June 2010 archive

Smile at the Bicycles

Today there were so many bicyclists along my route, everywhere, becoming a real force in the movement of the city – it was beautiful. I found myself smiling the whole way home.

There are many more bicyclists this summer than last summer, and especially more people dressed in regular clothes. I’m bad at numbers, but I must have seen nearly 100 other bicyclists during my commute. On the way home I rode behind a guy in a suit (jackpot!), a woman in a skirt and another woman in stylish khakis and a button-down with pink flowers on her basket.

I hope people who don’t ride notice all of the bicycles, too. They must! Seems impossible to miss such a dynamic new part of the cityscape. I’m pretty sure I saw some smiles on the faces of pedestrians. Who can resist a smile at the bicycles? Especially those with wicker baskets, flowers, skirts and suits? :)

Have you noticed more bicyclists where you live? Or is it your first summer riding a bike? I’m really curious to hear what others’ experiences have been.

Camera Karma

As Part II of the LGRAB Summer Games was coming to a close (how has it been six weeks since we started these??) I spent a lot of time reading everyone’s entries and planning how to participate myself.

So imagine my joy when, last Wednesday, I realized I was carrying a load (small box of books, plus a laptop) on my bike.

Then imagine my chagrin when I arrived home, pulled out my camera to get some photographic evidence . . . and realized I had left my memory card in my iMac at the office. Duh.

Luckily I had a backup method: telephone!

The haze over the lens pretty much says it all about the sort of humid, sultry weather we’ve been having lately. And the uptilted seat? well, that’s something that will be addressed when I write up my “complete a bicycle maintenance task” post.

I plan on being a much more timely poster when it comes to Part III!

LGRAB Summer Games, Part III: New Territory

We are now entering the final phase of the Summer Games. How time flies! Ladies and gentlemen, your challenge awaits.

June 28-July 18: New Territory

  • Ride a greenway (“nature” bike trail)
  • 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

Prizes for this round (to be awarded to anyone who plays in Part III) include:

Winners will be determined by random drawing on July 19. As always, email us your blog links or your stories and photos using the subject line “Summer Games Part III Entry” (and check out our Flickr group). Don’t forget that you must complete two events in each round to be eligible for the grand prize of a Batavus BUB. See our original post for complete details.

Thanks to all the sponsors and players! You can drool over the complete prize list here.

Flowers for the Tour de Fat

On Saturday I attended the Tour de Fat, an annual bike festival by New Belgium Brewing, where I ran into several people I know, including frequent commenter Scott and his girlfriend with their gorgeous Velorbis and Pashley bikes (pictured below). Chicago was the first stop on a nation-wide tour. You can read, see and watch more about the Tour de Fat at my write-up from last year.

Before heading out, I decided to decorate my bike. The flowers came from a thrift store wreath and were already strung together. I simply zip-tied each end to the top of my basket and voila – bike basket beauty.

I also decorated my hair. :) This is going down as an event in the Summer Games, “Decorate your bike.”

All bike baskets should be adorned with flowers and/or ribbon!

Beautiful Bicycles: Pashley Sonnet Bliss (yes, again)

Today I stopped by Boulevard Bikes to visit the Pashley Sonnet Bliss. Lucky for me, one of the very few Pashley retailers in the U.S. is in Chicago. My love for Pashleys is no secret and I hope to own a Pashley one day. Of course, I also hope to own a bakfiets cargo bike, Brompton folding bike, ANT Light Roadster and Sweet Pea Little Black Dress, so… we’ll see.

Two years ago I seriously considered buying Pashley Princess Sovereign. I decided to buy my Dutch bike instead, but now I think owning both would not be too crazy.

A year ago, I rode and reviewed the Pashley Sonnet Bliss and fell in love. You can read all about the bike at the original review.

This is going down as “test ride a different type of bike than you normally ride” for the Summer Games. I swear the Pashley is different enough from my Oma to count! ;)

I {Heart} My Bicycle

I love my Rivendell Betty Foy for her steel strength, smooth ride, quickness, lightness, easy step-through and good looks. Most of all, I love that she loves me back. It’s obvious!

