Monthly Archives: February 2009

"You're the Reason Our Kids Are Ugly"

We moved to Alabama from Minnesota when I was a kid. It would have been less of a culture shock to move to Canada. Among the many things I found different about Alabama, aside from the sometimes incomprehensible accents and inability to call pop of any variety anything but “Coke,” was the more formal way everyone dressed, especially for school and church. Mothers and grandmothers were always in full makeup, perfectly coiffed, with their daughters  sporting huge hairbows and the equally huge bangs so popular during the early 90s. The one exception to this rule seemed to be the grocery store, where you’d occasionally bump into those same women, especially the grandmothers, wearing curlers under a brightly covered scarf to pick up a gallon of milk. This was a sight you’d never see up north—whatever primping Midwesterners did happened in the privacy of the home. Not so in the South, where tempers, opinions and, apparently, hairstyling techniques, were never kept hidden. They didn’t seem to mind being caught in what was, to my eyes, something of a state of undress. And they had a point: after all, did we think looking that good was effortless?

All this is a rather long way of saying that, while I came to admire that attitude and their confidence, there is too much of the Midwesterner in me to ever pull it off myself. I’ll never be quite as well-groomed as those stylish Southern ladies, but I’ll never show up at the grocery store in curlers, either. You never know who you might run into—especially in Nashville. Don’t believe me? Check out what Le Peug and I saw at Kroger after picking up some tortillas to make this recipe:

Le Peug gets an introduction to country music

Le Peug has gone country

Since there were no crowds gathering in the store, I’m assuming we didn’t miss seeing Loretta herself (who is working a new album!), but I waved just in case she was waiting on the bus.

Tagged , , , ,

“You’re the Reason Our Kids Are Ugly”

We moved to Alabama from Minnesota when I was a kid. It would have been less of a culture shock to move to Canada. Among the many things I found different about Alabama, aside from the sometimes incomprehensible accents and inability to call pop of any variety anything but “Coke,” was the more formal way everyone dressed, especially for school and church. Mothers and grandmothers were always in full makeup, perfectly coiffed, with their daughters  sporting huge hairbows and the equally huge bangs so popular during the early 90s. The one exception to this rule seemed to be the grocery store, where you’d occasionally bump into those same women, especially the grandmothers, wearing curlers under a brightly covered scarf to pick up a gallon of milk. This was a sight you’d never see up north—whatever primping Midwesterners did happened in the privacy of the home. Not so in the South, where tempers, opinions and, apparently, hairstyling techniques, were never kept hidden. They didn’t seem to mind being caught in what was, to my eyes, something of a state of undress. And they had a point: after all, did we think looking that good was effortless?

All this is a rather long way of saying that, while I came to admire that attitude and their confidence, there is too much of the Midwesterner in me to ever pull it off myself. I’ll never be quite as well-groomed as those stylish Southern ladies, but I’ll never show up at the grocery store in curlers, either. You never know who you might run into—especially in Nashville. Don’t believe me? Check out what Le Peug and I saw at Kroger after picking up some tortillas to make this recipe:

Le Peug gets an introduction to country music

Le Peug has gone country

Since there were no crowds gathering in the store, I’m assuming we didn’t miss seeing Loretta herself (who is working a new album!), but I waved just in case she was waiting on the bus.

Tagged , , , ,

Fate and a New Old Bike

Fate has intervened to bring me a blue beauty.

Bridgestone Kabuki

Bridgestone Kabuki

Iciclebicycle found a bicycle at a dumpster while recycling, took it home, and blogged about it. I read about it, wanted it, and let him know. Voila, the vintage almost-mixte Bridgestone Kabuki will soon be mine, after he fixes it up a bit and ships it my way. Then I have plans to attach bells, baskets, racks and any other cute accessories I come up with. I still plan on acquiring another bike; this Kabuki will be a loved member of my growing brood. I have a fondness for former street urchins, as my cats have the same history. You can read more about its ancestry and tangential link to Rivendell at the link.

UPDATE: Progress!

Kabuki Coming Together

Kabuki Coming Together

Tagged

What's in a Name?

