Last week, on my bike rides, I was drafting a blog post in my head about how glad I was that I hadn’t entirely missed fall. My favorite oak tree still had a share of blazing red leaves, and the weather was cool but not cold (in fact, the first day I was back, it was 80 degrees!).
Fall leaves on the cobblestones in Amsterdam
Alas, my procrastination made that post obsolete; I woke up this morning to a chilly 36 degrees and a projected high of 54, not too dissimilar to the temps Dottie described in her last post. But with the weather going on in the East today, I’m not going to complain too much about fall’s abrupt conclusion. At least there are new fall TV shows to curl up with: has anyone else been watching “Nashville”? I cued it up on Hulu when I got home last week and totally got sucked in. Except for the fact that everyone on the show has a Southern accent—something that’s increasingly rare in actual Nashville, which, like any good boom town, is full of people from other places—the setting feels pretty authentic for a drama, and I absolutely love seeing places like The 5 Spot and the Musica statue on my TV every Wednesday. And the music is awesome: T Bone Burnett is a producer, and most of the music is written specifically for the show by local songwriters, although they used a Civil Wars song on the first episode.
Anyone else tuning in? Do you have another favorite fall show?
BRRRRR! The October warm-up is over and real Chicago fall has arrived with morning and evening temps in the 30′s F, which is basically as cold as winter in my native North Carolina. This is my 6th fall in Chicago, but the reality of the first chill still surprises me.
Yesterday I wore a wool dress, tights, and my new Chloe trench from Paris (love!) for my entire bike commute. I thought I would get overheated, but nope.
The street lights were on by 5:30 p.m.
I felt kinda like a baby, complaining of my frozen fingers and toes when I arrived home, but even Ted the Cat, with his massive fur coat, has taken to snuggling under blankets.
So here’s to staying warm with the start of cold weather bicycling in Chicago!
Overcast and rainy skies have surrounded me lately. Much of my riding in Amsterdam took place under damp mist and yesterday a heavy rain fell in Chicago, causing me to tuck Coco in my office for the night and take the L train home. Alas, I was caught without a coat to fend off the sudden cold and rain. If I could do my Thursday morning preparations over again (with dream clothes/bike collection), I would opt for something like this European-inspired rain outfit. Why not, right? :)
I hope all of you either have been staying dry or enjoying the wet weather in style!
I know I love Chicago because whenever I return from a trip, no matter how cool the cities I visited, I’m happy to be back and Chicago shines a little brighter for a couple of days. I must say that after Amsterdam, though, the bicycling situation in Chicago is looking especially bleak. At least I can retreat to the Lakefront Trail, where the bicycling conditions are Amsterdam-level easy, pleasurable, and safe.
I took these photos before I left for my trip. I was worried that cold weather would have set in by my return, but today is sunny and in the 60′s F!
When you return from traveling, do you feel better or worse about bicycling in your home city? If you’ve visited a bicycle-paradise city like Amsterdam, Copenhagen, or Bogata, did seeing the possibilities make you more hopeful for the future or just make you want to run away to said bicycle-paradise city? I’m not yet sure where I fall.
Bonjour! Dottie and I are blogging from our Paris hotel room. But we couldn’t wait to talk a little bit about London, where we shared Sunday evening pints at The Harp with delightfully witty and friendly readers Fred & Liz. Both are native(ish) Londoners, so they gave us a local take on cycling in the city. Apparently there are vast differences between the boroughs when it comes to infrastructure—and cycling gets better the further east in London you go. The money savings on transport here is huge: one way on the tube costs 2 pounds, so choosing to bike gets you more than freedom from the crowded tube.
Fred, Dottie, Liz & me
Also exciting: how we got there!
The bike rental system was about as easy to figure out as any bike rental system we’ve used in the past. Hardest part was getting the bikes free from the kiosk, really! And of course it was virtually free: one pound for a one-day pass, and the first 30 minutes of each rental is free. Our first stop was here: For this
Equal parts delight and intimidation in that expression, don’t you think?
Then we got back on the bikes for a ride around St. Paul’s before heading to the Harp.
The ride was pretty relaxing for the most part, beginning on quiet streets with well-designed bike lanes. After a couple of miles, we ended up on The Strand for a few blocks with approximately half a million double-decker buses. That’s when we dismounted and walked our bikes on the sidewalk.
Obviously, we didn’t conduct a complete tour of London by bike, but our brief experience felt very different from our experience as cycling tourists in Paris, where many of the main through-roads seemed to have infrastructure for cyclists.
London felt more like Nashville in the sense that big roads are the worst for cycling—but when you’re in a city you aren’t familiar with that is not set up on a grid, it’s pretty difficult to navigate using smaller streets that would require frequent turns, even when you have a Moleskin City Guide map strapped in front of you. :-) If London wants to make cycling more appealing for tourists—especially those who are not used to bicycling in a big city—it should make the major boulevards more bike friendly.
Like any red-blooded American woman, I have spent the last couple of years intrigued by the “dry shampoo” trend. Caught in the fantasy of a world where blowdrying one’s hair each day (OK, every other day, but still) is not a necessity, I cruised beauty blogs and drugstore clearance shelves to find this mythical product. Trying out half a dozen varieties left me with but one that actually worked, but it was prohibitively expensive.
just two of the many failed dry shampoos
Then, somewhere online, I read a passing remark about how all this stuff was basically baby powder. I’ve used that in my hair before, but hate the smell. Then it occurred to me that baby powder was basically cornstarch. A lightbulb went off: I HAVE CORNSTARCH! I began Googling in earnest.
That was about a year ago, and I’ve eventually cobbled together a dry shampoo formula that works incredibly well for me. It’s a lifesaver after a hot summer bike ride, and it is NOT $12/oz. Intrigued? Read on! (more…)