Monthly Archives: May 2009

Singin' in the Rain, By Myself

After sharing the Lakefront Trail on my Thursday evening commute with hundreds of cyclists, on Friday I counted a grand total of four. What could have caused such a drastic change? An alert that H1N1 is spread by breathing Lake Michigan air? A pack of geese standing guard and demanding shrubbery? Tornadoes? Nope, just rain. The place was so empty, I was able to take this geektastic picture of myself without embarrassment.

Drenched and Wind-blown

Drenched and Wind-blown

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Singin’ in the Rain, By Myself

After sharing the Lakefront Trail on my Thursday evening commute with hundreds of cyclists, on Friday I counted a grand total of four. What could have caused such a drastic change? An alert that H1N1 is spread by breathing Lake Michigan air? A pack of geese standing guard and demanding shrubbery? Tornadoes? Nope, just rain. The place was so empty, I was able to take this geektastic picture of myself without embarrassment.

Drenched and Wind-blown

Drenched and Wind-blown

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I Love All These Cyclists! (except when I don't)

Bikes, bikes, everywhere! Today’s weather was magnificent and Chicagoans took notice. With all the bikes, you would have thought you’d stepped into Copenhagen, except for the prevalence of sportswear and helmets. Such a lovely sight!

Evening sun over Grant Park

Evening sun over Grant Park

Of course, there’s the little devil on my shoulder that wishes the crowds would get out of my way. The devil rears her head particularly around less-skilled cyclists, often male, who insist on scooting ahead of me at red lights, as if they’re actually faster! Sorry, boys, but I’ve been out here all winter and chances are very high that I will pass you without breaking a sweat, unless you are all Lance Armstronged-out (though I did pass one of them this week). I don’t care if your ego’s hurt by my pink helmet and basket – I’m not racing, I’m trying to get somewhere. ;)

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I Love All These Cyclists! (except when I don’t)

Bikes, bikes, everywhere! Today’s weather was magnificent and Chicagoans took notice. With all the bikes, you would have thought you’d stepped into Copenhagen, except for the prevalence of sportswear and helmets. Such a lovely sight!

Evening sun over Grant Park

Evening sun over Grant Park

Of course, there’s the little devil on my shoulder that wishes the crowds would get out of my way. The devil rears her head particularly around less-skilled cyclists, often male, who insist on scooting ahead of me at red lights, as if they’re actually faster! Sorry, boys, but I’ve been out here all winter and chances are very high that I will pass you without breaking a sweat, unless you are all Lance Armstronged-out (though I did pass one of them this week). I don’t care if your ego’s hurt by my pink helmet and basket – I’m not racing, I’m trying to get somewhere. ;)

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Happy Anniversary to Us!

It’s now been officially one year of commuting for me and coming up on one year for Dottie. Even though the bikes we started out on are no longer with us (the late, lamented Janis and Pinkie), we’re planning on using two wheels for a very long time.

Curious about how it all began? We bring you these emails from the very extensive Dottie/Trisha email archives (biographers, get in line now!).

On Trisha’s first ride:

Just prior to beginning bicycle commuting, I’d been in Chicago for a taping of the Oprah show with my parents (not a guest, just an audience member). While I was there, Pinkie was being tuned up and getting new tires after her long stay in my grandparents’ garage, and as soon as I got back we went for a ride.

Jerusalem Cafe

Pinkie at Jerusalem Cafe, during one of her last lunch breaks.

On 5/2/08, Trisha wrote:

thanks so much for another lovely time in Chicago. I only wish I could have stayed for the weekend. : ) Hopefully I’ll be able to arrange a longer visit soon, or you guys can come hang out here. . . .

Did I tell you I’m joining in yours and Greg’s efforts to save the planet through alternative commuting [editor's note: at this time the Dotties were taking the El train]? I hope to start riding my bike to work next week. Tomorrow I’m taking a test run. Last night I went to the grocery store and back…I had forgotten how fun riding a bike could be.

