Good morning! This post delivers exactly what the title promises: babies in bike-themed onesies. Guaranteed to brighten your day. :-)
I received these pictures on my phone last week. The first is Dante, Melissa’s bebe. Dante is modeling a onesie I bought him in Amsterdam (before he was born) with a cow and HOLLAND written across the front.
Okay, the Holland onesie is not strictly bike-themed. Here’s another!
The second is Asha, Chika’s bebe, modeling a onesie I made for her with my not-exactly-correct version of a bicycle on front.
Looking at these photos instantly cheers me. Love these sweeties and their awesome moms. :-)
My exercise goal for August is decidedly less intense than Trisha’s century ride training. I have to attend two Bikram yoga classes a week with my friend from work. The 90 minute classes heated to 105 degrees are not exactly fun. The best feeling comes when the class is over and I can sail away on my bicycle for the six mile ride home along the Lakefront Trail. The transition from the oppressive heat of the yoga room to the cool lake breeze of the trail is beautiful and makes me enjoy riding my bike even more than usual.
Plus, there’s always this view.
My bike set up on yoga class days is basic. Okay, a little bag lady-chic.
I strap my mat to the back rack (and then sometimes forget it there for a couple of days, creating deep indentions in the mat).
I stuff my work bag, change of clothes, towel, water bottle and lock in my front basket. My basket is low down and anchored to front stays, which helps this load feel light and not interfere with my steering.
My cockpit area is looking a bit too cluttered. Perhaps I should remove my scarf or flower or handlebar bag or camera mount…
Once the (heavily discounted) introductory month is over at the Bikram studio, I will probably go back to Vinyasa, as a more enjoyable yoga for me. But I expect to miss, at least a little bit, the relief of escape by bicycle that practicing Bikram provides me. :-)
A couple of commenters pointed out I was being a bit sketch about the details of my training plan in my last post. Those commenters were absolutely right. But you see, me being me, the details of my training plan ARE a bit sketch. They consist of:
Biking for transpo as often as possible (pretty standard, but I’m pushing it more than usual)
One medium-length ride during the week (10-15 miles)
One long ride at the weekend (20-30 miles)
At least one cross-training day (walk/jog or yoga)
This means I’m riding somewhere in the neighborhood of 50-60 miles per week. Since I once read somewhere that riding an equal number of miles per week as you will in your big ride means you’re in good enough shape to make it happen in a reasonable amount of time, I feel like we’re doing OK. If I’m wrong, well, I’m sure the Internet will chime in to let me know.
Anyway, last weekend our training ride was on the Natchez Trace. Since I’ve never been able to transport my bike comfortably by car before, this was my first time biking on the Trace. All I could think was, what took me so long??
One fun little quirk about going on long rides with me: I’m a total grump for the first 20 minutes. I start thinking about how we’re only 10 percent or whatever of the way in and that means we have to bike for TEN TIMES this long. I brood about the temperature and how much water I have with me and how much that hill we just went down is going to suck on the way back.
Then, somehow magically somewhere around mile 5, I am fine. I become accustomed to the heat and discomfort. I am resigned to the fact that I will be sweating for the next few hours and parts will be fun and parts will not be fun and I am totally OK with it going on as long as necessary. In other words, my Czech/Finnish peasant ancestry kicks in. Being built for endurance vs. speed isn’t a bad thing.
So after my typical rough beginning, I was all about the Trace. Even though it was late morning, we saw some wildlife! Namely a turkey, a turtle and a deer, which luckily did not decide to charge us. And…get excited…a dead skunk! Car traffic was very light and the drivers were courteous. There were tons of other cyclists; we saw at least two dozen.
Whitney and I actually considered blowing off work on Monday and going all 171 miles to Tupelo. Of course, that was while we were biking with a tailwind. When we turned around just over 10 miles in, our pace slowed since we had more uphills + a headwind to deal with.
We did stand out quite a bit from the other cyclists on the Trace. We were the only riders who didn’t have drop bars and clip-ins. Near the end of one particularly long, steep incline, a male road cyclist came up beside us and greeted us with “Way to go, ladies!” I wasn’t sure what to expect (would he be down on us for not wearing helmets? Was this a drive-by pat on the head?) but he somehow managed to be encouraging without being patronizing. “I’ve seen people on $2000 equipment die on this hill,” he confided. Since we were able to keep him in sight for at least 10 minutes after he passed us, we considered ourselves pretty hardcore. “Think of what we could do with $2000 of equipment,” Whitney said.
So here’s what we did with our decidedly NOT $2000 bikes. (Not to mention that Le Peug only has five working speeds at the moment…I’ve got to get on that.)
I know, not exactly fleet foxes. But by the end of the month we can improve this time a bit—and I also think that, especially with the adrenaline of riding in a group, this is a pace we can maintain for 62 miles. We both still felt good after the ride, like we could have gone longer, and no soreness afterward. And the Clarksville Century course is legendarily easy.
And sometime in the next six months (spring or fall, probably!) I am taking a long weekend to ride the Natchez Trace. Anyone coming with me??
Just a quick post to let you know about a couple of of rides taking place in Nashville this weekend.
