That Year Time

I must apologize for the slowness of posting during these days in this very latest part of 2008. About now each year, FH shuts down shop until the new year passes so that the ladies can put their feet up and enjoy the holidays in a work-free fashion. I happen to be less one digital camera (at my house we have to share and so when the both go in separate directions, well, the camera can't very well be split in two) and I'd like to blame my absent posting on my coinciding inability to capture images.

I trust you are all making New Year's resolutions and preparing excitedly for the Eve tonight, spiking the punch, hanging a disco ball perhaps and timing your playlists. I'm always down for an inspirational tale at times like these. I promise this one will be quick.

On Sunday night, I was talking to my friends from home about what its like biking year round in Wisconsin. They live in Madison and my friend Matt had just got a really sweet new winter time, cycle-friendly jacket and this inspired a general discussion of Wisconsin Winters. Since arriving here two weeks ago, I've pretty much avoided driving at all costs because by now I'm so ill accustomed to slippery roadways that I was sure I'd wreck my little brother's car sooner than I could back out of the driveway. So when we then started discussing biking around on such roads, with banks mounded four feet high from the snow plows and black ice lurking beneath ever-freshened dusts of snow, I decided I'd be similarly terrified to bike in this sort of weather even if I had my own equipment on hand and proper attire. For all I may boast of bravely facing Philadelphia winters, riding in the winter in suburban sprawl is unimaginable to me. Then you'll guess at my astonishment when Matt then mentioned that a friend of his plans to start a messenger company here in Appleton, WI to operate year round serving the city. Remember, today the high temperature should reach 10 degrees Fahrenheit and there's 3 feet of snow on the ground! Very quickly what I thought unimaginable not only occurs in the imagination, but is now intended! I am surprised and shocked by the proposition of cycle messengering in Appleton, WI. In a good way; this tale makes me realize I should open my eyes more, be optimistic and stop patting myself on the back for unconditionally riding through the rain.

As you don your gay apparel, take to heart this story of some people in extreme climates getting out and riding even against what might be called better judgment. If this kid in fact accomplishes a successful company in this, the most unwelcome climate, the rest of us better start aiming higher. Calibrate your goals to a grander scale, call for extremes and make no excuses!

So then, are you ready to tackle 2009? We thought so. Happy new year.

Fabric Horse


By The End of Today

I love projects like this one. Not only because it's Christmas Eve and I'm feeling sentimental, but notice how that fancy camera makes everyone on film so good looking! Even the guy who wishes for more sex. It's like a commercial for humanity or something.

via Oh Joy!


Blinky Bilenky

Yes, yes, its that time of year again. Better get working on some of that homemade egg nog, whiskey and all, because you'll want to be good and ready to sit out in that cold junkyard up in Olney come Sunday to watch a good clean race around some pretty dirty roughage. What could be better to mentally prepare you for all the mild manners of the holidays? Nothing, really. So grab your favorite long johns, some festive brunchtime beverages and head thee to the Bethlehem of Philadelphia, cycle speaking, to catch some action that Santa probably wouldn't attempt in that billowy old sleigh. Sure to be holly jolly sort of holiday.


No More Holiday Orders!

Sorry guys but we have to do it. We officially cannot accept any more orders that need to be delivered in time for the holidays. All orders here on out will be scheduled for production and shipment after the holidays. For Lock Holster orders we apologize for a delay in shipping but we need a vacation. I will be in Ohio for a bit, but will try to ship out some holsters here and there. Keep in mind we will be out of the studio and on relaxation time from next week until the new year. See you in 2009!


One More Reason Japan Is Probably Cooler Than Here.

Seriously, this isn't a future-speculating, robot dominated, science fiction movie with Kristen Bell and Jude Law. This is a WASHINGTON POST NEWS STORY about something that exists in real time and space, right now on the other side of the planet. Meanwhile, we westerners are still locking our bikes to traffic posts and parking meters most of the times. Just another day in the relatively primitive United States of America...

***This is especially apparent after trying for an hour to get the washingtonpost.com player to actually fit into the template of this blog...Sorry! I'm officially giving up.


Issue #2 of Fixed Magazine

If you're into this sort of thing, the second issue of the baby (age-wise, not audience-wise) track culture publication Fixed Magazine hit virtual newsstands...er, work stands on Friday. Somewhere between those pages, you'll find a nice interview with our pal Dustin Klein over at Cadence, newly a Philadelphia-based company. The interview goes further to show that Cadence isn't just the pretty-faced fashion cornerstone of track culture, it's headed by one deliberate and thoughtful boy, who really honors the sub-culture of bicycles with his carefully detailed projects. In the interview, he says:
Since 1999 I have made the conscious decision to live car-free and relish the political and individual effects of this. Once the motor vehicle is out of the equation, you start tobase your life around the bicycle. To me this is beautiful and I love how it affects everything from where you choose to live, to the types of food you eat. To me, bicycles are a physical representation of freedom, and I live my life by it.

