Tag Archives: questions

A Random Act of Kindness

To the Argo Tea girl handing out free smoothie samples on the street corner: thank you so much for bringing a sample to me while I was waiting at the stop light and hanging around to take back my empty cup when the light turned green. I did not ask you to do that, but you must have seen how longingly I looked at the smoothie in the 90 degree heat. You, my dear, are an angel.

What is the nicest random act of kindness you’ve encountered while riding your bike?

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Go ahead, ask us anything*

Just a quick note to say we’ve joined Formspring as a fun and easy way to generate a FAQ. What’s Dottie’s favorite camera? Why did Trisha go to England for her Batavus? How did we get started with cycling? Where did we get that mirror/helmet/skirt? How many cats do we have, anyway? Now’s your chance to ask, either on our page or through the form we’ve added to the right-hand sidebar. If you follow us on Twitter, you’ll see the questions as we answer them, but we’ll post periodic updates here as well.

*the best thing about Formspring? Only the questions we choose to answer will be displayed on the page.

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Bicycles on a Budget

We all love beautiful bicycles, but what if you’re on a tight budget?

At Let’s Go Ride a Bike, Trisha and I aim to show how transportation cycling can be simple, stylish and fun. A major factor of “simple” is low cost – the only lower cost transportation option is walking, which we also enjoy, but it takes quite a bit longer. A major factor of “stylish” is a good-looking bike, and a major factor of “fun” is a bike well-built enough to free you from the stress of bad brakes and uncomfortable seating positions.

At some point, “simple” (i.e. inexpensive) may seem to conflict with “stylish” and “fun.” True, there is a vast array of bikes to choose from at all different price points. However, with the recent emphasis on cycle chic, someone looking to purchase an attractive city bike may feel that the options are limited to relatively expensive Dutch bikes and elusive-in-reality pretty vintage bikes. Our own Beautiful Bicycles series is skewed toward these options.

Reader Carrie wrote us today seeking advice on a sub-$500 bike to ride around the suburbs, with and without her kids on their own bikes, “Perhaps a little more girly, one that will give me that Mackinaw Island feel, basket in the front, do a little grocery shopping, go to the library, pool, etc…” In the comments to the Velorbis Scrap Deluxe post, reader Katherine laments the apparent lack of city bikes that fit in a student’s budget. Others have chimed in with ideas, so I wanted to move the conversation up here for more attention and input.

This we know for sure – one can embrace the simple bicycling lifestyle without a lot of money. Although we now have sleek rides, our beginnings two years ago were humble. Trisha began bike commuting on her childhood Schwinn, which her grandparents kept in their garage for ten years. I bought a $400 Jamis Commuter with my tax stimulus check, and boy did that seem like a lot of money at the time.

Let’s put our heads together – collectively we are a massive resource! – and come up with ideas and solutions. Later, I can put everything together as a guide for all future cash-strapped bike lovers.

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Under the Weather: Commuting with a Cold

We all know that bike commuters are less likely than non-cyclists to get sick.  But what happens when a cyclist does catch a cold: garage the bike or keep on keeping on?

I encountered this situation today and decided to ride to work.  I have a cold – sore throat, sneezing, a little weak – but did not feel bad enough to take a sick day.  The weather was sunny and relatively warm, so I rode my bike without much thought.  I took it easy, blew my nose at stop lights, and felt pretty good during the ride.  I drooped considerably once I got to my office, and felt more feverish, with a raw throat and less energy.  A cup of hot tea helped and soon I felt just normal sick.  Same with the ride home.

I wonder – what is the healthier course of action?  Riding my bike always makes me feel better in the long run and taking the L train while sick is miserable.  But does riding exacerbate the sickness and slow healing time?  I don’t know.

I like the advice from Commute by Bike: “If I’m too sick to ride, I’m too sick to work.” 

But what about the gray area, where you know you’re not too sick to work, but sick nevertheless?  What has your experience been?

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Need a Ride?

Since transportation cycling is a new concept for most people, we cyclists get a lot of questions.

wwanw

What a super chic nerd would wear

The lovely T of the chic blog What Would a Nerd Wear asks how to deal with one of the most common questions:

Recently, I have been riding my bike to lots of events I would formerly have driven to. My friends seem confused by this, and every time we go out somewhere, they always offer to throw my bike in the back of their cars and drive me back home. And even when I politely decline, many continue to insist that I don’t need to ride in the dark (as if I hadn’t realized it would be dark when I set out in the first place).

Has this happened to you guys? What is a good way to respond to this? I don’t want to be rude, but I’m considering saying something more than “No thank you.” What do you say to people who are incredulous that you will ride your bike in the dark, AND (heaven forbid) you might actually like doing so?

This has happened to me a few times, although in Chicago more people I know take public transportation than drive. I have not developed the perfect answer. Usually I say something like, “Oh, no thanks – I’m looking forward to riding home!” For people who are worried about me riding in the dark, I make sure they know that my bike has lights and that night riding is the best because there is no traffic. If the person keeps insisting, I end it by telling them that my bike is way too big to fit in the car – trust me!

Who else gets these kinds of questions, and how do you answer politely but firmly?

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The Mystery Flat

Flat tires are an inconvenience that I have not experienced for over a year, since I got Schwalbe tires on Oma and Betty Foy.

