Category Archives: commute diary

A Divvy Morning

 

Earlier this week, I took Divvy bikeshare to work, since it was supposed to rain in the evening.  Divvy is a very useful tool, and I’m lucky to have the option.  I had to stop and re-dock my bike twice along the route to keep from going over 30 minutes and being charged for the extra time.  That was not too much of a hassle, but I wish the max time were 45 minutes.

DSCF7067-750x450
I took the Lakefront Trail to work.  With the nice tailwind, it was smooth sailing, although Divvy is noticeably slower than my bikes (even my Dutch bike) because even its highest gear does not provide that much power.

DSCF7074-750x450 DSCF7073-750x450

 

 

Here is where I tried to cross Lakeshore Drive at a pedestrian sign and gave up after the walk sign never appeared in five minutes.  I continued down the path and crossed at a car crossing.

 

DSCF7078-750x450 DSCF7070-682x1024

My final 9 mile trip was one hour of cycling, plus extra time for walking to and from the nearby Divvy stations.  Not the best option if I’m in a rush, but not too much slower than more regular bikes.
DSCF7080-682x1024

 

DSCF7087-750x450

If the rainy and cold weather sticks around, I expect to be using Divvy quite often this spring.

Tagged , , , ,

From winter to spring…

Right now – late March through early April – is the most refreshing time to ride a bike in Chicago.  The visible signs of fading winter and approaching spring make me so grateful, I could weep.  The chill in the air is enough to make my cheeks rosy, not to cause frost bite.  The sun is still up and slowly setting as I make my way home.  And the Lakefront Trail is calm and peaceful, not yet overcrowded.

DSCF6964

DSCF6968

DSCF6969 DSCF6973 DSCF6980

I hope you all are enjoying your bike rides just as much!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

A dash of spring

My wish for bright spring colors came true today, at least a little bit. The amazing 50 degree temperature combined with the bright, lingering sun made the city feel like a springtime paradise.  The sidewalks and lakefront were filled with Chicagoans basking in the glory of the weather.
untitled-6The photos below look cold, but the mere fact that I was able to bike on the Lakefront Trail is a sign of the thaw.   Most of the snow has melted, leaving behind mounds of dirt, salt and debris.
I even warmed up enough to remove my scarf, which looked quite lovely on Oma.
untitled-17 untitled-18 untitled-19

Unbelievably, I heard on the evening news that Chicago may get over a foot of snow mid-week.  All the more reason to appreciate days like today, I suppose.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Snow, snow, snow

Lots of this…

DSCF6500

DSCF6498…means lots of this.

DSCF6509

DSCF6507Maybe the snow will stop by April, but I’m not getting my hopes up!

Tagged , , ,

Surviving this winter

How is one to survive this winter, one of the coldest, greyest and snowiest in history?

20130211-DSCF6437resized

As you can see, I chose to lighten my hair, buy a new red overcoat and bicycle on – except honestly I have not been bicycling a lot, certainly not everyday, as with previous winters.  All I ask for is a morning with temps at least 10 F and no falling snow, but such mornings are rare.  (As I type this, it’s 9 F and snowing.)  When I manage to ride my bike, I feel so much better, physically and mentally.

My plan for combatting winter also includes appreciating the (indoor) culture that Chicago offers: going to ballets, plays, symphonies and art exhibits.  If it were not for the Joffrey Ballet, the Goodman and Steppenwolf and Shakespeare Theatres, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Art Institute (and, of course, my wonderful friends!), I would question daily why I choose to live in this crowded, frozen tundra.

20130211-DSCF6434resized

This time last year, I was already enjoying the sights and sounds of spring with Betty Foy.

How are you dealing with this winter?  How much have you been bicycling?

{P.S. Our friend Elizabeth will be reporting on the National Bike Summit / Women’s Bike Forum here on LGRAB and our Twitter feed this week, so stay tuned!}

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Fashion Over Function

Perhaps a flowing white skirt was not the smartest outfit choice for a wet and windy day, but sometimes fashion trumps function, and this morning I wanted to wear a flowing white skirt, dammit.

DSCF4189resized

I began second-guessing my choice as the lake winds whipped the skirt against Betty’s grimy rack and fender, but by that time there was no turning back.