On May 5, 2008, at 3:46 PM, Dorothy wrote:

Thank you for coming!!  Lots of fun!  Too bad you missed all the Second City and Jameson :)

How’s the bike working out?

We adopted Chloe yesterday.  She is a sweetheart!!!!!

On May 5, 2008, at 4:46 PM, Trisha wrote:

Bike is good. I rode to work and back yesterday and will do it again tomorrow. Figured easing into it is better; plus I went home for lunch today so I didn’t want to use up all that time riding the bike instead of the car. Good news is, it only takes like 20 minutes to get here, which really isn’t much longer than it takes to drive. Well, double the time, but a 20-minute commute isn’t that long in the grand scheme of things.

On Dottie’s first ride, two weeks later:

Janis the Jamis - Dottie's first big-girl bike

Janis the Jamis - Dottie's first big-girl bike

From: “Dorothy”
Date: May 20, 2008 9:54:08 AM CDT
To: “Trisha”
Subject: chatting

Good Morning.

I am here to chat, despite my pile of work.  Because that’s how I roll.

I bought a bike Sunday!  This one, from my little neighborhood bike shop, Roscoe Village Bikes.  I’m going to totally copy you and try to commute to work via the Lake Shore Path, since the el takes me 45 minutes to an hour these days, with all the construction.  Plus, sometimes smelly people sit next to me.  First I need to get used to riding a bike after a 10-year hiatus. A little scared of riding in the city, but really excited about how much it will change my day-to-day life.  The path that follows Lake Michigan is gorgeous – a great way to start and end the workday. Remember that road we went down in the morning on the way to Oprah? The bike path follows that.  How’s your riding going?

On 5/20/08, Trisha wrote:

Ooh, I love your bike! And a bike path on the lake would be beautiful. So far, I really like riding my bike to work. You get to smell the honeysuckle, feel the breezes and sometimes see interesting urban sights, like burning cars. : ) OK, that only happened once (and in Hillsboro Village!!) but it was awesome.

from: Dorothy
to: Trisha
date: Mon, Jun 2, 2008 at 10:19 AM
subject: Re: your vacation, my staycation

I had a great weekend! Spent the whole thing with Greg on my bike. We biked everywhere – the dentist, best buy, brunch, downtown to the Gospel festival. And I biked to work this morning! Door-to-door it took the same amount of time as the el. My odometer said 7.1 miles and on lake path I was averaging between 14-15 mph, but much slower on the road with all the stop signs. It’s very hot out today, so it would have been nice to take a shower, but a wash cloth and bathroom stall worked out pretty well. Beautiful ride on the lake!! I took my bike back to the shop this weekend to get a rear rack, bell, lights, panier, and odometer installed. It’s so cute :) My bell says “I (heart) my bike.” I can carry all my work clothes and stuff in my panier (I think I’m spelling that correctly) that goes on my rack. Like a mule. I’ll have to send you a pic and you still need to send me a pic of yours!

Neither of us could have predicted how much cycling would become a part of our lives, but as you can see, we loved it from the start.

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Beautiful Day For A Root Canal

The city today was beautiful from the bike saddle. I rode to work as usual, rode to the endodontist for a root canal, rode to CVS to get Vicodin, and finally rode home. Yup, my seemingly innocent crash last week during the Tweed Ride led to a root canal. My chipped teeth did not start hurting until Sunday. I got them patched by my regular dentist yesterday and now they look better than new, but the pain did not go away. Turns out the force of the impact damaged a nerve that would never heal, so now the nerves are all ripped out. Fun!

Betty Foy in Grant Park

Betty Foy in Grant Park

Some might think riding my bike to the dentist to repair injuries from a bike accident is kinda weird, but how else would I get there? Taking public transit would have been hell. At least on my bike I’m distracted from the pain :) And the gorgeous weather and refreshing bike rides really did make the day a tiny bit better.

