Monday, December 29, 2014

2014 Rewind

Step-through frame is my cats meow. What is your ideal bike?
I began 2014 evaluating what I require from The Ideal Bicycle, one that suits my particular style of riding. In the fall, I finally accept the Ross Mount Saint Helens on her own terms and treat the bicycle to decent tires.

I share my annual Blog Love list - those chroniclers of bike lore I like to celebrate every year. As some authors fall to the wayside, there are new, enthusiastic writers and photographers who enter the blogosphere.

In March I don woolies and warmers, to start the Errandonnee challenge. Also, I start a Tumblr blog for a marketing class: Upcycled Bike Bags. You might say, the subject's right up my alley.

My husband and I present our 2013 GAPCO slideshow to the community.

With an intensely cold winter, bike commuting to work starts in April, one month later than usual. Weekend rides are shining examples that Lake Champlain and its tributaries are slow to thaw.

I am proud of our children's acceptance of biking to friend's houses.
I've decided to not place my passion for pedaling upon our children, insisting instead that our boys ride for transportation. It is having a positive effect.

One satisfactory turnout in the women's ride series: a ride on the causeway.
In the summer I went on a mission to get more women on bikes by offering socially inspired rides. I didn't anticipate such a low turn out. Further thoughts resulted in How to Create More Bike Commuters. In 2015 I plan to research, revise, and offer a more diverse ride series.

My husband circles past me onto the Golden Gate Bridge.
We go on very few family rides these days—we have teenagers—so this ride was extra special and had surprising magic en route. Also, riding over the Golden Gate Bridge as a foursome kicked off our western vacation in high style.

A revitalized Peugeot UO 14.
A year for lots of wrenching.
I finished updating the Peugeot UO 14. It's now a zippy errand bike.

Turns out, this Peugeot was constructed just over the border from us in Canada.
I put together a commuter bike for our 15-year-old son. Side benefit: another 1980's bike is re-introduced to the mainstream. The Peugeot St. Laurent Express's two-tone color scheme sets this bike apart from the masses.

Franklin county farmland in early morning light.
Bike overnights rock!
2014 was another banner year: I completed 3 bike overnights. I asked for a birthday overnight and my family scrambled and helped it become reality. Have you ever seen the sun rise with pristine lake views from a peninsula campsite? Hazen's Notch/Lake Carmi's ride satisfied my appetite for fall colors while Tour de Ticonderoga makes me question why I often do solo adventures. With an adaptable and fun-loving companion, bike overnights can be an interesting and often hilarious experience.

During a relatively warm and dry October and November, I completed the Coffeeneuring Challenge, plus I explored the Intervale well into chilly December.

Again, I fell short of my 3000 mile annual goal, but it bothers me less and less—this being the second year in a row. Healing from a recent leg injury, I've come to realize my happiness stems more from individual accomplishments rather than miles traveled. In that regard, 2014 was a spectacular ride!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Holiday Cheer - Decorate the Penny Farthing

Neighbors hang flags to celebrate holidays and their favorite football team. My sister-in-law accessorizes a metal sailboat on the wall above her fireplace. And I decorate the big wheeled bike that hangs in a protected area just outside our front door. In the spring I tuck a plastic flower in the spokes; in fall I placed a fake oak leaf, and for the holidays: tree trimmings with velvet-like red bow. The more I ponder the possibilities the more I realize the penny farthing's potential as a bike lover's wall art dream. With multiple attachment points, I could get carried away: put streamers on the handlebars, weave ribbons in circles, hang an ornament or even lights—what fun!

Does anyone else have a bicycle fixture that gets gussied up throughout the year?

Sunday, December 21, 2014

When Holiday Shopping is Quicker by Bike

I daresay my commute was faster, plus anxiety-free compared with drivers waiting in long lines!
I've made peace with the inevitable winter transition: walking for exercise when road conditions are dangerous. Three bikes are stored; one remains in the garage to appease me for those unforeseen dry, windless, winter moments, It helps that we live within 20 minutes walk to three shopping districts; I can still leave the car at home and accomplish errands on foot. It's a winter regimen that satisfies both body and soul.

But interestingly, I realized I'd spent two hours on foot the other day and was running out of time to hoof it across town to purchase one remaining holiday gift. With sidewalks now dry, I grabbed my bike and rode an easy mile past heavy traffic, sticking to safer sidewalk (a notorious area for automobile congestion), complete my errand, and head home.

