After many months of salivating and fantasizing, last May I decided to get on the waiting list for a Sweetpea Bicycle, lovingly handmade here in Portland by Natalie Ramsland. Natalie is one of only a few women framebuilders in the US, and one of only two that only make bikes specifically for women. Besides my desire to support a local woman builder, I had also agreed to be the guinea pig for my credit union’s bike loan program. In the end, both Sweetpea and Unitus got some good press out of the deal, and I didn’t do too poorly either.
As for my bike, as soon as I got on the list Natalie asked me to tell her about my hopes and dreams, and we continue to develop the vision every time I bump into her around town. Right now I’m hoping the bike will end up looking a little like an old school Raleigh cruiser, with upright bars and a luxurious Brooks saddle*. I’m hoping it will be dark purple, either sparkly or with a green candy coat, providing a little drama on sunny days. It will be outfitted for my serious commute, sturdy but swift, with racks. As for accessories, I see it with one of the beautiful brass bells from my collection, sweet hammered aluminum fenders, and capable of holding an on-bike sound system so I can listen to James Brown during my hour-long commute each way. Chris King components in a complementary color, of course, possibly green.
A little something like Elly’s “Farmers Market,” and yet nothing like it at all.
At last estimate, it looks like I won’t be getting my bike until around August. Probably later. This is why they ask you to start practicing your zen calm as soon as possible.
I will keep you posted as things develop, but in the meantime you can check out some of the other bikes Natalie has made here.