November 30, 2016

Perhaps it’s because growing up, a bike was among the gold standards of holiday gift-getting -- or perhaps is was the fact that it was a sunny 65 Thanksgiving in NYC.  Either way, my bicycle has seen a lot of miles lately and I get as excited about a new ride now as much as I did when I was 10. Sturdy & stalwart, the Dutch commuter bike has spent years on the other side of the pond getting people from point A. to point B. — and while America’s preference for fast & light still seems to reign supreme, there’s something to be said about the heavy-framed two-wheeler of European stock.  It may be a tortoise & the hare type thing…or again better yet, it may have something to do with brands like Jorg & Olif or local favorite, Bowery Lane Bicycles who’ve made the steel-framed classic the preferred mode of transport for many, not to mention an incredible gift to give this Holiday season.

While I got mine second hand as payment for a photo-shoot, we rarely see worthy options pop-up on craigslist or eBay & while that guy at the Brooklyn Flea as tall as California’s redwoods has a decent selection of vintage bikes, you then have to start considering size, condition, et al which leads us to a tightly edited selection of bikes & related swag we suggest.

First to the plate is Bowery Lane Bicycle’s, Broncks Black ($595).  Made in NYC (impressive considering that 99% of the bikes purchased in the US are made outside our borders), Bowery Lane’s bikes all come with their ubiquitous wooden crate which is as practical as it is cool.   Their work-shop even operates green, using solar panels to minimize energy consumption while building your bike.  The best part?  You can customize your purchase at their site with add-ons like a Brooks saddle or kick-stand (really, what do Americans have against kickstands?).

Made to order, Florida’s Republic Bike features a 3D virtual shop allowing you to customize just about everything on your new ride from frame to saddle, tires to bell — in up to five colors — all from $399, making your newly crafted bike an original work of art & like that blaze orange luggage set you ordered, tons easier to spot amid a sea of black.  Granted, you get just one speed, but really how many hills is one going to come across in NYC?  Live in hill country?  Don’t worry, SF — Republic also sells made-to-order grade-friendly geared models.

Finally, my first introduction to the new-fashioned commuter bike came from Vancouver based, Jorg & Olif who first set up shop in 2006.  Granted, the brand’s well-heeled two wheelers start at about $900, the Opa (so named after the Euro term of endearment for Grandpa) shows up at your door dressed in kickstand, front & rear lights — as well  as a sturdy rear rack & classic Dutch bell, making it ready to ride as soon as you get it home.  Apparently Canadians don’t have the same issues with stock kick-stands as we do.

Already got your own set of two-wheels?  Not to worry -- this post is as much about gifting as it is getting.





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Gifting 101: Monograms.
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Gifting 101: Leather Head Sports.
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