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.

And what’s not Bike Pretty about that?_________________________________________________________________________________________________

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!

There’s a Bike in It: 5 Tenets of Bike Pretty, as seen in recent press

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Karlie Kloss & Liu Wen for Coach, S/S 14 ad campaign, New York.

“Wait, what’s that in the corner there?  It looks like a wheel…the wheel of a bicycle! Mere inches away from a seriously pulchritudinous situation…”

This happened so frequently during my recent life *ahem* perusals of the early Spring magazines that my natural bike pretty antennae went into high alert mode.  I starting keeping a mental note of the bike pretty-ness of it all, figuring I’d share once I had a sizeable list en tête, or when a truly “ah-ha!” moment struck me. Well.  Lucky for you guys, that moment arrived last Friday, returning on the London overground with a flat tire, a tired boyfriend, & no patch kit (grrrr) after a trip to the deep east to watch dogs run around in circles (don’t ask).

Let’s be real: it’s not often that I find myself on public transportation.  So it was with palpable delight that I found myself rewarded for my flat tire with a shot of retired Olympic track cyclist Victoria Pendleton on the front page of the London Evening Standard, a copy of which lay discarded on an adjacent seat.  Grinning ear-to-ear atop an upright bicycle in a white lace dress, matching brogues and boater hat – e.g., epitomizing the bike pretty ethos if ever - Victoria seemed to be saying “….WEEEE, BIKES!!” er, “Kelly, get to it.”

And when you start hearing voices when you read the newspaper an Olympic champion stares back at you in fashion-earnest, one sculpted track-cyclist leg revealed and ready to kick your butt, you do what your gut tells you. So. 

5 Tenets of Bike Pretty, as seen in recent International press:

1. Don’t be afraid to Cycle in a Maxi-dress.  Via Olympic Champion Victoria Pendleton, on the cover of the London Evening Standard, 21 March 2014.

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A promotion for UK charity Sport Relief, the shoot aimed to recreate the bicycle scene from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969), with a bit of a role reversal.

Pendleton plays both Katherine Ross and Paul Newman in one as she tows Evening Standard proprietor Evgeny Lebedev through a lush English idyll.  And in a maxi-dress, no less, one lacking the functional thigh-high slit of Ross’ original.  Skills, people.  BP skills, to be precise.

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Photos: Rupert Peace.  Want Pendleton’s outfit credits? Scroll to the bottom here.

2. Never underestimate the power of a versatile Printed TrenchVia leggy all-American model Karlie Kloss in Coach’s S/S 14 ad campaign.

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Like Miu Miu and Sonia Rykiel before them (#respect), Coach boosted their spring campaign by putting Kloss on a bike.  She’s basically perfection in a reptile-print wisp of a trench, the styling incorporating a signature-yet-subtle bike pretty coordination move matching the eyewear frames to the bicycle [frame], and bag.  Win win, Reed Krakoff.  Way to leave on a high note.

The Bonnie Cashin era excluded (gah, double-kisslock pockets!), I had heretofore never been much of a Coach fan.  This shot of Karlie wiped any suburban mall-bred memory of khaki C-logo jacquard from the proverbial slate, however, and I found myself scoping out the latest bags (#dangerous) and imagining outfits in my head around several styles.

Converted, for sure.

3. DUDE, definitely Bike in Heels.  It’s so much easier than walking.  Via Coach (again!), and their rather brilliant #coachfromabove social media campaign, featuring their recent footwear collections.

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Clockwise from upper left: Coach S/S 14 | Coach’s F/W 14 Ophelia heel via @jenpinkston of The Effortless Chic | Coach’s Marah flat  | Coach via Andy of Style Scrapbook

Hmm, the marketing team over at Coach must include a Bike Pretty fan (or several), amirite? Or maybe they’re tapping into the bike pretty inclinations of an ever-increasing number of stylish NYers, braving the streets on wheels via the Citi bike program…or maybe both.

Either way, their footwear campaign shots, surreptitiously planted on the website amongst customer-generated media of fans sharing shots of their Coach footwear from above, feature the label’s more practical yet pretty styles perched on pedals.  Pretty preening footwear perched on pedals. Say that three times fast.

Scoping the #coachfromabove hashtag also led to this lovely post on the same topic…and this fun if gratuitous shot below. What, there’s bikes in it, ok?  Via Style Scrapbook.  Trip to Amsterdam, anyone?

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4. Ride a Bike in Paris. At least once in your life.  Via Vogue Paris, February 2014, Sur les Quais editorial, styling: Claire Dhelens, photography: Lachlan Bailey. 

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“I own the île Saint-Louis.” Photo: Lachlan Bailey.

