Tag Archives: events

A How-To Guide and Bike Events

~For people seeking tips on bike commuting~

My friend, Maria, of PoCampo put together a nifty guide for National Bike Month on how to bike to work safely and arrive looking presentable.

Screen shot 2013-05-06

I recommend that you check it out and – most importantly! – forward it on to anyone who may be interested in bike commuting.  Spread the bike love!  :-)

~For Chicagoans looking for fun ways to connect with other bicyclists in the area~

This Thursday, in collaboration with local bike advocacy brewers Spiteful Brewing and local bike-coffee shop Heritage Bicycles, Chicago’s Ride of Silence (organized by my friend Elizabeth) is hosting a pre-Ride Tribute Event to raise awareness of the Ride of Silence and bike safety.  Come to Heritage Bikes on Thursday to chat and enjoy beer from 6-9 pm.   The Ride of Silence is on May 15 this year.

On Sunday, PoCampo is leading a leisurely Mother’s Day ride along the lakefront in Chicago.  I’ll be there!  The ride will start at 11 a.m. with mimosas & juice at Cricket Hill (Montrose & Lakefront) and continue south to the free Spring Flower Show at Lincoln Park Conservatory. Feel free to bring the whole family!

Hope to see some of you there!

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Blues Brothers in Wrigley Field

On Friday,  I saw a special outdoor showing of Blues Brothers at Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs.  This was my first time watching the iconic Chicago movie and there was no better opportunity to do so, as the setting was dramatic and the audience was absolutely enthusiastic.  Although the temperature reached a high of 100 degrees that day, I was happy to take my seat in the bleachers, knowing the sun would soon set.

The ride to Wrigley Field was quick and there was ample bike parking right outside the stadium.  We were glad to avoid the expensive nightmare that is car parking.

Chika on the left also biked there, from several miles away.  I thought she took the L train, judging by her miraculously fresh appearance, complete with a skirt and pearls.  Sara on the right simply walked to the stadium.

Here is my favorite bit of the movie:

Elwood: It’s 106 miles to Chicago, we got a full tank of gas, a half a pack of cigarettes, it’s dark and we’re wearing sunglasses.

Jake: Hit it.

Speaking of wearing sunglasses in the dark, just before the movie began, we in the audience broke the Guinness Book record for the most people wearing sunglasses in the dark at once. Yes, apparently, there is a Guinness Book record for pretty much everything!

This was one of those perfect Chicago nights that make me so happy to live and bike in this city.

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Class: The Lady and the Bike!

Attention Chicagoans!  This Tuesday, June 5, 6:30-7:30, I will be teaching a class, The Lady and the Bike, at Next Door community center at 659 W. Diversey.  This class is part of the Chainlink Bike Semester and is totally FREE.

There is so much information to share in one hour and I’m sure people will have lots of questions, so I’ll be hitting a nearby bar afterward for anyone who would like to continue the conversation.

Right now I am still working on my presentation.  (Well, not right now, obviously right now I’m procrastinating by blogging.)   I will use photos to illustrate several of my points, which means I’ve been looking through my archives all morning.  I came across a series of photos that shows the challenges I face when taking timed self-portraits.  I have to wind the timer on my old film camera and then run in place before it goes off.  As you can see, I do not always make it.

…and, finally made it!

Looking back at these pictures 1.5 years later is pretty funny.  Thus concludes this exciting behind-the-scenes look at the making of LGRAB.  :)

Hope to see some of you Chicagoans on Tuesday!

The next class in the Chainlink Bike Semester is Racing 101 on June 19 -taught by a woman!

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October’s Brunch and the Urban Adventure League

Today I developed a long-forgotten roll of B&W film and discovered the pictures from October’s women-who-bike brunch.  If anyone was wondering why I never blogged about October’s brunch, that’s why.

