It's about the ways you use your bike.

The Flock Grows

In Washington DC on 3 May 2011 at 8:42 pm

My apartment is starting to resemble a vintage bicycle shop, and I love it. my bikesMy baby in the middle is a Carlton. It’s an English company that used to produce frames for Raleigh before Raleigh purchased them outright (I think. Wiki it.). She’s set up as a French-style city bike, fixed gear, soon to be three speed — what can I say, I like coasting and track stands are for undergrads. Her name is Carly. Carly the Carlton. Thank you, I know. It’s clever.

The yellow and red beauty on the right is my road bike. I love her more than most of the women in my life, not least because she’s faster and gentler than most of the women in my life. She’s a retro-modern mashup. She has a 10spd ultegra group and wheels on an old Tommaso frame from back when Ten Speed Imports was importing them (along with early Lemonds), and they were still actually hand made.* That means with all the gears and derailleurs and shifters and cables and all, she still comes in at 20lbs even — only a half pound heavier than her minimalist, single gear sister. And she maintains that trim figure the healthy way: regular exercise, a healthy diet and a can-do attitude. BTW, her name is Sylvia.

Lastly and lately I’ve added the marvel on the left. She’s an old Scwhinn Suburban that I paid $25 for on CList. After $75 dollars in new cables, tires, saddle and grips — plus a box I found in the basement — she is the vivacious and stunningly utilitarian machine you see now. My latest build.

I spent a week completely dismantling, cleaning and rebuilding her. I replaced all the cables, sanded all the steel, polished all the chrome, repacked all the bearings (not the hubs though. I didn’t want to eff with wheel rebuilding), and put TriFlow anywhere that seemed reasonable or accessible. She rides like a brand new bike.

She’s primarily my grocery getter (as you can see I just returned from the farmers’ market), but also serves as a great loaner for friends and visitors. Also short people. That’s why she’s the only step-through I have. Alas, she has no name. She has a theme though. Based on the colors, can you guess it? Colombia.

So that in mind, I need your help coming up with nombres Colomianos. Algo como Inez o María. And yes, she needs a girl’s name. (Something else to consider: after the box and all that Schwinn schteel she weighs 46.5 lbs — not exactly runway quality like the other girls.) Leave your suggestions in the comments?

And finally, gratuitously, here’s a recent photo of Carly. She got a new set of Velo-Orange Montmartre bars — that I love — and she has a thing for tulips.My bike in front of some red and white tulips.

*Randall Scott Co, now sells the Tommaso brand, but the frames are mass produced in Asia somewhere, Taiwan I think. It’s a shame to see once great steel frame manufacturers become bargain bike branding for big name distributors/importers.

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  1. Inez is the name I would choose. It’s not as common as Maria. Love the enthusiasm for custom bikes.

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