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.
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. :-)
As you may have noticed, I enjoy wearing skirts and dresses, which means that I often cycle in skirts and dresses. Last summer, I posted about cycling in a long dress on a bike with a chainguard and soon made a part II video on a “regular” bike with no chainguard. In both cases, I was wearing ankle length dresses and had to be careful that the hem would not catch in the chain.
Recently, I found myself wanting to wear a new long(ish) skirt on my regular bike. This skirt stops about 6 inches above my ankle. I thought I would have to gather the skirt to keep it from the chain and back wheel, but discovered that the skirt hem stayed far from those danger zones once I’m up on the saddle.
I made a quick video to demonstrate how easy bicycling in this long skirt can be – no special accessories or preparation needed.
The other day, I wore a full pleated skirt to work, one I had worn while bicycling many times in the past with no problem. I must have been riding Betty Foy and not Oma those previous times (like here), because this time the skirt kept ballooning up with wind and blowing back. While the slightly leaned-forward positioning of Betty Foy causes the wind to push skirts down more securely against my thighs, Oma’s laid-back positioning can have the opposite effect.
For a while, I biked one-handed while using the other hand to hold down the skirt, but even that was not enough to tame it. Eventually I pulled over, grabbed a ponytail holder from my bag, and tied up one side of my skirt, which worked, although it was wrinkled afterward.
I was really annoyed by this situation at the time. I know there are lots of people (both bicyclists and non-bicyclists) who think bicycling in a skirt is silly, and I probably looked like Exhibit No. 1 in support of their opinion out there, but I know that bicycling in a skirt is perfectly reasonable. I do it all the time without incident and never have to worry about changing at my destination.
I should not care what others think, but I am cognizant of being a rarity out there and I want to represent well the idea of everyday bicycling.
In the end, the solution was easy enough – fast, effective and free – and I will simply make a mental note of this particular skirt’s limitations.
This is a post where I get to use our “a-holes” tag.
Yesterday morning, during the portion of my commute where I have to use a busy road, I approached an intersection (Wells & Division) with the green light and I kept a sharp eye on opposite traffic to make sure no one turned left in my path. That is a common occurrence because drivers either don’t pay attention or think they are fast enough to dart through, so I’m always looking out for it.
I entered the intersection and the opposite driver, who had a clear view of me, began to turn left at the same time without warning. I started breaking, but I wasn’t sure if I could stop in time, so I called out, “Don’t go! Don’t go!” I’m loud and his window was open, so he stopped and as I went by a split second later, he yelled out his window, “Then hurry up, Asshole!”
Can you believe that? Crazy times!
But I will continue to use my outside voice when necessary to ensure my safety. By the time I arrived at work, I was mostly zen about it, telling myself that he must be a miserable person, whereas I only had to deal with him for a few seconds.
I did stop at the store afterward to buy this amazing Icelandic chocolate bar before going to work. Chocolate is my friend.
And it helped that I had the witty banter of Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me whispering in my right ear.
You may have noticed that I was a bit bundled up. With temps in the low 40′s, biking in a suit sans sweat is no problem, and now I have to add earmuffs, a scarf, wool tights and gloves. Not just any gloves – my fingers get very cold, so I had to break out these huge Thinsulate reindeer gloves. They’re so silly looking, they make me laugh.
Mean drivers, cold weather, whatever.
I will still be out there, enjoying my bike rides.
The delightful, crisp fall weather has turned into lots of rain and somber grey skies. The past five days have been pretty crappy, weather-wise. I took the L because of the rain on Monday and that experience reminded me that riding a bike is always more enjoyable, even if in the rain.
An upside of fall, regardless of the exact weather conditions, continues to be seasonal clothing. I’ve been enjoying all my tweed and wool and – yes – velvet. Very librarian chic. LC of Naturally Cycling: Manchester recently talked about how she likes to dress to match the season. I find that I do the same, preferring pinks and yellows for spring, browns and oranges for fall.
When bike sites talk about dressing for the weather, they usually focus on technical aspects, such as specialty raincoats and balaclavas. (We have ourfairshare, of course.) I prefer to think of dressing for the weather in this more fun way. The common sense stuff comes naturally – for example, I’m about to throw a rain trench over my burnt orange sweater and tweed skirt for my wet ride this morning. That will do just fine. :)
On Monday (hooray for holiday weekends) I rode a few miles, set up my blanket under a big tree by the lake, laid out my spread of fizzy drink and fresh berries, and read a novel for a couple of hours. Although the local news warned that because of the 90 degree temps everyone should stay in the air conditioning (sigh) the day was beautiful in the shade with the legendary Chicago wind keeping things cool.
The gorgeous location, so private and quiet, was amazing for a city as big as Chicago. The city has so many lovely spots for those who put forth the small effort to find them.
This is going down as an event for the Summer Games, go on a picnic by bicycle. Bicycle picnic was the first event I came up with when Trisha and I started planning the Games. I’m excited that it’s finally come around and I hope others take the opportunity to have a bicycle picnic of their own