After our first happy hour

After our first happy hour

In  my imagination, my French mixte was a girl. Her name would be Simone,* and she would be the perfect thing to ride to cafes to sip coffee, or to bars to drink gin martinis or sidecars while discussing feminist theory, boys, bikes, existentialism, travel, politics and our cats (what do you talk about at happy hour?). On the off chance the bike was more scientific-minded, she could be a Marie (Curie); or, if she had a more artistic temperament, Camille (Claudel).

Imagine my surprise when Le Peug showed up and was…a boy. We get along just fine, but I don’t have a name picked out! I’ve tossed around Baudelaire, Balzac, Napoleon (top of the list, but not perfect), Voltaire, Louis (too generic), Moliere (too lighthearted) even Charlemagne, but nothing feels quite right. So for the time being, he’s Le Peug (Puhzh). I’m thinking it will take a few more days to take his measure and figure out his personality. Any bright ideas? Leave them in the comments!

* A fascinating interview with de Beauvoir can be found here.

Tagged , , ,

What’s in a Name?

After our first happy hour

After our first happy hour

In  my imagination, my French mixte was a girl. Her name would be Simone,* and she would be the perfect thing to ride to cafes to sip coffee, or to bars to drink gin martinis or sidecars while discussing feminist theory, boys, bikes, existentialism, travel, politics and our cats (what do you talk about at happy hour?). On the off chance the bike was more scientific-minded, she could be a Marie (Curie); or, if she had a more artistic temperament, Camille (Claudel).

Imagine my surprise when Le Peug showed up and was…a boy. We get along just fine, but I don’t have a name picked out! I’ve tossed around Baudelaire, Balzac, Napoleon (top of the list, but not perfect), Voltaire, Louis (too generic), Moliere (too lighthearted) even Charlemagne, but nothing feels quite right. So for the time being, he’s Le Peug (Puhzh). I’m thinking it will take a few more days to take his measure and figure out his personality. Any bright ideas? Leave them in the comments!

* A fascinating interview with de Beauvoir can be found here.

Tagged , , ,

3 Feet Please

I really want this shirt (see at link). Also, this related news clip is definitely worth watching. The best local news story I’ve ever seen on bikes, except a bit spoiled at the end with the whole “dead right” angle. I need one of those camcorders on my bike. Drivers very rarely pass me so closely, though. Is this type of dangerous driving more common outside of cities, where drivers are not used to seeing cyclists?

Tagged

Love My Bike

Love my bike, love Chicago.

Bike Love

Bike Love

That is all.

Tagged , , , ,

Bike Theft Paranoia

I might be suffering from post-traumatic bike-theft stress syndrome. Every work day I park my bike at the McDonald’s Cycle Center, a city bike garage complete with showers, lockers, maintenance, and secure parking. I pay $25 a month for use of the entire facility, but there’s also free secure parking in the basement. (That’s where I parked while on the wait list for membership last summer.)

Bike Garage in Foreground / Office Building in Background

Bike Garage in Foreground / Office Building in Background

Yesterday, I was running late for a meeting and did not have time to park my bike in the Cycle Center. Instead, I chained Oma to a bike rack in front of my building. I can see that particular rack from my 20th floor window, so figured I could keep an eye on her. My meeting lasted 2 hours and as soon as I returned to my office, I looked out the window. It was getting dark and I couldn’t see much. I climbed on top of my desk and mushed my face against the glass to get a closer look. I still couldn’t see Oma. Then I thought I saw a dark figure loitering and messing around in the spot where she was parked.

Immediately, I grabbed my helmet, bag, and coat and ran out of my office. I left without shutting my computer down or rinsing out my coffee cup – all the usual routine tasks. By the time I got through the elevator bank and past security to outside, my heart was thumping, only to find nothing amiss. Oma was standing exactly as I left her, no funny business. I felt absolutely silly and a little unbalanced. I had planned to stay at work a couple more hours, but after going through all the trouble of fleeing the building, I got on Oma and headed home.