Sliced Tire

Sliced Tire

The cheap tires that came on Mr. Dottie’s Jamis, on the other hand, have had several flats in their lifetime. The most extreme flat happened last week – a clean slice straight across the tire itself. He went back to try to find the culprit, but did not see anything that could have sliced a tire, other than a grated bridge, but that seems unlikely. The problem cannot be a defect with the tire itself, because the tube was also sliced. Any ideas? Has this happened to anyone else?

Poor tire

Poor flat tire

As an aside, I must note that his Jamis frame is obviously too small for him, and the larger vintage Raleigh frame he recently built up is a much better and more comfortable fit. I don’t know why the bike shop sold him that size – they even had to special order it because the size was not in their inventory. We had no bicycle knowledge at the time, and we followed their recommendations. Boo.

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Sarah’s Unique and Stylish City Bike

The best thing about this blog is hearing from other cyclists through comments and emails. Recently, we got an email from Sarah about her new and very cool bike Sapphire.

Sarah and Sapphire

Sarah and Sapphire

Sarah’s husband recently bought her this bike on Craigslist, made by Aarios in Switzerland. Does anybody know anything else about this bike or Aarios?

Continue reading

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Nashville Is (Bike) Friendly!

Nashville is known for many things: country music, Southern gentility, comfort food, and Nicole Kidman sightings. Cycling is not among these distinctions.

Tandem at Halcyon Bike Shop - Trisha and I need one of these!!

Tandem at Halcyon Bike Shop - Trisha and I need one of these!!

When people speak of bike friendly cities in the US, they speak of Portland, Seattle, Minneapolis, Boulder, Davis, San Francisco, Madison, and Chicago. I am quick to extol the virtues of Chicago’s efforts to promote cycling. Does it follow that Chicago is bike friendly? Usually I think so, at least for North America, but riding in the chaotic and congested city is often stressful and occasionally scary.

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Say Hello to the Future – Rivendell’s Betty Foy!

Along with the gorgeous mast that Trisha designed, we’ll soon have a new addition to Let’s Go Ride a Bike. My decision is made, finally! Long-time listeners may remember my first steps to finding a bike to replace my stolen Jamis. I oggled bikes the I could not afford, such as ANTs and MAPs. I encountered annoying bike shop guys. I toured Chicago’s bike shops. At one point I thought I had something on the horizon, but that did not work out. After (almost too) much thought, I’ve decided that I will purchase the Rivendell Betty Foy. This was one of my original loves that’s pretty much perfect and reasonably in my bike budget (which, by the way, comes completely from selling my car and renting out my garage parking spot).

Betty Foy - Size 52

Betty Foy - Size 52

Continue reading

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Say Hello to the Future – Rivendell's Betty Foy!

Along with the gorgeous mast that Trisha designed, we’ll soon have a new addition to Let’s Go Ride a Bike. My decision is made, finally! Long-time listeners may remember my first steps to finding a bike to replace my stolen Jamis. I oggled bikes the I could not afford, such as ANTs and MAPs. I encountered annoying bike shop guys. I toured Chicago’s bike shops. At one point I thought I had something on the horizon, but that did not work out. After (almost too) much thought, I’ve decided that I will purchase the Rivendell Betty Foy. This was one of my original loves that’s pretty much perfect and reasonably in my bike budget (which, by the way, comes completely from selling my car and renting out my garage parking spot).

Betty Foy - Size 52

Betty Foy - Size 52

Continue reading

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Beautiful Lugged Steel Mixte

Check this beauty out!

ebay-betty.

Lynn of Bike Lite – an expert at stumbling upon great old bikes – found this 1950’s lugged steel mixte on eBay and noticed that it looks a lot like Rivendell’s Betty Foy. Intriguing! Is a bike like this a show piece or a viable everyday travel option?

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Bad bike commuter — that's me

Or perhaps just ill-equipped? I couldn’t agree more with Dot’s thoughts on getting outdoors in winter. The cold isn’t an issue after the first few blocks, and the stark silhouettes of the leafless trees have a certain beauty. Unfortunately winter in the South tends to mean rain more than snow. Or at least it does this year, when the planet seems determined to make up for last year’s drought (it has rained for five of the seven days so far in 2009).

If this is a sign of things to come for the rest of the winter, Pinkie needs fenders and I need a raincoat! Anyone out there have any recommendations? I want a coat that breathes but still repels water. I know most of the readers so far aren’t bike commuters, but you’re all more outdoorsy than I am.

The forecast for tomorrow is clear, if chilly, so I’m hoping to have something to write about and perhaps pictures of my own commute!

ETA: The sun is suddenly making an appearance. Wishing I had ridden this morning!

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Bad bike commuter — that’s me

Or perhaps just ill-equipped? I couldn’t agree more with Dot’s thoughts on getting outdoors in winter. The cold isn’t an issue after the first few blocks, and the stark silhouettes of the leafless trees have a certain beauty. Unfortunately winter in the South tends to mean rain more than snow. Or at least it does this year, when the planet seems determined to make up for last year’s drought (it has rained for five of the seven days so far in 2009).

If this is a sign of things to come for the rest of the winter, Pinkie needs fenders and I need a raincoat! Anyone out there have any recommendations? I want a coat that breathes but still repels water. I know most of the readers so far aren’t bike commuters, but you’re all more outdoorsy than I am.

The forecast for tomorrow is clear, if chilly, so I’m hoping to have something to write about and perhaps pictures of my own commute!

ETA: The sun is suddenly making an appearance. Wishing I had ridden this morning!

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