Watching (a lot of) online beauty videos

Screen shot 2013-04-15 at 12.18.50 AMresized

This post has absolutely nothing to do with bicycling.

For days I have been wallowing around sick at home. I did not leave the house, let alone ride my bike. Even reading a novel seemed like too much work. This led to me watching literally hours of beauty videos online. Admitting this feels silly, but it’s the truth. I’m not that into makeup, but listening to these women’s voices was oddly comforting and I felt like I was learning something while using very minimal mental energy.

Most YouTube “guru” type makeup people are way too tacky or cutesy for my taste, but here are some that I like very much. If you feel like wasting some time, enjoy!

Lisa Eldridge is the best (and her voice is lovely). She’s a top makeup artist working with the likes of Kiera Knightly and Vogue. She just did a helpful series on foundation basics. I prefer watching the videos via her website, but she also has a YouTube channel.

Sali Hughes is a close second. She is the beauty reporter for The Guardian. Her website is much more than just videos, but she also has a YouTube channel.

Here she is hanging out in Caitlin Moran’s bathroom!

All the others are straight-up YouTubers:

A Model Recommends

Start2FinishMUA

Tanya Burr

Xteener

Even though I’m 31 and have been wearing makeup for years and years, I still feel like I don’t really know what I’m doing. Tell me I’m not the only grown woman who’s fallen into the rabbit hole of online beauty videos. I’ll feel a bit less silly.

Do you have any recommendations I should add to my list? Not that I need to waste more time on this…

WorkCycles Have Returned to Chicago!

P1030095resized

To the untrained eye, this bicycle may look like my Oma, but it’s actually a stealthy WorkCycles Secret Service.  She’s a loaner from J.C. Lind Bikes for a few days while Betty Foy gets her (much needed!) spring overhaul.

P1030095resized

When Dutch Bike Chicago closed a year and a half ago (their Seattle shop is still in business), I was disappointed that WorkCycles were no longer sold in Chicago.  People often ask me about my Oma, and after DBC closed I had no place to direct them other than the internet.

Happily, this is no longer a problem.  WorkCycles have returned to Chicago!  Jon of J.C. Lind Bikes (at 1300 N. Wells for locals) worked out an arrangement with Henry of WorkCycles, and now the shop carries a variety of WorkCycles city bikes.

I have a review of the Secret Service coming soon, and I’ll try to test others like the Fr8 and Gr8 at some point, since I know many people are unable to test ride them in real life before purchasing and must rely heavily on online information.

Stay tuned!

{J.C. Lind is an LGRAB sponsor and friend. Henry of WorkCycles is an LGRAB friend now, too!   But all of my reviews are absolutely independent.}

 

Bike With Me: Elston Separated Lane

Screen shot 2013-04-05 at 7.26.58 AM

Yesterday afternoon I had a meeting across town, which led me to a different route for the commute home.  I was able to take advantage of the newish separated bike lane on Elston Avenue.  I first wrote about this lane in the fall, but have not had occasion to bike it since.

Riding in this lane is like butter.  The separation from cars makes all the difference, of course. Other benefits are not being placed in the door zone and the relatively small number of cross streets, alleys and parking lot exits.  I would love a set-up like this on the busy streets that connect my neighborhood to downtown, where I often feel like a hunted animal during open season.

You can see previous videos of me biking along Chicago’s protected bike lanes here:

Dearborn protected lane  - two-way bike lane in the Loop

18th Street protected lane - the most similar to Elston’s bike lane

Kinzie protected lane - Chicago’s first separated bike lane

 

Suiting up for spring

20130401-P1030090

Right about now is the perfect time to bike in a wool suit without sweating or freezing.  Yesterday I did just that, as I had a court hearing in the morning.

20130401-P1030090

The early spring weather was chilly (I ended up putting on a light jacket over my suit) but beautifully clear – especially along the Lakefront Trail.

20130401-P1030087

20130401-P1030060

20130401-P1030074

20130401-P1030077

20130401-P1030078

20130401-P1030083

As I biked down the trail, I passed a group of tourists on a rental bike tour preparing to set out and heard the tour leader say, “And this is the lakefront path, over 20 miles of…”  This was a good reminder to slow down and appreciate the beauty I’m lucky enough to enjoy on a daily basis.

