Is biking to see an automotive exhibit the ultimate in cognitive dissonance? Don’t ask me; I was an English major. Anyway. Whitney and I did just that a couple of Thursdays ago, for the members-only preview of Sensuous Steel: Art Deco Automobiles.
I tried to wait out the woman in the background, but no dice.
Howdy! I recently got an iPhone and I’m intrigued by all the blogging/twitter/picture possibilities. Therefore, those of you who follow us on Twitter may have seen that Trisha and I were hanging together in Nashville this weekend. Working on some fun blog-related stuff. :-)
On Saturday, we biked to the park and picnicked for a few hours with a bottle of wine and some good cheese. I rode the Flik folding bike and Trisha rode her beloved Kate Spade Abici.
We also absorbed some culture at the Frist Art Museum.
Finally, a bit of shopping, including some long-desired, ultra-local Imogen + Willie jeans for Trisha and Wolford tights for me (I’ll review them here, as I’m hopeful they are the perfect winter tights).
Re-discovering Nashville with every visit (after living here six years ago) is always a treat. The city is on a huge upswing, including improving public transportation and bicycling facilities. Every time I visit, there is more to see and do!
I’m not one for making New Year’s resolutions. Instead, I look back on the year before and try to tweak the formula a little to come up with a better year to come—more of this, less of that and a little of something new. Still, I always try to start the New Year out by doing things that I want to do more of (or keep doing) in 2013.
So on New Year’s Eve I made sure to take my bike over to my neighbor’s for a quick dinner of Fat Mo’s and prosecco.
Freezing rain on New Year’s Day—and a persistant cough that I can’t seem to shake (along with half my office)—meant that my next ride had to wait a while. But I did take a quick ride to Halcyon last night for a party for the volunteers for the 12South Winter Warmer. The place was packed (I love parties in bike shops!) and the beer was great.
Other things I have done so far in 2013:
Attended the Belcourt (they’re doing a Hitchcock retrospective! I got to see The Lady Vanishes on the big screen)
Spent a whole day lying on the couch watching a BBC miniseries (The Crimson Petal and the White, very good)
Visited the new coffeeshop in my neighborhood, run by the best roasters in town
Judging from this list, I’d better get up to something a bit more active this weekend, lest 2013 be a year of sloth and screen-staring. Luckily Anna is coming into town today and can perhaps save me from myself with a nice long bike ride.
So Friday was Park(ing) Day, a day when cities around the country take over parking spots and turn them into urban parks. When my friend Whitney said she was volunteering at the one downtown, I immediately begged to tag along with her for her 7-10 pm shift. Our ride downtown was pretty pleasant, featuring Minnie Pearl impersonators outside the Country Music Hall of Fame:
Minnie Pearl lives, in Nashville anyway!
Blocked-off streets due to a downtown music festival (no problem for bikes!):
The Flik sadly contemplates the dusty remants of an ancient civillization
No green stuff, but lots of traffic!
I guess Nashville can’t give up a parking spot for more than a few hours? I won’t lie, we were pretty annoyed—especially Whitney, who had volunteered her time and was not contacted about the event ending early.
We salvaged the evening with a progressive ride to the Nashville Night Market, dinner at Silo in Germantown and a beer at the Taproom.
Anyone have a more positive Park(ing) Day experience than I did? Hope so.
When I saw bike garters from Bird Industries available in one of those email flash sales a few months back, I decided to give one a whirl. This particular bike garter had been recommended a few times in our comments section, and I have a few skirts I like to wear on my bike that give me occasional modesty issues. The bike garter is pretty simple: It’s a garter with a clip much like an actual garter, but the clip is meant to grab your skirt, not a stocking. The Bird Industries garter I chose was a bright pink and size large since I wanted to make sure it was not too snug. The inside of the garter has a silicone grip, and it stays put on my leg without pinching (though it’s not the sort of thing you really forget you are wearing).
The clip is not difficult to use, but the way it works was not intuitive to me: instead of pinching the end of the clasp to make the end that opens open, you push it up to open the clasp.
The first time I wore the garter, I fixed the clasp to the hem of my skirt, on the side. It made a bit of a bubble hem, but looked pretty normal.
Skirt with garter clip clipped to the hem—note the slight bubble
You can also attach the clasp to a spot on the underside of the skirt.
rear side of skirt clipped to garter
skirt with the garter clip clipped to the underside of the skirt
Both clasp methods worked to keep the skirt from flying all the way up, and did not impede my pedaling ability. However, neither kept the garter from showing. This is clear on the Bird Industries store, so it isn’t like they’re misleading anyone, but I was surprised by the way exposed garter made me feel. It still seemed that something was showing that ought not to be—and that “something” was bright pink! I didn’t take pictures of this situation for that reason. But it was easily resolved by tucking a small portion of my skirt hem under the edge of the garter at the side. I am not sure I would feel comfortable wearing this garter with a shorter skirt, like the ladies in the Bird Industries photos. Which is odd, because I don’t consider myself that shy about that sort of thing—it took me four years to buy one of these, after all.
