Category Archives: news

Cocktail Party Ride – This Friday!

Join our fun group this Friday for a casual cocktail party ride, including Elisa of Bike Skirt all the way from Alabama, Elizabeth of Bike Commuters, Melissa of here, John of Vote with Your Feet, Ira of Being Totally Sweet in Chicago, Mr. Dottie and me. The ride likely will be smaller and less formal than the previous cocktail party ride.

Unfortunately, no Trisha this time

Unfortunately, no Trisha this time

We’ll meet at a cocktail lounge in Wicker Park at 7 p.m. The ride will meander around the north side and stop at a few fine places for refreshments. Check back here for more details.

But wait, there’s more! Missy of Cyclin’ Missy will be in Chicago on Saturday. Too many badass bike bloggers for one city! Any other female bloggers, bike or otherwise, want to join us for brunch? Sorry, girls and grrrls only for the brunch. Saturday just happens to be my birthday: the big 2-8 :)

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Jobs I Would Like to Have

Note to the blogosphere: when someone sends me a link that is summarized like this

I just read this on yahoo and thought of you.  Bikes!  France!  Technology!  Oh my!!!!

it will be clicked on. Immediately. (The only noun that could have been added to make this even this more appropriate for me would have been “books” or perhaps, “cheese.”)

This is what I found.

Picture 2(click on photo to see more photos)

That is the La Defense. In Paris! And the person on the trike has been paid by Google to ride around the city taking pictures for Google Street View. They plan to do a Street View of all major tourist cities in France. Paris stops include Les Halles, le Jardin du Luxembourg and Versailles. You can read the full article hereCharlotte, did you spot any of these guys? (ETA: Apparently they’re cruising around England, too.)

Thanks to Jen for the link!

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No Naked Cyclists in Alabama

On wine labels, that is.

08.01gladiatorlabelBecause Alabama has nothing more pressing to worry about than nekkid women. Especially nekkid French women. Won’t someone think of the children (who, I’ll point out, don’t buy wine)?

As NPR points out, “Fat Bastard” on a label is still A-OK.

(thanks to my bro and Dottie for a heads-up on this home state controversy.)

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More on the Guardian’s Bike Coverage

I’ve long been a fan of The Guardian, so when they launched a bike blog over the summer that collates all their cycling coverage, I signed up to receive updates. So far, I’ve not been disappointed. It covers a broad range of cycling culture and news.

There are women contributors who write about everything from harassment to riding in a skirt. The show’s current podcast, second in what’s to be a monthly series, included an interview with cyclist and Olympic medal winner Victoria Pendleton, who said that while she enjoys racing and can’t wait for London 2012, she looks forward “to the day when I don’t have an agenda [while riding]” and can “just toodle” around with her friends. Perhaps she was imagining that while posing for this picture.

Pendelton with a Pashley Poppy, from the Daily Mail via Cyclechic.co.uk

Pendelton with a Pashley Poppy, from the Daily Mail via Cyclechic.co.uk

Also featured were reviews of the new Trek Soho (described as “stately” yet “slightly chunky”) and the Sirrus Elite (the “boy racer” of hybrid bikes), and an inside look at Pashley (not only is business up, they’re opening a new distribution center . . . in Taiwan!).

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Famous Friends

Picture 3The latest issue of Momentum arrived at my house earlier this week, and I finally had a chance to page through it last night. As one of the few mags out there on utilitarian cycling, there are always interesting things to read, but this issue brought the extra pleasure of features on two of our favorite fellow cycling bloggers! First came the Hanadas in an article on DIY bike crafts that provided a lot of inspiration. We’ll see if it provides anything else—I’m big on finding projects I’d like to do and never finding the time to actually do them!

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I hadn’t gotten over the thrill of thinking, I know them! when I turned a page to see Miss Sarah of Girls & Bicycles, looking stylish as always in an article on biking while pregnant. The entire topic was new to me when she first started posting about her experiences on her blog, so it’s wonderful that she and the other women interviewed in the article were able to further spread the news that pregnancy and cycling can mix.

