Folding Bike Blog

Goodbye Winter Fat: Hope to never see you again

It is warming up and summer is getting closer. Time to lose those extra pounds I put on in the last couple of months (the really cold last couple of months). I have to admit I haven’t been the healthiest and most active this winter, but I am really motivated right now. Fingers crossed this will be the beginning of a true lifestyle change!IMG_0791

“Cycle daily for a healthy heart!”

I am trying to take every opportunity to get up and move. I’m taking the stairs instead of elevators or escalators, walking whenever possible, and I’ve been riding my bike almost everywhere for the last couple weeks. My work is 3.4 miles away from my train stop. I’m able to take my Montague bike on the train thanks to it’s folding design, then I ride the rest of the way to work. That’s an additional 6.8 miles of riding my bike and moving a day.

 Planet Fitness Weymouth, MA

The gym finally has me back (I know it was missing me). I’m trying to hit the gym at least three times a week. You know how it is with all the excuses… no time, stressful day, too tired. The gym I go to is 3.3 miles away from where I live and I’ve been skipping the warm up by riding my bicycle to the gym and back. I suggest this to everyone. It is just so much more fun and you actually get some fresh air, rather than just hopping from one building to the other.

And guess what, you are supporting the environment!

My friends and I are trying to motivate each other. When you have a gym buddy or someone to go for a bike ride with, the fun factor increases enormously. It was beautiful out the other day and we went for a 20 Mile bike ride along the beaches on the South Shore of Massachusetts. Every five miles we got off the bikes and did some exercises like squats, jumping jacks, push ups, high knee kicks etc. I felt so good, so alive, and I got a nice little tan too. It was a great day, made better by a commitment to being healthy!IMG_0805

My bike commute is a big part of my plan to get fit. At the end of the day, if my laziness wins and I decide to watch a movie instead of going to the gym, I’ll feel bad, but at least I had a bike ride to work and back.

 

“An apple a day keeps the doctor away!”

I had to change my diet a little bit too… fine maybe I had to make some major changes with the chocolate and the gummie bears. I have been replacing my snacks with an apple with peanut butter, carrots with hummus, plain yogurt with strawberries, or almonds. I even found a recipe for pancakes which are made from two eggs and a banana. It sounds strange, but that’s it. Mash up the bananas, mix with the eggs, and pour in a pan like pancake mix. Soo yummy and an excellent alternative if you’re trying to cut down on carbs. It’s a continuing process, and I’m still trying to eat healthier in combination with the exercise and daily commute by bike. It is working though, I can actually breath again when I put on my jeans.

Staying motivated is important, and having a sweet new bike get’s you excited to ride. Check out Montague’s line of 2014 folding bikes; full-size road, mountain, and city bikes that you can fold for the car trunk.

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Flex Parking: Cars and Bikes Share Spots

As cycling for transportation becomes more and more popular, cars and bikes often clash. When a parking space is removed to make room for a bike rack, we cyclists rejoice. Score one for the good guys! Well there’s always differing opinions on something like this, and we all know parking in cities is scarce for everyone, motorists and cyclists alike. The city of Copenhagen is trying to solve this conflict of interest with a simple concept we all learned in grade school: Sharing.

The idea, dubbed Flex Parking, allocates spaces for bike parking during particular hours, and for cars during others. This works especially well in areas where people will be likely to cycle during the day, and others (such as nearby residents) would need to park their cars at night. Several of these Flex Parking spaces are located at universities adjacent to residential areas. An influx of students during the day means high demand for bike parking. At night, the students are gone and residents are free to park.

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Image courtesy of cycling-embassy.dk

In Copenhagen, the spots are painted with bright blue indicators of their flex nature, as well as the hours for each usage. From what I can tell, there doesn’t appear to be any facilities for locking the bikes. In a city as bike friendly as Copenhagen where a claimed 50% of their population commute by bike, this might not be a problem. Try this concept in an American city, and you’d better believe your bike isn’t hanging around long without a lock. We’ll have to solve that problem before we adopt the idea.

Since our number of bike commuters is much lower, most cities in the US don’t have the same parking conflict with bikes and cars as Copenhagen (although there are plenty of other conflicts). That said, here in Boston I have seen a few roadside parking spaces fenced off and converted to bike parking. I personally love it and think we could do with more, but I can guarantee someone has complained about them. If we can’t get designated bike parking approved by the city, perhaps sharing is a good place to start. It can only encourage more people to ride, and bring awareness to the fact that, YES we are here, and we deserve a space on our roads and in our cities.

