Category Archives: Uncategorized

LGRAB Summer Games: Players and Prizes, Pt. 2

As I announced yesterday, every day this week through Friday, we will be posting a round-up of LGRAB 2011 Summer Games players and announcing the lucky prize winners. Winners will be randomly drawn from the entire pool of players.

Here is your Wednesday dose of bikey inspiration…

Melissa – She read Bicycle Diaries by David Byrne (“Once I got past his somewhat patronizing tone, I thought it was a pretty insightful book.” – ha!), stopped to smell the flowers with her vintage Bridgestone, test rode a Townie (which may be part of her future?), and enjoyed commuting to her new job in Denver for the first time.

Melissa and her bike Smurfette smelled the flowers


Melissa made the Townie look goooood :)

Stacy – Completed many of the tasks with her family. They talked to their orthodontist about bike parking after having to lock to his sign (he’d been meaning to install a rack), took many pictures of summer bike commuting, began oiling their chains weekly, and rode the heck out of the only bike path in Huntington. She also test rode a neighbor’s bike while her husband test rode a Cannondale 5 and she read Duck on a Bike to a class of toddlers (start ‘em young!).

Stacy made the Games a family affair


Stacy made the most of her bike summer!

Andrea – Tried out the Bixi bikeshare system in Montreal, took a picture of summer, and went on a group ride with Toronto Bike Meet-up. She also requested more bike parking using the city’s online form and performed maintenance tasks (cleaned the chain, pumped the tires, adjusted the bell).

Andrea rocked a red dress on a group ride

Andrea Bixi-ed

Chris – After getting back into biking when his 12-year-old son found an old road bike in their garage last year, he’s been teaching basic bike maintenance to his son by repacking bearings, replacing cables, tubes, tires, handlebar tape and installing a bike computer. They also went on a group ride for his son’s Boy Scouts Bicycling Merit Badge and generally roamed the city and outlying trails together. Fun!

Chris went on a group ride for his son's Boy Scouts Bicycling Merit Badge!


Chris's son enjoyed a greenway ride

Highlands Veteran – Sent us a summer photo from day one of the super group ride, RAGBRAI!

Highlands Vet rode RAGBRAI

Becca – Read a book about cycling, Urban Biker’s Tricks and Tips (“Since I have been commuting to work off and on for about 4 years, I’d taught myself these tricks, but I am glad I read the book so I can feel confident to recommend it to new riders who are scared.”)

Becca confirmed her knowledge by reading about tips and tricks for urban cyclists

Jaclyn – Got the idea to start her own blog through the Games – awesome! She posted a review of a book about biking (The Art of Cycling), test rode a new bike (a Trek trike!), emailed Walgreens to request more bike parking (I need to do that, too!), and rode her new Dutch bike to work.

Jaclyn commuted in style


Jaclyn test rode a trike

So wonderful, everyone! All of the bikey awesomeness really warms my heart. :)

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Today we are giving away the Abus Bordo lock from Abus.

The Abus Bordo lock is a flexible lock that folds up small, while offering a medium-high level of protection.

And the winner is…

Sara B. who blogs at With Love From Sara. Congrats! We have not yet gotten to the overview of her challenges, but you can read about them firsthand here.

We are also giving away Scarlet-X Tech Knickers from Harlot Wear and athletic sunglasses from the Sunglasses Shop.

Scarlet-X Tech Knickers are women’s bicycling knickers made of breathable stretch fabric with a water-repellent finish and a soft anti-odor lining, made with a stylish cut and reflective piping. The Sunglasses Shop sunglasses sport large, tough frames.

And the winner is…

Lowrah, who blogs at Grease Rag Ride and Wrench in Minneapolis. Grease Rag’s mission is to encourage and empower women/ trans/ femme (WTF) cyclists in a collaborative and fun learning environment through rides, discussions, shop nights and educational seminars in a safer space. (Love!)

If you did not win yet, keep checking daily, because we still have several great prizes to give away.

