March 2012 archive

Review: Lululemon Ride On Rain Jacket

When Lululemon approached me and Trisha to review some products from their new Ride On collection, we were intrigued. First, because we are fans of Lululemon (I love their yoga pants and tops with built-in bras). Second, because free stuff is fun, as long as it does not suck and waste room in our closets. Finally, because it’s really cool to see a mainstream brand acknowledge the growing popularity of transportation bicycling.

We recently received several pieces each and overall we are impressed, especially since the collection is not covered in pink and flowers (not that we’re opposed to such, but we see a bit too much of that in women-specific bike wear). We definitely have mixed reviews on some of the items, which we will talk about later, but I wanted to post specifically about the product that I absolutely fell in love with: the Ride On Rain Jacket.

Lululemon Ride On Rain Jacket – Unzipped

As you can see, the Ride On Rain Jacket is similar to a classic rain trench, but it is optimized to be worn for transportation cycling AND it’s super elegant.

The fit of this jacket stands out as unique among all rain jackets I have seen. The fabric is light and drapes beautifully. The waist is cinched by pulling two drawstrings on the inside of the jacket. Brilliant! This allows for a perfect fit and makes the shape so much more flattering.

Soft lining, inside pocket, waist cinching drawstring

Zipped with waist cinched

The fabric is breathable and not heavy, which is important for a rain jacket, because I’d rather get wet by the rain than by sweat. I wore the jacket in 30 degree weather by simply layering a cashmere sweater underneath. This jacket performed well in light rain and windy conditions. I have not had the luck to test it in heavy rain yet.

On the bike

The hood is large to fit over a helmet, although I usually find a helmet alone sufficient to keep my head dry and a hood could interfere with peripheral vision. There is a drawstring on the hood to keep it in place the also helps with vision.

Zipped up with the hood

The back of this rain jacket is the best part, in my opinion, with an elegant and stylish shape that drapes nicely over my thighs and keeps my pants dry all around. I had no problems with the back getting near my wheel on either my Dutch bike or my Rivendell (which has no skirt guard). There are cords that can be pulled to bunch the bottom up and stop it from draping.

The back

The cuffs are strongly reflective and there is some additional reflective strips around the pockets. For a jacket made specifically for bicycling, I would prefer more reflective pieces and I’m bewildered by the decision not to include more, especially on the back.

Reflective Cuffs

Reflective cuffs at night with flash

This beauty of this rain trench does not fully come through in photos, so I made a quick video to give you a better idea of the draping and fit.

Now, price – $298. Would I walk into a store and pay that much….ummmm, probably not. Would I stalk the store in hopes that it eventually would go on sale? Absolutely, although that usually does not end well for me.

I’m not saying that the jacket is not worth the price, because it seems to be very well-made and it’s so unique, but I’m not exactly rolling in the dough and I’m not the type of person to drop 300 bones on a rain coat. BUT now that I have the jacket, I want to wear it every day forever, so who knows.

Lululemon sent me a size 8 and I think a size 6 would be a better fit, but because I can cinch the waist, it’s not a big deal.

You can learn more about and buy the train trench via Lululemon.

If you’re interested, you can see the rain coat I’ve been using for years here. I bought it from Patagonia and it was not cheap (over $160) but it leaves much of my legs exposed, does not always cover my seat, and gets very icky humid inside. The Lululemon jacket is an improvement.

{This review is my own personal opinion. I was not paid for the review, I just get to keep this sweet trench. Lululemon is not a sponsor of LGRAB.}

March’s women-who-bike brunch

The Women-Who-Bike Brunch tradition continued this month. March’s brunch took place at Tweet in Uptown with a great group of 15 women (and the restaurant hostess wants to join us next time!). I did not get as many photos as I would have liked, but here is a sampling of the awesomeness. :)

My biscuits and gravy!

Cool quirkiness: chicken hat and baton twirler jacket

No trespassing!

