Must Read Links

A generous handful of must read links for your long Easter weekend.
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☛ I picked up 2 vintage berets last month, but I’ve totally stalled out on how to wear them. Retro Chick comes to the rescue with 3 Ways to Wear a Beret.

☛ Salvatore Ferragamo threw a beautiful fête at San Francisco’s Legion of Honor. Dita Von Teese, Devon Aoki, and Marissa Mayer were in attendance. Sadly, my invitation was lost in the mail? Via Women’s Wear Daily.

☛ A 1908 vision of women’s liberation. Scary back then. Awesome to our eyes. Bonus: free fudge. Via The Appendix.

☛ I have this ongoing project: cleaning out my closet. It’s kinda become my second hobby. Turns out I’m really good at buying clothes and not wearing them. If you’re anything like me, look for these 9 signs you shouldn’t buy that item of clothing you’re trying to talk yourself into buying. Via XO Jane

☛ Helmets are cute and all, but they are one of the least important cycling safety measures, according to British Cycling policy advisor Chris Boardman. Via Road.cc

☛ Vanity Fair at its best: a juicy long read all about Hollywood’s Top Stylists. “Are the top Hollywood stylists cold-eyed deal-makers, or vulnerable freelancers, dependent on the whims of designers and stars? ” Via Vanity Fair.com

☛ Now that the weather is warming up, you’re probably thinking about how to transition out of your winter-cycling wardrobe. Shaye has illustrated thoughts she would like to share with you. Via Simple Recipes for Disaster

☛ Best friends Katy and Katie tackle this dubious Anthropologie hack. “I hate word hack. I hate it.” Definitely a must watch, but be prepared to cackle like a crazy lady. Via Just the Tips

Getting Ready for the London Tweed Run

Photos by Kelly Miller

Kelly and her young man have already started marshal training for this year’s London Tweed Run, to be held on May 17.

Shini Park at the London Tweed Run 2013

Sadly, last year’s co-organizer Jacqui Shannon isn’t managing the ride this time, due to her full-time employment. (I mean, she’s probably not sad about having a job. Congrats, Jacqui!)

Miss Jeni Yesterday at the London Tweed Run 2013

Lucky for us, Kelly will be documenting the ride from the stoker position of a tweed-covered tandem bicycle. Can’t wait to see more shots like these!

At the London Tweed Run 2013

Bike Pretty at SPIN London

Bikes?  Check.  Good coffee?  Check.  Pretty things, nice people?  Check.

We took a spin (har har) through SPIN London last weekend, a biannual event now in its third edition, and came back with this summary of our favourite bike pretty products, people, and moments to share with you.

Starting with none other than…

1. Michaux Club.  A former technical designer, Bike Pretty muse Rachel Bonney set the bar high when she launched her cycle-minded bag line Michaux Club in 2011.
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Hey that’s her!  Check out that smile, and smart merchandising. 

But she doesn’t make just bags.  A new version of Michaux Club’s stellar Lightsaber bar tape debuted at SPIN, replete with neat double rows of perforated holes that reveal the reflective material underneath – a concept that began with Rachel’s Zodiac bag series.

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Three colours!  Wow.  Is it obvious our vote lies with the gold?

…so your bars will glow ominously in the dark.

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I loved glowsticks on halloween as a kid, so this takes me back to happy memories of trick-or-treating. Except on my bike. Everyday. And who doesn’t wish everyday was halloween?

Rachel also featured some snazzy tassel keyring charms in the same colour palette as the bar tape.

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Tinged with reflective 3M silver, they really bring the hi-viz whimsy.  I liked them so much I bought two (one for me, one for Melissa, natch).  It goes great with my vintage Bonnie Cashin for Coach satchel, pictured above right (via Michaux Club’s instagram feed).

 And with another extra-special satchel, that you’ll hear about soon.

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2. Otto London. Londoners will likely be familiar with this line of urban ponchos, which come in an array of colours.  In my bike pretty world, there’s two kinds of capes: those to wear in an absolute downpour, and those to wear on a regular basis, to help block wind chill whilst maintaining a sense of movement and ease on the bike.

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Despite the fact that I live in London, I’m often in the latter type.  And this denim version of Otto’s signature style ticks all the right boxes.

The dark material is versatile and weighty, giving it just the right amount of swing.  And it’s treatable, too, with otter wax or any other water-proofing process, for the repellant-inclined.

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Functional details like the two-way zip, internal handlebar straps and zipped chest pocket make it perfectly suited to cycling, and conveniently hidden when you’re not. All in all, I felt just like Anne St. Marie in Balmain, circa 1955.

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3. Hovding. We’ve all seen those slow-mo vids of the much-hyped Hovding Airbag for Cyclists, circulating on design blogs across the internets for what feels like years.  But did you know Hovding’s design is proven to be three times more effective in a crash than leading industry helmets?  Protecting the noggin is a very Bike Pretty concept indeed.

