February 2011 archive

Spring has sprung in the South

Not to rub it in to those of you who are still fighting winter weather (yes, that includes my favorite co-blogger and the mister, who definitely deserve better!) — but after a beautiful week/weekend here in Nashville, spring has sprung and I’m noticing things like this:
So, my fellow bike bloggers and LGRAB readers: can I suggest Nashville as a travel destination? Chicago might have more bike lanes and riders, but it’s got nothing on spring in the South, weather-wise!  Plus, all the cool kids can’t just visit Dottie in Chicago or I’ll get way too jealous. :)

To further tempt you, here’s our four-day forecast. Should be a great week for riding!

What’s the weather looking like in your neck of the woods these days?

Precious Cargo Fail

What I learned today: 24 bottles of beer can fall from a bike rack in transit and not break.

Tis true.

The heavy cardboard box of Two Brothers brew I strapped to Oma’s rear rack crashed to the pavement as I peddled out of the Costco parking lot. I have successfully biked home with cases of beer in the past, but the problem here was that I could not center the box on the rack because my full pannier had to clip on the left side, so the box was flush on the left side but hanging over quite a bit on the right side. Bad idea. I know this now.

After I thanked the barley gods that the bottles did not break, I repositioned the box in the center of my rear rack, placed the pannier on top of my filled basket, hung a bag from my handlebars, and proceeded to walk my haphazardly loaded bike home, one mile in the misty sleet, mumbling cuss words under my breath.

I really needed a beer by the time I got home, which was convenient.

That was pretty much the perfect end to a difficult week.

A bright spot in the past seven days, though, was a happy hour with some of the women who bike and brunch – and drink! Good times. I did not have my camera, but Ash came through with her phone as she and I prepared to ride home in the wet snow.

Ash and her Batavus Old Dutch

Me and Oma

The happy hour and Darcy’s – I mean, Colin Firth’s – best actor win were the highlights of the week.

Here’s to hoping this coming week is better.

Midday Ride Adventure

As I mentioned last week, my friend Elizabeth (of Bike Commuters) and I got together for a midday joyride recently. During lunch, I cycled to her office and then we set off together down the nearby Lakefront Trail.

A few miles later, we arrived at our arbitrary destination, the Field Museum.

We battled a fierce headwind on the way there and we were both a bit overheated from working so hard. I even took my sweater off, although it was not quite 60 degrees out.

Joyfully, we had a tailwind on the ride back, which didn’t feel like wind at all. I just felt naturally fast and strong. :)

The route was pretty muddy and watery, with all the blizzard snow quickly melting.

So what if I returned to the office a bit muddy with a run in my tights and tangled hair (bad, uncovered Betty Foy chain!) – I felt much more energized and productive the rest of the day.

Funny that no matter how much I cycle for transportation, I still love to joy ride, especially with a good friend. I never (okay, rarely) get tired of riding a bike.

Do you ever get out during the day for a ride?

Chicago’s New Mayor on Bicycling

Rahm Emanuel has been elected the next mayor of Chicago!

Here is a bit of what our new mayor has to say about bicycling in Chicago:

Rahm supports full implementation of Chicago’s Bike Plan and will initiate a review of its goals and timelines to identify opportunities to expand the plan and accelerate the pace of implementation.

Chicago’s 125 miles of bike lanes cover a small portion of the city’s 5000 miles of roads. Rahm wants to dramatically increase the number of miles added each year – from 8 to 25 – and prioritize the creation of protected bike lanes. His plan is based on a simple premise: create a bike lane network that allows every Chicagoan – from kids on their first ride to senior citizens on their way to the grocery store – to feel safe on our streets.

Under the plan, Chicago would be a pioneer in the creation and expansion of protected bike lanes, which are separated from traveling cars and sit between the sidewalk and a row of parked cars that shield cyclists from street traffic. He will prioritize the lanes on major thoroughfares that link communities to downtown and each other.

I was surprised and impressed by the specificity of these campaign promises, especially the emphasis on protected bike lanes, which the city so desperately needs to encourage more people to ride a bike.

Mayor Daley has done a lot for bicycling in Chicago, but I’ve seen very little progress in the last couple of years.  I’m excited for a fresh start!

You can read more about Emanuel’s transportation plans here, with sections on public transportation, bicycling and high speed rail.

