Monthly Archives: March 2009

Charting New Territory

I was also going to use the term “adventure” in the name of today’s post — I guess Dottie and I think alike! Whatever you want to call it, yesterday’s ride took me off my beaten path and allowed me to face a new challenge: Green Hills. Any Nashvillian knows that the traffic on Hillsboro Rd. anywhere south of Wedgewood is pretty heinous. It’s so bad that I take back roads when I drive. But there was no reason I couldn’t bike those same back roads — or at least that’s what I told myself when setting off after a happy hour near my work to attend an (excellent) reading at Davis-Kidd by author Mary Pat Kelly.

This is my, "why yes, I'm having my picture taken for no good reason as dozens of people trot by" face.

This is my, "why yes, I'm having my picture taken for no good reason as dozens of people trot by" face.

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Every Commute An Adventure

Today’s commute was a hodgepodge of scenery. As always, the gorgeous sunrise over Lake Michigan was the one constant. Will I ever tire of taking pictures of my bike and the sun? Probably not.

Sunrise over Lake Michigan

Sunrise over Lake Michigan

But this sun is deceiving. Let’s go back in time half a day and see what Sunday morning brought …

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First-Time City Cyclist + Rain, Wind, Cold = FUN

What is the absolute worst way to introduce a friend to cycling in the city? Perhaps by taking her through heavily trafficked streets in the freezing rain. What is evidence of the lure of cycling? When the friend still has fun.

Innocent and Unknowing of What Lies Ahead

Innocent and Unknowing of What Lies Ahead

My best friend Melissa is in the city from the suburbs this weekend, and we wanted to check out some thrift stores in Wicker Park. Melissa agreed to travel by bike on Smurfette. I was a little worried about the route because it requires us to go over a big bridge and through two huge intersections, but Melissa was up for it.

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You Know You're a Bike Commuter When . . .

  • You start driving your bike commute route instead of your car commute route (luckily I realized what I was doing before I got to the crosswalk portion of my route).
  • You try to open your car door with your U-Lock key.
  • After a few days of not driving, you can’t remember where your car is parked.
  • The chief criteria for a new hairstyle is that it be helmet-proof.

I’m sure you all have more to add…

03.27.09
ETA a few of my faves from the comments so far:

  • When you bend when driving around a curve (although my driving teacher told me that I should try to avoid that years ago ;-) ) —anna
  • When you need to drive to work one day for whatever reason, leave the office at the end of that day and freak-out because your bicycle isn’t at the bike rack. —dadabean [T’s note: I have totally done this.]
  • When people come in your office and say “Where’s your bike?” if it’s not there. —Courtney
  • You ‘hesitate’ at red lights and then realize you are in a car and MUST stop. —Elisa M.

And any bike/motorcycle riders will probably appreciate Tinker’s comment…maybe everyone should just go and read them all.

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You Know You’re a Bike Commuter When . . .

  • You start driving your bike commute route instead of your car commute route (luckily I realized what I was doing before I got to the crosswalk portion of my route).
  • You try to open your car door with your U-Lock key.
  • After a few days of not driving, you can’t remember where your car is parked.
  • The chief criteria for a new hairstyle is that it be helmet-proof.

I’m sure you all have more to add…

03.27.09
ETA a few of my faves from the comments so far:

  • When you bend when driving around a curve (although my driving teacher told me that I should try to avoid that years ago ;-) ) —anna
  • When you need to drive to work one day for whatever reason, leave the office at the end of that day and freak-out because your bicycle isn’t at the bike rack. —dadabean [T’s note: I have totally done this.]
  • When people come in your office and say “Where’s your bike?” if it’s not there. —Courtney
  • You ‘hesitate’ at red lights and then realize you are in a car and MUST stop. —Elisa M.

And any bike/motorcycle riders will probably appreciate Tinker’s comment…maybe everyone should just go and read them all.