Saturday, August 10, 3pm: a Critical Mass ride to show support for cyclist Molly Meinbresse, who was severely injured in a hit-and-run incident on the Korean Veterans Bridge last Saturday. The ride will begin at the Nashville Courthouse, at Second and Union, and end at Five Points in East Nashville. More details here. Sadly, this is the second instance in just over a year of a cyclist who has been struck from behind by a driver who subsequently fled the scene (and yes, it’s the driver who flees the scene, NOT the vehicle!). Raising awareness of cyclists on the road is critical, and I hope that you’ll join me on this ride.
Sunday, August 11, 11 am: Nashville Bike Brunch in Centennial Park. Bring a breakfast-y item to share, and I’ll bring the coffee. We’ll be between the Parthenon and West End Ave. Ride afterward for those who are interested, as long as heat stroke is not a threat.
This week I came upon a video on Facebook by Bicycle Dutch called “U.S. Cycling from a Dutch Perspective.” The video may have already made the rounds, but I’m posting it here because the (lack of) infrastructure and driver behavior in the U.S. and Chicago in particular have been on my mind lately, with several people I know being hit by drivers in the past year (including, of course, myself).
As the video says, “This situation makes clear why you are 30 times more likely to get injured as a cyclist in the U.S. than in the Netherlands.” This is a outrage and needs to change.
A few more choice quotes from the video:
“It almost looks as if these people are riding a race, rather than going home after work. They’re trying to outrun other traffic. It really seems like a chase.”
“There’s a lot of cycling here despite the infra[structure], rather than because of it.”
“There could be a good future for cycling in the U.S.”
Hello, my name is Trisha and I have a secret. I have been training for a long-distance ride. And for some reason it has taken me forever to share this with the blogosphere! Maybe because those distance rides take time!
So last Sunday night, Whitney and I loaded the bikes onto her Subaru (this is a story in itself!) to do a 24-mile round-trip ride from Shelby Bottoms to the Percy Priest Dam.
When I first wrote about Divvy, I listed reasons that I anticipated using the bike share system, even though I have three bikes of my own. On Friday, one of those reasons popped up.
I take the L in the morning due to rain but the sun is shining by the end of the day.
Leaving for work in the morning in the pouring rain, I did not even consider biking. By the early evening, the sun was out and I was itching to ride a bike. Lo and behold, there was a brand new Divvy station right by me.
Using the bike was super easy. I had no problems riding in my trousers, thanks to the covered chain. The fenders protected me from being splashed by leftover rain puddles.
The front rack held my legal file and bag remarkably well. I was worried about the file slipping out, but everything felt perfectly secure.
I rode Divvy as far north as possible, before switching to the L to get all the way to my destination in Lincoln Square, where I was meeting friends for dinner. I can’t wait for the day when Divvy stations cover the city – which should be by the end of the summer!
I look forward to many more rides with Divvy in the future!
On Friday, I attended the Pitchfork Music Festival in Union Park west of downtown Chicago. Instead of biking there, I planned to hop on the bus afterward, which would take me straight home. Obviously, I’m not too familiar with the massive crowds associated with music festivals, my plan to “hop on the bus” being hopelessly naive.
All started well, but then the final show of the day – Bjork! – abruptly ended early, due to an approaching storm. Everyone had to leave en masse. I was part of a huge crowd crawling toward the exit, and by the time I got out, there was a mass of people lined up for the bus and a bottleneck up to the L station. I decided to walk north in hopes of finding a cab or an alternate bus route and made it a few blocks before the storm arrived, complete with thunder, lightening and a torrential downpour. Along with other festival wanderers, I took shelter in a 7-11, cursing the situation.
That’s when I decided to pull out my iPhone and check the Divvy app for nearby stations. Bingo – a station a little less than a mile up the road. Happy to have a plan, I marched outside and into the pouring rain. I was already soaked, so no big deal. Finally coming upon the Divvy station was like finding an oasis in the desert.
Although I had not used Divvy before, getting my bike was a breeze. I marched up to the nearest bike, checked the tires and brakes quickly, used my member key fob to release the bike, and adjusted the seat.
Then I was off! I started on the bike lane right next to the station, then soon turned off on a quiet neighborhood street. I was happy to see a bright front light flash as I pedaled, making me feel visible in the night.
The ride was so lovely, cruising through the quiet, dark, stormy night, leaving behind the chaos of the music festival crowds. A big, goofy smile plastered my face the whole time.
There is not yet a Divvy station near my home, so I biked to the station closest to my home and adjacent to the Brown Line, which took a bit less than 30 minutes. Here I am, looking bedraggled but feeling triumphant at the end of my ride.
I easily docked the bike and then jumped on the L, which took me the final couple of miles home.
This was a beautiful first experience to have with Divvy. I desperately needed a way home and Divvy answered the call. The only improvement would have been for Divvy to take me straight from the festival to home. I hope the hundreds of other planned stations will open soon!
A couple of Sundays ago, my Women-Who-Bike and Brunch group met up for a lovely picnic at the Logan Square Farmer’s Market. Summer picnics are the best – I love sampling all the delicious food everyone brings.
My friend Ash, who writes about some of her bike adventures at One Less Minivan, was there with her two daughters and badass bike set up. She has a Joe Bike bakfiets fitted with a baby carseat in the front and a child’s seat in the back.