{For more on wearing suits on bikes, see my earlier post, How To: Bike Commuting in a Suit.}

You might also like:

Warm Spring Ride!

20130331-P1020979

What’s that?!  A mittenless hand?

20130331-P1030058

Bootless feet?

20130331-P1030051

Muffless ears?

20130331-P1030044

That’s right – spring is HERE!  (Okay, I’m willfully ignoring the 20-30 degree temps predicted for Monday.)

20130331-P1030021

This long-awaited warm-up set the stage for a highly enjoyable and leisurely bike ride with friends Dan and Janet.

20130331-P1020975

The destination was a lovely Easter lunch at the home of our friends Sara and Glenn.

20130331-P1020979

20130331-P1020981

20130331-P1020978

20130331-P1020984

Oh yeah, Che lives there, too!

20130331-P1030008

After a delicious meal and a spirited game of Scrabble, we were off on our bikes again to return home.  The evening sun made the ride chillier, but still very enjoyable.

20130331-P1030036

The feel of warm air on bare skin is such a luxury this time of year.  Here’s hoping there is much more of it soon!

20130331-P1030046

Did you enjoy any special rides this weekend in the warm spring air?

Biking Chicago to Grand Rapids, In One Day, On a Fixie

Lakeshore Express  June 2012 Milwaukee 07resized

The approaching warm weather has me itching to take long bike rides.  I’m betting you all feel the same.  For some inspiration, I’m sharing reader Jeff Kwapil’s story of biking on his Trek fixed gear, leaving from Chicago, Illinois in the morning and arriving in Grand Rapids, Michigan in the evening.  Enjoy!

Lakeshore Express  June 2012 Milwaukee 07resized

My long-time half-baked plan to ride from my place in Chicago to my mother’s house in Grand Rapids Michigan (GR) became reality last summer. I haven’t ridden much long distance. I commute a lot, 12 miles each way. And I take weekend rides, 10, 20, 30 miles, occasionally 50 or 60. I have done one century, four years ago.

However, in my mind I’m a bike touring kind of guy. But three obstacles have prevented this ride until now.

1) The one-way ride would take take three days. That reduces the time I have in GR to visit Mom, compared to just driving there in three hours.
2) Amtrak does not take any luggage from GR to Chicago, so I would have to ride back (another three days) or arrange some other ride home.
3) Navigating through the steel mills & such around Gary Indiana does not look like fun.

So, I have a week off work, and the solution popped into my head. I made it in ONE day! Here’s how I did it.

06:15 AM Depart home on bike to Metra commuter train stop
06:33 AM Depart Chicago on train to Kenosha WI
08:25 AM 35 miles biking Kenosha WI to Milwaukee ferry terminal (arrived 11:00 AM)
12:30 PM Depart Milwaukee on boat – arrive Muskegon MI ferry terminal 04:00 PM
04:40 PM 50 miles biking Muskegon to GR
09:00 PM Arrive Mom’s

This was not planned as a fixie ride, but my geared bike suffered a catastrophic frame failure Wednesday, so I went ahead on the my lovely fixie*.

Holy Moly, people have built A LOT of trails in the past few years!! Maybe 60% of the riding was on paved and crushed rock trails. Much appreciated. It’s very different from the days of my youth, riding 2-lane roads and earning the ire of drivers who felt crowded and expressed themselves with honked horns and upraised fingers.

The Racine and Kenosha county crushed rock bike rails-to-trails bike path got me most of the way to Milwaukee. In Milwaukee County a lot of the ride was in the lakefront parks.

In Michigan, the Musketawa Trail led from the outskirts of Muskegon to the outskirts of GR.

Notes:

Google Maps bicycle directions are amazingly helpful.

Navigating with only a smartphone is a pain in the ass, but the GPS is spiffy. In the future I will carry real paper maps, augmented with the GPS phone.

Fixed gear is no fun on downhills. Normally I only use my fixie around town, where the “hills” are bridges with 10- to 40-foot elevations. I missed tucking in and racing full-bore downhill. Instead I had to either brake a lot, or spread my legs and risk the Whirling Pedals of Death (not comfortable).

