My Bikes

Current Collection
Lily the 2011 Specialized Ariel
Lily (nee Rose) entered my life in July 2011 when I decided that my then-current bicycle was too sluggish and heavy for the amount of riding I wanted to do. She quickly became my commuter, grocery getter, and general use bike. I have her outfitted with a basket, front fender, 600 lumen headlight (I can spotlight deer in the next county!), bell, mirror, rear rack, and a shopping pannier: you know, all the necessities for a commuter/shopping bike. She was my first non-big-box store bicycle and I'm never going back. I can ride fairly comfortably for fifty miles on her, but I don't think I'd want to do much more than that.

Circe the 2012 Specialized Dolce Comp Compact
Circe joined our happy family in February 2012. She's a 54cm road bike and was built for speed. She's my go-to bike for over-fifty mile rides and is decked out with a dropbar mirror and flame stickers which make her go faster! After a month in my home, I swapped out her plastic starter pedals for Shimano PD-M520 pedals and have fully embraced clipless riding.

Kate the 2012 Trek Classic Ladies Cruiser
Kate was a spur-of-the-moment impulse purchase in March 2012. She's the first cruiser I've had since childhood and the floral motif, pink rims, and pink streamers make me giggle every time I look at her. While waiting for my husband Scott to test ride a couple of cyclocross bikes, I noticed a row of brightly colored cruisers at the front of the Vienna branch of Spokes, Etc. I sat on the blue one and decided I needed to take a test ride as well. I grinned from ear to ear during the entire ride and, despite her impracticality, I purchased her without a second thought. She's my "slow" bike and great for cruising along the local trails and on the Outer Banks. Everybody smiles when they see her. How could you not smile at all that girlyness?

Beatrix the 2012 Public Bikes C8
Beatrix is my upright city bike, despite my living in deepest, darkest suburbia. She joined the bike stable in June 2012 after much online and real life hunting for my very own loop frame love. She has all the comforts desired for a commuter bike including fenders, rear rack, chain guard, grippy Dimension pedals, Velo Orange leather sprung saddle and matching ergonomic grips, a Wald basket, Po Campo Loop pannier, and an Electra bell which is too darn cheerful for words. It's taken a a while to acclimate to the posture this bicycle requires (plus finding the right saddle took a lot of trial and error), but she's definitely worth it. I feel terribly stylish when riding her to work and/or the grocery store.

Previous Rides

CC the Schwinn Clear Creek hybrid
CC was my gateway back into the cycling life in September 2009. I had been awarded a few gift certificates for outstanding performance at work, and after spending a month debating what to blow the windfall on, I finally settled on purchasing a bike. She was my first commuter bike. She crumpled a road bike and seriously maimed another rider when he T-boned me on the W&OD (she got a bent wheel and I got a concussion out of the ordeal). I knew she was heavy, but didn't just how heavy and slow she was until I got the Ariel and she was unceremoniously relegated to the basement in the summer of 2011. She's gone on to a greener pasture, though, and lives with my sister in Memphis as of November 2011.

My childhood and college-era bikes didn't have names and I don't have pictures of them. My first bicycle was a beautiful sparkly purple creation with a floral banana seat, streamers, and a white plastic basket covered in plastic flowers. I loved that bike so much and it was the perfect representation of freedom. I rode up and down packed dirt roads of Heth, AR, and down the two-lane highway to my grandmother's house a couple of miles away. I received a Honda Spree Scooter for my twelfth birthday and no longer needed a bike because I could go farther afield.

My college bicycle was maroon, silver, and gold. It was a "girl's" bike with a slanted top bar. Mom got it for me just before I left for my sophomore year of college and it lived on my sorority dorm's covered deck. The campus of the University of Southern Mississippi was fairly small and I didn't need a bike to get around, but it was the vehicle of choice for hanging out with my junior-year boyfriend. We put a lot of miles on our bikes riding around Hattiesburg, MS. Sadly, this bike was stolen shortly after I moved into my first apartment in Memphis, TN.

I've had two more bikes since then, but I don't remember anything about them. I purchased another bike in Memphis and it was stolen shortly after I moved into my second apartment. (Memphis is hard on bikes, I guess.) The next bike was a gift from a boyfriend and I rode it around our Herndon, VA, neighborhood. When we broke up and I moved into an apartment that I thought was too small for a bicycle (in hindsight, it really wasn't), I donated the bike to Goodwill.


  1. I like the flames on Circe and the matching red flames on the water bottles. I use the bottles too, by the way. Great for keeping your water cold on the hot days!

