Monthly Archives: August 2009

Cycling Chicago’s North Lakefront Trail

Chicago’s gem is not the Sears Tower and other skyscrapers or the Magnificent Mile and high-end shopping. Rather, it’s the beauty of nature carefully curated by city planners – the Lakefront Trail that runs along Lake Michigan from the north to the south of the city, with downtown in the middle.

Betty and Chicago's Skyline

Betty and Chicago's Skyline

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Sometimes I Take The Sidewalk

Bikes belong in the street, not on the sidewalk. In fact, it is illegal for anyone over the age of 12 to ride on a sidewalk in Chicago. Riding in the street is generally safer because you are visible, while on the sidewalks you encounter pedestrians, cross streets, alleys and parking lot entrances where drivers don’t expect to see bikes. Riding in the street is also generally faster and smoother, on better-maintained pavement instead of concrete blocks. Finally, riding in the street sends the correct message to drivers: that bikes belong.

Sidewalk Riding

Sidewalk Riding

Despite all of this, sometimes I take the sidewalk. Continue reading

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Beautiful Demo Bikes For Sale

I love a good sale and recently spotted these bikes online. If anyone has been shopping around for a new city bike, here are two demo options that may put these makers’ bikes in your price range.

Rivendell is selling a Betty Foy demo built up for $1400. That is about $800 less than what I paid for mine. This is the smaller frame, which will fit someone around 5’3 to 5’6. They also have a couple of Sam Hillbornes – a 48 inch and 52 inch.

Betty Foy Demo

Betty Foy Demo

A.N.T. is selling a Roadster demo for $1900. This bike is gorgeous and will fit someone 5’7 to 5’9.

A.N.T. Roadster Demo

A.N.T. Roadster Demo

Hey, that’s my size! Too bad I currently have more bikes (2) than jobs (0).

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Beautiful Demo Bikes For Sale

I love a good sale and recently spotted these bikes online. If anyone has been shopping around for a new city bike, here are two demo options that may put these makers’ bikes in your price range.

Rivendell is selling a Betty Foy demo built up for $1400. That is about $800 less than what I paid for mine. This is the smaller frame, which will fit someone around 5’3 to 5’6. They also have a couple of Sam Hillbornes – a 48 inch and 52 inch.

Betty Foy Demo

Betty Foy Demo

A.N.T. is selling a Roadster demo for $1900. This bike is gorgeous and will fit someone 5’7 to 5’9.

A.N.T. Roadster Demo

A.N.T. Roadster Demo

Hey, that’s my size! Too bad I currently have more bikes (2) than jobs (0).

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Bikey music video

It wouldn’t have been a real girls’ visit if Dottie and I hadn’t spent at least one night last week dancing around the condo, singing at the top of our lungs to various songs. Need I say wine was involved?

After we got the cheesy music out of our system (I can’t be the only one who can’t keep from singing along to Nicki French‘s “Total Eclipse of the Heart”?), we found ourselves surfing YouTube for cool videos and uncovered Bat for Lashes’ “What’s a Girl to Do?” Deliciously creepy and slightly fairy-tale-like, it’s worth watching–enjoy, and bon week-end!

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How To: Fresh Summer Cycling

Cycling with style is easy and fun. However, I don’t want it to seem like I simply hop off my bike fresh as a spring flower and go along my merry way. If that’s what people think is supposed to happen after they read about how easy it is to ride in regular clothes, then they will be annoyed when it does not work for them and give up. So I want to be clear that I sweat. A lot. More than the average person. I have been known to sweat in the dead of winter on my bike if I wear one layer too many. My hair gets sweaty and a bit frizzy. Sometimes I get grease on my leg and curse at Betty Foy. Over time I have learned how to deal and always have a plan of action for hot rides.

For example, yesterday I rode 7 miles downtown to have lunch with a friend. The sun was at its peak and the temperature was around 80 F. I wore a breezy lined silk skirt and a cami, stowing my cardigan rolled up in my purse. I strapped my purse in my front basket with a bungie cord and put on my helmet. I then cycled at a steady but easy pace to avoid getting too hot. Twice I stopped to turn my skirt around to prevent sweat spots from building up.

On Bike

On Bike

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How Many Bromptons?

We may never know how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll pop, but the folks at Gizmodo have posted a picture that shows how many Brompton folding bikes can fit into one parking spot. I won’t give the answer away here, so click over to find out and see the photo. It’s pretty amazing.

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Chic and Happy Cyclists Overtake Nashville

Well, it’s over — and our first LGRAB-organized group ride was officially a success. Despite camera malfunctions, a last-minute venue change and me running my usual five minutes late, we made it to all three restaurants right on schedule and enjoyed delicious drinks and food. Oh, and the cool and breezy weather couldn’t have been better. I’m not sure Nashville has ever seen this many bikes in one place.

Almost everyone...

Almost everyone...

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Beautiful (Budget) Bicycles: REI Novara Transfer and Fusion

The other day while at REI with my friend L., I spotted a couple of intriguing Novara commuter bikes in the clearance section, but didn’t have time for a test ride. The Transfer has won Bicycling Magazine‘s editor choice award for the past two years, so I was eager to give it a shot. After our slightly disappointing Electra test ride Dottie and I decided it was a good time to head to Brentwood and check them out. The models we tried were the Novara Fusion and the Novara Transfer.  Overall we found the REI Novara Transfer to be a good value for money, especially when on clearance. (What can I say, I love a good sale!)  The higher-priced Fusion with upgraded components is nice, but not as budget-conscious.