Momentum is  available for free in local bike stores in many US and Canadian cities—check out their list to see if yours is included. If not, you might have to spring for a subscription like me, but supporting such a venture is well worth the $20. But if you’re overseas or on a tight budget and don’t mind reading on the computer, a PDF of each issue can be found on their website, too.

What cycling magazines do you like to read?

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Bike Giveaway!

Attention stylish readers: you still have 9 days to win a free bike from Chictopia and the fabulous TopShop (ah, the hours–and pounds!–Dottie and I spent in their Oxford Street store) in the TopShop bicycle club contest. They’re giving away five bikes every week to the five people voted “most stylish,” so the odds of winning are quite good.

Pretty blue cruiser, basket not included.

Pretty blue cruiser, basket not included.

Don’t feel like staging a photo shoot? Go vote for Dottie or me! Yes, we already have bikes, but we know so many people in need—and, as Dottie puts it in her contest photo, she’s a great bike mom! Should I win, the Chictopia bike will be living the high life with my aunt in Hawaii (she’s been looking for a cute cruiser). Win or lose, it was fun to be part of such a cool contest–whether or not you’re interested in entering, you should head over and check out the pictures of classy riders and sassy bikes from across the USA.

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Women’s Voices

In Trisha’s Mind the Gender Gap post (which was featured on StreetsBlog) she discussed the shallow way that the media deals with women and cycling. In response, many real women left fantastic comments. I want to highlight their stories and viewpoints here with no filter. That’s something the media could learn – if you want to know more about women, simply ask them!

Melissa M. on her new oma

Melissa M. and her little guy on a new oma

Read on for the goods…

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Mind the Gender Gap

Dottie and I make no secret of the fact that the number one mission of our blog is to show that city cycling can be a part of any woman’s everyday life—no special equipment or clothing, or even a special type of bike required (though after a few months of riding, you’ll probably want one — or two!). Over the past six months, we’ve talked about our own obstacles to commuting and given our personal experiences as examples of how women might fit cycling into their lives.

Lately the media has been obsessed with women on bikes—or, more accurately, the women who are NOT on bikes. Apparently, we
Picture 3need more women cyclists to pretty up the place. Why aren’t they riding?!? Is it the helmet head? Are women too scared to share the road with cars? Maybe they are afraid to sweat? The latest to join the discussion is the New York Times’ City Room blog. The article presents research from a professor at Rutgers that says men commute by bike at 3 times the frequency of women, and the percentage is even worse in New York City. Having never cycled in NYC myself, I can’t say whether his description of riding its streets as “like going into battle” is accurate. And I certainly don’t want to discount concerns about safety and fashion, which were issues for me when starting out and two things Dottie and I are trying to help others overcome.

What annoys me is that none of the articles I’ve read on this topic lately go any deeper into why those things present serious obstacles for women but not men, even though men have the same concerns (no one wants to show up for work disheveled and stinky after all). Why bother, when it’s so obvious that men are just much less self-absorbed and a million times braver? It couldn’t be that there are higher expectations for women’s appearances in the workplace, or that the burden of transporting children or household errands like grocery shopping more often falls to them—the first reasons that came to my mind. These are not insurmountable, of course (just ask these cycling superparents, both moms and dads, or the other stylish women bike commuters we know), but they require some thought, negotiation and planning that your average male might not have to overcome in his quest to bicycle commute.

But instead of giving weight to these concerns, or looking into others, these articles stay on the surface. Women are dismissed as frivolous and their absence is mourned not because of the missed opportunity to allow them to discover an activity that can improve their quality of life, but because their presence would improve the scenery. As a girl who likes to look good on her bike, I can’t argue with that statement, but I can argue with it being the number one reason we should get women on bikes—sorry, Treehugger.

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Nashville Goes Green

Last week, Nashville Mayor Karl Dean announced a “Going Green” initiative for our city. Dean ran on an environmental platform and has said he’s committed to making Nashville the “greenest city in the Southeast”—so far, he’s done a decent job of getting money and resources dedicated to improving the city’s infrastructure and public transportation. I clicked on the link and was a little disappointed to find that most of the things he wanted us to commit to do were things I’d learned in third grade during the good old “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” campaign. News flash: Don’t run the water while brushing your teeth!

