July 2012 archive
I prefer to keep my work shoes under my desk, especially during the summer when my feet sweat. Last summer I spent a lot of time biking in Keen Commuter sandals or regular slip-on sneakers. This summer, I wanted casual shoes that could also look stylish. I chose Bensimon Tennis Laclets (aka the French Converse) and I like them a lot.
These sneakers are easy to slip on and off – I never have to mess with the laces. They are also breathable and very lightweight. The only downside is the thin soles. I would not wear them for a lot of walking before adding a gel insole, but happily that is not an issue when bicycling.
I’ve been wearing them a lot and I like how they dress down and lighten up my regular outfits.
What kind of shoes do you like for summer bicycling? Anyone else wear Bensimons? :-)
Overcast skies and thunderstorms colored my week with steely blues and soft grays. After months of bright sunshine and primary colors, this low-key palate soothed my eyes and spirit – and my sensitive skin, which was happy for some cloud cover!
These colors and the feelings they evoke inspired this collage. I began with the soothing familiarity of my own bicycle, then dressed my imaginary self in a made-to-order organic cotton dress from Portland-based designer, Makool Loves You, paired with crocheted sneakers and a silky helmet cover. The cover is made for equestrian helmets, but I wonder if it would work for bicycling? A lovely perfume would help with the sweat-free summer strategy – here I chose iris and white musk, the scent of a flowering garden after a heady summer storm.
I always have a book with me in my bike bag and this is a good time to delve into the work of America’s new Poet Laureate, Natasha Trethewey.
Overhead, pelicans glide in threes—
their shadows across the sand
dark thoughts crossing the mind.
My imagination paints this scene with the same blues and grays.
What color was your week?
As the height of summer approaches, it seemed like time to amass some tips for cycling in the heat into one post. Here they are: my tips and tricks for riding in the heat over four summers in Nashville. None are rocket science, all have helped me at one time or another.
Something else that's good for keeping cool: Ice cream!
- Get baby wipes, or, better yet, ActionWipes, to keep at your office and wipe down once you arrive.
- If your feet sweat, put baby powder or cornstarch in your shoes before leaving the house, and after you arrive at work.
- Use dry shampoo (did you know you can make it yourself? True fact!) to absorb odor from sweaty hair. Also: braids braids BRAIDS.
- Ride slowly! It’s surprising how much of a difference this can make. Dottie talks about that here.
- Wear loose clothing—dresses, loose linen shirts, etc. The more air can hit your core, the cooler you will be.
- Consider a dark color or a fabric with a print, the better to hide any sweat stains (tip of the hat to Lovely Bicycle for the print idea).
- Pick a route with minimal stoplights and traffic. There’s nothing worse than sitting at a red light, with heat radiating off cars and the blacktop. Side streets also tend to be shadier.
- Don’t apply lotion (including body lotion) or foundation before leaving the house. It blocks your pores and will make you sweat more. (If anyone has found a body lotion that does not do this—please let me know what it is!)
- Keep your back clear! Put up your hair, use a pannier, not a backpack, etc.
All that said, working up a light “glisten” on summer bike rides is usually unavoidable. If you have to smell like a human for a few minutes once you get to your destination, give yourself a break. Just think of all the toxins you are unloading!
Do you have a favorite trick for keeping cool while biking in the summer? Tell us in the comments!
I hypothesize that Cycle Chic’s true message and appeal is at its base, at least in North America, is that it seeks to normalize a gendered code of conduct that, sadly, still holds considerable appeal among both sexes. Its message is that bicycling can be a means of, rather than a barrier to, conforming to a certain set of standards of gender and class stereotypes. Access to these standards is far from universal.
In order to truly break down barriers to bicycling, it’s necessary to understand what those barriers are…Great things can certainly be achieved while wearing high heels, but never solely by doing so.
Elly Blue of Taking the Lane offers an incisive critique of the Cycle Chic ™ movement. While the site was an inspiration for me when I first started bicycling, I have come to feel similarly to Elly on the issue. Our goal with LGRAB is to present the message of everyday, sometimes stylish, bicycling within an atmosphere of inclusiveness and feminism – but sometimes I worry this does not always come through. I will try to keep Elly’s points in mind.
What do you think about the issue?
[Update 5:00 pm - Just to clarify, my thoughts on this apply very specifically to the site that Elly discusses in her article. My concern is not with photos of stylish cyclists - which were inspiring to me as a beginner - but with a mindset that holds up one narrow and exclusionary type of cycling as the only right way. I fully support the general movement of lifestyle cycling - obviously!]
