Tag Archives: photography

My Trip Around Scotland

As I mentioned before I left, in March I went to Scotland for a week with my friend Tanya and my husband.  I had not gotten around to blogging about the trip, since it was no epic bicycling adventure.  In fact, quite the opposite: we traveled all around Scotland via rental car with the express purpose of visiting as many whisky distilleries as possible.  We were successful.  :-)

We flew into Glasgow and immediately picked up the car and set out for the countryside, traveling to a different town every day, staying at a different B&B every night.  I would not necessarily recommend this itinerary for a week’s trip because driving time was much longer than estimated (and scary! with being on the left and curvy roads and cliffs and all) but we got to see a lot of this beautiful country and meet lots of very friendly residents.

Slowed down a bit by a flat tire…

And now prepare for gobs of photographs, showing our daily adventures.  I hope no one still has dial-up internet!  (All photos by me, unless I’m in them.)

Day 1: Oban

B&B: Strumhor

Distillery: Oban

Every B&B we stayed at served breakfast, of course.  The menu never changed: always the traditional Scottish breakfast.

I was happy to see that in addition to tea every place served delicious french-press coffee.

 

Day 2: Isle of Skye

B&B: Grasmhor

Distillery:  Talisker

I think sheep are so funny and awesome and I was thrilled to see them everywhere in Scotland.  The sheep roam entirely free on the Isle of Skye, since the only way off is a bridge, and the shepherds separate them at the end of the season based on color markings on their wool.  The result is a bunch of punk-rock sheep wandering around, with hot pink and bright blue and neon green tufts sticking up.

Ratagan Pass for a beautiful view.

Inveraray Castle

Day 3: Dufftown

B&B: Morven House

Distillery: Glenfiddich, Glenlivet, Glen Grant

 This B&B had the coolest house cat.

Day 4: Pitlochry

B&B: Roseburn

Distillery: Macallan, Dalwhinnie

Macallan is my favorite distillery and I brought back two bottles: a special edition 1876 replica and a 22 year.  Yum!

Queen’s View for the most beautiful view.

Castle whose name I cannot remember with beautiful but scary peacocks wandering around.

Day 5: On the road to Edinburgh

Distillery: Erdradour

A hike at the Falls of Bruar, which my fear of heights made nerve-wracking, but the views were worth it.

Day 6: Edinburgh

B&B: Ayden

It rained pretty much the entire time, which we took as a sign to spend most of the day poking around used book stores and drinking in pubs.

My Lululemon rain trench came in handy.

While in Edinburgh, we were thrilled to meet up with Jennifer both nights, a fab woman and LGRAB reader whom I hung out with when she visited Chicago two years ago.  So handy to have a local to bring us to the best restaurants and bars!  :-)

Day 7: Glasgow

B&B: Alamo

After Glasgow, we flew to Dublin for 2 days/3 nights.  I’ll post about that part of the trip separately.

The single malt whisky I brought home with me!

Half of these bottles are empty by now.  :-)

 THE END

Other trips we’ve taken over the years:

St. Petersburg, Russia (with some interesting bicyclists)

London, England (with cycling infrastructure)

Littlehampton, England

Paris, France (with Velib and bicycling around Versailles)

Alsace, France

NYC, New York

San Diego, CA (twice!)

Montreal, Canada

And we’re very excited about our planned trip to London/Paris/Amsterdam next month!

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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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Bike Winter Fashion Show – Friday!

Chicago’s annual Bike Winter Fashion Show will take place this Friday, as part of the closing party of the Bike Winter Art Show.

I will be participating in the fashion show for vintage shop Lucite Box, owned by bicycling-and-brunching lady Holly. Last week, the group got together for a dress rehearsal, complete with hair and makeup magic by Christopher Conner.  Then we had a photoshoot by bicycle style photographer Martha Williams of Bike Fancy fame.  She is the best!

Model Lisa, Photographer Martha, and Vintage Clothier Holly

I’m in love with the Pashley Princess Britannia I was riding, courtesy of Boulevard Bikes. (I have a long and documented obsession with Pashleys.)

And I may have to buy this vintage 60’s tweed cape suit.  (As well as the blue velvet dress I chose as my evening look!)  Check out Lucite Box for some fabulous vintage clothing and housewares.

Me and Pashley by Martha Williams

You gotta check out the preview photos for all the lovely ladies at Bike Fancy. They look amazing! Such a fabulous collection of portraits.

Martha at Work

In Chicago? Great! Come out to the Bike Winter Fashion show this Friday night, 7-11:30, at Gala Gallery, 1000 N. Milwaukee.