Enjoy.  :)

At this brunch we had special guests from Portland: April and Shawn from the Urban Adventure League.  They were at the end of a long bike tour that took them from Portland through Vancouver, Montana, Minnesota and finally Chicago.  Shawn is also the writer of the comic Ten Foot Rule, among other publications.

The women-who-bike group makes special exceptions for men who are visiting from out of town, especially if they biked.  :)

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May’s Critical Lass Ride

I missed the past couple of Critical Lass rides, so I was happy to catch up with the group for May’s ride.  Coolest bicycling group in Chicago, for sure, including a couple of baby-bicyclists.  We started in Roscoe Village and enjoyed a leisurely ride through Lakeview and Lincoln Park, ending at a Mexican restaurant for margaritas.

Many thanks to our fearless leader Ash, pictured first below.

We got rained on a little during the ride, but hail and lightening waited until we were safely at the restaurant and finished by the time we departed for our rides home.  The goddesses were on our side.

Join or keep up with Chicago’s Critical Lass Rides on Facebook.

 

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Winter Group Rides – Critical Lass

Chicago’s monthly Critical Lass ride continues on, even in the dark cold!

Usually I avoid winter group rides because biking for a long time at slow speeds in freezing temps is a great way to freeze my extremities off.

The ladies behind Critical Lass understand these problems and have adjusted the winter rides accordingly. For the next few months, the ride will be short (3-4 miles) and end at neighborhood bars that are close to home for as many of the lasses as possible.

This plan worked perfectly for December’s ride. A hardy group of 16 lasses showed up and spent much more time drinking pitchers of beer in a cozy pub than pedaling in the cold.

To stay up-to-date on the different dates and locations for Chicago’s Critical Lass ride, check out the Facebook page.

What do you think about winter group rides? Have you been on one this year?

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December’s women-who-bike brunch

On Sunday, Chicago’s lovely bike ladies got together for the final brunch of 2011. The weather in Chicago is unseasonably mild and I was able to get by without a coat, wearing a sweater dress ($2 from Salvation Army!) and glittery Cynthia Rowley tights (a gift from Trisha last Christmas).

About 15 of us met at The Southern in Bucktown and boy was it good!

I had to get the fried chicken, biscuits and gravy (hey, I’m from North Carolina!).  There was enough left over for yummy dinners on Sunday and Monday.

Martha seems to be taking her benedict seriously in this photo, but she liked it.  And Ash her donuts.  :)

For real, these cinnamon donuts with fruit and coffee dipping sauce looked amazing.

After a leisurely meal, we headed outside for our usual bike talk.

Maria, Samantha and Seri showed off their wintery white helmets.

Jen, Ash and Holly modeled their oh-so-lovely jackets.  ;)

Catherine made a strong case for purple and green together.

Martha’s bright red scarf and Samantha’s neon yellow gloves were great pops of color (visibility!) next to their black coats.

And check out Martha’s new Yakkay helmet cover.  Swoon!

April and Holly brought some spring colors into the mix.  (Stay tuned for a full review of April’s raincoat coming later this week.)

So cheerful on a grey winter day!

I think I managed to get everyone’s photo this time except Stef and Carrie, so I’m posting these that I took at prior gatherings. (A bit underdressed for December, aren’t we, ladies? :) )

After brunch and bike talk, some of us headed to the nearby Renegade Craft Fair Holiday Market.  A perfect Sunday morning!

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the lovely ladies for coming together every month.  I feel like our group is really something special and I’m so grateful for the friends I’ve made.

Cheers to an excellent 2011!

{Are you a Chicagoan who wants to join our fabulous group?  New women are always welcome!  Email me at LGRAB@letsgorideabike.com.}

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November’s women-who-bike brunch

The Women-Who-Bike group has been coming together for brunch every month for over a year now.  November’s brunch was number 13.  There were 20 of us, a great mix of regulars and new faces, plus Trisha.  I was especially excited to have a group of teenage girls and their mentors from West Town Bike’s Girls Bike Club.   (Much more about them in a future post!)

