Monday, February 2, 2015

Hey look! It's another post!

Gonna try to get some momentum here!

We're Car free in the snow:

And yes, since I took the photos in the post yesterday we've got another 6-8" on our way to 10-14 inches of fresh snow.  Whoo Hoo!  I still may strap on some good boots and take the little one to the library this afternoon.   We've got to train her to be a real New Englander after all!

Monday, January 26, 2015

The Slippery Slope

whoa-  I actually wrote a blog post!  Hard to believe, I know.   In my defense, I've been a bit busy, what with the baby,  the small business and the architecture job "on the side"

But if you're interested in my thoughts about why people become year-round bikers,  you can find it here:

Hope all are well!  Hopefully I'll be less of a stranger in 2015!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Hello again!

It seems like forever since I've posted here, mostly because I haven't been riding much unfortunately.
After a bit of a false labor scare in my 32nd week, I stopped biking, and by the time I was cleared to ride again, I felt too big and out of practice to start riding again.
On December 19th my future cycling companion was born by c-section because she was breech and had her umbilical cord wrapped around her neck.  I've been a little bit busy since ;) but in a mostly good way.  Fortunately my architecture school ability to go without sleep seems to have survived all these years, although the infrequent naps are much appreciated.

I'm pretty well up and getting around now, and have been walking increasing distances when it hasn't been terrifyingly cold. I'm fortunate that I live somewhere where I can do a lot of my errands by foot, so I've been walking to the grocery store, the pharmacy, the bank etc.   We have an industrial strength stroller to deal with gnarled brick sidewalks and un-cut granite curbs.  But I find myself more often wearing the baby in a stretchy wrap against my chest, snuggled cozily under my coat with her head near my heart.

I'm hoping to get the all clear tomorrow from my doctor to start riding ( sans baby) again. Once you're spoiled by the speed and the carrying capacity of a bike, it's hard to resign yourself to the slower pace.

I've even walked as far as the shop, which is also moving along at a slow winter pace.  However  I'm starting to plan things for the spring, even though that seems like a ways away.  I hope it's going to be a busy year for us, and I know it will be busy with the little one.  One immediate event for anyone local is a ladies' night next Friday.  At the shop (368 Beacon st, Somerville) Friday February 7th 6-8 pm.  Come meet other like minded ladies over drinks and snacks.  The baby girl may attend if she's feeling cooperative.

Hope to be seeing everyone from the saddle soon!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

"Are you getting enough exercise?"

My response to that question for years has been "of course"  And riding 30 minutes to work and 30 minutes back at a "sprightly-stately" clip for years has meant that "of course" I was getting plenty of exercise.

But now, my commute to the bike shop is 11 minutes (yes, I timed it- although it took several tries-I kept forgetting to hit the stop button when I arrived).  That's 22 minutes a day, which is better than many people get, but I probably need more like 30-40 minutes.   I end up riding more on my Monday days off, but not enough to really make up for it.

So recently I've been doing something I've never done before- purposely trying to add loops to my rides out of my way to add time.   If I go to Whole foods on the way home it takes 20 minutes, which helps, but even I don't need to go to the grocery store every day.

The reason that the question is pressing is that the Scientist and I are expecting a future cyclist, due at the end of December.   This isn't news to anyone who's seen me in person lately!  , but I haven't yet mentioned it on the blog.   I'm still riding, with the support of my OBGYN,  and one of the joys of running a family friendly bike shop is that not only do I get a lot of support from customers, but I also get to meet a lot of other women who are riding well into their pregnancy.

I'm mostly riding the Bakfiets- partly because I schlepp so much stuff to and from the shop most days, partly to add a bit of "resistance training" to my ride, and partly because the upright position and large "cockpit" are so comfortable.   I think I've retired Gilbert for the duration- while he's a pretty upright bike, I find I gently graze my belly on the stem when I push forward and raise myself onto the saddle.

I'm encouraged by how many other pregnant bikers I'm encountering.  I think that for many women to whom biking is a way of life, biking is the most comfortable way to continue to get around, even when walking starts to be less comfortable.  My doctor occasionally bikes to work, so I think she understands that if you're comfortable with your balance, it's not necessarily a bigger falling hazard than walking.  A Dutch woman in the shop the other day commented that in her experience, if you keep riding as your body changes, you can adapt and compensate to those gradual changes.  Plus it's good low-impact exercise.  

 It does really make you conscious of safer biking streets, and desirous of more separated facilities.   I went to a meeting about the proposed cycle tracks around the Boston Public Garden,  and there were some young male messengers who were anti- cycle track, saying that they wanted the "freedom" to bike fast in traffic, and didn't want to feel like they had to ride on the track.  Firstly no one is required to ride on the track,  and secondly,  even the strongest riders get colds, sprain ankles, or are otherwise slowed down (say by pregnancy) on occasion.   And if we're lucky we all get older, and people rarely rider faster and more aggressively as they age!

I'm not planning anything extreme like riding in snow, or riding myself to the hospital,  but I hope to keep biking as long as it's comfortable and convenient, and we'll see if that's all the way to near the end, or if I feel like I need to stop at 8 months or so.

