Monthly Archives: July 2009

The Sun and the Bicycle

The majority of my waking hours are spent in a skyscraper. My office has a big window with a view of Lake Michigan, but looking at the view only reminds me of what I’m missing. Without bike rides before and after work, my life would be pretty sad. Because of this, I try to really appreciate my time outside: winter, spring, summer or fall, I love it all if I can be outside on my bike. Today I focused on enjoying the summer sun – a rare bird in Chicago, land of the six-month winter. The sun reciprocated by playing fun games with my camera.  Betty, of course, was happy to mug.

lalalalalaaa, sang the angels

And on the eighth day, God create the bike...

And on the eighth day, God create the bike...

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The Sun and the Bicycle

The majority of my waking hours are spent in a skyscraper. My office has a big window with a view of Lake Michigan, but looking at the view only reminds me of what I’m missing. Without bike rides before and after work, my life would be pretty sad. Because of this, I try to really appreciate my time outside: winter, spring, summer or fall, I love it all if I can be outside on my bike. Today I focused on enjoying the summer sun – a rare bird in Chicago, land of the six-month winter. The sun reciprocated by playing fun games with my camera.  Betty, of course, was happy to mug.

lalalalalaaa, sang the angels

And on the eighth day, God create the bike...

And on the eighth day, God create the bike...

Continue reading

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Happy Bastille Day

From me and Le Peug. We’re celebrating with some macarons, brioche, cheese and of course, wine.

07.14melep

Homemade brioche

Homemade brioche

First attempt at macarons.

Not quite perfect, but some of them had feet!

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Bike Love

I love my bikes, Betty and Oma. They make me so happy. Some mornings the prospect of a refreshing ride to work is the only thing that gets me out of bed. Even when the rest of my day is not going so well, I can always count on my bikes to lift my spirits. They allow me to leave all the bullshit behind and focus on the moment: the sun on my shoulders and the wind in my face. That’s what people mean when they say riding a bike makes them feel like a kid again.

Before Bike

Before Bike

After Bike!

After Bike!

Today was one of those perfect days – when the sun is shining, the air is crisp, the sky is blue and I feel like a kid again. Thank you, Bikes!

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Bike Love

I love my bikes, Betty and Oma. They make me so happy. Some mornings the prospect of a refreshing ride to work is the only thing that gets me out of bed. Even when the rest of my day is not going so well, I can always count on my bikes to lift my spirits. They allow me to leave all the bullshit behind and focus on the moment: the sun on my shoulders and the wind in my face. That’s what people mean when they say riding a bike makes them feel like a kid again.

Before Bike

Before Bike

After Bike!

After Bike!

Today was one of those perfect days – when the sun is shining, the air is crisp, the sky is blue and I feel like a kid again. Thank you, Bikes!

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The Tour de Fat: A Fantasyland to Change Reality

7-11 tour de fat

When I was a kid, I longed to stumble upon a magical hidden world, more interesting than the military town where I lived. My sister and I created “magic stairs” in the dirt that worked only with a secret spell, climbed down sewers by the lake, and chalked Beetlejuice doors on the side of our brick house. Never successful, I had to satisfy myself with tons of books – that’s why I’m such a reader.

Yesterday I stumbled upon the type of world that would have delighted my 9-year-old self: carnival barkers, vaudeville performers, villains, fanciful creatures, grotesque bikes, and hundreds of whimsically dressed people. The added adult amenity of cold beer also made this perfect for my 27-year-old self. (The two, incidentally, are not that different.) New Belgium Brewing Company’s Tour de Fat is a delightfully odd celebration of bicycles as a life-style – a fantasyland hoping to encourage cycling and thereby change reality.

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Chicago Cycle Chic: Tour de Fat

“Chicago Cycle Chic” will be a new series here at Let’s Go Ride a Bike. I’ll simply post pretty pictures of other Chicago cyclists every now and then, like Copenhagen Cycle Chic, American-style. The great thing about the Chicago cycling scene is that it’s so diverse – different people, different styles, and different bikes. My definition of chic is people being themselves effortlessly. Christa from Bike by the Sea suggested the idea of a weekly series – I’ll aim for weekly. This first installment was easy, as most of the pictures are from or around New Belgium Brewing Company’s Tour de Fat (more on that soon!). I’m working on my photography skillz, especially moving objects, so bear with me.  Enjoy!

7-11 guy

7-11 ccc tanden

7-11 ccc blur

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Famous Friends

Picture 3The latest issue of Momentum arrived at my house earlier this week, and I finally had a chance to page through it last night. As one of the few mags out there on utilitarian cycling, there are always interesting things to read, but this issue brought the extra pleasure of features on two of our favorite fellow cycling bloggers! First came the Hanadas in an article on DIY bike crafts that provided a lot of inspiration. We’ll see if it provides anything else—I’m big on finding projects I’d like to do and never finding the time to actually do them!

Picture 4
I hadn’t gotten over the thrill of thinking, I know them! when I turned a page to see Miss Sarah of Girls & Bicycles, looking stylish as always in an article on biking while pregnant. The entire topic was new to me when she first started posting about her experiences on her blog, so it’s wonderful that she and the other women interviewed in the article were able to further spread the news that pregnancy and cycling can mix.

Momentum is  available for free in local bike stores in many US and Canadian cities—check out their list to see if yours is included. If not, you might have to spring for a subscription like me, but supporting such a venture is well worth the $20. But if you’re overseas or on a tight budget and don’t mind reading on the computer, a PDF of each issue can be found on their website, too.