There may be other excursions where winter riding may win above all else. For that simple reason, I'll keep one bike easily accessible during the cold months.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Beach Riding and Exploration

Is this shoreline rideable, I wonder?
I suppose I was feeling smug. Along with desiring to ride through the cold plus wearing thick mittens and praising the balaclava, I felt ready to tackle anything.

Lake Champlain's water level is still unusually low for this time of year, creating beautiful glass-like icy conditions on the shoreline. There are vast stretches of sandy beach too, tempting and luring me off the asphalt path. I negotiate twigs and fallen leaves to arrive at water's edge.

I dreamed of riding through tundra-like conditions: firm sand with rideable pockets of shallow, breakable ice.

However, the reality was my 2" wide tires were no match against sharp clam shells, a hazard I hadn't anticipated.

I turned around almost as soon as I started, unwilling to risk a flat in 20F temperatures, but not before encountering a web of stumps, visible above current lake level, creating a tentacle-like twisted maze, like art hovering above the sand.

I'm reminded that curiosity fuels our wanderlust. Taking one step in that direction: turning down a road never ridden, a trail never taken, may not divulge what you expect, but something just as satisfying: surprising, hidden gems.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

In Praise of the Balaclava

When it's below 30F, nothing retains head heat like a balaclava.
I misplaced my neck gaiter thingy that I'd normally stretch over my head, which fits comfortably inside my helmet, so I grabbed the next best thing—or so I thought—my son's balaclava. The sizing was a bit snug, but I'm sold on it's design to cover my face and neck! I'll have to unearth my old balaclava—one I've had for 30 years —and adapt it (if I recall it had extra material that formed a widow's peak, partially blocking my vision) for use on the bike.

Between windproof mittens, a balaclava, and Ugg-type boots, I'm learning how to extend my riding season.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Turkey - Riding in Ataturk's Shadow

Follow New Posts in the Around The World series on Mondays. 
Click here for the Introduction.

Goat herds, wide valleys, and evidence of Western civilization's influence (note the Pepsi sign) are common sights as we navigate Turkey's back roads.

Wednesday, November 9 - 31 miles

We leave the pansiyon early, head south and are walloped with headwinds. However, it feels good to be back on our bicycles. It's funny, but home is on two wheels, wherever we roll. After I fix a flat, we keep our spirits up as rain showers – a first in Turkey – threatens to beat us down. A roadside shelter made of rushes becomes a lunch sanctuary. I surmise it's shelter for goats while Andy claims it's a makeshift produce stand.

Every small community proudly displays serious-looking portraits of Ataturk, father of Turkey. His prominent face, dark eyed with bushy brow, graces their currency, bus shelters, stamps, and posters in restaurants. He was a general in WWI, defending Constantinople (Istanbul) from Allied attempts pushing into northern Turkey. I also overheard that any verbal slander towards Ataturk, even today, is cause for being thrown in jail. As with other interesting trivia, I mentally note this information for further research upon our return home. The more we travel, the more I want to know.

I struggle up a long hill, already gaining 1000 feet, when the pain in my gut (our diet lacks sufficient fiber) causes me to dismount and push my bicycle the remaining yards up to the summit. I am in tears. The road surface is rough asphalt, wearing as much on my morale as my indigestion, which is only alleviated by walking.

We coast into a large agricultural valley planning to find accommodation so I can rest, but Soke is an overwhelming city of 50,000 citizens. A choking thick sand cloud rises house-high while horse drawn carts, automobiles, bicycles, scooters honk, whiz around us, dodging parked vehicles. We concentrate on keeping a straight line. “Hello, hello!” pedestrians shout. We smile and respond “Merhaba!” but I am not in the mood to stop and converse. We consult a few pansiyons but they are full or too expensive. I start to feel better so we head out of town; we will make do with tenting if needed.

Later the sky looks ominous. In Gullubache we haggle with a pansiyon owner and secure lodging, complete with breakfast for 400,000 Lira. It is near Priene, another historic site. Over dinner we discuss our coastal route towards Greece's Isle of Rhodes and wonder about current news: Turkey and Greece are at serious odds over fishing territory. Turkey wants to expand their rights to 6 miles offshore, which impacts Greek islands situated close to Turkey. It seems like an age old problem, this animosity between the Greeks and the Turks. We can only hope this recent escalation is only verbal. Rain fell while we prepared dinner and thunder and lightening continued all night. I was happy to be indoors.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

I Want to try a Fat Bike!

