Well, this is amusing . . .

Apparently Basil and I are in New York City enough that we are beginning to recognize, even amongst the teeming millions, bicycles we’ve spotted on previous visits.  Early in May, we spotted this Strida in Chelsea.


Then, at the end of May, we saw it again, this time on the Upper East Side.  Apparently, Bromptons aren’t the only eccentric little bicycles that get around big cities with ease!

(I love the Strida concept, but there’s no denying that a Brompton is a lot more compact, and folds far more practically!)


Antelope Linus

On one afternoon on a quick trip to New York City, I popped downtown sans Brompton.  It was wet and cold, and I hadn’t brought good rain gear with me, so I hoofed it (and rode the subway).  Before leaving Washington Heights, though, I spotted an old friend:


I’d first encountered what I now think of as The Antelope Linus just over a year ago, in, if I recall correctly, a different area of New York City.  It was good to see that both cycle, and, presumably, cyclist, had survived since the previous year.


Wicker Bike Trailer

It’s too bad that this isn’t a better screenshot, but that beautiful little wicker cart is attached to the seat stem of a bicycle. (You can just see the white fender and the red rear reflector on the bike between the pant leg on the adult and the cart.)

The cart has a toy bear in it, but it’s actually for hauling a child (or children) — and, it seems,  a tea party,  in the little suitcase behind the seat. (The lavender-clad child on the left had previously ridden in it, but I couldn’t get a good image of the two together.)

I spied this during my convalescence after the small surgery on my leg, when I was spending many dull hours with my leg immobilized on a bolster.  This shot is from the BBC series Monarch of the Glen, season five, episode six. The series is notable for fantastic views of Scotland’s highlands, and for truly juvenile and inexplicable human romantic interactions.

It’s the scenery that got me.  Also the great bikes used in the village for everyday transportation.

Note:  A month ago, when I published my previous post, I thought I’d be back here at Basil’s blog, posting less frequently, but posting regularly, nonetheless.  Another medical setback interfered with that scheme, but now we think that’s done, and posts should be more regular, even if they won’t occur on a daily basis. Here’s to more blog, less BBC!


I don’t know . . .

This just seems so wrong.


A Vintage Peugeot Racer

Spotted in Chinatown, in New York City, a lean and beautiful vintage Peugeot:

With what look like two seriously under-inflated (but not quite flat) tires.

It’s got shifters on the frame, and that’s a hook for the (missing) tire pump.

I love seeing a vintage bike’s history on its frame. This is probably the original dealer’s label from the Beverly Hills Bicycle Shop (“We Service What We Sell”).  I think the upper part of the label says “National Bicycle Dealers Association”, and it definitely says “Member” beneath.

At one time, California required licenses for all bikes. This Peugeot was registered in the city of Los Angeles, and the license expired in December of 1975, which wasn’t long before cities began giving up on the whole bike licensing program.

I can’t tell what model this one is, but I’m pretty sure it’s a 10-speed — there were a lot of those around at the time.  Peugeot was known in the USA mostly for bikes like these, but according to this Wikipedia article, they also made a folder that looks a lot like my little Italian one, though I’ve never seen one in person.


El Puerto Ricano

Spotted on the Upper East Side:  This is a small bicycle.  As a reference point, it’s parked in front of a smallish pick-up truck.

I had to look twice; I thought it must be a really fancy child’s bike.  I think not, though. This is one seriously customized ride. Look at that front wheel:

Note the wonderful twist on the fender struts.

Then there’s the killer front fork suspension:

But there’s more!  That’s one heavy-duty rear rack, and those pegs — this baby is outfitted for some serious stunt riding.

That’s one serious shifter.  It wouldn’t look out of place in a vintage race car — or the cockpit of a plane.

I think there is something electrical going on, too (or maybe it’s been removed?) This component says “charger” on the backside. I couldn’t figure out where said electrical bits were.

Nor could I find any manufacturer information on the frame, but here’s what the head badge looks like:

I’m thinking that little island has some really interesting two-wheeling stuff going on . . .