What cycling magazines do you like to read?

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Blood on the Trail

Forget women riders: the real method of determining the tipping point of the bicycle as mode of transportation is when it becomes fodder for “true crime” mass market paperbacks. This lovely gem arrived in the mail this week at work.

07.06bikepathkiller

Needless to say, this one will not join Bicycle Diaries and A Short History of Women on my nightstand–it’s straight to the giveaway shelf!

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Bike Giveaway!

Attention stylish readers: you still have 9 days to win a free bike from Chictopia and the fabulous TopShop (ah, the hours–and pounds!–Dottie and I spent in their Oxford Street store) in the TopShop bicycle club contest. They’re giving away five bikes every week to the five people voted “most stylish,” so the odds of winning are quite good.

Pretty blue cruiser, basket not included.

Pretty blue cruiser, basket not included.

Don’t feel like staging a photo shoot? Go vote for Dottie or me! Yes, we already have bikes, but we know so many people in need—and, as Dottie puts it in her contest photo, she’s a great bike mom! Should I win, the Chictopia bike will be living the high life with my aunt in Hawaii (she’s been looking for a cute cruiser). Win or lose, it was fun to be part of such a cool contest–whether or not you’re interested in entering, you should head over and check out the pictures of classy riders and sassy bikes from across the USA.

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Sweet Oma

The past couple of days have been much more relaxing than Monday. I’ve been riding Oma and one thing I love about that bike is her calming effect. Pedaling slowly and enjoying the sweet summer air, there’s not much that can ruffle my feathers.

Reflective Handlebar Flower

Flowers!

Oma in the Summertime

Oma in the Summertime

How does your bike affect your mood?

p.s. Thanks to {frolic}, one of my favorite websites, for highlighting our little blog!

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More on Women and Cycling . . .

Picture 1Check out today’s BBC Woman’s Hour, which posits that women are actually more at risk on a bike than men (six out of seven cyclists killed in London by “heavy goods vehicles” this year were women), though no real reason or further figures on this were given. Training videos for truck drivers, safety devices like proximity sensors, and other ideas for improving cyclists’ safety are discussed. It’s nothing ground-breaking (I was disappointed that the discussion with four female commuters focused on, you guessed it, helmet hair), but at least women are speaking for themselves, even if it’s just for a minute or two. You can download here (right-click and “save target as”) or stream it live here.

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Women’s Voices

In Trisha’s Mind the Gender Gap post (which was featured on StreetsBlog) she discussed the shallow way that the media deals with women and cycling. In response, many real women left fantastic comments. I want to highlight their stories and viewpoints here with no filter. That’s something the media could learn – if you want to know more about women, simply ask them!

Melissa M. on her new oma

Melissa M. and her little guy on a new oma

Read on for the goods…

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Biking with My Brother

The holiday weekend found me in Indianapolis visiting my brother. On Sunday, we rode the Monon Trail from his neighborhood to downtown, a roundtrip of somewhere around 14 miles. The trail, built along the path of an old railway was beautiful, the snazzy Bianchi bikes we borrowed from a high school friend were nimble, but the best thing about it was spending some time riding bikes with my brother again.

Charlie and me on bikes today.

Charlie and me on our borrowed Bianchis.

This is an old favorite hobby of ours, as you can see.

Charlie and me, with our bikes in 1987.

Charlie and me, with our bikes in 1987.

We’re no longer quite so blond, and I no longer carry a groomable dog toy with me when I ride, but other than that, things were pretty much the same as when we used to ride around our neighborhood in Minnesota, or to the convenience store from our house in Alabama: fun!

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Hopping Mad

I’m using this picture of my cat Ted in an outfit Trisha bought him to balance the mood of this post. How can one stay mad when Bumble Bee Ted is right there? And I’m using the title “Hopping Mad” because it sounds old fashioned and much nicer than the string of expletives running through my head.

Bumble Bee Ted

Bumble Bee Ted

These people are really starting to get to me.

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Ride Your Bike To A Rock Concert

Just another suggestion from Let’s Go Ride a Bike.

7-2 sonic youth t 7-2 sonic youth dot

Think about the money you’ll save that you can spend on beer instead of a cab or bus.  Think of how easy it will be to step out the door, grab your bike, and sail by all the traffic while singing, “Let’s go walking on water / now you think I’m Satan’s daughter!” Think of how cool the breeze will feel after hours packed in a hot theater. Bikes are so rock ‘n roll!

That concludes the adventures of Trisha’s visit to Chicago. The city misses her already!

P.S.

I love that Kim Gordon dances on stage like I dance at home when I’m alone.

I wanna be her when I grow up.

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An Evening of Stylish Bikes and Advocacy

Trisha’s visit to Chicago was action-packed with bikey fun (our own little Pedalpalooza), including the Active Transportation Alliance membership mixer at Dutch Bike Chicago. The evening was an enjoyable way to connect with like-minded cyclists in a stylish and laid back environment.

kid is to candy store as Trisha is to Dutch bike shop

kid is to candy store as Trisha is to Dutch bike shop

First, we perused the shop. Trisha was especially interested in pawing the fabulous Po Campo bags. They look even better in real life than online. We also visited all of Oma’s Azor cousins, some fine-looking Retrovelos, and the new line of Vive bikes.

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