85 miles in a day was hard, but not bad. After a long hot shower and a good night’s sleep I felt fine, no aches, no sores. I think I am in pretty good shape thanks to the commuting.

– Jeff Kwapil
Chicago IL USA

Puffy Coat Weather

P1020948resized

When I’m wearing my puffy coat in late March, I’m not happy. As you can see, winter has not yet released her grip on Chicago.

P1020948resized

BUT this photo was from last week and spring weather is riiiiight around the corner now. Allegedly.  I hope to have happy spring bicycling stories to share after Easter.

In the meantime, I’ll enjoy the comfort of escaping the bitter cold in a corner cafe, sipping French apple brandy with friends.  :-)

P1020959resized

P1020961resized

P.S.  and apropos of nothing, can someone make me a bike out of this awesome guy?  That would be amazing, thanks!

P1020954resized

(Spotted at Architectural Artifacts.)

Video: Bicycle Bag Basics

20130108-R1-01018-030A

We here at LGRAB get a lot of questions about which bike bags we use and recommend.  Over the years, I have accumulated quite a collection!  I’m constantly switching from bag to bag – usually between my two Po Campo panniers, my regular purse and canvas shopping bags.  In this video, I go through my entire collection and discuss which styles I like best.

I figure this post will be a resource for new bicyclists searching for ideas about how to carry stuff on their bikes, so please share your bike bag recommendations in the comments.

Brands:

Wald basket

Basil

Arkel

Detours

Po Campo

Fieldguided canvas

Patagonia

Chrome

P.S.  For more info on my bicycle, see my Rivendell Betty Foy video.  Also, my bungie straps and Po Campo review.

Nashville B-cycle ride + program update

IMG_1169

Last week, I rode a B-cycle downtown for the first time. I know, kinda crazy that this is the first real ride I’ve taken on a B-cycle after being a member for three months. But it won’t be my last. If it has to be said, I’ve gone from cautious optimism about this system to a full-fledged supporter.

IMG_1168

view from a B-cycle on 21st Ave. S.

I had biked to work on my own bike that morning, and if I took a B-cycle downtown the lack of stations in my neighborhood meant I would have to take the bus home, but I decided to go for it. Biking downtown and then taking a bus home (or vice-versa) is kind of my jam these days anyway. Plus, Kermit Allegra doesn’t mind spending the night in my office and I don’t mind walking to work in the morning when the weather is decent. Win-win.

The Hillsboro Village B-cycle station was pretty full, and only one of the bikes had a flat tire.

flat tire

Just like bathroom stalls, inspect your B-cycle carefully before use.

I picked a bike that looked OK, adjusted the seat, checked the brakes, threw my snacks in the basket and was off to the Walk/Bike Nashville annual meeting.

IMG_1167

It was a really windy, gusty afternoon, but the sun was out and the ride was otherwise uneventful, even though it was right at 5 pm. The bikes are solid, but not too heavy, and once I got used to the way the front basket affected the steering, I didn’t have any trouble at all.

 IMG_1169

When I got downtown, returning the bike was a breeze.

IMG_1171

Here’s how I knew I’d done it right.

IMG_1170

My selection of a mode of transport was quite apt because a Nashville B-cycle coordinator spoke at the meeting, and he divulged several intriguing tidbits about the way the program was going so far.

Since its launch in mid-December, Nashville’s B-cycle program has recruited more than 200 annual members and has had more than 2000 24-hour rentals. We have the longest check-out time for bikes in the country—more than 45 minutes on average—perhaps because the most popular station in town is the one at Centennial Park. (The second most popular is the one that I used on 21st and Wedgewood.) We also had the most annual membership signups at a launch event ever, though, which I thought was pretty cool. Oh—and bike share memberships are reciprocal. So if you are a B-cycle member in Nashville, you can rent B-cycles in every city that has a B-cycle program. This is an especially great deal because Nashville’s B-cycle program is the cheapest in the country (yeah!).

Though the system still needs more stations and bikes to be a transportation cyclist’s dream date, I have really been impressed with the launch and implementation so far. Anyone else ridden a B-cycle in Nashville or elsewhere?

1 7 8 9 10 11 131