Monday, March 28, 2011

Ye Olde English 3-speeds

Meet Binnie. Courtesy: Mark.
Binnie is a 1930's Raleigh 3-speed that belongs to Mark in Charlottesville.

Most English 3-speeds were built with fenders and chaincases or chainguards, and an internal gear hub that can withstand the wet English weather.  They were built for transportation, and they were built to last. That's why so many of them are still around.

Nice touch - Binnie has a pump holder. Courtesy: Mark.

For more on English 3-speeds, check out Sheldon Brown's website, or better yet, listen to his September 25, 2005 podcast.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Linus Bags

While we're on the topic of Linus, did you know they also have a chic line of bike bags? 

This is from their 2011 catalogue:

From the 2011 Linus Catalogue. Click for big. Courtesy Linus Bikes.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Linus Roadster 8

Linus Roadster 8. Courtesy Linus Bikes.
Linus Bikes has added this 8-speed roadster to its lineup up of simple and elegant bikes inspired by the French bicycle designs of the '50s and '60s (see our previous post about Linus here).

Full specs from the 2011 Linus Catalogue. Click for big. Courtesy Linus Bikes

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Gran Royale

Sometimes readers write to us about bikes that might interest us. Daniel recently emailed to let us know that "Gran Royale has added two new and refreshingly basic-looking bicycles, the Union Flyer and Cogsville, to complement the Aristocrat they introduced last year I believe."

Gran Royale is an affiliate of Eastern Bikes, the BMX brand. Gran Royale has indeed been making the kind of bikes we're interested in: simple, inexpensive, and eye-catching. They remind me of the old Schwinn 3-speeds.

The Aristocrat is a 3-speed with a Shimano Nexus hub, coaster brakes, rack and bottle mounts, chainguards and fenders. It's currently offered on for $550. Here's a look:

Click for big. Credit: Gran Royale website.
As Daniel mentioned, Gran Royale is now offering another 3-speed, the Cogsville.

Gran Royale Cogsville. Credit: Gran Royale website.
The Cogsville is all steel, and like the Aristocrat, it comes with a Shimano Nexus 3-speed hub and coaster brake, rack and bottle mounts, chainguard and fenders.  According to the Gran Royale website, it comes in black, yellow, red, blue or green, and in "medium" or "large" sizes.

Then there's the one-speed Union Flyer:

Gran Royale Union Flyer. Credit: Gran Royale website
The Union Flyer has the same features as the Cogsville, except it's a single speed. Gran Royale aptly refers to the Union Flyer as their "working class hero" bike.

In addition to these models, Gran Royale also has two fixed gear (or freewheel, your choice) models: the Lurker and the Creeper.

The Gran Royale Lurker and Creeper. Credit: Gran Royale website.
I think Gran Royale has done its marketing research. People love colorful bikes.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Giant Escape City

I saw one of these in my local bike shop last night, but only one. If you go to a bike shop in Canada you'll see rows of similar bikes for sale. Most of them have an aluminum frame, triple front chain rings, 700c city tires, fenders and racks. The geometry is more hybrid than city bike, but in the case of the Giant Escape City it's pretty well equipped and comes in 4 sizes (and a women-specific model as well). It even includes decent platform pedals and a bell --just don't expect to jam huge panniers on that rear rack.


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Bikeways For The Rest Of Us

Short nerd break:

Today the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) released the NACTO Urban Bikeway Design Guide, providing state-of-the-art guidance for anyone who wants to create complete streets that are safe and enjoyable for bicyclists. This is good news!

Here's why this is a big deal: 

Until now, the primary references for roadway and bikeway design have been the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Guide to Bikeway Facilities, and the MUTCD (Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices). Historically, these publications were weighted in favor of motor-vehicle modes and less-densely populated/developed areas, as opposed to walking, biking, or transit use in urban areas. In addition, it has been procedurally challenging to update these publications with innovative or even proven designs. 

In contrast, the new NACTO Urban Bikeway Design Guide illustrates design treatments developed by cities around the world for multi-modal urban transportation, all of which are in use nationally and/or internationally, and many of which have approval pending for inclusion in the MUTCD (FHWA approval status information is available here).

Finally, the NACTO Urban Bikeway Design Guide is an online resource, free and readily available, and a living document, so updates can occur on a much shorter timeframe.

So, yeah, this is a BIG DEAL! Rock out for bikes.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Civia Midtown

Civia Cycles' Midtown urban explorer

A few weeks ago I wrote about Civia Cycles' newish cargo-bike/cycle-truck, the Halsted. What I didn't realize at the time is that the Civia brand has gone through an overhaul of sorts, and appears ready to fulfill its promise, and my expectations. The Halsted is only one of a new line of new well-thought-out bicycles, available as framesets and complete bikes, with sensible and good quality parts picks, and reasonable prices.

The Midtown is "The Urban Explorer" of the bunch--characterized by upright and swept back handlebars, a wide-range 24-speed drivetrain, a big front basket, and a semi-step-through frame--and described as "a budget-priced utility bike." With an MSRP of $900, "budget-priced" may be a stretch, but reasonably-priced is not. It comes in S, M and L sizes.

This bike may not be in stock at your local bike shop, but every shop worth its salt has an account with Civia Cycles' parent company, and can order the Midtown, or any other Civia bike.