Monthly Archives: May 2010

Bike the Drive 2010: Chicago Closes Highway for Cyclists

Have you ever wondered what the world would look like if cities were built to support bicycles, rather than cars? For five hours every year, Chicagoans experience this utopia during Bike the Drive.

Bike the Drive is an annual event organized by the Active Transportation Alliance, during which the city closes the main scenic highway through the city, Lake Shore Drive, to motor traffic and opens it up for cyclists. Nearly 20,000 bicyclists participate!  The huge turn-out demonstrates how hungry people are for cycling, if only they could feel safe on the streets.

Lake Shore Drive via Bike

Lake Shore Drive via Bike

The massive number of participants is amazing, and also the diversity of participants. Sure, there are lots of roadies and daily bike commuters, but also thousands of families with children, middle-aged suburbanites and elderly couples. I imagine a lot of people dust off their old bikes specifically for this event. Hopefully, the ride will remind many of how much fun it is to ride a bike and inspire them to continue to ride.

I rode a total of 50 miles - this dress was airy and hid my padded bike shorts

Greg at the south end of the route, Museum of Science and Industry

Riding companions Dean and Elizabeth

After the ride participants enjoyed a festival in Grant Park, complete with a pancake breakfast and live music.

Grant Park Festival

Grant Park Festival

Again, I must emphasize that this event demonstrates how many people would love to ride bikes more often, if only they felt safe doing so in the road.  The following videos convey more than words can say.  The first video is from last year; the second is from this year. The endless flow of bicycles in both was consistent along the entire route.

For another video of biking the Drive, see here via Steve Vance.

Read Elizabeth’s (pictured above) report at Bike Commuters.

This is totally going down as my group ride for the Summer Games :)

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Explore: Chicago’s Clark Park Bike Trail

A hidden gem in Chicago is Clark Park. Mr. Dottie discovered this park while running, tucked behind an awful strip mall-parking lot development. The park includes a baseball field, forest preserve and kayak rental to flow down the river – if you don’t mind the signs warning you not to make skin contact with the water. The best feature of the park is the bike trail, especially the section with “sweet” jumps for mountain and bmx bikers. The area shown below is tucked in the woods and has a secret garden feel to it.

After some Googling, I discovered that the park sits on the grounds of the former Riverview Amusement Park (1904-1967), which for a time was “the world’s largest amusement park, with a massive roller coaster, a double ferris wheel, a tunnel of love, a water slide, a parachute drop, and carnival games of skill and chance, among many other things.” How cool is that? Very. Chicago is full of little treasures like this, waiting to be discovered.

Tagged , , , , , ,

Allergies?

I’ve never been allergic to anything in my life – no food, medicine or plant could get me down. However, this spring I’m wondering if allergies have sprung upon me. For most of April, I had a terrible headache that went away temporarily only when I took Advil Allergy that someone gave me. She said I probably have allergies, and that she never had allergies until her late 20s, either. Now the headache is gone, but all week I’ve had a terrible scratchy throat. This started hours after I frolicked in the park below, where an astonishing amount of dandelion seeds wafted through the air and piled up in gutters.

Among the Enemy

Damn Flowers

Woe, does this mean I have allergies? Could it be exacerbated by riding my bike everywhere? Maybe it’s from city pollution mixed with heat?

If allergies are the culprit, does anyone have advice for medicine or a home remedy?

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Roll Models: “Balloon Biker” Jami Krause

Portland gets a lot of attention as a hub for “bike fun,” but that city certainly does not corner the market.

Balloon Biker Jami

Chicago has its fair share of bike fun, thanks to people like our latest Roll Model, Balloon Biker Jami Krause. Read on to learn what inspires her to ride, her advice for new bicyclists and what’s up with the balloons.

How would you describe your bicycling style in three words?

Exuberant, adventurous, utilitarian

How does the bike fit in your daily life?

I use my bike for everything. I commute daily to my day job, go grocery shopping, visit friends, go on trips and socialize.

You have a part-time business, Balloon Biker. Tell us about this!

I do balloon twisting for all kinds of events. Birthday parties, festivals, store openings, restaurant patron appreciation…really anything. I also do deliveries of bouquets or special sculptures. With enough time, I can make anything out of balloons.