One item of the pledge was a little more exciting.

Best part of the pledge!

Best part of the pledge.

If you live in Nashville and haven’t signed already, what’s stopping you? Anyone else seeing similar initiatives in your city? I know the South is a bit behind when it comes to the green bandwagon.

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Chicago’s Bike to Work Week – June 13-19

Around here every week is bike-to-work week, but Chicago’s official festivities start today, led by the Active Transportation Alliance. A variety of bike commuter stations will be set up along different routes. Two celebrations book-end the week: a bike away from work party on Monday and the Mayor’s rally on Friday. For those new to city cycling, Chicago or both, the city has lots of helpful information here.

Team Dottie/Oma and Melissa/Smurfette (and Mr. Dottie/un-named male bike) are ready!

Oma is ready and waiting for summer

Oma is ready for summer

Melissa and Smurfette

Melissa and Smurfette

I’ll be eager to report how successful the week is, measured by my completely non-scientific opinion of the increase in cyclists. How are you celebrating Chicago’s bike to work week? If your city (as Nashville and most others) had its bike to work week already, how did it go?

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First Dutch-Style Bike Spotting!

On Tuesday I had to go to Vanderbilt. As the Bat and I rode over during our lunch break, we spotted this beauty anchoring a bike rack full of mountain bikes: an Electra Amsterdam!

Snazzy, stylish lady bike.

Snazzy, stylish lady bike.

I wanted to park the Bat next to her for maximum effect, but alas, the spaces next to the Electra couldn’t fit a 700 cc tire—there’s a reason the Electra is at the end of the rack. The Bat is parked in a similar space between the two racks. Now if I could only run into this bike’s owner on the road. Maybe one of these days.

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Le Peug Lives

Despite the arrival of the Batavus, Pepe le Peug is alive and well. The Bat is fantastically comfortable (review TK) but le Peug is nimble, like no other bike I’ve ridden. We still have fun together, especially now that the nice guys at Halcyon spruced him up for me (there was a rack issue and a problem with the bolt on the seatpost — but now we’re good as new!). Here’s some photographic evidence, courtesy of Ms. Kristi and taken last weekend:

Beautiful day, beautiful bike!

Beautiful day, beautiful bike!

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Bike Friendly, Revisited

There was a lot of discussion in the comments on Dottie’s last post about what makes a city bike-friendly. On the heels of that comes The League of American Bicyclist’s 2009 list of rankings of states for bike-friendliness. Unsurprisingly, their rankings line up with the more conventional assessment: Illinois (12) beat the pants off us Tennesseans (43, not an auspicious number).

One of the bike-friendly (i.e., traffic free!) streets I ride down every day

One of the bike-friendly (i.e., traffic free!) streets I ride down every day, back in April

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Bikes in the News

I don’t have cable. My boss teases that I am one of the few people under 70 who will be affected by the digital TV conversion next month (for the record, I’ve been ready since February 2007). This does not affect my life in any major way, but it does explain why, on the few occasions I turn the TV on in the morning, I watch the “news” shows on one of the major networks.

“Today” used to be the default, just because everyone else watches it, but once I found out that Harry Smith rides his bike to work, I decided to switch to CBS’s “Early Show.”

Yesterday morning they had a segment on “choosing the perfect bike.” I think Dottie will be pleased that they chose the Jamis commuter! Since I’m not a road bike aficionado, I was underwhelmed by their other choices, but check it out for yourself. My favorite part was when the lady showing the bikes said that you don’t have to spend thousands, but “the thousands are pretty great, I’m not going to lie.” I’m off to write a letter to the show saying they should have suggested a Batavus.

ETA: I can’t seem to embed the video, but you can watch it here.