I was so busy eating and gabbing, I managed to take pictures of only a few of the women, so this is merely a sampling of the awesomeness.  :)

I must give thanks to Bleeding Heart Bakery and Cafe on Chicago Avenue.  Even though they don’t take reservations, they accommodated our large group, plus the food was delicious and our waitress was super sweet.

If you are in Chicago and interested in joining us for brunch, we meet on the first Sunday of the month.  Email me at LGRAB [at] letsgorideabike.com to get on the mailing list for the details.
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September’s women-who-bike brunch

Those of us who were not out of town for the Labor Day weekend met up for our monthly brunch on September 4. We enjoyed the back patio at bike-friendly Handlebar Bar & Grill, a group favorite. The weather was perfect and we savored what may have been our last outdoor brunch for 7 or 8 months.

Megan and her Bianci

Cute shoes and Road ID

Sara and her Jamis

Cute bike flower

Stefanie and her vintage roadbike

Jennifer and her vintage Raleigh

Me and Oma

I love hanging out with this cool group of women! We meet for brunch the first Sunday of the month and for happy hour whenever. If you’d like to join us, email me at LGRAB@letsgorideabike.com.

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Cargo Bike Roll Call – Tonight

Tonight is the first Cargo Bike Roll Call in Chicago.

What is a cargo bike roll call? I like this description from Steve Vance: “Think of the Cargo Bike Roll Call as a lowrider or antique car show. Those with cargo bikes and cargo-carrying schemes will “pop the hood” and show it off. Everyone else can gawk and chat!”

All are welcome, with or without a cargo bike. Bring yourself, your bike, your friends and family, to West Town Bikes from 6-9 PM for cargo bike gawking, socializing, and drinks and snacks.

Read more about the event or cargo bikes in general here.

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Riding Chicago’s Four Star Bike Tour

Last Sunday I rode the Four Star Bike Tour, a massive group ride organized by and benefitting the Active Transportation Alliance. I chose the 35-mile route through the west and south sides of Chicago and my total mileage for the day was a little over 50.

Betty Foy at Promontory Point

I enjoyed the ride a lot. The crowd was too packed together at the beginning and after rest stops, but most of the time I was alone or with a small group. Sunday morning traffic was light and we had the roads mostly to ourselves. The route was pretty easy to follow and I saw many parts of the city for the first time.

The view from Promontory Point

I wore my one sporty bicycling outfit – a wool jersey and padded shorts from Ibex. Although I hate the diaper feeling off the bike, the outfit was super comfortable for the ride and I was happy to have the padding.

A sporty thumbs up

My outfit

I enjoyed bicycling for the sake of bicycling, not as transportation, but I kept wanting to stop places, especially in Hyde Park, like my favorite bookstore or the place with the best croissants. I was determined to stick to the task at hand and ride a straight 35 miles, so I resisted temptation.

Except for a quick detour to Promontory Point for some photos.

Enjoying a quick break

Betty did a great job

I’ve never biked more than 60 miles at a time and rarely more than 10. I was happy to find that my regular daily riding was enough “training” for this longer ride. I even pushed myself to go quite fast, relative to my usual speed, the last several miles because I still felt so good. My legs were tired by the end, but in a healthy way, and my muscles were not sore the next day.

Participating in the Four Star has inspired me to spend some of my Sundays waking up early and going for long bike rides. I mean, not this Sunday, but maybe next? Definitely next year at the 2012 Four Star. :)

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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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July Women-who-bike Brunch

July’s women-who-bike brunch in Chicago on Sunday was a lovely little affair.  (I believe most of our ladies were resting up after the annual overnight L.A.T.E. Ride.)  We set up a picnic on the banks of a river just off a recreational bike path.  Everyone brought a little something to share and there were lots of fresh berries, homemade pastries, and refreshing spiked drinks.


The weather was a bit hot and there was a flat tire at the end, but nothing that the ladies could not handle.

It was so lovely to meet new people and to see familiar faces!

