August 2012 archive

Fashion Friday: Sweet & Sassy Summer outfit

My obsession with all things denim continues with this week’s chambray shirt/neon skirt combo. I love the idea of casual denim juxtaposed with bright neon and some ladylike but edgy accessories, like the pumps and cameo necklace.

Of course, pencil skirts are not the best choice for biking, but that’s where the sassiness comes in: Hike it up! Although you might not have to hike things up too far if you’re riding a Retrovelo Paula. And I had to give a shout-out to my Armitage Satchel, the one item in this set that I actually have in real life. I get compliments on it both on and off the bike.

Sweet & sassy summer outfit
Sweet & sassy summer outfit by trishap featuring high heel shoes

Pedal Pushers

20120813-BRA2409-R1-064-30A

Before I started cycling, I never thought about the name “pedal pusher” for pants in a literal way. But now it comes to me – duh, this style is named pedal pushers because they are made for pushing pedals!  The cuffs are short enough that there is no risk the getting caught in the chain or crank while bicycling.

Since I started bicycling daily, I almost entirely stopped wearing pants in favor of skirts and dresses to avoid having to secure pants cuffs, but lately I’ve been wanting to wear outfits built around pants.  Pedal pushers are a good solution.

This is the only pair of pedal pushers I have, tending to avoid them as not the most flattering length, but I think I’ll keep my eyes out for more.  They are just too convenient and fun for bicycling.  I really don’t know why I never thought of them much before.  :-)

What do you think – are you a fan of pedal pushers?

August’s Women-Who-Bike Brunch (with kids!)

20120813-BRA2409-R1-074-35A

For our August brunch, the Chicago Women-Who-Bike gathered in Lincoln Park south of the zoo for a scenic picnic.

There were lots of cool ladies with cool bikes.

This month, kids were specifically invited – and enjoyed the nearby petting zoo after brunch.  Happily for them, there was plenty of grass to run around on and trees to climb.

Their moms were rocking some VERY cool multi-passenger bikes.  This Bike Friday Two’sDay Tandem is an awesome little machine.  You can read more about it on One Less Minivan.

Then there was this chic black Madsen with a heavy duty front rack.

This WorkCycles Bakfeits regularly carries three boys.  Read more about it on Chicargo Bike.

Super fun Nutcase helmets!

Taking off…

Betty Foy looked on with respect and admiration.  These women and their bikes are way badass.

If you are a woman in Chicago interested in joining the group, you are very welcome!  Email me at LGRAB@letsgorideabike.com for details.  The next brunch will be Sunday, September 9, at the Nature Museum to check out the final day of the Bikes! The Revolution exhibit.

{P.S.  There’s a great discussion going on in the comments sections of yesterday’s Bicycle Booty post – check it out and share your thoughts!}

Bicycling booty

my homemade macarons

There’s something I’ve been meaning to post about here for some time: The “riding makes you thin!” meme. So many times I see it mentioned on bike blogs that so and so can eat whatever they want because they bike.

my homemade macarons

It is true for some people, I’m sure. But I have actually had the opposite experience, and I feel like I can’t be the only one. When I first started cycling in April 2008, I lost a few pounds. Then, as my cardiovascular fitness improved and my commute was no longer a real workout, that weight came back — with a little bit extra, probably due to a combo of increased muscle mass, age-related metabolism slowdown, and the fact that cycling makes me hungry. On someone who is 5’2″ (optimistically!) even a small amount can be noticeable.

That said, bicycling has made other, more important changes in my body. I can run (well, OK, jog) 3+ miles now without being seriously sore/tired the next day, when previously one mile on the treadmill made me feel like dying. My ride to work takes a couple minutes less than it did 3 years ago, and I can ride across town without breaking a sweat (figuratively; this is Tennessee!). I have cycled 30 miles in a day without my legs being sore. It is seriously awesome.

In some ways it it frustrating to feel so healthy and fit, and yet not be the Cosmo-approved width (at least, I assume I’m not—I gave up reading Cosmo at least 5 years ago). But I am short with a medium/muscular build, my legs especially. Cycling doesn’t do a lot to work against nature in that area. Maybe if I gave up sweets and alcohol (not gonna happen), I could be back to the weight I was when I was 23. But the fact is, cycling is a rather efficient form of exercise. You just don’t burn that many calories riding 30-40 minutes a day at a moderate pace, like I do.

In short, I can’t promise you that riding your bike means being able to eat an unlimited amount of cupcakes, or croissants or whatever your treat of choice might be. It might even make your butt bigger. It is more likely to give you T-Rex arms than Michelle Obama arms (tm Elisa!).

But I can promise you that it will give you more energy, build your stamina and get your heart in better shape. And oh yeah, it’s fun. Most days, that’s enough of a bargain for me.

What has your experience with cycling and weight been?

{ Dottie’s take on bicycling and self-esteem is here. }

Fashion Friday: End of Summer Cycling

As the summer winds down, I find myself already growing nostalgic, but excited for cooler weather.  This outfit brings together those disparate feelings.  The bright flowers celebrate the brightness of summer, while the jeans are perfect for those evenings when there’s a slight chill in the air – and these skinny jeans won’t get pulled into bike cranks or chains.  (Hint: if you don’t want to pay for Dolce & Gabbana, buy some inexpensive jeans and fabric paint!)