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Bikes in the News

I don’t have cable. My boss teases that I am one of the few people under 70 who will be affected by the digital TV conversion next month (for the record, I’ve been ready since February 2007). This does not affect my life in any major way, but it does explain why, on the few occasions I turn the TV on in the morning, I watch the “news” shows on one of the major networks.

“Today” used to be the default, just because everyone else watches it, but once I found out that Harry Smith rides his bike to work, I decided to switch to CBS’s “Early Show.”

Yesterday morning they had a segment on “choosing the perfect bike.” I think Dottie will be pleased that they chose the Jamis commuter! Since I’m not a road bike aficionado, I was underwhelmed by their other choices, but check it out for yourself. My favorite part was when the lady showing the bikes said that you don’t have to spend thousands, but “the thousands are pretty great, I’m not going to lie.” I’m off to write a letter to the show saying they should have suggested a Batavus.

ETA: I can’t seem to embed the video, but you can watch it here.

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Copenhagen Cyclery – New in Chicago!

When I began searching for a Dutch-style bicycle last summer, no shop in Chicago sold them. I used a vacation in Vancouver and Seattle for test rides and then in the fall bought my Azor on the day that Dutch Bike Chicago opened. Since then, buying lovely bikes in Chicago has become considerably easier: Dutch Bike Chicago (Azor, Retrovelo), Boulevard Bikes (Pashley, Batavus), and Tati Cycles (Batavus) are the go-to shops, especially my beloved Dutch Bike Chicago.

Copenhagen Cyclery

Copenhagen Cyclery

Now Copenhagen Cyclery joins the group. Chicago’s newest bike shop opened this weekend in Wicker Park and, of course, I had to stop by to check it out.

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Participate in the Ride of Silence, May 20

All members of the Chicago cycling community should participate in this ride.  If you’re not in Chicago, check to see whether your city has its own ride.  Here is the press release:

THE RIDE OF SILENCE WILL NOT BE QUIET

Chicago Cyclists Take to the Road to Remember Fallen Riders

On Wednesday May 20, 2009, at 7 PM Chicago cyclists will take to the road as part of a global event to remember crash victims and call for the need for safer streets for Chicago’s more vulnerable traffic participants.

The Chicago Ride Of Silence will gather at the Eternal Flame in Daley Plaza, Washington at Dearborn, at 6:45 PM and depart at 7 PM. The 10-mile route is set to pass the sites of 5 crash victims, and end at the location of the January 2006 death of Isai Medina in the 1100 block of N. Western Ave. Many of the sites are marked by Ghost Bikes, which are powerful memorials to fallen cyclists created by painting a bicycle white and placing it at or near the site of the cyclist’s death.

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Happy Anniversary to Us!

It’s now been officially one year of commuting for me and coming up on one year for Dottie. Even though the bikes we started out on are no longer with us (the late, lamented Janis and Pinkie), we’re planning on using two wheels for a very long time.

Curious about how it all began? We bring you these emails from the very extensive Dottie/Trisha email archives (biographers, get in line now!).

On Trisha’s first ride:

Just prior to beginning bicycle commuting, I’d been in Chicago for a taping of the Oprah show with my parents (not a guest, just an audience member). While I was there, Pinkie was being tuned up and getting new tires after her long stay in my grandparents’ garage, and as soon as I got back we went for a ride.

Jerusalem Cafe

Pinkie at Jerusalem Cafe, during one of her last lunch breaks.

On 5/2/08, Trisha wrote:

thanks so much for another lovely time in Chicago. I only wish I could have stayed for the weekend. : ) Hopefully I’ll be able to arrange a longer visit soon, or you guys can come hang out here. . . .

Did I tell you I’m joining in yours and Greg’s efforts to save the planet through alternative commuting [editor's note: at this time the Dotties were taking the El train]? I hope to start riding my bike to work next week. Tomorrow I’m taking a test run. Last night I went to the grocery store and back…I had forgotten how fun riding a bike could be.

On May 5, 2008, at 3:46 PM, Dorothy wrote:

Thank you for coming!!  Lots of fun!  Too bad you missed all the Second City and Jameson :)

How’s the bike working out?

