Search results for: brompton

Pink Bikes of San Francisco

I thought about how the street-scape of San Francisco can be not very interesting to look at especially when riding on a bicycle with full view and senses. Have you noticed that the colors of most of the vehicles resemble the same colors as the cement-paved sidewalks and the gray and dark colored asphalt on the road? Pretty dull right? It also doesn’t help that every street is filled with rows and rows of parked cars. Even MUNI buses and light rail trains feature in the same boring gray color. Although, I do enjoy looking at the vintage streetcars, they are not that ubiquitous around SF.

If the sidewalks are not paved with large square slabs of concrete (boring), it is paved with somber dark red bricks like those you can find on the sidewalks of Market St. Moreover, most of the building layouts are too perfectly rectangular and square and not made to human scale. Not pleasantly stimulating. Not to mention, this city needs more trees… large lush ones. And what about flowers? I think our city is beautiful but where are the flowers to complement it. Nonetheless, we do have beautiful views of the water and the rolling hills, but that depends upon where you are.

So, I thought I would try to seek out some bright-colored bikes in SF, being that this blog is about bikes. I chose pink bikes because it is difficult to spot anything pink these days besides dresses for bride’s maids and clothing for baby girls. That sort of stuff you know. By sharing images of pink bikes maybe it can help more people visualize how pink would look on bikes; and if someone could see how cool pink is for a bike, they might have the courage to buy not just a pink bike but more colorful bikes in general. Hopefully, with enough of them on the streets, it would make the street-scape a little more colorful and interesting to ride in.

My niece's Hello Kitty bike at Ciclavia October 2012.

My niece’s Hello Kitty bike at Ciclavia October 2012. (Taken in LA)

I am not just talking about pink Hello Kitty bikes. That would be too expected.

A beautiful pink Cannondale aluminum road bike.

A beautiful pink Cannondale aluminum road bike from the 80s. (Spotted in SF)

The pink bar tape matches the beautifully welded pink aluminum frame.

Pink on a hybrid style frame.

Pink on a hybrid style frame. (Spotted in SF)

White and pink complement each other.

Pink and yellow Centurion steel frame road bike.

Pink and yellow Centurion steel frame road bike. (Spotted in SF)

Pink bike by Public.

Pink bike by PUBLIC. (Spotted in SF)

I have seen a couple of these PUBLIC step-through bikes around town. Lovely!

Pink Bianchi steel bike

Pink Bianchi steel bike from the 80s. (Spotted in SF)

I think the dog wants to run with this cool looking pink Bianchi vintage steel bike.

Pink Mixte bike

Pink Mixte bike. (Spotted in SF)

I love Mixte frames, even better in pink color!

This pink Townie owned by Jill is a celebrity.

This famous Pinkie Tuscadero belongs to Jill the Bubble Girl. (Taken in SF)

You could see this pink Townie blowing out bubbles at every social bike event in the city.

Awesome looking pink fixie

Gorgeous pink fixie. Image courtesy of Flickeriver.com

This is probably the best looking fixie in San Francisco.

Nellie's hot pink Brompton.

Nellie’s hot pink Brompton.

And pink can also look good on a Brompton folding bike. It is pink and definitely hot!

Be bold and choose pink!

Bicycle Travel – Amsterdam

amsterdamcover

Hello readers,

About five months ago, Nellie and I had started planning for a trip to Amsterdam to see and experience the best bicycling city in the world for ourselves. We were planning on bringing our Brompton folding bikes with us and decided to have the courage to gate-check them this time (rather than transporting them in checked luggage) at the airport. But anything could happen in five months and indeed something did happen.

Unfortunately, Nellie injured her left foot about three weeks ago and each day that has passed hasn’t brought much improvement. She hasn’t been able to walk normally and when she does have to, she hobbles along with difficulty or she puts on an orthotic boot and uses crutches.

The days are quickly winding down until the day we are to fly out for Amsterdam so we initially thought about canceling the trip. “Nooooooo!”, was what went through my head. “Our opportunity to have the best cycling experience ever and now this is happening to us?”

Then we thought about how the cycling infrastructure is so wonderful in the Netherlands that people with disabilities are benefiting from them and getting around easily as well.  So from that we decided that we could still take this trip.

First, we thought about how we could transport ourselves since Nellie cannot ride a bike or walk very much. “Cargo bike!”, we thought. We were excited at that idea since Nellie can just ride inside the cargo box while I pedal. But if we were to go to a museum or somewhere bikes are not allowed to enter, it would be a problem since Nellie can’t walk a good distance before she needs a rest and walking with crutches can get very tiring. We could request a wheelchair at the museum, but we may not always be able to get one at other places.

