Category Archives: our bikes

Zen and the art of…oh screw this! Can I ride my bike now?

Some people are into bicycle maintenance. They get a kick out of lubricating derailleurs and messing with thingamabobs. (See ecovelo) These are the same people who spend pretty Saturdays waxing their cars, if they own them. I am decidedly not one of those people. Quite the opposite. I neglect maintenance even when I know it’s wrong.

Sparkling Clean Oma and Betty

Sparkling Clean Oma and Betty

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Dutch Style Inspiration from Oma

I decided that it is finally time for me to write a review of Oma for our Beautiful Bicycles series. She and I have been together for nearly a year! For the occasion I put together an outfit and hairstyle inspired by her roots. Granted, I know very little about Holland – this is my interpretation of a vintage Dutch look, pulled out of my imagination.

9-4 outfit

9-4 dress

9-4 vintage dress

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Vintage Fun

Trisha and I are working on a short series about vintage and thrifted style – bicycles and clothing!  In the meantime, here’s a taste of my vintage fun for today. I wore an outfit centered around a vintage ’80’s (yes, ’80’s is now vintage and we are all old) skort I recently acquired. This is the kind of clothing that I love and that my sisters would wrinkle their noses at in disgust and ask why I insist on dressing like mom.  Oh, and I got a haircut – bangs!

here

Outfit for toodling on bike
Vintage '80's skort
H&M t-shirt
Marc Jacobs flats
Marc Jacobs sunglasses
Fairy necklace from Celtic street fair
Nutcase Starburst helmet

I stopped by Haystack Vintage, one of my new favorite shops, and spotted this extensive collection of vintage bikes outside. So cute, but they all look so small!

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Cycling Chicago’s North Lakefront Trail

Chicago’s gem is not the Sears Tower and other skyscrapers or the Magnificent Mile and high-end shopping. Rather, it’s the beauty of nature carefully curated by city planners – the Lakefront Trail that runs along Lake Michigan from the north to the south of the city, with downtown in the middle.

Betty and Chicago's Skyline

Betty and Chicago's Skyline

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Beautiful Demo Bikes For Sale

I love a good sale and recently spotted these bikes online. If anyone has been shopping around for a new city bike, here are two demo options that may put these makers’ bikes in your price range.

Rivendell is selling a Betty Foy demo built up for $1400. That is about $800 less than what I paid for mine. This is the smaller frame, which will fit someone around 5’3 to 5’6. They also have a couple of Sam Hillbornes – a 48 inch and 52 inch.

Betty Foy Demo

Betty Foy Demo

A.N.T. is selling a Roadster demo for $1900. This bike is gorgeous and will fit someone 5’7 to 5’9.

A.N.T. Roadster Demo

A.N.T. Roadster Demo

Hey, that’s my size! Too bad I currently have more bikes (2) than jobs (0).

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Beautiful Demo Bikes For Sale

I love a good sale and recently spotted these bikes online. If anyone has been shopping around for a new city bike, here are two demo options that may put these makers’ bikes in your price range.

Rivendell is selling a Betty Foy demo built up for $1400. That is about $800 less than what I paid for mine. This is the smaller frame, which will fit someone around 5’3 to 5’6. They also have a couple of Sam Hillbornes – a 48 inch and 52 inch.

Betty Foy Demo

Betty Foy Demo

A.N.T. is selling a Roadster demo for $1900. This bike is gorgeous and will fit someone 5’7 to 5’9.

A.N.T. Roadster Demo

A.N.T. Roadster Demo

Hey, that’s my size! Too bad I currently have more bikes (2) than jobs (0).

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Oma Loves Her Neighborhood

Today Oma got out of the house for a fresh air tour of the neighborhood. I went along for the ride and picked up a fab vintage dress ($15!), cupcakes and beer. This is her travelogue.

Oma loves da Cubs

Oma loves da Cubs

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A Hypothetical Situation

While riding a bicycle through an unfamiliar college campus, on unmarked footpaths, crossing one’s fingers that the rain holds off and trying to avoid having haul a quite heavy bicycle up or down the flights of stairs that seem all too likely to pop up in the path from lunch back to work as the crow flies, one might, against the odds, be glad to see cars. And a parking lot. Especially when that parking lot leads to the street one was hoping to find.

The lot you're looking for

Parking lot leads to road, which means: street signs!

Perhaps getting honked at on 21st isn’t so bad after all. I mean, if such a thing were to happen to a person, she might think that an alternative route clogged with impatient drivers wouldn’t be so bad after all.

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A Change of Scenery

Here comes the sun, la de da da...

Here comes the sun, la de da da...

I had a lovely ride this morning on the lakefront trail and a lovely ride this evening on the city streets. My heart always thumps wildly when I ride in the Loop (the core of downtown Chicago) during rush hour, but that must be good for the cardiovascular system. A special thanks to the SUV that honked at me in a good way – to let me know he was stopping so I could go around the car that nearly ran me over to parallel park.

I took the city streets today because suddenly I was so bored of the lakefront path. The streets I take are busy and have itty bitty bike lanes, so I always have to be 100% on my guard, but the change was nice. I guess I’m pretty lucky to have two drastically different route options. Does anyone else have more than one route they can take and, if so, how do you decide?

My First Bike Ride

Biking with my brother over the Fourth reminded me that our first bike rides ever were taken together. The last time I visited my parents, I dug up some photographic evidence.

