Category Archives: events

LGRAB Summer Games: Players and Prizes, Pt. 1

Starting today and continuing every day this week through Friday, we will be posting a round-up of LGRAB 2011 Summer Games players and announcing the lucky prize winners. Winners will be randomly drawn from the entire pool of players.

We have been so pleased and humbled by all of the fun and enthusiastic entries. It’s great to see that others are enjoying biking in the summer as much as we are!

Join the fun by reading about their adventures below…

April – Cycled on a loaner bike while on vacation and read an interesting book about cycling, Wheels of Change: How women rode the bicycle to freedom. She also wrote a kick-ass letter to her alderman in support of bike infrastructure, documented summer with a photo, went on a group ride (Critical Lass!) and performed a maintenance task by changing her tire with a little help from the Women Who Bike.

April rode in Critical Lass

April biked even while on vacation

Wendy – Survived her bike commute to work, read a book about cycling (The Art of Cycling), explored a Cleveland bike path, test rode a Fuji road bike, and joined in on a group ride. She also emailed her local grocery to advocate for bike racks and made some beautiful bike-inspired silk screens. Nice!

Wendy biked to work

 

Beautiful bicycle silk screens

Cathey – Read a book about cycling (The Practical Cyclist), explored a beautiful bike path outside of Dallas with her son in tow, performed a maintenance task on her bike (a Globe named Miss Dorothy!) and test rode an adorable red tandem (want!).

Cathey test-rode a tandem

 

Cathey enjoyed beautiful scenery by bike

Patrick – Captured his bike with sand sculptures for a unique picture of summer, took a new route to work, test rode a new bike that he ended up buying, and went on a full moon, pink flamingo-themed group ride with his wife!

Patrick test rode - and bought! - a touring bike

 

Patrick rode with a group of pink flamingos

Margarita – Went on a bike date to one of my favorite eating establishments, Chipotle!

Chipotle bike date in Palm Beach

Amanda – Built her first set of wheels (for her Raleigh DL-1) and then took a long joyride through Seattle with a visiting friend, along the way exploring a new scenic route. She also emailed the Seattle Center to request that they bolt down their bike racks (that would help!).

Amanda took a joyride in Seattle

 

Amanda's Seattle route

Daniel – Rode somewhere he’d never ridden before and explored a greenway. Plus he made awesome videos of his adventures! He also proofided his Brooks saddle and went on a group ride organized by the Holland Project.

Deb – Expressed how summer makes her feel with a lovely collage and – awesomely – helped lead her town’s initiative to create its first non-motorized path!! She also rented a bike on vacation and, in the process, had the chance to test out a new kind of bike.

Summer according to Deb

 

Deb rented a bike on vacation

Paula and Amber – Enjoyed a group ride (38 miles! then junk food – yum), commuted to work for the first time (19 miles!), captured some lovely summer scenery of dusk, and performed maintenance tasks: washed, lubed, pumped tires, and checked brakes.

Summer evening by bike

Bike, meet Office

Awesome, ladies and gentlemen! You all sure have been keeping busy!

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The first prize we are giving away is the Farmers Market Twin Pannier from PUBLIC Bikes.

The panniers sit on the rear rack and have a handy carrying handle that makes it easy for taking on and off. Having twin panniers provides you with enough space for a shoulder bag, purse, groceries, laptop, bottles of wine, and anything else you might pick up along the road.

And the winner is…

Deb M, who blogs at Pedal to Health. Congrats, Deb! We know you’ll put them to great use.

To everyone else, keep checking daily, because we still have several great prizes to give away.

Meet LGRAB in NYC

Save the date: Dottie and I will be at Adeline Adeline in NYC for a happy hour on Thursday, August 4. Come test ride bikes and raise a glass to city cycling with us starting around 6 p.m. Free wine, food and cycling cheer = fun times.

Summer Games, halfway point

Well, it’s the halfway point of the LGRAB 2011 Summer Games. How are you doing with your events? If you need some inspiration, check out some of the submissions we’ve gotten so far.

Wendy and her husband took a group ride in Cleveland. As she points out, group rides are a great way to build confidence and learn from more seasoned riders. She also wrote a letter to the city council requesting a bike rack outside her local grocery.

Our friend Melissa is going gangbusters on the Games from her new home in Denver. She test rode a different bike and fell in love with the Electra Townie.

