It’s too bad that so many New Yorkers still complain about the bike lanes’ contribution to the inconvenience of urban driving instead of promoting them for their obvious role in helping solve the city’s transportation miseries, and for their aesthetic possibilities. I don’t mean they’re great to look at. I mean that for users they offer a different way of taking in the city, its streets and architecture, the fine-grained fabric of its neighborhoods…On a bike time bends. Space expands and contracts.
Reading a glowingly positive article about bike infrastructure in the mainstream media was refreshing and a lot of the author’s optimism can be applied to Chicago or any other city that’s beginning to take bikes seriously. I was especially interested to read that “London has lately turned into a bike capital too.” I’d love to hear what any Londoners out there think about that statement.
Speaking of New York, I found a little bit of NYC in downtown Chicago yesterday. There is a new Magnolia Bakery on State Street.
I have mixed feelings about this. On one hand, Chicago already has lots of delicious cupcake bakeries and doesn’t need New York’s second-hand ideas. On the other hand, CUPCAKES! :)
All right folks, it’s another evening and another drawing/roundup of this year’s Summer Games winners. 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.
For those of you looking for ideas for books to read about cycling, Molly has a review for you:
I picked up this kids book about the history of women and bicycles from the library several months ago and I keep renewing it without reading it. The Summer Games changed that. Actually, this book might have been recommended by one of you: Wheels of Change: How Women Rode the Bicycle to Freedom (With a Few Flat Tires Along the Way). It was interesting, but I would have liked more about the impact of bicycles on women’s day to day lives, and less on famous lady bike racers.
She performed a maintenance task–an impressive one if you ask me!
I accidentally did the same maintenance task for this year’s Summer Games as I did last year: Repacking a hub. I’m still not very good at it. If I’d planned ahead I could have counted many other things, since this summer I took an 8 week bike workshop through Common Cycle, and we learned everything from raising saddles to replacing cables and housing to headset adjustment. But I didn’t take pictures any of those weeks. I waited til the very last week, when we were doing hubs and wheel truing. Here’s the picture I attempted to take of myself; it was hard because my hands were covered in grease and all I had was my phone.
Molly also went on a group ride on her birthday (happy birthday Molly!) and took this lovely summer-themed photo. We need to do a flikr pool of these for us to pine over when we’re stuck in the depths of winter once again. Mm, sweet corn.
Meanwhile, in Wiltshire, Kate from mixed baby greens was making headway on her four events. First up: writing to a council member about a much-needed improved crossing. She heard back that it was in the works. “Which means that from Friday onwards I’ll be able to ride the cycle-lane, stop and cross the road safely exactly where I need to, and head straight to the off-road route into town.”
She also took a new road home and performed a maintenance task: replacing the old pump and bottle cage on her bike with a new, more coordinated one.
And she snapped a photo that is the perfect combo of summer and bikes. I love it!
One of the best things about having a bike blog is having all sorts of cool people contact you to say that you’ve inspired them to create their own blog. Kathy in Chicago is among that number and you can read about her adventures in multi-modal commuting at Train-Bike Bike-Train. Kathy test-rode a cargo bike and videoed the results—click on the photo to see the video.
JoAnna rediscovered cycling a year ago when she was in Paris and hasn’t looked back (a woman after our own hearts!). For the Games, she completed seven tasks: riding a bike on vacation, writing a letter, reading a book, cleaning her chain, riding on a greenway and participating in New York’s Summer Streets.
She tuned up her bike and went out for a ride, ending up in a new part of town and discovering a new friend along the way.
How have I never realized that my favorite droid has been waving to me all summer long as I biked to and from work? I honestly couldn’t be happier to have met this new friend. Isn’t it just the summeriest, happiest thing, to have droid along your ride?
(our answer: YES!)
Yvonne, aka The Knot Whisperer, also got in on the fun. She very responsibly biked to jury duty, making me horribly jealous because, oddly, I have always wanted to be chosen for jury duty and somehow have gone 12 years without being tapped (yes, I know it will probably be boring. I still want to be picked for the team!). She read The Lost Cyclist, a fascinating true tale of a man who biked around the world back in the late 1800s.
I couldn’t help putting myself in Lenz’s place as he traveled through Japan and China without speaking a word of those countries’ languages. While it’s true that I went to St. Petersburg, Russia, without knowing a word of Russian, I went there as part of a writing seminar and was therefore hardly on my own. I can’t imagine how frightening it must have been for him, all on his own, especially back then when foreign countries were truly foreign to most people.