The official description:

The 15th Annual Bike Winter Art Show closes on March 9th at the Gala Gallery located at 1000 N. Milwaukee Ave. Join us at the Bike Winter Art Show for a night of bicycle enthusiasm, cycling camaraderie and rider revelry that’s sure to shake off the winter blues. The benefit kicks off at 8 pm with a family fun puppet show performed by Jabberwocky. The main event, a runway fashion show, starts at 9 pm and is sponsored by Rapid Transit Cycles. After the fashion show, deejay Montay spins the beats. The event is free and open to the public.

More info on the Facebook page.

P.S. After Martha finished with my photos, she spotted this little girl bicycling in the park. Sweet!

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A New Red Coat on the Bike Path

Bright red seems like the best color for city cycling, getting drivers’ attention while still looking stylish off the bike. Chic, classic, and bold.

For this reason, I’ve been searching for the perfect red coat for two years, especially since seeing this post on Copenhagen Cycle Chic. Yesterday, the miraculous happened: I finally found “my” red coat. I was walking through Anthropologie during my lunch break, which I often do to torture myself because I usually can’t afford their beautiful clothes, when I spotted this unique red trench for half off.

Everything about the coat is perfect for me. The bright red “hi-vis” color. The classic trench styling. The length. The cinched waist with a bow.

And the laced back! Just the kind of quirky, personal touch I love.

Best of all, the coat will get me through three Chicago seasons: fall and spring over whatever I happen to be wearing, winter with a cashmere or wool sweater and my lightweight windbreaker underneath. There’s a nice lining that makes it a bit more substantial than the usual trench.

Plus, the red matches my other Oma accessories.

I also purchased something else on sale that I’ve been searching for: a digital camera. I wanted an affordable compact camera with manual controls and sharp photos, which I found in the Panasonic Lumix LX-5. I love shooting film, but for blogging purposes digital is faster and cheaper.  I (and my huge gloved hands) will be able to post more daily photos of my commute, more quickly. Yay!

Moving beyond consumerism to talk about actual biking, I had a lovely commute this morning.  I took the Lakefront Trail for the first time in a while.  I’m going to make a video of this route (with HD video on my new camera!) because it’s so beautiful.

Pure bliss = rolling on Oma down the quiet trail, listening to Jill Scott, enjoying the sun in my face and the wind at my back. Makes me wonder why I ever bother riding to work among car traffic.

Now is the best time of year to bike the trail – the crowds have left, but ice is not yet encroaching from the lake.

The weather today is suddenly colder, in the low-20’s. Winter is pushing its way through, slowly but surely. At least I have my red coat. :)

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Jamie’s Stylish New Folding Bike

Jamie, the stylish NYC photographer behind one of my favorite photo blogs, From Me To You, recently got a new bike.

This is the Barcelona model of a Citizen Folding Bike. I am not familiar with the brand, but the $399 sale price is right. Check out those cream balloon tires and wicker basket! What a beauty! Both of them. :)

Folding bikes are an excellent choice for city-dwellers who have to carry their bikes into their apartments every night. As Jamie notes, this one fits in her tiny apartment.

{Photo (c) From Me To You and used with permission}

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Bike Fancy: Chicagoans Looking Good on Bikes

I am enjoying watching Martha’s Bike Fancy archives grow, with a new photo every day of the week showcasing Chicago’s “people looking good on bikes.” Chicago women are awesome and have an overall aesthetic that is very different from Copenhagen Cycle Chic.

Martha on the left, a featured cyclist on the right

My favorite aspect of Bike Fancy is that all of the photos are posed portraits with a bit of information about the rider, sometimes a mini interview. Hearing from the women themselves and knowing that they agreed to pose for the pictures adds another dimension to the site.   While stopping a stranger on the street and asking if you can take her photo to put on the internet may sound awkward, if anyone can get someone to agree to this request, it’s Martha.  :)

Martha at work

In the photo above that I took after the last Women Who Bike Brunch, Martha is writing the contact information of the woman she flagged down. And this is the beautiful picture that resulted:

Image (c) Martha Williams of Bike Fancy

That’s how we roll in Chicago.  Check out all the rest at Bike Fancy!

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Guy Week at Bike Fancy

Hey, hey – it’s Guy Week at one of my very favorite internet places, Bike Fancy!

Pro photographer and stylish cyclist Martha is turning her lens on the men of Chicago. Although the majority of Chicago’s cyclists are men, I’m not used to seeing them without their backpacks and rain pants, track standing and running red lights. (I poke fun because I love!)

So this is a treat. :)

For those not interested in pictures of guys per se, there’s also an offer off of locally manufactured menswear company Nonetheless.

Guy Week at Bike Fancy – Check it out!