Melissa and the Townie

Looks like a good fit! She also commuted to her new job by bike for the first time. “I was definitely more awake during the day and the ride home helped me relax.”

A&P of The Notables also test rode a different sort of bike (I love reading about people doing this). They enjoyed the Giant commuter model they tried, but are talking about a trip to NYC to see what Adeline Adeline has to offer.

Daniel of La Pedaleada went on a group ride and performed a maintenance task—and videotaped them both! Check it out. I need to proofride MY Brooks…

Cathey decided to perform a maintenance task on her Globe—checking the tire pressure and filling them up. “I never thought I would enjoy doing work on my bike, but now, strange as it may seem, I kind of have my fingers crossed that a tube will need replacing or my chain will need work. I can’t wait to keep learning!” she writes.

Deb went on a group ride to celebrate her one-year anniversary of cycling. Her official mileage tally: 1,140.98 miles. Makes me wonder what mine would be if I kept count! Maybe in 2012. :) She also explored new territory by riding the entire width of her township in Michigan.

Reader Annie from Minnesota has already completed FOUR events. She, too, has logged more than 1,000 miles on her bike in the last year. “I made up a Tshirt that I wear often when I ride.  It says, “Bicycle Minnesota” on the front and “Ride, Fat Girl, Ride” on the back.  It makes me smile,” she tells us.

Keep the entries coming!

p.s. are you adding your photos to our Flickr pool?

 

 

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Nashville’s Tour de Fat was all that

On July 9, Nashville hosted the Tour de Fat for the first time.

It was a big deal for a lot of reasons, first of all because it was one of the first times the “no alcohol in Metro Parks” rule had been set aside for an event. Good news is, the chance the Mayor took was worth it: Nashville’s tour set records for both the number of parade participants and money raised for local nonprofits at a first time Tour — 600 parade riders and $14,000 for Walk/Bike Nashville and Soundforest.

Honestly, I didn’t know how much this ride was for me, since photos from Tours in other cities showed a lot of scantily costumed folks on tall bikes or cruisers, but any group ride in Nashville can pretty much count me in so I headed out. I did not have a summery costume so I wore a flounced, sheer overskirt over the smallest tank dress I could find and my trusty Jessica Simpson heels. Setting out at 9 am, alone on the street, I felt slightly ridiculous (ride of shame?) and got a couple of curious looks/honks, but once I arrived among the throngs of cyclists at Centennial I felt more at home.

me next to my beer, after the ride

The ride was a blast. Even though it was hot and we were very, very sweaty. Music was blaring and the carnival atmosphere at the starting line had the energy rising. I also liked the “this ride is pro-bike, not anti-car!” message that the “Rymanese Twins” were proclaiming from their platform at the start of the race.

Afterward I met up with Anna from Bike Skirt and we watched the shows and tried out some of the trick bikes they had in the corral. Anna was more adventurous than I.

Anna & me

Anna and Ross on a tandem

The moral of the story is: if the Tour comes to your city, hop on! It really is the best party on two wheels.

 

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Enjoying Bike Summer at the Seersucker Ride

Lately it seems I’m posting more about group rides and events than about my daily biking.  While I continue to ride my bike to work and everywhere else, the high points of my biking life have been special events like Critical Lass, the Women-Who-Bike Brunch, my Cupcake Ride and the Tour de Fat.   There is simply no better way to enjoy Chicago in the summer than outside, under the sun, on my bicycle, chatting with nice people.

Now I’m adding  the Seersucker Ride to that list, which I joined last Sunday.  The ride was co-organized by the BBC (British Bicycles of Chicago), the Slow Bicycle Society and Velo-Francais.  Sort of like a Tweed Ride for the summer heat.

There was an excellent turn out of excellently turned-out folks.  :) We met at a neighborhood watering hole for starter refreshments.  I chose a summer shandy to deal with the heat wave weather.  (I refuse to listen to anyone who points out that alcohol dehydrates!)

Then we headed to beautiful Humboldt Park for a picnic.  By far the classiest picnic I’ve ever seen, with table cloths, mini strawberry shortcakes, and fresh mixed mint juleps!



Fun bicycle events provide such a friendly and relaxed environment.  I enjoyed chatting with old friends and meeting new people.

