Monthly Archives: June 2009

Sarah’s Unique and Stylish City Bike

The best thing about this blog is hearing from other cyclists through comments and emails. Recently, we got an email from Sarah about her new and very cool bike Sapphire.

Sarah and Sapphire

Sarah and Sapphire

Sarah’s husband recently bought her this bike on Craigslist, made by Aarios in Switzerland. Does anybody know anything else about this bike or Aarios?

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My Batavus Entrada Spirit

Now that I’ve had my Batavus Entrada Spirit for nearly a month, it’s time for the review.  The short and sweet version: I love it. Buying a bike I’d never ridden was a risk that paid off.

On our way to work

On our way to work

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Chicago’s Bike to Work Week – June 13-19

Around here every week is bike-to-work week, but Chicago’s official festivities start today, led by the Active Transportation Alliance. A variety of bike commuter stations will be set up along different routes. Two celebrations book-end the week: a bike away from work party on Monday and the Mayor’s rally on Friday. For those new to city cycling, Chicago or both, the city has lots of helpful information here.

Team Dottie/Oma and Melissa/Smurfette (and Mr. Dottie/un-named male bike) are ready!

Oma is ready and waiting for summer

Oma is ready for summer

Melissa and Smurfette

Melissa and Smurfette

I’ll be eager to report how successful the week is, measured by my completely non-scientific opinion of the increase in cyclists. How are you celebrating Chicago’s bike to work week? If your city (as Nashville and most others) had its bike to work week already, how did it go?

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First Dutch-Style Bike Spotting!

On Tuesday I had to go to Vanderbilt. As the Bat and I rode over during our lunch break, we spotted this beauty anchoring a bike rack full of mountain bikes: an Electra Amsterdam!

Snazzy, stylish lady bike.

Snazzy, stylish lady bike.

I wanted to park the Bat next to her for maximum effect, but alas, the spaces next to the Electra couldn’t fit a 700 cc tire—there’s a reason the Electra is at the end of the rack. The Bat is parked in a similar space between the two racks. Now if I could only run into this bike’s owner on the road. Maybe one of these days.

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Bike Friendly Road? You Decide

Over the past few days, I’ve been mulling over that whole idea of bike friendliness in Nashville. The commute route I have chosen (my secret back ways, as Dottie said) is quite bike-friendly, so I do my best to stick to those roads and not get on a street where I feel at risk. In my neighborhood, I can do that—crossing town, during peak traffic periods, it’s a little more difficult, which was why I was in my car yesterday afternoon.

While looking at the beautiful blue sky and wishing I’d been able to bike (an evening drive in traffic is just horrible when you’re used to biking, but being in a convertible does help) I spotted two cyclists on a road I usually avoid when on my bike. Though Wedgewood is a more direct route to my office, I won’t ride on it between 8th and 21st. The massive amounts of traffic (by Nashville standards, anyway), the hills that slow you down and create blind spots for drivers, and the fact that two people I know have been hit by cars while biking here keep me away.

That did not dissuade these two guys. Would you bike this road?

Brave or foolhardy?

Brave or foolhardy?

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Bike Friendly Road? You Decide

Over the past few days, I’ve been mulling over that whole idea of bike friendliness in Nashville. The commute route I have chosen (my secret back ways, as Dottie said) is quite bike-friendly, so I do my best to stick to those roads and not get on a street where I feel at risk. In my neighborhood, I can do that—crossing town, during peak traffic periods, it’s a little more difficult, which was why I was in my car yesterday afternoon.

While looking at the beautiful blue sky and wishing I’d been able to bike (an evening drive in traffic is just horrible when you’re used to biking, but being in a convertible does help) I spotted two cyclists on a road I usually avoid when on my bike. Though Wedgewood is a more direct route to my office, I won’t ride on it between 8th and 21st. The massive amounts of traffic (by Nashville standards, anyway), the hills that slow you down and create blind spots for drivers, and the fact that two people I know have been hit by cars while biking here keep me away.

That did not dissuade these two guys. Would you bike this road?

Brave or foolhardy?

Brave or foolhardy?

Continue reading

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Summer Babes and Elegant Bachelors: A Stylish Cocktail Ride

Let’s Go Ride A Bike has teamed up with John Greenfield of Vote with Your Feet to encourage Chicago cyclists to turn it up a notch when it comes to style. All Chicagoland cyclists are invited to don their finest party attire and join us for a fun and classy ride about town. The route is still being finalized (John’s doing all the work) but we will be stopping by a few of the best al fresco drinking establishments.

summer ridev2

For those who would like to get into the spirit early, come out to the Active Transportation Alliance’s member-only mixer at Dutch Bike Chicago on June 25 from 7 to 9 p.m. Active Trans members get in free and attendees can sign up for memberships at the door – a totally worthwhile cause. I hear there will be an urban obstacle course to navigate with a Dutch bike (I think that’s called my daily commute), alcohol, and a 20% discount on chic bike bags.

