Thursday, July 23, 2009

Dynamo light woes

It's been a few days since I posted anything, I've been a bit bogged down.
LOVING the Amsterdam, what a perfect bike, I've read so many blogs lately and other opinions about the bike and I have to say I don't notice any of the "quality" issues I've seen some writers blog about.

I find the bike shifts very smoothly and my fenders do not rattle or seem flimsy.
The bike has enough weight behind it to roll nicely while not feeling tank like. ( I'm a bit fussy about heavy bikes, I must be a suck or a lightweight.. perhaps I just don't have a ton of stamina)

I find the position of the pedals to be a relief compared to other bikes I have recently been on, there is no pain in my back, my knees feel great and my legs don't get that strained feeling.
I do have one observation however.. I'm not certain about this being seated and able to touch the ground " flat footed" thing. If I had my seat adjusted like this my legs would be hurting and my knees would ache, it simply would not give me a proper leg extension.

As a result I have the seat on my Amsterdam higher than "recommended" I can touch the ground with the tips of my toes at a red light. The result is good leg extension and comfortable riding for me. I was even able to pull a bike trailer with 2 kids (likely about 80 pounds total) with this bike, oddly it seems easier than the 21 speed Vienna Hybrid.

Anyhow.. just thought I would mention that, my ONLY issue seems to be sacrificing my spiffy dynamo headlight for my even spiffier vintage basket. :-(
I have delegated the wonderful D to figure out how to configure this so that I can have both somehow. If anyone has done this please tell me how!

So in closing I have a gratuitous riding home from work on the bike path pic for you :-)

I don't think I'll be posting much this weekend, it seems I am escaping to Toronto for a "girls weekend"


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Pretty in blue!

So I'll preface by saying yesterday was a great day! lots and lots of sunshine which we have been sorely lacking in Montreal, I took full advantage of this and sat by the pool for 4 hours and ended up with quite the crisp exterior.. my poor skin must loathe me I look like a lobster.

I've been up to something, a few days ago I noticed a local ad for a bike I had been sleuthing out, at a very reasonable resale price, I went to see it today and low and behold she's mine now. I pick her up Saturday morning! I'm pretty excited because since the Giant Simple sold.. I have been through a few bikes none of which really made my heart sing, and if you ride something almost daily you should love it right? I'm keeping my Vienna Globe because it's a great bike! strong, light and has several gears for pulling a bike trailer, and it remains more classic looking than other bikes deemed "hybrid" My Vienna has pretty Basil Blossom panniers, full fenders & I upgraded her tires to Continental city tires and of course a vintage wicker basket and last but not least the Hello Kitty bell!

Anyhow onto my new bike it's an Electra Amsterdam with 3 speeds in robins egg blue! deceptively light bike, I expected it to be much heaver, and it has such a comfortable riding position. This bike is going to be my around town transportation and she's heel and skirt friendly! (More so than Vienna I find) Vienna is a *bit* sportier but I still ride her to work in full office accoutrement.

Anyhow I am excited and cannot wait to start riding the Amsterdam!

Pashley Princess was a very close contender, but I'm still adapting to riding distances and a bike each day, and her weight seems intimidating, I have read Sarah's Pashley 101 but I still wonder.. if anyone even reads this blog and you have experience with both or either bike can you leave some feedback for me?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Rain is not my friend... but!

Hello Kitty is!

The rain ruined my planned ride to "Le Yeti" (which if your not aware has fabulous bikes! including Pashley!)

So no Brooks saddle for me today. However the Postman left me something special, the Hello Kitty bell by Nirve (which now appears sold out)

I ordered it last week from Amazon and I have to say it's much more adorable in person, and while Kitty might not be your thing.. she's totally mine. :-)

Bike parking only!
Grainy Blackberry shot of our parking set up, you cannot see it but my husband rides a Specialized Rockhopper (not my cup of tea) I keep trying to sell him on a Biomega or Pashley so far he's not biting. Considering he rode a 90's Raleigh for the past 17 years.. it's safe to say he gets attached to what he has, I could have a bike to match every bag or shoe.. seriously! I don't think he can even relate.

Love you anyhow D xoxo

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Adventures in bike shopping..

I'm really mostly a "cruiser" kind of girl, and admittedly I love the dutch commuter bikes.
I covet the Pashley Princess, she WILL be mine. I had a cute little Giant simple cruiser, I bought it in Toronto before I moved here and it did me well for the bit of cycling I did in the flat terrain of my former Bloor West digs, (I confess the majority of this cycling was weekly Tuesday jaunts to Bryden's to sit and gab with my delicious friend Reagan while sipping pints of Tenants)... I digress.
After moving here, it became evident that there was a great bicycle infrastructure in downtown Montreal with dedicated bike lanes on some major arteries. Two things, about Montreal however make it unique .. bike theft and hills like you have never seen, both are rampant! I realized having a single speed bike, and a flashy one loaded with chrome ect was not the best set up, a former friends bike was stolen right from our courtyard 2 days after she moved here!

I know bike theft is common in all cities but here it seems epidemic .. almost plague like, I wanted to find something light, with several speeds, and comfortable geometry wise for pulling a bike trailer with 2 kids! What a chore that is!! I went through several bikes on the resale market including a Trek hybrid 7000 until I came to my senses and decided to go to my LBS and just buy something custom fitted.

I'll miss my Giant Simple.. she stopped people everywhere I went on her! but I sold her to a really happy girl, who will ride her more than I ever did!. I took my Basil Blossom bags off and added them to the new ride. I'm headed out to get a new saddle ( a Brooks) for my new bike today.. so I will update with some more pictures in a while.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Bikes as a viable method of commuting

I suppose I should have started with this some time ago, but life gets in the way so does work.. and a plethora of other real distractions.
I've been in Montreal now a year.. it's been more peaceful than tumultuous.. despite the logistics of being away from my support base of life long friends.

I've done amply well at making new friends :-) and have been building my own little niche here, It's my second summer now in Mtl.

Anyhow.. I live downtown as some of you may already know, well in somewhat of an enclave of downtown called Westmount, but it's entirely urban none the less. With an urban lifestyle comes certain issues the biggest being parking! when we moved here from Toronto we had a Minivan in all it's glory, we soon learned parking a car around here is a joke at best.

Got rid of it around October, my husband Dan commuted to work all winter on his reliable solid Raleigh Inferno that he had bought in the early 90's. I work a 10 minute walk from my home.. so my commute was on foot 90% of the time and when the weather was typical Montreal winter .. I took the bus.

I did some calculations we have put 6,000.00 dollars back in our pockets by getting rid of the car! It now seems insane to me that it was ever ok to spend that much in the first place on 3 tons of metal. I think people fall into the trap of thinking they NEED the car.. they make excuses about why "they" could not be without a car, ect ect.

Our lifestyle sans automobile has meshed well with being the parents of 4 kids who happily take transit with us or happily travel in bike trailers with us. It's been entirely copacetic. I have a good chuckle sometimes because some of our family members express concern that we have no car....I don't think they understand that having a car is a "choice" for us.. not a circumstance. We feel healthier happier and it's lovely to not be forking over hundreds of dollars each month. I have learned people severely limit themselves sometimes on ideal alone... I used to be one of those people :-)