Garter clip in action, with garter safely covered.
As I mentioned, I bought my garter clip on super clearance through one of those “final sale” flash shops, but the normal retail price is $12. Overall, it is an effective method of keeping your underwear under wraps, as long as you don’t mind flashing a garter instead.
When I visited Nashville a couple of weeks ago, I used the Jango Flik, a nifty folding bike that Trisha reviewed a while ago. The bike was a lot of fun! I zipped all around town, at least 12 miles, and the Flik was right there with me, handling up-hills and down-hills with ease.
The size of the bike fits both me and Trisha, despite our height differences, because the handlebars and seat tube are highly adjustable.
The Flik is also light and easy to carry. I simply locked it up outside at my destination instead of folding it, but yeah – it folds, too.
I have not heard much about the Flik in the last couple of years, which is surprising because it’s such a cool little bike. Most people with folding bikes seem to go with the classic elegance of a Brompton or similar, but the cute baby alien look of the Flik is kinda awesome.
At one point, while riding with a group of about 6 others, a pedestrian called out: “I like your bike the best!” Ha. My companions had some lovely bikes, but the Flik is an attention-getter, for sure.
Last night a few of us in Nashville met up for some hot chicken & beer at Hattie B’s in Midtown. YUM.
For those of you who haven’t had hot chicken, this Nashville delicacy is unique among foods. The spice mix is dry, not wet like hot wings, and though the exact formulas used in places like Prince’s & Bolton’s are top-secret, any fool can tell it’s cayenne-based. The chicken is served on a slice of white bread with a few pickle chips. Purists eat it without dipping sauce, but I learned last night that hot chicken and honey is the absolute best! The honey calms the heat without muting the flavors.
The remnants of my hot chicken
Lauren and I went for the second-hottest spice level (Hattie B’s offers mild, medium, hot! and damn hot!), and it was more manageable than I feared—in fact, it wasn’t too much hotter than Jessica and Sten’s “medium” chicken. I’d say the heat levels here are more mainstream than they are at either Prince’s or Bolton’s, if any locals are curious.
Jessica, Sten & Lauren
Whitney & me
Whitney’s bike with a Basil flower garland on the back
The Flik sat next to me
As is pretty much par for the course here in Nashville, there was some huge live music event going on. Whatever it was, it was going on behind Chuy’s (Loser’s?) and we could hear it all the way where we were.
After dinner, Lauren, Whitney and I hit Pinkberry.
Bikes parked by Pinkberry
Then I led them astray for just one more drink at the Broadway Brewhouse, where no photos were taken but fun was had.
If you’re a city cyclist in Nashville and want to come to our next happy hour or brunch, please join our Google Group. We’d love to have you! I often post about other bike-related events in Nashville there, too—things that don’t necessarily appear on the blog.
As part of the new LGRAB, every Tuesday we will profile an inspiring everyday cyclist—a weekly series called “Roll Models.”
This week’s Roll Model is Lauren T., who rides here in Nashville. If Lauren looks familiar to you, it’s because she’s been a loyal attendee of bike brunches and events here in Nashville since the very beginning (well, that, and she wrote a terrific guest review of the Lululemon crops). The photos she chose here do a great job of illustrating her lively, adventurous personality and the fun she has riding her bike. Not shown: Her penchant for colorful language, apparently reserved for those of us who have the privilege of knowing her personally! Read on for Lauren’s take on the bike scene in Nashville.
Describe your bicycling style in three words.
colorful, fearless, inventive
How long have you been riding a bike?
I’ve been cycling for about 2 years. Of course, I had a bicycle when I was a kid, and I loved riding it everywhere, but I stopped when I got my driver’s license… and forgot everything. It is possible to forget how to ride a bike, I don’t care what anyone says! I had to re-learn in my back yard. I promptly rode straight into a bush and tipped over. Fortunately, it gets much easier after that
At bike to work day 2012
How does bicycling fit into and/or shape your life?
I do have a car, but I try to ride my bike at least a couple of times a week – for exercise, less gas consumption, a stress reliever, and also because it’s just fun. I only live about 5 miles from my office so this actually pretty feasible. A little less than a year ago, my truck died (like, needed a new engine died) during a long weekend… and I wasn’t nearly as bummed as I thought I would be, since I knew my bike would get me where I needed to go (and the public transit could pick up the slack!). I spent about a month getting around via bike and bus before I found a replacement truck… and the whole process was actually kind of fun! Not to mention I had the luxury of taking my sweet leisurely time in picking out something in my budget that wasn’t a piece of junk, instead of just grabbing the first deal that came my way. I’m not quite at the point where I’m willing to entirely give up my car, but I’m definitely heading in that direction!