The other thing that impressed me was their profile of Freeman Transport, a new operation out of Missoula, MT. Full Disclosure: I want to retire in Missoula someday; Retirement-wise, I think Western Montana is where it's at. But Freeman is doing something really nice, which is make bicycles that are meant for traveling. Around this time of year, and really any traveling time, the thought of visiting a city without a bicycle sounds downright painful. But with airlines now charging even for the regular sized checked baggage, bringing along a regular bike can be just too damn expensive. So anyway, Freeman's whole deal caught my attention because not only is it a really good idea--making folding bikes and fancy bags to carry them in--but their whole image and website is very high end, very quality goods crafted with that age-old romantic, the Traveler in mind. Doesn't it make you just sigh with pleasure? Ah.

Other features in the new Fixed include photo coverage of the 2008 CMWC's in Toronto, a bunch of little kids in London who are winning trick competitions and a huge spread about the making of the recently released Macaframa movie. The magazine is only printed twice a year right now, out of the UK and from the looks of things, on its way. The magazine manages to pack in tons of quality content and mostly, you already patronize and respect the companies doing the advertising, which makes every page enjoyable to read.

I'd say the only misstep is that fixedgearlondon.com ad on page 34-35 that has ONLY ONE LADY pictured next to 19 boys. Not only a Don't, but also statistically sort of busted. On the other hand, bonus points for profiling a girl who rides in Brooklyn.


We canNOT guarantee international shipping for the Holidays

We are officially not accepting anymore International Holiday orders. There is just not enough time to allow for shipping. If you want to purchase a lock holster and you are in the UK, or close to the Uk, please see our list of shops that carry our stuff. You can also contact Richard at Urban Hunter for more info. He has FH stock and will be distributing for us in the Uk.

For all lock holster orders shipping domestically. PLEASE get your order in by Tuesday December 16 if you want the holster by December 24. We ship First Class Mail via USPS and that takes 3-5 days. For all other products, if you need them by Dec 24, we will need your order soon. A rush fee of $10-25 will be asked of you so I can tip our stitchers to stay late filling your order. Our last day of shipping will be Friday December 19. All products other than Lock Holsters will ship out via USPS Priority Mail which takes 2-3 days.

If you are in Philly and want something, just give us a call and we can work it out over the phone. 215.694.9034.

If you are not worried about getting your things before xmas we will be happy to schedule your order for production in January. We take vacation for the time between xmas and new years.



Bicycle Drawn Up

This smelly but nice man gave me this a couple of weeks ago and it was a strange little gift titled "Sign Painting," but a thoughtful one. I mean, I know he had this in his backpack with some other art he'd made, but he gave me this one because he saw me unlocking my bicycle. It's just as lovely a bicycle drawing as I've ever seen, however little it actually resembles the bike that I ride.


Heavy South Street Bridge Traffic this Weekend

How can I be so sure? Because this is the last weekend anyone will be able to cross the South Street Bridge for two whole years! A sad thing, for anyone accustomed to traveling back and forth from South to West Philly. It has long been rumored that the bridge lacks the structural integrity of modern bridges and poses a potential danger without the proposed reconstruction. The closing then, is probably not news, but be sure to give that bridge a proper send off!

For those who know it, the South Street Bridge has long competed with Spring Garden for the most breathtaking means of crossing the Schuylkill. Many a night have I crossed it at dusk, headed into Center City for a night of shenanigans, when the view of the skyline from that bridge has caught the breath in my chest. It's an iconic vista, to be sure. For a while, a crowd of kids used to hang out on the bridge and hassle other people riding by, but even that I sort of looked forward to because it was too, familiar and very of the bridge. It makes me certain that I'm not the only one in tough-guy Philly to have a soft spot.

However pitted and bumpy, the bridge is lighter on traffic than the other four, slowed by the light at the entrance to 76 unlike Walnut and Gray's Ferry and somehow less prone to speeding drivers than the spring garden bridge at night. If you have no other memorial to the crossing planned this weekend, the bicycle coalition has slated a ride at 8:45 am Monday morning, as the bridge closes to traffic at 9:30. The project anticipates disrupting the commuting route for nearly 1,000 cyclists, and I can't imagine that most of them won't take the chance to ride across it one last time.


