contributor by rachel comey rucksack
Yesterday, I jumped into Urban Outfitters in an effort to escape a sudden downpour of rain that caught me without an umbrella….when this perfect bicycle bag caught my eye. Turns out, it’s designed by an H&O favorite, Rachel Comey. I love that it fits snugly in my front basket, converts to a backpack, and zips closed to secure my laptop.
Get it here! Now on sale for $49.99.
Having a comfortable seat is crucial to enjoying your ride.
The B66 Women’s classic Brooks bicycle seat has been around since 1927. With double coil shock-absorbency it is perfect for urban riding. Beautifully constructed, it can be either bolted to your post or set in a quick-release to outsmart thieving. It can be bought from the Broadway Bicycle School, an innovative cooperatively owned school for the bike-ish in Cambridge, MA.
A cozy for cooler weather
And for the fall, I am investing in a sheepskin seat cover a mere $30–or 10 days that biking saves me in subway fare!
Speaking of the subway, I estimate that I have saved $75 in two weeks on transportation by biking to work ($40 MTA. $35 cabs due to inclement weather).
In my efforts to give my old Raleigh Alyeska a make-over, I also want to maximize carriage.
One of the keys to riding comfortably is having a place to put all your stuff (it is also necessary in developing your riding posture–but more on that later). This basket from Cynthia’s Twigs is actually for dogs, but is a great way to utilize the back of your bike. Carrying more weight on the back is safer as too much weight in the front makes your handlebars harder to control.
cynthia's twigs bike basket
A front basket makes sense (and looks adorable) if you are carrying a lighter load. I love this one from Velorbis, and they also make beautiful bikes!
a handlebar basket
I recently attended a discussion panel sponsored by LVMH and the NYC Department of Transportation (DOT), an odd partnership, to say the least, but they were serving Moet and I have big love for biking. Without oversimplifying, the topic on the table was: “How can we make bicycling more fashionable?” The DOT has put in nearly 200 miles of bike lanes to date, and bike riding is up 35% in NYC this year, but––they asked––is it as cool to ride safely as it is to ride in style? And, if not, how do we make it so?
It is so seductive to glide through the village on an old Schwinn with a wicker basket, hair streaming, skirt billowing, but it’s hardly safe. For those who schlep to work riding isn’t exactly ideal, either––you can’t show up at the office disheveled and sweaty. I, an enthusiastic aesthete and cyclist, have a hard time doing it with flair. I mean, what’s the point in pimping my ride? Bike thieves in NYC outsmart PhDs everyday. It is better to ride a beater, worry-free. That’s always been my modus operandi.
But inspired by the champagne and LVMH/DOT challenge, I changed my mind, deciding that from now on I will devote myself to riding to work with grace (if the Chairman of LVMH, Renaud Dutreil, can do it rain or shine in a suit, then I can do it too…in a dress, of course). To start, I am giving my bike a make-over, which will commence with a bicycle bag. Here’s what I have found:
manufactum saddle bag
This is the most affordable ($55) and classic example from Manufactum.
The old-school and also reasonable ($109) Brooks saddlebag.
berthoud handlebar bag
Berthoud makes these lovely handlebar bags that slip off easily and are a cool alternative to a basket.
my electra amsterdam sport 9D in prospect park
Last summer JB gave me a bicycle––a 9-speed Electra Amsterdam Sport in icy blue––and it changed my life. It did. I rode it everywhere––to Brighton Beach, and Sunset Park, and to DW’s house and back. I rode it over the Brooklyn Bridge, and along the West Side Highway from 96th street to Chambers, and all the way to Williamsburg, and back again. Later, I bought a basket for my bike, and then an organic cotton sack for my basket (the sack is Organic by John Patrick), and it felt like the world was mine. Like I could just pick it up and go.
What I love about my bicycle in particular––aside from the obvious (it’s great exercise, and great for getting around, and great for the environment)––is that it looks like a clunky vintage cruiser, but it has an aluminum frame, which makes it really light. This is very important for a girl like myself who lives on the top floor of a brownstone.
p.s. If you’re looking for a helmet, I recommend the Berns “Berkeley” snowboarding helmet. Just take the visor out. It’s much chiller than the aerodynamic road-racer helmets, and it’s comfortable, too. Plus, in the winter you can get an zip mold attachment for it, which in addition to keeping your ears warm, is also just plain stylin’.
the bern helmet tower in my front hall