Admittedly, this is not exactly a BP tenet.  But certainly something to add to the bucket list, if you haven’t done so already.  As a longtime resident and now frequent visitor to the city of lights, I can say with conviction that cycling in Paris is a wonder.  Riding around London, I often fantasize about her lorry*-less streets, and manageable number of buses to circumvent.

Really, it feels just like this.  And at BP HQ we love a bike in editorial, so had to share these shots from Vogue Paris’ February 2014 issue.

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“Don’t mess with my dog. Or my wheels.”  Photo: Lachlan Bailey.

5. Embrace Bike-Commuting and its unique style challenges.  Via everyday London commuter Jess Bowie in The New Review magazine’s Cycling Issue, 23 March 2014.
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Photo: Immo Klink.

Despite its late-to-the-game title, writer Simon Usborn’s “The Rise of the Female Cyclist” piece in last weekend’s issue of The New Review magazine (The Independent on Sunday) proved an inclusive read, chock-full of insightful quotes by Caz Nicklin of Cycle Chic fame, London Mayor Boris Johnson “[we need to] de-Lycrafy the bicycle” and this food for thought from everyday commuter Jess Bowie, 29, pictured above;

“I’m loathe to say it but often women care more about how they look, so might think cycling will make them a bit more disheveled.  But if more of us do it, and female commuters look out the bus window and see women like them on bikes, it would definitely help.” 

Which is a pretty good segway: don’t miss Melissa’s upcoming post on ModCloth about stylish bike-commuting.  Watch this space!

…and Happy Weekend!  I’m off to stylishly lean against my handlebars like so SPIN London. See you soon!

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S/S 14 campaign, Golden Goose Deluxe Brand® Venezia (I know: Geese? Venice? Whaat? Alas). 

*Lorry = British parlance for what is referred to in American English as a semi-truck.

Bike Bag Giveaway from Detours

I’m hosting a bike bag giveaway! Enter to win this adorable (and seasonally appropriate) handlebar bag from Detours.

Rainier Handlebar Duffel

Moves adeptly from handlebars to human.

Now that I mention it, how do you carry your stuff while on your bike?

Do you carry your cellphone in your boot? Do you pack spare coconuts in the hood of your hoodie? (Only to forget when you try to cover your noggin.) Maybe you keep it old school and stash keys-wallet-snacks in your bra. No judgment here.

Contents of the bag not included in the giveaway. Buy your own damn gloves.

Contents of the bag not included in the giveaway. Buy your own damn gloves.

But wouldn’t it be nice to win a free bike bag? Especially one as cute as the Rainier Handlebar Duffel in Golden Gardens. I am such a sucker for prints. And it’s super rare to find functional bike bags that also come in cute textiles, amirite? Check out the deets:

The Rainier Handlebar Duffel is so beautifully basic, it will quickly become your go-to bag for rides around town. Its classic silhouette is packed with subtle yet important organizational features, including a shoulder strap that detaches on one side to stow away while riding. When you’re all locked up at your destination, take the Rainier with you as a shoulder bag or crossbody.

Details:
• Two-buckle handlebar attachment
• Adjustable, one-side-removable shoulder strap that
tucks into exterior side pocket while riding
• Magnetic flap closure
• Light loop
• Reflective details on front and sides
• Exterior front zip pocket with key clip
• Interior pockets: two slip, one zip

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You can enter the giveaway up to 4 times. The last day to enter is April 14, 2014. The winner will be randomly selected. Have fun and best of luck!

Dazzling Blue Gift Guide: Presents for People Who Ride Bikes

Last week Pantone, the venerable color forecasting company, announced 2014′s Color of the Year: Puke Purple Radiant Orchid. I must admit, I am disappointed.  Not that I was expecting a pick as awesome as last year’s Emerald Green. But it’s obvious that the most culturally relevant color from Pantone’s Spring Summer line-up is No. 18-3949, a.k.a. Dazzling Blue.

Personally, I could care less about the color. Sure, it’s a nice true blue. But it’ll never be as sexy as Yves Klein’s.

What the color lacks in sexiness though, it makes up for in bikeyness. Dazzling Blue is a close sister to the shade that is all over New York’s Citi Bikes. The very bike share program that the Wall Street Journal declared a “roaring success” despite some very public naysaying by the WSJ’s own important cranky person editorial board member Dorothy Rabinowitz.