Sad News in Chicago

I am back in Chicago, which a few days in extremely loud and crowded Manhattan made me really appreciate.  Sadly, I learned of several upsetting bicycle crashes that occurred in Chicago in my absence.

A 25-year-old woman was struck and killed by a truck while riding her bike in the Loop. According to the news report, she fell under the truck at a stop light and did not have time to get up before the light turned green. Also, two women I personally know were injured in car-bike incidents, one being Martha of Bike Fancy, which she posted about here. Martha also posted about another young woman who was hit by a left-turning car and seriously injured.

I hear about drivers of motor vehicles having serious collisions in the city every day – I know bicycling is not more dangerous, especially when considering not only my own safety but the safety of other road users.  But hearing about bicycle collisions hits too close to home.  I feel for the family of the woman who died and I hope everyone else recovers quickly.

I don’t like it when people tell me to “be careful out there.”  I’m always careful out there – I have to be – and if anything happens to me while bicycling, it will very likely be caused by a driver’s carelessness, so maybe people should tell all the drivers they know to “be careful out there.”

So I will not tell you to be careful out there, but I want to acknowledge that sometimes bad stuff happens and I hope it never happens to any of you.

Fan-tastic

This is a post about a fan.  F-A-N.  Other corny title options: #1 Fan, Office Fan-tasy, Fan-cy Pants.  So feel lucky you got the title you got.

As I’ve mentioned before, Chicago summers can be brutally hot.  At least for a few weeks.  Long enough to make me miss winter a little bit.

During those hot weeks, I wear gym-type clothes during my commute (not that I ever step foot in a gym, but you know what I mean).  I sweat a lot, so wearing proper work clothes is a bad idea.

summer heat commuting outfit

When I get to the office, I change into my skirts and suits.  Until last month, I had to use an Action Wipe or something similar to cool down with before changing.

That’s before I got my fan.

A colleague, who happens to work for facilities, noticed me fanning myself with a sad piece of paper after arriving to work and later magically appeared with a sleek floor fan.

sorta like this one

Since then, the fan has been stationed next to my desk. I turn it on first thing in the morning. After 3 minutes in front of the fan, I am 95% better, no action wipe needed. It’s pretty amazing. And then 15 minutes later the fan is off and I’m wrapped in my pashmina because the air conditioning in the building is so cold.

How do you cool down in the summer? Anyone else discover the power of the fan?

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Summer Treats

As the heatwave continues, I find it’s a good idea to treat myself on the way home every now and then. Keeps morale up.

My usual indulgence is a stop at the grocery store for a cold six-pack or a pint of Ben & Jerry’s (Americone Dream!), but recently I kicked it up a notch. Mr. Dottie and I met at a French bistro for dinner on our way home from work in the middle of the week. Dripping with sweat and hauling our panniers and helmets, we were too excited about the delicious aromas to care whether we fit in with the other patrons.

Here was my reward for biking through a heat wave. Bread, butter and a lillet blonde – parfait! :)

Additional rewards: mussels in white wine, coq au vin, creme brulee. Hells yeah. That certainly gave me the motivation to make it through another sweaty bike commute.

I hope you’re treating yourself! And don’t forget to drink lots of beer water to stay hydrated! ;)

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ATTN: Betty Foys in the DC area?

If you know someone who owns a Rivendell Betty Foy in the DC/Northern VA area, please respond here.  There is an obviously stolen “antique” Betty Foy being offered for sale.  If I did not live 700 miles away, I would rescue it myself.

Please pass this message on.

July’s Critical Lass Ride

With the temperature at 97 degrees last Thursday, I thought the Critical Lass turnout would be dismal.

Well, look how wrong I was!  A little blazing sun isn’t enough to keep a lass from her bike.

A few beat-the-heat tips from the lasses:

1) Play in water fountain.

2) Eat an ice cream sandwich, preferable from from an ice cream trike.

3) Grab a pop of yellow to rival the sun.

