Monthly Archives: October 2009

Grocery Shopping on a Bike

I’ve never posted about grocery shopping on my bike before, because I live very close to a grocery store and simply walk. In these tough economic times ™ I decided to head up the road a bit and see what good stuff (i.e. beer and wine) I could find cheaper at Trader Joe’s.

Loaded Oma

Loaded Oma

As expected, all my purchases fit with no special panniers. For the weight she was carrying, Oma rode smoothly. There was a barely perceptible squirrely-ness to her front handling – a slight but constant shift side to side in the handlebars.

The Groceries

The Groceries

If I had to bike to get my groceries on a regular basis, I would either make more frequent trips, drag Mr. Dottie with me, or buy less beer and wine (maybe). I’d also buy some special grocery panniers. I imagine grocery shopping gets more logistically complicated with a kid or two, but then I would have an excuse to buy a bakfiets.

Anyone else grocery shop without a car? Silly question – I know lots of you do! What’s your method?

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Cozy Cocktail Party Ride

Friday’s cocktail party ride took place on the coldest night of the season (in the 30’s) after a day full of rain. A great group of stalwarts showed up – a mix of old and new bike friends – and the result was an alternating cold and cozy ride. I love cold weather because then you get to warm up afterward!

Fancy Drinks at The Violet Hour

Fancy Drinks at The Violet Hour

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A Real Community

The best part of blogging is meeting (virtually and in real life) so many cool people who share my passion for cycling. A community of like-minded folks is invaluable: I may have been the only bike commuter at my office, but I was never alone. This weekend was packed full of visitors from the online cycling community, and I had a great time.

There’s so much for me to cover, including the people I met, the cocktail party ride, new Gazelles at Dutch Bike Chicago, and the temperature dropping into the 30’s. I’ll start with the visitors.

Velorbis and Elisa at Copenhagen Cyclery

Velorbis and Elisa at Copenhagen Cyclery

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Happy Birthday, Dottie!

Since most of you have had the last 10 months to figure out how smart, funny and just plain fun Dottie is, I don’t need to tell you that I’m lucky to have such a fantastic friend and co-blogger.

Dottie and me at a friend's wedding in May.

Dottie and me at a friend's wedding in May.

Though I suppose I just did anyway. In honor of Dottie’s big 2-8, an image gallery.
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Bike Skirt in Chicago!

Elisa of Bike Skirt fame is visiting from Alabama. And yes, we are now simultaneously blogging. I met Elisa in Nashville at the Garden Party Ride, but felt like I already knew her as a bike blog friend :)

Elisa and Betty Foy look tres chic together. I need a matching scarf! While I consider Betty my “racing” bike, Elisa kindly reminded me that the description is not quite accurate, compared to her drop bar bikes. Just wait ’til I get her on Oma!

Elisa and Me

Future Album Cover

Anyone who reads our blogs knows that rain would not keep us off our bikes, so we set off for downtown via the Lakefront Trail, despite the steady rain.

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Batavus TV

Many people come to our site in search of information about Dutch bikes. It’s pretty shocking that there’s not more out there–even on YouTube, it took a while to turn up videos featuring Batavus bikes. Here are a few of my favorites.

The first is charmingly retro, with a man in a straw hat puttering around on his Old Dutch (step-through!). It presents life as a series of choices and I guess he chooses the bike…but mostly I like seeing the bicycle infrastructure, including designated lights and paths, and the posse of bikes outside the grocery store, locked with O-locks only! Also, the music will stick in your head (sorry).

The second is your more typical gimmicky commercial, and features a sportier bicycle model…possibly a Personal Bike? The quality is too poor to tell.

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Trail to Nowhere

The most enjoyable and safest way for bikes to travel is separated from auto traffic. I don’t want to share the road with one ton vehicles going three times my speed – I have to. A trail or separated path is always my first choice.

Trail - Melissa

Trail - Melissa

Unfortunately, such infrastructure is absent most places. The paths that exist are often trails to nowhere, with a focus on recreation. Other problems include lack of lighting at night and lack of snow plowing in the winter.

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World Premier: Our First How-To Video

Attentive readers might remember Dottie’s passing mention of us filming a how-to video when I was in Chicago two weeks ago. We decided to start with the basics and demonstrate how to start and stop properly. As befits a LGRAB production, it’s a little goofy and definitely unscripted, but we think we shared some useful information  — and hey, if nothing else, you get to see Dottie’s beautiful bikes in motion! This is just the beginning of our YouTube adventures, so stay tuned: we’ve got a channel to fill. And now, without further ado, our video debut:

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Cocktail Party Ride – This Friday!