Chic knit hats

Meself

The next brunch will be April 1st – that’s right, April Fool’s Day. If you’re interested in joining us, email me at LGRAB@letsgorideabike.com.

Is anyone out there organizing brunches or other get-togethers in their own cities? It’s such a great way to meet cool new people – highly recommended!

To Scotland!

Photo by Martha Williams of Bike Fancy

I’m off to tour Scotland (and a bit of Ireland) for the next 10 days.  I have posts scheduled for the next couple of days, but after that I don’t know how often I’ll be able to pop in here. Trisha will hold down the fort and I’ll certainly have lots of stories and photos to share when I return.

Cheerio!

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Let’s Go Ride a Bike 2011 Year in Review

[Ed note:  We found this draft in the archives, which we were tweaking so much, we forgot to finalize and publish.  Better late than never!]

Holy crap it’s 2012. We’ve had an eventful year over at Let’s Go Ride a Bike.

Travel

Dottie visited Nashville in April to celebrate Trisha’s birthday and photograph her new Abici.

We went to NYC together and organized a social at Adeline Adeline.

Dottie B-cycled in Denver and toured breweries by bike in Fort Collins.

Trisha visited  Chicago for Dottie’s 30th birthday bash, and again the next month to try out the Chicago bike commuting lifestyle.

 EventsThe 2nd Annual LGRAB Summer Games!Trisha started a brunch for Nashville cyclists—we meet on the second Sunday of every month. Cruising to brunch in Nashville

Twelve Women-Who-Bike brunches happened in Chicago, on the first Sunday of every month.

LGRAB friend Ash of One Less Minivan organized monthly Critical Lass rides, which Dottie joined, beginning with the first in May.

Sara and Dottie organized a Cupcake Ride of select Chicago bakeries, ending with a rose garden picnic.

Dottie also joined in on a Seersucker Ride.

We both checked out the Tour de Fat festivals in our respective cities of Nashville and Chicago.

Trisha takes refreshment after the Nashville Tour de Fat

Beyond the Written Word

We started a podcast series and have posted three interviews on our iTunes page: with the men of Grid Chicago, the women of West Town Bikes, and Trisha and Dottie of LGRAB. :)

Trisha added Kermit Allegra to her bicycle stable.

We also continued our videos via our YouTube page and posted several this year: riding Chicago’s first protected bike lane, a busy Chicago commute, a calm Chicago commute, Chicago’s second protected bike lane, and a ride along the Lakefront Trail.

Cheers to another year of happy bike rides, friendship and fun! We can’t wait to see what 2012 has in store.

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Bike Winter Fashion Show – Friday!

Chicago’s annual Bike Winter Fashion Show will take place this Friday, as part of the closing party of the Bike Winter Art Show.

I will be participating in the fashion show for vintage shop Lucite Box, owned by bicycling-and-brunching lady Holly. Last week, the group got together for a dress rehearsal, complete with hair and makeup magic by Christopher Conner.  Then we had a photoshoot by bicycle style photographer Martha Williams of Bike Fancy fame.  She is the best!

Model Lisa, Photographer Martha, and Vintage Clothier Holly

I’m in love with the Pashley Princess Britannia I was riding, courtesy of Boulevard Bikes. (I have a long and documented obsession with Pashleys.)

And I may have to buy this vintage 60′s tweed cape suit.  (As well as the blue velvet dress I chose as my evening look!)  Check out Lucite Box for some fabulous vintage clothing and housewares.

Me and Pashley by Martha Williams

You gotta check out the preview photos for all the lovely ladies at Bike Fancy. They look amazing! Such a fabulous collection of portraits.

Martha at Work

In Chicago? Great! Come out to the Bike Winter Fashion show this Friday night, 7-11:30, at Gala Gallery, 1000 N. Milwaukee.