Everyone was dressed so nicely, very casual chic.




After the picnic, we meandered slowly to another watering hole, where I chose to remain for a couple of hours before heading home.  :)

Oh, yeah, and there was this: 

Take that fixies and BMX bikes!  He was actually only one of five penny-farthing riders there and three of them were women.  (I can’t believe I forgot to get a picture!)

Ash gave the Pennyfarthing a try, but I am too much of a chicken for something like that.

Many thanks to the organizers of the Seersucker Ride.  Everyone had a great time!

Who else is enjoying a bike summer?

 

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They’re here: The 2011 Summer Games

This Friday, the cycling event of the summer begins! We couldn’t be more excited about hosting the Summer Games again this year—and giving out some wonderful prizes for you players out there.

Things are a little different this year. Instead of three separate parts, we’re asking you to complete 4 out of 10 of the events from the list below between July 22 and August 8. Once you have completed your events, there are two ways to enter:

1) Email us links to your blog posts detailing the activities; or

2) Email us your story and photographs [LGRAB@letsgorideabike.com].

Please use the subject line [Summer Games]. At any time, you can also upload your photos to our Summer Games Flickr pool. By entering, you give us permission to publish your content here.

  • on vacation? rent a bike and go for a ride!
  • write a letter advocating for bicycling infrastructure (bike lanes, bike rack, etc) to your alderman/council representative, mayor, or a local business.
  • take a picture of something along your commute that says “summer” to you, and explain why
  • commute to work by bike or bike/transit if you don’t already
  • perform a maintenance task on your bike
  • explore a greenway or bike path in your city that you haven’t previously visited
  • test ride a different type of bike than you normally ride (road bike, mountain bike, etc.)
  • read a book about cycling
  • ride your bike somewhere new in your city
  • go on a group ride

We will draw for prizes from among the entrants who have completed at least four events. So start planning, and drooling over our prize page.

Major thanks to all the sponsors who are helping us spread the bike love!


 

Want a banner to put on your site to let others know you’re playing the games? Right click on any of the images below to download it — and be sure to link to this post.

 

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July Women-who-bike Brunch

July’s women-who-bike brunch in Chicago on Sunday was a lovely little affair.  (I believe most of our ladies were resting up after the annual overnight L.A.T.E. Ride.)  We set up a picnic on the banks of a river just off a recreational bike path.  Everyone brought a little something to share and there were lots of fresh berries, homemade pastries, and refreshing spiked drinks.


The weather was a bit hot and there was a flat tire at the end, but nothing that the ladies could not handle.

It was so lovely to meet new people and to see familiar faces!

Are you in Chicago and interested in joining us?  Email me at LGRAB [at] letsgorideabike.com.  All women-who-bike (or are-considering-biking) are welcome!

More events coming up:

  • Women-who-bike Happy Hour: July 20, 6:00, Blue Line Lounge
  • Tour de Fat: This Saturday, July 16, Palmer Square
  • Seersucker Social: This Sunday, July 17, 1:00, Streetside Bar
  • Critical Lass: Thursday, July 21, 6 pm, Polish Triangle

Hope to see you there!

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A Delicious Cupcake Ride!

Ride to eat cupcakes, eat cupcakes to ride.

On Saturday, that’s exactly what a celebratory group of 18 bicyclists did, navigating 8 miles to visit 3 bakeries and consume countless cupcakes.  All in the best summer finery, of course.

After setting off from Wicker Park, we stopped first at Alliance Bakery, my personal favorite of the day.  Such delicious and beautiful confections!

The group got a little sidetracked by a very pink sidewalk sale at a boutique next door…

But we soon got back to serious cupcake business.

Next we biked through Wicker Park and Bucktown and across the river to Roscoe Village for our second stop, Bleeding Heart.

There we visited with a bicyclist who would have joined us for the ride, if she had not had to work at the bakery that day.  Hi!  :)

We took a break at a park across the street, as we began to realize that eating more than one cupcake in a row can be quite a challenge.

Then after riding through Roscoe Village, Lakeview and Lincoln Park, we arrived at our final bakery, Sweet Mandy B’s.  A final round of cupcakes was ordered, because we’re hardcore like that.

Finally, we parked ourselves at the beautiful rose garden in nearby Oz Park for a picnic of … cupcakes!  And champagne!  A lovely combination.

