hump de bump

I have 1.5 Boston winters under my commuting belt [I got my Bianchi in January 2008].
It doesn't make me any more hardcore, or special, than any other cyclist. But it's something I'm secretly proud of. It's also the reason I think Bicycle Commuter Appreciation Day should be in the middle of February, not in May. When your eyes and nose start to gush water as soon as you climb on a bike because of the cold, and the air's so dense you can't manage even a moderate pace without a struggle, well, that's when you should be appreciated.
But open houses, contests, and block parties are a different story. You need warm weather, good people, and a solid shop. And that's exactly what my other, other home - Cambridge Bikes - provided last night. Even food was involved.



Arriving a little late [as usual] and slightly completely confused, I stopped by a tent, bumped into RMM, and got suckered into entering my track baby into the Commuter Bicycle contest [believe it or not, I actually have commuted to school on my little pony]. There were a whole bunch of different categories, and tons and tons of bicycles. No way I was going to win anything, but hey, I got to park my bike next to a Vanilla, and that's a reward in itself.
Bouncing between the shop and the party outside, I spotted some distinctive white and black kits and shaven legs. And tricycles. I couldn't miss this.


The camera came out and I was laughing hysterically as some of CB's finest raced tricycles in kits and cleats. It seemed addictive, as more and more people signed up to spin around the makeshift course three times. I nearly got seated on one of those things, but used the excuse that I'll have an unfair advantage over everyone because those tricycles would probably fit me.
Slipping inside, "what's up"s and high fives were exchanged, despite the packed shop. Both familiar and unfamiliar faces filled the shop, and sort of in limbo, I ended up leaning against the end of the counter, in that happy medium between customer and employee. Between snapping more pictures, I caught up with Pete, Jason, and Zach while commuters as diverse as the bicycles outside milled about curiously.



It was dark before I knew it, which meant that I learned how to open the plastic packaging of a Knog light [throw it against the floor]. And just when I was about to head out, the call that awards would be announced was made. It was probably the new CB cycling cap [designed by Croth, and handed to me by Kip himself] that did it. Or maybe my luck's just turning. Because I did end up winning something:


Or, a few things. All things pointing to more bike rides. Matching green CB socks with Pete? Check. CB water bottle that I've been wanting for a while? Check. Massive bag that I could probably carry my sister in? Check, check, check!
Winning stuff also apparently meant pictures had to be taken. Natasha snapped away while Croth pulled a sneaky from-behind pic [justifying it by claiming that "that picture didn't include that much of your ass"]. All pictures which will undoubtedly eventually surface on the Internet. So, a disclaimer: I am constantly sweaty, disheveled, and un-photogenic. You've been warned.
[Big thanks to everyone at CB for putting this on - it was awesome! More pictures from the open house/block party here.]

<3 + bike...a contest winner!

It's officially March, which means someone's winning the "heart breaker" hat.
And that special someone is RMM of Euphoria Before Total Implosion whose story is:

I was stumped about what to get my love for V Day. Obviously, I went to Burdicks and got fancy chocolates, but that didn't even come close to conveying the deep and lasting love that I have for my Natasha. Confused and in a panic, I stopped into Cambridge Bicycle, thinking that perhaps someone in there could help me in my quest. Immediately I saw it: A red PedalStrike hat with white polka dots. Perfect. Within seconds, I went from an inadequate sh++heel of a gift giver to perfect loving husband who always knows what to get for a special occasion.

After I got home from my 4 hour Valentine's morning training ride we exchanged gifts. I was so proud pulling out my gifts, knowing that I had done well. Natasha was thrilled with my present. She squealed with delight and immediately put the cap on her head and we indulged in her chocolates. She informed me that my present was under my pillow. It was the last brass bicycle ding ding bell that Broadway Bicycle School had in stock. I have been lusting after this bell for months. It has a deep and lasting ring. I could not justify the extravagant purchase, as my current bell is working just fine and money is tight in the household right now.

It was a nice Valentine's day, especially since we both know each other so well that we are able get each other such perfect presents. Natasha will be wearing her new cycling cap under her helmet on her ride tomorrow and I will be installing my coveted ding ding on my bike tomorrow.

Okay, granted I'm giving RMM this hat on the condition that he wear it ironically. I mean, did you read his story? He's clearly living the dream in terms of <3 + bike, and it reads like a "how to" on the perfect Valentine's Day if your other significant other [not the bike] likes bikes too.


Thanks to all who submitted stories/experiences, etc!!! I got a surprising number of submissions for being a relatively obscure website, and it's great to hear that some people were really interested in the hat! More contests will be held in the future so stay tuned!
Now pull on some layers and go ride your bike.


It's Valentine's Day!!!
The above statement actually means nothing to me, but I figure I should just put it out there. Okay, that's not entirely true; I did give out kisses [chocolate ones, only!] to my favorite bike mechanics.
Having thrown my chain twice in the past 24 hours, I hustled to IBC today to pick up that new pink chain, and possibly a new chainring. Chris worked on my bike again, mentioning how he had changed the chainring bolts a few days ago:
Chris: They were too long for the chainring so her chainring was wobbling.
Me: Yeah there was a chain guard on there earlier. But I didn't put that chainring on...but...yeah...
Eric: But someone did.
Me: ...yeah....
Me and Eric: .......
Eric: ....that was such a classic "my boyfriend knows so much about bikes" moment.
So true. And so appropriate on Valentine's Day. So maybe this might be appropriate too:

I'm actually going to give this away. That's right. Free. Shipping included in the word "free."
What do you have to do? Well, send me your best bike-related Valentine's Day story. Or the craziest bike-related thing you've done for someone that you <3. You'll obviously have to be okay with your entry - if it wins - being posted on this site, but other than that, all you have to do is send in your story!

The deadline is February 28th. Yup, you have until the end of the month. So get emailing!
In terms of logistics, you might notice that the hat isn't 100% done. That's because I will resize it if you don't have a huge head. It's made right now to fit people with larger heads [about 24 inches around] so mostly everyone can submit a story and not have to worry about the hat not fitting.

Good luck!