These Schwinns were our first bikes ever. We got them for our birthdays (both in April — yes, this is what April looks like in northern Minnesota) in 1985. Charlie was turning 4, and I was turning 5. Training wheels were the way to go back then…

Here I am frowning at the handlebars (this bike stuff was serious business) while Mom adjusts Charlie’s bike and Uncle Bob looks on.

Getting to know you...

Getting to know you...

Meanwhile, Charlie barely fits on his bike! Moments after Mom let go of the handlebars, he was off…and crashed in the woods since he didn’t know how to brake yet. Oops. I think we may have this on video somewhere.

My brother and his first bike.

My brother and his first bike.

How old were you when you took your first ride?

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Bike Date – French Restaurant in Lincoln Park

Last night Mr. Dottie and I enjoyed a romantic dinner at a fancy French restaurant. I wanted to wear my new Saja dress, so I wore it. This is not an ideal dress for cycling because of the length. However, when you ride your bike everywhere, it comes down simply to wearing what you want to wear. If I limited my wardrobe because of my bike, I would resent the limitations. If I took a cab to the restaurant instead, I would be incredibly lame. So I threw on some small shorts underneath, put my basket on Oma for the fig leaf effect, and pedaled in a ladylike manner. This was less revealing than a pair of shorts. Actually, the most challenging wardrobe issue was getting Mr. Dottie out of his cargo shorts and “fun in the sun” t-shirt. Turns out, he cleans up quite nicely. :)

Me and Oma in Lincoln Park

Me and Oma in Lincoln Park

Greg in Lincoln Park

Dapper Greg in Lincoln Park

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Perfect Weather

Oma on the way home

Oma on the way home

As much as I love the sun, today’s somewhat stormy and cool weather was perfect for cycling. The storms stopped before my ride home, which meant that the trail was dramatically less crowded than it usually would be (people are easily scared off by the rain) but I did not get wet. The temperature hovered in the low 60’s, which meant that I did not sweat. I had a 16 mph headwind, so I simply popped Oma into 4th gear and took my sweet time. Mmmm, lovely. What is your perfect cycling weather?

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Perfect Weather

Oma on the way home

Oma on the way home

As much as I love the sun, today’s somewhat stormy and cool weather was perfect for cycling. The storms stopped before my ride home, which meant that the trail was dramatically less crowded than it usually would be (people are easily scared off by the rain) but I did not get wet. The temperature hovered in the low 60’s, which meant that I did not sweat. I had a 16 mph headwind, so I simply popped Oma into 4th gear and took my sweet time. Mmmm, lovely. What is your perfect cycling weather?

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The Sun and the Bicycle

The majority of my waking hours are spent in a skyscraper. My office has a big window with a view of Lake Michigan, but looking at the view only reminds me of what I’m missing. Without bike rides before and after work, my life would be pretty sad. Because of this, I try to really appreciate my time outside: winter, spring, summer or fall, I love it all if I can be outside on my bike. Today I focused on enjoying the summer sun – a rare bird in Chicago, land of the six-month winter. The sun reciprocated by playing fun games with my camera.  Betty, of course, was happy to mug.

lalalalalaaa, sang the angels

And on the eighth day, God create the bike...

And on the eighth day, God create the bike...

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The Sun and the Bicycle

The majority of my waking hours are spent in a skyscraper. My office has a big window with a view of Lake Michigan, but looking at the view only reminds me of what I’m missing. Without bike rides before and after work, my life would be pretty sad. Because of this, I try to really appreciate my time outside: winter, spring, summer or fall, I love it all if I can be outside on my bike. Today I focused on enjoying the summer sun – a rare bird in Chicago, land of the six-month winter. The sun reciprocated by playing fun games with my camera.  Betty, of course, was happy to mug.

lalalalalaaa, sang the angels

And on the eighth day, God create the bike...

And on the eighth day, God create the bike...

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Happy Bastille Day

From me and Le Peug. We’re celebrating with some macarons, brioche, cheese and of course, wine.

07.14melep

Homemade brioche

Homemade brioche

First attempt at macarons.

Not quite perfect, but some of them had feet!

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Bike Love

I love my bikes, Betty and Oma. They make me so happy. Some mornings the prospect of a refreshing ride to work is the only thing that gets me out of bed. Even when the rest of my day is not going so well, I can always count on my bikes to lift my spirits. They allow me to leave all the bullshit behind and focus on the moment: the sun on my shoulders and the wind in my face. That’s what people mean when they say riding a bike makes them feel like a kid again.

Before Bike

Before Bike

After Bike!

After Bike!

Today was one of those perfect days – when the sun is shining, the air is crisp, the sky is blue and I feel like a kid again. Thank you, Bikes!

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Bike Love

I love my bikes, Betty and Oma. They make me so happy. Some mornings the prospect of a refreshing ride to work is the only thing that gets me out of bed. Even when the rest of my day is not going so well, I can always count on my bikes to lift my spirits. They allow me to leave all the bullshit behind and focus on the moment: the sun on my shoulders and the wind in my face. That’s what people mean when they say riding a bike makes them feel like a kid again.

Before Bike

Before Bike

After Bike!

After Bike!

Today was one of those perfect days – when the sun is shining, the air is crisp, the sky is blue and I feel like a kid again. Thank you, Bikes!

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Sweet Oma

The past couple of days have been much more relaxing than Monday. I’ve been riding Oma and one thing I love about that bike is her calming effect. Pedaling slowly and enjoying the sweet summer air, there’s not much that can ruffle my feathers.

Reflective Handlebar Flower

Flowers!

Oma in the Summertime

Oma in the Summertime

How does your bike affect your mood?

p.s. Thanks to {frolic}, one of my favorite websites, for highlighting our little blog!

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