Betty Foy has brand new, beautiful, red bungie straps! For years, Betty has had navy blue striped ones that did not match her aesthetic well. I’ve always wanted pretty straps for her, but found only boring colors in the past. The old straps were slowly becoming more slack, so when I saw these new bungie straps in a rainbow selection of colors, I knew it was time for a change.
This red color matches her heart lugs – a subtle detail that is important to me!
These straps snapped on in a matter of seconds, since I already had a base for them on my rear wheel.
For now, I’m using the bungie strap to hold only my lock, but these bad boys are stretchy and strong enough to hold big boxes on the rear rack. I’ve used simple straps to carry cases of 24 bottles of beer!
Sorry, I do not know the brand (no markings on the product), all I know is they are from Holland and locals can pick them up at J.C. Lind Bikes, where I got mine. I’ll update this with the brand name when I figure it out.
With a front basket, plus a rear rack with bungie cords and panniers, a regular bike can hold a lot of cargo.
Who else loves bungie straps as much as me?
One of us is at the beach this weekend—and it’s not me! So obviously, for this Fashion Friday, I’m going to imagine that I am. I’m thinking maxi dress, sandals, a floppy hat and an Electra Amsterdam would be just the ticket.
This weekend, I will be attending a tomato festival/square dance, going to the Night Farmer’s Market and catching up with a good friend who’s visiting from Atlanta. What are your weekend plans?
Sorry for the slight lapse in posting lately. Dottie and I are devoting a lot of mental energy to planning our next trip.
Yep—that’s a London-Paris-Amsterdam itinerary you’re looking at. We will be there in mid-October (and I’ll be in Wales and Dublin before that).
Since we have so much time to dream and plan, we’d love to get suggestions from you on what we should see—especially when it comes to Amsterdam, as neither of us has been there before. Please share in the comments! And let us know if you’re interested in a reader meetup. Tea and Topshop in London??
After more than a year of languishing in my stairwell, giving me sad looks, the Batavus Entrada Spirit is back on the road. I pumped up the tires, dusted off the cobwebs and leaves and rode the bike on tiptoe to work late last week (the seat was still adjusted to D from when she visited for my birthday in 2011!).
All fixed up and ready to ride
On my way home, I stopped to let a mechanic at my LBS help me with the seat adjustment. This seatpost has always been a bear. Screws get stripped so easily for some reason, and they have to be threaded further up than a lot of screws are, and even then they don’t always tighten enough to make the seat completely immobile. She patiently went through two or three of them to find the right one. Thank goodness for bike mechanics. And double thank goodness for a bike mechanic who finally promised to order me a quick-release lever for this bike!
So this week, the Bat and I have been fighting the humidity together. As well as bad hair. And magically disappearing makeup. For those of you who think that this dress is too skimpy for the office (aka my grandmother, who likes to say that I ride my bike wearing “nightgowns”—love you Grams), rest assured that a scarf and suit jacket are stowed away in my new Po Campo bag. Along with two books, a camera, a pound of coffee beans, and the normal stuff one might carry in a purse.
While the Bat was gathering dust, I had somehow convinced myself that the reason I was neglecting it was that my other bikes were better suited to Nashville’s hills. Riding it again, that’s just not true. So…I guess I’m just going to continue to own four bikes.
As well as one new set of eyeglasses.
Anyone else dusted off an old friend lately?
Summer is notorious for sneak attack storms and I am always caught unprepared.
Such was the case on Saturday. In the morning, I met my friends Chika and Holly for a free and super fun Bollywood dance class outside the Museum of Contemporary Art. The sun blazed on us for two hours of dancing, but as soon as we got on our bikes, the sky darkened ominously. The pouring rain soon followed. Luckily, Chika lives nearby and offered us refuge. She even invited Betty Foy inside.
The elevator was a bit of a squeeze, but we managed.
Once tucked inside, we waited out the rain with some delicious gin, among other treats that Chika kindly supplied.
After a couple of hours, the sun was back to blazing and Holly and I set out for home.
Unfortunately, I did not have any of the cool rain accessories that Trisha posted about on Friday, but my dress and shoes (and Betty’s poor leather saddle) were all dry by the time I set out.
Overall, I was happy for the storm because it lead to some quality girl-bonding time. You know what they say about clouds and silver linings!
Who else has gotten caught in the rain lately?
It’s been raining for a week here. After more than a month with no rain, and weeks of scorching heat, that’s no bad thing. But it does make for a change in my riding apparel. Here’s what I wish I had to wear this rainy morning: a neutral dress with bright accents, overshoes that work with heels and a rain cape. Whee, rain capes! There are a lot of options out there; the Iva Jean I chose is on the pricey side but Amazon has options from $11. And of course, you need a bright and cheery upright bike to wear it on. I chose Sara’s.