    I love that you took the picture of your cruiser in front of the cherry tree! How perfect is that! I really want a cruiser myself. I have never owned one, but I think it would be more fun for the family rides.

    I am really enjoying your blog! I am glad that I found it!

    1. I found the flame stickers when I was hunting for reflective gear for my hybrid (which is covered in little reflective silver vines that can't really be seen in the photo). I couldn't not get the flames for the road bike. They're from

      Seeing as how the cruiser is decorated in stickers that look like cherry blossoms, I had to photograph her against her maker's inspiration. :)

      I'm so glad that you're enjoying my blog. I look forward to reading through yours. :)

  2. Love your Specialized Dolce ... my wife just got one and reviewed it on my blog, here - unfortunately they did not have the red & white ones when she got hers. Did you add the red tape yourself?

    1. Hi Joe and thanks! Nope, the red and white colorway was standard for the 2012 Comp Compact. The only "improvements" I made to her are the reflective red flames, and I've reapplied those so they look like they're coming off the wheel in the correct direction.

      A friend has a 2011 Dolce (I can't remember which one... it may be the Comp Compact as well), and its colorway is sort of a burgundy and white. I do like your wife's purple and white.

  3. Nice blog! I'm looking for a city-type bike to add to my stable. I noticed you test rode a Public Mixte bike and own the lovely 2012 Public C8 step-through. I don't have an opportunity to ride either bike, no dealer anywhere near me, but have read so many good reviews about Public bikes that I'm very interested. I want either a step-through or mixte with 7 or 8 speed internal hub.
    Was there a difference between the ride of the mixte and Beatrix? I've had friends tell me a mixte will have a faster, slightly more aggressive ride (more forward leaning) than a step-through? Did you find that? If so, was it a significant difference? In a perfect world I would get a step-through probably for the same reason you did - ease of getting off the bike. However, as a longtime road bike rider I find if a bike is sluggish I won't ride it. I know neither of these bikes will be road bike fast, but was one quicker than the other?
    Any and all information is appreciated!

    1. Hi Susan, and thank you! Since you mentioned being a longtime road bike user, I think you'd enjoy the M8 Mixte over the C8 Step-through. The M8 was a LOT of fun to ride in traffic and pretty zippy. The C8 isn't quite as upright as a Linus Dutchi or a Pashley, but I find it difficult to get into an aggressive posture to put on a lot of speed.

      Compared to my hybrid, and what I remember of the M8 test ride, the C8 is rather sluggish. If you do go with a Public, the M8 would probably be great for you. They offer free shipping fairly regularly and do have a fair return policy if you decide you don't like the bike.

    2. Hi Melanie,

      Thanks for the quick response, it was helpful - I appreciate it. I've been reading all your posts on Beatrix (great name) and see you've had to curtail your desire to "push the pace" with Beatrix. I'm similarly competitive. :) I'm really torn between the loop frame and mixte... no doubt my preference is for a loop frame, but sounds like for quickness I might be better off with the mixte. Decisions.. decisions.. I just don't want to get another bike that is close to what I want but not quite there, know what I mean? The ability to return it is nice, although still a pita. :)

      Thanks again for your help.


  4. Hey Melanie! I actually happened upon your blog through Google because I am coincidentally very interested in the exact model of Public C8 that you own (same color too!). I would love to hear your thoughts about it - I live in a suburban area just outside of Richmond, VA, definitely not a metropolitan city like the ones featured on the Public website, and I'm looking to start of 2013 as a year of better health for me. I loved biking as a kid, but haven't been on one in forever. I'm not looking for a speed bike or off-road bike, but just something to complement my other workout activities, for rides in the park, trips downtown, etc.

    I know the price for this model is higher than others, I could definitely find cheaper bikes, but I am just so impressed with the design and style of this bike, not to mention the unique step-through design.

    Do you think this would be a good choice for me based on the above mentioned things? I welcome any feedback you might have!

    Thanks and blessings,

    1. Hi Martha,

      I do love my C8 and it's a very easy-to-ride bicycle. If you don't feel like you absolutely need the internal geared hub, the C7 is a cheaper alternative with the same step-through design.

      Another couple of options are the Civia Twin City Step-Through and the Linus Dutchi 3 or 8. Neither was THE bike for me, but either might be perfect for you. And, conveniently for you, Carytown Bicycle Company in Richmond carries both brands.

      You didn't mention how tall you are and that is a consideration even with the step-through frame style. If you can, I'd recommend testing a few bikes before you settle on the one.

      Happy riding!

  5. Hi! I am looking for a good front basket for my Ariel as well- is there one you recommend?