Effete Cycling

I’m in New York City quite a bit.  The cultural and life-style differences between that thriving metropolis and my own dwelling place (soccer-mom heaven, or the largely bland mid-Atlantic suburbs, whichever description you prefer) is ever-fascinating.  In terms of cycling, the major difference between what I do, in the hinterlands — 25-mile-plus rides — and city biking — 3 mile commutes — is huge, and replete with interesting implications.  One such consequence finds its perfect incarnation in the bike shop Adeline Adeline.

Adeline Adeline is the antithesis of the gritty neighborhood bike shop of antiquity.  It’s a boutique, really, and has much in common with a chic dress shop, but with bicycles.  For one thing, it’s so full of pretty things that the eye boggles:

This shop is mecca for the chic cyclist movement:  the perfect store for city women who are cycling, as fashionably as possible, in street clothes, to work, to dinner, out for drinks.  The bikes are beautiful, European or vintage-y in flavor, and designed for short runs, or riding where there is little elevation, (i.e., mostly single speed, with a smattering of three-speeds).

This means, of course, that they’re best suited for the lower regions of the island.  Up north can get hilly, if not properly mountainous.  Adeline Adeline addresses other needs, too, though, in the flatter geography, with Bakfeits cargo bikes, and several rather neat solutions for hauling children around, including a Bakfiets with three small child-seats attached front and rear.

Some of the accessories are mind-boggling, like this one, useful if you are taking a bottle of wine to dinner:

The shop is full of gorgeous bags, ranging from tiny tool cases to full panniers, but I’m still baffled at the thought of spending a hundred dollars for an adorable little underseat bag — and then installing it on a bicycle that will be parked on NYC streets.  Have you seen the lock jobs to which cyclists resort in New York?  (Take a look at  this bike, for example whose rider has employed two U-locks and at least one long cable through the frame and helmets.  Massive chains are also commonly deployed in the city in attempts to ensure that a bike stays put.)  I’m guessing that a buckled-on Brooks leather accessory bag has a half-life of just around five minutes on an NYC street.

On the other hand, Adeline Adeline has an excellent selection of bells, many quite reasonably priced, and other, hard-to-find, accessories for a practical cyclist.  I’ve purchased three . . . but more about those in other posts.


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