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Image courtesy of cycling-embassy.dk

Source: 1

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Montague Tour of the Americas: Honduras to Panama

A guest post from Alex and Mireia; traveling the Americas with a Land Cruiser and 2 Montague folding bikes.

Our first stop in Honduras is Copan Ruinas, near the border. This tiny village is an excellent base to set up camp while visiting the similarly named ruins of Copan, which are absolutely spectacular. The main structures are vast and the detailing is impressive. On top there was a large group of Macaw parrots flying around the entrance which were truly beautiful and rare to see in the wild! We continued towards the Caribbean with the hope of visiting some nice beaches, but due to the rain (as with every time we go to the Caribbean coast) the road was impassable.

unpassable road

We decided to continue towards La Ceiba where there is a boat to the island of Utila, known for being one of the cheapest places on earth to learn scuba diving. Having found a safe place to leave our car for a few days, we head to the port of La Ceiba only to realize that there hasn’t been a ferry to the island in four days due to the weather. When we could finally departed the next day, we immediately understood why the ferry hadn’t been running. The waves we’re very high for such a small ferry, and half of the people on the boat were looking down with a plastic bag in their hands.

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A view from the island. Calm seas in the harbor.

Once on the island, we decided to take our open water diving classes at the Utila Dive Center. The course costs 300$ a person for 4 days of training and accommodation, and allows you to dive to 18 meters on your own.

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For us the island was a different experience than our normal travelling. Here we found ourselves more in a backpackers atmosphere with plenty of people around us and lots of places to eat and drink. The combination of the relaxed atmosphere and the excellent classes at the UDC made us decide to stay a bit longer, and to take an additional diving course (Advanced Open Water). This one allowed us to dive to 30 meters and focused more on specific skills like buoyancy control and navigation.

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After ten days on the island we have had a great introduction into diving. We met tons of cool people and we had a lot of fun. We headed back to the mainland and continued our trip, which felt a bit strange after being on an island for so long.

Next stop is Lago Yojoa, a very nice lake which is mainly known for the birdlife. We stayed here for a couple of nights at a local beer brewery, which was a great place to do some excursions around the lake, and to the coffee farms in the area (plus… beer!). From here we go towards the National Park Celaque . The road toward the park was definitely a challenge with slippery mud and many washed away areas. The views were simply amazing as the steep hills in the surroundings were filled with coffee plantations.

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After a couple of hours driving – and getting stuck in the mud on a dead end road, we arrived at the national park. In Honduras, a National Park doesn’t necessarily mean there is lots to see, rather that the area is a protected zone divided into areas where people can live, an area which can have limited infrastructure, and an area where no infrastructure is allowed. Still, we found a nice trail towards a waterfall and explored the forest with a very optimistic guide. The best part of our time here was camping with a coffee farmer. He gave us an introduction to the production of coffee, and we were finally able to buy some good coffee!

We left the park via a different road which was more accessible, and headed toward the Nicaraguan boarder, crossing the capital city of Honduras, Tegucigalpa. The next day we entered Nicaragua. It’s always amazing to cross the boarders in Central America, as every country has their own defining landscape. We leave the rainy hills of Honduras behind and enter the plains of Nicaragua, characterized by the occasional towering volcano.

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We decided to stay on the Pacific side of Nicaragua, as there is much to see and at this point, we are in a ‘hurry’. On our first day we explore the northern peninsula, then head down towards the city of Leon, a beautiful colonial town which has some severe scars from earthquakes. While in Leon we visited our friend Sharon who we met on the island of Utila. Sharon normally travels by backpack so we suggested she join us in The General. This is what they call the Land Cruiser in Guatemala as generals in the army drive with them. We all decided this name was appropriate for our car.

We camped near the volcano of Masaya, where you can access the crater by car. Just make sure you have a getaway route in case of an explosion. The crater is continuously smoking, and a very impressive sight.

volcano smoking

A quick stop in the colonial city of Granada, and we are off to the island of Ometepe, which is a very spectacular island in Lago Nicaragua consisting of two volcanoes. We buy the tickets to ferry our car and have some time left to eat and do some shopping for our time on the island.

car on ferry

Ometepe, is a very cool and relaxing place. We had sufficient time to check out the beaches on the pacific, including the surfer town of San Juan del Sur and the gorgeous beaches of Playa majada and Playa Madera. We had the excellent experience of camping right on the beach for a couple of days.

