As cities with hills steeper than black diamond ski slopes go, San Francisco is exceptionally bike-friendly. Drivers are trained (most of the time) to look for cyclists before opening their car doors, many businesses provide bike parking in their employee lots to encourage low-carbon commuting, and of course bike messengers on fixed-gears are a more common sight along trolley tracks than the street cars themselves. While fold-ups and fixies are popular, diehard and novice cyclists in any city are bound to love the classic European style of a new line of bikes known as Linus.
Linus Bikes launched recently in a cottage-like showroom in Venice, California. Founders Adam McDermott and Chad Kushner, both natives of South Africa, have been friends since high school, and have spent years traveling and surfing around the world together. "We always envied the bicycle-centric cities of Europe and Asia," says Kushner, "We loved the classic old bikes and wished there was something similar back home. Eventually, we decided to make them."
With just a handful of styles and colors, the company keeps it simple, but detail isn't lost on them. Both the slim-lined roadster and the chunkier cruiser have leather handlebars and are equipped to accommodate baskets and Linus's exclusive house-designed line of saddle bags and snap-closure pouches, which will be out soon. The frames come in shiny black, off-white, cherry red, and iced blue.
Probably the best thing about Linus, besides its good looks, is the extremely wallet-friendly price. Starting at $300, it'd be hard to find a functioning secondhand bike on Craigslist for much less. If you're in LA you can take one for a test-ride along Abbot Kinney and by the beach (I took one myself a few weeks ago and it was great), and fortunately for you Easterners, Linus will also be debuting at the Steven Alan store in East Hampton—so you can initiate your bike outside the city, then take it to the streets when vacation is over.