Are you in Chicago and interested in joining us?  Email me at LGRAB [at] letsgorideabike.com.  All women-who-bike (or are-considering-biking) are welcome!

More events coming up:

  • Women-who-bike Happy Hour: July 20, 6:00, Blue Line Lounge
  • Tour de Fat: This Saturday, July 16, Palmer Square
  • Seersucker Social: This Sunday, July 17, 1:00, Streetside Bar
  • Critical Lass: Thursday, July 21, 6 pm, Polish Triangle

Hope to see you there!

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A Delicious Cupcake Ride!

Ride to eat cupcakes, eat cupcakes to ride.

On Saturday, that’s exactly what a celebratory group of 18 bicyclists did, navigating 8 miles to visit 3 bakeries and consume countless cupcakes.  All in the best summer finery, of course.

After setting off from Wicker Park, we stopped first at Alliance Bakery, my personal favorite of the day.  Such delicious and beautiful confections!

The group got a little sidetracked by a very pink sidewalk sale at a boutique next door…

But we soon got back to serious cupcake business.

Next we biked through Wicker Park and Bucktown and across the river to Roscoe Village for our second stop, Bleeding Heart.

There we visited with a bicyclist who would have joined us for the ride, if she had not had to work at the bakery that day.  Hi!  :)

We took a break at a park across the street, as we began to realize that eating more than one cupcake in a row can be quite a challenge.

Then after riding through Roscoe Village, Lakeview and Lincoln Park, we arrived at our final bakery, Sweet Mandy B’s.  A final round of cupcakes was ordered, because we’re hardcore like that.

Finally, we parked ourselves at the beautiful rose garden in nearby Oz Park for a picnic of … cupcakes!  And champagne!  A lovely combination.

Merci Beaucoup to my partner in crime, Sara.  I literally could not have done it on my own, without her enthusiasm and route-mapping skillz.  And mucho gracias to our adorable yet badass corker, Ash.

Thanks to everyone who came out!  You’re all awesome!

What kind of ride should we do next?  Perhaps some gelato and ice cream?  Perhaps!

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June Critical Lass – all lasses welcome!

Chicago’s second Critical Lass ride rolled out last Thursday, this time with a group of nearly 30. Like the inaugural ride in May, the ride was so much fun. I love it!

As you can see in my photos below, it’s a women’s ride, plain and simple. All lasses are welcome! I guarantee you will be greeted by the friendliest group of women in Chicago.

(Saying goodbye to mom)










Chatting with others and riding side-by-side was easy due to the super calm route.  After about an hour, we ended at a bar in Logan Square, where I stayed for a couple of hours, enjoying beer and buffalo wing specials.

The next Critical Lass ride is July 21 – always the third Thursday of the month, starting at the Polish Triangle. I hope to see even more lasses there next time! :)

I bow down, once again, to our amazing leader Ash.

p.s. You can read about Edmonton’s June Critical Lass ride via Loop Frame Love and Girls and Bicycles.

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Join the Cupcake Ride!

Mark your calendar! Together with Sara of This Little Bike of Mine, I will be leading a cupcake ride this Saturday, June 25, at 1:00 p.m.

The ride will be a leisurely 6-7 miles, starting at the Polish Triangle and ending at Oz Park.

We plan on visiting 3 bakeries – Alliance, Bleeding Heart, and Sweet Mandy B’s. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to eat 3 cupcakes (although Sara and I are up for the challenge!). You can always share with a friend. We’ll be stopping in a couple of parks to enjoy our treats so feel free to bring a blanket if you prefer.

The dress code is “cupcakesque.” Ruffles and pastels encouraged. :) Per usual, any ladies-who-bike are welcome! We hope to see you Saturday!

*In the chance of rain we will announce an alternate date.