The official description:

The 15th Annual Bike Winter Art Show closes on March 9th at the Gala Gallery located at 1000 N. Milwaukee Ave. Join us at the Bike Winter Art Show for a night of bicycle enthusiasm, cycling camaraderie and rider revelry that’s sure to shake off the winter blues. The benefit kicks off at 8 pm with a family fun puppet show performed by Jabberwocky. The main event, a runway fashion show, starts at 9 pm and is sponsored by Rapid Transit Cycles. After the fashion show, deejay Montay spins the beats. The event is free and open to the public.

More info on the Facebook page.

P.S. After Martha finished with my photos, she spotted this little girl bicycling in the park. Sweet!

Nashville Share the Road photoshoot: Behind the scenes

Two weeks ago, Kermit Allegra and I were invited to take part in a photo shoot for Metro’s latest “Share the Road” campaign — an initiative created through a collaboration between the Mayor’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC) and Metro Public Health. Funding came from Communities Putting Prevention to Work, a part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (so Nashville cyclists, don’t say the stimulus package never did anything for you.).

They shot two types of cyclists: me on my bike in a dress and heels, and a sporty road bike rider. Imagine me in the place of Keith (the sporty cyclist) and Kermit Allegra in place of his bike (since I could not photograph and also be photographed). You’ll see the shots soon! The campaign is set to launch March 15, in conjunction with the official inauguration of the spanking new Music City Bikeway. It’ll be mostly MTA and (gulp) billboard ads.They are meant to educated drivers in particular on how to behave when confronted with people who make alternate transportation choices.  Hence the car in the shot, happily sharing the road with the bike.

This is what the creative director saw.

 

Here is Kermit Allegra waiting her turn, with her Po Campo bag on the rear rack. Note the sadist with the reflector blinding our cyclist friend. He was doing the same when it was my turn (though he was quite apologetic about it). I’m pretty sure they’re going to have to Photoshop eyes onto me because it was nearly impossible to keep from squinting! But I guess that’s how photoshoots roll.

This was what I was staring at. Note the sunny glare/flare/whatever you call it. One other fact I learned: you cannot expect sweet jams during a city-funded photoshoot. So if I don’t look particularly natural when you see me on the side of the bus, please be kind. I was sun blinded and not even enjoying some Lady Gaga to compensate. :)

Despite these hardships, the photoshoot was a fun experience, and the campaign is going to be a great thing for Nashville. Let me know if you spot it before I do!

 

Only bikes

It’s been a turbulent weather day here in Tennessee, and in much of the southeast/midwest. I actually got some indoor use out of my bike helmet while sheltering in my safe place for a good 30 minutes this afternoon, although Nashville was thankfully spared a hit from one of the 94 tornadoes spotted today. Instead of showing you my cracked bedroom window (from golfball sized hail — which, in the grand scheme of things, is nothing to complain about!), I’ll share this photo from my dad in Malibu, where there’s a protected lane for “only bikes.”

I hope that you have had a palm tree sort of day, wherever you are.

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Bicycling to the Bookstore

One of my favorite things to do on a weekend is get out of my jammies, bike to the bookstore, and return home to my jammies and a day of reading new books.  (I’m a wild woman, I know.)  The ride to my favorite bookstore is about 3.5 miles roundtrip – the perfect distance for an easy ride that nevertheless allows me to feel like I’ve accomplished enough physical activity for the day.

As much as I love this bookstore, I would shop there less often if I could not ride my bicycle, because 3.5 miles is a bit much to walk in the cold and the store is not along my public transit route.  Even if I had a car, parking is nearly impossible to find in that neighborhood.  Lucky for both me and the store, I have my bicycle.  :)

Last Saturday I went a little crazy in the sale section, but they had so many excellent books for under $5.  By looking at my haul, you can get a big hint about where I’m going for my next trip.  (Mr. Dottie and I leave in one week!!)

Of course, I did not carry my books directly on my rack like this, but a canvas bag smushed down by bungie straps is not so photogenic.

Is there anywhere you enjoy going, but would rarely frequent if you could not bike there?  I think businesses in the city are well-served by a growing bicycling population.

Happy relaxing weekend to all!

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