to find that I'd be dropping hundreds. I also looked into waterproof panniers & courier bags at REI, again, I was shocked at the price for something that didn't even suit my style.

Using a messenger bag can be tough on your lower back & when it's hot out I find that having a bag against my back makes matters much worse. If you are like me & haul a lot of stuff to & fro, a bag is often tricky, unless you rock a large Chrome Metropolis, which I thought about often. The positive to using a messenger bag is that it can easily go where you go & serve a purpose other than cycling.

Getting a sturdy bag that is both comfortable, stylish & functional will run your over $100 & can move closer to $200 as you upgrade. As usual, I'll recommend checking Ebay or Craigslist for secondhand deals.


Timbuk2 - check out their bag builder to create a custom piece

R.E. Load

Rack Options
I just installed a rack on the rear of my bike & I'm sold on its convenience. It would have been easy to put on myself, but I had the folks at Velo do it since it was already getting other work done. Not only do I have the option for panniers or a basket, but I can rig up almost anything using a bungee cord. Until I find the perfect basket or bags, I plan on sticking with the bungee method. With that said, I may pick up a net like this one.

I also love the idea of a basket - one that is easily removable for taking into grocery stores, my apartment or work. This rattam one is super cute, this black one seems nice & subtle, & this white one has a touch of girlie (oops, I just bought this); all of these run between $17 & $55. Don't forget about front baskets either; I personally love the super simple wire, but wicker also floats my boat. Oh oh oh & I lust over this as well, the Carrie Swedish Lace Basket.



Carrie Swedish Lace

Then there are panniers, which seem to be a bit harder to find around these parts; Dutch Bike Co. carries the FastRider Line & London Cycle Chic has some to lose your cool over. Instructables shows us how to make our own & these knitted panniers are so sweet. Want to spend top dollar? Check out these designer bags from Gruppo Bici. Again, more utilitarian panniers can be found all over; Amazon, Rei or Bike Somewhere.

Safari Bags from London Cycle Chic

Gruppo Bici

FastRider at Dutch Bike Co.

Via A Lovely Thing

Friday, August 14, 2009

South Lake Union to Pioneer Square

After a great visit with my brother in South Lake Union, I decided to kill a couple of hours on the bike before my dentist apt. From his place near Snowboard Connection & Alley24 I headed toward 9th Avenue on Republican. 9th is a one way street with a clearly marked bike lane that will lead you straight to Bell Street Once you hit Bell, you can take a right on 3rd to go to Seattle Center or head straight for shopping & eating in Belltown. Around 2nd, I took a minute to check out Roq Le Rue & Halogen Galleries; if there was more time in the day I'd also stop by Mama's for mexican food or Shorty's for hot dogs, beers (also home to a classic Seattle pour) & pinball.

After a Belltown stop, I headed down to Western & hopped on the Eastern sidewalk until the Pike Place Market because of one way traffic; it gets pedestrian heavy at this point, so make sure to watch out for them. Once I hit the market I crossed the street to the bike lane that starts where Western splits to go to the waterfront. This is smooth sailing; make sure to pop into a couple of the great design, furniture & interior shops that line the street on both sides. Take a left on Yesler then Right on 1st, there is another bike lane on 1st. I took a left on Jackson & wiggled all around King Street Station, Punch Gallery, 4Culture Gallery, All City Coffee & then shot onto 4th back to downtown.

My last (fun) stop was the Seattle Central Library, seeing that I'd only been there once before at night for a private party, I decided to spend an afternoon taking pics & taking it in. It's a beautiful space inside & out; I can't believe it took me this long to get there. Heading home, 4th is a decent option because it's one way traffic, but busy none the less. At some point a bike lane starts on the left, maybe around University. The trip ended at 5th & Stewart where I got my teeth scrubbed for 45 minutes. Ugh.

Aside from the stop at the dentist, I recommend the urban jog. Here's the route & here are some pics.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Cycle Style - Photo Inspiration

With all of this talk about cycling in style, I thought I'd share some of my favorite spots to find some inspiration.

Flickr Users & Groups
Bicycle in Street
Montreal Cyklers

Blogs -
Copenhagen Cycle Chic & Zakkaliciosness's Photostream
Barcelona Cycle Chic
Bicycle Pirate, One Girl's Blog
Velo Vogue, a San Francisco Collection
416 Cycle Style, Toronto Baby

photo via 416.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Happy Hour Ride to the International District

There seems to only be one neighborhood in Seattle that sells bean thread (cellophane noodles) & considering that it was a main ingredient to my girls' night dinner - I got on my bike after work to head to Uwajimaya in Seattle's International District. Not only do they have some great Asian treats, housewares & gifts, but you can pop over to the Kinokuniya Bookstore for a fantastic selection of books and writing supplies (ohhhhh notebooks & gel pens). If you have a minute, I also recommend heading to Kobo & Momo on Jackson for a little shop stop.

Once I picked up my goods, I was ready to head home to Capitol Hill. Here's my route from work to Uwajimaya in the International District & then the route from there home. The whole ride was modest, each leg taking about 25 minutes.

From South Lake Union to the International District tips:
  • Dexter has a nice wide bike lane & traffic is accustomed to cyclists on the road, that's where I hung out until Lenora
  • I hopped onto 5th for a straight shot, because of rush hour traffic I spent Lenora to Yesler on the sidewalk
From the International District to East Capitol Hill tips:
  • The whole stretch is a modest hill that goes slow & is very ridable
  • I hop onto the sidewalk & crosswalks at Jackson & 12 Ave S intersection to get on the east side of 12th, heading north
  • I use the sidewalk from Jackson to Yesler, where a bike lane starts mid-block
  • This is also a great way to get to the Pike/Pine district or North Capitol Hill

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Best Cycle Street Clothes

In the last few years I've been able to do some"research" on what works best while biking. It's been cold, it's been hot, it's been raining & I've found myself in some awkward clothing-related biking situations.

In the summer months I love to put on a dress & putz around town on my bike. If you're at all modest you'll want your dress to be a little heavier fabric (so it won't fly up) & not much up from your knee. I have a great jersey tube dress from Gentle Fawn that serves as my go to biking dress. It has a built in bra, exposes my shoulders & back (no tan lines), and is a-line with a free flowing bottom. My other go to summer outfit is an American Apparel pencil skirt & tube top, it takes me most places (on & off the bike). All in all, cycling in the summer means that you need comfortable, breathable clothing, for me that means jersey & other knits. If you are worried about a little too much skin, grab a pair of hot pants from american apparel or twin syndrome on etsy.

For a while I was anti leggings as pants, but they are creeping up into my wardrobe. While in Stockholm I found myself wearing leggings with oversized button ups a few times & thought that they'd make a lovely outfit for bike riding.

Another tip - riding in heels is just as easy as biking in flip flops.

A nice romper would be great too, don't you think?

Some no no's you ask? My biggest are skin tight denim, unless of course they have a little lycra in them. I also avoid too short skirts or shorts; it's less about giving sneak peeks & more about feeling my bare ass on the saddle.

All images via Zakkaliciousness.