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Inspiration boards and practical cycle chic

Inspiration boards and practical cycle chic

Today I played with Polyvore, and tried to recover from my cold. (Please don’t ask how my #30daysofbiking is going. It’s not. At all.)

Polyvore is basically a site where teenaged girls can make collages of fashionable outfits using images from shopping websites, then follow links through to shop for the items – or create I LOVE YOU NONTHREATENING HEARTTHOB! posters. I ran across it because it has some interior decor products available that you can collage as well – but not enough for my taste. Luckily, cycle chic is having a moment, so there are lots of photos one can use to create inspiration boards for outfits to ride in, especially if you are willing to dig past all the studded leather jackets and boots also labelled with the search term “bike”.

The outfit above is essentially all from Anthropologie, with a skirt from the Gap and a Bern helmet. The bicycle is the first black loop-frame I found, which just happened to be the Hermes-branded one. The next collage was meant to be more of a vintage-style-girlbike-pron inspiration board, and the images also include some that came from various blogs:

Yes, that is a photo of Audrey Hepburn riding a bike while wearing a very shiny PVC suit – very practical for wet days. Heh. The eagle-eyed among you will notice the Yakkay helmets, Basil basket, Electra bell, and Brooks saddle, as well as cycles from Pashley, Electra, Republic Bike for Urban Outfitters, Gucci (in two colours) and Hermes. Oh, and three different vintage Schwinns.

The last thing I did was create this collection on Polyvore, which is basically meant as a quick visual guide to practical cycle chic to inspire the site’s users to ride. I’d love your feedback on it!

(Also, via a photo of a hot boy on bicycle I found on Polyvore: famous men on bicycles. Mmm, beefcake and bicycles. You’re welcome, ladies.)

Coveting

Coveting

So I went online to find other bikes more like Winnie and Mary Poppins, hoping that maybe someone is willing to ship to me or even to find something online. So far nothing has shown up that I want to go out and buy right now (mostly because of the whole shipping across borders, etc) BUT….I have found some lovely covetable items that in a perfect world I’d have lined up in a pretty little arrangement so I could pick which bike matches my outfit. Holy run-on sentences!

Firstly, it has been decided that Daisy NEEDS a wicker basket, I’m thinking appearance somewhat like this:

But imagine it on a wicker basket (though I’d happily settle for the white metal ones, I just think wicker would suit Daisy better…..what do you think?

Alright, so now Daisy has a pretty basket with a pretty (possibly custom) liner, that alone WOULD be enough for a regular girl right? But for me? Not even close!!

Thankfully Deborah sent me this LOVELY NOS (New Old Stock) Dynamo generator and light set (very very similar to what Nicki has, but it’d be MINE!!) and it’s very hard for me to not go crazy with the bidding RIGHT now. I do think though that adding a light would only encourage more twilight pretty rides for coffee or tea or dessert and how better to justify those sweets than by using my body to get me there!?

Now for the biggest (and best change). Daisy WILL have new handle bars. Right now she has these horrid things:

Sure these aren’t THAT bad, they suit the bike, etc, but to me they scream BMX or something similar to the late 80’s early 90’s and that just seems incredibly….WRONG! Daisy has such pretty curves everywhere else, her handle bars and grips made no sense, at all!
What I want to get will be something similar to what is on Mary Poppins and Winnie. I’m trying to find a good picture, or option to buy and all I can find right now is on eBay but I’m not sure if they’re the right size, so I guess I’ll have some researching to do on that.
Now, if I have shiny chrome handle bars it only stands to reason that I’ll need to have MORE chrome elsewhere..I’m thinkin a new chain guard and possible a new rear rack, it’ll balance out the excess of red (mmmm cherry red!) without being too obnoxious…and if I’m doing chrome everywhere else, do I do a chrome (look) basket? So many decisions, so much money to spend!
Deborah’s restoration & DIY plans for Miss Mary

Deborah’s restoration & DIY plans for Miss Mary

Right now, Mary Poppins (my 1966 Phillips loop-frame bike) is in as-found condition and needs a little TLC, mainly rust removal and paint touchup, but not much. I found a genius post on Old Bike Blog on how to Green Clean Your Bicycle. Furthermore, the fabulous Miss Sarah tipped me off to the existence of a nontoxic, relatively eco-friendly rust remover called Rust Cure (which it turns out is considerably less expensive than the Cream of Tartar suggested in the eco-cleaning article), also recommended by one of Old Bike Blog’s readers. So, for Mary’s cleanup, I plan to use a combination of those sustainable methods and a lot of elbow grease. I’m really not sure how I’ll go about doing paint touch-up yet, and I’m not even sure I should – the original finish is in pretty good shape. So, to protect it with wax, or with a coating of clear acrylic Krylon spray, or both?