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My Hyggelig Feature

My Hyggelig, one of my favorite blogs that is celebrating its 4th birthday today, has been publishing a series on creative female bike bloggers in the month of January, and yesterday featured an interview with me.  I suggest that you head over there and check out the other features on Kara of Knitting Lemonade, LC of Naturally Cycling: Manchester, and Meli of Bikes and the City, a truly inspirational group!

Me and Coco in the snow

Commuting update: Yesterday I biked to work wearing a pinstripe pants suit with a white puffy down vest over the suit jacket and that kept me warm enough in 18 degrees, although I may have looked a little funny.  Today I’m heading for the L train, as a blizzard is expected to start this afternoon and dump 1.5 feet on Chicago.  Later!

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A Quick Photography Note

This is a quick note about the photography I’ll be using to illustrate my posts.

When I started this blog, I used a point-and-shoot digicam and about a year later I bought a DSLR as I grew more interested in photography. Last spring I began shooting with vintage film cameras and posting film photos here often. In October, I sold my DSLR to buy an awesome old camera and nearly all of the photos I’ve posted here since have been film photos. I’m now taking an intermediate film photography course, where I shoot, develop and print black and white film.

This is relevant to LGRAB because you will be seeing a lot more black and white photos from me. Also, you will see more photos that I may not have taken the same day. For example, I may use a picture from a week ago to illustrate a story about my commute today because it’s not realistic to shoot and develop a roll of film every day. I develop at least 2 or 3 times a week, though, so the photos will stay fresh.

I wanted to point this out so you aren’t wondering what the heck is going on. I hope my little photo adventures add to and don’t detract from my writing here.

One more thing: this week I launched a collaborative photo blog with two other film photographers. The concept is three people in three different cities (Chicago, New York and Vancouver) shooting with the same camera, lens and film. If you’re interested, check it out at Triple Exposure. And yes, that brings my grand blog total to three, including Dream Camera.

Now back to regularly scheduled bikey programming.

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Walking in a winter wonderland

Yesterday a few inches of snow fell in Chicago. My friend Elizabeth and I headed out to enjoy the winter wonderland and take some pictures (I used my new 50-year-old camera). Although we’re both year-round cyclists, we didn’t feel comfortable riding with the falling snow, so we hopped a bus to Lincoln Park and then walked around for an hour. A cozy underground pub and some Guinness warmed us up when we’d had enough.

Afterward, we went separate ways and I headed downtown to drop off my film for developing. I could have taken the bus, but the snowy night was so pretty, I chose to walk an hour to my destination. Then I took the L train home, but got off early to walk the final mile. Walking is such a great activity and I’m lucky to have so many transportation options in Chicago.

Now I gotta get those studded tires back on Oma!

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Bike Fancy Showcases Chicago Cycle Chic

Attention everyone: you must check out the new blog Bike Fancy. Pro photographer Martha Williams is documenting stylish cyclists in Chicago and sharing them with the world, including a selection of her own cycle chic looks.

Martha photographs Emily

A resource showcasing Chicago Cycle Chic has been a missing link in our bike community and I’m super excited that Bike Fancy is here to pick up this slack. I look forward to watching the gallery grow!

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Martha’s Stylish Cyclists

Today I met Martha, a professional photographer working on a project documenting stylish Chicago bicyclists. She photographed me and Oma, and then I turned the tables on her for a few shots. After all, she has been a chic bike commuter herself for many years and rides an awesome vintage pink Schwinn.

Martha, her camera, her bike and Chicago

Here is more information from Martha about her project and a call out to Chicago cyclists.

I am working on a small project photographing stylish cyclists, and I want to photograph you with your bike (outside somewhere). I have a few rules:

1. No active wear, you should be wearing work clothes or going out clothes. (unless you can make a case for a particularly nice looking “functional” outfit)

2. I want all kinds of bikers but prefer women and commuters.

3. Look cute and dress up a little!

If this sounds good to you, contact Martha at mafaw1 {at} gmail {dot} com – she is still looking for subjects. She plans to compile her documentary photographs and create a new bicycling photoblog set to launch soon. I’ll definitely update you all when her site goes live!

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LGRAB Back from NYC

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.

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Still Enjoying the Long Way Home

My commutes have been so lovely lately. Ever since I took the long way home for the Summer Games, I’ve continued taking the same relatively quiet route to and from work. Now I can’t believe that I never discovered this route for over two years.

The route is all calm two-lane streets with bike lanes. Both the car and bike traffic are much lighter and more considerate. Trees line the way, shading me from the hot sun. Kids wait on the corner for school buses. People walk their dogs.