As a family, we were excited to attend Global Fat Bike Day, plop down 20.00 a head to demo bikes, eat food, and enjoy a bonfire. It sounded like a great opportunity to enjoy quality family time outdoors.

But mother nature had other plans. As rain, sleet, and snow are falling outside, creating dangerous riding conditions, the event has been postponed to tomorrow, Sunday. Forecast is for weather dropping into the teens, which hopefully means we'll actually have snow to ride on.

I'll get out my snow pants, Sorel boots, down parka, and use hand warmers. I may look like the female counterpart to the Michelin man, but I can't pass this opportunity to try something totally different. Here's hoping my family feels the same.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Desiring to Ride Through the Cold

Once in a blue moon wait for train maneuvers at Burlington's Electric's wood-fired generating plant.
Train delivers wood chips twice a day.
As the days get shorter, landscape turns grey, and colder days set in, I find it odd that for the first time I'm choosing to ride a bike for exercise in place of long walks around city streets. There are two reasons why: I've learned to dress accordingly to extend my riding season plus driving a car is simply something I abhor - at present I only drive to work. There will come a time when driving and walking are necessary to get errands done in winter, but for now, I still vote for two-wheeled commutes.

Intervale kale farm. Owners must be bike aficionados; notice bike frame supporting sign.
Cruising on trails, far from asphalt, crowds and normal walking range, I experience up close and personal things I don't even notice the rest of the year. The adage "can't see the forest for the trees" is suddenly the exact opposite. With trees stripped of foliage one can see through the trees and locate three squirrels at a time, scampering away from my wheel, shooting up tree trunks. Birds roost in trees; my presence scares chattering flocks to leapfrog from tree to tree ahead of me.

Deeper into kale farm (I ride the field perimeter) I find bike forks stuck in stump. Stacked wood is  ready for later bonfires?
 I pedal by a rusted automobile sunk door-deep into the earth.

Near the fire pit, a pile of junked bikes.
Riding when it's 30F has become a visceral challenge. Long underwear beneath blue jeans, thick windproof gloves, scarf, headband, and lightweight insulated jacket are generally enough to keep me warm. But barely. If I stop too long, or snap too many photos, requiring bare hands, my fingers quickly grow cold. I've learned to keep moving.

Drawn to the trails in the Intervale.
I could overdress, start out with many layers, discard as I go. In some respects that would suit my often frigid body temperature much better. Yet, I've come to appreciate the challenge of moving as fast as my feet can turn the pedals, building core heat that eventually radiates to my fingers. Or momentarily dismount, lift my bicycle over a log, or push up a too steep incline, pumping blood back into stiffened feet.

New bike path surface complete with striped lanes
Until the roads are dicey, I choose to ride.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

New Tires, a Wheel, and Tootling Through a Frozen Landscape

I'm pleased to have gumwall tires back on this bicycle.
Deciding to cherish the Ross Mount Saint Helens has made upgrading decisions an easier process. The bike needed new tires. Instead of worrying about needlessly spending money on a bicycle I wasn't sure I'd keep, I can now rest assured that quality components will enhance my joy on the Ross for years to come. I replaced two year old Kenda whitewalls with wide Panaracer Pasellas. I loved the cushiony comfort these supple tires provided on the skinny wheeled Peugeot and recently discovered there is a 26"x 1.75" width version.* This tire choice also allows for higher tire pressure.

Motivation equals doing what you can to save
and fine tune a much-loved bicycle.

At the same time I wanted to resurrect the original rear wheel. Unable to deal with additional maintenance when the axle had broken—gosh has it really been two years?—I used an extra wheel I'd stashed for just such an occasion. The plus side: it was quick release. The downside: it lacked a lower geared freewheel. However, it got the Ross immediately running—important then. This time around I found the courage and patience to rethread axle components (kept in a labeled plastic bag) onto another axle (also found in a box).

With snow in the mountains, a dusting in the valley can't be too far behind.
Of course, I tested my handiwork, exploring a new dirt road. Despite hunters prowling this time of year, the views were spectacular.

Later, I kept to "posted" trails behind Colchester high school, meeting only walkers with dogs.

On another outing, I was drawn again to the Intervale. Icy puddles and frosted grass was a sign of colder weather to come.