DSCF4194resized

DSCF4193resized

In a nod to function, here is my head and eye protective gear that rarely makes it into photos.

DSCF4197resized

By the end of the day, the hem of my skirt was lightly soiled here and there, but nothing terribly noticeable from a distance.  The real danger was the chocolate cake I enjoyed with lunch, crumbs of which inevitably got smushed on my lap.

DSCF4186resized

Regardless, riding my bike, eating chocolate cake and wearing a flowing white skirt all made me happy, so I consider the dry cleaning bill worth it.  :-)

Score one for fashion.

{I picked this skirt up from a Paris thrift store for 2 euros.  See it styled for summer here.}

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Wool and Leather in the Rain

This evening I had a dark ride home in light rain.  I was caught without my raincoat or any other special rain accessories, but my normal outfit worked well.

My wool trench coat kept me warm and dry.

DSCF4161resized

My leather boots served the same purpose for my feet, plus sported a reflective strap for extra visibility.

DSCF4175resized

My beloved bag was unfazed by the wet weather, thanks to dark leather and pre-treatment with Cadillac Shield Spray.

DSCF4166resized

My Brooks saddle was protected by me for the ride, but got a bit wet while I took pictures.  I know some people baby their leather saddles, but mine is holding up well, so I’m not too worried.

DSCF4171resized For the most part, light rain does not bother me much.  And soon rain will be replaced by snow!

P.S. Really hard for me to avoid a November Rain reference in this post.  :)

Tagged , , , , , ,

Focus

Hello there!

DSCF4046resized

My focus lately has not been on blogging, but I have some renewed energy now.  In three weeks, I start a new job (an exciting step up in my career!) that will bring me a longer and more scenic bike commute.  And to reward myself I bought a beautiful digital camera that has me eager to document my rides.

This morning I enjoyed my regular bike ride to work in the sunshine and crisp air.

DSCF4036resized

DSCF4045resized

Betty has been my constant companion for the last month, although I expect to swap her out for Oma as soon as the snow starts.

DSCF4040resized
And here’s what I wore on my bike, although this was in the middle of the day and Betty, unfortunately, was not around to pose with me.  A cashmere sweater and scarf with a leather jacket kept me plenty warm in the low-30 temps.

DSCF4077resized

That’s about all I have to share for now.  :-)

I hope everyone is doing well!

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Fall is Here!

Time to break out the tweed and cashmere – fall is here!

20131011-R1-01784-004A

I have a habit of writing every year about how much I love fall, and this year will be more of the same.  It’s such a perfect time for bike riding, especially for riding in full work clothes without arriving sweaty.

20131011-R1-01784-010A

I enthusiastically pulled out from under my bed the two containers of cold-weather clothes and suddenly I have a whole new wardrobe.  This week I will replenish my supply of black and brown tights, then I’ll be good to go through early spring.  :-)

 

 

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Early Sunset

The sun is setting earlier and earlier now – a clear sign of the shift in seasons.  While I am not crazy about bicycling in the dark, I appreciate changes that mark the passing of time and keep life from feeling too routine. And I can now watch the transition from day to night during my evening commute.

20130803-R1-08060-006A

20130803-R1-08060-009A

20130803-R1-08060-011A

20130803-R1-08060-012A

20130803-R1-08060-013A

20130803-R1-08060-014A

20130803-R1-08060-016A

20130803-R1-08060-000A

I hope all of you are enjoying October so far.  Just remember to carry your bike lights with you at all times!  :-)

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

The Oma Lifestyle

As I mentioned last month, I’m back to riding Oma almost daily.  And I’m reminded that Oma is not just a bike style, but a lifestyle.

20130821-0110687-R1-048-22A

I slow way down with her and relax into the ride. I coast up to yellow lights instead of accelerating to beat the red.  I enjoy the city sights from my high perch.

20130821-0110687-R1-052-24A

It’s all about opting out of the commute-as-race by sheer force of will.  Even as SUVs speed past me too closely and I breath in truck exhaust, I think happy thoughts and continue slowly pedaling.  Riding Oma helps me maintain a bit of serenity, as the city buzzes around.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

My Second Divvy Experience

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.

20130803-R1-08060-033A

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.

20130803-R1-08060-034A 20130803-R1-08060-035A 20130803-R1-08060-036A

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!

