I used to carry my gear on my back, in a boring black backpack from a camping store. But as my loads got heavier and heavier and I started getting back pain, I thought it was time to finally use panniers.
Panniers have transformed my life. Seriously. Such that when I got my new bike the first thing I did when I got it was take it to Cecil Walker and get a back rack installed for another set of Kitsch Kitchen panniers.
Why do I love them so much?
1. They brighten up my bike. As you can see, I own a very utilitarian Diamondback hybrid which is a fantastic ride but frankly a little dull for my aesthetics. The panniers come in a range of bright colours and patterns.
2. They are secure on the bike. The panniers fit on a back rack with 4 looped straps and 2 velcro straps. Once they’re on, they’re on! I haven’t had any problem with theft – a thief would have to spend a good five minutes fiddling with the back rack before they’d be able to get them off. Looks very suspicious
3. They are waterproof and if they get dirty a quick wipe cleans the dirt off the oilcloth.
4. They help me carry large loads. The panniers (combined with the wicker basket) carry books, laptops, cameras, clothing and shopping. I can also strap items to the back rack, on top of the panniers, using a $2 bungee cord.
Tangled Journeys is a day celebrating the art of decorating your ride with yarn. Whether it is practical pieces, like skirt guards, saddle covers, maybe even handlebar bags, to frivolous fun with tassles, pom poms and tube covers. It could even be items to wear!
There will be examples to see, a kick-start with a crochet expert setting people off on their first project, patterns, yarn and the Taco Truck.
Some of our lovely crafty products will be on display and on sale on the day, including our crochet skirt guards, snoods and trouser cuffs.
JJ Scholl is a collection inspired by the elegant adventure travels of designer Jenny Lee Walsh ‘s great uncle, Dr. Scholl of the comfort footwear fame.
The line of luggage is suitable for motor scooter, electric bikes and cruisers. We like the look of the Serengeti case which has three adjustable fastening staps that can be secured to the bicycle or scooter’s rear rack.
Victoria’s premier design festival, the State of Design, is almost upon us again this year from 20-31 July 2011.
One of our favourite events is Design: Made: Trade, a trade and public event featuring some of Australia’s leading furniture, fashion and industrial design brands. At last year’s exhibition we discovered Trent Jansen and his cool Cycle Signs made out of discarded reflective road signs, so we’re excited to see who we’ll meet and what we’ll find at this year’s event.
Daniel Ballou is an industrial designer from Long Beach California and he has designed a product called, rightly, Very Nice Bike Rack. It comes in a wall mounted and floor stand version and we love them both!
No doubt if you’ve been caught out at least either forgetting your lights or forgetting your lock.
That’s why this design from the Seoul Cycle Design Competition caught our eye. Lurking by Lee Jumin and Kang Sukjin is a bicycle lock which is adjustable in length (fat lamp posts) and when you’re not using it, it slips under your saddle and functions as a light.
Sarah is a journalist and TV presenter – you may know her as the former editor of Cosmopolitan magazine and host of the first series of Masterchef Australia. She’s now a Sunday Life columnist (I read her excellent column religiously) and host and producer of the Lifestyle YOU channel.
(Image from Treadlie, a great new cycling mag for non-lycra types)
One thing you may not know about Sarah is that she is a bike rider from way back. In fact, through her blog she has started a campaign to get more people riding – and that’s how we met. Firstly, on the interwebs, and then to my starstruck excitement, in person on my last visit to Sydney.
Sarah is a great ambassador for chic urban cycling. She wears stylish everyday clothes on her bright orange custom-built single-speed, tackles the hills of Sydney in skirts and heels and is tall, tanned, fit and gorgeous. And very friendly :–) I’m thrilled that she’s asked me to guest post for her today!
We made an exciting discovery on Bourke Street in the city recently.
We are big fans of Japanese goods and in particular the 100 Yen shops found all over the country – the Japanese seemed to have found a way to make life just that little bit easier and prettier with their gadgets.
The closest we get in Australia to a 100 Yen shop is Tokuya, a very cool shop hidden in the basement of 236 Bourke Street. To the dulcet tones of J-pop you can browse through aisles of stationery, storage solutions, giftwrap, suction hooks, makeup, hair accessories, kitchenware and the largest selection of plastic microwave containers outside of IKEA.
