Philly Bike Expo 2015

In the mid-atlantic region the air is getting colder, the leaves have changed colors and started to fall, and there doesn't seem to be enough daylight anymore. Obviously, this means that it's time once again for the Philadelphia Bike Expo. For the past couple of years we've enjoyed exhibiting there because of our passion for cycling. Since we run an online business we rarely get to interact with our customers so it's great when something like this comes along and we actually get to talk to people. Face to face. IN REAL LIFE! Honestly this show is one of the highlights of our year.

If you've never had the pleasure of attending the expo it "…promotes the fun, function, fitness and freedom to be found on two wheels. The Philly Bike Expo creates an environment that fosters relationships between the cycling community and the dedicated companies and organizations that are the foundation of bicycles as a lifestyle." There's a combination of retail, activism, information, a lot of really neat bikes, and us. We brought a selection of our bicycle related art, some jerseys, and some neat give aways.

Since we're in south Philadelphia we packed all of our stuff onto a borrowed trailer (thanks Aaron!), loaded Hazel into her bike seat, and rode up to the convention hall for set up on Friday afternoon. Upon arrival it was nice to see some old friends and familiar faces getting their booths ready for the show.

The whole caravan!

The whole caravan!

The start of the show on Saturday didn't exactly go as planned because Hazel had a cold. So instead of taking turns playing with our one year old throughout the day, Eleanor took her home after a brief appearance for some snuggling. That left me to staff the booth for the rest of the weekend with some occasional help from friends. 

photo courtesy of the Philly Bike Expo

photo courtesy of the Philly Bike Expo

A snot covered Hazel riding a borrowed Strider bike and wearing our Sunflowers jersey (lovingly crafted by Marni Duffy of Rebourne Clothing to fit a tiny person).  This was prior to a meltdown or two.

A snot covered Hazel riding a borrowed Strider bike and wearing our Sunflowers jersey (lovingly crafted by Marni Duffy of Rebourne Clothing to fit a tiny person).  This was prior to a meltdown or two.

In honor of the Bike Expo we debuted our "Philadelphia Bikes" print series.

Our new "Philadelphia Bikes" print set featuring the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Center City, and Fairmount Park.

Our new "Philadelphia Bikes" print set featuring the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Center City, and Fairmount Park.

The whole weekend was wonderful. I got to meet some great new people and reconnect with many others. Many were discovering our work while some were coming back to this year's expo to buy their fourth or fifth print. Feeling the energy at the show makes us excited to create new things and interacting with our customers is the icing on the cake. Thank you to everyone that took the time to stop and talk with us. It was a pleasure meeting you. Special thanks to Bina and the Bilenky family for organizing and running an amazing event! We hope to see all of you again soon.

Afford your Life: Health Insurance for the Self-Employed

Okay, maybe a boring topic, but it's that time of year again when you can enroll in a health plan, and since I've done a lot of research, I wanted to share a few things that I think I've figured out. (I put emphasis on "I think" because I'm not an expert, if you see something that's not correct, please let me know!)

First, you CAN afford health insurance. The trick is calculating your income correctly.  Health plan costs are adjusted according to a specific calculation of monthly income amounts and subtraction of certain other amounts.  If you're self-employed, you have a bit of an advantage. Here's an example:

Let's say what you make on average per month is $2500.  If you're self-employed, you can subtract (deduct) the following costs from this income amount to get your final adjustment, then use that amount to report on your Healthcare application:

Money contributed to Self-employment retirement plans (not Roth IRAs, unfortunately) Let's say you contribute $200 per month, now your total "income" would be $2300 instead of $2500.

Self-employment health insurance costs and premiums (this is awesome because anything you spend on health insurance can be subtracted from your income to in turn get you a lower cost plan!) Let's say you spend $60-75 (yes, it's possible - see the final paragraph!) on your monthly payment and see a specialist once a month for $5-10, now your "income" would be $2215 instead of $2500.

Money you spent on the cost of running your business (things such as office expenses, advertising, professional fees, rent and utilities for your studio, printing costs, small equipment costs (larger equipment or expensive equipment that will last over a year would be depreciable - the cost would be divided over the lifespan of the item - I'll write a blog post on this later), meals and travel expenses related to business, and lots of other things.)  Let's say you spend on average $300 on the cost of running your business, $250 on renting a studio, and $100 on business meetings (50% of this cost is deductible), now you're down to $1615. 

So, if you're following this guideline, instead of entering your yearly income as $30000, you'd enter it as $19380.  This will get you a substantial discount on your health insurance - instead of $250 for a silver plan, you could pay around $70!  (I ran the income listed with a birth year of 1979, non-smoking, female, and a household size of 1)

Oh, and a final note, if you're shopping around, you'll notice that SILVER plans offer the best cost-to-benefit option.  If you're getting a discount, you want to go with a Silver plan since the cost-sharing and premiums are the cheapest with the best benefits and lowest out-of-pocket expenses.


New "Philadelphia Bikes" Art Prints

We now have our new "Philadelphia Bikes" art prints available on our store. They feature the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Fairmount Park, and Center City. You can find them by following this link.

If you're in Philadelphia this Saturday Nov. 21st and looking for something fun to do, check out the fifth annual Cranksgiving charity bike ride. Benefitting Philabundance, this event’s purpose is to collect food to help provide a Thanksgiving dinner to families that wouldn’t normally get one. We donated a set of our "Philadelphia Bikes" prints as prizes! Check out this link for more information.