SL gets new outdoor bus depot

I might have missed the news but I don’t think I’ve heard of anything like SL (the organisation running all of the land based public transport systems in Stockholm County) being allowed to park buses on bicycle lanes.

SL gets new outdoor bus depot

I’ve been cycling the same portion of Sveavägen (between Kungsgatan and Sergels torg) for the last 2 years and it’s only since the last couple of weeks that I’ve had to ride on the main road in order to avoid SL buses parked half on the parking area, half on the bike lane.

I did not mind at first but today I got tired of it and decided to stop for a quick shot. There were three buses in a row parked as bad as the one shown on the picture and I’ve got to ask SL: “when did it become OK to use the bicycle lane on Sveavägen to park buses?”

With a concrete wall on the left side of the road there is no way for car drivers to avoid a cyclist who is maneuvering around the bus. Does the situation look safe? Is the location supposed to be a bus depot in the first place?

lunch at Bianchi Café & Cycles

Having lunch with a fellow bicyclist in central Stockholm is something one could pretty much do in any restaurant but there is one place in particular where it makes complete sense: Bianchi Café & Cycles.

Bianchi Café & Cycles, as the name kind of tell, is both a bike shop – Bianchi bikes only obviously – and a restaurant that offers an all-you-can eat buffet of cold and hot dishes at lunch time.

Lunch at Bianchi Café & Cycles

The buffet is rather expensive (139 SEK) compared to the general pricing (most restaurants propose a “dagens lunch” which often consists of 3 alternatives for a reasonable price: 80 to 95 SEK) but one must admit that the food quality and selection is worth the difference in this case. Cooks are actually at work right behind the counter which is a good enough guarantee of freshly prepared food.

Buffet apart it’s also for the restaurant setting that I would recommend Bianchi Café & Cycles: bikes on stands and hanging from the ceiling definitely add to the coziness of this rather small place and the limited number of tables.

Lunch at Bianchi Café & Cycles, the restaurant

A restaurant I would definitely recommend to bicycle enthusiasts – but not only – for lunch now and then.

Kona Paddy Wagon 2013

In January I replaced the cheap fixed gear bicycle I had since July – reasons behind this rather quick replacement might come in a later post – with a 2013 model of the Kona Paddy Wagon and I’ve been riding it pretty much every day since then.

I already owned a Kona Coilair 2012 and I must say that I am still amazed by this horse’s reliability and quality so it was kind of a natural choice to go for the same brand.

The bike is very decent the way it’s shipped but, not that the original parts were bad in any way, I changed a few things: the pedals (mounted my Crank Brothers Candy), the tires (I’ll ride Schwalbe CX Pro until the end of the winter) and the saddle (since my wife got me a brown Team Pro Chrome Brooks saddle for my 32nd birthday why should I sit on something else?).

Nothing wrong to report so far – apart for the front wheel nuts that already began to rust (snow & salt must have something to do with that) – but I’ve had the bike for only a month. Long live the Paddy Wagon and if it proves to be as solid as the Coilair (and can keep up with at least 500 kilometers a month) I’ll probably still be riding it in a couple of years.

Do you ride one? Are you pleased with it? If you have anything you want to share on Kona or on the Paddy Wagon don’t hesitate to leave a comment.

sea, ride & sun in Réunion

I really do like Stockholm, no doubt about that. I like the city for the perfect mix it is between urbanized areas, forests or parks and lakes or the Baltic Sea, and the best way to enjoy that environment is in my opinion to wander around walking or, even better, riding a bicycle.

The best time of year to do so would be, for most people at least, summer but Stockholm is a whole different but as beautiful city in winter! Unfortunately I have to be a bit more objective and I must admit that winters are a bit rough even for the most committed riders and one needs a break from snow and ice once in a while.

I suppose I don’t really have to justify myself but after my 8th winter up here I finally did what a lot of Swedes do sometime between November and March: I traveled to a warmer place, in the south hemisphere and on the 2nd of February I was sitting on a plane bound for Réunion, an eleven hour flight from Paris (following a 2 hour flight from Stockholm to Paris).

Addiction being what it is I could not travel that far and not ride some of the local trails and since packing a bag for such a destination is quite easy (you basically just need a couple of t-shirts and shorts) I had room for Crank Brothers Mallet 3 pedals and a pair of Five Ten Cyclone shoes (my usual mountain bike setup).

Ready for departure

I did not spend 10 days riding a bicycle over there (that was definitely NOT okay with the wife) so I had to pick the one thing I really wanted to do on an island that basically is a big volcano: downhill mountain biking or to put it in cycling figures a 3 hour ride that started at 2,205 meters and ended at sea level.

Three hours of downhilling on various grounds (volcanic rocks, muddy soil, …) and through amazing landscapes (volcanic desert at the top, forests of Highland tamarinds, sugarcane fields, …) on a rented full suspension Kona bike.

Downhill in Réunion - The Maïdo

It was an amazing experience (even though it gets pretty warm with a full face helmet when it’s already 35°C+ outside – 95°F+) and I hope I can soon post a video shot by a fellow rider. Stay tuned.

Blackburn Flea 2 USB Front Light

If there is one pair of accessories a cyclist really does need it would be a front and rear lights set. Whether you are a daily all year round bike commuter or just a casual rider lights are an essential – required by law in many countries – element to both see the road and to be seen.

There are plenty of bicycle lights available on the market and one should carefully choose according to the riding conditions. In “the dazzling bike light epidemic” Andreas (the author behind writes about London’s cyclists using lights (mainly front lights) way too bright for night cycling in a city and the problems they may cause to fellow riders (but also car drivers). The issue is not limited to London and I have been blinded a couple of times by cyclists coming from the opposite direction here in Stockholm by devices that shone like stadium floodlights mounted on the handlebar.

I ride pretty much every day (winter, spring, summer & autumn) in this beautiful city and – even if the days are rather short half of the year – I must say I have never felt the need for a 1200 lumen front light in the city. Ever.

There are plenty of street lights in Stockholm, they work fine and the snow makes the streets even brighter most of the winter.

For my commuter bike I opted for a Blackburn Flea 2 front light (40 lumen) which is bright enough, has a descent runtime and is USB rechargeable (a USB rechargeable light is a must have if, like me, you ride an hour daily with the lights on). I have no complaint so far on the product and only regret that the hook loop strap must be removed in order to position the light on the USB charger.

All in all I’d like to repeat myself and say that a 40 lumen front light more than suffices in 90% of the situations and that number is probably very close to 100% in urban environments. If I were you I’d keep the MagicShine MJ-816E (1800 lumen) for dark rides in the forests around Nacka. Please.

H&M to release urban biking collection

In a month from now the Swedish multinational retail-clothing company H&M will release an 11 piece men’s collection of cycling wear in collaboration with Brick Lane Bikes.

Inspired by vintage clothing and the latest sports performance wear the collection has been designed by H&M and tested and approved by Brick Lane Bikes. It will be made from more sustainable materials – organic and recycled cottons, recycled polyester – as part of H&M’s Conscious work.

H&M for Brick Lane Bikes

The products will be available in 180 stores worldwide (but also in the webshop) on the 7th of March.

Looking forward to it? Will the quality be good enough for daily bike commuters?