Thank goodness I have secure bike parking at the office! There’s no way I could leave Oma chained up outside for 11 hours every day in downtown Chicago. Not with any peace of mind, even with my $135 Abus lock (yes, I really paid that much!). There’s also bike parking in my building’s garage, but I’d have to travel through the dark underworld (see Dark Knight) of Chicago to get there, so I never use it. Do most bike commuters have secure parking at work? If not, what do you do? I guess most cities aren’t as bad for bike theft as Chicago!

Tagged ,

More Chicago Fun

On Sunday, we borrowed a bike from the neighbor for me and set off down the Lakefront Path to go ice skating. I’d ridden the path in the summer before, but was eager to give Dottie’s winter commute a try. It was below 20 degrees when we set out, but the day was clear, sunny and beautiful.

Trying out the Raleigh

Trying out the Raleigh

The path was pretty clear of ice and snow, and busy, if not crowded — mostly joggers, but we saw a few other cyclists.

Continue reading

Tagged , , , , ,

How Cool Is This?

Making your mark

Making your mark

I’ve always loved sidewalk chalk. It would be fun to use these on a group ride as shown, but I also like the idea of putting one on for my commute. Unfortunately it looks like it’s just a concept for the time being.

Via

Tagged ,

Retroveloing: Trisha

This bike only weighed a little less than Pinkie, so I figured it couldn’t be *that* different…a bike is a bike, right? Not when one bike is a Retrovelo, apparently. The Paula was so fun to ride — and fast! Biking seems so much easier in Chicago, and I can’t quite put my finger on why. Is it the lack of hills? the company? the quality of the bikes I end up riding when I’m here? Could be all of the above. Since we don’t have a Dutch Bike Shop in Nashville, I guess I will never know for sure, but you can tell I’m having fun in this video (courtesy of Mr. Dottie, who somehow managed to go running through an alley carrying two purses and a camera without being tackled by a would-be Good Samaritan).

more about "Retroveloing Trisha ", posted with vodpod

Tagged , , ,

Biking (and Blogging!) Together at Last

Dutch Bike Chicago

Dutch Bike Chicago

What happens when you put two bike blogging friends together in the same city? Lots of bikey goodness. We visited Dutch Bike Chicago and tried out a couple of really cool bikes, the Retrovelo Paula and the Workcycles Bakfiets. The snow was falling pretty hard with already a few inches of accumulation, but that did not stop us. [I was excited to have a chance to ride in real snow. Walking in it was not as much fun!  --T]

Everything about the shop is so classy and being surrounded by all of those gorgeous bikes was a treat.

Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Hershberger Baker's Basket

I’ve been looking for a suitable basket for Oma’s front rack since I adopted her in October. I was looking at a couple of Basil and Wald baskets and had decided that a simple, big wire basket would be the most utilitarian choice for all weather and hauling conditions. But then I saw this beauty on Velo Orange: the Hershberger Baker’s Basket with Lid. Add to the good looks that it was made by an Amish family in Minnesota, and I was sold.

Oma with New Basket

Oma with New Basket

Continue reading

Tagged ,

Hershberger Baker’s Basket

I’ve been looking for a suitable basket for Oma’s front rack since I adopted her in October. I was looking at a couple of Basil and Wald baskets and had decided that a simple, big wire basket would be the most utilitarian choice for all weather and hauling conditions. But then I saw this beauty on Velo Orange: the Hershberger Baker’s Basket with Lid. Add to the good looks that it was made by an Amish family in Minnesota, and I was sold.

Oma with New Basket

Oma with New Basket

Continue reading

Tagged ,

Signs of Spring

Baby birds TK?

Baby birds TK?

Earlier this week I rode past this budding tree and its beribboned nest. We have been alternating between days that feel like spring and days that feel like winter here in Nashville, and I’m hoping this is a sign that we’ll be sticking with spring very soon. Anyone else seeing signs of a change in the weather?

Tagged , , ,

Heart-warming Story of the Day

I swear I’ve had this exact fantasy many times about my stolen bike. Here’s the brief story: Chicago girl’s bike was stolen, she posted about it on The Chainlink, someone saw a Craigslist ad and said is this it?, girl says yes!, girl takes her bike back, theif gets visit from police. Read the full thread here.