Spring Fling

My premature spring fling with Betty Foy has come to an end.

After today’s snow, I will be resuming use of Oma and her studded tires for the foreseeable future.  Betty Foy has been shoved back into storage, but I sure enjoyed the few days she and I spent together!

P.S. Check it out – Mr. Dottie and Sir Raleigh popped up on Bike Commuters today.  :-)

Parisian Daydreams

On a Monday morning, waiting impatiently for spring, a girl needs daydreams.

Paris is always a good daydream, so if you’ll indulge me in a non-bicycling detour, I’m putting up some of my photographs from our trip last year.  {This post goes out special to Trisha.  :-)}

Read more about the bicycling aspects of our trip:  Bicycling the Wine Road, The Freedom of Velib, and a Bicycling Tour of Versailles. For more French goodness, see street shots of Parisians on bikes at Un Cycliste Parisien.

Paris was my favorite place ever, so I daydream about it a lot.  Where does your mind wander when you start daydreaming?

Embrace Messy Hair

I am not one of those polished and elegant women, who seem to exist only in movies and Copenhagen Cycle Chic.

I range from feeling slightly unkempt to a hot mess, depending on the day and my mood.  This has always been the case, predating my bicycling lifestyle.  For this reason, hair was never a big issue for me when I started biking to work.  My hair is just there, often thrown back in an uninspired ponytail or braid.

After taking off my helmet and walking through the Chicago wind, I usually look something like this:

My motto: embrace messy hair.

You know, I try to be clean and otherwise professional in my appearance, but the world doesn’t point and stare if my hair is not perfectly coiffed.

I don’t think my legal advice is taken less seriously because I may or may not be wearing a scrunchie.  (Okay, I should be really embarrassed by that, but scrunchies are so comfortable.)

{This print from Etsy seller funnelcloud studio via Cup of Jo sums it up perfectly. I need one for myself and extras to hand out and spread the message of liberation.}

Sometimes I do get tired of my boring ponytails and Little House on the Prairie braids, though.  For times when I want to be a bit more stylish – but still in tune with my messy nature – I’m mentally filing away these two super easy “messy” hair styles I came across.

Both of these should be easy enough to throw together in the ladies’ room after jumping off my bike.  And I personally think that women with seemingly effortless hair like this are the most elegant.  Good stuff.

What kind of “hair person” are you?

Valentines Via Velo

Someone asked me last week if I had any bikey Valentine’s Day plans with Mr. Dottie. I answered, “No, we’re just going to dinner at our favorite French restaurant, Bistrot Margot.”

Then I thought for a second and amended that answer with, “Well, of course, we’ll be riding our bikes there.”

Bicycling is such an ingrained part of our lives – it’s always there somewhere. But unlike driving or taking public transit, biking is not simply another mundane transportation option. It’s fun and adds something special to every occasion!

For this reason, I would say that our little French dinner was a bikey Valentine’s Day, with bicycling being the perfect aperitif (to stimulate the appetite) and digestif (to aid in digestion).

Of course, fancy truffles and flowers are always welcome, too. :)

But above all – bike love!

P.S. February 14 is long gone and so are all those truffles!

Bringing in the Spring Style

Every bicyclist has his or her own personal signs of spring style – something that clearly indicates a departure from the darkness of winter. My friend Elizabeth’s involves clip-in bike shoes for the first time since fall, fingerless gloves, footless leggings and flouncy skirts.

Love this look! While totally utilitarian, it’s also a stylish celebration of spring that conveys her individuality.

She and I got together today for a lunchtime bike ride to celebrate the high-50′s temperature. (More on that later.)

How does your bicycle get-up change as the weather warms? Do you also feel the need to mark spring with a celebratory style?

Guy Week at Bike Fancy

Hey, hey – it’s Guy Week at one of my very favorite internet places, Bike Fancy!

Pro photographer and stylish cyclist Martha is turning her lens on the men of Chicago. Although the majority of Chicago’s cyclists are men, I’m not used to seeing them without their backpacks and rain pants, track standing and running red lights. (I poke fun because I love!)

So this is a treat. :)

For those not interested in pictures of guys per se, there’s also an offer off of locally manufactured menswear company Nonetheless.

Guy Week at Bike Fancy – Check it out!

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