Then, I remembered seeing a wheelchair bike in this great video (1:14) by Bicycle Dutch. I could see myself riding it everywhere pedaling while Nellie sits on the wheelchair that is attached to the front. And did I say that the wheelchair is detachable? So that means that we can park the bike and detach the wheelchair to go inside museums and other places. How brilliant is that?! I found a bike rental shop called StarBikes Rental Amsterdam behind the Amsterdam Central train station that rents out wheelchair bikes. I quickly reserved it and we are going full steam ahead. Yes!

While we are hoping for her foot to be better by the time we leave for Amsterdam (she will eventually get better, just not in time for the trip), this experience will be interesting to see how accommodating Amsterdam will be for bicycles and people with limited mobility. From what I have learned from Bicycle Dutch’s blog, I expect that it will be a positive experience. Plus, I will still have a blast pedaling all around Amsterdam and the Netherlands with Nellie right beside me.

So, we are going to take off for Amsterdam soon and plan on sharing what we will learn with you in some future posts. While we are there, we will not post anything to this blog. But we will be actively tweeting about our observations on biking there and how Nellie is able to get around as a disabled person in Amsterdam.

You can follow our live tweets of our bicycling adventure in Amsterdam at our Twitter page here starting on April 24.

Thanks and happy pedaling even if you have a bad foot!

Update: We’re back! Read how things went in our series on Amsterdam:

Two Wheels and A Bad Foot in Amsterdam – Part 1

The Netherlands in 30 Photos – Some of the things you will see if you ride a bike in the Netherlands

5 Unusual Places To Ride A Bike

The most exciting places to ride a bike are not always the beaten paths, but the places where you wouldn’t expect a bike could even venture. Something about exploring a new place unknown to bicycles brings out the adventurous kids in us and many of these places have interesting and unique aspects to them. Here is a list of five places I am currently fantasizing about taking my two-wheels through, that may also pique your interest. Of course, not all of them are that possible to do, but it is nice to imagine that we ever could!

1. South China Mall in Dongguan, China

Image courtesy of mdnphoto.com

Image courtesy of mdnphoto.com

The Indiana Jones side of me wants to explore every forbidden temple, cave, and treasure tomb under the sun. This includes gigantic shopping malls that are built during periods of economic speculation and over-exuberance, that are mostly vacant, and that are located in countries that could throw me into jail for acting a fool. The South China Mall in Dongguan, China, the biggest mall in the world, fits this criteria perfectly. Although it was meant to be an over-the-top shopping paradise, with amusement park inside to boot, it has been 99% vacant since it opened in 2005. It has been cited as one of the prime examples of China’s emerging ghost towns- places built quickly and grandly, without a market to cater to, just to keep the economy spinning on its wheels of rapid-pace growth.

I am citing it as one of the places I’d most want to explore by bicycle. Imagine riding down those smooth and clean empty corridors lined with polished marble and granite with an eerie mall-music soundtrack playing in the background and the sound of no people around. Since it is so big with multiple floors, it would actually take some time to go from one end to the other and see everything. According to Wikipedia, “The mall has seven zones modeled on international cities, nations and regions, including Amsterdam, Paris, Rome, Venice, Egypt, the Caribbean, and California. Features include a 25 metres (82 ft) replica of the Arc de Triomphe, a replica of Venice’s St Mark’s bell tower, a 2.1 kilometres (1.3 mi) canal with gondolas, and a 553-meter indoor-outdoor roller coaster.” How cool is that?

Here is a short video about it:

How likely is it that I could ever ride through there? Not that likely. I’d be too chicken of being thrown in jail for being reckless or something. I don’t know how the laws in China work and I don’t want to find out. But who knows… If I am ever in the neighborhood and happen to end up there with my bike, I could just pretend that I thought I was in Amsterdam when I am in the Amsterdam section of the mall.

2. Detroit’s abandoned buildings

Michigan Central Station, built in 1912. Courtesy of http://superradnow.wordpress.com

We don’t have to look so far east for large-scale buildings that are empty of human beings. The city of Detroit in Michigan is one of the most widely known examples of population loss and urban decline. Once a center of automobile manufacturing in the US and world, it has lost 50% of its population since the 1950s and continues to decline.

While the paint in the South China Mall still smells relatively fresh and new, the paint in Detroit’s old warehouses and buildings have long faded and peeled away and there is little hope anything could be done to reverse it. But there is a certain romance and mystique surrounding its evolution into an urban forgotten land. Amid the rubble and crumbling walls, the artifacts and whispers of past lives are buried. It was once a place that thrived with people who lived out their lives, worked, fell in love, and raised families. It is a place currently forgotten, but not worthless.