Naturally, I can make a balloon bicycle.

If it’s at all feasible to bike to the event, I will do so. I also sometimes do street performance and use my bike for transportation for that.

Given enough time I can make anything from balloons. My website has information on hiring me for events.

Often I’ll attach balloons to my helmet at group rides and it always makes people smile. This past weekend I helped out with the new Kidical Mass ride. It was great to see so many kids enjoying helmet décor.

Has Chicago’s bicycle culture changed since you’ve been around? If so, how?

I’ve only really been riding for 3 year, but things have changed a little bit. I think that The Chainlink is a great resource for finding rides and riding companions. I’ve met some really great people through that and have gone on some amazing rides. My perspective has also changed. I’m a lot more confident and have begun organizing my own rides and events.

Jami's Sea Creature

What inspires you to keep cycling?

It just makes sense. Within the city it’s usually the best way to get around. I don’t have to worry about parking or about the train and it’s easy to stop and do errands.

I’ve also met some amazing people through biking. If I were to stop cycling it’s like a third of my social circle would be much harder to see.

It’s great to have pedal powered adventures. I’ve gone on several bike camping trips and I love that. I’d really like to do a long distance tour, supporting myself by making balloons along the way.

Jami on her Halloween bike

What advice would you give others, especially women, who are interested in or new to cycling?

Just try it out. Other than a bike, a helmet and a lock, you really don’t need anything special. You don’t need to be in-shape or to have the latest and greatest of anything. I’m a plus-sized woman and have had no problems. If I can do it, really anyone can.

You can start with a visit to the store, or to a friends or to the park. It’s very easy.

As for fashion…it’s really about your own comfort levels. I wear what I’m comfortable in. You can dress nice if that’s what you like to do…or you can wear normal jeans, or office clothes or yoga pants. Heck you can even wear spandex if that’s really what you want to do.

I’d really recommend trying out some group rides. Join The Chainlink and see what is coming up. Think of the rides as a party…sometimes you need to approach people and strike up a conversation. Just like at a party, not everyone is going to be friendly or interesting. This was something that I struggled with at first, but now I see the same people over and over again and really find it a welcoming community.

Thanks so much, Jami!

Jami and I started talking at a stop light on our way to work a few months ago. From there we moved on to email, which resulted in this profile. Isn’t it so much fun to meet people while riding? :)

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Neighborhood Group Ride

As I mentioned in my last post, we’ve been enjoying everyone’s LGRAB Summer Games entries–on Saturday I decided to join in the fun by taking a small group ride through my neighborhood. The ride started out at my friends Erin & Scott’s house near Edgehill Village. Destination? Local popsicle shop Las Palatas.

Katie and me, ready to go

Erin and Scott have road bikes (Scott brand!), but they got along just fine with Katie’s and my vintage wheels.

If you ever come to Nashville, be sure to seek out Las Paletas. This small local business is run by sisters who spent time in Mexico learning authentic paletas recipes; pure fruit & sugar deliciousness, along with flavors like Mexican Caramel, Hot Chocolate and Cucumber and Chili. They have a sign now, so they’re a little easier to find.

Girls and popsicles

The new 12South & Paris development also houses Greenlight Market & Deli, a small store full of local, organic–and reasonably priced–delicacies.

We browsed, then rode back up 12th to Erin & Scott’s. At the last minute, Katie and I decided the ride wasn’t over yet, so we rode back down to one of my favorite watering holes, the 12South Taproom. A beer was just what the doctor ordered at the end of a hot summer ride.

One of the things I love about cycling is the ability to really get to know your neighborhood. Every day I get on my bike I feel lucky to live in a neighborhood that is worth getting to know.

For more on 12South, see my Google Map of the area here.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Kitted Out

Last week I talked about riding slowly to avoid sweating and last year I talked about fresh summer cycling.  However, when the temperature is 90 degrees, changing into work clothes after the commute may be simpler than worrying about sweat marks and riding super slowly, especially when you’ll have to duck into the bathroom to freshen up anyway. Such was the case today, when I “kitted out” after suffering through a terribly sweaty ride in my work clothes the day before.

Ladies and gentlemen, I’m pleased to introduce my LGRAB team kit.