Join our fun group this Friday for a casual cocktail party ride, including Elisa of Bike Skirt all the way from Alabama, Elizabeth of Bike Commuters, Melissa of here, John of Vote with Your Feet, Ira of Being Totally Sweet in Chicago, Mr. Dottie and me. The ride likely will be smaller and less formal than the previous cocktail party ride.

Unfortunately, no Trisha this time

Unfortunately, no Trisha this time

We’ll meet at a cocktail lounge in Wicker Park at 7 p.m. The ride will meander around the north side and stop at a few fine places for refreshments. Check back here for more details.

But wait, there’s more! Missy of Cyclin’ Missy will be in Chicago on Saturday. Too many badass bike bloggers for one city! Any other female bloggers, bike or otherwise, want to join us for brunch? Sorry, girls and grrrls only for the brunch. Saturday just happens to be my birthday: the big 2-8 :)

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Was ever woman in this humour woo’d?

The easiest way for bicycling to woo a person is on a bright, sunny day with birds chirping. However, to move past the initial stages of infatuation and build a solid relationship, bicycling must endure the ups and downs of real life. By trudging through, you will realize that the bicycle allows you to feel alive and connected to the world.

On the bike

On the bike

People nowadays are too hermetically sealed. When’s the last time you played in the rain? I like being able to answer that question: “Today!” The force powerful enough to send me on a 12-mile roundtrip in 50 degree rain was a showing of Richard III at the Shakespeare Theatre. My toes and fingers were freezing, my tights were soaked through, and my bow was dripping water down my neck. I’m not sure if the ride was fun, but it was exhilarating.

Me, Oma and Lake Michigan

Me, Oma and Lake Michigan

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Bikes, Beer and Books in Sevier Park

Though we’ve already penned our odes to fall and tights, and recapped our fun-filled summer, I left work this afternoon to find an overcast morning had brought forth one last glimpse of summer sun. So of course, Le Peug and I headed off to enjoy it. Our destination: Sevier Park, starting point for the  LGRAB Garden Party Ride, home of Sunnyside Manor and less than a mile from my house.

Le Peug, Sunnyside and some very green grass.

Le Peug, Sunnyside and some very green grass.

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Real Life in the Rain

In the interest of full disclosure, I must show that my cycling lifestyle is not all red bows and ruffled dresses. Sometimes there is cold rain, and then I pull out the jeans, sneakers, and trench coat. The worst part of riding in the rain for me is the sound of car tires as they speed by: WHOOOSH! Louder and more intimidating than usual. Better than staying inside, though, and the Wicker Park thrift stores beckoned.

Rainy Oma

Rainy Oma

10-1 sneakers 10-1 rain

As some of you requested, we will have a full “how to” on riding in the rain. Look for it in the next week or two.

Happy October!

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The Red Shoes

Yesterday I attended a party at De Fietsfabriek, a Dutch bike shop, to celebrate the fall line of Po Campo stylish bike bags. I wore my lucky red velvet Marc Jacobs shoes and a vintage red bow.

The red shoes are lucky because I wore them when I met Tori Amos and the first thing she said to me was: “I love your shoes!” Then she hugged me. This is the kind of outfit I wear simply because it makes me happy like a little girl. RED BOW!

what's black and white and red all over?

what's black and white and red all over?

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What a Difference 100 Years Makes

I was intrigued by these photos of a Nashville intersection on Shorpy.com.

Here, the intersection of 3rd and Church in 1910, almost 100 years ago. (Is it weird that I find it weird that 1910 was almost 100 years ago? Because I do.)

Original caption: "George Christopher, Postal Telegraph messenger #7, fourteen years old. Been at it over three years. Does not work nights."

Original caption: "George Christopher, Postal Telegraph messenger #7, fourteen years old. Been at it over three years. Does not work nights."

Glad to hear you don’t work nights at 14, George! I totally covet your bike. Maybe it’s just the white tires but it reminds me of either the Batavus Fryslan, or the bike I would be riding if I were a man: the Pashley Guv’nor. The days of bike messengers aren’t completely gone for Nashville, but the streets definitely don’t look the same:

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