Category: Friday Musings

A couple of weeks ago I asked for your help in naming my “new-to-me” blue mtb commuter bike.

The results are in!

An overwhelming number of you suggested unique names for my bike. Here’s the full list of suggestions:

Blue The Whole Wad
“B” For the color and the bug that goes fast and stings people.
Frank the Tank
Blue 82!
Fart Knockers
“Joni”, after Joni Mitchell’s great album “Blue”
Blue by u
Babe (The Blue Ox)
Perry short for Periwinkle
Betty Blue!
Blue Tick
Blue Thunder
Indigo Fox
Bandita, to remind you of El Toro and to lock her up!
bestia azul
Blue Baron

The results clearly show Blue Belle was our readers’ favorite name; it’s also a name suggested by a fellow commuting friend of mine. Smurfette came in 2nd. The suggested name Grover made me laugh! And then I wondered – should the name Cookie Monster also be a contender?

Cookie Monster Bike?

I’ve personally referred to this bike already as the Blue Beast (and its Spanish equivalent “La Bestia” – a reference back to the Spanish naming much like “Toro”). La Bestia seems to fit best on those days that I wrestle with her heft and rolling resistance on the road but also feel like this bike can roll over anything. I have tried calling the bike Belle on good days, but something about Belle just doesn’t quite fit…. I’ve ridden another bike for which the name Belle would be more fitting.

The final suggestion that a friend recently emailed to me is the name Gazelle… I think this one could be a winner. As my friend noted, the name Gazelle is both “a feminine name and it connotes movement”; I agree.

To further complicate the matter, one more name caught my attention this past week. My workplace just hosted a Bike Blessing to celebrate the feast of La Madonna del Ghisallo (patron saint of bicyclists). To me, Ghisallo is similar to Gazelle… so I guess you can see how I’m leaning.

As I continue to ride her (him?/it?/the blue bike), I’ll better figure out this bike’s personality and more firmly decide on a lasting name.

Thank you to all who responded… your votes have definitely been heard, counted, and considered.

As most of our readers may recall, my faithful commuter bike – Toro – was stolen earlier this summer. :-( Fortunately the friendly bike community came to my rescue!

From borrowing a friend’s bike:

Riding Dottie's bike Coco

To riding a bike from Heritage Bicycles for a day (review to come):

Riding Daisy from Heritage Bicycles

But most importantly, I adopted a “new to me” bike:

"New to me bike", a.k.a. the blue bike

I’ve been riding around town on this Trek 820 mountain bike now pretty consistently for the past month and am getting used to the different riding style of a mountain bike. There are a few tweaks that I may make, especially for the long-term, but she’s been great so far.

SO, now, fellow Bike Commuters, today’s Friday Musing: What do I name her?

For the past month, I’ve referred to her as the blue bike or just simply as “Blue”. But a few friends and colleagues have recently started the name game and have made a few suggestions. This is where you come in – please vote on one of the suggestions OR add a suggestion of your own:

We’ve all seen them: bike accessories that make you go hmm… whoa!… huh??!…weird…I wonder who came up with that??

Granted, quite a few of these show up on our friend Matt C.‘s blog Bikehacks… but some of them actually make it out into the world as retail options!

Some of these things aren’t necessarily bad – many fulfill their intended function, at least to some extent – but they either look silly, make you feel ridiculous, or just plain ARE ridiculous simply by existing! With that, here are a few of our picks…

1. Bike Umbrellas.


Yes, this technically might work (especially if you’re riding a Dutch bike in the Netherlands, though even then I’m skeptical). However, it looks kind of ridiculous… and I know on my commutes rain often is not falling straight down!
You could also, of course, just protect your head:

The Nubrella

2. Leather handles to carry your bike. Some may call it brilliant… we call it kinda silly!

Walnut Studiolo's bike carry handle

3. If handles to carry your bike are silly, then we don’t even have words for this (image courtesy Gizmodo):
All I can say is that the makers of this have clearly never had the bottom of a six pack fall out… and also need reminders about things like “panniers” and “backpacks.”

4. Sideways safety flags. Granted, these appear to work at keeping cars a little further away from you… so if that’s a problem, you just may be a candidate for one of these (though the one we reviewed apparently is no longer available). But… they look just a little bit too much like you forgot to remove something after a parade.


5. Huge pants-cuff-savers. Do they work? For the most part, yes. Do they make you look like you’re riding against doctor’s orders? Also yes.

But I have a note!

6. Skinny jeans for cyclists. Umm, yeah. Maybe people who only walk next to their bikes can fit into these, but for the most part the guys and gals here can’t… and it’s not because of our rear ends! We have calves and quads, people!

7. This next one’s not technically an accessory… but it deserves inclusion. It is… the Fliz. All the disadvantages of biking combined with all the disadvantages of walking… plus you get to stick your head in the middle of the frame! What could POSSIBLY go wrong??

