Category Archives: Uncategorized

Bicycling to Swan Lake

On Sunday, I biked downtown to see the Joffrey Ballet in a gorgeous performance of Swan Lake.  Bicycling is certainly the most civilized way to travel, I decided, while listening to my Tchaikovsky ballet album on my iPod and sailing along the lakefront trail in the sunshine.

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Of course, I am no stranger to bicycling to the ballet:

Bicycling to the Ballet 

Paris Opera Ballet Picnic 

20 Miles in a Dress and Heels

The Bike Date

And one of my favorite non-bike related posts, Simplicity lessons from a 95-year-old ballet dancer.

 

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A morning moment in Grant Park

Daily I bike past this area of Grant Park.  On Friday morning, I “saw” it for the first time.  

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The autumn canopy was a perfect spot to rest with Betty Foy for a moment and appreciate life.

Cool Interlude

As much as I adore the warm and vibrant colors associated with fall (burnt oranges, reds and yellows), the cool and steely serenity of Lake Michigan in the fall is a sight to behold.
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A perfect start to the day.

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Springtime Dusk

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City life doesn’t get any better than this, especially on a workday.  All thanks to my bicycle.

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Nashville spring biking

 

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You guys, it is spring in Nashville–finally. I’ve been going on rides and walks and making spring-y cupcakes.

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And sunday, April 13, we’re having a bike brunch! Meet at Yeast Nashville at 11:15 for food–then at around noon, we’ll head out for a ride through Shelby Bottoms. More details here.

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Hope to see you there!

Divvy Update

Divvy is a real part of Chicago culture now.

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The majority of Chicago’s Divvy bike share stations are now installed.  The map below shows the active stations in blue and the planned stations in yellow.

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This means that there is a Divvy station a couple of blocks from anywhere I want to go.  I’ve been taking advantage of this at least once or twice a week.  The routine is simple: walk up to a Divvy bike, check the tires (only once have I found a flat tire), throw my bag in the front rack, adjust the seat to my height and release the bike with my key fob.

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Then I’m off, happily biking to my destination!

 

Happy birthday, Dottie

The world got much more awesome on the day Dot was born. And so did my life when we met some 25 years later!

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Cheers to a friend who is kind but assertive; smart and thoughtful, but never afraid to be goofy; and a true artistic talent who lets us see the world through her eyes in her photos.

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Speaking of her ability to master new things—did I mention that her latest enthusiasm is learning Serbian? A skill that was much appreciated by the Balkan community at large as well as her travel companion. :)

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So, Живели, Dottie! Can’t wait to raise a glass with you in person in a couple of weeks.

If you are wondering

Why the blog has been a bit quiet–we’ve been on vacation! Look for a full report soon–in the meantime, any guesses where we’ve been? ;)

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Divvy! Divvy! Divvy!

Divvy bikes are taking over Chicago!  On Wednesday, I had plans with my friend Sara for dinner and a movie after work.  Just that morning, I saw a brand new Divvy station near my home and before heading out to meet Sara, I realized that  I could easily Divvy the whole night long.

There’s the starting Divvy station:

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The Divvy station across the street from the restaurant:

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And the Divvy station a block from the movie theater:

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Here’s Sara with her Divvy-colored Pashley.  :-)

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And coming full circle at the end of the night, I returned my Divvy.

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I’m excited as new stations continue to pop up daily.

Chicago is doing Divvy so right!

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Divvy Bike Share to the Rescue!

On Friday, I attended the Pitchfork Music Festival in Union Park west of downtown Chicago.      Instead of biking there, I planned to hop on the bus afterward, which would take me straight home.  Obviously, I’m not too familiar with the massive crowds associated with music festivals, my plan to “hop on the bus” being hopelessly naive.

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All started well, but then the final show of the day – Bjork! – abruptly ended early, due to an approaching storm.  Everyone had to leave en masse.  I was part of a huge crowd crawling toward the exit, and by the time I got out, there was a mass of people lined up for the bus and a bottleneck up to the L station.  I decided to walk north in hopes of finding a cab or an alternate bus route and made it a few blocks before the storm arrived, complete with thunder, lightening and a torrential downpour.  Along with other festival wanderers, I took shelter in a 7-11, cursing the situation.