I’m heading to Nashville this weekend to hang with Trisha and enjoy some Southern sun.  Then I plan to spend as much of next week outside as possible, enjoying what’s left of Chicago’s magical summertime.

How about you?

Surly Stories

20120813-BRA2409-R2-010-3A

My friend Megan, intrepid world-traveler, recently bought a Surly Cross-Check.  She already had a Gary Fisher Simple City for in-town riding, but wanted the Surly for longer, faster rides and for a bike tour around Iceland next summer!

I ran into her by chance today on my way home from work and she had been riding around the city for hours, enjoying the swiftness of her new bike.

The Surly seems like a popular bike for people looking for the right combination of quality and (relative) affordability.  I know of many who use Surleys both for commuting and for touring.

Do you have a Surly story?  If so, share it in the comments!  I’m sure Megan and many others would be interested to hear them.

Unsolicited “Advice”

dottieJpegs_3resized

Occasionally when bicycling, a random guy gives me unsolicited advice.  For illustration, here are two scenes from the past month.

Warning: Competent Woman on the Loose

Scene 1:  I am bicycling home at night, equipped with a helmet, blinking lights and reflectors.  I stop behind a city bus at a red light.  A motorcyclist pulls up very close to me in the same lane.

Motorcyclist Guy:  [lecturing tone] You gotta be safe out here.

Me:  [unsure, attempting friendliness] Yeah, we all have to.

MG:  But be careful, you don’t want to be knocked over.  You just need to be safe out here.

Me:  I am safe.  I do not need your advice.

MG: [revs engine and jets off]

Me: [???]

Scene 2:  I’m bicycling to work in the morning, stopping at a stop sign to allow a pedestrian to cross.  The temp is 90 degrees, so I take my helmet off and hang it on my handlebars.  To compensate, I bicycle extra slowly and cautiously.  Bicyclist guy squeezes between me and the SUV on my left.

Bicyclist Guy: You need to wear a helmet.  Your helmet is not going to protect your handlebars. [passing me at twice my speed]

Me: I do not need to hear this from you.

BG: [in a singsong tone] Just some friendly advice!

Me: I’m a big girl.

BG: [yelling over his shoulder] We all are!

Me: Ha! [wondering how long until he realizes what he said and goes, "Doh!"]

In both situations, the guys seemed to assume that I would benefit from their “advice.”  In fact, I act deliberately and do not need to hear the opinion of a random man on the street, whether it’s about my “safety,” my helmet, or my looks (that’s a different topic).

If anyone is tempted to offer this kind of advice, please think twice, and unless someone’s actions directly affect you, hold back.

Ladies and gentlemen, do random people give you unsolicited “advice” while bicycling?  If so, does it make you want to inform the advice-giver where to shove it?
:)

{Photo above by Martha Williams of Bike Fancy}

The Best Everyday Pedals

20120813-BRA2409-R1-016-6A

I believe there is no such thing as bad shoes for everyday cycling, only bad pedals.  :-)  Although I rarely wear high heels (preferring not to feel hobbled), I do not want my bike to prevent me from pulling them out on those days when I feel inspired.

My friend Chika recently wore these fabulous high-heeled sandals while riding her new Linus Dutchie.  Although she looked kick-ass, she admitted that the heels were very difficult to bike in, as her foot kept sliding off the pedal.

Chika's heels

While some may say, “Um, don’t bike in heels,” that’s not how we roll around here.  Instead, I commiserated – been there, experienced that – and encouraged her to consider replacing the Linus’s stock pedals with inexpensive Dimension rubber pedals. Chicagoans: you can buy them locally at J.C. Lind Bikes.

Dimension rubber pedals

I discovered these particular Dimension pedals while borrowing a De Fietsfabriek bike for a group ride.  During that ride, my normally difficult, high pumps stayed glued to the pedals as if by magic.

Prada pumps and Dimension pedals

I soon bought the same pedals for my Oma and they have been going strong for over two years.  The rubber has not lost its grippiness over time and the heavy use has not worn them down.

As I said before, the ability to bike in any shoe is all about the pedals.  Well, okay, maybe these extreme(ly badass) heels of Trisha’s would be difficult even with these pedals.  But maybe not!

What kind of pedals do you have on your bike?  Do your shoe soles ever slip?  Do you have your own recommendation for “best everyday pedals?”

You might also like:

Fashion Friday: Summer separates

fashion friday

As much as I love the ease of dresses, in recent months the siren song of separates has been calling to me. Not having the perfect pair of jean shorts is starting to get to me. Luckily August is the best time to find such items in the thrift store, so I’m going to cross my fingers and take a shopping trip sometime soon.

If I do find those shorts, here’s the sort of thing I’d want to wear with them, while riding Le Peug of course.

Summer shorts
Summer shorts by trishap featuring lace tops

Weirdly Wavy

IMG_0722

So as I believe I’ve mentioned, my camera is on the fritz…which means my iPhone 3G is my only photographic equipment at the moment. Usually it’s adequate to the task at hand, but sometimes photos turn out a little…interesting.

Do you think it was the heat that was making these photos turn out so wavy? Or perhaps the warp speed at which I ride my 50-pound bike. ;)

Maybe it’s time for an upgrade.

You might also like:

1 2 3