Although there are thousands of interesting bicycles in Chicago, I almost never see any bikes like mine – Rivendell, WorkCycles or Velorbis. In the past week, I had the good luck to spot two Rivendells and speak with their owners. As expected, women who ride Rivendells are super cool.
The first was Rachel. I locked my bike next to hers while stopping for an afternoon cupcake. I was admiring her Honjo fenders and Brooks saddle, but I did not realize it was a Rivendell until she came up and we started talking. Apparently, her frame was a prototype that combined two of their regular models…I think. Something like that. You can see that it says “Protovelo” on the front. Very interesting!
Rachel and her Rivendell
The second was Cara. As I biked down the Lakefront Trail on my Betty Foy in the morning, I spotted her and her Betty Foy. Of course, I had to come to a screeching halt to drool over the bike’s build. Check out the cream tires and leather wrapped bars. Mmmmm, lovely! Luckily, she knew of this blog, which helped me to not come off like a crazy stranger lady. Hopefully
Cara and her Rivendell Betty Foy
Beautiful Betty Foy
Spotting these lovely bikes (and bicyclists!) was a real treat. Fun to find some kindred spirits out there.
Betty Foy and Me
Does anyone else get excited when seeing a bike like their own in the wild?
The moment is here! Dottie and I wanted to find a way to draw for the prizes together, so we gave Wetoku a spin. The sound leaves something to be desired, but it was fun to be on screen together. Watch the video, or just click through the jump to see the list of winners if you can’t stand the suspense.
This weekend I took my first official bike camping trip. I’ve camped plenty of times and taken my bike before, but I’d never biked to the campsite or carried my camping gear on my bike. Rivendell has termed this kind of small adventure the S24O, for sub 24-hour overnight trip.
Packed a change of clothes, essential toiletries and some food and dishes into panniers. Zip tied sleeping bags to racks.
Biked to Union Station in downtown Chicago.
Took Metra train one hour out of the city. Bikes are allowed on train for free.
Met Melissa at the destination station and the three of us biked together to the forest preserve campsite.
Met Chanh at the campsite in his car. Good for people who are not comfortable riding the whole route and/or carrying bigger items like tents and coolers (although we could have fit a tent on our bikes).
Biked around, played with fire, drank beer and canoed.
Biked to the train station, took train back to Union Station, biked home.
The details: Once we set up camp, all four of us set out for Two Brothers Brewery. The route was a nice mix of nature bike paths, quiet neighborhood streets and fast roads with wide shoulders, with some interesting sites along the way.
After super fresh beer, food and more bike riding, we returned to the campsite to watch the sunset. Songs, fire and more beer drinking followed late into the night.
The next morning started with s’mores – the breakfast of champions! – and Melissa’s guitar.
A quick rain shower cleared up in time for us to hit the lake. Mr. Dottie and I took a canoe, while Melissa and Chanh chose a tandem kayak.
After packing up, we biked to a diner for lunch and then biked to the train station. Mr. Dottie and I took the train to downtown Chicago and biked home. In our neighborhood we stopped for frozen custard, and it’s amazing how well the turtle sundae recharged my batteries.
My Rivendell Betty Foy, which I bought for the versatility of commuting and light touring, handled everything perfectly and felt wonderful.
By the end of the whirlwind weekend, I was exhausted but happy. I want to do this more often. The next-to-nothing cost and planning make it easy to accomplish on any given weekend. The opportunity to escape the city and enjoy life’s simple pleasures make me want to do it every weekend!
Who else has experience with bike camping, either S24O’s or longer tours?
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).