This week has been a blur of bike commuting with buddies (Elizabeth and Mr. Dottie) and awkwardly working winter gear back into my routine. Waking up to temperatures in the 30′s and 40′s, I’ve been putting more thought into my layering strategy. The goal is to stay warm but not overdress.
I have not been a “bike commuter” for the past two months, merely a girl who rides her bike everywhere. On Monday I started a new job (nothing exciting – a 3 week contract attorney position) and rejoined thehardyranks.
Wet vintage dress, necklace made by Melissa (thanks!), messy garage
Fall weather in Chicago this year has been up and down, with brief periods of sun amid days of cold rain. Today we seized upon one of the warm and dry periods to enjoy a ride up the lakefront. A lot of Chicagoans had the same idea, so we detoured off the crowded main trail to amble through secondary dirt paths.
Brrr, there is a chill in the air now. Chicago temperatures are hovering around the 30′s and 40′s. Tights, boots, wool socks and wool sweaters are serving me well thus far. My heavy duty gloves from last year are wrecked, so I ordered these goose down gore-tex mittens and silk glove liners. Hope they do the trick this winter.
Below is a typical outfit for this weather, except I took off my Ibex wool sweater (a present from Mr. Dottie) to show my pretty dress (a present from Trisha).
Friday’s cocktail party ride took place on the coldest night of the season (in the 30′s) after a day full of rain. A great group of stalwarts showed up – a mix of old and new bike friends – and the result was an alternating cold and cozy ride. I love cold weather because then you get to warm up afterward!
In the interest of full disclosure, I must show that my cycling lifestyle is not all red bows and ruffled dresses. Sometimes there is cold rain, and then I pull out the jeans, sneakers, and trench coat. The worst part of riding in the rain for me is the sound of car tires as they speed by: WHOOOSH! Louder and more intimidating than usual. Better than staying inside, though, and the Wicker Park thrift stores beckoned.
As some of you requested, we will have a full “how to” on riding in the rain. Look for it in the next week or two.
Welcome, Autumn! This is my favorite season with the best cycling weather.
Fall cycling: light jacket and tights
Incomprehensibly, when summer ends bike commuters begin dropping off as if they were flies and the crisp autumn air were infused with Raid. I’ll never understand why so many people think the best days to cycle are the insufferably hot ones. In light of this phenomenon, we’d like to discuss how to keep on cycling in the fall. The main trick is using light layers to combat the chill that you can remove easily if your body warms up. I am writing this from my point of view cycling in Chicago. If you live in an area with mild weather, consider this your how to dress in winter advice, or pick-and-choose what works for you.
My friend Jeremy is planning his wedding and wants to ride off afterward with his new bride on their tandem bicycle. They have a very cool set-up where they commute to work together 20 miles on their drop bar tandem, so they are experienced tandem riders (in fact, they have a whole blog about tandem cycling, Honking in Traffic). The problem is how to secure her wedding dress to prevent it from getting wound up in the drivetrain.
Extra complication: there’s a chain on both sides in the stoker’s position, drivetrain on the right, timing chain on the left. Alas, the tandem is not equipped with chain- and wheel-guards and step-through frames…
This is the first part of a four-part series on vintage style. In part two, Trisha will discuss her vintage style and share some of the best places to find vintage items online. Part three will provide tips for buying vintage bicycles and the pros and cons of ownership. Finally, part four will profile a founder of a vintage shop who gets around the city on her vintage trike.
Why are we devoting a series to vintage style on a bicycle blog? Vintage style and bicycling have a lot in common! They are both sustainable, budget conscious, individual and fun. It’s no wonder so many bicyclists—including Trisha and me—gravitate toward vintage and thrifted fashion.