What inspires you to keep bicycling?
As dorky as it sounds, the wonderful feeling I get from cycling is what keeps me going. I love the feeling of freedom, of propelling myself with the strength of my own two legs. And, you know, it feels pretty dang good to roll up at some giant festival downtown & lock my bike to the nearest rack – instead of paying $15 to park my car (and get stuck in traffic crawls when all is said and done!).
In your experience, does the general bicycling world—shops, outreach, group rides, etc.—feel welcoming for you as a woman?
In my city – absolutely! I think this city & all the little bike gangs around do their best to make sure everyone is included – both women and men. I’ve never felt stupid or looked down on for wandering into a bike shop & asking dumb questions. My commute has lots of interactions with male cyclists – the kind who are head to toe in colorful spandex on top of a really expensive bike – and we all chat each other up & offer words of encouragement. I may be rolling around on a spray painted Frankenbike, but I’ve never felt like I was inferior because of that, or because I am a lady cyclist.
Lauren in a cycling jacket she sewed
What is your take on the “gender gap” in cycling, including media attention on how to get more women to bicycle?
I don’t see much of a gender gap – maybe I’m just oblivious to it. Wouldn’t be the first time!
If you could magically change one thing to improve bicycling in your city, what would it be?
I think the single most important thing we need here is education – lots and lots of education. Education for drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians. We all need to learn how to share the roads – they are there for all vehicles, not just ones that use gasoline I’d say that the majority of my problems from cycling around in the city are from driver ignorance — whether they are passing too close because they don’t know better, or maybe they didn’t know they couldn’t park in the bike lane, and even a lot of the road rage toward cyclists. Nope, me cycling in the street is not illegal, sorry!
Lauren at the Tour de Fat
Do you feel optimistic about the future of bicycling?
Oh, yes! I really do think we are heading toward a more sustainable lifestyle – and bicycling is definitely a big part of that. Seeing all the progress that my city is pushing toward pedestrians & cyclists absolutely makes me feel optimistic about the future.
Any advice for people, especially women, who want to start cycling?
Starting out can be intimidating & scary, but it will get easier the more you ride! You don’t need something overly fancy/expensive to start, just make sure you have the seat at the right height & that you feel comfortable on your bike. I started out by riding in circles around my block (and tipping over every single time I tried to turn the bike, haha), and then working up to tiny ½ – 1 mile rides down the road – until I was at the point where I could comfortably ride all the way to my office. I was very timid when I started – I wouldn’t even bike around my neighborhood solo, too scared! – but now I’m kind of fearless. I’ll bike anywhere, for any distance, and I’ll even do it in a skirt! Yeah!
My riding mantra is, “If I was in a hurry, I’d take my car.” Slow down and enjoy the ride! Otherwise – what’s the point?
Thanks Lauren! For more about Lauren, visit her sewing blog, Lladybird, and be wowed by her stitchery talent. She’s currently helping me sew a skirt. In the three months I’ve been working on it off and on with her, she’s completed approximately a dozen outfits.
Two weeks ago, Kermit Allegra and I were invited to take part in a photo shoot for Metro’s latest “Share the Road” campaign — an initiative created through a collaboration between the Mayor’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC) and Metro Public Health. Funding came from Communities Putting Prevention to Work, a part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (so Nashville cyclists, don’t say the stimulus package never did anything for you.).
They shot two types of cyclists: me on my bike in a dress and heels, and a sporty road bike rider. Imagine me in the place of Keith (the sporty cyclist) and Kermit Allegra in place of his bike (since I could not photograph and also be photographed). You’ll see the shots soon! The campaign is set to launch March 15, in conjunction with the official inauguration of the spanking new Music City Bikeway. It’ll be mostly MTA and (gulp) billboard ads.They are meant to educated drivers in particular on how to behave when confronted with people who make alternate transportation choices. Hence the car in the shot, happily sharing the road with the bike.
This is what the creative director saw.
Here is Kermit Allegra waiting her turn, with her Po Campo bag on the rear rack. Note the sadist with the reflector blinding our cyclist friend. He was doing the same when it was my turn (though he was quite apologetic about it). I’m pretty sure they’re going to have to Photoshop eyes onto me because it was nearly impossible to keep from squinting! But I guess that’s how photoshoots roll.
This was what I was staring at. Note the sunny glare/flare/whatever you call it. One other fact I learned: you cannot expect sweet jams during a city-funded photoshoot. So if I don’t look particularly natural when you see me on the side of the bus, please be kind. I was sun blinded and not even enjoying some Lady Gaga to compensate.
Despite these hardships, the photoshoot was a fun experience, and the campaign is going to be a great thing for Nashville. Let me know if you spot it before I do!