4) Adorn your bike with cute accessories, just because.

With all the above summer essentials covered, the group set out for the 6-mile slow ride.

Unfortunately, Ms. Chicargobike had a pedal that stubbornly insisted on falling off her awesome new trike, so the two of us left the group to stop by Rapid Transit Cycle Shop.  Once the pedal was secured, we had our own duo lass ride to the destination bar, where we met up with everyone else.

Despite the obstacles, it was a delightful evening.

Women of Chicago looking for a fun time: join Critical Lass the third Thursday of every month starting at the Polish Triangle!

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Tour de Fat Comes to Chicago

On Saturday, I went to New Belgium’s Tour de Fat festival during its one-day stop in Chicago. For those who are not familiar with the Tour, it’s basically a gloriously goofy celebration of bike culture and craft beer. It also raises money for bike non-profits local to each city – the highly deserving West Town Bikes for Chicago.

My festival story must begin with this sneaker bike. Yup, sneaker bike, a beautifully grotesque creature. Too much fun, right? Yeah, because after doing one lap around the ring, I wiped out spectacularly (kinda like that guy in the background). Totally worth it.

That was after Megan and I tried and failed to ride an extremely odd tandem – if you could even call it that.

I wasn’t the only one checking out the franken-bikes. Ash and Rico also took their turns.

Later at the main stage, there was a slow bike race. As in, whoever gets to the finish line last without stopping wins.  I think Coco and I could have been real contenders, but she was too lazy to try.

Apparently, she has nothing to prove. Instead we drank beer served to us by Stephanie (thanks!).

Jami twisted amazing balloon creations (not as deviously as she looks in this photo).

And others wore them very chicly.

Mr. Dottie posed for a rare photo.

Finally, a group of us headed to nearby Lula Cafe for lunch and drinks, which was the perfect way to end a hot day.

The Tour de Fat is always lots of fun, plus it’s an unusual and inexpensive way to spend the day outdoors while benefiting deserving non-profits. Highly recommended!

I plan to be there again next year, just like I was last year and the year before.

Check to see if the Tour de Fat is coming to your area. If so, you should put it on your calendar!

Stay tuned for Trisha’s story of the Nashville Tour de Fat next week!

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Big biking weekend in Nashville

Two bike events are happening in Nashville this weekend that you should know about.

First of all, New Belgium is bringing the Tour de Fat here for the first time on Saturday, July 9. The event benefits Walk/Bike Nashville and Soundforest, and Kermit Allegra and I will be marshals, so come on out. You totally want to see my costume (OK, I haven’t planned it yet, but that just means it will be even MORE awesomely random, right?). Things get started around 9 and the 5-mile, leisurely ride kicks off at 10. Kegs are tapped at 11.

Then on Sunday, July 10, I’m planning a bicycle brunch. If you ride your bike in Nashville, or if you want to start riding your bike in Nashville, come on out and meet others who do! We’re meeting at ChaChah on Belmont Blvd at 10:30.

Will you be at either event? Both? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

 

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Happy Independence Day!

I will be in North Carolina visiting family for the week, leaving Trisha to hold down the LGRAB fort. I hope everyone enjoys the long weekend!

Guest Post: Bike Commuting as a New Challenge

This is the first post in a new “novice” guest series. The idea is to get fresh perspectives on riding a bike from people who are relatively new to transportation cycling.

As I noted last month, my stories on bike commuting now come from a somewhat more experienced/jaded perspective. If no drivers do anything too terrible, it’s a great commute for me. So now and then we will ask novice bike commuters to share their thoughts from their unique perspectives.

If you are new to cycling, maybe you could more easily relate to the guest posts. If you’re a battle ax like me and Trisha, you could reminisce on the olden days.

This first guest post comes from Stephanie, whom I met through my Women-Who-Bike group. She recently biked all the way into the Loop (center of downtown Chicago) for the first time to attend the Bike to Work Day rally and confessed that the experience was rather terrifying. Although she works in the Loop, typically she bikes only the first half of her commute and then take the L train into the Loop – not because of the distance, but to avoid the insane traffic and stressed drivers that can make biking in the Loop, well, terrifying. I love this! It’s a great reminder that bike commuting should be enjoyable.