Styled on the Euro-predilection for layered scarves, Hovding Marketing Manager Patricia Müller modelled the paisley version for us here.

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Scandinavian genes.  It’s a real thing, guys.
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4. Lflect.  If you’ve gone internet-hunting for pretty solutions to hi-viz in the past few years, chances are you’ve come across L-Flect’s Chanel-inspired chain.

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What you may not have seen is the rest of adorable designer Elena Corchero’s (pictured here) line, which includes a vast array of other like-minded, witty-chic accessories.

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Retro-inspired shoe clips, pins, reflective-threaded knits and more filled her SPIN stand.

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I love a mustard-hued glove.  With a subtle, detachable hi-viz bow; even better.

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My BP vote lies with the 3M reflective kiltie, and the hi-viz polka dot T-shirts.  I think the latter concept could be spun off into any manner of dotted materials and products, however.  Corchero should just go dotty.

Always a good look, if you ask me.

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5. Tracy Neuls Bike footwear line.  Nominated for the London Design Museum’s 2014 Designs of the Year exhibit, Neuls’ capsule range of bike-oriented styles combine her signature quirky sensibility with resilient materials and subtle hi-viz details.

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Our favourite is the George Chelsea Boot, pictured here at Spin in two materials: vegetable-tanned leather that only gets better with pedal-scuffed age (taupe on right), and the black suede style on the left.

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Glass beads are melted onto the surface and then coated with resin, lending a supple granular aspect to the surface that ultimately yields a versatile, lo-fi take on these babies that lit up fashion week streets of recent seasons.  Suffice it to say Neuls’ design will probably stand up to the elements, and your bike, much better.

Not to mention eliminate the shedding problem that comes with glitter footwear.

Photo courtesy of Tracy Neuls. 

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6. Tokyobike. Let’s face it: bike shops are not usually an aesthetically pleasing experience.  East-London based Tokyobike breaks that tacit rule however, and their SPIN stand was no exception with its reliably minimal, multi-brand offering.  Plus, it led to another Karina T. Jones sighting, which is always a thrill.

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Their thoughtful palette of SAHN helmets paired well with Tokyobike’s eponymous frame line.

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And you know we love a pastel helmet palette.

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7. Festka custom-built road frames. Specifically, this one embellished by artist Jan Kalab.

There are no words.

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and of course, our favourite Bike Pretty star of east London, Jenni Gwiazdowski of London Bike Kitchen!

Posing with another *ace* Festka frame:

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The next edition of SPIN takes place 5th-7th of December 2014.  Hope to see you there!

Bike To Work Skirt by BetaBrand

Bike Pretty in Downtown San Francisco

Last month, BetaBrand (the San Francisco clothing brand famous for Cordarounds) invited me to take a sample of their new Bike To Work skirt out for a spin. Photographer Jason Van Horn, who also happens to be the energizing force behind all of BetaBrand’s Bike To Work collection, came along for the ride and captured these awesome shots.

Stylish bike commuters on the Market Street bike lane

The concept is similar to the Iva Jean Reveal Skirt, that darling of Kickstarter. A lot of Internet Commenters found the comparison irresistible, crying “but this skirt already exists!” when BetaBrand released their own bikable skirt.

The Bike Pretty Satchel by Handbag Designer Melissa Davies

Obviously that’s a silly thing to complain about. We don’t expect one type of bike to work for everyone. So why should we expect one type of bike-to-work skirt?Bike Skirt with Zippers

Like the Reveal Skirt, the BetaBrand version is a pencil skirt that converts to an A-line through zipper technology. It’s a clever way to solve the problem most pencil skirts have: too tight across the thighs to withstand pedaling. Seriously, bike-built thighs rip most fitted skirts to shreds. This version has two invisible zippers in the front. Unzipped, they reveal godets made of moisture-wicking material.
Bike Pretty Satchel and the Bike to Work Skirt

Also this skirt is (obviously) grey. I wouldn’t go so far as to call these color options, but if you’re a skirt-biker like me, you’ll appreciate the wardrobe possibilities that come from having a black or a grey pencil skirt.Bamboo Bike and a BetaBrand Bike To Work Skirt

A little history: the earliest online mention of this type of converted bike skirt can be found on the Skirts On A Bike blog – naturally enough – way back in 2011. The first versions were strictly after-market modifications featuring a brightly-colored, contrasting lining.

BetaBrand Black Forest Riding Hood

Not to imply that the concept alone is all that remarkable. In fact, you can see a version of the underlying idea in the sleeve of the Black Forest Riding Hoodie I’m wearing in this picture. And this sleeve style is derived from the traditional motorcycle jacket that has origins in the 1940s.Betabrand Bike To Work SkirtGood design is all about the execution, not some hackneyed theory of originality. The BetaBrand version has some nice touches like a rear pocket that hides a retro-reflective flag for night-biking. Right now, you buy the skirt at the pre-order price of $88.20. Expected to ship in late April.

Reflective trim on the bike to work skirt