Is biking to see an automotive exhibit the ultimate in cognitive dissonance? Don’t ask me; I was an English major. Anyway. Whitney and I did just that a couple of Thursdays ago, for the members-only preview of Sensuous Steel: Art Deco Automobiles.
I tried to wait out the woman in the background, but no dice.
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.
On Sunday, I enjoyed a joy ride with my friend Maria, since we were both far from our mothers. The weather was a bit chilly – in the mid 40′s – but the sun was shining and it’s mid-May, for goodness sake, so I wore a happy spring outfit and threw on hose to keep my legs warm.
We biked down the lakefront trail and stopped to watch a sailboat race and enjoy some mimosas. You can see our location on the tip of the harbor from my iPhone GPS below.
After drinks, we decided to bike to the theater to see The Great Gatsby in 3D (two thumbs up!). We wanted to avoid weekend traffic, so we chose to weave our way through the inner lakefront trail and neighborhood streets to get there. I don’t think I’ve ever talked about the inner lakefront trail before. The inner trail is a path that runs parallel to the lakefront trail for a couple miles through Lincoln Park. The inner path is unpaved in many areas and is not plowed in the winter, but it’s generally a good option to escape the crowds or the winds by the lake, as long as you are not in a rush.
I filmed a bit of the joy ride to share here. Enjoy!
So Friday was Park(ing) Day, a day when cities around the country take over parking spots and turn them into urban parks. When my friend Whitney said she was volunteering at the one downtown, I immediately begged to tag along with her for her 7-10 pm shift. Our ride downtown was pretty pleasant, featuring Minnie Pearl impersonators outside the Country Music Hall of Fame:
Minnie Pearl lives, in Nashville anyway!
Blocked-off streets due to a downtown music festival (no problem for bikes!):
The Flik sadly contemplates the dusty remants of an ancient civillization
No green stuff, but lots of traffic!
I guess Nashville can’t give up a parking spot for more than a few hours? I won’t lie, we were pretty annoyed—especially Whitney, who had volunteered her time and was not contacted about the event ending early.
We salvaged the evening with a progressive ride to the Nashville Night Market, dinner at Silo in Germantown and a beer at the Taproom.
Anyone have a more positive Park(ing) Day experience than I did? Hope so.
Last night a few of us in Nashville met up for some hot chicken & beer at Hattie B’s in Midtown. YUM.
For those of you who haven’t had hot chicken, this Nashville delicacy is unique among foods. The spice mix is dry, not wet like hot wings, and though the exact formulas used in places like Prince’s & Bolton’s are top-secret, any fool can tell it’s cayenne-based. The chicken is served on a slice of white bread with a few pickle chips. Purists eat it without dipping sauce, but I learned last night that hot chicken and honey is the absolute best! The honey calms the heat without muting the flavors.
The remnants of my hot chicken
Lauren and I went for the second-hottest spice level (Hattie B’s offers mild, medium, hot! and damn hot!), and it was more manageable than I feared—in fact, it wasn’t too much hotter than Jessica and Sten’s “medium” chicken. I’d say the heat levels here are more mainstream than they are at either Prince’s or Bolton’s, if any locals are curious.
Jessica, Sten & Lauren
Whitney & me
Whitney’s bike with a Basil flower garland on the back
The Flik sat next to me
As is pretty much par for the course here in Nashville, there was some huge live music event going on. Whatever it was, it was going on behind Chuy’s (Loser’s?) and we could hear it all the way where we were.
After dinner, Lauren, Whitney and I hit Pinkberry.
Bikes parked by Pinkberry
Then I led them astray for just one more drink at the Broadway Brewhouse, where no photos were taken but fun was had.
If you’re a city cyclist in Nashville and want to come to our next happy hour or brunch, please join our Google Group. We’d love to have you! I often post about other bike-related events in Nashville there, too—things that don’t necessarily appear on the blog.
I love how getting home at the end of the day can become extraordinary simply by bicycling with friends. After this week’s Tuesdays on the Terrace event at the Museum of Contemporary Art, I biked home along the lakefront with my friends Sara and Holly. At 8:30, the sun was setting, creating beautiful colors in both the sky and water. Sara had the idea to stop along the way and venture to the edge of a pier for a beautiful view of the city.
Sara with her blue Pashley Poppy:
Holly with her green vintage bike:
Me with my Rivendell Betty Foy:
We took a bunch of photos and engaged in some general silliness:
Sara said she felt like it was one of those long summer nights of childhood, when the streetlights have come on but you’re not ready to go home home and go inside yet.
I totally knew what she was talking about. Riding bikes with friends on a late summer evening is the best.
On Sunday, Mr. Dottie and I biked to a friend’s home for brunch in Woodlawn, a neighborhood on the southside of Chicago. The total roundtrip was 31 miles. The Lakefront Trail conveniently took us almost straight there, allowing for a beautiful and car-free ride. As you can see, the weather was absolutely perfect! The sky was blue, the lake bluer, and the sun shining. Days like this, I really treasure living in Chicago.
Because poor Betty Foy needs a tune-up desperately, I rode the Civia Twin City that I’ll be reviewing soon. For the haul, I swapped in my personal Brooks saddle and slipped on padded bike shorts under my skirt.
Although I enjoy going for long bike rides, I usually need a destination to motivate me. My daily 9 miles of commuting prepares me pretty well for longer hauls, but I admit that my legs were tired while finishing the ride in a strong headwind. That’s when you really know you’re alive, right? :)
Have any of you commuters broken free for a long ride lately?
Yesterday after work, I rode over to the season’s first installment of the 12South Farmer’s Market. Since my CSA deliveries start next week (yay!) I wasn’t after produce, but I couldn’t pass up grabbing one of my favorite juices from Juice Nashville. Worth every penny!
The market was jam-packed.
Sadly, so were the (two) parking lots, and the streets for about two blocks on either side.
I did see a few bikes, like this sweet Raleigh Sprite and its pal.
And of course, Kermit Allegra was there.
The dearth of bike parking could have been a factor, but it seems odd that more people—most of whom I assume live in the neighborhood, which is one of the city’s most walkable/bikeable—wouldn’t consider an alternate mode of transportation to a farmer’s market. Made me want to start quizzing people about how they got there and why they chose that method.
Is there a farmer’s market in your neck of the woods? How do you get there?
During Trisha’s recent visit, our time at the Nature Museum was only the beginning of our day enjoying Chicago’s culture by bike. After saying goodbye to the birds and butterflies, we continued riding south along the Lakefront Trail to downtown. Our destination was the Art Institute, Chicago’s great art museum.
After a few hours, our minds began to turn from art to relaxing. We met up with Sara and her new pastel blue Pashley Poppy that she bought from Boulevard Bikes. After commuting daily on a Jamis Commuter for a long time, she certainly deserved the upgrade!
The drinks were overpriced and the atmosphere a little obnoxious, but the views of downtown were cool.
After drinks and dinner, we added Mr. Dottie to our group and headed to Goodman Theatre to see The Iceman Cometh, starring Nathan Lane and Brian Dennehy. The play was interesting to think about afterward and also very long, 4.5 hours.
We ended up biking back home together through the relatively empty city streets at midnight. In my opinion, the best way to end a full and engaging day.
Wherever you live, remember to take the time to explore and enjoy your area’s culture.