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After almost 4 weeks together we have to say goodbye to Sharon, who goes back to Managua and we continue to Costa Rica. Having spent longer than expected in Nicaragua, we decided to quickly pass through Costa Rica. We are in a hurry to go to South America and Costa Rica is a fairly westernized country which is comparatively quite expensive. While traveling through Costa Rica we saw everybody we camped with almost a week before on the beach. Each encounter was quite a coincidence and rather funny given that Costa Rica has significantly more roads and places to go to.

After a stop in Punta Uva where Mireia has a family member who runs a nature reserve, we headed off to Panama to catch a boat to Colombia! After all the paperwork in Panamá city and finding a car to share the container with (another french couple of friends), we headed towards Colon. There we stayed again with the french family for 3 days. The nearby National Park of San Lorenzo provided beaches, ruins, forests, wildlife… and of course some riding with our Montague bikes.

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The kids from the French family even joined us for some biking!

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Note to our readers: not the recommended way to portage a child on a bicycle. And wear a helmet!

The folding feature of our Montague bikes make them perfect to travel with. With the limited space in our Land Cruiser (the General!), non folding bikes aren’t an option. Montague’s are the only folders made like real bikes so we can ride the rugged terrain of South America. On our next update: Stories from South America!

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“Ohh, Look at You and Your Pink Bike…”

IMG_0457Since my office is located in Cambridge, MA  and I live on the South Shore in Hingham, my commute is fairly long. Actually, it is quite long.  My first couple of weeks of work I took the Commuter Rail to South Station, hopped on the Red Line to Central Square, and walked another 15 minutes until I finally made it to work (Hallelujah!). Some people get excited about seeing the city every day. I would have too if I actually would have seen the city with this route. All I saw day by day was the Commuter Rail, South Station, the train, and a little tiny part of Cambridge.

It was time for a change. I decided to get a Montague pavement bike, the Boston Single Speed. I can tell you that was love at first sight. The design, the matte black color, the super light weight, it did it for me. And what I loved the most was that the bike was named after
my favorite city B O S T O N.

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The main reason a Montague bike is perfect for commuters like me, is that ordinary unfoldable bicycles are not allowed on the Commuter Rail during rush hour. When you are able to fold the bike, it’s no problem at all. Folded it’s about the size of a suitcase, and there are sooooo many suitcases on the train.

I have to admit, I am such a girl and wear what are probably the pinkest shoes in the world. I looked at my bike and thought “that is not quiet me yet”.

 

I decided to get some  components to customize my new bike: grips, tires, lights, a lock, a new chain, and all of them in my favorite color… Yes you guessed it, pink.

After I put the components on my bike I was ready to hit the road. The commute to work is so much more fun now. I ride my bike to the train station in 3 minutes instead of walking for 10, then I fold it in 20 seconds and jump on the Commuter Rail. Arriving at South Station, I hop off the train, unfold my bike and start riding my bike through the city.

IMG_0630Since Boston is not my home town I got lost a couple of times at first, but that made it even more fun as I explored unknown streets. I see so many sides of the city, ride along the Charles river, get my morning cardio exercise, and I’m able to really enjoy my commute. I am really not a morning person, but commuting by bike wakes me up and gives me so much energy through the whole day.

I wouldn’t be able to do it without the folding design of my Montague. Perfect for a multi-modal commute!

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Doctors Prescribe Cycling

You and I both know cycling is healthy. If more people took to the bicycle for transportation, we would have a healthier nation. Well now, doctors in Boston can write a prescription for cycling. An initiative by Mayor Marty Walsh and Boston Medical Center was unveiled on Wednesday which allows doctors to prescribe a membership to the city’s bike share program for just $5.

Prescribe-a-Bike is intended as a step in combating our society’s undeniable obesity epidemic. “Obesity is a significant and growing health concern for our city, particularly among low-income Boston residents,” said Kate Walsh, chief executive of Boston Medical Center, in the statement. “Regular exercise is key to combating this trend, and Prescribe-a-Bike is one important way our caregivers can help patients get the exercise they need to be healthy.”

