Monthly Archives: October 2009

Farewell, October!

I was riding home from work today and saw this beautiful leafy scene. My sister and I loved to rake up piles of leaves and jump in them as kids. In honor of playing with leaves, I stopped and had a little too much fun with my camera’s self-timer. I was way too into my leaf-playing to care whether passersby thought I was insane.

On Your Mark

On Your Mark...

Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Have a Haunting Halloween

Two of the more festive houses along my commute:

10.20halloweenThis house is made all the more fearsome by the fact that I somehow took the picture off-kilter.

Continue reading

My Rivendell Betty Foy Video

After posting my Oma video I got several requests for a Betty Foy video.  Ask and thou shall receive.  (Wait, did I just compare myself to God?)

Anyway, this is for all those interested in the Rivendell Betty Foy.  It’s a very new bike and there’s not much information out there, but there is another video from Velo Fellow of his wife buying her Betty, so any interested parties should check that out, too.

I wanted to write up a detailed Betty Foy review before posting the video, but the darn job really cuts into my blogging time.  Maybe next week. In the meantime, feel free to subscribe to our YouTube channel. More videos to come little by little, based on our whims and with no organization whatsoever. ;)

 

Tagged , , , , ,

Bike Commuting is Fun!

After starting a new job, I’m reminded of the fun of bike commuting.  A few main points:

  • Riding a bicycle every morning and evening keeps me sane, especially because I spend 10.5 hours of my day sitting at a desk in front of a computer.
  • Co-workers are always surprised and impressed and want to talk about it.  I try to make it sound fun and easy, while at the same time secretly being proud of the one trait that makes me interesting.
  • Businesses are really catching on.  The new sky scraper where I work has a lovely secure bike room directly off the lobby.  I was locking my bike up outside the building when a man from security saw me through the window and came outside to walk me to this magical bike room.  Very nice!
Oma at Night

Oma at Night

My commutes continue to be dark and rainy, but I’m having fun. I’d better get used to the dark, as the days are only getting shorter.  The rain will soon become snow, though.  I say bring it on!

Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

The Bat Hits Broadway . . . Eventually!

Just when I start thinking, yes, I am a badass city cyclist, something comes along to humble me. This is probably as it should be. My most recent lesson in humility was 8th Ave. South. I have always avoided this most direct route to downtown, preferring instead to go a couple of miles out of my way to take the Music Row bike lanes, since it’s a steep climb on a busy road. But on Saturday I had a friend along who needed to go that way to get out of town (more about that later), and I figured it was a good time to try a new route.

I would post a picture of the hill I was facing, but they never look as bad as they feel. Let’s just say it is the kind of hill that has a reservoir at the top of it, and a Civil War-era fort, and the climb lasted for at least three long city blocks. We made it to the top but I spent a lot more time in first gear than I expected to — and had to rest for at least a minute in front of the Scientology Center before moving on (luckily no one came out to recruit us).

But! It was all worth it when we got downtown and the Bat got her first glimpse of Elvis (yes, if you’re wondering, he IS from Memphis, not Nashville — but we have kindly provided several statues for drunk tourists to pose inappropriately with).

Continue reading

Tagged , , ,

Rachel Rides a Bike . . . Everywhere

Does everyone but me know that Rachel McAdams is a city cyclist? I’ve seen pictures of her riding a bike before, but it wasn’t until last week, when the lovely Lalipourie highlighted the green is sexy blog the Canadian actress started with a couple of friends, that I realized it was more than a random occurrence. On her blog, Rachel says her bike is her preferred mode of transportation.

Rachel en velo

Rachel en velo

Tagged

Something Wicked this Way Comes

I couldn’t resist using one of my favorite titles ever, even though what’s coming to Nashville today is not a freaky carnival headed by a mysterious man who might be the incarnation of evil. (If it were, I don’t think I’d be tracking it nearly this avidly.) No, what’s coming today is wicked only in the awesome sense. Can’t wait to show you!

