A Very Cool Bike Bag Made in SF

I have to be honest. When we first met, I was not a fan of Alite's Bike To The Beach Bag. Around this time last year, all the bike-style coolhunters were buzzing about the convertible rucksack/tote. But to me, it just looked snoringly dull, in that off-navy LL Bean way.

I mean, I understand why urban bike riders get excited when a bike-specific product comes out that isn't designed to look like you're about to launch your bike out of a helicopter and jump after it in a blur of day-glo chartreuse ballistic nylon.

But don't we deserve better than boring? Yes, we do. Which is why Gravel and Gold came to the rescue.

The unspeakably hip San Francisco boutique is best known for their prints which somehow manage to be cheeky, flashy, and boobalicious at the same time. And that's how a dull-as-dishwater tote got turned into something hot and bubbly.

This print was actually the first ever made by surface-design savant Cassie McGettigan, one of the brains behind the carefully curated shop. If it weren't for her, I never would have taken a second look at the bag and learned all about its bikey features.

There's a special U-shaped pocket for--surprise!--yer lock, a zippered pouch, and a foam backing that gives a little comfort while in rucksack mode.

During the feature tour, it finally dawned on me how awesome it is to have a tote bag that converts to a backpack. I'm sorry. In my defense, boredom tends to make me stupid?

It's also made right here in San Francisco. Which is kind of amazing since it's really well-built and costs only $162. Also, if you attend any of the intriguing workshops that Gravel and Gold hosts like, all the time, you get a 10% shop discount!


To celebrate the launch of the new Bike to the Beach bag in the graphic black and white "Panda Face" print, the shop hosted the cutest gathering of stylish cyclists.

Just about everything in this tiny Mission boutique is a flippin' cool take on the "tweaked basics" design principal that Kelly and I fell in love with in college. Take something practical, that you would use in your real life, and make it cool enough that you actually want to look at it every damn day.

Seriously rad. But if that overdose of style was a little too energizing, take a long moment to watch this hella relaxing video showing exactly how the Bike to the Beach bag gets born.

Making of Bike to the Beach Bag from Alite Designs on Vimeo. Alite Design team doing a production run of the Bike to the Beach Bag made at their factory located in San Francisco, California.

UK cycling events: what’s on?

4. Bristol Vintage VeloNow that the Tweed Run and the World Naked Bike Ride (NSFW) have been and gone, you may be wondering if the silly season is already over for cyclists. Not to worry though, there’s plenty more to look forward to! Thanks to the Tour de France kicking off in Yorkshire this month, the UK has gone a bit bicycle mad, with special events and festivals taking place throughout the summer. From serious, sportive stuff like RideLondon’s Grand Prix to the family-friendly focus at the Bristol cycling festival, there’s something for everyone - especially chic cyclists. So what’s on?

Yorkshire (Various) Yorkshire is positively bursting with cycling events this summer thanks to the Tour de France. Check out the Yorkshire Festival, which offers 100 days of art and culture in the build up to the Grand Départ. Expect music, art, literature, history, and theatrical productions that showcase the very best of the country.

Bristol Cycle Festival (5-13 July) Organised by volunteers from the local community, the Bristol Cycle Festival is one of the most understated events on the list but well worth a trip if you’re in the area. With a cycle-in cinema, a vintage velo inspired by the Tweed Run and talks from academics, adventurers and artists, it focuses on cycling advocacy and localism. Prizes for winning the vintage velo include entry into L'Eroica Britannia’s prestigious Peak District rides.

Prudential RideLondon (9-10 August) Held on the 9th and 10th of August, RideLondon brings together cyclists of all abilities for a weekend of races, fun rides and festival antics. Developed by the Mayor of London to promote cycling in the city, the FreeCycle event is of particular interest. Roads will be closed at some of London’s most well known landmarks, so you can enjoy the city by bike but without the traffic! Dreamy!

The RideLondon Grand Prix event is much more serious. It’ll showcase the Olympic and Paralympic cyclists of the future at a series of junior events. However, if you want to get involved with the sportive stuff rather than the spectacle then the RideLondon-Surrey 100 is for you. It is, quite literally, a 100 mile race from London to Surrey.