That’s when I decided to pull out my iPhone and check the Divvy app for nearby stations.  Bingo – a station a little less than a mile up the road.  Happy to have a plan, I marched outside and into the pouring rain.  I was already soaked, so no big deal.  Finally coming upon the Divvy station was like finding an oasis in the desert.

photo-2Although I had not used Divvy before, getting my bike was a breeze.  I marched up to the nearest bike, checked the tires and brakes quickly, used my member key fob to release the bike, and adjusted the seat.
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Then I was off!  I started on the bike lane right next to the station, then soon turned off on a quiet neighborhood street.  I was happy to see a bright front light flash as I pedaled, making me feel visible in the night.

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The ride was so lovely, cruising through the quiet, dark, stormy night, leaving behind the chaos of the music festival crowds.  A big, goofy smile plastered my face the whole time.

There is not yet a Divvy station near my home, so I biked to the station closest to my home and adjacent to the Brown Line, which took a bit less than 30 minutes.  Here I am, looking bedraggled but feeling triumphant at the end of my ride.

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I easily docked the bike and then jumped on the L, which took me the final couple of miles home.

This was a beautiful first experience to have with Divvy.  I desperately needed a way home and Divvy answered the call.  The only improvement would have been for Divvy to take me straight from the festival to home.  I hope the hundreds of other planned stations will open soon!

 

 

Lakefront

Today is a beautiful day for a bike ride.

Happy Friday!

New look for LGRAB

So you’ve probably noticed our new look (including a new homepage!). We’re still making a few tweaks, but overall we are very pleased with this theme from the fabulous BluChic. The support and features are totally awesome and worlds above that of our previous theme. </end nerdy WordPress commentary>

Let us know what you think in the comments!

 

Dinner and Bikes

Elly Blue of Taking the Lane has been traveling across the midwest recently, on a tour for her new project, Dinner and Bikes, with Joshua Ploeg, Joe Biel and Aaron Cynic.

Dinner & Bikes is a month-long tour of the central and northeastern U.S. in May, 2013. Our events bring people together to eat delicious food and get inspired about bicycle transportation.

A Dinner and Bikes evening includes a gourmet, vegan and gluten-free buffet dinner prepared by Joshua Ploeg, a presentation about transportation equity and the everyday bicycling movement by Elly Blue, and a near-complete excerpt from Aftermass, Joe Biel’s forthcoming documentary about the history of bicycling in Portland. The event is followed by a book signing with all three presenters, and some time to peruse our traveling bicycle and cooking themed bookshop.

The tour’s final stop will be in Chicago on Tuesday, June 4, at Heritage Bikes (they’re in Milwaukee tonight).

If you missed the tour, you can still get in on the bikes and food action with the Culinary Cyclist cookbook project on Kickstarter that Elly put together with Anna Brones.

Bright and Clear Winter Biking

What a gorgeous day in Chicago yesterday!  The clear blue sky made the air feel clean and fresh, despite the city pollution.  There was no better way to experience the beauty than on a bicycle.

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I biked to work on Betty Foy, flying along, soaking in the sun (through my SPF 46), jamming to PJ Harvey, and wearing my happy red coat.

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photo_4resizedI also wore my new Chloe boots, a gift from the second-hand shopping gods.  I stayed up late the night before reconditioning and waterproofing the buttery leather and they are good to go.

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During the day, the temperature climbed to the 30’s and after the ride home, I was actually sweating in my (second-hand) cashmere and wool.

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This is the kind of winter bicycling I can get used to.  Winter is not all doom and gloom!

(As I type this, I hope everyone in the Northeast is recovering from the blizzard – yikes!)

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January’s Women Who Bike Brunch

On Sunday morning, our group of awesome women got together for some brunching.  :-)

I must give a special “thank you!” to the new restaurant, Southport and Irving, which was especially welcoming (see that looong table below? that’s all us on a busy morning) and served delicious food (duck confit with caramelized onions, scallions, duck fat potatoes, poached eggs and mustard sauce – I had to hold myself back from licking the plate).