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Nashville Bikes to Work, I Drive to Alabama

Like many U.S. cities, Nashville is celebrating National Bike Month with a Bike-to-Work Week this week. So far I’ve been able to participate with pleasure thanks to some beautiful weather.

Our Bike-to-Work Week culminates with an official Bike-to-Work Day on Friday (Nashvillest has deets) and the Tour de Nash. I knew I couldn’t make the tour (going to pick up the Batavus, FINALLY) but I was really looking forward to participating in my very first Nashville group bike ride and meeting some local fellow commuters. Unfortunately work is calling me to Alabama a day early. If you’re in Nashville, get out there to the Schermerhorn, mix and mingle, and let me know how it went! We need to do this more than one day a year.

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Dahoney

Because I’ve never met a pun that I did not like, Dahoney (n): girl about town on a folding bike.

5-10 dahon dP10704925-10 dahon w5-10 dahon

I visited Nashville this weekend for our friend Erin’s bachelorette party and Trisha had the Dahon ready and waiting for me. Our friend Wanda from San Diego also took it for a spin. This funny alien bike has always tripped me out and I have a hard time wrapping my brain around how it works. But it does. The spindly creature provides a shockingly quick and comfortable ride that feels oddly similar to a regular bike. Granted, no one will take little D on endurance rides or racing (although an all-folding-bike race would be adorable), but it’s a sensible choice for shorter utilitarian rides. A major benefit is fitting a wide range of riders, going from me (5’7) to Trisha in the few seconds it took to adjust the seat. The only issue I had was the slight squirrely feeling down hill and even more so up hill, but nothing extreme. I also felt more vulnerable next to cars and trucks, but that’s mostly in my head, since I’m used to big weighty bikes.

And now I want a folding bike. Such is the danger of riding new bikes. What a neat trinket to carry around on plane and train trips, so that I’d always have a bike with me. You never know when you’ll need a bike! It’s not cheap, though, so it will remain a twinkle in the fairy’s eye for now.

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Mother Nature Rejects Ladies' Critical Mass

All day at work, watching the gorgeous weather from my office window, I was antsy to be outside on my bike.

Like a caged animal, I await my chance for escape

Like a caged animal, I await my chance for escape

I planned on riding in the Ladies’ Mass organized by Cycling Sisters, like critical mass but for grrrls and womyn only. I’ve never been on one of their rides before, but met a couple of them on the Tweed Ride. When the time finally came to leave my desk behind and go meet the group, the weather had changed – drastically.

Damn

Damn

Of course. So instead I had a wet and windy ride straight home by my lonesome. I wonder if the ride went ahead anyway? The next Ladies’ Mass ride is Sunday, June 7 and I plan on being there as long as the weather cooperates. If you don’t identify as male and live in Chicago, put it on your calendar!

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Mother Nature Rejects Ladies’ Critical Mass

All day at work, watching the gorgeous weather from my office window, I was antsy to be outside on my bike.

Like a caged animal, I await my chance for escape

Like a caged animal, I await my chance for escape

I planned on riding in the Ladies’ Mass organized by Cycling Sisters, like critical mass but for grrrls and womyn only. I’ve never been on one of their rides before, but met a couple of them on the Tweed Ride. When the time finally came to leave my desk behind and go meet the group, the weather had changed – drastically.

Damn

Damn

Of course. So instead I had a wet and windy ride straight home by my lonesome. I wonder if the ride went ahead anyway? The next Ladies’ Mass ride is Sunday, June 7 and I plan on being there as long as the weather cooperates. If you don’t identify as male and live in Chicago, put it on your calendar!

