Wednesday, September 2, 2009

My Camera Is Broken

Hi all,

I haven't posted in a few days because my camera is broken. The LCD is completely cracked. I don't know how it happened. I took it out of it's padded camera case and it was cracked. It never took a fall or a tumble. I can't figure out what happened to it.

I loved that little camera. It served me well and I already miss it. But now I have no way of taking any pictures...

With this economy and money the way it is, I don't know when I'll be able to buy a new camera. 

I'm really sad.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Purple Top, Yellow Bike

As I cycled along, I came upon this chic beauty riding happily in the bike lane. Dressed in a sleeveless purple top, a short dove gray slim-fitting skirt, black espadrilles and a gray helmet. She was riding a cute vintage yellow cruiser with a wire basket up front.

 I noticed that she had a customized "license plate" hanging under her seat. I tried to get a closer shot of it...

It read "Chitra".

Just adorable and stylish... I told her she looked great. As I passed her she had the biggest smile on her face and was laughing.

Keep up the good work, "Chitra". :)

Shopping Around in a Long Blue Dress

I like to go shopping during off-peak hours when fewer people are clogging the stores. so I crept away from work a little early and went in search of a few goodies. I put my quick release basket on the front with a blue reusable shopping bag and set out on my journey.

The temperature was about 85 degrees with 66% humidity. I wore a very long, floor-grazing, blue print sundress with blue flip-flops and Dior light-tinted sunglasses. (Note the absence of heels. I decided to "rough it" in flats, lol.)

The dress is long and flowing. I had no problem riding my bike in it. Actually, I loved the way it caught the wind and added instant "air conditioning".

It's really hard taking photos of myself on my bike. I really need to practice my "panda shots"...

My first stop was Sahadi in Brooklyn Heights. They didn't have what I was looking for so off I went...

... Onto Fairway... A huge store with a ton of great items. They have everything from organic food to fresh produce to live lobster. They even have a cafe. It's always good shopping at Fairway.

I chuckled when I saw the sign hanging over the olive bar (pictured below). Among the olives I picked were ones stuffed with Habanero chili peppers. I'm the only person I know that can eat them without batting an eyelash. (I love spicy food!)

After my quick run inside, I emerged to see these two cuties loading up their backpacks with their groceries and heading off on their bikes.

I took a little ride down the road to a nice little pier along the waters' edge... And, yes, that is a freshly-cooked, french baguette sticking out of the top of my basket. :)

There I found lavender and other flowers. Among them, the bees were working hard. (I like bees.) :)

In the photo below, you can see the Statue of Liberty off in the distance toward the top left...

Leaving the pier I turned down a street with the most curious shop on it... I loved the way they had a child's tricycle mounted on the facade (along with a lot of other things).

I cycled home, happily, looking forward to a great meal tonight...

Monday, August 24, 2009

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

This walk signal just can't make up it's mind. It was stuck on both "walk" and "don't walk"...
Should the pedestrians stay or should they go?

Banjo Brothers Saddlebag Panniers - Review

Overview: I have been using a set of Banjo Brothers Saddlebag Panniers for 3 months now. I use the panniers on my bike to carry hefty loads. I have stuffed it with a weeks worth of groceries, cans, bottles and containers.

I have taken trips with it to the beach loaded with beach towels, blanket, sunscreen, beverages, magazines, lunch and snacks.  I have dragged it to Ikea to stock up on household items including long items that stuck out of the top of the panniers. I have gone on picnics hauling a full set of china, water, bottle of wine, 2 liter bottle of soda, cheese, fruit, napkins, flatware, and dessert. I use these panniers to haul my personal effects, clothes, sweater or jacket to the office along with my 15.5" laptop.

I have used and abused them. In near pouring rain. In steady, moderate rain. I have used them in little rain. They have performed wonderfully!

Attachment: The panniers are connected in the middle, saddlebag-style. There is a metal ring on the backside of both panniers that are attached to a strap in the top section of the pannier. The metal ring hooks onto the little "leg" of the bike rack to keep it from flapping, secure and out of the spokes. There is also a front strap that goes around the upturned "lip" at the front of the rack, if you have it, to further secure the panniers.

I have never had an issue with the panniers falling off, getting caught in the spokes or otherwise. When you pull the middle strap on the top tight, the panniers aren't going anywhere until you unstrap them.

  •  1500 cubic feet of capacity
  •  360 degrees of reflective tape
  •  Ripstop fabric with ballistic on the high-wear inside faces
  •  Sturdy strap locking system
  •  Single strap to attach or remove panniers
  •  Two top straps for tether extra gear (like a jacket) 
  •  Stiff, hard plastic inserts to keep panniers' shape
  •  Dual zippers with easy-grasp pulls
  •  Weather-resistant fabric (semi-waterproof)
  •  Tapered lower edges to avoid heel-strike
Each pannier measures approximately 14" wide x 14" long x 5" deep. The middle section is approximately 5" wide. They are tapered to avoid heel-strike.

There are two black, sturdy plastic inserts that slide into a dedicated sleeve along the rear of the inside of each pannier holding it stiff. They are the same exact shape as the panniers themselves.

