Archive of ‘Fun’ category

Babies in Bike-Themed Onesies

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.

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Okay, the Holland onesie is not strictly bike-themed.  Here’s another!

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Hehehehe.  :-)

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.

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Looking at these photos instantly cheers me.  Love these sweeties and their awesome moms.  :-)

Here’s to the next generation of bike lovers!

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Yoga on the go

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.

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Plus, there’s always this view.

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My bike set up on yoga class days is basic.  Okay, a little bag lady-chic.

 

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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).

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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…

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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.  :-)

More on yoga from the archives:

Yoga and Cycling – our first post about the topic, over four years ago

Fashion Friday: Biking to Yoga – a description of my biking-to-yoga routine from last summer

Pedal, Stretch, Breathe – review of a booklet on bicycle-focused yoga moves

 

Riding the Nashville greenways

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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.

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We’ll be riding the metric century in Clarksville on August 31.

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The weather was perfect: Not humid, hovering under 80 degrees. Pretty much unheard of for late July in Nashville, but we were happy to take it.

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We were feeling fine at the halfway point.

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Whitney in front of the dam

And even better as we rode back into the sunset across the river.

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A couple of bloggers have been inspiring me this summer with their exciting stories of long-distance rides. I’m looking forward testing myself (and Le Peug) on a 62-miler! Any tips for the big day?

My Second Divvy Experience

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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.

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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.

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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!

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I look forward to many more rides with Divvy in the future!

Symphonic Beauty

Yesterday I watched the Grant Park Orchestra perform Beethoven and Shostakovich under the evening sky.

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After the performance, I biked off into the night along the Lakefront Trail, music ringing in my ears.

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I’m not sure which was more beautiful: the symphony or the bike ride.  Luckily, I don’t have to choose between the two.  :-)

 

 

 

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Urban Gardening by Bike, Take 2

Last summer, I shared my adventure of creating an urban garden on my small balcony.  I am sad to announce that none of those plants survived the winter.  I brought the herbs inside when cold weather set in, but soon had to throw them away after I found tiny bugs all over them.  Sad.

This summer, I’m starting fresh.  On Sunday evening, my friend Sara and I took a class on plant propagation at Sprout, a cozy gardening shop in Chicago’s West Town neighborhood.  Plant propagation is making a new plant out of an existing plant.

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Sara and I biked to Sprout separately and left Betty and Poppy outside to spend quality time together on the rack.

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Meanwhile, we were inside the beautiful shop, learning how to clone plants by dividing their roots or clipping their leaves.

photo_2After an informative hour, we each got to take home five baby plants: an orchid, lemon button fern, acalypha, sanseviertia and begonia.  These will all be house plants, so I don’t have to worry about the winter freeze.  As long as I keep them away from my cats (they love munching on leaves) and remember to water them, everything should be fine.

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We were very proud of our baby plants!  ;-)

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The little guys made it home safely, although quite shaken up after traveling over Chicago’s notorious potholes.

I plan to take more classes at Sprout, including one of their upcoming classes on terrariums.  (There’s also a Sprout location in Brooklyn.)

Who else is trying their hand at gardening this summer?  Any tips to share on houseplants?

Grant Park Orchestra

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Last Wednesday, before biking home in the dusk, I spent the evening with my friend Sara, enjoying a free performance by the Grant Park Orchestra in Chicago’s gorgeous Pritzker Pavilion.  The performance was part of a summer-long Grant Park Music Festival.

I try to go once a week; everyone in Chicago should try to go at least once a season.  The music and scenery are beautiful, and you’re allowed to bring a picnic complete with wine.

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Best of all, once the concert is over, I get to bike off into the beautiful sunset.
I’ve written about these concerts a few times before.
Happy Official Summer!  :-)

Jill Scott Rides a Bike!

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One of my all-time favorite songs to sing-along with while bicycling on the lakefront trail is Jill Scott’s “Golden.” So upbeat and infectious and perfect for starting the day right.

I always change the lyrics a bit for myself:

I’m taking my freedom
Putting it in my car [on my bike]
Wherever I choose to go
It will take me far.

Well, I just found out that this song is accompanied by a fabulously cycle chic video. Jill Scott rides her bike among cars on the street while smiling and singing. Yes! Love!

What are your favorite bike-a-long songs?

Happy Sunday!

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Fashion Friday: Scandalous Style

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This week I burned my way through season one of Scandal on Netflix.  Love!  The best part of the show is the main character Olivia Pope, played by Kerry Washington.  She’s uber-capable, confident, loyal and smart as hell – and also an amazing dresser.

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As much as I love her style, I found myself thinking about the difficulty of wearing her outfits on a bike.  She favors crisp white suits, sky high platform heels and wide leg pants.