We adopted Chloe yesterday.  She is a sweetheart!!!!!

On May 5, 2008, at 4:46 PM, Trisha wrote:

Bike is good. I rode to work and back yesterday and will do it again tomorrow. Figured easing into it is better; plus I went home for lunch today so I didn’t want to use up all that time riding the bike instead of the car. Good news is, it only takes like 20 minutes to get here, which really isn’t much longer than it takes to drive. Well, double the time, but a 20-minute commute isn’t that long in the grand scheme of things.

On Dottie’s first ride, two weeks later:

Janis the Jamis - Dottie's first big-girl bike

Janis the Jamis - Dottie's first big-girl bike

From: “Dorothy”
Date: May 20, 2008 9:54:08 AM CDT
To: “Trisha”
Subject: chatting

Good Morning.

I am here to chat, despite my pile of work.  Because that’s how I roll.

I bought a bike Sunday!  This one, from my little neighborhood bike shop, Roscoe Village Bikes.  I’m going to totally copy you and try to commute to work via the Lake Shore Path, since the el takes me 45 minutes to an hour these days, with all the construction.  Plus, sometimes smelly people sit next to me.  First I need to get used to riding a bike after a 10-year hiatus. A little scared of riding in the city, but really excited about how much it will change my day-to-day life.  The path that follows Lake Michigan is gorgeous – a great way to start and end the workday. Remember that road we went down in the morning on the way to Oprah? The bike path follows that.  How’s your riding going?

On 5/20/08, Trisha wrote:

Ooh, I love your bike! And a bike path on the lake would be beautiful. So far, I really like riding my bike to work. You get to smell the honeysuckle, feel the breezes and sometimes see interesting urban sights, like burning cars. : ) OK, that only happened once (and in Hillsboro Village!!) but it was awesome.

from: Dorothy
to: Trisha
date: Mon, Jun 2, 2008 at 10:19 AM
subject: Re: your vacation, my staycation

I had a great weekend! Spent the whole thing with Greg on my bike. We biked everywhere – the dentist, best buy, brunch, downtown to the Gospel festival. And I biked to work this morning! Door-to-door it took the same amount of time as the el. My odometer said 7.1 miles and on lake path I was averaging between 14-15 mph, but much slower on the road with all the stop signs. It’s very hot out today, so it would have been nice to take a shower, but a wash cloth and bathroom stall worked out pretty well. Beautiful ride on the lake!! I took my bike back to the shop this weekend to get a rear rack, bell, lights, panier, and odometer installed. It’s so cute :) My bell says “I (heart) my bike.” I can carry all my work clothes and stuff in my panier (I think I’m spelling that correctly) that goes on my rack. Like a mule. I’ll have to send you a pic and you still need to send me a pic of yours!

Neither of us could have predicted how much cycling would become a part of our lives, but as you can see, we loved it from the start.

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Nashville Bikes to Work, I Drive to Alabama

Like many U.S. cities, Nashville is celebrating National Bike Month with a Bike-to-Work Week this week. So far I’ve been able to participate with pleasure thanks to some beautiful weather.

Our Bike-to-Work Week culminates with an official Bike-to-Work Day on Friday (Nashvillest has deets) and the Tour de Nash. I knew I couldn’t make the tour (going to pick up the Batavus, FINALLY) but I was really looking forward to participating in my very first Nashville group bike ride and meeting some local fellow commuters. Unfortunately work is calling me to Alabama a day early. If you’re in Nashville, get out there to the Schermerhorn, mix and mingle, and let me know how it went! We need to do this more than one day a year.

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Missing Bike in Birmingham

A quick post to spread some sad news (and hopefully, catch a bike thief): Elisa of Bike Skirt lost her LeMond, Mick Jagger, last night. He was taken right out of her backyard.

Mick Jagger

Mick Jagger

If anyone in the Birmingham area sees Mick, get in touch with Elisa (and jab a stick in the spokes while you’re calling). Check Bike Skirt for more info. Dottie and I have both experienced bike theft and hope Elisa’s story has a happier ending than either of ours.

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