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For qualifying patients, the $5 membership will provide year long access to Hubway’s bikes at 130 locations across the city. In addition, participants will receive a free helmet (safety first!). This initiative will help to expand an already growing bike share system in Boston. Hubway reports 10,000 annual memberships (on top of nearly 90,000 24 and 72 hour subscriptions last year alone). The mayor’s office hopes that Prescribe-a-Bike will enroll at least 1,000 new members.

martywalsh“There is no other program like this in the country,” Walsh said in a statement. “Prescribe-a-Bike makes the link between health and transportation, and ensures that more residents can access the Hubway bike share system.”

With the new biking initiatives, successful bike share, and plans for miles of new bike lanes this year, Montague couldn’t be happier to call Boston our home.

Sources: 1 2

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Taipei Cycle Show Recap

photo1 from Dave

Earlier this month, Asia’s largest bike exhibition, the Taipei Cycle Show took place in Taipei, Taiwan. Montague made the trip over to exhibit our full size folding bikes to the world, and we want to give you an inside look at our trip. After almost 24 hours of travel and a stopover in Tokyo, we arrived on Monday evening. (It should be noted that the airport lounges in Tokyo International are top notch. Be sure to visit the beer dispensing machines). Thanks to the time zones, we also jumped ahead an additional 12 hours from Montague HQ in Boston.

Tuesday was spent making sure our booth was looking perfect, preparing our marketing materials and handouts, and confirming meetings. We knew we were in for a busy few days. That evening we had a bit of time to explore the streets and take in the nightlife while we wandered in search of some good food (which is by no means hard to come by in this town). The Lungshan Temple in the Manka district looked particularly stunning when illuminated by the nearby lanterns.

Day 1 of the show started off quickly as the Nangang Exhibition hall filled with bike industry professionals from all over the world. While this is Asia’s premiere bike show, there are manufacturers, designers, distributors, dealers, and cycle media attending from every part of the earth. Our booth was lined with folded bikes being displayed on each wall:

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Attendees came to the Montague booth to take a look at our bike line, have questions answered, and test out our folding feature. In the back of our booth was a conference room where he held meetings with our suppliers, as well current and prospective distributors. At this show we had a couple exciting new designs and products hiding in that back room. I can’t show them to you here just yet, but I can tell you we got an excellent response at the show. Keep your eye on our website at www.montaguebikes.com, as well as this blog to see them as soon as they premiere.

As I mentioned, good food is everywhere in Taipei. After meeting with our Japanese distributors, Shido Cycle, we went out for a Teppanyaki dinner. An incredible meal with great company, and it certainly didn’t hurt that they were very generous with the wine pours.

Taipei Cycle Show 2014 was definitely a success in our book, and as always the people of Taiwan welcomed us with open arms. Before heading back to the US, we stopped in to check on our latest production.

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Sneak peak: Paratrooper Pro frames before assembly.

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Where to Park? Answer: Park & Pedal

Park-and-Pedal-logo-Updated-CarWhere do I park?! It’s an age old question when you’re driving a car into the city. In most metropolitan areas, you’re going to need some luck to find convenient parking. The best way to avoid a parking disaster is to plan ahead, and we have a plan for you: Park & Pedal. Getting around the city is much easier by bike (believe me I do it every day). On a bike you can beat the traffic those last few miles into the city always seem to hold. When cars are backed up down the block, the bike lanes are (almost) always clear.

Finding parking on the outskirts of the city is much easier than right downtown, and with a Montague folding bike, you can keep your bicycle safely in the trunk until you’re ready to ride. An internet search for ‘public parking lots in (current city)’ can help you locate your best options. Pro tip: throw the phrase “free parking” in there. Most public parking lots are listed online, and you can usually find the designated hours if there are any restrictions. The moment you ditch the car, hop on your bicycle, and feel the wind in your hair, you will thank yourself for planning ahead.

Here in Boston, we have so many spectacular events that attract hundreds and thousands of people from all over. The worst thing to deal with during these events is parking. Circling the block, competing with other drivers for those few spots, there’s always those times you misread a sign and come back to find an orange envelope under your windshield, or worse yet; you’ve been towed. One of the best remedies for the stresses of urban life: Ride more. Wouldn’t you rather ride up and lock your bike right outside your destination?