In the back corner of the store there are some awesome bike accessories – useful and ingenious and a whole lot cheaper than you’d find in a bike store. Everything is priced at $3.50, although some more luxe items (like the bike rear view mirror) are $4.50.
There’s a whole collection of reflective bits, from stickers to straps to sew on fabric, lace handlebar covers (can’t work out whether they’re for warmth, aesthetics or to protect against rain), colourful spoke reflectors, net basket covers and our favourite, the umbrella holder which screws onto your front fork.
Tokuya is definitely worth an hour of dedicated browsing – everything is seriously kawaii!!!!
I was at the Ausbike Bike Expo over the weekend, hunting around for great cycling gear for the store, meeting suppliers and with a mission to see whether I could find a Pram Bike.
Yes, that’s right. Since my first post about saving up for a pram bike, I’m actually in the situation where I will be needing a pram bike in the near future! Not only for a baby, but because my own bike has handlebars which are at an in-between angle of a situp bike and a road bike, which means as my tummy gets bigger I will probably need to switch to a more upright bike if I want to keep cycling through my pregnancy.
At Ausbike I was quite excited to discover Taga, a stroller/bike made in the Netherlands. It looks quite similar to the Zigo except that it doesn’t convert into a stand-alone bike. But with both of them I like how the baby seat/carriage sits right under the handlebars. I’ve pretty much ruled out any form of trailer because I’d like to be able to see the child in front of me.
On blog readers’ recommendations I also test rode the Gazelle Cabby and to be honest I felt quite uncomfortable and unsteady with its length given it’s on two wheels. I know that many people really love the Gazelle Cabby but it wasn’t for me - I felt like I was steering a ship compared with the Taga which felt like a neat little wheelbarrow.
I had a go at converting the Taga from a bike to a stroller and it was relatively easy with lots of quick release mechanisms much like a folding bike (which I used to own so I’m familiar with the process). The video shows that it should only take 20 seconds, but I think a bit of practice is needed.
I also liked that Taga is narrow enough to fit through a standard doorway and has a handbrake so you can manoeuvre all the parts (and your baby) without having to chock it from rolling away. With a couple of twists and turns it can fit into a sedan, but obviously not as easily as a standard pram – I don’t think I’ll be trying to manage the Taga, the baby, groceries and baby gear without a hand. But that’s ok, as I intend to cycle as much as possible!
As you’d expect, the Taga doesn’t come cheap. The standard model (with the child seat) is $2295. I’d like to think that it still presents value for money as I will get a lot of use out of it and I can save money by minimising the amount of time I have to rely on a car or public transport to get around. Plus I actually feel safer cycling than I do driving these days!
As for the accessories, they are really cute and functional. The ones that caught my eye were:
the Eco shopping basket so that I can ride the bike when pregnant and not look silly with an empty child seat. The Eco shopping basket converts the bike into a shopping trolley at your destination.
the car seat adaptor so that I can use the Taga with a newborn, as they recommend that the child seat is only used from 8 months when the baby is able to sit upright without support. It does mean that I’m restricted to buying a car seat and settings by Maxi-Cosi (apparently available in Australia from October) as the adaptor only fits Maxi-Cosi models CabrioFix with EasyBase and EasyFix attachments.
…and the second child seat maybe in the future ($333). The main seat can take weight up to 25kgs or approx 6 years and the 2nd seat can take weight up to 15kgs or approx 4 years.
Here’s the Taga official promotional video – it’s pretty slick!
I have to confess – I have no idea how to fix a flat tyre. Or even how to pump up my tyres. I basically suck at Bike First Aid.
So I was quite excited to hear about this great idea from Auckland Cycle Chic. Auckland bike shop Bike Central has starting rolling out BikeAid – a vending machine that dispenses bicycle repair equipment such as puncture repair kits, inner tubes, brake pads, lights, CO2 canisters, pumps and allen keys.
Of course I’d still have to learn how to repair a puncture, use a pump or an alley key. But I think the cycle gloves will come in handy for unexpectedly cold nights, the bike lights will be good when yours get nicked and you need to get home and who hasn’t forgotten their bike lock before?
Please please please, someone start doing this in Australia.