Dottie on the Fusion

Dottie on the Fusion

Trisha on the Transfer

Trisha on the Transfer

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A Blogger’s Life: Behind the Scenes

Happy Saturday! While we prepare for our ride, enjoy this snapshot of a blogger hard at work, muses alongside. A soundtrack of purrs can be very inspiring.

dottieblog

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Electra Bicycles: Townie and Amsterdam Sport

Electra makes bikes well-suited for city cycling, but Trisha and I knew them only by reputation, advertising, and second-hand sightings. Today we stopped by a bike shop to take a closer look. Unfortunately, the shop recently sold its only lady’s Electra Amsterdam, so we were left with a Townie and diamond-frame Amsterdam Sport.

Trisha and the Electra Townie

Trisha and the Electra Townie

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Together Again

This week I am in Nashville, vacationing at the Trisha Resort and Spa. Highly recommended, as it includes a pool, cats, bikes, alcohol and delicious home-cooked meals. Except for the ride from the airport on Tuesday, I’ve yet to get in a car. Here we are last night setting out for a Yazoo party in celebration of its new beer, Sue, a high-alc, cherry-wood smoked porter. Yumm.

To the beer party!

To the beer party! Special thanks to photographer C

I must say a bit about the hills. And the humidity. Ugh. Very articulate, I know, but that pretty much sums it up. Trisha is a Southern warrior, I tell you!

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Hand Signal Debate

“I thought holding your left arm at a right angle was the way to signal a right turn,” a friend said recently after going on a quick neighborhood ride with me.

Yes, I use the “alternate right turn” hand signal.

bike signals

I’ve decided to break from tradition on this for a couple of reasons.

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Moi Je Joue

This French commercial is more Trisha’s area, but with Sophia Coppola directing, a song by Bridgette Bardot and bicycling chic – je t’aime!

And now I want to buy Miss Dior Cherie. B-a-a-a-a-a-a.

On the same topic of style and cycling, I continue to collect lovely bicycle pictures that I find on my favorite style and design blogs. I get special joy from finding bicycles on non-bicycle-related blogs.  We’re going mainstream, baby.  My first collection can be seen here. Below is what I’ve gathered since then. Enjoy!

Once Wed via English Muse
Once Wed via English Muse

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Stalked by a car

I recently asked about safety and security concerns while cycling through your neighborhood, and I mentioned that I feel very safe in my neighborhood.  That answer stands, but after more than a year of daily riding, I had my first tense, non-traffic-related cycling safety incident.

Night Riding (note this is a pic from last week, I was on Betty not Oma)

Night Riding (old photo with Oma not Betty Foy)

I was riding home alone with Betty Foy at 9 p.m. on a residential one-way street that I take all the time – not deserted, but not a major thoroughfare.  I didn’t hear any cars, but noticed through my rear view mirror the dark outline of a car behind me with its headlights off.  The car did not pass me, but stayed creeping behind (I was going about 14 mph, I’d guess).  Continue reading

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I Love the City and Free Events

Being job-free has forced me to seek out new types of cultural events with an emphasis on free, free, free and cheap. I love living in the city because there is so much to choose from and so much of it is free. Or cheap.

On Friday night we met up with Elizabeth of BikeCommuters for her friend’s show, musician Javier Mendoza. The show was free, although contributing to the tip jar and drinking a beer required a bit of money. Still a deal for a great night out.

A picture of Elizabeth taking a picture of Greg taking a picture of us

A picture of Elizabeth taking a picture of Greg taking a picture of us

Saturday was jam-packed with freebies and I traveled from place-to-place on my bike, of course.

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A Bike Ride in the Blazing Sun

The sun was blazing today with temperatures near 90 degrees. Although I grew up in North Carolina and should be used to it, I absolutely hate extremely hot weather.  I’d much rather cycle in the snowy sun.  Despite the heat, I couldn’t sit around all day, so I put on my breeziest summer dress and set out on Oma.  This picture captures how hot the sun was, apparently burning through my clothes.

Blazing Sun

Blazing Sun

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Nashville Cycle Chic

I’m excited to have a Friday cycle chic post this week. I caught a far-off glimpse of  the rider of the Electra Amsterdam in action on a drizzly day last week, looking professional in city shorts, a teal blouse and sleek updo.

nashvillecyclechic

Maybe one day I’ll be close enough to say hi instead of just taking pictures like a creepy stalker. (Frequent cycle chic posters, I’d love to know how you overcome this feeling while taking random pictures of someone to post on the internet . . .)

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Nashville Garden Party Ride

Just over a week away, Nashville. Don’t forget!
garden party
The BikeSkirt girls will be joining us as well, so don’t miss out! You can RSVP on Facebook, if you’re into that sort of thing. Dottie and I can’t wait to lead our first ride.

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Life in the Slow Lane

My employment-free ride of the day was to the drug store to pick up a prescription and to the pet store to stock up on cat food. I know, I live such a glamorous life. But wait, it gets really exciting – I forgot my lock key in my garage. What a plot twist! So at the drug store I had to use the drive-through window and the pet store was nice enough to let me bring Oma inside. Whew, crisis averted! As you can see in the picture, I got a lot of cat food – both wet and dry. I am so rock ‘n roll with my bike and my cat food.

Catfood-mobile

Catfood-mobile

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