There are thousands of people who come in and out of the city everyday for work. It’s a hectic scene around rush hour, but with Park & Pedal you can shorten your commute (you avoid sitting in traffic those last few miles!), get your exercise for the day, and release positive endorphins instead of stressing out in your car.

A Montague folding bike even allows you to bring a full size bike on public transportation! The subway and commuter rail stations outside the city often have free or very affordable parking nearby. Take the train into the city, bring your bike along and ride everywhere your heart desires. Spring is finally arriving, and now is the best time to rekindle your relationship with the bicycle.

Convinced? Want to know a little bit more? Click here to find out more details on Park & Pedal. May your parking nightmares be over and your commute to work be a much more fulfilling and enjoyable experience!

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A Guide to Bicycle Helmets

Just the mention of the word helmet can start a spirited debate even among fellow cyclists. Some think you’re a fool to ever ride without one. Some think the requirement to wear a helmet creates a culture of victim blaming in accidents. Someone gets run over and your hear “well he wasn’t wearing a helmet.” We need to make our roads and pathways safe enough to avoid these types of accidents, but crashes do happen, and helmets definitely provide protection from head injuries. That can’t be debated.

We certainly recommend you wear one, but how do you choose? There’s hundreds of different helmets on the market, so here is a guide to purchasing the right helmet for you.

Design

The first thing you’ll have to decide on is the style: Road, Mountain, or Multi-Sport.

Road helmets are usually the lightest weight, most ventilated, and most aerodynamic. They’re also likely the most expensive, but I’ve found that with a quality road helmet you can hardly tell you’re wearing one at all.

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Mountain helmets are designed to ventilate better at lower speeds (some say they’re a bit noisier at the higher speeds associated with road riding). They also provide more coverage to the back of the head, and almost always come fitted with a visor.

mountain-helmets

Multi-Sport helmets use a similar design to classic skateboard helmets. They’ve become wildly popular with commuters and urban riders. They’re usually less ventilated, but many (not all) are made to meet both the CPSC safety standard for bicycles and the ASTM F1492 standard for skateboards and inline skates.

multi-sport-helmets

Fit

A properly fitting bike helmet is extremely important. Most helmets have an adjustment in the back for fine tuning a snug fit, but make sure you purchase the size appropriate for your noggin. Helmets will be available in Small, Medium, and Large. Check with the specific manufacturer for their size recommendation.

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Turn clockwise to tighten, counter-clockwise to loosen.

You want to tighten that adjustment so the helmet is snug, but doesn’t cause any pain. A common mistake with beginner cyclists is allowing the helmet to slide back onto the back of the head. Make sure it is level and protecting your forehead as well. Having the strap adjusted properly can help with this, and will also keep your helmet from coming off in the event of a crash.

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Cold Weather: Liners and Covers

Ventilation is your best friend in summer, but when the temperature drops you want to keep your head warm and dry. Some multi-sport helmets have removable liners for winter (they even come down to cover the ears!).

For road or mountain helmets, covers are available which block the vents, and keep rain out.

winter-helmet-and-cover

I often wear a thin fleece hat under my road helmet. It’s thin enough to easily fit underneath, but with fleece material I’ve found it to be adequate for even the coldest days.

When to Replace

In the event that you do find yourself involved in a crash, you should replace your bike helmet. The polystyrene foam a traditional bike helmet is made from is designed to crush upon impact. Even if your helmet appears fine after an crash, it’s time for a new one.

If you manage to stay upright, you should still replace your helmet after about 5 years. Weather, sweat, and UV rays from the sun can break down the foam over time.

No matter what type of helmet you decide on, make sure you wear it.

 

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PeopleForBikes Green Lane Project: Boston

The nation’s leading bicycle advocacy group, PeopleForBikes is implementing the second edition of their Green Lane Project. The program will provide financial, strategic, and technical assistance to build protected bike lanes in 6 new US cities; Atlanta, Denver, Indianapolis, Pittsburgh, Seattle, and Montague’s home town of Boston, MA.

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The proposed bike lanes from the Green Lane Project are all separated from traffic by curbs, planters, parked cars, or posts. The number of bike lanes in Boston has been steadily growing, but truly protected lanes are still few and far between. The project hopes to push these new plans forward in a timely manner, and create safer, more encouraging environment for riders of all skill levels.