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Headwindy City

Crashing waves. Howling winds. Seagulls. Had I gone to sleep in Chicago and woken up in North Carolina on the eve of a hurricane? Nope. Just another morning commute in the windy city.

Untitled from Dottie White on Vimeo.

Chicago could be many things – the laid back city, the deep dish pizza city, the pothole city, the small live music venue city, the Obama city – but the windy city is as accurate a nickname as any.

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Headwindy City

Crashing waves. Howling winds. Seagulls. Had I gone to sleep in Chicago and woken up in North Carolina on the eve of a hurricane? Nope. Just another morning commute in the windy city.

more about “Headwindy City“, posted with vodpod

Chicago could be many things – the laid back city, the deep dish pizza city, the pothole city, the small live music venue city, the Obama city – but the windy city is as accurate a nickname as any.

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Cargo Bike!

I might have to cede that “cycling with style” title (though we all know it’s Ms. D who brings the class to this here blog) after today. With just a few hot pink cable ties from the Dollar Tree and an old crate from my hall closet, Le Peug was transformed into a cargo bike. And I think he might stay that way for a while, because I’m loving the new functionality.

Le Peug as pack horse

Le Peug as pack mule

I don’t think Dottie will mind though because beneath my lunch, the office Kindle and my purse lurks the real reason I needed the crate: a package destined for Chicago. Brought to you partially by bike. ;)

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Bargain Hunting in the Blood

One of my favorite things to do on the weekends these days is make the rounds of the neighborhood shops on my bike. It’s never a long ride — 4 miles roundtrip, max — but it’s relaxing, and going on Le Peug keeps me from buying too much. I especially like visiting the thrift and antique stores in the area since I’m always looking for a bargain.

Yesterday my mom left a comment that proves this runs in the family:

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Cocktail Party Ride

My fanciest ride was this weekend, to a fundraising gala for a domestic violence organization I volunteer with. Deciding to ride my bike was natural, as I have no car and taking a cab would have been lame when I live only two miles from the location. I was a bit worried about hurting my silk, lace and beaded Badgley Mischka cocktail dress and silk Anne Klein heels – my one and only black tie outfit. Turns out I had no reason to worry: the ride was effortless in every way!

3-21-dress-bike2

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Cocktail Party Ride

My fanciest ride was this weekend, to a fundraising gala for a domestic violence organization I volunteer with. Deciding to ride my bike was natural, as I have no car and taking a cab would have been lame when I live only two miles from the location. I was a bit worried about hurting my silk, lace and beaded Badgley Mischka cocktail dress and silk Anne Klein heels – my one and only black tie outfit. Turns out I had no reason to worry: the ride was effortless in every way!

3-21-dress-bike2

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Say Hello to the Future – Rivendell's Betty Foy!

Along with the gorgeous mast that Trisha designed, we’ll soon have a new addition to Let’s Go Ride a Bike. My decision is made, finally! Long-time listeners may remember my first steps to finding a bike to replace my stolen Jamis. I oggled bikes the I could not afford, such as ANTs and MAPs. I encountered annoying bike shop guys. I toured Chicago’s bike shops. At one point I thought I had something on the horizon, but that did not work out. After (almost too) much thought, I’ve decided that I will purchase the Rivendell Betty Foy. This was one of my original loves that’s pretty much perfect and reasonably in my bike budget (which, by the way, comes completely from selling my car and renting out my garage parking spot).

Betty Foy - Size 52

Betty Foy - Size 52

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Say Hello to the Future – Rivendell’s Betty Foy!

Along with the gorgeous mast that Trisha designed, we’ll soon have a new addition to Let’s Go Ride a Bike. My decision is made, finally! Long-time listeners may remember my first steps to finding a bike to replace my stolen Jamis. I oggled bikes the I could not afford, such as ANTs and MAPs. I encountered annoying bike shop guys. I toured Chicago’s bike shops. At one point I thought I had something on the horizon, but that did not work out. After (almost too) much thought, I’ve decided that I will purchase the Rivendell Betty Foy. This was one of my original loves that’s pretty much perfect and reasonably in my bike budget (which, by the way, comes completely from selling my car and renting out my garage parking spot).