(The swanky pair on the flyer is JJ and Mac – looking good!)

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Melissa’s Report from the Newbie Trenches

It’s a crazy world out there for beginning bike commuters.  I remember how confusing and stressful my first couple of rides were and all I had to do was go over and down on a bike path.  After I gave Melissa custody of Smurfette last month, she planned to start bike commuting when she moved to a new apartment closer to work in the Chicago suburb of Aurora. And she did!

Makeshift bike lane - temporary detour from bike trail

Makeshift bike lane - temporary detour from bike trail

Unfortunately, the first try did not go smoothly at all. In fact, it sounded pretty awful and enough to turn off most people from bike commuting forever.

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It’s amazing what you can get just by asking…

About three weeks ago, Mr. Dottie and I pulled up to a neighborhood restaurant for brunch and realized there was no place to park our bikes. We had to go over a block and across the street.

Chicago Bike Rack

Chicago Bike Rack

We made our inconvenience known to the restaurant and, upon returning home, we went to the City of Chicago’s website to request installation of a bike rack. Today we got a response – not too shabby!

From: Steven XXX
Date: Mon, Jun 8, 2009 at 1:24 PM
Subject: Your recent Chicago bike rack request
To: XXX@gmail.com

The CDOT Bicycle Parking Program has accepted your request for a bike rack at:

2150 W Roscoe

You can track the status of your bike rack request on our website:
http://www.chicagobikes.org/bikeparking/rackinfo.php?id=6874

Please note: acceptance of your request does not guarantee installation of a bike rack at this location. Bike racks can only be installed in locations that meet rack siting criteria:
http://www.chicagobikes.org/bikeparking/faq.php

Steven XXX
Bike Parking Program Assistant
stevenXXX@cityofchicago.org

Let’s see how quickly this happens. I’ll go crazy with this request thing if it works!

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Hyde Park Ride – Tinsy Tiny Adventure

Riding daily in Chicago can get somewhat stale – same old, same old – and sometimes I yearn to escape the city and frolic among wild flowers and cows and stuff. Unfortunately, a true country adventure would involve a rental car or train and a lot of planning. One city ride that always seems somewhat like a country adventure is the ride from my northside neighborhood to visit my friends in Hyde Park on the southside (Obama’s neighborhood!). A 30-mile round trip, the ride goes straight down Lake Michigan almost entirely on the Lakefront Trail. The first half is exactly my daily commute, but the second half is much more relaxing and scenic.

Flowers by the Lakefront Trail

Flowers by the Lakefront Trail

This weekend we made the trip to have brunch with friends. Continue reading

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Le Peug Lives

Despite the arrival of the Batavus, Pepe le Peug is alive and well. The Bat is fantastically comfortable (review TK) but le Peug is nimble, like no other bike I’ve ridden. We still have fun together, especially now that the nice guys at Halcyon spruced him up for me (there was a rack issue and a problem with the bolt on the seatpost — but now we’re good as new!). Here’s some photographic evidence, courtesy of Ms. Kristi and taken last weekend:

Beautiful day, beautiful bike!

Beautiful day, beautiful bike!

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My Posse Can Do

Right now I have three bikes. They’re all in my living room. And I love it. Check out my posse:

There be things that my posse can do.

There be things that my posse can do.

Don’t they look ready for action? I love the way the flash caught the reflector on the Bat.

Another snap:

Oh boys you give me the beat.

Not sure what’s up with the angle of the seat on the Dahon and the Batavus, but other than that, they look ready to ride into the sunset. Speaking of bikes in the living room, I can’t seem to leave the Bat outside. If anyone has any interior bike storage ideas, I’d love to hear them. Have thought about the Cycloc, but it’s expensive and I’m not sure how it would work for a step-through frame. Anyone tried it?

Song that inspired the title is after the jump.

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Here’s Oma!

It’s been mentioned that I am neglecting Oma. I don’t think I’m neglecting her in real life, although I usually ride Betty for my commute, but I’ll try to post about her more often. She’s still my favorite bike in the whole wide world and every time I get on her after a brief hiatus, I’m amazed at how totally plush she is.