Halsted Cargo Bike

While missing Basil on a recent blitz trip to New York (yet to be transcribed here) I spied this cargo bike, with one small wheel:

It’s a Civia Halstead, in a bright apple green.  This one is fully loaded (or can be!) with a cargo platform in front, and a child seat in back. The front wheel is 20 inches/50.8 cm; the rear is 26 in/66 cm.

At least one review suggests keeping the front load under 50 lbs/22.6 kg, which seems light for such a large platform; on the other hand, this is clearly meant to be a light cargo bike, and that kind of weight is a good grocery haul. Between the many cut-outs, and a selection of bungees, this bike could handle a variety of oddly-shaped loads, too.


Spotted Under the George Washington Bridge

This beauty:

So shiny new that it still had a retailer’s tag on it. It’s a Huffy Nel Lusso one-speed, with a coaster brake, a rear rack, a massive comfort saddle, a tiny basket, and a leatherette cupholder, in chocolate brown and caramel.  Oh-la-la — and get a look at those sidewalls!

Note the “longhorn” handlebars. My wrists hurt when I think of using these, but you’ve got to admit they’re quite retro.

Practical considerations aside, I think this is an arrestingly attractive bicycle. I doubt I’d find owning it a pleasure, since it’s engineering that makes my heart sing, but oh, is she pretty — and maybe not a bad choice at all for a rough-and-ready city bike which may be only minimally, if regularly, used.


A Chance (Brompton) Encounter

For the first time ever, a Brompton-spotting in Washington Heights! And not just one, but a brace of Bromptons, accompanied by two delightful cyclists.

Sadly, I was not riding Basil at the time, as I was returning from hauling a package — on foot — to the UPS store.  I sent a Japanese ironing board home, and couldn’t figure out how to attach the long and unwieldy package to Basil’s rear rack in any way that would let me ride without obstructing traffic.

5 Boro Tour Bike-Spotting

Cycles Seen on the 5 Boro Tour

Cycle-spotting was excellent on the 5 Boro Tour.  I didn’t get many pictures, though, as it naturally seemed more important to avoid collisions than to catalogue the encounters.

I can’t prove it, but I suspect this was the first interesting 5 Boro bike-spotting: It’s a full-sized folding Montague, on Amtrak, in the compartment next to the one in which Basil and I were riding. The cyclist was not in the compartment, so my suspicions remained unconfirmed; I can’t be certain that this folder was on the way, specifically, to the 5 Boro Tour.

I’m not positive this bike is a folder; it’s most distinctive feature is the single axle on the right side of the front wheel — but those look like some kind of heavy-duty shocks on the rear. Here’s a close-up of the front wheel:

The cyclist told me the name of the bike, but I had trouble understanding him.  He was very clear that this was the best bike ever! He added that they aren’t made any longer, and that he had to bring his over from England.

The logo shows a stick-like cyclist with a light dot for a head, a red or orange  dot for handlebars, and a green or blue dot for a rear wheel. The angle of the rides and cycle suggest stunt-riding.  I know I’ve seen this logo somewhere, but I can’t remember whose it is or read the text written next to it. Searching the innerwebs hasn’t solved the problem yet, so it’s driving me crazy that I don’t know who makes this critter.

This bike is definitely not a folder [I am sooo wrong — see *note below]  just a small-wheeled model. It’s really industrial-looking; the cyclist said that he had gotten it in Germany. I’d never seen this one before, either.

Folding bikes I saw, but didn’t photograph, included a Citizen in an attractive shade of darker sage green; a blue Bike Friday; a lot of Dahons; two Terns; and two different bright red Bike Friday tandems (one may even have been this one).  There were a slew of recumbents, some so low that I was afraid that I’d trip over them as they made it through the starting gate, while we were still essentially walking.  And there was a family on two tandems I didn’t recognize (the tandems may have had chrome fenders?), every member of which was fully kitted-out in this year’s 5 Boro jerseys, shorts or leggings, socks and gloves.  Quite the vision, that was!

*Commenter Thorsten (comment visible when you click on the image directly above) points out that this is most certainly a folder, a Birdy, invented by Heiko Müller and Markus Riese. Blame the mistake on a huge language barrier between your Diarist and the owner — and your Diarist’s ignorance! Thanks, Thorsten!