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(The duck confit was gone before I got to my camera, so here is a photo of my tea bag.)

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I was so distracted by eating, I failed to get photos documenting everyone who was there.  I managed to capture only a few stragglers.  :-)

Chika! looking so fab in orange.

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Sara with her sparkly gold helmet, blue Pashley, and orange Chika.

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Sarah rocking the fur hat.

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Her front rack is conveniently equipped with a bottle opener!

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Rachel just moved to Chicago from Atlanta and brought this amazing cat helmet with her (kids’ section at Target!).

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I threw on jeans, boots, and a trench.  Forgot my earmuffs but lucky for my poor ears, I did not have far to bike.

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The outside of Southport and Irving (located, perhaps not surprisingly, at Southport and Irving).

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Interested in joining our brunch group?  You should be!  We’re friendly, smart, and fun – if I may ring our own bell.  We love new people.  Email me at LGRAB@letsgorideabike.com to be included on the evites.

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Kirsten Dunst Rides a Bike!

Kirsten Dunst stars in some of my favorite films: Virgin Suicides, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Marie Antoinette, and Melancholia.  I’m also a fan of her personal style.  Naturally, I was excited to stumble upon these photos of her riding a bike.

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{photos via pinterest}

Looks like she’s in NYC?  I wonder if she cycles with some regularity.

This photo has me daydreaming of summer…

See also,

Kerri Russell Rides a Bike!

Rachel McAdams Rides a Bike!

Adele Rides a Bike!

Famke Janssen Rides a Bike!

Ellen Page Rides a Bike!

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Happy Holidays!

I hope you all are having a lovely holiday season!

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I’ll be back to work (and bicycling and probably blogging) the day after Christmas.

{Photo from this post last year}

Philip Larkin’s Fall

Mother, Summer, I

by Philip Larkin

My mother, who hates thunder storms,
Holds up each summer day and shakes
It out suspiciously, lest swarms
Of grape-dark clouds are lurking there;
But when the August weather breaks
And rains begin, and brittle frost
Sharpens the bird-abandoned air,
Her worried summer look is lost,

And I her son, though summer-born
And summer-loving, none the less
Am easier when the leaves are gone
Too often summer days appear
Emblems of perfect happiness
I can’t confront: I must await
A time less bold, less rich, less clear:
An autumn more appropriate.

{see also, Emily Dickinson’s fall}

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Out of Line

While I continue with yoga class every morning to improve my alignment, Oma’s alignment has gotten way out of whack.

No, it has nothing to do with stuffing her pannier full of Chipotle and wine.  One unfortunate event caused her current crooked state.  On Sunday, I stood Oma up on a grassy area in the park.  Due to rain the night before, the ground was saturated and soon Oma toppled and fell on her side with a crash.  I think this was the first time she has ever fallen like that, since her double-footed kickstand is super heavy-duty.

I picked her up, dusted her off, and went on with my business.  But later while biking home, I noticed a problem after about a mile.  (Obviously, I am not very observant.)

See how the handlebars are squared to the front, but the wheel is tilted to the right?

And how the wheel is pointing straight to the front, but the handlebars are off to the side?

Yeah, that’s not good.

And this morning I noticed that my pedals are out of alignment.  The right side is pushed way in and the left side is sticking way out.

Funny enough, Oma continues to ride pretty normally.  Knowing me, I could continue riding her like this for at least a year or two, but I’m determined to fix this problem in a respectable timeframe.

But this is not like when Betty Foy falls and knocks her fenders out of line – that’s a problem I can fix easily and quickly. Oma’s solidness is a double-edged sword.  She refuses to budge from this new position.  I attempted in vain today to kick the pedals and push the handlebars back in line.  I suppose I will enlist Mr. Dottie’s help in the morning or just drop Oma off at the bike doctor in the afternoon.

Has your bike ever gotten out of line?   If so, how did you fix it?

{Please pardon the puns and gratuitous use of my camera’s tilt-shift feature.  A nerdy girl’s gotta have her fun.}

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