Oma Outfit

You can tell I'm posing because the kickstand's down

Today I rode Oma to work, taking the city streets instead of the lake path in the morning, and also wore my work clothes – drivers are definitely nicer when I’m dressed like this. Usually I don’t ride in work clothes, preferring to change when I get there, but this morning I was going straight to a panel discussion and did not have an opportunity to change. There’s really no reason not to wear work clothes when I’m riding Oma, since she’s made for that sort of thing and I sweat much less on her – although I am a sweat-er – but it’s easier for me to leave all my suits and shoes at work in an empty office that I took over (can you say walk-in closet?). My three-inch chunky heels presented no problem at all. My tweed skirt is a bit narrow, so when I take off from a stop I have to launch myself straight up, then straight back while fully lifted, and then straight down. A small price to pay for fashion.

Post Script: I want to highlight three newer blogs that I’m absolutely in love with. Readers here probably already know them and I read a huge amount of bike blogs, but I’m so taken with these lately that I must share.

Lovely Bicycle!
– as the name says, lovely bicycles, plus a lovely bicyclist to narrate!

Change Your Life – Ride A Bike! – of course, Meligrosa and Adrienne’s fabulous joint blog.

Bikes by the Sea – seriously, there’s a place constantly this gorgeous and I’m stuck living in Chicago?? plus another lovely cyclist to share the pretty pictures.

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Exclusive: Grandma Rides a Bike

One of our most loyal readers is my grandma. She lives in Salem, Massachusetts and – to my surprise – bought a folding bike last week. I decided to take this opportunity to learn more about her history with bikes. Without further ado, I present a Let’s Go Ride a Bike exclusive: very special interview with Gram.

Gram Folding Bike - Jahon

Gram Folding Bike - Jahon

What made you decide to buy a bike?

I hadn’t ridden in a long time but you inspired me to start again.

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Bike Friendly, Revisited

There was a lot of discussion in the comments on Dottie’s last post about what makes a city bike-friendly. On the heels of that comes The League of American Bicyclist’s 2009 list of rankings of states for bike-friendliness. Unsurprisingly, their rankings line up with the more conventional assessment: Illinois (12) beat the pants off us Tennesseans (43, not an auspicious number).

One of the bike-friendly (i.e., traffic free!) streets I ride down every day

One of the bike-friendly (i.e., traffic free!) streets I ride down every day, back in April

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My Daily Vacation

Despite the light rain and dense fog yesterday, on my way home I came upon a tour group riding big ol’ Schwinns. The group was already gathered off the path to the side, but I passed one straggler who was pedaling slowly and gazing all around with a huge smile on his face. He served as a lovely reminder of how lucky I am to live in Chicago and use the Lakefront Trail. People go on vacation and that is an activity they choose – renting bikes and riding along the trail. I get to do it twice a day, every day. In the mornings I try to remember to look left at the sunrise and right at the skyline. Because one day this era of my life will be only a memory.

Tourists on Schwinns (not to be confused with Schwinn Tourists)

Tourists on Schwinns (not to be confused with the Schwinn Tourist)

Betty and Lilacs and Rain

Betty and Lilacs and Rain

P.S. Betty Foy is doing well and says “hi.”

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Nashville Is (Bike) Friendly!

Nashville is known for many things: country music, Southern gentility, comfort food, and Nicole Kidman sightings. Cycling is not among these distinctions.

Tandem at Halcyon Bike Shop - Trisha and I need one of these!!

Tandem at Halcyon Bike Shop - Trisha and I need one of these!!

When people speak of bike friendly cities in the US, they speak of Portland, Seattle, Minneapolis, Boulder, Davis, San Francisco, Madison, and Chicago. I am quick to extol the virtues of Chicago’s efforts to promote cycling. Does it follow that Chicago is bike friendly? Usually I think so, at least for North America, but riding in the chaotic and congested city is often stressful and occasionally scary.

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Most Fun You Can Have on Two Wheels

Much fuss is made in cycling circles about the factors that keep people from bike commuting: lack of safe parking, no showers at work, unsafe streets, etc. Sometimes, however, the biggest challenge is much more fundamental: being scared to ride a bike. Not scared of traffic or anything like that; scared of the bike itself. Starting, stopping, staying upright, wobbling, and turning all create reasons to stress for those who have not ridden a bike since childhood. Such was the case for Dottie when she started riding again after more than 10 years, and for my friend and former college roommate Kristi, who was visiting this weekend along with the Dotties. Despite having led ski groups and trail rides–talk about something to fear!–Kristi was a bit intimidated at the thought of being on two wheels.

Kristi Rides A Bike

Kristi Rides a Bike

Luckily, such fear is easily overcome for those willing to give it a try. Check out Kristi turning the fear to fun ratio upside down with Dottie’s helpful guidance and me yapping in the background.

more about “Kristi “, posted with vodpod

From here, we took it to the streets and she was amazing. Come back and ride the Bat anytime, K!

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