As always, I have the Nutcase helmet and Po Campo bag. I might get a breezier helmet for the summer to cool my head better – a sporty helmet with lots of air vents. In the alternative, I’ll ride my Dutch bike on the bike path more often to forgo the helmet. Sweaty hair is my least favorite part of bike commuting (well, after cars).

I wear these crochet and leather fingerless gloves for longer hot rides with my Betty Foy. The combination of sweat and cork grips causes callouses otherwise.

My first summer of riding, I bought a lot of clothes specifically for commuting. Any old summer dress or tank and short combo would do, but I like Patagonia’s skorts (looks like a skirt with shorts underneath) and tanks with build in bras. Anything in merino wool is also good.

Keen cycling sandals are ugly as sin, but keep my feet cool and are odor resistant – a huge benefit when they’re sitting around my office all day. They have built in things on the bottom to connect clipless somethings. I ignore those.

Essential eye gear, of course.

The whole shebang.

My skirt and blouse were rolled up in my basket, but I’m gonna start leaving some suits in my office, along with my work heels.

Whether you prefer to ride in work clothes, casual clothes or special cycling clothes, it’s all good. Mix it up. Experiment. Just do what works for you.

Anyone else making accommodations for the heat (or cold, for the Australians out there)?

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Social Cycling Week 1 Roundup

One week into the Summer Games, things couldn’t be off to a better start. We continue to be amazed and impressed at the number of people who are playing along! If you need some inspiration, here are links to the entries we’ve gotten so far.

Go on a group ride

Wondering what would be considered a group ride? Try one of these: dropping off the kids at school by bike with another family;  touring Munich by bike; attending a bike rally; tour your home city by bike; or join a Ride of Silence or the Tour de Cure.

Kara of Knitting Lemonade and her friend bikepooled to work in matching helmets!

Leave a friendly note or say “hi” to another cyclist

This one is a little harder than it sounds–we cyclists move fast and not everyone carries a pen and paper in their panniers! Still,  Sox at Pedal and Coast managed to snap a pic of the cyclist she said hi to at a red light.

Carolyn took the opportunity to leave a note telling another cyclist about Critical Mass.

DSC02065

Ride with your family

How cool is this picture of Xander from 416cyclestyle on a ride with his wife & kids?

Mark took his family to dinner on an ebike, while E at academichic went with her husband and baby to pick up their CSA share.

Recruit a non-biking friend

Claire in Toronto convinced her husband to give bike commuting a try.

Go on a bike date–dress up!

S. and her husband T. took in the sights of Munich by bike.

Cyclin’ Missy grabbed a beer and dinner with friends.

It’s not too late to start–the Social Cycling event is going on through June 7. Check out our Flickr pool for more inspiration.

p.s. if you don’t see a link to your entry here, and you blogged about it: we don’t have it. Email us at LGRAB (at) letsgorideabike (dot) com with the details.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Explore: Lincoln Park Zoo

On Saturday for the first time I visited the Lincoln Park Zoo. Of course, we rode our bikes there. The zoo is free, located just north of downtown by the lake. The size is impressive for a free attraction and it’s a fun way to spend the day, especially for families with children.

Some exhibits were a little sad, especially the intelligent gorillas. I’m not sure how I feel about zoos in general, but the beauty of the space is undeniable, especially in the middle of a city as big as Chicago. I enjoyed spending the day outside with nature and with my friend Marisol from high school, visiting from North Carolina. A good thing about living in Chicago is being a hub for visitors :)

Tagged , , , , , ,

Ride Slowly, Don’t Sweat

After the group ride on Wednesday – cycling no faster than 12 mph – I realized that I was not sweaty at all. That was a pretty big deal, especially for a 10 mile ride in 70 degrees, since I tend to sweat while riding. I’m no rocket scientist, but I managed to put together that if you ride slooowly, you won’t sweat. This is not exactly breaking news, but it’s a good reminder of the different riding options out there. I’m not a “fast” rider, but I usually push myself just enough to break a sweat.

During my morning commute, I decided to test this on my own. Without the constraints of a group ride, I had to remind myself continually to slow down. Usually in the morning when riding Betty, I enjoy riding fast and really working my legs and lungs. The slower pace was enjoyable, though. I was able to take in the scenery of Lake Michigan and turn my face up to the sun. And, like magic (a really obvious card trick, perhaps), I arrived at work after my 6 mile ride sweat-free.

