Tag Archives: style

A Happy Morning

Happy: A cup of freshly brewed coffee.

Happier: Biking to an early yoga class.

Happiest: Unexpectedly seeing my good friend Sara while leaving the yoga studio and biking to work together.

Here’s to becoming a morning person!

:)

 

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How To: Leather U-Lock Holster

I heard so many great tips from commenters about u-lock schlepping last week.  The one that takes the cake is from Jessie of Bicitoro, who posted an excellent tutorial for creating a u-lock holster from a leather belt.

What a stylish, thrifty, and utilitarian solution!

Check out her step-by-step instructions.  If you create your own, please let us (and Jessie) know.

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Bike Style in Vogue

News flash: bicycles are in.  Last week, Vogue wrote about the fashionableness of bicycles:

As we ease into the last few weeks of summer, bike style is the new street style. So why not count your chic cruiser as a seasonal staple? Just as you might acquire pieces to complement a favorite new bag, it’s possible to build your ensemble around your bike.

A slideshow of bicycles matched with fall fashion accompanies the article. (Hat tip to CycleStyle Australia for the link.)

Looking at the slideshow is fun, kinda like our Fashion Fridays, but with all couture designer clothing.  We have been known here at LGRAB to match our outfits to our bikes!

I think such attention is positive for the image of bicycling and it gives me a little thrill, but I also agree with Trisha that bicycling is more than a fashion statement and that making the bicycle a fashionable accessory – without accompanying advocacy – will not substantially increase the amount of bikes on the road.  Paris and New York’s bikeshares and increase in infrastructure must be pushing this trend.  I’d love to know what others think.  Do you get excited about or roll your eyes at such articles?

(I must say, in regards to the imagery above, that society tends to gloss over painfully thin models as normal for fashion, but excepting the very few woman who look so naturally, this extreme thinness is not good or healthy.)

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Fashion Friday: Biking to Yoga

Who else is obsessed with the Olympics?  Watching the US women’s gymnastics team (go Gabby!) was the push I needed to get my butt back to yoga, after years of saying, “I need to get back to yoga.”

I’m finishing week two of near-daily 6 a.m. classes and I love it.  I am not a morning person, but I discovered that if I get up as soon as the alarm goes off, throw on my yoga clothes, and head straight out the door – no snooze button, coffee, twitter, or other procrastination – the morning is not so bad.

This routine requires extra preparation, especially combined with biking to work.  I bike to the studio on the way to work wearing my yoga outfit (Lululemon’s yoga clothes are so expensive, but soooo perfect!).  After class, I shower at the studio and change into regular shorts and a t-shirt, since my yoga clothes are too sweaty to put back on and I get too sweaty on my bike right now to wear work clothes.  Finally, I bike the rest of the way to work and change into my work clothes.  I swear, this is not as complicated as it sounds.  Totally worth the extra effort for the wonderful feeling I get from yoga class.

Do you have a yoga or other exercise routine that you combine with your bike commute?  I’m interested to hear how others handle the logistics.

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Favorite Cycling Accessories

Bike bag

Bike shoes

Bike love

Some of my favorite bicycling accessories cannot be found at a bike shop.

:)

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Kicks

I prefer to keep my work shoes under my desk, especially during the summer when my feet sweat.  Last summer I spent a lot of time biking in Keen Commuter sandals or regular slip-on sneakers.  This summer, I wanted casual shoes that could also look stylish.  I chose Bensimon Tennis Laclets (aka the French Converse) and I like them a lot.

These sneakers are easy to slip on and off – I never have to mess with the laces.  They are also breathable and very lightweight.  The only downside is the thin soles.  I would not wear them for a lot of walking before adding a gel insole, but happily that is not an issue when bicycling.

 I’ve been wearing them a lot and I like how they dress down and lighten up my regular outfits.

