Monthly Archives: February 2012

Another Windy City Commute

The shining sun this morning lured me out to the Lakefront Trail, away from my usual route to work.  Once I got onto the trail, I realized that there was an extremely strong headwind, the kind that slows me down by half.

I started to feel grumpy (this was pre-coffee, people!) but I stopped myself and decided to focus on all the good.  My path was clear, the sky had a subtle pink tint, and the spindly trees looked cool.  I could turn my face up to the sun and feel the slight warmth on my skin.

And turning the corner near the end of my ride and seeing this view is always good for morale.

In the afternoon, I treated myself to this bad boy for my hard work and as a fortification for my ride home.

Sometimes the wind turns on me as a cruel joke during the day, so I was a little worried about taking the lakefront home in the evening, but I couldn’t resist and this time I had the wind at my back.

That is the story of my windy city commute today.  Bike commute number 1,174 – approximately.  :)

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Beautiful Bicycles: The Pilen Lyx Step-Through

Last fall, I had the pleasure of test-riding for two days a completely new bike to me, the Pilen Lyx Step-Through from J.C. Lind Bike Co.

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The Pilen is a beautiful and utilitarian bike made in Sweden.  The ride is super sturdy and smooth, while also being pretty swift, and the bike has loads of utilitarian features.  I will point out all those features below, but first, here is my main thought on the bike: if I were forced to choose only one bike to own, I would choose the Pilen Lyx.  My WorkCycles Oma is a fully upright bike that allows me to bike in any type of clothing, carry lots of weight, ride regally, and weather any weather.  My Rivendell Betty Foy is the inanimate love of my life and gets me places quickly and comfortably.  However, these two bikes must work as a team to compliment my needs and moods.  Alone, each bike has weaknesses.

I’m not saying that I like the Pilen more than my bikes (never!  I’m fiercely loyal to Betty and Oma) but the Pilen manages to combine the most important qualities of each: all-weather sturdiness, swiftness, beauty, and carrying capacity.

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Swooping frame that makes it super easy to mount.

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Pretty badge, sprung Brooks saddle and lugs.

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Front basket with support from stays down to the front wheel.  A spring to keep the front wheel from swinging around based on weight in the basket.

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A rear wheel lock and chain guard.

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Rubber-padded pedals to keep your shoes from slipping off (especially helpful with high heels).

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Schwalbe tires.  These are my personal favorite, because I’ve never gotten a flat on my Schwalbe tires since I’ve had them, after almost 4 years.

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Internal 7-speed gear hub that you change by twisting the handlebar.  This is my favorite system, the same that’s on my Oma, the Shimano Nexis.

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Built-in branded bell!  You ding by spinning it.

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Extremely sturdy rear rack that is extra wide and can hold lots of goodies.  There is so much I could do with that rear rack, even more than with my Oma’s sturdy rear rack.

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Beautiful front profile.  Sturdy kickstand (soooo helpful for loading and unloading), although I would prefer a double-footed kickstand for more uprightness and for easy access from either side of the bike.

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Front generator light, meaning they’re powered by pedaling and never die.  Rear battery-powered LED light.

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The ride of the Pilen is quite upright.  Not quite as upright as a traditional Dutch bike, but certainly comfortable.

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The proportions of the bike worked very well with me (I’m 5’7 with a long torso).  The ride was swift, easy, and smooth —not quite as swift as my Rivendell and not quite as smooth as my Oma, but an excellent combination of the two.

I cannot comment on how well the bike would age, but it seems like it would withstand the elements and wear-and-tear quite well. The only part I would be worried about is the chain, since it is not fully covered.  I hate having to keep a chain clean.

Overall, I thought this bike was pretty kick-ass. I was impressed.

As always, I recommend that you test ride the bike – and as many others as possible – before making a decision.  J.C. Lind Bike Co. is a sponsor of Let’s Go Ride a Bike, but  my review is my own.  For another perspective, including off-road performance, Lovely Bicycle had the bike for a month and you can read her review here.

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I love riding my bike!

Yesterday was a beautiful day to be on a bicycle.  With sun shining through blue skies and mild temperatures, I found myself thinking over and over, “I loooove riding my bike!”

After nearly four years of daily bicycling, you’d think I’d get over it already, but there’s something about riding a bike that prevents it from becoming a routine chore.  Maybe the wind in my hair, the sun in my face, the feeling of flying…

February Nashville Bike Brunch–one flake, and some snow

I didn’t make it to this Sunday’s bike brunch, but our little tradition carried on just the same, despite the large wet flakes of falling snow (first of the year here in Nashville) with a stalwart six meeting up at Whiskey Kitchen.

Kim gets street cred for biking through our little blizzard on her Raleigh.

