Tillie & Coco

two ladies, two bicycles, two hemispheres

Category: Electra

Spring cleaning

by Alacoque

Hi Tillie & folks,

this morning while I was sitting in the backyard after our morning walk, and Willa was rolling around enjoying her nappy-free time, I looked around and realised spring has sprung early. Even my water lily is breaking the surface in our fountain.

 

 

Of course course spring means spring cleaning and I thought it was high time I pulled my bike out in preparation for her new baby seat. Camilla, my lovely bicycle, was dirty. Really dirty. She was covered in grime and cobwebs. In fact she’d become a real spider hotel.

 

 

 

Lets take a closer look at that spider shall we? I still can’t believe it was living in my fake flowers!

 

 

So I evicted the spiders and dusted the whole bike down before giving it a good old scrub and left it to dry in the sun. It’s already sparkling and ready for it’s first spring ride this weekend. Here’s a little bell before and after:

 

Coco  xx

Baby on board

by Alacoque

Dear Tillie,

wondering where I’ve been of late? Well I’ve been rather busy with this little lady, allow me to introduce Miss Wilhelmina Rose!

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Photos by Lucy Leonardi Photography 

I’ve been using four wheels rather than two lately and whilst pushing the pram can be lovely I’m aching to get on my bike. My dream is to purchase a Christiania cargo bike.

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They’re brilliant- you can fit multiple kids and the shopping in the front. They even make adapters so you can attach your car capsule/pram seat for babies that are too small to sit up on their own! Of course one is out of my price range at the moment but I am saving my pennies! They can be purchased in Australia from psbikes in Melbourne.

In the meantime I’m going to purchase a baby seat for my Electra Amsterdam. I like the look of the Bobike mini+. It’s a front mounted seat (great for chatting to baby as you ride) and it attaches to the bike’s handlebars. This is important as my bike doesn’t have a cross bar which is what many front mounted baby seats need to be attached. It also comes in cream (same colour as my bike) with cool retro spots!

ImageOf course Willa will also need a helmet. Baby helmets aren’t that easy to come by, especially ones without hideous designs. Nutcase has a ‘Little Nutty’ range. I like this ‘Star Bright’ one 

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but of course this ‘Modern Dots’ style would really compliment the Bobike seat!

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This helmet by Limar appears to be lighter but I’m not a fan of their current designs. Too cheesy.

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Of course I’ll have to go in store to check these products out in person. Ultimately it’s about what works for Willa and myself!

Hopefully we will be all decked out soon enough. I can’t wait to take my darling daughter for a ride along the foreshore!

Love,

Coco xox

Ride To Work Day Sydney

by Alacoque

Dear Tillie,

today was Ride To Work Day and to celebrate the City of Sydney Council put on a free breakfast for folks who commute to the city by bike. I rolled up on my retro Electra and locked up with the hundreds of other bikes.

My Electra kinda stands out from the sporty pack

I was surprised by the huge turnout. I guess when cyclists whizz by one by one you don’t really get a sense of just how many there are. Unlike cars which sit still in traffic jams, allowing you to count them as you ride by. Unfortunately it was a lycra heavy event, which in itself is ok, but I was made to feel a bit uncomfortable and was asked (felt like interrogated) if I had in fact ridden when I was lined up for my free hot chocolate. It put a bit of a dampener on the event for me. The lovely Sarah Wilson got up on stage at one point and pointed out that yes, she had ridden here despite being gorgeously kitted out and sans lycra. Made me feel all warm and fuzzy.

The breakfast included coffee, pastries, bananas(!), and juice. There were also physiotherapists available to check your posture on your bike, and bike mechanics offering free tune ups. I loved the band! What a great start to the morning!

The rest of the day was also beautiful. I couldn’t help but share this gorgeous plant I snapped a photo of at lunch. Spring is well and truly here!

Love Coco xx

Kate & Nic Part One: Day Out

by Tillie

Tillie and Coco are delighted to present a two-part special guest post from Kate and Nic. Kate lives in London and Nic in Auckland. They met at whilst studying for their bachelors in town planning, and both work in the profession on opposite sides of the globe – Kate in transport and Nic in urban design. Part One is Kate to Nic.

Kate rides an Electra Amsterdam. She says, “I chose it because I already have an Electra and really like the riding style.  I’ve had the Electra townie in raspberry for 7 years and its starting to rattle a bit.  I took the opportunity to upgrade to an even brighter, more lovely Electra.  I don’t have a name for it yet as I’ve only had it a month and am not sure yet what its name is, I quite like its model name, Tulip, as it is such a pretty tulip yellow.  I love the fact that people constantly want to talk to me because of it- it’s better than babies or puppies as a conversation starter!  It’s very practical with the built-in lights, skirt guard and the luggage rack, which is a nice change to the Electra townie where I ended up loading so much on the handle bars that the bike dipped to the left a bit.  And it’s a true cruiser, hard to get much speed up so it really gets me to relax and take things slowly.”

Hi Nic,

On Saturday the bf and I decided to make the most of the lovely weather, because lets face it we don’t get that much of it in London, and take the bikes out for a spin. We headed out from our place in Queens Park, and down the leafy streets of Maida Vale. We have a good route now where we can avoid a lot of the worst traffic, although the bf prefers to take the main roads when he’s not encumbered by me. I love the red brick mansions that line the streets near Little Venice, not far from where you used to live. Perhaps if we won lotto we could move in there! Seeing as the weather was so lovely we decided to take a detour and have a ride through Regents Park. It’s so pretty there at the moment with loads of lush blooms and the leaves just starting to turn.