Merci Beaucoup to my partner in crime, Sara.  I literally could not have done it on my own, without her enthusiasm and route-mapping skillz.  And mucho gracias to our adorable yet badass corker, Ash.

Thanks to everyone who came out!  You’re all awesome!

What kind of ride should we do next?  Perhaps some gelato and ice cream?  Perhaps!

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June Critical Lass – all lasses welcome!

Chicago’s second Critical Lass ride rolled out last Thursday, this time with a group of nearly 30. Like the inaugural ride in May, the ride was so much fun. I love it!

As you can see in my photos below, it’s a women’s ride, plain and simple. All lasses are welcome! I guarantee you will be greeted by the friendliest group of women in Chicago.

(Saying goodbye to mom)










Chatting with others and riding side-by-side was easy due to the super calm route.  After about an hour, we ended at a bar in Logan Square, where I stayed for a couple of hours, enjoying beer and buffalo wing specials.

The next Critical Lass ride is July 21 – always the third Thursday of the month, starting at the Polish Triangle. I hope to see even more lasses there next time! :)

I bow down, once again, to our amazing leader Ash.

p.s. You can read about Edmonton’s June Critical Lass ride via Loop Frame Love and Girls and Bicycles.

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Bike to Work Week!

Last week was Bike to Work Week in Chicago. We celebrate it later than the rest of the country, waiting until June to make sure it does not snow. :)

I volunteered at an Active Transportation Alliance commuter pit stop one morning. The stop offered free coffee and Clif bars, various swag, tune-ups and general encouragement.  I mostly just stood around chatting with friends, though.

This particular pit stop was co-hosted by The Chainlink and REI.

Julie of The Chainlink worked the megaphone with great enthusiasm and cuteness.

People signed their names to a petition to support more protected bike lanes in Chicago, part of Active Trans’s new and exciting Neighborhood Bikeways Campaign.

My friend Sara happened to ride by on her way to work, looking naturally fabulous.  Hello!

And other office cycle chic peeps rolled by.

After a demanding morning of gabbing and drinking free Caribou coffee, I set off for the office myself.

I’m a fan of Bike to Work Week. Some people criticize the focus on commuting, while others proclaim it should be “bike to work week every week,” but the directed outreach seems to encourage new people to try transportation cycling. In fact, I first biked to work during the official Bike to Work Week three years ago.  It would be interesting to see statistics comparing the amount of bike commuters the week before, the week of, and the week after the event.

Was anyone else inspired by Bike to Work Week or a similar event as a newbie?  Do you have any co-workers who became interested in commuting after hearing about the event?

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Join the Cupcake Ride!

Mark your calendar! Together with Sara of This Little Bike of Mine, I will be leading a cupcake ride this Saturday, June 25, at 1:00 p.m.

The ride will be a leisurely 6-7 miles, starting at the Polish Triangle and ending at Oz Park.

We plan on visiting 3 bakeries – Alliance, Bleeding Heart, and Sweet Mandy B’s. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to eat 3 cupcakes (although Sara and I are up for the challenge!). You can always share with a friend. We’ll be stopping in a couple of parks to enjoy our treats so feel free to bring a blanket if you prefer.

The dress code is “cupcakesque.” Ruffles and pastels encouraged. :) Per usual, any ladies-who-bike are welcome! We hope to see you Saturday!

*In the chance of rain we will announce an alternate date.

{p.s. Inspired by the lovelies at Bike Skirt.}

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June’s Women-who-bike Picnic Brunch!

Sun, women, bikes, brunch, sangria, fresh mown grass = a perfect Sunday morning.  This month’s women-who-bike brunch was a picnic on the lakefront, with everyone bringing a dish to share – and boy were there some delicious baked goods!  Although Chicago has scores of great brunch restaurants, the picnic was so much better than being cooped up indoors.  After about 8 months of cold, Chicagoans know how to enjoy the summer!

I’ll let the photos speak for themselves now.













Thank you, awesome women, for choosing to spend your Sunday morning with the group!
As always, women in the Chicago area who would like to join the brunch (or one of the happy hours – next one on Monday, June 13) should email me at LGRAB@letsgorideabike.com.
Hope to see you there!  :)
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Bill Cunningham New York by Bike

On Wednesday I met up with friend Sara by bike for al fresco dining – sushi and champagne (love BYOB restaurants!). After dinner, we loaded up on cheap candy at the drug store and then went to the Music Box Theater to watch Bill Cunningham New York.