Feel free to say what bike you ride and what you love, even if you’ve said it before. Let’s get some Friday good bike vibes going :)

Chicago’s Bike to Work Day

Despite our focus on the simple side of cycling – get on your bike and go – I think Trisha and I became certified bike geeks the day we started a bike blog. There’s no way around it.

So when Bike to Work Day came along, I was incapable of simply riding my bike to work, I had to make a whole bikey day out of it.

First, I met my friend Elizabeth (of Bike Commuters) early in the morning to ride downtown together.

Elizabeth at the Bike to Work Rally in Daley Plaza

Then we attended the Bike to Work Rally in Daley Plaza and mingled with other bike commuters. I was excited to hear da Mayor speak, since he gets so much praise as a cycling advocate, but he did not show up due to “another mayor commitment.” Boo – hisssss. Lame.

The great helmeted dog of Kathy’s folding bike

During my lunch break, I met up with Patty for delish fish tacos – silly me forgot to take a photo of her and her bike. We met through LGRAB and I must say that everyone I’ve met through this blog is all sorts of awesome. She was also a team leader for her employer’s commuter challenge (doing a great job, based on the numbers!). We talked about some ideas to get the Bicycle Goddess Brigade going, so stay tuned.

On the way home after work, I got caught in the rain storm.

Caught in the rain

Undeterred, I headed back downtown via the L train to attend the bicycle forum featuring David Byrne and other local bike advocacy luminaries. All of the speakers were interesting and the part that excited me most was a mention that Wells Street is getting a buffered bike lane in the fall – a first for Chicago. That’s part of my commute! I haven’t been able to find any information on this, though, and can’t imagine how a buffered lane would fit unless the city removes street parking (not gonna happen).

The panelists, David Byrne on the far left

After the forum, I bumped into Patty and her boyfriend Brian, aka The Car Whisperer. Even in a city as large as Chicago, the bike geeks are a pretty tight group :)

By the end of the day, I felt optimistic about the future of bicycling in Chicago. The most important thing, though, is to make every day Bike to Work Day. Here I go…

Bike Events Are All Around

It’s the first official weekend of summer, and two events in the Southeast can help cyclists kick it off right.

First up, Nashville peeps can check out Russ & Laura (of the Path Less Pedaled) at the Nashville Bicycle Lounge at 5 pm on Saturday, June 26. I had the pleasure of meeting them yesterday, and you definitely want to hear about their trip across the country by bike.

My beautiful cousin Jodie is getting married this weekend in Birmingham, so I won’t be at the Bicycle Lounge–but if I have a second between rehearsals, showers and family time I will definitely be showing up at the Bici Coop Garden Party put together by our friends at Bike Skirt.

Are summer bike events popping up in your area?

(This post brought to you courtesy of the free wireless at  12South Taproom — go USA!)

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Friendly Commute

This morning I rode further than usual to attend a conference.  While waiting at a stop light, my friend Elizabeth magically appeared next to me.  What a fun surprise!  There are few surprises better than meeting a good friend in an unexpected place.  Turns out she was on a long morning ride (being much sportier than I).  Gotta love the social aspect of bike riding.

Elizabeth brightening my morning

Soon afterward, a grouchy guy tried to mar my morning.  As I rode 8 mph on the nearly empty bike path (trying not to sweat my ass off before work), he said sarcastically while passing me, “Nice place for your helmet,” indicating the helmet hanging from my handlebars.

Helmet-carrying contraption, aka handlebars

Why, thank you!  I agree; that’s a brilliant place for my helmet, as I can easily take it off and put it on as I transition from the streets to the bike path.  Perhaps if he slowed down occasionally (to, say, 8 mph), he would notice that riding a bike is not always an extreme sport requiring protective gear. :)

Really, I ride so slowly and cautiously when I take off my helmet on the bike path – if anything, I am safer.

My ride was otherwise nice and relaxing, though almost 90 degrees and humid. Nothing a wet washcloth and deodorant couldn’t handle.

And now for something completely different. In one hour (9:00 central) Trisha and I will be interviewed live on Bicycle Radio. You can – and totally should! – listen at http://bicycleradio.com. If you miss the show, you can download the podcast. While you’re at it, check out their awesome archives, which include guests such as Ray LaHood and Gary Fisher!

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