Picture 2

Tagged , ,

A Bike Commuter Again

I have not been a “bike commuter” for the past two months, merely a girl who rides her bike everywhere.  On Monday I started a new job (nothing exciting – a 3 week contract attorney position) and rejoined the hardy ranks.

Wet vintage dress and shoes, new legwarmers

Wet vintage dress, necklace made by Melissa (thanks!), messy garage

Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

The Last Week of October

Fall weather in Chicago this year has been up and down, with brief periods of sun amid days of cold rain. Today we seized upon one of the warm and dry periods to enjoy a ride up the lakefront. A lot of Chicagoans had the same idea, so we detoured off the crowded main trail to amble through secondary dirt paths.

Autumn Ivy

Autumn Ivy

Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

The Mystery Flat

Flat tires are an inconvenience that I have not experienced for over a year, since I got Schwalbe tires on Oma and Betty Foy.

Sliced Tire

Sliced Tire

The cheap tires that came on Mr. Dottie’s Jamis, on the other hand, have had several flats in their lifetime. The most extreme flat happened last week – a clean slice straight across the tire itself. He went back to try to find the culprit, but did not see anything that could have sliced a tire, other than a grated bridge, but that seems unlikely. The problem cannot be a defect with the tire itself, because the tube was also sliced. Any ideas? Has this happened to anyone else?

Poor tire

Poor flat tire

As an aside, I must note that his Jamis frame is obviously too small for him, and the larger vintage Raleigh frame he recently built up is a much better and more comfortable fit. I don’t know why the bike shop sold him that size – they even had to special order it because the size was not in their inventory. We had no bicycle knowledge at the time, and we followed their recommendations. Boo.

Tagged , , , , , ,

An Autumn Commute

The morns are meeker than they were,
The nuts are getting brown;
The berry’s cheek is plumper,
The rose is out of town.

The maple wears a gayer scarf,
The field a scarlet gown.
Lest I should be old-fashioned,
I’ll put a trinket on.

-Emily Dickinson

Oma in Grant Park

Oma in Grant Park

Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Picture Message Gallery

You know you’ve secured your reputation as a bicycle fanatic when you start receiving random bike picture messages. It makes me feel happy to know that even my non-cyclist friends are now on the lookout for bicycles everywhere. It’s just a matter of time before they too succumb . . . right guys?

My friend Ali sent me this photo of a Batavus Course that she spotted in Charlotte. I’ve never seen a sporty Bat in the wild*, so this was a lucky sighting. If you look closely you can see the pinstriped lugs.

80s Batavus Course

1980s Batavus Course

And  Amy reminded me that Mormon missionaries are some of the most dedicated cyclists around when she snapped this image of a couple of them riding down a highway outside Birmingham.

Jehovah's Witnesses take to the road in Alabama

Mormons take to the road in Alabama—are those folding bikes?

Do your non-cycling friends support your obsession? How?

* I have seen them in the blogosphere—Cosmo just rode the SCS Spirit.

Tagged , , ,

Beautiful Bicycles: Bakfiets (a real S.U.V.)

There are two types of bikes that look so odd, I had a hard time imagining how they worked: folding bikes and bakfiets. I experienced the magic of the folding bike while riding the Dahon, and now I have experienced the feat of engineering that is the bakfiets.

Since Mr. Dottie and I sold our only car in January, I’ve never missed it or needed a car for any purpose. Recently, I encountered a challenging situation: hauling a folding table and folding chairs for a fundraiser I helped organize. The bakfiets came to my rescue. I borrowed the folding table from Dutch Bike Chicago and, knowing that I am car-free, one of the owners offered me the use of his personal bakfiets. Yesss!

On the way to the event: me with a folding table

On the way to the event: me with a folding table

The bakfiets carried the folding table and the eight folding chairs perfectly – as two different loads, although if I really wanted to push it, I could have piled it all on together. Each load also included several bags of supplies.

Continue reading

How-To: Cycling in the Rain

My bedraggled Bat

My bedraggled Bat. In the winter/spring it's best to make sure all accessories are waterproof!