Bill Cunningham is a film photographer for the NY Times who rides his bike everywhere, documenting street style. He is an eccentric, in most ways true to himself and down-to-earth. Not at all a fashion industry type of person. The portrait of him was fascinating, funny and touching. When the film ended, I felt like clapping – and everyone in the audience did, so I did, too! It was that kind of movie. Highly recommended.

Has anyone else seen this or other good bike-related films lately?

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Critical Lass a Lovely Success!

Chicago’s first Critical Lass ride was a great success!  The weather was perfect, the route calm, and 25 cool women showed up.

We met at the Polish Triangle in Wicker Park.  Once the group gathered, our fearless leader Ash welcomed everyone.

I said “hi” to some old friends from the Women Who Bike brunch group.

A random guitar guy serenaded us with an impromptu song about bikes.

And then we were off!


We stopped at all red lights …

And stop signs.

We biked along quiet side streets, passing lots of big green parks and enjoying the smell of fresh mown grass.

After a fun and leisurely five mile ride, we ended at Simone’s in Pilsen.  We managed the parking situation by piling all in together and locking to each other.



Finally, we hung out for a couple of hours, enjoying dinner and kick-ass cocktails.  :)  My 9-mile ride home from Pilsen at 10 pm was also lots of fun, since I had several riding companions for most of the way.

The ride and gathering were so much fun. I plan to attend the ride EVERY THIRD THURSDAY! I hope to see you there. Spread the word!

Keep up with Critical Lass on Facebook.

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Introducing Chicago’s Critical Lass Ride

I am pleased to introduce a new addition to Chicago’s growing women-bicycling scene: Critical Lass!  Every third Thursday, 6:00 pm, at the Polish Triangle.

The ride’s name is self explanatory: think Critical Mass but exclusively for women and with an extra dose of friendliness.

The Critical Lass concept was – I think – created last year by Loop Frame Love in Edmonton, Canada.   Girls and Bicycles and Breaking Chains Taking Lanes also participate in the Edmonton ride.  Now my friend Ash of One Less Minivan has picked up the idea and worked to bring the ride to life in Chicago.  As far as I know, Chicago is the second city to host a ride using the Critical Lass name (always the Second City).

From the Critical Lass Chicago Facebook page:

Critical Lass is a monthly 5-8 mile bike ride exclusively for women/trans cyclists. In situations where childcare is not available to you, children who can ride independently while maintaining a 10MPH pace and younger kids in bike seats/trailers will be welcome to join the ride.

We meet on the third Thursday of each month at Polish Triangle (Division/Ashland/Milwaukee) in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood. Begin arriving at 6pm for a 6:30 departure.

The route will change monthly, always ending at a restaurant or bar for drinks, nosh and conversation.

I’m excited!  Hope to see many of you Chicagoans there.  If not this month, then June, July, August, September, etc.  :)

{p.s. Wondering how to find – or create – a bicycling community in your own town?  Check out Simply Bike for some great tips.}

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May’s women-who-bike brunch

May’s women who bike brunch last Sunday was great fun, as always! It marked our first outdoor dining experience, on the rooftop of The Twisted Spoke.

There was plenty of bike ogling and shop talk, of course.

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Also lots of general hanging out, which is the main purpose of the brunch.

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One lady showed us this awesome pannier that she sewed herself. How cute!

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And finally, good drinks and grub.  Yes, I scarfed that entire platter down.  I need my energy for biking!  ;)

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See you next month? Hope so!

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If you’re in Chicago and would like to join our next brunch – or if you’re in a different city and have questions about starting a similar get-together – email me at LGRAB [at] letsgorideabike.com.

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Chicago Bike Fashion Show – Tonight

My Prada heels on wheels

In celebration of the end of winter cycling and the 14th Annual Bike Winter Art Show, join Chicago’s bicycling community for the closing night party and fashion show. I will be there taking Coco down the (hopefully brief) runway. In addition to the bike fashion show, there will be drinks, a DJ and a performance by the BMX bike dance troupe The Racketeers.