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Smurfette's New Home & More Tweed Ride

Melissa first met Smurfette, my late ’70’s Bridgestone Kabuki, last month on a rainy thrift store adventure. They got along really well and I decided that it was meant to be. I bought Smurfette on a whim, but had to face the fact that she is too small for me. Melissa bought a Wal-Mart bike last year, but it soon broke down. Now Melissa and Smurfette will be free to explore the roads and paths of suburban Aurora, IL together. Melissa is proving to be a natural city cyclist. We rode five miles to Union Station downtown, and then Melissa took the Metra train back to Aurora with her new old bike.

Saying Goodbye at Union Station

Saying Goodbye at Union Station

In her own words:

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Smurfette’s New Home & More Tweed Ride

Melissa first met Smurfette, my late ’70’s Bridgestone Kabuki, last month on a rainy thrift store adventure. They got along really well and I decided that it was meant to be. I bought Smurfette on a whim, but had to face the fact that she is too small for me. Melissa bought a Wal-Mart bike last year, but it soon broke down. Now Melissa and Smurfette will be free to explore the roads and paths of suburban Aurora, IL together. Melissa is proving to be a natural city cyclist. We rode five miles to Union Station downtown, and then Melissa took the Metra train back to Aurora with her new old bike.

Saying Goodbye at Union Station

Saying Goodbye at Union Station

In her own words:

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Craigslist Post of the Week

Forget gold — apparently, the universal currency in the South is guns. To each their own, but I think I’d rather have four bikes, even rusty ones . . .

05.05picture-11

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Birthday Bike Ride

Our last day in Russia (a week ago today) also happened to be my 29th birthday.  Spending it riding bikes with one of my fave people was definitely the way to go. The day in pictures:

We started out by climbing the 200-odd steps of St. Isaac’s cathedral to admire the view.

Dottie and me on top of St. Isaacs cathedral.

Dottie and me on top of St. Isaac's cathedral.

Then it was time to head to Krestovsky Island for a bike ride and picnic.
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Missing Bike in Birmingham

A quick post to spread some sad news (and hopefully, catch a bike thief): Elisa of Bike Skirt lost her LeMond, Mick Jagger, last night. He was taken right out of her backyard.

Mick Jagger

Mick Jagger

If anyone in the Birmingham area sees Mick, get in touch with Elisa (and jab a stick in the spokes while you’re calling). Check Bike Skirt for more info. Dottie and I have both experienced bike theft and hope Elisa’s story has a happier ending than either of ours.

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Chicago's Tweed Ride (and My Crash)

On Saturday, the inaugural Chicago Tweed Ride took place. London and San Francisco have held such rides recently, and it’s fun to see how the different cities interpret the ride. Chicago’s a good city to carry on the tweedy fun. The ride toured Chicago’s speakeasies, stopping at a couple for food and drinks, which were needed as the ride started at 1 and ended at 7. I enjoyed riding with so many others who appreciate slow bikes and style. I did not know a soul, and had a good time meeting everyone. Without further ado, I present Chicago’s tweedy goodness.

5-3-socks

5-3-light 5-3-plaid

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Chicago’s Tweed Ride (& My Crash)

On Saturday, the inaugural Chicago Tweed Ride took place. London and San Francisco have held such rides recently, and it’s fun to see how the different cities interpret the ride. Chicago’s a good city to carry on the tweedy fun. The ride toured Chicago’s speakeasies, stopping at a couple for food and drinks, which were needed as the ride started at 1 and ended at 7. I enjoyed riding with so many others who appreciate slow bikes and style. I did not know a soul, and had a good time meeting everyone. Without further ado, I present Chicago’s tweedy goodness.

5-3-socks

5-3-light 5-3-plaid

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Ladies Who Tea

5-2-teas2

Forgive the non bike-related post, but I can tie it to cycling by mentioning that later today I will be riding in Chicago’s inaugural Tweed Ride, so I feel like reminiscing about how Trisha and I recently were proper ladies in London having tea at Claridge’s. Well, okay, as proper as two sailor-mouthed Americans taking digital photos of themselves at fancy restaurants can be.

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