What kind of shoes do you like for summer bicycling?  Anyone else wear Bensimons?  :-)

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Fashion Friday

Overcast skies and thunderstorms colored my week with steely blues and soft grays.  After months of bright sunshine and primary colors, this low-key palate soothed my eyes and spirit – and my sensitive skin, which was happy for  some cloud cover!

These colors and the feelings they evoke inspired this collage.  I began with the soothing familiarity of my own bicycle, then dressed my imaginary self in a made-to-order organic cotton dress from Portland-based designer, Makool Loves You, paired with crocheted sneakers and a silky helmet cover. The cover is made for equestrian helmets, but I wonder if it would work for bicycling?  A lovely perfume would help with the sweat-free summer strategy – here I chose iris and white musk, the scent of a flowering garden after a heady summer storm.

I always have a book with me in my bike bag and this is a good time to delve into the work of America’s new Poet Laureate, Natasha Trethewey.

Overhead, pelicans glide in threes—
their shadows across the sand
dark thoughts crossing the mind.

My imagination paints this scene with the same blues and grays.

What color was your week?

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Bicycling in a Long Dress, Part II

Last month, I posted about bicycling in a long dress.  I demonstrated using an upright Danish bike with a full chain case.  Today I wore a long dress and I wanted to ride my Rivendell, which has an exposed chain and no skirt guard.  I assume this is the type of bike that most readers have, so I’m posting Bicycling in a Long Dress: Part II – no chain guard edition.

This is almost as simple as Part I.  The only difference is that I pinned up the bottom of my skirt.

Here is a quick video to show how quick and easy making a long skirt bike-friendly is.

Has anyone else tried this with a long dress? I know a few of you commented about similar strategies in the previous post.

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Fashion Friday: Star Struck

This amazing skirt by Shadowplayncy inspired me to build a whole Fashion Friday look around it. The cotton sateen skirt is hand-sewn in New York City and printed with real images from the Hubble Telescope.  All of their space-inspired pieces are jaw-droppingly beautiful and unique.

I’m also really into these studded leather flats by Marc Jacobs.  If you look closely, you can see that the toes have little mouse ears, eyes, and noses!  A fun craft project would be turning a cheap pair of flats into mice.  Another would be putting orange accents on my Dutch bike, calling it Hermes, and reselling it for $4,650.  :)

I would wear this outfit on a night bike ride (sunglasses becoming a headband after sunset) to view the International Space Station as it passes by this weekend.

{Dorothy Perkins gold top, $49, Star skirt, $138, Marc by Marc Jacobs mouse shoes, $250, Mathias Chaize star earrings, $110, Chloé square sunglasses, $143, Bicycle Hermès Surprise, $4,650}

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June’s women-who-bike picnic brunch

The first Sunday of June was an absolutely gorgeous Chicago day.  The women-who-bike met for a picnic by the lake.  Much fun was had!  Check out all the awesome women and their bikes!

Sara with her new Pashley Poppy and amazing red pants.

Chika – her first time biking in a dress!

Jen and her badass bakfiets.

Amy is serious business.  :)  Preparing for her first RAGBRAI this year!

Seri rocking the all black ensemble and preparing for her fourth (!) RAGBRAI.

Megan’s cool.  Coordinating her bungie straps to her sandals?  Yup, that’s how she rolls.  :)

Shelley on her way to tend her organic pop-up garden.  (Way more advanced than mine!)

Stefanie shows how to do summer blues!

Krystle looking Parisian chic!  (Fun fact: we first met when she recognized me outside the grocery store.)

PINK!  Christina shows how to do high-vis.  :)

Araidia and her adorable gingham skirt with clever leggings.

Me and Coco.  Read more about biking in this long dress.

Our beautiful patch of Chicago, in the shade of a majestic old tree.

Prosecco!

Berries!

Muffins!

A fabulous morning.

If you’re a woman in Chicago, join the next brunch – a picnic in Grant Park downtown!  Sunday, July 1, 10:30 a.m.  Email LGRAB@letsgorideabike.com for the details.