Stephanie on Bike to Work Day

Stephanie discusses this and so much more in her smart and eloquent own words below. I hope you take the time to read through and continue the discussion in the comments.

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From Stephanie

I’m the kind of person who likes a new challenge, even if it’s scary or seems impossible at first. I have taken on all kinds of small adventures in the last five or six years, mostly physical challenges for myself. I don’t do things for competitive purposes, (I get too frustrated in competition!) but just to push my own physical ability and comfort levels and to keep myself busy. One year I took boxing classes, another year I took up olympic-style weightlifting (under the watchful supervision of a good coach), one year I took up yoga, and yet another year I trained for and ran a race for charity. I’ve learned a ton from all these things, and I have kept a lot of these activities in my exercise repertoire. This year, as it turns out, bike commuting was my new adventure!

The experience of learning to bike commute has made me think a lot about what keeps us from trying new things, and what the real and imagined barriers to new adventures can be. There were definitely barriers for me in commuting by bike; I learned to ride a bike like most of us do, as a kid in the driveway at home. Then, once again like many of us, I set my bike aside sometime in middle school and really didn’t look back. Until I was in my mid-20’s I didn’t touch a bike again, and when I did I started very, very small, just biking once in a blue moon for fun or short errands.

One of the barriers that kept me off a bike for so long was structural; until grad school I lived in a suburb, where biking was not really a practical transportation method, and there was no particular bike culture that I was exposed to at the time. When everything is massively spread out and the infrastructure is actively bike-unfriendly, it’s hard to start. Moving to a city (better environment) and getting rid of my car (removed temptation to drive) helped me with that. You can’t always change structural barriers like that, though.

But the mental barriers were actually much bigger. The reasons in my head for not biking (or not running a race, or not trying yoga) can grow way out of proportion to their real significance! For one thing, it felt strange to return to biking after somewhat internalizing the attitude that you find in many suburban environments that biking is for children. It’s not taken seriously as a transportation option, and the planning and design of suburban communities just exacerbates that by making biking uninviting and unsafe. It took a lot of time for me to think of biking as an option for a grown-up person.

Similarly, it was hard to feel safe and comfortable biking, even in the rather bike-friendly cities I’ve lived in for the past five years. I can relate to people who express fear about traffic, and accidents, and crashing- these are rational fears! But not even trying to bike is an overreacting response, I think. My solution to my own anxiety about safety was to start super slowly and get very familiar with my surroundings and routes. When I know all the potholes and sharp corners and badly timed lights in my way, I feel less nervous about bad things happening. I also stop at every red light and follow traffic rules as religiously as I can.

Intimidation is another mental barrier. It’s easy to be intimidated or overwhelmed by the culture of an activity. Do you see spandex and Lance Armstrong when you think of biking? Or do you see your neighbor or your mom or your first-grade teacher? Like with any activity, you don’t have to be super-intense or single-minded about biking or even bike commuting to do it and have fun. It’s something regular people with busy lives can do, and you can do it as much or as little as feels comfortable. I think people often look at new things and don’t try them because the commitment seems so huge; time, or money, or energy.

I got past this barrier by giving myself permission to take small steps. One thing that really helped me learn to bike commute was not trying to do everything all at once. By that I mean that I biked part of my commute at first, and took the train for part of it. It may sound super simple and obvious, but it took me a little while to realize that you don’t have to bike the entire way to work to try it and have fun! It’s not cheating, because there are no rules about how you have to do this. The ability to gradually work on my confidence in this way was really important for me- I think I needed to learn how to bike to work in steps, just like you have to learn in steps how to do a complicated yoga pose, for example.