I wouldn’t want to be so relaxed in my riding every day, but slow riding is handy if the weather is warm and you really need to look presentable immediately upon arrival. How about you – do you take it super relaxed or push yourself and deal with the consequences later? Or maybe you either sweat or don’t sweat no matter what?

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Ride of Silence

Today I participated in the annual Ride of Silence. The Chicago ride, organized beautifully by my friend Elizabeth, paid special tribute to cyclists killed on the city’s roadways. The ride visited several ghost bikes along the 10 mile route. Two of the ghost bikes are new in the past year – Jepson Livingston and Liza Whitacre. I know of two other fatalities in the last year, a 12-year-old boy and 13-year-old boy in separate incidents.

Clint Miceli';s Ghost Bike on LaSalle Street

A Mother's Message on Clint's Ghost Bike

In 2008, there were 1,043 traffic fatalities in the state of Illinois. 27 of the fatalities were bicyclists, 5 in the city of Chicago.

My Ride of Silence post from last year is here. As I discussed before, I participate in the ride to support the families of the victims – the bicycling community’s support means a lot to them.

Tagged , , , , ,

Bicycling and Self Esteem

As Trisha discussed on Sunday, last week the women of Academichic hosted Dress Your Best Week, an event that encouraged readers to dress to highlight their best features in lieu of the usual dressing to minimize real or perceived “figure flaws.”  The discussion in the comments section about whether biking has created any “best” body parts was both funny and inspiring.  Strong legs and backside, toned arms (for those climbers) and waist, healthy lungs with fewer asthma problems – all of these benefits were listed by more than one person.  The consensus is that bicycling makes one feel better physically – no surprise there! – but also feel better about themselves.

In our bipolar society, where the most obese population in the world is inundated with dangerous images of “beauty” by the media and where “fit” people drive to the gym to run on the treadmill, millions are locked in a struggle with their bodies.  Even healthy and otherwise happy young women waste immeasurable time fixated on perceived flaws and self-loathing.  For evidence of this, read Courtney Martin’s Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters, on the frightening new normalcy of hating your body.

Dressing my best means fun and comfortable clothes that make me happy

The solution is a lifestyle change that favors simplicity over excess and regards the human body as a tool rather than merely a decoration. A big part of such a lifestyle is active transportation, especially cycling. Riding a bicycle as daily transportation can radically shift both how you feel and how you feel about yourself. The benefits are the same that make sports so good for adolescents, especially girls.  Transportation bicycling is even better than sports, as there is no competition or pressure to perform, and cycling fits seamlessly into every day life. Free of the need to carve out time in your day to work out, you are simultaneously free of the self-loathing that accompanies the failure to do so.

When your body carries you several miles to and from work every day, you appreciate your body as a tool and a workhorse. When your lungs fill with air and your heart pumps energetically, you know your body is good, without having to examine it in the mirror, searching for flaws. If society declares that your body is not ideal because you are not skinny enough or muscular enough, or your hips or thighs are too big, you know that society is wrong because your body works for you admirably every day.

Bicycling is not a wonder drug or a total solution to the deeply entrenched problem of body image and self-esteem, but it is a small change that individuals can make to live a healthier and happier life. Plus, riding a bike is fun!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Connecting with Fortworthology

The power of the online bicycling community strikes again.

Stephanie and Kevin with Greg in the Windy City

On Sunday, we met Stephanie and Kevin of Fortworthology for a delicious dinner in Greektown. They were in Chicago for a stop-over during a vacation trip from Fort Worth to Portland and back via Amtrak. What a cool way to travel! The train ride is four days each way, with the convenience of a sleeping car.

Fortworthology is a site dedicated to encouraging and chronicling smart urban growth in Fort Worth, Texas. Things are looking up for the city after a long history of suburban sprawl – in February the Fort Worth City Council unanimously approved a comprehensive bike plan.

In addition to writing the blog, Kevin also does awesome photography. We spent a while geeking over his iPhone and its polaroid and lomography photo apps (iPhoneography pics here). Also, their iPads, which I now want desperately.

Meeting like-minded people from another part of the country was wonderful. Their optimism and commitment to improving their hometown is inspiring. The whole country is really catching on to bicycling as a means of transportation. With the power of the internet, we can now connect with others for support and information-sharing, which adds incredible momentum to the movement.