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Fashion Friday: Fun in the Sun

Trisha is at Bonnaroo music festival, so I am posting this Fashion Friday in her place and in her honor, since I’m sure she’s having lots of fun in the sun!

This outfit is more of a dream one for me, because I own nothing like this flowered tank, pink shorts, and silver sandals.  It would look pretty cool, though, and perfect for a fun summer weekend!  I definitely need more bright colors in my wardrobe.  The colorful, cycle chic Schwinn bike pictured is only $300 at Target, although I cannot vouch for its quality.

I hope you all have some fun in the sun of your own – just remember to wear SPF!

Old navy tank top, $18 on sale for $8, J.Crew chino shorts, $48, Schwinn Women’s Three Speed Fiets Hybrid Bike White/Green, $300, DV by Dolce Vita leather platform sandals, $59, Old navy hat, $13BCBG Max Azria plastic sunglasses, $90

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Kate Spade CHI :)

You know how the right outfit has the power to brighten your day and make the world a more fun place to live?  If no, you should probably skip this vapid post.  If so – yeah!  totally!

I wore this Kate Spade ensemble to work last week, which of course involved nearly ten miles of bicycling.  And I felt so super happy the entire time, la la la lalalalaaaa.  *birds chirping*  A bonus is that drivers might be nicer to me dressed like this (Mary Poppins Effect), if they take a moment to glance up from their iPhones.

I am usually a thrift store lady, but I am admittedly attracted to a few different designers.  Not that I pay full price!  Goodness, no!  But I am a seasoned clearance stalker and when this Kate Spade dress popped up for 1/3 of the original price, I was so there.

Luckily, the weather was not too hot and humid – I’d hate to sweat all over this dress’s lovely lining (’cause I sweat like a piglet).  Tip time!  Did you notice the socklette peeking from my mary janes?  I buy those from the drugstore and they keep my feet from getting sweaty-stinky.  ;)

I also wore my Nutcase helmet, not pictured because I won’t pretend I think helmets improve on a look.  Oh!  But you know what helmet would have been spectacular with this dress (if you’re into that kind of thing!):

Ladybug!!!

Do you have a favorite outfit that makes you feel especially happy and cheery while bicycling?  I’d love to hear about it!

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How to: bicycling in a long dress

Bicycling in a long dress is possible! In fact, with the right set-up, it’s downright simple. Some may ask, “Why even bother biking in a long dress?” My response is that my bike is transportation and I do not want it to dictate what I wear (except pencil skirts, those are crazy – unless you convert it!).

If you are interested in learning how, read on!

Three major factors determine how successfully you can bike in a long dress: the dress, the bike, and the technique.

The Dress

Must allow enough freedom to move your legs in a cycling motion. The skirt needs to be relatively full or made of stretchy material with a slit, such as the one pictured above. Test the dress’s bike-ability before leaving (or purchasing) by doing some knee-lifts.

The Bike

Must have several characteristics to work with a long dress, unless you tie your dress up by your knees. First, a step-through frame (has anyone done this with a diamond frame??). Second, a covered chain to keep the skirt from being eaten and/or greased up. Third, a skirt guard if the skirt is full, so it won’t get pulled in the rear wheel spokes. Note that this was not an issue with the dress and bike above. Fourth, fenders, otherwise your skirt will rub against the rear tire. Finally, a clean frame is a good idea, since your dress will rub against it a fair bit.

The Technique

For the most part, you can bike as normal. You may benefit from hitching the skirt up a bit, to provide more give around the thighs. Experiment to determine what works best for each dress. You may also want to dismount fully at stoplights, to reduce stress on the seams of the skirt.

Here is a quick video that covers the topic. I did this on the fly yesterday, since I happened to be wearing a long dress. I’m not a professional film-maker, so not the best quality video ever, but I hope simply seeing someone bike in a long dress is helpful.

Have any of you biked in a long dress or skirt? I’d love to hear stories and additional tips in the comments! Please feel free also to share photos, via either html or links.

