It all started very innocently. Unlike my other bikes (and the pre-ownership crush phase) this didn’t come obviously, such as when I started racing (CX, track, road) and I’d search out a bike in a particular category, discarding dozens of similar rivals.
Nope, this was a simple “prop bike” that I intended only to used during the Meet Your (bike) Match party this summer at The HUB in the west village. After taking this beautiful photo I reflexively took it for a spin.
And it was absolutely amazing.
City bikes are in the full bloom of popularity here in New York, spearheaded by the “Dutch Style” bikes and urban functionality inherited from our more cycling friendly European neighbors across the pond. I’ve ridden plenty and understand the mania for Pashley bikes that are big, comfortable, capable of looking pretty with 12 baskets/accessories hanging off of it – while still going pretty fast. Yes, yes. I got it. I understood the value. But I live on the top floor of a walk up in Brooklyn with old shoulder injuries and these classy steel tanks would not make the first question in ‘is it practical’? After all, who cares if it can haul 2 weeks of groceries, allow me to wear long wool skirts and hold a parasol if I couldn’t get it in the door? So while I could write an encyclopedia’s worth of comparisons between brands, styles, etc. I never really took any of it seriously. When I won the lottery and was able to move to Europe again, I promised to take better notes on the subject instead of dismissing them as a class of bicycles reserved for women with way better jobs than myself.
But that’s when I met the Abici. It was fast. It handles like a performance bike. The details and geometry are gorgeous. And it’s light. I’m so in love. Someday we’ll be together. In NYC you can test ride the abici bikes at: The HUB in the west village or Adeline Adeline in Tribeca. That’s how classy they are, you can’t just go to a regular bike shop, you’ll need one with fashion credentials. Adeline Adeline’s custom bikes are designed with Kate Spade (including the matching bags) and they’re abici produced in Kate Spade’s grass green color. Only after my fever was near madness did I look up the model: The Grandturismo Donna -of course! My favorite is the matte black. (hint hint, nudge, nudge)
There’s some other “classic” 1950′s inspired colors: cream, pistachio green, grey (very chic), olive and this absolutely hideous purple that looks good in the color swatch and but like a beloved 1980′s cartoon for girls vomited all over it in real life. Most normal size adults (like myself) will fit the 56 frame, but if you’re particularly short (it’s ok!) they’ve perfectly shrunk the bike to fit petite riders. This was extremely disconcerting to me as I was able to go back and test ride what appeared to be the same bike, but even lighter! Sadly I had that “circus bear on a unicycle” experience that put me off the idea of sizing down to save an extra pound/couple inches in the nightly struggle up the stairs to my apartment.
On the abici homepage you’re led to this beautiful layout of bicycle paint jobs inspired directly by Pantone. It’s so beautiful, you wind up thinking that everything these people do must be divinely inspired.
A few clicks deep, however and some rather hilarious 2nd tier products pop up:
A track bike that’s sorta like that famous 1980′s one, but this just looks like it’s melting. Even the olympic color range just looks kinda off. ok, ok. Maybe it’s my monitor. Should I bother to mention the handlebars, flat pedals or breaks? I guess Italian teenagers need a domestic response to the Langster, too.
Then I found these:
And while I have to admit that I want them all desperately, (hey, at least I don’t collect cats) there’s no more information available, no detail images, no poetic and powerful descriptions or component blurbs. Just these amazing, insane things that I am only able to admire on a website. Is the Velocino as uncomfortable to ride as it looks? Can I really use it as a pasta strainer?