Below you can see the plastic insert in it's sleeve. The small red arrows at the left denote the sleeve. The small yellow arrow denote the plastic insert itself.

Below you can see the inside of the pannier with the insert in it's sleeve along the bottom of the photo.

Below are photos of the double zippers and pull tabs. Note the small gap between the zippers. In wind-driven and/or heavy rain, water might seep into that tiny space but the whole zipper is sheltered by a little "lip" that covers and protects it from the elements.


These panniers are weather-resistant, not waterproof. They can't be used as a flotation device or expected to withstand heavy rain and/or prolonged wet conditions

Though on the outside it might appear that the panniers can't hold much but you'd be shocked at how much it can fit. The sides expand quite a bit to accommodate the load.

I went to the store and bought a 38 quart container of Lipton Iced it. It's a large, heavy item that easily fit into the panniers with a ton of room to spare.

You can attach extra gear and goodies on the top of the panniers with the two included adjustable straps.

I've used the straps to secure all manner of items from bags, to purses, to a bottles, to sweaters, to jackets, etc. Below I even secured the 38 quart container of Iced Tea to the top. Half the strap wasn't even used so I could tie down something almost twice the size.


Wishes: The panniers are almost perfect but I would have loved to have an inside pocket to put my money, cellphone, keys or other small objects into that otherwise might find their way to the bottom of the bag when I need them most.

Conclusion: The Banjo Brothers Saddlebag Panniers are large, sturdy and weather-resistant. They can stand up to daily use and abuse while hauling a healthy-sized load. They are excellent for commuting, grocery shopping, light touring and everything in between. Anything you put in it will stay safe and secure. They will not get caught in your spokes no matter how full you stuff it. And due to their tapered design, heel-strike is a not an issue.

The 360 degrees of reflective piping/edging make sure that you are visible on the road in low-light and dark conditions.

At $54.99 MSRP, the panniers are a very good deal. They are well-made and well worth it. I highly recommend them.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Two for the Road: Chic Cylcing x 2

As I cycled down the Hudson Greenway on Manhattan's west side I came upon this gorgeous couple...

They were riding a black cruiser-style bike that had bars sticking out from both sides of the rear wheel which the girl perched herself upon. The pretty blonde was wearing a pair of designer "Chip & Pepper" jean cut-offs, a simple blue t-shirt, brown tinted aviator-style sunglasses, flip-flops and a yellow grocery bag slung over her shoulder. She gently draped her arms upon her boyfriends' shoulders, confident in his ability to ride safely with her behind him. The boyfriend was wearing a beige t-shirt, cream shorts, brown tinted aviator-style sunglasses and flip-flops.

They were the essence of simple, fun, chic cycling. As I rode past them I told them that they were the cutest couple and I loved their style. They thanked me, smiled and laughed. Just a gorgeous couple out cycling and enjoying the day.

Later down the Greenway I was witness to a little girl that threw her chain right in front of me. I immediately stopped and went to help her. Her mother was a good deal ahead. As I bent over, the cute couple above slowed down and asked me if I needed help. The couple started making their way back towards me.

While I was putting the chain back on another nice gentleman stopped and came to our aid. He said he knew exactly how to get the chain back on so I stopped and allowed him to do his magic. It took just a few seconds... By that time the mother was at my side explaining that this was the second time today that the little girl had thrown her chain. The gentleman said that it was due to the rear brakes being too tight. I mentioned that I had a multi-tool and could fix the brakes but the mother said that it was ok. I mentioned that there was a bike shop down the road on Hudson that could fix it for around $5. She declined. The gentleman and the couple rode off.

The little girl looked up at her mother, baring her hands and said that her hands were dirty. I looked down and offered to give her a handi-wipe (moist towelette). Again the mother declined. I said that it wasn't a problem, that I always carry handi-wipes and proceeded to open the wipe. The little girl clearly wanted to clean her hands and reached up for the wipe. I happily handed her the wipe knowing that I only had one and my hands were filthy, covered in black grease and dirt from the chain. No problem. I said good-bye to the mother and little girl and rode off with dirty hands. Having dirty hands never felt so good. :)

Further down the greenway near Battery Park I stumbled upon another couple, one of which was riding a beautiful black Gazelle with full chain case, rear rack, coat/skirt guard and a dynomo headlight. His partner was riding a turquoise bike.

The gentleman on the Gazelle dutch-style bike looked so regal and relaxed. He was wearing a polo shirt, simple beige khakis and leather slip-ones. Simple, effortless, stylish.

I happily rode further along in Battery City Park when I came upon these beautiful flowers in bloom. They reminded me of the two chic couples that I saw on their bikes. Both the flowers and the couples made me very happy to see... I love flowers, I love happy couples and of course I love cycling! Mixing all there is just heaven.


As I took in the beauty of the flowers a bumble bee buzzed gingerly from flower to flower. I managed to capture a picture of him as he flew by...

It was great finally taking photos of some chic cyclists "in the wild". I loved seeing the two happy couples out enjoying themselves on their bikes. I felt like that bumble bee floating from flower to flower, taking in their beauty and flying off...