{I also enjoyed meeting reader Jeffrey at Copenhagen Cyclery! Hi – you’re so sweet!}

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Let the Games Begin! Part I: Social Cycling

Ladies and gentlemen, the Summer Games officially begin today. First up, the Social Cycling category. Local events going on during National Bike Month might make this even easier for you (for example, I plan on getting my group ride in on Nashville’s Bike to Work day this Friday).

Over the next three weeks, you need to complete at least two events from the following list. Be creative with combining events, but please go on at least two separate rides. Once you have completed your events, there are two ways to enter:

1) Email us links to your blog posts detailing the activities; or

2) Email us your story and photographs.

Please use the subject line [Summer Games - Part I]. At any time, you can also upload your photos to our Summer Games Flickr pool. By entering, you give us permission to publish your content here.

Remember, you must complete two events from each of the three categories (six events total between now and July 18) to be entered to win the Batavus BuB.  However, those who compete in this category – Part I: Social Cycling – will be eligible to win a set of Clarijs Panniers (My Dutch Bike), a Terry Botanika flare skort and Euro Halter (Terry Bicycles) or a Nutcase helmet (Nutcase). Prize winners will be determined by random drawing on June 8. A huge thank you to the sponsors for their support of bike fun!

Ready, set, RIDE!

May 17-June 6: Social Cycling

  • Go on a group ride
  • Leave a friendly note on a bike, or say hi to a cyclist at a red light
  • Schedule a bike date with a friend or partner — dress up!
  • Recruit a non-biking friend for a ride
  • Take a ride with your family
Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

On Dressing Your Best Week

Last week, the women of Academichic hosted Dress Your Best Week, an event that encouraged readers to dress to highlight their best features in lieu of the usual dressing to minimize real or perceived “figure flaws.” This led to a lovely series of posts by bloggers of all stripes, discussing how and why they came to love various body parts. I kept this in mind all week, but it all came together in one outfit on Wednesday.

With my hairstyle, inspired by braidmaster S., I am drawing attention to my nose. I used to think it was big and wide, especially when I smiled, and a little too ski-jump. It was exactly like my great-grandmother’s, after all, and she had felt the need to sleep with a clothespin on her nose to make it narrower, according to my grandmother. Then a high school classmate of mine got a nose job. It was well done, and maybe it made her more conventionally beautiful, but I felt she had lost something. I decided my nose wasn’t so bad. Years later it became the subject of an ode by a drunken Frenchman in Mulhouse, and lord knows I wouldn’t have wanted to miss out on that experience.

The dress, with a belt added by me, highlights my waist, something I keep no matter how my weight fluctuates (thanks, waist). Wedge heels, a 22nd birthday present, draw attention to my feet (small, and I actually like my toes) and my calves, which are toned from biking. Though I can’t say biking has made me lose weight, it has definitely made me stronger and I love that. If you had told me two years ago that my legs would be among my favorite body parts, I would have called you a liar. :) Has biking created any “best” parts of the body for you?

Check out the full list of Dress Your Best participants here.

Tagged , , ,

Bicycling to the Farmer’s Market

A bicycle trip to the farmer’s market is a perfect way to begin the weekend. Fresh air, exercise, a feeling of community and local food. Saturday morning, Greg and I met up with Arielle (of the newly-formed Bicycle Goddess Brigade) to ride our bikes to Chicago’s Green City Market.

What a happy scene – dozens of bicycles were locked up outside the market and many bicycling families went by with kids in bike seats, trailers and on their own bikes. In general, I think people who ride bikes are the type of people who shop at farmer’s markets. Also, a bike trip to the farmer’s market is a pleasurable weekend activity for people who bike only occasionally.

In the evening, we enjoyed rhubarb compote that Arielle made. We’d never eaten rhubarb before, which surprised her, since apparently it grows on the side of the road in her native Washington. Then we all biked to The Hideout, where Arielle played the fiddle and sang with the Bubbly Creek Bluegrass Band. So much awesomeness in one person! :)

Total daily mileage = 14.

How is the farmer’s market scene where you live? Do you have access to fresh local food and, if so, do you see a lot of fellow bicyclists there?