Betty Foy - Size 52

Betty Foy - Size 52

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It's the Little Things…

…that amuse and entertain me. The odder, the better.

For example, what is the coolest part of this picture? Look closely.

Look real close

Look real close

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It’s the Little Things…

…that amuse and entertain me. The odder, the better.

For example, what is the coolest part of this picture? Look closely.

Look real close

Look real close

Continue reading

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When It Don't Come Easy…and When It Does

I haven’t posted much about my commute in the past few weeks, because, frankly, it’s been rather miserable. There were no March lions for Nashville; instead, the month snuck in under dense, foggy cloud cover, and last week especially was one big grey mizzle. Cycling really felt like work, especially on Sunday, when I biked to brunch in 50-degree, overcast humidity.

Just when I thought we might never see the sun again, Monday afternoon it appeared. And the last two days have been glorious. Brisk but sunny mornings in the 40s, afternoons in the high 60s and low 70s. This morning I beat my record time to work, getting here in only 10 minutes, and both days I just played on my bike, shifting my center of gravity slightly to make the bike “dance,” swinging my legs as I slowed down for stop signs or lights. A thunderstorm is predicted for tomorrow and hot, humid summer is right around the corner, but for now I’m happy to take it one day at a time.

Heading out this morning, another beautiful day

Heading out this morning, another beautiful day

When It Don’t Come Easy…and When It Does

I haven’t posted much about my commute in the past few weeks, because, frankly, it’s been rather miserable. There were no March lions for Nashville; instead, the month snuck in under dense, foggy cloud cover, and last week especially was one big grey mizzle. Cycling really felt like work, especially on Sunday, when I biked to brunch in 50-degree, overcast humidity.

Just when I thought we might never see the sun again, Monday afternoon it appeared. And the last two days have been glorious. Brisk but sunny mornings in the 40s, afternoons in the high 60s and low 70s. This morning I beat my record time to work, getting here in only 10 minutes, and both days I just played on my bike, shifting my center of gravity slightly to make the bike “dance,” swinging my legs as I slowed down for stop signs or lights. A thunderstorm is predicted for tomorrow and hot, humid summer is right around the corner, but for now I’m happy to take it one day at a time.

Heading out this morning, another beautiful day

Heading out this morning, another beautiful day

Beautiful Lugged Steel Mixte

Check this beauty out!

ebay-betty.

Lynn of Bike Lite – an expert at stumbling upon great old bikes – found this 1950’s lugged steel mixte on eBay and noticed that it looks a lot like Rivendell’s Betty Foy. Intriguing! Is a bike like this a show piece or a viable everyday travel option?

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Aha! Saddle Position Breakthrough

All this time I’ve been riding around with a poorly positioned saddle. How could I not have realized it?

New Saddle Position

New Saddle Position

On Sunday I brought Oma to the Dutch Bike Chicago doctor for a regular check-up and to have her studded tires swapped (a task I could not figure out due to the enclosed chain case). He was super helpful with everything, fixing a spring that keeps my handlebars from swinging around while parked and treating my Brooks saddle. He noticed from the saddle’s breaking-in pattern that I was riding too far forward and offered to adjust the tilt. Of course! Once he mentioned it, I realized that I often have to scoot myself back while riding, but it never occurred to me to investigate. I thought maybe that was simply how the saddle was supposed to be, nevermind my instincts. As you can see in the picture, the saddle is now titled up slightly, making the back part level with the ground.

Huge improvement! On the way home I realized how bad it was before when I kept pushing on the handlebars to scoot myself back, only to realize that I did not need to scoot back. Why didn’t I address the problem before someone in the know brought it up? I don’t need to be a bike expert to know what my body is feeling. This super comfy saddle is a lesson learned.

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