I also think lacking role models is a mental barrier for lots of people. If you don’t know anyone who does something, it’s a lot harder to envision yourself doing it. I firmly believe that having friends and advisors who know more than you and are happy to help you makes a huge difference in adopting any new activity. When I first got the idea to start biking, I scraped together some money and some courage and headed out to the Community Cycling Center on Alberta Street in Portland (http://www.communitycyclingcenter.org/), where the most friendly people helped me get set up with my refurbished Specialized Crossroads. I asked them all the stupid questions I had, I got them to teach me to do basic maintenance on my bike and fix a flat and all that stuff. I was lucky, they were great and unpretentious- but a bad experience with bike repair or sales people can intimidate and discourage someone out of the idea of biking altogether. This really does make a difference.

Connected to the role model issue is the problem of not having social ties to an activity. If you can make something social, and make friends while doing it, you’ll have more fun! The friendships you make in a weight room at a good gym are a great example- when someone else is cheering you on or complimenting your lifting, it feels awesome and is very encouraging. In Chicago with biking, I have had the great luck of meeting other women my age who bike, and who are excited about biking, and are also just really nice people. It makes a huge difference to find people who seem basically just like you, except they participate in this activity- it’s fun and you see that you can do it too. Dottie is definitely one of these people- without her encouragement I would have been much less likely to try biking to work (all the way to the South Loop from Roscoe Village!) this year for the first time.

So, I overcame these barriers and did my full commute by bike on June 17, and it was great. But I am not going to be out bike commuting every single day now; some days I’m tired, or it’s raining (or snowing!), or I just feel like taking the train and reading a book on my way to work. And even when I do bike, the partway ride is often more manageable for me- it takes less preparation, and doesn’t involve riding in the loop. And that’s okay! I am having a lot of fun biking, I am getting another kind of physical movement into my day, which is great, and I accomplished something new. I hope that this little story helps someone else overcome their own barriers to trying biking or some other new activity!

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Thanks, Stephanie!

I love the idea of learning how to bike commute in steps. This kind of thinking could help so many people start riding because it makes the whole idea less overwhelming. Even though I have been bike commuting for three years, I’m always trying to think of new ways to make it less stressful.

Is anyone else just starting out with bike commuting? Have you tried learning how to bike commute in steps? Does this remind anyone of how they felt in the olden days? :)

Biking for a better world: Erica Charis

Earlier this month I received an email from Victoria, whom longtime readers of LGRAB probably remember from Victoria’s Ride and her stop in Nashville a couple of Octobers ago. Entitled “Why I Suck at Fundraising,” the email explained that Victoria usually does something big or not at all (not a real surprise coming from someone who biked alone cross-country). “In the face of huge social ills and incurable diseases, I feel pretty powerless,” she admitted. “Since I can’t solve it all on my own, or even have much influence at all in the grand scheme of things, I’ve always chosen to just not do anything.” But she’s decided to change this by participating in two bicycle fund-raising activities this summer, thanks to her friend Erica Charis. The first is Tread on Trafficking, which benefits Love146, an organization that aims to prevent child trafficking around the world.  Participants pledge to complete a certain amount of physical activity between May 1 and June 30—anything from pogo-sticking to running to biking. The second is The Seacoast Safari,  a more traditional 2-day 150-mile ride to benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Erica Charis celebrates at the end of a long ride

The email struck a chord with me, and I wanted to know more about the friend who changed Victoria’s opinion on fundraising rides. Turns out Erica participated in Tread on Trafficking last year, pledging to ride 600 miles in a two-month period despite being a novice cyclist. It wasn’t long ago that she “would ride my Bianchi the 3.5 miles to Alewife Station and be so dead tired from my efforts that I would take the bus home, leaving my poor “Millie” locked at the train station until the next fair weather day.” This year, she is doubling her mileage to 1200—and has recruited 13 other riders to join her, including Victoria.

