VESPER: Colleen Newvine Tebeau
Occupation: Journalist turned Marketer http://colleennewvine.com/
Location: mostly Brooklyn, with regular stints in New Orleans
What pair of wheels do you cruise in?
My primary bike is a Ross Shark seven-speed hand-me-down from my mom. It’s a men’s frame and I like to bike in skirts so it’s not ideal, but I’ve taken various cooler, more expensive bikes for test drives and I haven’t yet found anything that’s as comfortable. It’s like the biking equivalent of a 1980s Buick.
My husband and I have been doing month-long visits to New Orleans since 2011, so we also own bikes there. I call my Huffy cruiser Sweet Lady Blue. We have friends who keep our bikes for us and loan them out when we aren’t using them, with the rental price being one new piece of bling. Every time we pick them up, they have more lights or a new horn or, in John’s case, a giant stuffed alligator ziptied to the basket.
Why do you bike?
Biking in New Orleans was partly a necessity. During busy times like Jazz Fest, getting a cab or a streetcar can be a challenge so hopping on your bike is a liberating alternative. But it also introduced us to a whole cruiser community there who go on social rides, and it surely helps us work off the excessive food and drink we enjoy down there.
I brought my appreciation for biking back to Brooklyn as I saw more bike lanes and more bikers taking to the streets. We love to hang out in the Red Hook neighborhood, which is hard to get to by public transportation but only about a 15-minute easy bike ride away, so biking opens up our world to places we might not otherwise go. If you’ve never watched sunset over the Statue of Liberty, bike down to the benches behind the Fairway grocery store
for one of the best views you’ll ever have.
Which Vespertine item keeps you shining?
I have the silver sequins Vespretty vest. I wore it a lot during this past Mardi Gras season and love that it is fashionable and festive enough that I often didn’t even take it off when I arrived at whatever party or parade I was going to.
There has to be more you want to tell us! Any awkward biking moments? Bike stories/jokes?
I don’t think there’s such a thing as too many lights on my bikes — they’re both like rolling raves. I love the bright blue flashers from Bike Brightz, which I ziptie to my frame so I’m visible from the side, and I have fairy light wires strung through my spokes, inspired by lights renters contributed to my NOLA cruiser. People often smile and wave as I ride by, and I once had a driver pull over to thank me for being so easy to see. Like Vespertine, I think bike lights are a great way to combine safety and style.