16.4.12

a new bike

On Friday something very exciting happened to me: I got a new bike! For years now I have been using an old Raleigh bike, as seen here, as well as here—incidentally, the plastic ring on the cupholder split after a while, so sad. That bike, which I hope to restore one day, is precious to me because it was given to me by my sweet friend Sarah after another bike I had was stolen. Unfortunately, it isn’t the best ride, which is one of the reasons why it came to be in my possession in the first place. It is so heavy! I live only 3 kilometres from where I work, and biking is the quickest, most economical, and most pleasant way to get there in the spring, summer, and fall. My new/old three speed is a dream! It rides like a happy cloud, and it was so much more affordable than a brand new bike would have been. I had been complaining about my Raleigh for months and Geoff decided to monitor Craigslist for me, an activity I consider to be a huge drag. He knew that, after rejecting so many of the bikes he showed me (I sound so lovely right now!), I would go for the bike that had the word “beautiful” in the description.

I am a very timid and careful cyclist, mostly because I have witnessed a few horrifying bike accidents, but I do ride my bike at night quite often. Chelsea posted about these nautical-inspired reflective vests in 2009, and I have never forgotten about them. I don’t remember if they were actually available for purchase or if they were made for the lookbook (which is no longer online). I haven’t used my sewing machine in ages, and with my new bike excitement propelling me, I decided to make myself a reflective collar.


It was really easy to make. I used the collar from this dress that I made a few years ago, which I made with a vintage sewing pattern. I have since misplaced the pattern, so I had to trace the collar, making it a little longer so that my hair wouldn’t cover the reflective tape at the bottom. I couldn’t wrap my brain around how to draft and sew the front bib part of the Bobbin vest, and decided to keep it simple. I used black twill fabric, black twill tape, and sew-in reflective tape; the iron-on kind is a little trickier to use on a curve.



I have a few more bicycle-related posts filed away in my brain, and they may make an appearance here over the week. An informal Bike Week, maybe.

70 comments:

  1. Whoa, super lovely, lady! Make & sell?? Oh, my favorite part of biking is suiting up, helmet, lights, bag, lunch, book, etc. Takes me 15 minutes to get out of the house... congratulations on your new bike!

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    1. Oooh, only if I could have someone else make them! I'm so rusty at sewing. This took way longer than it should have. Maybe if I can get my act together I could post a pattern... Thanks, though!

      I just grab my helmet and go!

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  2. Congrats on your new bike! I hope you'll post a photo of her. (All bikes are women, surely. Like boats. And hurricanes)

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    1. For now I just have the one from the Craigslist listing that I put on Instagram: http://instagr.am/p/JYd90IMqfc/

      I'm making some additions to it (it has a new seat, back rack, etc.) but I hope to have a proper picture soon! Thank you!

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  3. that is so. awesome. these would sell like hot cakes if you sold them.

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    1. Thanks! Ha! I don't think I'd feel right selling them, since they weren't my idea. Plus omg, sewing, so time consuming.

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  4. Yay new bikes! I need a new lady, but ugh, like you said, monitoring CL is such a bore!

    Most importantly though, what's on your lips? Love that pink!

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    1. I don't have the patience for it, and I hate meeting up with strangers. Geoff doesn't mind, but it's just not for me.

      It's NARS' Schiap! Safety lipstick, haha.

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  5. This is adorable! Safe & cute, yay. And I am glad you wear a helmet, too many people dont. Your new bike is sassy as heck, too!

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    1. Thanks! Yeah, I have been lazy about wearing a helmet in the past but I've been making the effort to remember. This city isn't really that bike-friendly.

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  6. Nice - a beacon of (stylish) safety in the night. Take that, cars.

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  7. What a brilliant idea! It's quite hard to look good/be safe/be comfortable all at once on a bike. I am so bad - all I have is one small light on the front and one on the back, and I don't own a helmet or any hi-vis! Winter mornings are terrifying.

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    1. Thanks! And yeah, I have had quite a few scary rides in the past, even with a helmet, lights, etc.

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  8. yey congratulations! love that vest, great idea, so much more lovely than the horrible fluorescent ones everyone wears in London. I am actually refraining of riding a bycicle here in London, the left thing scares me and the traffic is very aggressive (wouldn't never think to say this outside of Lisbon)...

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    1. Thank you! Oh, when I was in London a year ago I remember wondering how anyone could dare to ride a bike in certain areas, and yet there they were, riding their bikes! Kudos to them. Is it even possible to ride a bike in Lisbon itself? I would think the hills would make it difficult indeed.

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  9. this is such a perfect and adorable idea!! safety made stylish, this would really sell well I think!! perfect!!

