Cycling Fiddles

Sep 19, 12 • No Comments
Ljova biking on the Hudson River Greenway, 14F outside without windchill

Ljova biking on the Hudson River Greenway, 14F outside

A few weeks ago, I gave some advice to Strings Magazine for their article “On the Road: String Players Are Turning to Cycling“, which was released today and appears in the June issue. In addition to the article, which is very comprehensive, I wanted to put together a page of quick links about various things I’ve mentioned.

Some (but not all) of these links point to Amazon.com, and if you buy through these links, you will also support the music on this site, while still getting the best price. Better still: do your research on Amazon or BikesReviewed.com, and buy from a local bike shop.

THE BIKE:

My bike is a Ross “Mt. Washington” hybrid, probably made in the 80s. I bought it used from Recycle-A-Bicycle, a New York-based non-profit, which refurbishes donated bikes and runs education programs for the young. It’s the first bike I tried at the store, and one I’ve been riding for four years.  It looks like a regular delivery bike, and I love it! I keep it maintained by Champion Bicycles, the best local bike shop on the Upper West Side.

THE UPGRADES:

I’ve upgraded the bike with a Wald Giant Delivery Basket (perfect for dragging an amp to a gig), Planet Bike Fenders, and a noseless saddle called “The Seat” by Ergo. Read more about noseless saddles in this New York Times article.  Most recently, I’ve upgraded my wheelset to this pair by Sun Rhyno Lite (front & rear).  We also have two baby seats, the WeeRide Kangaroo for the front (capacity: 40 pounds) and the Hamax Kiss for the rear (capacity: 50 pounds).  All good stuff.

APPAREL:

SHELL JACKET: After biking around with a heavy wool coat for a few years, I investigated windproof shell jackets.  You can spend a lot of money on these, but I found the Canari Razor Eclipse on Sierra Trading Post for around $40.  On the picture above, you can see me riding in it during frigid weather, wearing two thin sweaters beneath the shell.

PANTS: Having worn out several pairs of jeans in very short time, I decided to look into more technical pants for riding, but ones that I could still wear on the street. A good resource for your shopping is this Pinterest list, which is pretty comprehensive. I own a pair of Thunderbolt pants – bought them at a slight sale. They’re water resistant & very durable – and look stylish enough to play a concert in.  This is the most expensive clothing item I’ve ever bought, and I really hope they’ll last a few years.

SHIRTS: With exception for concerts & formal occasions, I pretty much wear the same 6-7  T-shirts all year long. They’re all made of merino wool by Icebreaker, and they almost never stink or wear out. These shirts are a bit pricey ($60-75) but sometimes go on sale at REI and elsewhere, including Sierra Trading Post.  Great quality and very comfortable.

Some bike clothing can be expensive — but if you consider that a monthly Metrocard in New York costs $112, and a tank of gas about $50, this is a huge savings in the long run.

INSTRUMENT PROTECTION:

I travel around with two instruments – a viola & a six-string “fadolin”, both housed in an affordable Regency violin/viola double case, which is covered by a custom-made instrument bag by Altieri Bags.  Altieri Bags last a lifetime, and they can be tailored to your specifications.  Amazing company.

LIGHTS & REFLECTIVITY:

Reflective sticker art by Maria Jeffers

Case by Altieri,  Reflective sticker art by Maria Jeffers

 

Since I bike in New York City, which is much brighter at night than a rural area, my headlight is a small “Spok“, by Planet Bike, which attaches to my helmet.  For the taillight, I have the Planet Bike Blinky 7, which is pretty bright and comes with several options for attaching it. I can easily mount it on my helmet, or onto the back of my fiddle case, onto the rear of the baby seat, or anywhere else. Very versatile and bright.

In addition to lights, I also have a battery of reflective stickers on my instrument cases, fenders, and on the back of our baby seat.   Check out some of the reflective sticker art that cellist Maria Jeffers made on my case to the right.

Do you have tips to share?

Thank you all!

Ride safe.

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LJOVA (Lev Zhurbin) - film composer, arranger, violist | music for film, Ljova and the Kontraband, and other projects

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