She wrote asking for improvements to the Ashland/Armitage/Elston intersection, aka the “Intersection of Terror.” And she rode a cruiser on vacation! Sweet.
OK, now that you’re all inspired: it’s time to reveal the winners, drawn by Dot.
First up: Bates Crate Porter Crate, a beautiful, functional, handmade carrying crate for your bike.
It goes to . . . Kathy F, whose adventures were featured above.
Trisha and I are back from NYC! I have lots of thoughts about the infrastructure and bikes there, as well as general comparisons with Chicago, but that will have to wait until I have more time to write. In the meantime, here are some pictures of our adventure.
I’ve been posting a lot more pictures of our trip at Dream Camera. More excitement is coming up, as I will be meeting up with a very special guest who is visiting Chicago this week.
Our latest Roll Model is Joanna Goddard, Manhattan blogger extraordinaire. Not only does she maintain her own personal site, Cup of Jo, she also blogs (and writes) for Glamour magazine. Joanna and her husband Alex are expecting their first child–a boy–any day now, and she has continued riding her vintage 3-speed throughout her pregnancy. Read on to learn what plans she has for cycling after baby and what the best thing is about riding a bike.
Joanna on her bike, 33.5 weeks pregnant
Tell us about your cycling history — when did you start? What do you ride? What drew you to cycling?
My family has always been really into bikes. My dad, sister and I biked all the time, and we always took bikes on vacations. I had a blue bike with a banana seat. When I moved to New York City nine years ago, I got a bike, and I LOVE riding here! It makes the big city feel much smaller, and it’s great to feel the wind in my face. So refreshing and invigorating. (Read a story Joanna wrote about herfirst bike here.)
As a blogger who mostly works from home (I assume), how does cycling fit into your lifestyle?
Yes, I work from home. I’m actually claustrophobic so instead of taking the subway, I ride everywhere, pretty much year round (except for those insanely cold days). I ride to appointments, dinners, parties, errands, etc. (I recently rode to a big meeting in a pencil dress and super high heels, which was a bit of a feat!) My husband and I also take evening rides by the water, and we often take long weekend rides from our West Village apartment up to the lighthouse at the George Washington Bridge. It’s funny because in New York, you see everything on the bike path–teenagers on unicycles, dudes on Penny Farthings, we even recently saw a group of nuns rollerblading in their full habits!
You’ve kept riding throughout your pregnancy. What reactions have you gotten from family/friends/strangers? Have you made plans for riding after baby?
My trusty bike has saved my life during my pregnancy! Walking (i.e., waddling) has been uncomfortable during my seventh and eighth months, but biking feels amazing, since I can sit up straight and feel free and strong. Strangers are incredibly sweet, actually. Bike messengers and guys on the street will often yell out, “Hey, mama!” or “Congratulations!” as I ride by, or they’ll tell other bikers, “Be careful, she’s pregnant!” It’s really sweet — it’s like the pregnancy version of catcalling. After the baby arrives, we can take him on the bike with us once he’s a year old and strong enough to sit up in the bike seat. I’m excited to take him on his first ride. We already bought a bike seat in anticipation.
What tips would you give other moms-to-be about cycling while pregnant?
Do it! Ask your doctor first, of course, but mine encourages it. Biking feels easier than walking when pregnant, I think, and it’s wonderful, gentle, low-impact exercise. Just remember to wear a helmet, of course, and ride carefully.
How does your style conflict with or contribute to your cycling? Do you have any guidelines you apply to yourself when dressing to go somewhere on your bike?
I pretty much dress like a ten-year-old boy (jeans, sneakers and T-shirts), so my style fits pretty well with biking. But if I’m going to dinner in a dress or skirt, that works, too. The only big fashion guideline: Wear a helmet! I love this one from Bern, and I put reflective tape on it.
Joanna's Bern "Watts" helmet
What’s the best thing about riding a bike?
Those magical moments that you can’t plan, like right after a rain storm when the sun comes out and you’re biking by the water, and the air is perfect and beautiful and the water is sparkling and you’re just flying along.
Thanks, Joanna! For more of Joanna’s beautiful pictures and inspiring posts, visit A Cup of Jo.