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Wardrobe Malfunction: Stapling My Skirt

I wear dresses or skirts almost every day. I ride my bike everyday.

As a result, I’m way beyond the point of caring about my skirts and dresses flapping in the breeze while I ride. A regular knee-length skirt covers more than shorts, even when riding up. As long as the skirt doesn’t fly up completely with a strong wind, it’s all good. That said, my new jean dress ($3 at Salvation Army!) was not behaving today.

The dress is button down in the front and the culprit was the 8 inches or so at the bottom after the last button. In the morning, soon after discovering the problem, I pulled over, took the scrunchie out of my hair and tied the side of my skirt up with it. That solution worked well enough, but for the ride home I wanted a more sophisticated fix. For the life of me, I could not find a safety pin in my office. That’s when the stapler started to look awfully attractive. Crunch, crunch – and my skirt was fixed.

In the future, I’ll try to remember to wear spandex shorts under new dresses, until I know how they will behave. :) But it’s good to know that I can think on my feet (wheels?) when necessary.

Anyone else have quick fixes for wardrobe malfunctions?

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Announcing the LGRAB Summer Games

On May 17, the cycling event of the summer begins. It’s fun, friendly and features amazing prizes from some of the best cycling brands out there — including the grand prize of a Batavus BuB from 4th Floor Distribution. (See the full prize list here.)

How to play, you ask?

It’s easy. There are three main categories, and six events in each category. Complete events in each category over a three week period, and tell us about it via blog post link or email, plus photo addition to our Summer Games Flickr Pool. Entries must include a story and a photo of each event you complete.  If you enter via a post on your own blog, please link to this announcement in your entry, include one of our badges and let us know via email.

Anyone who completes at least two events in each of the three categories will be entered to win the Batavus BuB by random drawing. We’re also giving away prizes as readers complete each category.

May 17-June 6: Social Cycling

  • Go on a group ride
  • Leave a nice note on a bike, or say hi to a cyclist at a red light
  • Schedule a bike date with a friend or partner — dress up!
  • Recruit a non-biking friend for a ride
  • Ride with your family

June 7-June 27: Learning Experiences

  • Perform a maintenance task — big or small!
  • Decorate your bike
  • Read a book about cycling
  • Carry a load on your bike — groceries, etc.
  • Test ride a different type of bike than you normally ride

June 28-July 18: New Territory

  • Ride a greenway
  • Have a bicycle picnic
  • If you don’t normally ride to work, commute by bike, or by bike/train or bike/bus
  • If you do commute, take the long way home: add distance to your usual ride
  • Explore a new part of town by bike

We will be completing every event ourselves and sharing our adventures here, of course.

A huge thank you to all of the companies that donated prizes!  Click on the images below to visit their websites.  This is all for you, loyal readers and fellow bike lovers.

Most of the prizes are available internationally, so everyone is welcome to participate.

If you have a blog and would like to display a badge linking your readers to this announcement, we will include you in a list of all participating blogs on our sidebar.

Be sure to visit us on Monday for more prize details and the official start of the games!

Who’s in?  ;)

ETA: Badges, which should be linked to this post (we’ll update it with links to category posts as they occur) can be snagged below the fold.

Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , ,

Beautiful Bicycles: De Fietsfabriek Oma

I recently test rode the De Fietsfabriek Oma for three days and thirty miles. De Fietsfabriek is a Dutch bike company and the U.S. distributor is a lovely shop along my daily commute route, owned and run by Jon Lind. (A great interview with Jon is here.)

This is the first bicycle I have tested that matches the quality of my WorkCycles Azor Oma and has features that I wish my Oma had. In fact, my Oma has now been slightly altered to incorporate one of the De Fietsfabriek’s accessories – more on that later.

I’m not saying that this bike is a rival for my love, but I wouldn’t kick her out of bed for eating crackers.

Before I begin to discuss all of the components, I must point out the design touches that make this bike extra special. As shown below (the “FF” stands for “Fietsfabriek”) lettering can be die cast into the frame, between the top and bottom tubes. You can choose to spell your name or anything else you want. Now I totally want “Dottie” on my Oma!

Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Roll Models: Joanna Goddard, Biking Mama-to-Be

Our latest Roll Model is Joanna Goddard, Manhattan blogger extraordinaire. Not only does she maintain her own personal site, Cup of Jo, she also blogs (and writes) for Glamour magazine. Joanna and her husband Alex are expecting their first child–a boy–any day now, and she has continued riding her vintage 3-speed throughout her pregnancy. Read on to learn what plans she has for cycling after baby and what the best thing is about riding a bike.

Joanna on her bike, 33.5 weeks pregnant

Tell us about your cycling history — when did you start? What do you ride? What drew you to cycling?

My family has always been really into bikes. My dad, sister and I biked all the time, and we always took bikes on vacations. I had a blue bike with a banana seat. When I moved to New York City nine years ago, I got a bike, and I LOVE riding here! It makes the big city feel much smaller, and it’s great to feel the wind in my face. So refreshing and invigorating. (Read a story Joanna wrote about her first bike here.)

As a blogger who mostly works from home (I assume), how does cycling fit into your lifestyle?

Yes, I work from home. I’m actually claustrophobic so instead of taking the subway, I ride everywhere, pretty much year round (except for those insanely cold days). I ride to appointments, dinners, parties, errands, etc. (I recently rode to a big meeting in a pencil dress and super high heels, which was a bit of a feat!) My husband and I also take evening rides by the water, and we often take long weekend rides from our West Village apartment up to the lighthouse at the George Washington Bridge. It’s funny because in New York, you see everything on the bike path–teenagers on unicycles, dudes on Penny Farthings, we even recently saw a group of nuns rollerblading in their full habits!

You’ve kept riding throughout your pregnancy. What reactions have you gotten from family/friends/strangers? Have you made plans for riding after baby?

My trusty bike has saved my life during my pregnancy! Walking (i.e., waddling) has been uncomfortable during my seventh and eighth months, but biking feels amazing, since I can sit up straight and feel free and strong. Strangers are incredibly sweet, actually. Bike messengers and guys on the street will often yell out, “Hey, mama!” or “Congratulations!” as I ride by, or they’ll tell other bikers, “Be careful, she’s pregnant!” It’s really sweet — it’s like the pregnancy version of catcalling. :) After the baby arrives, we can take him on the bike with us once he’s a year old and strong enough to sit up in the bike seat. I’m excited to take him on his first ride. We already bought a bike seat in anticipation. :)

What tips would you give other moms-to-be about cycling while pregnant?

Do it! Ask your doctor first, of course, but mine encourages it. Biking feels easier than walking when pregnant, I think, and it’s wonderful, gentle, low-impact exercise. Just remember to wear a helmet, of course, and ride carefully.

How does your style conflict with or contribute to your cycling? Do you have any guidelines you apply to yourself when dressing to go somewhere on your bike?

I pretty much dress like a ten-year-old boy (jeans, sneakers and T-shirts), so my style fits pretty well with biking. But if I’m going to dinner in a dress or skirt, that works, too. The only big fashion guideline: Wear a helmet! I love this one from Bern, and I put reflective tape on it.

Joanna's Bern "Watts" helmet

What’s the best thing about riding a bike?

Those magical moments that you can’t plan, like right after a rain storm when the sun comes out and you’re biking by the water, and the air is perfect and beautiful and the water is sparkling and you’re just flying along.

Thanks, Joanna! For more of Joanna’s beautiful pictures and inspiring posts, visit A Cup of Jo.

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Strawberry Shortcake

Strawberry Shortcake has been a hero of mine since girlhood. Must I explain her awesomeness? She rides a bike, has a cat and is always surrounded by sweets!

The newest issue of my favorite magazine, Lula, is Strawberry Shortcake themed – a periodical after my own heart – and features a modern interpretation of Ms. Shortcake on the cover. When I saw this red dress on Friday, I instantly thought of my own modern Strawberry Shortcake interpretation. The fact that the dress is fair trade by Mata, made by a women’s cooperative in India, sealed the deal.

Now I have the dress, but what about that huge cupcakey thing on her head?

No, wait: Better than a strawberry cupcake – my pink Nutcase helmet is eerily perfect! Looks like Trisha’s not the only one who refers back to childhood heros for helmet inspiration.

All I need now are strawberry-shaped wheel spokes.

Happy Monday!  Make it silly :)

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 43 other followers