20130803-R1-08060-032A

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

Tagged , , ,

Dusk

Dusk is day’s most beautiful time.  If I can manage to bike home in the aftermath of the setting sun, I’m a happy woman, a calmer woman.

20130620-R1-07924-004A

20130620-R1-07924-001A

20130620-R1-07924-003A

20130620-R1-07924-006A

20130620-R1-07924-007A

20130620-R1-07924-005A

For comparison, here’s a look at my wintry dusk commute on the Lakefront Trail from a few months ago.  Of course, during winter the dusk arrives a few hours earlier!  The photos above were taken around 8:30 p.m., while the winter ones must have been closer to 4:30 p.m.

For a melancholy take on dusk, I leave you with Carl Sandburg’s “Dreams in the Dusk.”

Dreams in the dusk,
Only dreams closing the day
And with the day’s close going back
To the gray things, the dark things,
The far, deep things of dreamland.

Dreams, only dreams in the dusk,
Only the old remembered pictures
Of lost days when the day’s loss
Wrote in tears the heart’s loss.

Tears and loss and broken dreams
May find your heart at dusk.

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Roses are Real…

Last week I shared the story of getting caught in the rain on the way home.  Here is a little photo story of the rose garden I came upon right before the rain began.

20130614-R1-01504-0019

20130614-R1-01504-0020

20130614-R1-01504-0021

20130614-R1-01504-0022

20130614-R1-01504-0029

20130614-R1-01504-0023

20130614-R1-01504-0024

20130614-R1-01504-0026

20130614-R1-01504-0018

20130614-R1-01504-0027

20130614-R1-01504-0028

20130614-R1-01504-0030

20130614-R1-01504-0031

20130614-R1-01504-0032

20130614-R1-01504-0033

I believe my discovery of this beautiful rose garden goes nicely with Bikeyface’s idea that riding a bike is a great way to connect with the real world.

Happy Biking!

Tagged , , , ,

Summer Rain

photo

photo1

photo2

photo3

I was rained on during my bike commute today, and I did not mind at all.

Heading home, I took a different route than usual and soon happened upon a garden.  I pulled over to walk the paths and enjoy the thousands of roses.  As I said goodbye to the flowers and set out toward the lakefront trail for my 7-mile ride home, rain started falling.  I briefly considered ducking into a cafe, but the heady smell of fresh summer rain urged me on.  While tourists and beach-goers hustled for cover, I cycled on with a smile.

The shower was short-lived and by the time I got home, my light summer dress had completely dried.  No rain gear necessary.

Tagged , , , , ,

Blur

Some words of summer (and stuff) from the poet Andrew Hudgins.

Storms of perfume lift from honeysuckle,
lilac, clover—and drift across the threshold,
outside reclaiming inside as its home.
Warm days whirl in a bright unnumberable blur,
a cup—a grail brimmed with delirium
and humbling boredom both. I was a boy,
I thought I’d always be a boy, pell—mell,
mean, and gaily murderous one moment
as I decapitated daises with a stick,
then overcome with summer’s opium,
numb—slumberous. I thought I’d always be a boy,
each day its own millennium, each
one thousand years of daylight ending in
the night watch, summer’s pervigilium,
which I could never keep because by sunset
I was an old man. I was Methuselah,
the oldest man in the holy book. I drowsed.
I nodded, slept—and without my watching, the world,
whose permanence I doubted, returned again,
bluebell and blue jay, speedwell and cardinal
still there when the light swept back,
and so was I, which I had also doubted.
I understood with horror then with joy,
dubious and luminous joy: it simply spins.
It doesn’t need my feet to make it turn.
It doesn’t even need my eyes to watch it,
and I, though a latecomer to its surface, I’d
be leaving early. It was my duty to stay awake
and sing if I could keep my mind on singing,
not extinction, as blurred green summer, lifted
to its apex, succumbed to gravity and fell
to autumn, Ilium, and ashes. In joy
we are our own uncomprehending mourners,
and more than joy I longed for understanding
and more than understanding I longed for joy.

