The media loves the Paris Vélib story. It was covered on NBC news on Friday night and featured in the NYTimes Travel section as a great success and great vacation.
“Twelve weeks after the introduction of the Vélib, 15,000 bikes have been put into service at more than 1,000 stations. In that time Vélibiens (or Vélibeurs or perhaps Vélibistes) have checked out bicycles almost six million times and ridden them an estimated 7.5 million miles.”
The author of the article notes how, “As I peddled around the glass pyramid at the Louvre, I was struck by the strobelike reflections from the royal buildings around it.”
Bike Hugger has ridden all over and we think there’s no better vacation or business trip than getting out into a city on bikes.
If you’re anything like me you look forward to Fridays with eager anticipation. Not just because it’s the end of the week, it’s also Donut Day! And if you’re anything like me, you feel obligated to do the long ride to work on Donut Day to make up for such indulgences. Which raises an interesting question… How do you fit a dozen donuts on a stripped down, clean, urban bike?
Sure the donut store will give you a cardboard box to strap on your rack, but I’m not riding my longtail in just to haul donuts. No, no, these donuts have to go in the messenger bag with everything else.
Here’s what I came up with earlier this morning: two yogurt containers and a cardboard oatmeal tube. It fit a dozen Mighty-O’s perfectly. No crushing despite a full bag and hard contents, all the donuts with sprinkles had the majority of their sprinkles intact, and those with icing didn’t even suffer from being stacked under their icing free siblings.
I’ve admired 925s since I first started seeing them in shops and on the road. The 925 is Redline’s popular, single-speed, urban bike with slightly slack geometry, wide bullhorn bars, and a 4130 chrome-moly steel frame. It’s a simple bike to get you around town or campus and is well thought out with flip-flop hubs, fenders, and aero levers for the ends of the bullhorn. Also notice how the tubes are free of excessive decals. This bike is more about transportation then showing off brand names.
The hugga test is to roll down the steep hill I live on and then back up it. I’ll know immediately how a bike brakes and then later how it climbs. As I discovered, I don’t want a bike to brake like a time trial bike with aero levers. Soft and spongy is not good braking and that’ll worsen in the rain. I’d add a second set of levers to the 925 and start changing out the brake pads for a more solid brake feel.
Curiously the bike was comfortable, but not particularly stiff or nimble. Granted that’s a subjective observation and not negative or really a complaint, I just noticed how on sharp turns, the bike didn’t feel balanced and a bit awkward. That has a lot to do with the wheels, big tires, and bullhorn bars. The length of chain stays and fork rake also affect the ride and it’s definitely relaxed (learn more about the geometry from Redline). The 925 is not a “snappy road bike” or “stiff-ass” track bike and that’s perfectly good for riding across town and especially for 500 bones.
We’re going to spend more time with the 925 and I’ll bring a wrench on the next ride to flip the hub over to see if I can get up the hill without walking.
MRSP is $499.00
My ankles and heels rubbed the crank arms. My feet float a lot when I ride.
Wear gloves. The bullhorns don’t have slots for cables and you’ll feel them through the bar tape.
The 925 we tested is a one-of prototype and Redline told me today that the brake levers will change to address the sponginess I described above. Regarding the ride, as the name says 925, this bike is meant to be relaxed and that it is. Also, a correction that the bike is not yet shipping.
Simple, sturdy, Dutch. The Batavus Lightning is a urban, city bike. It’s equipped with Nexus 7 and roller brakes, which means clean lines and just a few cables.
It’s modern looking and focused on form and function. With the big Schwable tires, powder-coated 7005 aluminum frame, and heft, the Lightning rides very solid, with sure steering, and comfort. The flat bar and adjustable stem are for an upright position. I was able to climb hills with the gearing and straight up, really dug this bike. There was plenty of tire clearance for fenders.
With the dropouts, sliders and 130 spacing, I think you could run a fixed or single-speed as well. It’s a very understated bike and where an old-school bike industry dude would comment that it’s just another aluminum, flat-bar city bike, with 700c, and big tires; another would note that it’s got Dutch style and Nexus! One thing I did wonder is why there’s no bottle cage mounts? Well that’s because the Dutch are minimalists.
The Batavus Lighting rides well on paths and in the city.
MSRP is $999.99 and it’s shipping now to your local Independent Bike Dealer.
Roller brakes are nice, but don’t brake like DA.
Batavus’ website is not easy to navigate. I was unable to find this bike there, but your local dealer should get more details from SBS.
I just picked up a Dinottetail light. A real review of the light is coming later after I get a chance to try it out. Mounting the light has been a challenge for many the simple O-ring system included works great for front lights, not so great for tail lights. Dinotte’s released an updated frame mount recently, but I’d rather have the light on my excellent Alchemy Goodsmessenger bag since I frequently switch bikes but always bring my bag.
Here’s a mounting option I made for the bag, out of $4 of pvc pipe. It tucks into the external side pockets on the messenger bag. The mount let’s me adjust the aim of the light both left/right and up down.
The AG Messenger bag has two external pockets on the sides of the bag. I usually use the pockets for my saddle cover. Since the pockets are made of inner tubes (like the rest of the bag) they are pretty grippy and stretchy.
My mount consists of a 3/4inch PVC ‘T’, 3 matching elbow fittings and a slip-fit bushing. Two elbows go on to the ‘cross’ edge of the T, and are adjusted so the elbows follow the same plane as the T fitting. The 3rd elbow points outward, and provides a mounting spot for one end of the Dinotte O-ring. The elbows aren’t quite long enough to reliably fit both sides of the O-ring, so I picked up a bushing as well, which I fit in to the elbow leaving just enough of a seam to allow the other side of the O-ring to slip into.
To aim the light right or left, I can just turn the 3rd elbow in the direction I want. Aiming the light up or down is done by rotating the light engine and O-ring on the elbow/bushing joint. The aiming feature is important since the bag could fall on various parts of my back and point in various directions depending on the contents or day.
The battery pack fits perfectly inside the legs of the mount. The mount fits into the external pockets with a bit of work, which is also great. The small amount of stretch I get on fitting the mount in the pocket ensures the whole apparatus stays put. More Pics here.
During a recent visit to Seattle Bike Supply for a product line review – Batavus, Lapierre, Redline, and more – we got to talking about the bike industry, history, stories, and Chuck Hooper, SBS President, told Tim Rutledge and me about the strangest prototype he ever approved.
Shown here, it was a finger bike with matching John Purse action figure head. Sales surprised all and remarkably, I remembered the ads for finger bikes.