“What I’ve taken on is tough–and that’s on purpose,” Erica writes in a Facebook note. “Because what I’m asking others to do in return–part with some money is a risky financial climate and hope & trust that the good it will do in someone else’s life is greater than the good it could do it your own–is also tough.  So I guess that’s my wish for all of us this week and in those to come: may we all feel rich enough to give it all away and see great things happen because of it.”

If you, like me, are a small-stepper who hopes take a big step one day, donate to Victoria and Erica’s efforts today. The deadline to contribute is June 30. As a team, they are still $5000 away from their goal. Maybe LGRAB readers can help put them over the top?

Learn more about Tread on Trafficking
Support Victoria & Erica and the rest of the Boston Task Force team! Deadline to donate: Thursday, June 30

Learn more about the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
Support Erica’s Seacoast Safari Ride (before July 18)
Support Victoria’s Seacoast Safari Ride (before July 18)

 

 

Summer Joyriding Plans

So far this summer, I have been riding my bike about the same amount as during the winter.  That is to say – a lot.  I bike to work daily, of course, and to get anywhere else I need to go.  But I need to start joyriding, now that I can stay outside for longer than an hour without turning into a dotsicle.  :)

Me on a mini-joyride to Humboldt Park

I need to create a plan to enjoy the great outdoors with my bike during the next two months of warm weather.  I definitely want to go camping again, like last year. And I’ve always wanted to take the long ride to the Chicago botanic gardens.

Any other ideas?  What joyrides have you taken in the past and what do you have planned for this summer?

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Bill Cunningham New York by Bike

On Wednesday I met up with friend Sara by bike for al fresco dining – sushi and champagne (love BYOB restaurants!). After dinner, we loaded up on cheap candy at the drug store and then went to the Music Box Theater to watch Bill Cunningham New York.





Bill Cunningham is a film photographer for the NY Times who rides his bike everywhere, documenting street style. He is an eccentric, in most ways true to himself and down-to-earth. Not at all a fashion industry type of person. The portrait of him was fascinating, funny and touching. When the film ended, I felt like clapping – and everyone in the audience did, so I did, too! It was that kind of movie. Highly recommended.

Has anyone else seen this or other good bike-related films lately?

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Brooke’s Betty Foy (because she’s worth it!)

Reader and cyclist Brooke contacted me back in February for advice on building up a Rivendell Betty Foy. Always happy to help, I dumped a whole slew of opinions on her (which one day I will post, since I have a lot of specific thoughts on component options for the Betty Foy) and this month I heard back from her that she received her beautiful Betty Foy. For your enjoyment and information, here are her photos and a bit more about her Betty Foy story.

Brooke and her new Rivendell Betty Foy

My hubby and I decided we wanted to bring more bike love and less car reliance to our family. The plan was to sell one of our cars, and get our family on bikes more – for errands, commuting, short joy rides, and hopefully some bike camping. I needed a bike I could truly enjoy riding on my own and with one of my kids on the back. In my search I came across Dottie’s blog. Oh Betty Foy! It was love at first site (and at first read of the description) – but I thought I didn’t deserve such a fancy bike. I hadn’t commuted by bike since the kids were born. It seemed a huge leap to go from an old Fuji Finest to such a specimen. But the more I researched, the more I felt that Rivendell’s Betty Foy best met my desires for a comfortable, yet hill and rain capable commuting and (potentially) touring bicycle. I convinced myself in February that I was worth it. After a very long wait, she’s finally here. Thank you Dottie for the inspiration!

Some specs:

Tires: Creme Grand Bois Hetres (so lovely!)
Wheels: Velocity Dyads
Fenders: VO fluted
Rear derailleur: Shimano Deore LX
Brakes: Long reach Tektro R556
Shifters: Shimano Barends (front der. friction, rear der. indexed)
Kickstand: Massload double (super stable for loading a kid on to the bike)
Red valve caps and cable crimps (okay, not a spec, but big love for the little things)

Starting her young

Thank you for sharing your experience with us, Brooke. I am so happy you decided that you are indeed worth it! We here at LGRAB wish you and your Betty the very best! :)

Oma Back in Action

I am happy to announce that Oma is back in action.  After leaving her in the garage with studded tires for 2.5 months while running around with my other bikes, I finally did the honorable thing and spruced her up for summer. Now I’ve been riding her all week.  Many thanks to the fine fellows at Dutch Bike Chicago who did all the work for me.  :)

Speaking of Dutch Bike, they moved to a new location this week, from Lincoln Park to Wicker Park at 2010 W Pierce. If you’re in the neighborhood, stop by and say hello.