I topped out on Ethan Allen Park for pristine views of Lake Champlain and beyond to the snowy Adirondacks. The air is especially clear in November.

Delightful marble slabs are perfect for picnicking—during the warmer months, of course.
And yet, one more jaunt onto the Causeway. Ice had formed along the shoreline, nearly stretching to an island.

The sculpture fairies have been at it again.
The "new" wheel and tire performed well. But the chain complained, grumbling and grinding. Sure enough, when I consulted the maintenance log and measured for chain stretch, it had been—egad!—five years since I replaced the chain.

I found an easy remedy. Because labor was inexpensive, I made a wise decision to let my local shop swap the chain. Some things are definitely worth paying for, especially since I was already en route, riding, racing against an impending snowstorm.

A new chain made all the difference. I squeezed in a 10 mile ride, which ended with fat snowflakes falling, accumulating later into eventually 6" of snow. You can bet I skedaddled homeward after completing my last errand.

*I am waiting for additional tire to arrive so I can swap out the front tire.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Where are 1980s Step-Through Mountain Bikes for Tall Women?

I didn't ask to fall in love with the step-through bicycle or stylish peplum shirts, or flowery panniers for that matter. Chalk it up to middle aged wisdom or culmination of my bike mind and body. In recent years, I've blossomed on this near perfect Ross frame. I've finagled handlebars, stem, and seat positions, colored her imperfections with Sharpies, and swapped rear wheels when her axle broke because I couldn't be without her for an extended period of time. To top it off, I'm now referring to the Ross in pronoun form.

If that isn't bike love, I don't know what is.

And for several years I've searched for a larger frame—same 1980s vintage—because 19" is a tad small, overly apparent when photographed in my favorite hot weather cycling sundress.

Except, I now believe I'm chasing something that doesn't exist.

The 1970s held a plethora of large framed affordable women's (or step-through) bicycles. Schwinn Suburbans and Raleighs come to mind, with frames up to 23", suitable for a  range of heights. Today, I see a resurrection of these bicycles on our streets. However, they are skinny-wheeled queens.

But, try finding a large framed—over 19"—step-through mountain bike. Sure, there are plenty of diamond frames, but as I dug deeper I discovered that specifically when Ross offered a line of Cascade mountain name-inspired models: Mount Whitney, Mount Hood, and Mount Saint Helens, only one model—Mount Saint Helens—had a step-through frame, and only in 19" size. I presume other brands held similar offerings.

So, what happened? Probably, the diamond frame was also marketed to women under the guise that the style is stronger for off road use. Perhaps there was a glut of bikes—I recall an overwhelming array of models at the shop when I chose my Trek Antelope—yes, a diamond frame.

My Ross step-through has turned out to be a perfect city commuter bike. Outfitted with chunky tires. racks, fenders, water bottle cage, I can ride on easy single track, city streets, or haul groceries—all without lifting creaky hips over a tall top tube.

With today's rise in commuter cycling, and shucking the ruse of step-through frame styles as suitable only to women (thank you Dutch cyclists), one can find great affordable fat-tire commuters. Look at the Breezers, Public Bikes, Civia, etc.,

As for me, I'm appreciating the Ross more and more. She has bomb-proof frame with mountain bike roots. She will be worth updating for years to come.

So what if I look like I'm perched on a Raleigh Twenty?

Let's face it. I won't always be on the tall side. Perhaps the Ross Mount Saint Helens will actually fit—at about the time we'll be grey-haired empty nesters, purging even (gasp!) our fleet of bicycles. That might be the impetus to finally get my dream bike, the one that'll carry me into retirement and beyond, one I hope to ride and tour on for years to come.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Silly Races on Kids' Bikes

Bikes are corralled outside the Shelburne Farms Coach Barn. We partake of Local Motion volunteer appreciation festivities : art show, clay-fired cooked pizza, live music, and thankfully, hot drinks on this blustery raw day. It's too cold and wild to expect our children to ride nearly 20 miles round-trip to the event.

The wind is, literally, howling off the lake, but a hilariously fun event is unfolding: adults and children riding tiny bikes around a short course - pump track style.

Before the final race I squat on a bike, realize I can't possibly turn the cranks while seated. I stand, wobble, then get the gist of riding, somewhat. I round each obstacle, fumble over wooden boards, weave through cones, and barely manage to get back to the start. I drop the bike and stretch. My thighs hurt.