This is another great step in the right direction for a city that is certainly making strides in providing better cycling infrastructure. Just a few days ago Boston hosted a meeting to discuss a planned network of bikes lanes that will loop around it’s many historic sites. Mayor Martin Walsh said in a statement on Monday, “Over the next six years, I want to take Boston from one of the best bicycling cities in the country to one of the best in the world. Investing in protected bike lanes is a critical path to that success.”

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Boston has added 82 miles of bike lanes and 1,500 bike racks since 2007. With one of the country’s first bike shares, Hubway poised to expand, and the Green Lane Project now assisting with new bike lanes, Boston is on the cusp of becoming a great cycling city. “Boston has ambitious goals and a strong vision supported by the elected officials and the community. They are poised to get projects on the ground quickly and will serve as an excellent example for other interested cities,” said Martha Roskowski, PeopleForBikes’ vice president of local innovation. We’re known for getting things done quickly around here (yes, my selective memory is ignoring the “Big Dig”), so I’m excited to see what happens next. Bicycle Utopia here we come.

Bostonstraight

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Women Leaders in the World of Cycling

International Women’s Day is this Saturday, March 8th. No better time to recognize the women in this industry who are passionate about cycling and play a major role in the development of cyclists. There’s always been something intriguing about powerful women who make a difference, especially in the cycling industry which is heavily populated by men.

Susi-Velojoy

Photo courtesy of www.velojoy.com

Meet Susi Wunsch, evangelist for cycling lifestyle and the founder of www.velojoy.com. She began her love of bicycles through a local spin class and when she discovered the protected bike lane on New York’s Ninth Ave in 2010, she realized the enormous potential for bikes as a means transportation. Ever since she has been working to make the streets a safer place for cyclists.

Based in NYC, she has written for Momentum magazine, Bicycling magazine, Refinery29.com, and Avenue. Velojoy has loads of interesting and useful information on women in cycling, the New York cycling culture, style, and even tutorials. With a keen eye for design, Velojoy brings an aesthetic to the bike world congruent with high fashion. Susi’s vision is fresh and playful, making biking less intimidating for those looking to get started. Her welcoming smile alone makes me feel better about getting in the saddle and knowing there is a place for me on our city’s streets.

You may have heard of our next featured lady before: Liz Hatch. She’s won the title of most beautiful woman in the peloton for 5 consecutive years, but she’s more than just a pretty face. This girl is as real as they get, and a powerhouse in women’s cycling. Starting in 2006, Hatch began riding to change her messy Miami lifestyle which she says consisted of too many cocktails and not enough success.

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She was starving for something more out of life, and cycling became that niche. She was the founding member of Vanderkitten-Focus Women’s Cycling Team in 2007, and after being released in 2009, raced for the Lotto Ladies team from Belgium. After battling some health issues, Hatch couldn’t fathom putting her new found love of cycling away for life.  After making the right connections and moving forward with the support of her management, she came back stronger then ever in 2013 on the CyclelivePlus-Zannata Ladies Team. Want to see more of this cycling beauty? Check out her feature in Maxim magazine from 2008. Liz Hatch in Maxim

Last but definitely not least, we’re going to take it back to the early days of cycling. Annie Londonderry was a free thinker and independent woman at a time when society did not make that easy. She was the first woman to ever travel the world by bike. She actually started her journey right here in Boston, MA; home of Montague headquarters.

It was the late 1890′s and Annie was ready to impress the world with her brave lifestyle. Anything out of the ordinary for a woman in the 19th century was sure to raise a few eyebrows. Miss Londonderry embraced this, and made sure she was remembered for years to come. She made herself into a riding billboard, carrying advertising banners and ribbons to cities all over the world. She traveled  the world by bike for 15 months, earning $5,000 along the way from her endorsements (no small sum in that time). She did more then prove herself. Upon returning home, she moved her family to New York and began writing for the New York World. “I am a journalist and a new woman, if that term means that I believe I can do anything that any man can do.”

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Here is a photo of Annie before departing Boston, and below, a rendition by Geoffrey Houston which I think does an excellent job of representing the vibrant lifestyle she led. A tribute to her ability to think and act outside the box.

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Image courtesy of Geoffrey Houghton steamfolk.com

Make sure you let the women in your life know they are appreciated this weekend, after all none of you would be here without us! :) Happy riding.

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