Last weekend saw something called the First Annual Upright Bicycle Ride. Lots of people without helmets and dressed in street clothes tooling around town on their cruisers. Some pundits dubbed it the "anti-Critical Mass" ride. Critical Mass is a completely different topic, to be explored, perhaps, in a subsequent blog post. Let's go back to this ride. The ride seems to have had something to do with Bicycle for a Day, which, in turn, seems to have something to do with actor Matthew Modine. On this site you can watch a movie of Matthew ride nonchalantly around a remarkably traffic-free mid-town Manhattan, demonstrating just how cool it is to be a cyclist.
During my time this summer dodging killer traffic in London, I learned that the British call their upright bikes "Sit-Up-And-Begs," which, given how "doggy" the Brits are, is a way catchier title. But, if you spend any time in London, you soon get used to seeing men in bespoke suits whipping around the City on their foldup bicycles, some with a leather briefcase attached to the front handlebar.
OK, OK I succumbed to this charming sight. I am now the proud owner of a third bike, which would qualify as a "SUAB." While I was away I bought an extremely cute and technically curious Brompton bike, which I named William. Why? I spent so much time in Normandy during the summer being surrounded by "Wm. the Conqueror" stuff, the name just made sense. I brought it back on the plane and avoided the usurious Delta bike transport fees, because, well, it's a fold-up bike, so is hidden in plain sight. Plane/plain, get it? Argh. I have future plans for William that may involve international travel, but for now I am experimenting with dressing myself in a skirt and heels, and riding around Seattle to see how practical this can be. Plus I'm making even more friends as people smile and point at me on my "little" bike and want to know more.
Now, according to one fashion blogger to be a totally totally cool urban biker, you need to take a look at some fashionable new offerings from PUMA. According to the website, PUMA is "known for paring a bike down to its bare essentials" as well as being "designed to find solutions to everyday annoyances that come with maneuvering bikes through the urban jungle." If you buy one of these pretty machines, you get a sticker book of bike names which will allow you to customize a unique name for your bike.
Although they think they have, I don't think PUMA has cornered the market on fashionable bikes. Hmm, I wonder what happened to those beautiful customizable Klein bikes I used to see everywhere a few years ago?
As for putting a name sticker on my bike, oh please. I recently had a chat with my trusty tourer Sir Gulliver. My stickerless Sir G. just faithfully carried me on my trip in Northern Arizona and then came home with me on Alaska Airlines, for the somewhat reasonable fee of $50, snug in a cardboard box I got from friendly Flat Tire bike store in Cave Creek, AZ.
Sir Gulliver would likely be insulted by a sticker, and is perfectly capable of finding his own way of avoiding the annoyances of urban riding.