Tips for Cycle Fests

  • Sort insurance. If you’re going to compete in a race or take part in an off-road trail, make sure your bicycle insurance premium covers you in case of an accident. “Depending on how sportive or recreational you are, you might already have full coverage,” says Gerry Bucke, general manager at Bikesure. “However, it’s always wise to double check before you attend a cycling festival as levels of coverage will vary according to your activities.”
  • Check the rules before you attend! For example, L’Eroica only allows bikes made before 1987 and will not tolerate clipless pedals or internal cables. It would be pretty heartbreaking to get all the way to the Peak District with your Brompton only to find out they aren’t allowed.
  • Reserve a place. These kinds of events are more popular than ever so it’s wise to reserve your place or ticket - especially for free events like RideLondon as they’ll have a cap on numbers.
  • Look fabulous. Any opportunity to ride your bike is an opportunity to Bike Pretty, right?  From gorgeous gear to beautiful bike helmets, you’re sure to look dazzling at this year’s cycling festivals if you check out our outfit ideas!

In Case You Missed It: Phillip Lim's Girls on Bikes

girls on linus bikes Um, yes, please. This video lookbook from Phillip Lim's 2011/2012 Fall Winter collection perfectly captures what it's like to be a fashionable cyclist in San Francisco.

In my dreams.

My apologies for posting this six seasons after its debut. My excuse is that Bike Pretty: The Blog wasn't even born yet, so you can imagine, back then we had different priorities. Phillip-Lim-Girls-On-Bikes-FW-2011

At any rate, I stumbled across the video in the archives of velojoy where everyone seems scandalized by the lack of helmets. Typical. phillip-lim-girls-on-bikes

But never mind that, let's let Phillip Lim himself have the last word. What's it all about, Phil?

It's about these chic girls on bikes, riding to work, to an art gallery, a party—where she goes is a mystery, because you only see her for that instant, but the thought of her lingers on in your mind.

Must Read Links

How's the long weekend treating you? Make the most of your bonus day with these must read links. I've been saving them up for months. It's a good batch. Fashion is heavily influenced by functional apparel. Famously, blue jeans morphed from sturdy, miners' gear to the epitome of LA chic. And this sort of style evolution is happening all the time. Check out how a simple length of tube bandage evolved into a ubiquitous NBA accessory. Via the New Yorker.



“I often use mesh and chain mail in my costume designs,” he said, “and I was fascinated by the opportunity to make something light and fluid out of rigid materials.” A Crystal-Crusted Gown for Dita Von Teese Made with a 3-D Printer



blueOf the Famous Artworks That Inspired 15 Films, I think The Blue Boy + Django Unchained is my favorite, because fashion history and Quentin Tarantino. But the rest of the list is pretty darn fascinating.


"In a survey of graduating professional students, Linda Babcock, of Carnegie Mellon University, found that only seven per cent of women attempted to negotiate their initial offers, while fifty-seven per cent of the men did so. We see those dire statistics and think that women are, in a sense, self-sabotaging.... But is it really the case that the disadvantage stems from not asking?" Via The New Yorker.

marilyn-monroe-in-bed-pic-613x478We all know that the genius of Marilyn Monroe was way underestimated during her lifetime. Fortunately, internet scholars are posting her pearls of wisdom for our own edification: "By nature, I suppose I have a languorous disposition. I hate to do things in a hurried, tense atmosphere, and it is virtually impossible for me to spring out of bed in the morning. On Sunday, which is my one day of total leisure, I sometimes take two hours to wake up, luxuriating in every last moment of drowsiness." 9222672655_b6925c1138_z


The radness that is Mary Kay Chin, one of the founders of SF Yellow Bike and San Francisco Bike Party. Via the Manic Fixie Dream Girls of Chicago's Tiny Crush Blog.






A hearty congratulations to Bikie Girl Bloomers on the completion of a successful crowd-funding campaign. That means we can expect more lace-trimmed spandex bloomers in classic colors and fun prints. (I'm a fan of the polka dot pair.)

vintage bike ad


A round-up of gorgeous turn-of-the-last-century vintage cycling ads, via Iladora. I want to live inside every single one.





"Do I have some magical skill set that allows me to ferret out...deals? Nope. Are my methods top secret and difficult to employ? No way. Do I troll eBay on a daily basis looking for deals … well, sort of, but we’ll get to that." Sally of Already Pretty breaks it down in the ultimate guide to buying clothes on eBay.


fashion history head wraps and hoodies"The ladies in the photo exude a sense of dignity, which I believe is a protest in and of itself. Their head wraps simply added to that power. Then I remembered how other articles of clothing have been an important symbol for various protests and revolutions—particularly involving Africans and African Americans—throughout the years." Scripts and Sightings explores where fashion history and social justice meet and mingle.