So even though we don’t all live in (or anywhere near) NYC, let’s celebrate the spirit of the country’s most successful bike share system with this similarly-colored gift guide.

inspired by IFB
RydeSafe Reflective Modular Bike Decals Kit Pantone Color Report for Spring Summer 2014 Loeffler Randall Rider Satchel Fratelli Orsini Everyday Women's Italian Cashmere Lined Leather Gloves Citi Bikes Are Really Here Bern Unlimited Bandito EPS Matte Finish Snow Helmet with Black Liner Serfas Thunderbolt USB Headlight Serfas Thunderbolt USB Taillight Pringle Women's Bianca Plain Wool Boot Socks Ass Savers SmartAss Bicycle Rain Fender - Blue Otto London Urban Poncho Image Map

Bern Unlimited Bandito EPS Matte Finish Snow Helmet with Black Liner // This nifty helmet is not just for hard knocks. It also keeps the ears toasty warm thanks to the additional liner.

Serfas Thunderbolt USB Headlight and Taillight // As a cyclist biker, I am always buying bike lights. So a spare pair is an especially thoughtful gift. I loved my Serfas Thunderbold Taillight. It was super-bright in the city and easy to charge via USB. It also fits easily in a pocket.  (I left mine on my bike while I ran into a store. When I came back 5 minutes later, it was stolen.)

Ass Savers SmartAss Bicycle Rain Fender  // This stocking-stuffer is not meant to replace heavy duty fenders that are all kinds of tricky to install. Think of it as an emergency back-up. The fender folds in half and lives comfortably under your saddle all year round. When a sodden situation suddenly occurs, you can unfold it and install as a fender-lite in your seat rails. Voìla, day–and ass–saved.

Loeffler Randall Rider Satchel // The Rider Satchel is the most beautiful (and designer-y) handlebar bag money can buy. Actually it’s far too expensive to actually leave on your bike while you park it outside the liquor store or nail salon. But let’s dream about how pretty your bike would look with this on your handleabars, okay?

Pringle Women’s Bianca Plain Wool Boot Socks // When you were a kid and you got socks for Christmas, it was the worst. Now that you’re grown and doing your own laundry (kinda, laundry quarters don’t grow on trees, gnome sane?) you wish someone loved you enough to give you a pair of wool socks and a lump of artisanal mesquite charcoal for your hipster hibachi.

Otto London Urban Poncho // Let’s talk about rain-coats. I think you might’ve been lied to for your entire life. There’s a way better option out there, especially if you ride a bike. That’s right, a rain poncho. It’s like being a human umbrella. It keeps you dry in a hands-free way and still allows for plenty of air circulation. If you know what I mean. This one even includes tasteful reflective piping and handlebar straps so you can really get your rainy-day bike on.

Fratelli Orsini Everyday Women’s Italian Cashmere Lined Leather Gloves // When I lived in Florence, I used to admire the beautiful leather gloves in the shops near the Ponte Vecchio. At the time, I was a poor student and €50 was too much for me to spend on a pair of Royal Blue gloves. Now I’m a poor blogger, so…hint, hint (I’m a size 7).

RydeSafe Reflective Modular Bike Decals Kit // You can’t just throw some 3M reflective stripe on a product and declare it “bike-friendly”. That shiny sh** needs to look cool, too. That’s where these sweet stickers from Rydesafe come in. Add them to your bike, helmet, heels, whatevs. If you’re trying to be seen, you might as well look good.

Must Read Links

Hey, I’m feeling really good about this week’s must read links. Lots of style conundrums to ponder over the weekend.
bike pretty, bikepretty, pretty bike, cycle style, fashion bike, bike chic, bike style, cycle chic, bike fashion, san francisco

✂︎ I thought that we had already been through this last year. But recently tons of people started e-mailing me about the so-called Invisible Helmet. Like, I got a flood of links last week. Since I can’t ignore it, here’s why the Invisible Bike Helmet isn’t God’s gift to cycle chic. Via Brooklyn Spoke

✂︎ The Trouble with Second-Hand Clothes. As in the ecological and socio-economic Trouble-with-a-capitol-T. Via Business of Fashion

✂︎ Helmet hair. It’s a real problem. Don’t become a statistic. Take matters into your own hands and check out 6 Hairstyles To Wear Under Your Bike Helmet. Via Eleanor’s

✂︎ The outrage expressed in this article makes me giggle. The band Arcade Fire wants people to dress up all fancy when attending their shows and the writer is having none of it. None. Of. It! Guess whose side I’m on? Via Slate

✂︎ Must watch: This. This is what it’s like to get dressed in the morning. (Possibly NSFW) It’s not that I have a closet full of clothes and nothing to wear. I’m actually asking myself, “Who do I want to be today?” Via Vimeo

✂︎ Department of TMI: Some advice for women, specifically how to pee in the great outdoors when you’re wearing a lycra cycling costume. (You know, biking in a skirt would make answering the call of nature so much easier. Just sayin’) Via Marijn Fietst Blog