And yet, I discovered our youngest boy took to it like ducks to water. No surprise there. He's still riding to school, much to my dismay, even on snowy and drizzly mornings.

"I'm going to ride through the winter," he said.

I'm about to say "no way", fearing slippery roads. My husband once broke his hip, wheels whipped out, falling on black ice. Our son has options. He can walk or hop on a convenient bus.

"Riding's faster, Mom. Quicker than the bus."

I can't argue with his reasoning. Riding bikes gives us independence and versatility. When two wheels are transportation, you can do almost anything. This son gets it.

I was telling our neighbor about how our boy doesn't feel the cold. Loves to ride. Loves snow. Which led to a conversation about fat bikes and winter riding. Pretty soon the neighbor comes knocking on our door with studded tires in hand. They are holdovers from before he got his own "fattie."

"Here, let [my son] try then out. Borrow them for a while."

So, guess who's wishing for snow to accumulate? As for me, I'll take a deep breath. And keep my anxiety and fears to myself. Let the little guy blossom, all on his own.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Coffeeneuring 2014 - Seventh Cup

I checked the Yellow Pages before bundling up, setting out on my bike. Stumped for ideas for another local coffee shop to fulfill Day 7 of the Coffeeneuring Challenge, I was reminded of two establishments that I hadn't patronized for a couple years. As it turns out, I didn't end up in either of those places. En route to browse a newly opened L.L. Bean store, I remembered the Blue Bird kiosk. I pass it all the time. I'm just not a frequent customer, so it remained on the periphery of my coffee-seeking radar, and overlooked until now.

The cappuccino was delicious. I drank it, standing beside the kiosk window, engaging the young man inside the storefront. The tiny booth stays open all winter, offers sandwiches, creemees in summer, and your pick of espresso drinks. It's a perfect downtown location, capturing tourists and locals alike. Oddly, they use Chicago based Intelligentsia coffee and not any of our delicious local roasters. 

Hilarious accouterments in a kale field.
Charged on caffeine, I visit LL Bean, and continue on a loop through the Intervale. The single track trails call to me at certain times of the year, especially in the Autumn when the air is crisp, frogs aren't kamikaze-jumping in front of my wheels, and trails are often dry.

I was having such a great time that I extended my ride onto a trail that I usually avoid when I'm alone. Burlington, like many cities has a homeless population. People camp in parks, beaches, anywhere they can live undetected and undisturbed. Authorities leave the homeless alone unless there's a disturbance. Even so, I'm wary but took a chance anyway as I turned onto the detour. I didn't come across anyone living near the trail, thankfully, and I immensely enjoyed riding in the woods. So much so, that once I meandered again into the open field, I continued to avoid the main trail, instead easily riding a grassy, nearly obscure path (I've skied this in winter) around the Intervale Farms. I stopped, laughing at someone's Halloween decoration: three nude manikins, seeming rising from the earth, a pumpkin perched as a head on one figure.

There is still leafy color, you just need to look down.

The emerald ash borer - a pest that's eating our trees.
The Intervale changes throughout the year. I've come across birders, hikers with dogs, a few bike riders, and fortunately mostly older humans. Only once have I witnessed school-aged kids walkingit's far from most schoolsand to be fair, it's even a stretch to find a homeless encampment this far from the city center. There are closer wooded lots for shelter, which puts the homeless within walking distance, where they're offered two hot meals a day.

I never know what I'll find along the trail.

This beautiful tree has three main trunks.
And speaking of woodland, I came across this grassroots effort on the waterfront trail. Squeezed between railroad tracks and boat access parking lot, a section of paved trail has been difficult to negotiate for years. The asphalt zigzags around trees, crosses rail tracks at a dangerous angle, and is very narrow. Slated as part of this fall's trail renovation, and as such will be widened for users' safety, there is an appeal to save a huge cottonwood tree that's, unfortunately, smack in the way. It's also part of the problem; the tree's roots have eroded pavement, creating a hazard for bicycles.

At the same time I understand the concern to save the tree. Removing the cottonwood will leave a section of trail without tree cover, a place that lacks foliage to begin with.