Bike Pretty's very own Kelly and her hunky French boyfriend Seb are leading a tour of the Tour de France: We will leave South London on Friday 25 July, cycle 70k to New Haven, take the overnight ferry to Dieppe. Then cycle 130k on Saturday 26 July where we will end the day camping. On day 3, we will cycle 80k to Paris, where we hope to catch both the women's and men's Tour de France. And you're invited! Sign up via the London Bike Kitchen newsletter.


Beret-et-Baguette-Paris-2013-Street-Style-Photos-Kelly-Miller-0 (1)


Argh, scarves! How can something so simple (just a freaking length of fabric, yeah right) never fail to frustrate the daylights out of me. I usually just ball them up and throw them in the back of my closet. But there is a better way to make them work: How to Tie a Scarf Like a Parisienne, via Vogue.



"I am sick of hearing that only stupid, shallow people buy into the unrealistic expectations society has of women. Because as much as I try to fight it, I often buy into them. Does that make me shallow and stupid? Is it therefore MY FAULT that I feel inadequate sometimes – because if I was more intelligent and not so vain, these expectations wouldn’t affect me, would they?" I’m Fed Up of Being Told I’m ‘Too Smart’ To Fall for Body Fascism

And finally, watch Renee's mini-teaser for her upcoming eBike documentary!

Slippery pedals? This product will fix your shoe woes

sovrappensiero-grippine-bike-pedals-traction-designboom-04 Once I totally ate s*** on my bike because my shoe slipped off the pedal. Ironically, I was wearing a pair of flat athletic shoes (and not my fancy heels). But the sole was worn down to such a slickness that when I stood up to power myself over one of Florence's bridges, I ended up face down on the flagstones instead.

No one needs to suffer that ever again! But only if we can make this crowd-funding campaign a success.

Italian design studio, Sovrappensiero, tackled the problem of slippery city bike pedals by developing silicon pedal covers, called Grippine.

Grippine sleeves slide onto just about any pedal, providing a soft yet grippy surface for any style of footwear. Whether breathing life into an older set of pedals or for adding some colorful flair to your bike, Grippine covers promise to be a simple add-on for most bikes. No need avoid your smooth soled shoes or worry about wear from plastic or metal pedal spikes.

Using the crowdfunding platform, Eppela, Sovrappensiero aims to raise €10,000 by July 24, 2014, in order to fund the first production run. Early supporters can be part of the voting panel for new colors.

-via Momentum Mag

You can leave your hat on…

FB_17-800x508 Since Yves Saint Laurent introduced them back, the last season, the hats are the new must have. Right now, on a beach, a Nashville advertising photographer is taking pictures of some Boheme girl, wearing a hat and drinking Jesus juice (wine). The hats are always adding some coolness to your style. It makes you feel different, just like a New Yorker somewhere in Paris. The hats are fashionable and they can transform your look from a boring to a romantic one.

You should choose a hat carefully. It depends on the shape of your face, your style and the color that fits you properly. And if you think that you are able to overcome the comfort of a simple black hat, go for patterns in the shades of camel, beige, khaki, orange terracota (which would highlight the long hair, the bleached / the dyed ombre) or variations in colors like burgundy, khaki, dark green, gray or blue (matching the grunge, rock, punk outfits of the season). FB_12-471x600 Hats are basically assuring us with creativity and individuality. I’ve never seen two girls at a party, wearing the same hats. And that’s really awesome, she can have your dress, but she can never have your hat. It’s time to learn how to wear them everyday. Going for a walk in the park, eating ice cream and kissing a French boy, are all tiny moments that would look simply better, if you would wear a hat. It gives you that necessary dose of majestic femininity portrayed in a very masculine object. FB_16-471x600 In case you’re a rock star baby try to combine a dark gray fedora with some slim leather pants, a pair of boots and a gray vintage t-shirt. For those of you, who are into the casual style, wear a camel hat with some blue jeans and camel boots, or classy leather shoes. And if you’re a very important person, somewhere in England, and you have to attend a royal wedding, wear the craziest hat you can find. We will love to look you up on the Internet, afterwards.  FB_38-471x600 The hat, as any other accessory has the goal to make your personality be more visible through what you choose to wear. If the clothes are not showing your inner state well enough, try a hat on. There is a big chance you’ll feel better. FB_10-471x600