-Andrew Hudgins

20130606-R1-01481-0020

20130606-R1-01481-0033

20130606-R1-01481-0026

20130606-R1-01481-0021

20130606-R1-01481-0025

20130606-R1-01481-0029

20130606-R1-01481-0032

Tagged , , ,

Bike Detour

Yesterday evening I was at Millennium Park in downtown Chicago for an outdoor concert – an event that signals for me the beginning of summer.  The park is near Lake Michigan and usually a quick ride through a garden brings me to the Lakefront Trail for my ride home.  However, last night I was greeted by this construction site where the garden used to be.

P1030295resized

Yikes – I hope they are constructing an even more beautiful garden!

Fortunately, the city set up bike detour signs to guide me along an alternate route.  This turned out to be a fun mini-adventure because I never knew of this path.

P1030298resized

The path followed the Chicago River…

P1030303resized

…with a fancy tunnel to cross under Lakeshore Drive

P1030306resized

P1030307resized

P1030308resized

…which brought me to a bridge over the river

P1030314resized

…and led me to the Lakefront Trail.

P1030316resized

P1030318resized

P1030320resized

As I biked up the trail, the sun finished setting.

P1030321resized

I ended my journey home on neighborhood streets.

P1030323resized

If I wanted to get all deep, I could take this as a reminder that what may at first seem like an imposition could turn out to be an opportunity to try something new.

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Perfect Bicycling Days

As I tweeted earlier, today was absolutely the most beautiful day of the year so far to bike in Chicago.  Simply perfect.  Light wind, warm air, calm water, blue skies, gentle sun, and a hint of a chill to prevent sweating.  It doesn’t get better than this.  On such days, I am super grateful for my bike, which allows me to spend a lot of time outside just going to and from work.

00 presized

photo_3resized

photoresized

photo_4resized

photo_1resized

In addition to biking, fishing is a popular activity on a day like today, as demonstrated above.

I wish all of you similarly perfect bicycling days.  :-)

 

 

 

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Fashion Friday: Spring Scarves

I have a fun new accessory for spring: a beautiful vintage silk scarf that Trisha brought me from her recent trip to Italy.

I used to associate silk scarves with my elderly Sunday school teacher from childhood, but Trisha wears scarves with such effortless chic, I realize now how stylish they can be.  I drew inspiration from Trisha yesterday morning when deciding what to wear.  The Italian scarf called out to me and allowed me to wear an all-black ensemble without veering into Lydia territory.

Lydia-beetlejuice-the-movie-893230_450_384

20130502-P1030188

The 80 degree weather from Wednesday dropped dramatically to the 40’s, so it was back to tights and long sleeves for me.  A silk scarf is lovely for warmer weather with a chill in the air.  It’s also fun for bicycling, I learned.  With the bright scarf whipping in the wind behind me, I felt a bit ooh la la.

20130502-P1030187

Like a toned-down version of this.  :-)

hermes

When I got to work, I pulled myself together by slicking back my hair, taming my scarf and throwing on heels that live under my desk.  As demonstrated with this very classy bathroom photo.

20130502-photo

Now I want to seek out more silk scarves.  Lucky for me, they can be found a dime a dozen (almost) at thrift stores.  Highly recommended for the civilized transportation bicyclist!  (Just be sure the scarf is not too long – don’t want it catching on anything while cycling.)

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Warm Weather Excitement!

After a very long winter/early spring, truly warm weather has finally come to Chicago.  Yesterday was a whopping 85 degrees!

Bicycling in warm weather feels so different from bicycling in the freezing or even chilly weather.  Over the past 6 (7…8…?) months, I’d forgotten how it felt.  And there are lots and lots of other bicyclists out there, all of a sudden.  Love it!

20130430-P1030171

I picked out my lightest silk skirt and blouse to celebrate the occasion.  I retired my black, winter Bern helmet for my happy, pale pink Nutcase helmet.  (Unfortunately, I had a sweaty helmet hair situation by the time I returned home in the evening, as shown above.)  I also pulled out my fingerless gloves, which I wear in warm weather to prevent discomfort from sweaty palms rubbing against cork grips, as well as to absorb some of the road shock.

That’s about it!  Just happy to share my warm weather excitement.  :-)

P.S.  I’m really enjoying reading everyone’s personal take on the issue in the comments of yesterday’s post, Women, Bicycling and Makeup.  Reader Bettina in Germany posted her perspective on her blog, Books, Bikes, and Food (hey, three of my favorite things!).

Tagged , , , , , , , ,
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 39 other followers