{For more advice, come out to my The Lady and the Bike class in Chicago tomorrow!}

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Fashion Friday: Beautiful Beige

I went all-color for my previous Fashion Friday, but this week I’m feeling the beige.  Often stereotyped as boring, a palette of subtly varied beiges can be romantic and classy.  I love pairing bright red lips with such ensembles to provide a pop of color (Chanel is my favorite).  Many women are afraid of red lips, but the bold color is guaranteed not to look tarty on a background of beige.

My weekend plans involve biking, picture-taking, reading, and brunching with my women.  Maybe I’ll look half as put together as my style collage.  :)  What’s on your agenda?

Vintage dress, vintage camera, Breukelen from Bowery Lane Bikes (love the wood crate!), Yakkay helmet, Kate Spade sunglasses, KORS shoes, Chloe bag, Chanel lipstick.

P.S. HAPPY JUNE!

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Lake Breezes and Karma

The cool breezes of Lake Michigan lured me to the lakefront trail yesterday morning.  Freedom from the stifling heat of car exhaust and crazy drivers, I relaxed and enjoyed the beauty around me.

These pictures are from this great old Polaroid Land Camera 250.  Very fun to play with.  :)

In the evening, I took city streets, where I witnessed a scene that first had me flaming mad and then had me cheering.

As I waited at a red light at a crowded intersection, a driver in a fancy SUV was turning left and inching into a crosswalk as a mother with a baby carriage crossed with the walk signal.  The mother was saying something to the driver that I could not hear, probably like, “Excuse me, I have the walk sign and I’m here with my baby.”  The driver responded by HONKING his horn, right in the baby’s face!  The mother did not budge and the driver then stepped on the gas to lurch forward and psych out the mother, who was standing no more than two feet away WITH HER BABY CARRIAGE!  (Who are these horrible people???)  As soon as she moved away, the driver sped down the street…

…for about 3 seconds.  A police SUV, which was two cars behind the offending SUV, immediately went after it with lights and sirens.  As a biked by, the SUV was pulled over and two police officers were exiting their vehicle.  The scene was so beautiful, I could have wept.  KARMA!

I think the driver should have been arrested for assault with a deadly weapon, but at the very least I hope he or she received a citation for failure to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk.  Drivers need to know that they cannot get away with criminal behavior simply because they are surrounded by a ton of metal!

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May’s Women-Who-Bike Brunch

Last Sunday, the Chicago Women-who-bike gathered for our monthly brunch at Revolution Brewing in Logan Square.  This meant we got to enjoy their signature beermosa.  :)

Overall, our group size was about 30 people, all at one long table.  Special thanks to our excellent waitress, Jessica, for taking such good care of us.

Molly and her husband Piet joined us while visiting Chicago from Ann Arbor, Michigan.  You may remember both of them from their Summer Games participation and especially Molly from her 2010 Roll Models profile. 

After brunch, we spent time outside – as always – talking about bikes.  I like how April strapped her Kate Spade bag to her front rack.

Alison took Jen’s bakfiets for a spin.  Love the look on her face.  :)

But she soon went back to her own cute orange ride.

The day was a little rainy and I saw lots of different rain coats.  I particularly like this teal one!

Jenny showed how casually stylish a skirt with sneakers can look.

And Megan wore cool red sneakers!

Saya and Laurie, her friend visiting from Boston, struck a pose for me.  :)

This is only a small sampling of the great group of women who came out.

If you’re a woman and in Chicago and you bike (or simply want to learn more about biking!), email me at LGRAB@letsgorideabike.com to be added to the list.  Our next brunch will be Sunday, June 3rd – a picnic on the lakefront.

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May’s Critical Lass Ride

I missed the past couple of Critical Lass rides, so I was happy to catch up with the group for May’s ride.  Coolest bicycling group in Chicago, for sure, including a couple of baby-bicyclists.  We started in Roscoe Village and enjoyed a leisurely ride through Lakeview and Lincoln Park, ending at a Mexican restaurant for margaritas.