I’ve got my supplies ready, anyway.

Miss Mary’s basket will need a liner, as there are a couple of little breaks in the metal – but since it’s vintage, it’s not current standard dimensions (15″ x 10″ top, 5.5″ deep, and smaller at the bottom than the top), so I can’t just order an already-made one from Lucky Find Designs or Betty Bike Basket Liners on Etsy. Since it needs to be custom, I might as well dust off my sewing machine and make it myself out of vintage fabric – watch for a future post on that.

Inspiration: how cute is this basketliner from Lucky Find Designs?
If only it would fit my vintage basket.

The mattress saddle has some tears in the vinyl and isn’t especially cushy, so to protect its as-found finish – and my tail – I think I’ll also make a padded seat cover. Bust magazine ran an article on Pimping Your Ride that was mentioned somewhere, but I’ll need to look it up in print, since the how-to-make instructions for the seat cover isn’t part of the PDF on the Bust website (it’s just a faux-logo pattern, so not me) and the article is no longer archived there. [Update: I found it! It’s pages 21-23 of the Feb/Mar 2007 issue, which you can find at your local library or order through Bust’s website.)

Eventually I’d like to add an aluminum rack to the back and attach a wooden wine box, a fabric-covered milk crate, or a sweet vintage-style covered box pannier for additional storage. I do have an empty milk crate awaiting a new purpose, and wouldn’t Mary look sweet with matching covers in three spots?

If I decide I need a child seat for my little guy, here is inspiration for a DIY child seat spiff-up. (Of course, in researching child seats I’ve determined that the best one for my needs is a Bobike Junior… I wonder how impossible it is to find here?)

I’ll also need a lock, since that was stolen with my old bike. I love the idea of a U-lock cozy that I saw on the Lovely Bicycle! blog (there’s a Lock Cozy group on Flikr, too). Spincycle Yarns sell a pattern for a felted one that looks easy even for a novice knitter like me, if I decide I’d rather not sew one from the same fabrics I’m using for my other covers. (Also, their steampunk capelet would be supadupacute for cycling, no?)

Figuring it’ll take me forever to find a vintage Phillips bell, I picked up a cute little Lime bell by Trek, but I may return it now that I’ve discovered dringdring’s Etsy shop full of adorable handpainted bells.

For my helmet*, since I can’t possibly afford that Yakkay helmet that looks like a fedora right now, initially I thought I’d take inspiration from RidingPretty and spiff up an off-the-shelf helmet with a strategically glued-on flower. However, I’m starting with Nutcase’s rainbow-polkadot sk8-style helmet, which is already fun and fabulous:

here’s a side view so you can see all the Lego-palette colours.

*[And yes, I’m aware that in some circles my choice to wear one at all is a political statement. I sympathize with both sides of that argument, but honestly? I’ve made my choice for personal reasons. I have kids who have to wear mandatory helmets for their skating lessons. I’m trying to convince them that it’s no big deal, and that helmets can be fun. Also, my husband’s cousin owes his life to his helmet (he was paralyzed in a car-bike accident), so hubby has strong convictions about the importance of helmets.]

I’m also coveting a DIY skirt/coat guard like the netted one in this Flikr photo by Andre Koopmans. A commenter on Lovely Bicycle! mentioned this European (Dutch?) website selling handcrocheted (or knitted?) jasbeschermers – so pretty, and I think their use of bulldog clips to attach to the mudguards is ingenious. [Update: I’ve found a discussion of how to make a classic skirt net out of hat elastic, with great photos, on this Aussie forum. I also found a shop in the UK that will ship the standard plastic ones used in Europe internationally.]

I’d also love to have a cape. Not a rain poncho, since with only a coaster brake I won’t be riding when it’s wet, but something for cool weather. There are several pretty ones on Etsy, but most of them don’t look like they’re actually warm enough for chilly days in spring and fall. I may need to find a pattern for this too.

So, who wants to watch my kids so I can get all this done?

(Some content of this post was originally published on Deborah’s other blog.)