Kim, Lauren and Whitney

Abby & Chad

Chad & Sarah

 

Our next bike brunch will be Sunday, March 11, at Margot Café in East Nashville at 1 p.m. This is a later brunch than usual — hopefully the weather will be warmer in the afternoon! Please RSVP to lgrab [at] letsgorideabike [dot] com so I can make a reservation.

 

 

 

 

 

VFC43VJVBSYF

 

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Happy Friday!

My week has been filled with lovely bike commutes, mild weather (50 degrees today!), and only a couple of ridiculously stupid drivers.

No coat required today!

As I write this quick post while sipping a homemade cocktail (1 part vodka, 1 part St. Germain, splash of champagne), I’m officially beginning my three-day weekend, thanks to presidents.  I have a stack of to-be-read books and an overflowing Netflix queue, but I may slip out for a ride or two to prevent moss from growing on me in a sloth-like manner.

{via}

I wish the same simple happiness to you!  :)

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Nighttime novelty ride

It really says something about how mild this winter has been that tonight, when I had the chance to ride in the rain in the dark, I was actually sort of excited about it. After all, I haven’t had to walk home or catch a ride home because of the snow even once!

Made me think of all those poor people who live in Hawaii or California and never have to pull out sweaters and barely open umbrellas.

They’ve gotta get bored. Change is good!

 

p.s. hi everyone. It’s been a while! [Insert boring computer story and other lame excuses here.] Short version: I’m back. And there’s a lot going on in Nashville that I can’t wait to tell you about.

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

Did anyone celebrate in a super bikey way, like riding to dinner on a tandem or being Paul Newman?  :)

 

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Pants on Bikes

I dislike bicycling in pants.  I was reminded of all the reasons why a couple of days ago.  Pants rub uncomfortably against my thighs, bunch up around my saddle, and drop low on my waist when I lean forward even slightly.  Plus, they force me to wear goofy ankle straps on both legs.  (Chain cases don’t help; the problematic part is the crank arm, which has ripped more than one cuff.)  Not a good look and annoying to fiddle with!

The only pants I’m comfortable cycling in are jeggings, but since I can’t wear them to work, they don’t come out often.

Therefore, I wear a lot of skirts and dresses, with tights and leggings to carry me through the winter.  This is 100% practical.

I think the concept of cycling in skirts may seem silly to outsiders or newbies, but once women experience cycling in different clothes, they must appreciate the comfort of skirts, right?  And since more women are riding bikes for everyday transportation,  perhaps skirts on bikes are slowly becoming the new normal.  A couple of days ago Lovely Bicycle posted about normal-clothes preferences while bicycling, starting with a conversation she overheard of women shopping for bike-friendly skirts, and several women in the comments mentioned that they like cycling in skirts.

Ladies, which do you prefer for cycling – skirts or pants?  How do you make pants comfortable??  Gentlemen, are you envious that society generally keeps you from wearing skirts (seriously, I wanna know)?

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February’s Women Who Bike Brunch

Yesterday the Chicago Women Who Bike Brunch descended upon Haymarket Brewery in the West Loop.

Tab: Bikers

Haymarket is a great place for big groups and easily accommodated our table of 25.

The food was delicious, especially for a brewery, and I enjoyed some of the best French toast ever.

The mimosas each came with their own mini bottle of champagne!

After a long and luxurious meal, we headed outside to chat and slowly unlock our bikes.  The weather was partly sunny and 40 degrees, so there was no big rush.

A few of us decided to go back inside and embark on some Haymarket beer taste-testing at the bar.  Such a good idea!  Their beer is as good as their food.  (Thanks, Sara!)

I always look forward to celebrating a new month with this great group of women!

If you’re in the Chicago area and would like to join us, email me at LGRAB@letsgorideabike.com.  Our next meet-up will be a happy hour this Thursday.

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Giving ‘life on two wheels’ a whole new meaning

Check out this amazing video of a Montreal man who tries to do everything you might do in the course of a normal day on his bike.  Showering! eating eggs! nothing is too crazy. I am in awe. Happy Friday! [Via]

THE MAN WHO LIVED ON HIS BIKE from Guillaume Blanchet on Vimeo.

Sprinkles

As the mild weather continues, I’ve been dressing for spring and removing my light jacket during rides.  This weather really feels like April.

The warm weather also makes it a good time to ride with friends and take the long way home, instead of the usual winter feeling of “Get me home as soon as possible, Ms. Bike!”

After work on Tuesday, I met up with my friend Sara downtown and we meandered home up the Lakefront Trail, riding side-by-side and chatting.

But not before fueling up on cupcakes at Sprinkles.

Yummy!  So even though it literally started to sprinkle a tiny bit on our way home, I was feeling good and grateful that the sprinkles were not snow flurries.

Happy February!

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