I’d love to ride my bike through the abandoned areas on a tour of all its old warehouses and monumental buildings.

An adventure waiting to happen or a creepy place to be? Image courtesy of http://meganrolph.wordpress.com

An adventure waiting to happen or a creepy place to be? Image courtesy of http://meganrolph.wordpress.com

How likely is it that I could ever ride through there? Somewhat likely. If I really wanted to make it happen, I could. I would just have to buy a plane ticket, pack my Brompton folding bike, and fly out to Detroit. But how safe would it be? I am not sure. I imagine that besides having to avoid becoming a victim of crime, I’d have to be mindful about where I am riding. The roads, sidewalks, and buildings are not maintained so there could be hazards at every turn. I should at least remember to bring a hard hat, pepper spray, and a dozen or more tire patch kits.

3. Millau Viaduct in France

If I am ever tired of looking at urban decay, I can turn my eyes towards the beautiful and stunning expanse of the Millau Viaduct in France. (Gosh, the French make everything beautiful don’t they?) Its status as the world’s tallest bridge and its incredible beauty and stunning natural setting make it the closest thing to a bridge to heaven.

Here is a video about its construction. It is 10 minutes long, so you may want to watch the beginning and skim the rest.

How likely is it that I could ever ride through there? Well, it looks like the answer to that lies in a Yahoo! Answers post:

untypicalplaces06

Looks like this is the least likely to happen of all the places listed so far. Bummer! Well, maybe one day I will have a nice dream about it.

4. A rave party

Image courtesy of blog.costumenation.com

Image courtesy of blog.costumenation.com

Riding a bike is a lot of fun. Riding a bike in the dark with glowing lights and bumping house music is something on a whole other level. The closest thing I have experienced to that is rolling with the SF Bike Party (they are great fun by the way) but I want to take it further. Enter the Bike Rave! Imagine a gigantic dark abandoned warehouse 10 times bigger than the Titanic, laser lights and glow sticks, festive people in costumes, good vibes, and a nice sound system with Deadmau5 (or your DJ of choice) at the decks. But instead of dancing, people are riding their bikes around the neon glow fantasyland. Miraculously, there would be enough room to ride your bike without having to yield every second, and even if people are intoxicated (I personally opt for no enhancements), no one would crash. Why would it be indoors you might ask? Well, that would make for better music ambience and laser effects.

I think the closest thing to an actual bike rave is the annual desert rave known as Burning Man. Every year, people from the SF Bay Area and all over the world flock to Black Rock Desert in Nevada for a week of festivities and an “experiment in temporary community dedicated to radical self-expression and radical self-reliance” and they bring their bikes with them.

I have yet to attend my first Burning Man, but if I ever do go it would be to tour around there with my bike riding from one cool art installation to the next. Just by seeing photos and watching videos online, I am already impressed by all the ingenious, inventive, and highly creative things that people have made for the event! And of course they have lots of music too.

Here are some of the things one may be able to see when riding around on their bike at Burning Man:

Daytime:

Nighttime:

How likely is it that I could ever ride through a bike rave in the form that I am thinking? Well, I would be happy enough to ride at Burning Man. Just watching those videos above makes it look awesome! So, all I need to do is get a group of friends together, buy some $380 tickets (yes, they are indeed $380 per ticket + fees), get my bike and camera ready, and I am good to go.

5. Bay Bridge in San Francisco

You know what is going to make me and all the SF cyclists rave party like its 1999? If they ever get around to building bicycle/pedestrian paths on the western span of the Bay Bridge (there are only bike paths on the new eastern section of the Bay Bridge) finally connecting San Francisco and the East Bay. The city has been looking at this idea for some time, but the high price tag gives everyone sticker shock. But the longer we wait, the more expensive it is going to be. Who knows if this will ever be built, but in my book it is a no brainer. The Golden Gate Bridge already has its own ped and bike paths, but the ones on the Bay Bridge would be even more important to people’s daily lives as it connects two vibrant and important economic centers and will probably be heavily used for commuting as well as recreation. Oakland is often the first place people who have been priced out of SF look for their next house or apartment and Oakland has its own funky and interesting creative ecosystem. Even though this is number five on this list, it is number one in my heart.

Image courtesy of Daniel Parks (D.H. Parks on Flickr)

Image courtesy of Daniel Parks (D.H. Parks on Flickr)

How about taking a bicycle vacation to these great biking cities? Read more:

Strasbourg – Bike Capital of France

Two Wheels and A Bad Foot in Amsterdam – Part 1