Shiny

I haz a bike.

Step-through frame bicycle, with basket and carrier, blue and silver.

Blue and silver step-through frame bike, with basket and carrier, and a comfortable seat

It is beautiful. Just six speeds, and fitted with full mudguards and a basket and a carrier, because Frocks on Bikes is more my style than lycra and training and gears upon gears. I’m in it for a pleasant Sunday ride with my girls. I do hope to do some riding to work too, but I’m wanting to arrive there in a state fit to work, not hot and all-of-a-glowing like a pig. So I’ll be taking it slowly, keeping well to the left of the bike lanes that are amply supplied in Greenhills.

I’m intrigued by the Frocks on Bikes movement, and its resonance with the early days of cycling, when bicycles were great liberators for women. Cyclng has seemed to me to be dominated by fitness and sports riding in recent years, so much so that it has been difficult to buy a simple bike. Several times I have been informed by bike salesmen that in fact I didn’t want a five or eight speed bike, I actually ought to have a 21 speed bike, and mudguards were just an affectation and I wouldn’t be wanting to carry anything anyway and…. sheesh! I am a woman of a certain age: perhaps I can be trusted to know my own preferences! As indeed can any woman who walks into a store and says, “I would like to buy such-and-such a thing.” Frocks on Bikes are helping to show that there is no right way to go biking, no particular thing that must be done. Instead, just ride your bike for whatever purpose of your own you might have, while wearing a pretty frock and high heels if that’s what you want to do. And to hell with what anyone else says you must, or must not, do.

Mr B has gotten himself a bike too. We’re hoping to go on family expeditions along the bridle path by the river, and in time, I hope to ride to school with the girls. In our frocks.

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21 comments on “Shiny

  1. homepaddock says:

    This looks like my kind of bike, especially the comfortable seat.

    What is it with modern bikes and seats more suited to minor torture than a gentle form of exercise?

  2. Stef says:

    It ain’t just bike riding. Hmm perhaps I need to make a rant about that?

  3. Jennifer says:

    That looks lovely. I’ve historically been more of a bikes for exercise person, but since spending time in Amsterdam and Belgium I’ve been very converted to the bikes as a form of transport. It is such lovely way to get around, and with a bike like yours (especially with the classic basket at the front) very practical too.

    I was reading that in Sydney it is difficult to buy or sell an electric bike, which would help with Sydney’s hills, because the entire economy of bike riding in Sydney is based around the Lycra exercise bikes. The shops don’t know how to ll anything else, and so nobody can buy it either.

    I regularly have a debate with Mr Penguin as to whether that kind of bike riding en masse would be possible in Sydney’s hilly and hot, humid climate, interested in your views having lived in hillier and hotter places (Although not at the same time).

  4. Chris says:

    Change the handle soon. You will find that handle configuration uncomfortable and definately not stylish!

    Contact Tim White of TWhite Bikes on Symonds St in Auckland – he can replace the handle bars with something more upright.

    And definately dress correctly; as my (woman) friend states: I dress for the destination, not the ride. And she is also a strong believer in going door to door. She locks her bike up to the closest thing nearest the door. Failing that she takes her bike inside with her and locks it up in the rooms she is going to! Gets the point across!

  5. macondo mama says:

    ‘Tis a beauty! My (also new) bike is quite similar, but with more upright, curvy handlebars like maybe the ones that Chris is suggesting. Funny, I always wanted a bike like this – frock style, as you say – and here in Argentina it seems to be the standard. It’s even easy to get the kind with pedal brakes instead of hand brakes (my bike has only 1 speed).
    Happy riding!

  6. Stephen Judd says:

    Oh, nice one. I wish you well to ride it.

  7. Demelza says:

    very cool… I have a flat bar biek, so its a cross between a road bike and a mountain bike, its a womens frame so smaller in some measurements too… but its not good for wearing with a dress… its hard to get your leg over the bar and not flash your knickers to the world. We have an awesome bike trailer that the two little ones go in and we have a half bike that attaches to our bikes for miss 4 when we all go out as a family. GReenhills is great for cycling, Ben bikes the 7km each way to work every day. saves having to own two cars.

    Which bike shop did you go to?

    love D

  8. poneke says:

    I haz a bike.

    This is the second time today I have seen “I haz” written by someone I had hitherto thought was literate.

  9. poneke says:

    There’s nothing vernacular about it, Deborah!!!

    I should have added a 🙂 though, sorry.

  10. vibenna says:

    Ah, but Poneke, you are assuming she is speaking English, rather than dropping in a smidgeon of Cattish (http://icanhascheezburger.com/). A common mistake – Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

  11. Che Tibby says:

    nice wheels!

    i can’t see a bell on the handlebars. you might need them for crowd control.

  12. Southernrata says:

    Stands are incredibly useful, as long as you haven’t got anything too heavy in your basket. like the little dogs we saw French women biking round with.

    And hooray for stepthroughs, I’m so over crossbars. Even getting my foot over a bar that height is getting to be a challenge. Perhaps it’s the gumboots…

  13. Belinda says:

    I hope the winter PNGHS uniform does not still include the dreaded kilt? In my day that kilt did not help make cycling to school a pleasant experience (despite the help of multiple safety pins)!

  14. Che Tibby says:

    @deborah. both.

  15. Julie says:

    that looks fab! If I ever live where you live I would be biking everywhere 🙂

    Am quite keen to invest in some bikes for us, with baby and toddler carrier (one per bike!) plus baskets to get around those short trips, maybe go cycling together, but it’s going to have to wait until we have a) cleaned out the garage and b) got enough money to buy decent light weight bikes. One day.

  16. […] Shiny: Deborah shows off her new bike and celebrates the Frocks on Bikes (with baskets) movement, which is fast encroaching on the lycra and road bike paradigm. "[It has] resonance with the early days of cycling, when bicycles were great liberators for women. Cyclng has seemed to me to be dominated by fitness and sports riding in recent years.” She also writes about not appearing on a TV show about journalism and laddishness, in Pick Me! […]

  17. Lisa Black says:

    Have a look through Cycling in Wellington (esp. cyclingwellington.co.nz/tag/cycle-with-your-clothes-on/) and Cycling in Auckland. Both sites are aimed at people exactly like you, who want to ride bikes for transport in their destination clothes.

    cyclingwellington.co.nz
    cyclingauckland.co.nz

  18. Demelza says:

    @julie we use a bike trailer for our two littlies to travel in, its awesome. we also have a half bike which attaches to the seat post of one of our bikes for when they are bigger but too small to ride by themselves for any distance. http://www.bicycling.com/gear/detail/0,7989,s1-14-42-1433-0,00.html

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