The Highlight:

Everyone! I got my bike back!!! I was trying to keep chill in case he was a biker and somehow read this thread. I’ve been on his heels since first seeing the ad on criagslist five minutes after he posted it. Meet him as 912 w. 18th place mother fucker and posed as potential buyers. As i was taking my bike for a spin around the block, I called the cops and explained the situation and I said that I needed help “RIGHT MOTHER FUCKING NOW”…cops show up, I garnish the original sales reciept, booyakaa, jen is now making love to her bike. That now has a new chain…and is super clean. Actually, I think I owe him money for a tune-up!!  And I love my biking community.

Keeping hope alive for all the stolen bikes out there.

Tagged

Bicycling Music

This week for the first time I’ve been listening to music while riding to and from work.  Yes, with earbuds and an ipod.  I would not do this on busy streets, but I’ve decided that it’s perfectly fine on the deserted lakefront trail and quiet side streets.  I keep the volume low and, conveniently, only one of my earbuds works, so I hear all around me. 

I LOVE music, although I have no special talent for it myself.  Music makes everything better!  So this morning was The Dresden Dolls and this evening was Arcade Fire, both perfect choices.  The Dolls really helped me through the mean headwind.  Tomorrow morning is wide open: maybe some Lucinda Williams, Neutral Milk Hotel, or Tori Amos.  My sweet friend Erin mailed me a new album that I’m digging – Rokia Traore, so maybe her.  Or an All Things Considered podcast! Limitless options. 

With a soundtrack I feel more like the girls in this video and less like a woman chugging along to and from work in the city.

Anyone else have some favorite bicycling music?  Anyone disagree with me about listening to music while cycling?  It’s not like I’m listening to Eye of the Tiger or anything awful like that.   ;)

Tagged ,

Ménage à Trois

I have a confession to make: I’m not sure one bike, even one as lovely as the Batavus, is enough for me. I used to think bikes were like men — you find the one for you, and that’s it (or so they say). Now I know that they are more like shoes, or maybe coats: there’s the right choice for every occasion. One day you’re feeling sporty; the next, you might want to haul groceries home. And what if someone comes to visit and needs to borrow a bike? It doesn’t help that they’re all so beautiful in different ways.

This is the long way of telling you that I’m cheating on the Batavus before he’s even made it home (such a vixen). But it wasn’t my fault! Had Pinkie not been taken from me, I promise I never even would have looked at another bike — or at least, not with my wallet in hand. However, among the many kind comments on the entry about her theft was one from Jon at Grinder Bikes, who offered to lend me something to ride until May. I clicked on over to his site and noticed he’d rebuilt many lovely bikes out in Denver. I’d fallen for a few vintage bikes during my bike search, but they were always too large for me. Maybe he had something suitable? Maybe he has a mixte, whispered the devil on my shoulder. So I asked the question.

Continue reading

Tagged , , , ,

Something in the Works

Dotzilla

Dotzilla

Yesterday I rode down to Hyde Park on the south side to TATI Cycles. The meeting was awesome and I have something in the works with him now, one way or another. Still waiting on more details, but I’m very excited. Much closer to my new bike than I was a day ago!

Riding down the south side of the Lakefront Trail was a treat. Deserted and very “back to nature” compared to the north side, with its tacky tiki bars and beach volleyball in the summer. I was on the lookout for the Obamas (or, really, the Secret Service) since they were in Chicago for the weekend, but no such luck. Probably too cold.

The ride home was not as enjoyable, with a killer headwind. Going about 5 miles an hour on my heavy Oma with my thighs burning is not my idea of fun – this is why I need a second bike!! Oma is not made for 30 mile jaunts in 30 mph wind gusts. Is the wind this bad in other cities? I know I am in the Windy City and riding parallel to Lake Michigan but, man, these winter winds are a terror.

Anyway, wish me luck with my bike project! Hopefully I’ll have a new bike by early March!!

Tagged , , , ,
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 43 other followers