    Aimée xx
    http://wehaveobsessions.blogspot.co.uk/

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  10. this is amazing! wow

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  11. I really like this idea: who doesn't want to be both cute AND safe?!
    Now I need to figure out where to get reflective tape...

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    1. I got my reflective tape in the trims department of Fabricland. It's easy to find online as well! Try eBay, even.

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  12. such a good idea! i love how cute and unobtrusive it is, too...not like the sweat-inducing plastic mesh of the bright-orange variety. :)

    i'm thinking of getting a bike soon, and my boyfriend is also pretty craigslist-savvy...but i hadn't thought of combining the two to make cheap bicycle heaven! dang. totally gonna get him to monitor the heck out of c-list now...

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    1. Ooh, good luck! I don't think there are decent bikes for less than $150 but even $150 + a tuneup is pretty good. The best would be to find a used bike outside of Toronto! Better deals, for sure.

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  13. Your new bike's gorgeous! I love the collar too, it's such a great idea :)

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  14. This is so cute!

    xo Joana

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  15. Beautiful bicycle! Vintage bikes like this are the best because they come equipped with fenders and chain guards, so you can ride happily in your cute regular clothes without getting dirty. I love to hear that you ride your bike to work (I do, too!); I missed the previous bike posts.

    The reflective collar is clever. Sew on reflective tape - I never thought about using something like that.

    Happy biking!

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    1. Oh yes, I love that I didn't have to buy fenders and all that jazz. In the winter I don't tend to ride but it's my main method of transportation when the roads are dry. It's the best! Thank you!

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  16. Such a great idea, I love it :)

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    1. Thanks! I bet you could make something even better with your talents.

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  17. the bike is gorgeous, I am looking for one myself but cannot find my twin soul, yet.

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    1. Thanks! Good luck, I hope you find one.

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  18. Oh wow, you are so clever!

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    1. Thanks, but I can't take all the credit! I just have a crazy memory.

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  19. Congrats! I love the little sailor collar - so cute! ♥

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  20. That is such a great idea! I am moving to Toronto and the thought of riding my bike there makes me a bit nervous.

    Enjoy your new bike!

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    1. It is a little nerve-wracking, and you do have to mind the streetcar tracks, but it's not so bad. It's really fun sometimes! Thank you!

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  21. brillant idea! If only I could work up the courage to get back on my bike after losing two teeth in an accident ...

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    1. Ooooohhh no!! That's awful. My brother got a really expensive (for us) racing bike when we were younger and on one of his first trips with it he fell and suffered a bad concussion. He never rode it again, but it's hard to blame him.

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  22. Completely brilliant!

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  23. Function & fashion! Clever. I ride a road bike most of the time, but I've been on the lookout for a more leisurely/cruiser-style ride. I'm happy to hear you found something nice on craigslist - gives me hope that I'll be able to as well.

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    1. Yeah! It really didn't take too long to find. I'd looked at it occasionally, but didn't have the patience to wait. It's all in the timing, and luck... but there are so many old bikes out there that the right one is bound to find its way to you. At least I think so!

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  24. That is so freakin' cute.

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  25. WOW, that is cool and very clever. Never would have thought of this. I have a sailor blouse in my sewing queue but I think I need one of these as well!

    I remember seeing some cute bicycle helmets somewhere as well, maybe even on Chelsea's blog.

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    1. Bump this up the queue! It's so easy that it will feel really satisfying to make and finish.

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  26. This is so awesome. Gotta file the idea away when I muster up the courage to ride my bike past the driveway, hah!

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    1. Thanks! And aw, you just gotta do it! You totally can.

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  27. This is genius. I am insanely inspired/jealous...

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    1. Inspired, hey? Let's see what you're cooking!

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  28. Katie22.4.12

    Love your new bike. And thank you for sharing such a lovely "safety" vest. It really is charming and practical. I will likely make one for myself.
    Cheers and enjoy your new ride.

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    1. Thank you! I hope you do make one, how fun.

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  29. This is so cute and such a good idea. I love the idea of making simple, more fashionable bicycle gear. Thanks for the inspiration, Anabela!

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  30. this vest (+ you) are so freakin' adorable. i want to see a glow-y/summery night time video of you riding your bike in this fancy get up.

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    1. Haha sounds like an AWESOME idea!!

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  31. this is sooooo awesome.

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  32. i got my bike off craigslist, too! congrats to you! that reflective cape is so so perfect— i have been searching for an alternative to a bright orange safety vest with no avail so this is definitely my new inspiration. i am moving to a new city soon and until i know how cyclist friendly it is i am definitely going to err on the side of "too cautious". can't wait to read all your bike related posts, i love finding bloggers with similar interests!

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    1. Thank you! Thanks for saying hello! I'm glad you like the cape.

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