And the shop?  Well,  the plan is to have the shop open limited hours during January and February- 3PM to 6PM or so.   Hard to predict since it's my first year, but I suspect those months would be slow anyway.  In February I can probably come in by special appointment, and I hope to be coming in- with the Future Cyclist in tow at least part time in March.  We'll see how that goes.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Workcycles are Coming!

I was tempted to play Paul Revere on my ride in this morning, calling out the news to all as I passed!
After a long process- we probably started at the end of May, and here three months later, the final result of all that agonizing, emailing and skyping  is about to be revealed!

We're getting 12 bakfietsen.  10 long and 2 short.  We have 5 FR8's coming, and 9 GR8's  and a special order Opafiets.  It was hard for us to predict what the market is/ will be,  so we perhaps were a little cautious on the FR8's and GR8's.  Unlike the Bakfietsen, those can actually be shipped on pallets, so if all else fails, we can get more mid-year.  

People have been very excited about all these bikes, so I hope I under-ordered and will need to place another order soon.   The whole import process is a bit scary,  but so far it's gone pretty smoothly, hopefully this last stage will go smoothly as well.  I'll post photos as soon as things arrive-
check out @Bikingheels twitter for updates and instagrams of the big reveal!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

The Hungry Hungry Bakfiets

I was fortunate enough to be able to flag down the family riding with this bike past the shop.  I was curious what brand of bakfiets this was, since I didn't recognize it.  With good reason it turns out, because it was built by its rider after looking at lots of other bakfietsen.   At first he just had a flat platform to which he fastened a child seat, but last winter he built the fabulous box with a caterpillar theme from the Hungry Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle.  

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A Month In

Well,  I'm a month into my new routine,  and I thought I'd give an update.  I'm settling into the rhythms of it fairly well.  The slightly later mornings, into which I always try to cram too many things- emails, cooking, cleaning, appointments.   The morning settling in, tidying up, chatting with the UPS or Fedex drivers, generally broken around noon by a couple of people coming by on their lunch hours.   The early afternoon lull in which I follow up on orders or emails and sometimes assemble a bike.  Finally the late afternoon when people start to trickle in between 3 and 6.  Followed by closing up and heading home to make dinner.

The first couple of weeks were largely marked by the incredible heat, and lack of AC.  I came home every day feeling lightly roasted,  especially on sunny days where the western windows drove the temperatures up dramatically.  After a comedy of errors involving an illegal 220v outlet masquerading as a 110 outlet, Home Depot's incredible return policy and a long hot wait for an installer to put in the new 220 unit, we have nice cold AC,  which is a huge relief.

People who come in randomly off the street not knowing anything about the shop seem fairly divided.
About half are very interested and excited that such a shop exists.  They gush about how pretty the bikes are or talk nostalgically about the bikes they used to own and the simpler life of three speeds.   Several of these people have bought bikes, and it's a real kick to see them riding by weeks later through the shop windows.

Another 25% are just window shopping,  not really interested in buying a bike, not having a bike that needs accessories, they're just checking out what's in this funny triangular space.  They like to tell me about the businesses that have failed in this spot.  Cheerful!

The final 25% are not really interested in this kind of bike and some of them are not afraid to tell me about it.  Like the woman who did a quick lap and then asked me for directions to Wheelworks because she wanted a bike with shocks (!)   Or the guy with stereotypical piercings, tats and facial hair who wanted a fixie because he had a friend with a fixie.  Or most disconcertingly the guy who told me he'd thought about buying a dutch bike, but got a mountain bike instead because dutch bikes were too heavy and impractical.  Those people are better served elsewhere, and fortunately there are a lot of other local shops which can really help them out.

Beyond the people coming in randomly, I've had a ton of bike-friends, bike acquaintances, and friends of bike friends who had heard about the shop through the blog or through others' blogs or tweets.  Many of these people already own a bike,  but it's still great to see them, and meet some in person after only knowing them through the blogosphere.

Henry the Shop Dog enjoying the AC
And finally I'm starting to get people coming in who are specifically looking for the products I sell, and have found me through the website.  They call asking if I have the Bobbin birdie in Mint (no, as far as I can tell, it's been discontinued)  or to ask about when the Edgerunners will arrive (mid September).  I am trying to figure out how to boost the signal out to those people.   I've joined up with the Boston Family Bicycling group, and a lot of people from that group have contacted me.  But I need to reach further out, to people who don't necessarily think of themselves as cyclists, but whose lives would be made easier with a comfortable, attractive city bicycle.   I'm still trying to figure out the best ways to do that.  I've gotten a lot of calls from "marketers"  who have all kinds of ways that they promise to increase my profile, for a fee.   But I still need to do some thinking about how to reach the people I'm trying to reach, and I don't think that a yelp ad that pops up when anyone searches for "Bicycle" is really the right tool.

Working 6 days a week has been an adjustment, and I pack my Mondays off with lots of errands and to-do's.   I definitely don't know everything there is to know about bikes, and I am never going to be someone who has all the details of gear ratios and frame geometry at the tip of their tongue.  But I sometimes have to stop and giggle that I get to spend my days talking to people about bikes all day!