We’re sure there are other crazy commuting accessories out there – what gems do you have to share??

Summer Bike Love

Summer Bike Love – courtesy of Oh Shoot

Cycle ladies and gents of the planet, let’s talk about summer travel and bikes, and how you get it done!  Friday means it’s time to muse, and I’m wondering how everyone’s summer has been so far… have you caught some extra rays, enjoyed commutes home sans blinky lights, and pedaled to destination  both near and far during balmy evenings?

I Miss My Bike

Vacation withdrawls… Bike Commuting Addiction?!

After spending quite a bit of time in the airports this summer (Dad’s wedding, teaching assistant programs, Eurail passes, and waaaaay too much MSG consumption with my family) I got to missing my bike quite often!  And don’t get me wrong, doing air cycling (like air guitar, but I do it lying on the couch instead) and borrowing ill-fitting bikes from friends has gotten me through my moments of withdrawls.  “Hi everyone, my name is Mir.I.Am, and I am a Bike Commuting addict.  I snort chain lube, always carry a backpack with a rain slick, wear zebra spandex, and get impatient while walking anywhere.”  Sometimes, when you’re away from home, you just want YOUR bike, because a commuter and her bike are bonded like an Avatar’s braid and one of those flying dragon things.

Flying Avatar

Commuter attachment issues: I braid my hair into my bike, just like this guy.

Elizabeth and I met up in Chicago last summer, and I rented a MTB from Bike n Roll – which allowed for scenic views along the Lake Front path.  Marion and I hit up the streets of Paris on the “best” fit we could claim out of the three working bikes in her garage.  And, while testing out the Xootr Swift, said Xootie and I hit the baggage claim and Pualani Platinum club so I could enjoy a week of car-free goodness between Venice Beach and Santa Monica over the winter hell-a-days.  And of course, there’s always the endless bike share options that I still have yet to straddle…

Paddle Bike

Oh yes, this will get me from Waikiki to Belize, easy!

But, there is a part of me that wonders if it’s worth it to make MY bike into a baggage-claim-friendly-beast with custom installed couplings from S and S!  Since I live in Hawaii, the challenge is to fly with my bike, since it’s the only way to get off the island (no trains, no road trips, and definitely no bike touring to other states).  Unless I get me a floating paddle bike and pack an enormous bag of shrimp chips.  What’s your best advice for bike commuting and jet setting? Anyone out there rocking a custom frame with renovated with S and S couplings, packable travel bikes, a folding MTB, or a chainless folder with teensy wheels?  Do you have a bike away from home that you rely on?  Would it be worth the $350-$700 extra and baggage claim hassle to make your bike more airplane-friendly?  Or are you down with renting bikes, borrowing two wheels, or resorting to transportation dogs?!  Bring on the comments, bike setters!

Commuter with Couplings

Holy Sexy Chocolate Espresso Moly – I'm pretty sure this commuter set up is outta my price range, but look at those S and S couplings, and what a rack!

I’m sure most of you have been heckled before…it can be an unpleasant side effect of sharing the road with other users who don’t really understand why you’re out there.

And we’ve probably heard the same heckles over and over…you know, the “get on the sidewalk!” and the ever-popular “Hey Lance Armstrong!”. Yeah yeah…heard it all before. There is definitely an art to heckling…it’s tough to be creative with something that is clever, intelligible at high speed and for such a short duration of interaction between motorist/cyclist/pedestrian.

I asked the other writers here at if they’d share some of their favorite heckles. I didn’t get too much in the way of clever ones, but let’s hear what the crew has experienced:

RL has had a carload of men catcall and whistle at him. Personally, I rather like being whistled at or catcalled…call me vain, but it suggests to me that I’m easy on the eyes! RL agrees: “Wasn’t sure how to react at first, but took it as a compliment, I guess I still have it.”

Miriam has had a SUV-load of adolescents lean out the windows and bark like dogs at her. Also, “I did have a woman yell at me for a good three blocks on my first ever commute in Seattle calling me a f%#king bitch who needed to learn how to drive and did i want her to run me over?!”

Elizabeth had a pedestrian…yeah, someone on FOOT…shout “Buy a car!” at her. I find this one deliciously ironic…as my friend Chip back in Tampa had to say, “you think cyclists have it bad out there…you should try being a pedestrian — we’re third-class citizens!” Hollering at a cyclist to buy a car when you’re walking just defies reason. E thinks the lady was trying to impress her friends. I suggested she might have been drunk.

I asked some of our Facebook fans to recount their favorite heckles…the one that took the cake there was “Buy a horse!” Funny, weird, and original all in one.

So, what are some of the heckles you’ve heard out there? We’d love to hear them…just drop them in the comments below. Don’t worry about profanity if you’ve got a doozy to share.