By this time we were starting to get a bit hungry so decided to stop off at Kaffiene on Great Titchfield Street. There are a lot of kiwi accents in there so I presume there is some kind of Antipodean link. We had ourselves some gorgeous flat whites, which we are starting to find more and more of as the Australian and New Zealand cafes infiltrate London. When I first moved here, eight years ago (gasp!), good flat whites were fairly thin on the ground. We shared a delicious fig and goat cheese salad and a quiche. I say shared, but really I spent so long faffing with the camera that he managed to get a bit of a head start. I made sure I snapped a picture of Kaffiene for you as I left. So cute seeing people perched outside sipping their coffees. I had to stop on Argyll Street so took a picture of the mighty Liberty Department store, only my favourite department store in London.

We rode through Soho, dodging crazy pedestrians, and stopped on Archer Street to shelter from a rain storm. Well, it also happened to be a convenient place to get a gelato from Gelupo so it wasn’t quite a ‘chance’ stop. The bf had a very tasty clementine sorbet, whilst I splurged on ricotta, chocolate and black pepper which was a surprisingly good combination. On the way home we stopped at Waitrose for some dinner provisions. I got a postmodern London shot for you, cannily incorporating a London bus and a London taxi. It was a fab day of cycling and eating, with a well earnt rest on the sofa at the end. I hope you’ve had some lovely rides recently.

America

by tillieandcoco

Hi Coco! Thanks for holding the blog fort in my absence. As you know I have been having a whale of a time in California, which was 1 billion times even more awesome than I’d expected. Of course I had a keen eye on the cycling scene on the West Coast (despite getting around in a very uncool hire car, tsk), and you will be pleased to hear that even in a country built for the automobile, cyclists are a fixture on the roads, and a stylish one at that!

This should have been a photo of a cool guy with an Electra. Instead it’s a sign about Boats. But it is in LA OK?

In Los Angeles cyclists don’t have a great deal of designated space, but they do have cycle-friendly flat roads and ELECTRAS! After three years living in socially reserved London I was really taken aback by how genuinely friendly people were. It was a whole new world of street etiquette. I was walking from Abbot Kinney Boulevard (cool street names much?) back to Marissa’s house, and a very cool guy walking a blue Electra on the pavement smiled at me and said hello! I took a hit from the shyness stick at that point, unfortunately. I wish I’d asked him for a photo! The Sartorialist makes it look so easy.

Lombard Street, San Francisco. The “crookedest” (and best!) street in the world (allegedly)

We drove from LA to San Francisco on Highway One, stopping in four different cities on the way. Santa Barbara warrants particular mention as an urban nerd’s paradise! Its main street has beautiful wide footpaths, comfortable street furniture (with pot plants) and of course plenty of two-wheeled Americana. It was so nice to visit places where cycling is just a normal way to get around.

Comfortable street furniture with pot plants, Santa Barbara

You would expect a city famous for its hills to have no cyclists at all, but actually there were many people cycling in San Francisco. Of course the areas like Russian Hill where you have to park at 90º (and it still feels like the car will roll down the hill) are unsurprisingly cycle-free, in the flatter areas of town it’s a viable option. I saw this lovely bike parked outside the Museum of Modern Art. Love the knitted pole.

Fab orange bicycle, San Francisco

Parts & Accessories

by tillieandcoco

Dear Tillie,

A problem you may not have encountered, seeing as your bike is so awesomely kitted out, is getting accessories to fit and match your bike. Now I love my Electra Amsterdam but I didn’t take into account the difficulty of acquiring parts and accessories when I bought her. See Electra is an American brand and they only make two shipments to Australia a year. That leaves one playing the waiting game and performing lots of weird finger crossing in the hope your local retailer will manage to get the part you’re after. That’s what has happened with my rear rack. Basically I can’t get it here. I tried, they tried, but it just didn’t happen. SO I’ve gone for the alternative- a basic Topeak rack that I am customising for my bike. The other accessory I very much wanted but couldn’t get here (they don’t import them) was skirt guards. I ended up buying them from the online Electra shop, but as they don’t ship to Australia or accept international credit cards I was forced to use a shipping forwarding company called Hop Shop Go. This meant I could get the product here to Sydney but the shipping costs were greater than the skirt guards themselves! And of course they only had them in black.

So that explains why today I spent the morning sanding off layers of paint from my rear rack and sanding on some ‘tooth’ on my plastic skirt guards in order to be spray painted to match my bike. After I had sanded, wiped down and dried my parts I tied them onto my clothesline, laid down a drop sheet and got painting! I used White Knight’s Rust Guard Epoxy Enamel in Cream. It offers ‘superior rust protection’ and is self-priming- very handy!

Now I just have to wait for the bloody things to dry so I can attach them to my bike (so impatient I know!). I was planing on stencilling something on the skirt guards (flowers, sugar skulls, pinup girls perhaps) but I couldn’t decide what and realised it simply meant more time watching paint dry (which is as boring as, well, watching paint dry) so for the moment they will remain plain old cream, but I’m going to keep my eye out for some stickers/decals. If I get inspired in the future I can simply take them off and paint again.

Anyway, what do you think so far?

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