My Plaid Pony

Following our credo for reuse and penchant for refuse, the ladies of FH sport a good number of vintage ensembles. We all know it's possible to find crazy awesome scores in the bargain bin at Village Thrift in Jersey, but sometimes we all deserve to go into a Vintage store and emerge with a vintage bathing suit in a nice color that actually fits, off the rack. And our very favorite outlet for vintage shopping in Philadelphia is hands down the closet at Plaid Pony, the garage turned living space and vintage depot. Lara, the proprieter of Plaid Pony, converted the auto shop a while back and now their house may as well be plucked from the pages of your favorite magazine. It's seriously that perfect.

From the collection of toasters wallpapering an entire surface of their kitchen to the furniture harvested from a closing mental facility, the place breathes modernism and thoughtful design, creating the perfect gallery for the treasures that Lara collects. How do I know all this? Funny you should ask. Last year Carrie gave me a gift certificate for Christmas and though Lara does most of her vintage business on the internet or through consignment at stores in the area, I managed to get the VIP tour and treatment with my friend Sue one day last spring.

The space has no traditional storefront, but several rooms of the house have been devoted to the business she runs through her website, one for priced items, one for backup, one for housewares and bits and one for decorations and actually doing business in. The former three are packed, packed! full of stuff. If you need further baiting just go look at her website, and imagine that quality of stock but multiply it times at ten. The girl has a treasure TROVE.

Normally, to access Lara's collection, you'd have to go through the website or schedule an appointment, but this weekend is the third annual holiday open house she holds so that everyone gets VIP treatment. Saturday and Sunday this weekend you can go and see her beautiful house and her expansive collection of vintage in person. Hers is one for the ages, I promise you, so if you can manage to hoof it up to Fishtown this weekend, you won't be sorry. A rare glimpse awaits you.


E2 = MC BP

This actually has nothing to do with Einstein, which is good because it's hard to write exponents on the internet. But if you pretend the 2 up there is smaller and higher and then you use your thinking cap and decipher the code BP (Pssst! Brad Pitt!) then you will have solved the equation, leading you to the treasure, to bask in the glory that is the series on PBS called E Squared.

What does Brad Pitt have to do with it? Well apparently in his probably constant efforts to keep up with Angelina's do-gooding, Braddie has lent his voice to narrate this ongoing series on public television about sustainable design and culture. "Woah!" (That's what I first said when I caught it live on tv for the first time.)

This season, the series offers three families of programming: design, energy and transport. Both are shot in the same cinematic, well sound-tracked, crisply pictured style and both are very very good. I write you about it now because the episode featuring Velo Liberte just went up on the website in the transport family. Perhaps you've already collected quite the earful about the great success of the French bicycle sharing program, but even if you are already familiar, you should still be able to appreciate the real spotlight and consideration the idea is given in this brief documentary piece. Especially in light of all the like-minded proposals gaining consideration in cities all over the world, this piece does a great job discussing the pros and cons, the obstacles and the successes of the notion.

Photo from the Crew's documentation of filmmaking.

If you have the time, I highly recommend the other pieces too, as there are several about New Orleans and one about the Federal Building here in San Francisco. They are all listed on the program's website under webcasts. While the series on its own merits makes a great addition to the PBS roster, the program represents a great way that the technology giant AutoDesk has contributed something decidedly un-commercial that is of very high quality. With my soft spot for pretty documentaries and predisposition to this sort of programming, I was an easy target. But since you read this blog, I'm betting you might be too. And to further bait you, even BSNYC had almost entirely nice, however snarky, things to say about the piece.

E2 has no embed! option on their player and the Velib' bit hasn't made it on to youtube yet, so I need you to trust me here and follow the link. They say it will only be available for a week, so you'd better just do it today. Right Now! Ready? 1, 2, 3...Go!

Rush Charges on Holiday orders!!

It has proven to be that time of year again folks. We will be charging rush fees on any orders that need to be received by Hanukkah or Christmas.

Lock holsters will be ok to order with no rush fee. If you need the holster by Dec 19, please place your order by Dec. 11. If you need your holster by Dec 24, please place your order by Dec 17.
There will be no if, ands, or buts. Sorry.

$10 rush fee requested on all utility belts and fannies.
$15 rush fee on all spats
$20 rush fee on all Seatbelt bags.

FOR INTERNATIONAL ORDERS we will need your Lock Holster order by the end of this week meaning Sat. Dec 6! For any other product besides Lock Holsters, we apologize to say we are unable to get it to you in time. Please feel free to check our retail locations nearest you for availability.

After your order has processed you will receive an email asking if you need your order by these dates. If so we will be requesting this money from you either via credit card over the phone, or via paypal.

We sincerely appreciate all your orders and support this holiday season.