October 2010 archive

A Refresher Course on Fall Cycling Style

Fall is the most fun season to dress for, in my opinion, whether on a bike or not. Tights, scarves and boots all come into play, but in a fun and casual way, not the oppressive way of winter.

Last year we wrote a How To for fall cycling style. In Paris, Trisha demonstrated the effortlessly chic look that’s so spot on for this time of year.

Trisha demonstrates fall cycling on a Velib in Paris

Note the main ingredients that we discussed in last year’s advice column: a dress made season-appropriate with a pair of fun tights and a breezy cardigan. Such an outfit is a perfect mix of style and substance. Tres velo chic!

What’s your ideal fall cycling outfit?

2-Year Oma Anniversary!

Today while riding Oma home, I started thinking about what a wonderful bike she is and how it must be close to our 2-year anniversary. I knew I got her sometime in October 2008. When I arrived home, I consulted the extensive Trisha-Dottie email archives to pinpoint the exact date: October 18! That is today, my friends.

As I’ve made very clear before, she’s the best bicycle a woman could hope for and has changed my life by making biking so fun and easy.

Don’t tell Ms. O that I almost forgot our anniversary; I’d never hear the end of it. She’s still upset that I ride Betty Foy so much.

Instant Memories

I thought last weekend would be the final showing of beautiful weather for the year, but this weekend has proven me wrong.  Although not quite as warm, it’s still nice enough to dine al fresco and go without tights.  Here is my day documented with my new camera, a Fuji Instax 210.

Bikes, flowers, carrot spice pancakes, changing leaves – I couldn’t ask for more.

I love instant photography. Holding the picture immediately makes the experience start to feel like a memory already, while also helping me appreciate special moments in time. Sort of like blogging. And a quick look at the same weekend from last year shows how lucky I am now: the weather was already in the 30′s and 40′s fahrenheit. Fall 2010 has been much kinder (knock on wood).

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A Bicycling Tour of Versailles

The scene: Versailles, a city outside of Paris renowned for the Palace of Versailles.

After taking the RER train from Paris to the suburbs and walking a short distance, you are greeted by the imposing statue of King Louis XIV on horseback. The surroundings are a bit ominous, but don’t be scared – continue on and you will be rewarded.

You encounter the palace first.

Then turn around and gawk at the decadent and expansive grounds.

Okay, this is still a little scary. Sorry about that. No, the palace looks more like this in real life.


Blue Chicago

While bright oranges, reds and yellows get all the attention in the fall, smooth Chicago blues should not be overlooked.  Something about the crisp autumn air makes Lake Michigan seem very still and peaceful, while the early-setting sun casts my long shadow on the empty beaches.

Ah, can you almost feel the fresh air?  Riding my bike along the lakefront sure makes city living more enjoyable.

The picture below is the first I took today.  When I got home and reviewed all of my pictures together, I noticed a theme.  Not only the color blue, but look – the guitarist has a shadow.

Aside from admiring the water and chasing my shadow, I encountered a couple of people on my way home. A guy cycling by me said, “You win best-dressed.”  Not that I was trying or that being the best-dressed person on a bicycle is hard, but thanks.  :)  Skirt suit – purchased three years ago at Target on clearance for $20.

I also ran into John Greenfield, the guy we’ve organized our cocktails rides with in the past.  You should definitely check out John’s excellent writing at Vote with Your Feet and his book about drinking and biking from coast to coast, Bars Across America.

What colors, changes and people are you encountering on your rides?

Belle and Sebastian and Bikes

Do you have tickets to a concert? Consider riding your bike there! Nothing is better after leaving a crowded theater and feeling amped up than jumping on your bike and sailing home in the cool night air. As a bonus, you probably have the streets all to yourself. Just bring your lights and pepper spray.

I experienced this joy Monday night, riding the Lakefront Trail after a Belle and Sebastian show at the Chicago Theater. At nearly midnight, Mr. Dottie and I were the only ones out there on the bike path and there were barely any cars on the streets. My new $5 thrift store skirt managed the bike/work/bike/concert/bike transition very well.

Past posts about riding bikes to concerts:

The Magnetic Fields
Tori Amos
Sonic Youth
Nashville’s 12th South Concert Series

Naturally, I’ve ridden my bike to every concert I’ve seen for the past two years. In addition to the shows I’ve blogged about, there’s been Kate Nash, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Amanda Palmer, Aimee Mann, Ani DiFranco, Meiko, Lucinda Williams, Lilly Allen, Swell Season, Regina Spektor, Sia, Death Cab, She and Him. So now you know my musical tastes and my failure to blog about many outings. :)

Who else likes to combine bike riding with concerts?

Seasons on Two Wheels

Our third autumn of life on two wheels is here in full force. From the suddenly deserted beaches of Lake Michigan to the leaves burning with color, everything around me during the bike commute signals the changing of seasons and the passage of time.

Other than during my girlhood, I never took so much notice of or pleasure in the weather as I have in these last two and a half years of riding my bike every day. It’s amazing how a simple change in transportation mode can lead to a powerful change in life.

How are you experiencing autumn on two wheels?

A Perfect Weekend

The weather this weekend was perfect – nearly 80 degrees with blue skies – made extra special by the knowledge that another such weekend probably won’t come around again until May.  I’m proud to say that I enjoyed the weekend to the fullest, especially since it conveniently coincided with my birthday and Trisha’s visit.

The weekend in a nutshell.  Friday started with a drooling-just-thinking-about-it lunch at Rick Bayless’s XOCO, the best sandwich shop ever.  After eating, we moved on to the Chicago Country Musical Festival (Gretchen Wilson) and then the Siskel Film Center to see Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (Marilyn Monroe).

On Saturday, we rode bikes along the Lakefront Trail to downtown, where we met up with Melissa.

All together we took an architectural boat tour of the Chicago river , enjoying the views and warm sun.

Melissa was attacked by a giant Lego lion on Michigan Avenue, but managed to escape in time for a bike photo op.

At night there was a small rooftop party with a lot of champagne, gin and chartreuse.  My friend’s awesome daughter decorated this pumpkin for me.

Eventually I woke up on Sunday for an autumn-colored ride to the Andersonville neighborhood and fortified myself with gelato from a gorgeous Italian bakery, while more motivated people like Melissa’s fiance Chanh ran the Chicago marathon.

A delicious and decadent French dinner, followed by a long bike ride home, wrapped everything up.  Sadly, Trisha has now returned to Nashville – Chicago misses her already.

I feel very lucky for the beautiful weather, bicycle rides and wonderful friends.  Here’s to all that!

Happy Birthday, Dottie!

Who says birthday celebrations have to be limited to just one day? Let’s raise a virtual Peacock Tonic* to Dottie, who was born on 10.10.

A true friend, a terrific travel companion, a talented photographer and a woman who really knows how to throw a party.

As if that’s not enough, there’s no one I’d rather indulge my sweet tooth with. As we’ve demonstrated in more than one country.
Cheers to another year of adventures!

* Peacock Tonic, as served at Dottie’s birthday bash:

1 0z Green Chartreuse
3 oz Gin
4 oz Tonic

pour liquor into glass, add 2-3 ice cubes and stir. Top off with the tonic.

(top pic by Dottie, second by me, third by Greg)

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