The event will be at the Chicago Urban Art Center in Pilsen, following Critical Mass. More info here.

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March’s women-who-bike brunch

March’s women-who-bike brunch was small and cozy, thanks to some last minute location scheduling on my part, but at least having fewer people made it much easier to carry on a conversation. I had a great time hanging out with some of my favorite cycling mamas and a recent transplant to Chicago from Austin.

The scene: Wishbone

Lauren and Mimosa!

Jennifer and Ash

Me and Betty

Ash and her Madsen

The next brunch on April 3rd is already set to be another big one. If you’re in the Chicago area and are interested in attending, email me at LGRAB@letsgorideabike.com for the location details. The brunch is always the first Sunday of the month, so put it on your calendar. :)

In other news, I left my bike at home yesterday because the forecast called for thunderstorms and severe hail. Guess what? No thunder, no hail. I was tricked into taking the L train! Boo.

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February’s women-who-bike brunch

The women-who-bike brunch continues to grow each month, to my great delight. The fourth official brunch last Sunday was the biggest yet, with 20 women attending. This was after 6 people sent their condolences due to the inches of fresh falling snow that greeted us in the morning.  Quite a few of us, including me, opted for public transportation due to the weather, but the important part was gathering together and talking with cool women, no matter how we traveled on that particular day.

By the time sunny spring rolls around, we’re going to change things up and start having pot luck picnics. We’ll have to: no restaurant will be able to contain us!

The brunch location: Ann Sather

Our table of 20

Martha and Chicargo Bike

Elizabeth

Danielle and Megan

Famous Ann Sather Cinnamon Rolls

After interesting, intelligent, silly and fun conversation and many huge cinnamon rolls, it was time to unlock our bikes, talk some more and eventually disperse until next month.

Megan unlocks her bike

More talking

Sara and Danielle (the latter 9 months pregnant and riding her Christiana Trike!)

Ready for the ride

Megan, Suzanne and Catherine

Megan, Suzanne and Catherine stay cozy

Janet and her Oma

I wore my "new" vintage horse dress

Some of us stopped by Women and Children First bookstore afterward, where I bought Lionel Shriver’s The Female of the Species (half way through – so good!).

Women and Children First independent bookstore

I’m eagerly looking forward to the next brunch already.  We’ll have to meet up for a happy hour in the meantime.  :)

The End

The next women-who-bike brunch will take place on Sunday, March 6.  If you would like to be on the email list for the time and location, please email me at LGRAB [at] letsgorideabike [dot] com.  The more the merrier!

I also created a group on The Chainlink so we can more easily communicate among each other and continue spreading the word.

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A Midwinter Celebration

On a very cold Saturday evening, a group of fun-loving city cyclists came together for a midwinter celebration at local Chicago shop, Dutch Bike Co. A time to recharge batteries, talk with cool people and drink lots of wine out of a cargo bike.  :)

Among the cool people there (I wish I’d taken even more pictures!) was Janet, a writer and illustrator who rides an Oma and blogs at Tuttle Tattle.

And Steve, who just returned from a whirlwind European trip, including stops in Amsterdam and Copenhagen.  You can read about his trip at Steven Can Plan.

The array of bikes parked outside was beautiful, including this Madsen owned by Ashley of new blog One Less Minivan.

Between chatting and sipping, I had time to gawk at all the cool stuff, including Po Campo’s new prototype laptop pannier made by local ladies, Maria and Emily.

Also on display, Dutch seat covers and Yepp kid seats.

And these amazing navy blue and green Brooks saddles.  Has anyone seen colored leather saddles like these before?  I’m intrigued!

I’m lucky to have such great local bike shops in Chicago. A good local shop can become a meeting place for like-minded folk and help create a feeling of real community, even in a big city.  This celebration was all about socializing, talking to old friends and meeting new ones.  Such opportunities are rare.  Usually in the bike community, every event is organized around either recreation, like a group ride, or advocacy work.  I think merely talking with other people who “get it” is an effective, subtle form of advocacy, and a fun recreation to boot.

I encourage everyone, wherever you may live, to approach your local bike shop about hosting a similar celebration.  Get the ball rolling in your own community!

(Dutch Bike Co. is a sponsor of LGRAB. It’s also my local bike shop, which I’ve been writing about since long before we had sponsors.)

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