Women in Technology

Obvious alert: LGRAB has a new look. What do you think? Dot & I have been working on this one in fits and starts all year, and there’s likely to be a few more tweaks to come, but we’re pretty happy with our take on the Suffusion theme.

Blooming Bicyclists

If anyone got tired of me talking about snow during winter, prepare to get tired of me talking about flowers now. :) Seriously, check out these magnolias! How can this not make you happy?




Other than the severe allergies I’m suffering from, my bike commutes have been lovely. Today was the first bona fide hot day of the year. Bare legs, short sleeves and I still sweated. How novel.

Another novelty was the large number of bicyclists accompanying me. Yesterday at a stop light (North & Wells) I counted 12 of us. We are taking over. Very cool.

Bicyclists are blooming like flowers in Chicago! How about where you live?

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A Skirt for Public Transportation

As Chicago experiences the rainiest April in 50 years, my thunderstorm-averse and frankly unmotivated self has been taking the L train this week. A colleague yesterday asked if my bike was okay because she saw me walking.

I’m determined to bike tomorrow no matter what (probably) because I’m going stir crazy. In the meantime, I’m taking advantage of this rare public transportation time to wear the few outfits I have that simply do not work on a bike, which usually sit untouched in the back of my closet.

For example, this skirt I wore today that does not allow me to lift my leg any higher than shown below.

Normally, I would not buy a skirt that constricts my ability to cycle, but I made an exception for this mint condition Marni skirt from Salvation Army for $2. Yeah, that’s like $798 off retail price! Looking at this photo, I realize that the entire outfit is thrifted, except the bamboo tights from Trisha.

In other news, the cherry blossoms still have not bloomed in Chicago, which so far is one month later than last year. All these April showers better bring some May flowers!!!!

And finally, happy, happy, happy birthday to our very own Trisha! I’m saving the big b-day post until after I document whatever trouble we get in together this weekend, but for now here is a beautiful flashback to T’s birthday party last year.

Smashing, love!

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We {heart} Knitting Lemonade’s Chic Bicycle Crafts

We gotta give a shout out to Kara of Knitting Lemonade for all the crafty bicycle goodness she has on her site this month.

You may remember that I met her by chance at Dutch Bike Co last year when she visited Chicago from Salt Lake City. She then guest blogged about the trials of finding a bicycle to fit taller ladies.

Kara with her Pashley, cape and bunting

Lately, Kara has been creating some fabulous bicycle accessories and sharing her work on her blog. She shows how to make a lovely basket bunting and how to make a super chic riding cape, both of which she test rode on her Pashley.

Bonus: she also found nail polish that matches her Betty Foy!

Craft on, ride on!

{Photo from Knitting Lemonade}

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A New-Old Bike

Last Sunday I went with my friend Whitney to take  a look at a vintage bike.

After a few saddle and stem adjustments, this 1972 Raleigh 3-speed was a perfect fit—a lighter, sportier complement to Whitney’s Jamis that should be able to cope with Nashville’s hills. This was my first time seeing/riding a Raleigh and I was amazed at how light and quick it was.

Whitney and her Raleigh

We celebrated with a brief vintage bike ride — brief because of intermittent rain and looming evening plans. Raleigh and Le Peug were a good match! Probably because they’re about the same age.

Vintage bike buddies

In other vintage bike news, I’ve suddenly become obsessed with getting an Ideale saddle for Le Peug. They seem to be very hard to come by—anyone have any tips?

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