{p.s. Inspired by the lovelies at Bike Skirt.}

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Chicago Bike Fashion Show – Tonight

My Prada heels on wheels

In celebration of the end of winter cycling and the 14th Annual Bike Winter Art Show, join Chicago’s bicycling community for the closing night party and fashion show. I will be there taking Coco down the (hopefully brief) runway. In addition to the bike fashion show, there will be drinks, a DJ and a performance by the BMX bike dance troupe The Racketeers.

The event will be at the Chicago Urban Art Center in Pilsen, following Critical Mass. More info here.

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December’s women-who-bike brunch

Samantha, Kate, Megan, Martha, Lauren, Sara, Sarah

Eight women braved the streets after Saturday’s snow storm and rode to the second women-who-bike brunch at Handlebar in Wicker Park. After brunch we headed en masse to the Renegade Holiday Craft Fair, where we bumped into a couple of women separately who were familiar with the brunch event (Megan and Kristine, hope to see you next time).

How does one dress for winter cycling in Chicago? With style!

Megan

Sarah and Lauren

Samantha

Kate and Sara

Martha

The group was a mix of experienced and new winter riders. While the temperature has not dropped to wintry depths yet, if anyone road a bike this weekend in Chicago, that person now knows what winter riding is like.

One of the attendees, Lauren, said, “I think I have officially convinced myself that winter biking isn’t all that bad — especially when a delightful brunch is the destination.” That’s what I like to hear!

Chicago snow

The next brunch will be Sunday, January 9, and thereafter on the first Sunday of the month. If you would like to be included, email LGRAB [at] letsgorideabike [dot] com. If you’re not in Chicago, considering organizing a get-together in your town.

p.s. Don’t forget to check out Bike Fancy, the new Chicago fashionable cycling blog. Martha, the photographer, is part of the brunch crew and some attendees may be showing up there in the future.

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Women-who-bike brunch

My inaugural women-who-bike brunch took place on Sunday. The focus was on enjoying good food and even better company, while bikes took a backseat as a tool for transportation and for connecting us all in the first place. To this end, a dozen awesome women rode their bikes without ceremony, in their regular clothes, and proceeded to chat for three fun hours. Here is but a sampling of the awesomeness that ensued.

Women who bike - photo by Martha Williams

Rebecca! of Active Trans

Emily! of Po Campo

Samantha! of Ding Ding Let's Ride

Martha! of Bike Fancy

Janet and Patty

The group checks out Po Campo prototypes

Me - photo taken by Martha Williams with my film camera

Are you a woman in the Chicago area who would like to join us in the future? Email me at LGRAB [at] letsgorideabike [dot] com. If you’ve sent me your email before but did not get the message about the brunch, please re-send. I might have indadvertedly left some people out.

I must sound like a broken record but women who bike are pretty much without fail smart, fun and cool. :)

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Cocktail Party Ride! and other bike events

There are so many fun Chicago bike events coming up, they definitely deserve their own post. Calendars ready? Here we go…

  • Tuesday, November 9 – Bike Fashion panel hosted by the Chicago Cycling Club at the Active Trans office. 6:30-8:00 p.m. I will be a panelist.
  • Sunday, November 14 – LGRAB’s Third Chicago Cocktail Party Ride! Co-hosted by John Greenfield. Leaving from the Wicker Park Fountain at 3:00 p.m. Dress fancy – all are welcome!
  • Friday, November 19 – Thought You Knew calendar gala-gallery launch party at the COOP. (<– check out TYK, it’s an awesome project!!!)
  • Saturday, November 20 – The 2010 Chicago Sadie Hawkins Style Ride. 12 p.m. starting at The Blue Frog. Registration is required and you must have a partner.
  • Monday, November 29 – Biking the Boulevards premier with Geoffrey Baer. 7:30 p.m. on WTTW Chicago Public Television.
  • Saturday, December 4 – Active Trans’ Bike Town Bash. 7-11 p.m. at Dank Haus in Lincoln Square.

See you there!

(Especially the Cocktail Party Ride!!  Okay?  Okay!)

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