Everyone’s been talking about riding in the rain lately. It’s easy to cycle in fair weather, but dealing with rain is more of a challenge, and one I have been reluctant to embrace, to be honest. Like Tim of Car Free Days, I try to play the weather radar game, but sometimes—like on my way home last week—getting wet is unavoidable. It took a while, but I’ve finally come to appreciate the exhilarating effect of riding in the rain. Most of the time.

Let’s start with basics: when it’s raining, it’s even more important than usual to pay close attention to the road. It’s harder for cars to see you, and wet and slippery streets can make for trickier handling, especially if you ride a road bike with narrower tires. And warning: puddles in the rearview mirror may be deeper than they appear.

As for how to dress, if you’re not fully kitted out in rain jacket and pants, material that dries out quickly is best. Once again, our favorite cycling outfit of dress and tights shines here, but lightweight synthetic dress pants are also a good choice. If I’m not wearing my overshoes, I tend to choose knee boots since the leather/synthetic leather is durable and easy to clean. Rubber wellies are also a good choice.

If you know you’ll be cycling in the rain, make sure you have at least some of the following items:

Continue reading

One Year Oma-versary!

Oma and Me

Oma and Me

Dearest Oma,

I love you.

XO,

Dottie

Tagged , , , ,

A Perfect Fall Day

What started as a rainy and gloomy Saturday suddenly turned into the perfect fall day. The sun came out to warm everything, and we got the bikes out for a ride to the Farmer’s Market. I was riding a bakfiets, not my own bike: I borrowed the bakfiets from Dutch Bike Chicago (thanks!) last night to haul tables and chairs for a fundraiser that I helped organize, and had to return it reluctantly this morning.

Candy Apple!

Candy Apple!

Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

My Dutch Bicycle Video

Here is the second video for the LGRAB YouTube channel. Clearly, I don’t have a future with broadcast journalism, but I want to share more about Dutch bikes with the public. When I started researching Dutch bikes, there were none in my city to test ride and not much information beyond the manufacturers’ websites. I obsessively googled different bike brands and found frustratingly little on my favorites.

My WorkCycles Azor Oma written review is extensive, so the video can be considered bonus material. Not super interesting, so don’t feel compelled to watch, but I hope this video will help others who are seeking more information about them before ordering one on the internet or driving a far distance to test ride one.

Tagged , , , , , ,

Beautiful Bicycles: Gazelle Toer Populair and Chamonix Pure

A new Dutch bicycle brand has arrived in Chicago, and you know I was all over them faster than you can say “Dottie is freakishly obsessed with pretty and utilitarian city bikes.”  The Gazelle Toer Popular and Gazelle Chamonix Pure are now at Dutch Bike Chicago. The names are unweildy and hard to pronounce, but everything else about them is lovely.

The Gazelle Toer Popular is a super traditional Dutch bike with gorgeous looks, a sturdy steel frame and all of the expected features.

Gazelle Toer Populair

Gazelle Toer Populair

Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Frigid Fall

Brrr, there is a chill in the air now. Chicago temperatures are hovering around the 30’s and 40’s. Tights, boots, wool socks and wool sweaters are serving me well thus far. My heavy duty gloves from last year are wrecked, so I ordered these goose down gore-tex mittens and silk glove liners. Hope they do the trick this winter.

Below is a typical outfit for this weather, except I took off my Ibex wool sweater (a present from Mr. Dottie) to show my pretty dress (a present from Trisha).

Took my wool sweater off for photo op only

Me, Betty and the El Train

Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

How-To: Leading a Group Ride

Our posts about group rides nearly always draw comments like “I wish we had one of these in my city” or “I’ve been wanting to organize something like this, but . . . [insert excuse here].” I used to be one of those commenters, until the Garden Party Ride here in Nashville showed me that yes, Virginia, we could host our own cycling event.

The Nashville Garden Party Crew

The Nashville Garden Party Crew

You can, too! And you should. Group rides like these are a lot of fun, and in my opinion they’re even better than Critical Mass for raising community awareness of city cycling. Here’s how to get started.

  1. Continue reading
Tagged , , , , ,
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 45 other followers