Many thanks to our fearless leader Ash, pictured first below.

We got rained on a little during the ride, but hail and lightening waited until we were safely at the restaurant and finished by the time we departed for our rides home.  The goddesses were on our side.

Join or keep up with Chicago’s Critical Lass Rides on Facebook.

 

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A Day at the Nature Museum

Last week, Trisha visited Chicago for her birthday (HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!).  We were together again!

We biked down the lakefront and stopped by the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum.

Coco and Oma got to be together, too, outside of the garage for once.

While there, we enjoyed a high-quality exhibit, called Bikes! The Green Revolution, that happens to be at the Nature Museum until September 9.

There was a display of cool vintage bikes.

Art work with the theme “bike monsters.”

Photo ops with a penny-farthing, which we were all over once the children got out of our way.

And a photo exhibit of modern cycling style, featuring portraits by Bike Fancy’s Martha Williams.  (Look, there’s me!)

Next, we stopped by the butterfly house, but the many fluttering things disconcerted Trisha a bit too much.

So we rested a bit.  :)

We finished our visit in the gardens, a lovely respite from the city.

Where we listened to highly entertaining bird calls in the bird sanctuary.

 Finally, we got back on our bikes to continue our day downtown.
Another lovely day on bikes in Chicago. Plus Trisha, which makes the day 100x better!  :)
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Fail: spandex shorts under dress

We’ve been talking a lot about dealing with unruly skirts and dresses recently.  I shared my experiences of tying my skirt and stapling my dress.  To avoid such a faux pas in the future, I decided to wear my old Nike spandex shorts (no padding) under suspicious new dresses.

Such was the case with a dress I thrifted last week (ahem, new with Nordstrom tags, I gotta brag).  The skirt was full and the fabric light, making the dress a candidate for floating-up-with-the-wind syndrome, so I threw my spandex shorts underneath and thought I managed to be both clever and chic.

Um, nope!

I realized only when I got this film photo back from the lab that the outline of the shorts was totally visible under the dress fabric.

*sigh*  The dress never behaved inappropriately on the bike, anyway.  Such is life, I suppose.

At this point, the garter-belt-pinned-to-dress idea is looking like the best.  I’m noting that for the future.  :)

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Chicago’s Lurie Botanical Gardens

Today was a beautiful day.  One of the most beautiful of the year.  The sunshine and blue skies and flowers and fresh air all made me remember how wonderful living in this world can be, on the right kind of day.

I rode my bike more than usual and I was thankful for the opportunity.  In the morning I had to be far downtown for a seminar, so I took the Lakefront Trail for 45 refreshing minutes.  A few hours later in the early afternoon, I got to enjoy the outdoors again as I biked from there to my office.  While co-workers jumped in a cab,  I couldn’t resist stopping by the Lurie Botanical Gardens in Millennium Park on my bike.

I wore one of the skirts I thrifted this weekend for $2.  I enjoy wearing flowers in the springtime, although I know my fabric cannot compete with nature’s beauty.

The Lurie Garden is an almost miraculous spot in the middle of downtown Chicago.  There is a glorious juxtaposition of nature and city.  The skyscrapers are a sight to behold, hovering over the flower beds.

Getting down to the ground level and smelling the blossoms takes me back to my mom’s garden, growing up in North Carolina.

Then I stand up and see the architectural marvel of the Pritzker Pavilion, backed by the Aon Center and the Watertower antennas.  Ah yes, Chicago!

I lack the green thumb of my mother, so this guide identifying the different flowers in the garden at this time of year was helpful.

This bird in the tree was making a fuss about me taking its picture.  Very loud.  Camera shy.

At the end of the day, I decided to take the Lakefront Trail home.  On one of the most beautiful days of the year, why not end the day with more of the beautiful same?

I managed to feel like I spent a great deal of time outside, when really all I did was get from one place to another, pure transportation.  Yet so much more.  Everyone who rides a bike, you know what I’m talking about, right?  :)

 

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