Bonus: I pass right by one of the best cupcake shops in Chicago.

I feel like my commute is now more like a normal commute in a small or mid-sized city, instead of the hulking beast that is Chicago. The whole experience is totally worth the extra five minutes that my ride takes.

{I took these pictures today with my vintage Polaroid with expired film – that’s why they look funny}

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Chicago Countryside

Chicago is the third-largest city in America. Skyscrapers, taxis, tourists, crime – it’s all there. However, jump on your bike and ride a few miles south of downtown for this scenery.

The Chicago Countryside is closer than you think :)

{I could not help posting more pictures from our Sunday ride.}

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Dottie’s Photography Blog

I wanted a pretty little space on the internet where I could put my thoughts about and attempts at photography, so I started a new blog called Dream Camera. My intent for Dream Camera is similar to the intent Trisha and I had when starting LGRAB: to learn more about the subject and hope that, along the way, others will find my experiences helpful on their own journeys. By no means am I a photography expert, just as I am not a bicycling expert, but that’s not really the point. Life’s 95% enthusiasm, right?

I will be posting here the same as always. What can I say, I like to write and love to communicate with others. I will just have to get more efficient with my use of time. :)

If you’re interested, you are more than welcome to visit me at Dream Camera. I know some of you are great photographers, so I would especially love for you to be a part of the conversation over there.  I have so much to learn!

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Simple Pleasures

Sustenance and transportation are two necessities of daily life. People need to eat and need to get from one place to another. How one chooses to fulfill these needs greatly affects one’s life. Our society in general is going about it all wrong. Pleasure, health and happiness can be derived from these tasks. I don’t mean by eating steak and driving a porsche; I’m not talking about anything money can buy, but about simple pleasures.

Just some thoughts after another beautiful Saturday at the farmer’s market, eating fresh food in the shade of old trees and then hopping on the bikes for a quiet ride home. The price for hours of entertainment, quality time, exercise, transportation, fresh air and happiness – nada. For local food (cherries, cheese, arugula, croissant, mushrooms) – ten dollars per person.

I’m no master of simple living, but I know what makes me happy. Bicycles and fresh food are so obviously good, their near-invisibility in society boggles the mind.

What is your take on simple pleasures and how they affect your life?

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Holga Carnival

Here are some more pictures of the pop-up carnival I posted about last week. I shot these with my Holga – an all plastic, twenty-five dollar camera. No batteries required, only film. The results are not photo-shopped or altered in any way. They’re far from perfect, but that’s what I like about them.

Thank you for putting up with another non-bike-related post (although I did bike there!). Now back to regularly scheduled programming, including the announcement of the Summer Games Part I winners…

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Bicycling to the Farmer’s Market

A bicycle trip to the farmer’s market is a perfect way to begin the weekend. Fresh air, exercise, a feeling of community and local food. Saturday morning, Greg and I met up with Arielle (of the newly-formed Bicycle Goddess Brigade) to ride our bikes to Chicago’s Green City Market.

What a happy scene – dozens of bicycles were locked up outside the market and many bicycling families went by with kids in bike seats, trailers and on their own bikes. In general, I think people who ride bikes are the type of people who shop at farmer’s markets. Also, a bike trip to the farmer’s market is a pleasurable weekend activity for people who bike only occasionally.

In the evening, we enjoyed rhubarb compote that Arielle made. We’d never eaten rhubarb before, which surprised her, since apparently it grows on the side of the road in her native Washington. Then we all biked to The Hideout, where Arielle played the fiddle and sang with the Bubbly Creek Bluegrass Band. So much awesomeness in one person! :)

Total daily mileage = 14.

How is the farmer’s market scene where you live? Do you have access to fresh local food and, if so, do you see a lot of fellow bicyclists there?

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Bicycling – A Best Kept Secret

Today was one of those perfect bike commuting days. The sky was crisp and clear, the sun shone brilliantly and the temperature was chilly enough to prevent sweating. I relished my ride along the Lakefront Trail, pedaling slowly and listening to the sweet jams of She & Him. Refreshing!

Also, I’ve had extra fun running into a few different people I know through this blog (howdy! you know who you are :))

On days like these, I can’t imagine why everyone does not ride a bicycle everywhere. This is like the best kept secret ever!

If you’re searching for some extra (not so secret) joy this weekend and live in Santa Barbara, check out this lovely Cycle Chic Fashion Show via Bike by the Sea. If you’re in Chicago, maybe I’ll see you at the Go Dutch Go Bike ride on Saturday with the Bicycle Goddess Brigade. Email if you’re interested in meeting up to ride together.

{I took all of these photos in Chicago’s Millennium Park, which I described in detail here.}

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