So I put together my own interpretation of bike-friendly Olivia Popeness.  I swapped out her wide-legged trousers for slim pants or a skirt to avoid chain disasters, her towering stilettos for pedal-friendly wedges, and her Prada bag for a Po Campo bag.  I had to keep the white trench coat, so watch out for grease!

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Now she’s good to go on the Capital Bikeshare!

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Or even better – a WorkCycles Secret Service.  :-)

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I hope everyone enjoys the (long for some) weekend.  You can find me on the couch, binge-watching season two of Scandal.

{P.S. Here’s an interesting interview with Scandal’s costumer Kristine Haag, including her tips on how to get the look on a budget.}

This is why I buy stuff online

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The scene: Local bike and outdoor supply shop, Nashville, Tennessee, on a beautiful, sunny Sunday afternoon. The perfect day to test ride a bicycle.

The players: Two experienced cyclists who happen to be female. One bike shop employee who happens to be male. Two Trek FX 7.2s. Le Peug.

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I express interest in test-riding a Trek FX 7.2. Employee (to be called “LBS Guy” going forward) kindly takes it to the back room to top off the tires and check that everything is working properly. He leads me into the back parking lot. The conversation that follows is of course slightly paraphrased (I don’t have perfect recall) but not exaggerated.

LBS Guy: Do you know how the shifters work?

Me: [not having taken a close look at the lever setup] Well, not on this particular bike, no.

LBS Guy: What type of bike do you usually ride?

Me: [List my four bikes.]

LBS Guy: Oh. So you’re just looking for an everyday runaround, then? [Proceeds to give me not only a tutorial on how the shifters work, which was slightly different from my current setup, but also an exhaustive explanation of what the front chainrings do and how the rear cassette works despite my having told him that I rode a 10-speed here.]

Me: [after listening patiently] Is there a hill nearby where I can try this out?

LBS Guy: Oh, you don’t have to worry about that. The parking lot goes way back and you don’t have to think about cars at all.

Me: Well, I rode here on the street, so that doesn’t bother me. I’m interested in seeing how this takes a hill compared to my bikes.

At this point, Whitney comes out of the shop. I ask her if she wants to ride along with me. We make a couple of loops through the parking lot while I get a feel for the bike, and it is obvious that the saddle is too low. I stop, but the seat adjustment requires an allen wrench. I notice LBS Guy is standing in the lot watching us, so I decide to ride back and ask him to raise it slightly.

Me: Would you mind making a quick adjustment? The seat is too low.

LBS Guy: Well, you don’t want to raise it too much. It looked fine to me. If you’re see-sawing back and forth on the bike [which I was nowhere close to doing] the seat is too high. If you’d just point your toes a little when you pedal…

Me: I’d prefer to get closer to full leg extension. I’m not getting enough power.

LBS Guy: [reluctantly raising the seat about a quarter of an inch] Try that. I’ll watch your position when you ride away.

I ride away, with the seat still slightly low but not bad enough to go back and receive more patronizing advice. We get on the street and find a hill, ride up and down it, circle around for a few more minutes and return to the shop. The whole ride takes maybe 10 minutes. LBS Guy is opening the door as we start to bring the bikes back in.

LBS Guy: [somewhat aggressively] There you are! I was just about to go out looking for you. You aren’t supposed to leave my sight on a test ride. You could have just ridden off. I didn’t have anything to guarantee you were coming back.

Me: [puzzled] What do you mean? My bike is here [gesturing to Le Peug, which was parked in the store the whole time].

LBS Guy: [scornful glance at Le Peug] Well, that’s not collateral for a bike like this one. We don’t let people take bikes on the street without leaving a driver’s license or a credit card. [Neither of which he asked me for.]

Me: [a bit stunned] Well, I didn’t realize that. And I’m not sure how people can be expected to get a feel for a bike without taking it outside of a parking lot.

LBS Guy, clearly not really listening: I’ll come back and put the bike up later. I have other customers now.

He walks away. I lean the Trek against a shelf and go to get Le Peug as the insult to me and my bike registers. Another employee comes up as we are leaving the store and wishes us a good day—not sure if he heard the conversation and was trying to apologize or was just being polite. An angrily energetic ride home ensues.

***END SCENE***

I had been planning to browse for some items for the Clarksville Century ride (this shop carries a larger amount of sporty accessories than any other in town) but needless to say that didn’t—and probably won’t—happen. A certain amount of mansplaining, I can put up with (unfortunately, being short and female, I have a lot of practice doing so), but diss my bike and basically accuse me of being a thief and you’ve lost my business forever. Say what you will about Amazon.com, but that’s something you don’t have to put up with online. (Of course, they do already have my credit card number on file!)

I value the contributions to the community that local businesses can make, and try to support them when possible. But if local shops don’t deliver on customer service, I have no qualms about firing up Chrome and clicking straight to what I want, without the BS (and usually with a considerable discount).

I guess every good experience has to be balanced by a bad one. But why is it so hard for bike shops to learn how to treat female customers?

 

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