Curiosity, plus it seems appropriate (considering the purpose of this outing was to drink coffee), I photographed Coffee Enterprises building. It's in the Lakeside district, a slight detour off the waterfront path. I stumbled onto the building a week ago, and was reminded that in the past the business was located close to downtown, a place I frequently passed where luscious aromas once filled the air. Internet research reveals the company provides coffee consulting and marketing. Coffee Enterprises also has expert testing analysis equipment onsite. Who knew such a business was located in Burlington? 

And with the final outing I'm done with coffeeneuring orat the very leastdone with logging my coffeeneuring exploits. Call it what you want, but I'm far from finished riding my bicycle this fall. Or done with drinking coffee. As a matter of fact I 've earned a free espresso drink at Panera (part of their club). It's not a local business, nor does it require a long bike ride to get there. I can even walk. But, with sunshine and lacking slippery roads so far this fall, you can bet I'll be out on my bike, stopping for at least one more cup of joe.

Just the facts:
The Place: Blue Bird Coffee Stop kiosk
Date: Monday, November 10
Drink: Cappuccino
Observation, Bike Friendliness: Pretty good cappuccino. I can roll my bike up to the kiosk and order something hot—perfect quick stop.
Total Miles: 10

Monday, November 10, 2014

For the Avid Golfer and Cyclist

The things I encounter on the Internet... It seems there's a bike for everything, even golfing. Introducing The Golf Bike. The impetus behind the design: incorporate two favorite passions, cycling and golf.

There's something simple and alluring about this bike, a cross between small wheeled folder and functional hauler. Available in bright green or orange.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Coffeeneuring 2014 - Sixth Cup

I met a friend for coffee and breakfast at South End Kitchen. The business appears to be hosted by Lake Champlain Chocolates and provides cooking classes, including making chocolate "from bean to bar", home to Blue Bandana Chocolate Maker, and part of Vermont's growing localvore scene. A century ago cows ruled the landscape. Now, craftsmanship is all about specialty products and small farming. It's certainly a boon for our palettes.

To get back to coffeeneuring, South End Kitchen offers interesting fare for lunch and dinner, but a limited menu for breakfast. So, egg sandwiches it was on a chilly morning! Breakfast was just okay—the English muffin might have been homemade, just over toasted for my taste. The cappuccino was nice and beautifully presented, and tasty enough, yet doesn't stack up against Scout & Company's dark, rich flavor.

Warmed and satiated, I said goodbye to my friend and headed along the waterfront. I was pleased to discover the path has been repaved—a two mile segment is under renovations this fall. I'm especially delighted with addition of wider lanes and yellow striping. Cyclists detour to rejoin the path.

But a mile later, I was deterred by more construction. Rats! Lingering foliage beckons me onward, yet signage says culverts are out, with passage impossible. Indeed, a dump truck backs down the bike path beyond the barrier.

I made do with a side trip to North Beach, home of last year's first coffee shop without walls adventure. Blue sky and lake views attract me year round, but are often best in the Autumn when beach parking is closed to automobiles.

Fence line is where bike path resides. Tunnels provide access to campground,
North Beach, high school, and roadway to Burlington's North End.
There are three options when leaving North Beach: bike path, square auto route entrance, or culvert covered pedestrian path.

Guess which way I went, just because?

Just the facts:
The Place: South End Kitchen
Date: Monday, November 3
Drink: Cappuccino
Observation, Bike Friendliness: There is bike parking in front. I was disappointed with breakfast, though I wouldn't hesitate to try other coffee drinks or their specialty chocolate concoctions.
Total Miles: 9

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Faded Bell Citi Helmet

Helmet is beginning to fade.
I was attracted to the Bell Citi helmet because of it's retro look. It spoke "commuter" to me. And was bright yellow in a world of predominately white helmets. It was also unusual, somewhat motorcycle cop-style, especially with the black brim. Another attraction: back side sports a stiff loop for clipping a light, a feature I often use. My husband had been wearing the Bell Citi for a year and needing a replacement, I tried on his helmet, couldn't locate the style locally, then ordered my own online.

I wished the helmet was offered in various colors, especially orange.
Two and a half years later the helmet has begun to fade. It's no longer bright yellow, but more lemon colored, specifically on top. For an otherwise brilliant design, I'm disappointed with this aspect. I've owned a bright yellow Bell helmet before, which held up for years, including traveling around the world. That helmet never lost its color.

I won't be replacing the helmet anytime soon as it still performs its primary function - protecting my scull. It is, however, a disappointment - not what I expected from Bell.