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
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.
(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 here. Charlotte, did you spot any of these guys? (ETA: Apparently they’re cruising around England, too.)
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
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!).
The 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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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 need 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.
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.
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.
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 for summer
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?