Tag Archives: summer commuting

We Biked the Whole Summer

The Let’s Go Ride a Bike tribute to summer: we celebrate the good times, the sun, the dresses, the friendship, the bicycles.

We basked in the sun.

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We garden partied.

trisha-and-dottie

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My Favorite Summer Cycling Outfit

The Outfit

Dress: Vera Wang
Shoes: Chloe

As summer comes to an end, I’ve decided on my favorite warm weather cycling outfit. I’ve worn it many times, including a 20 mile ride on Labor Day and a fast ride downtown today for a networking event. The dress is super light and airy with great ventilation. The pleated skirt drapes prettily and covers everything I want covered. Wrinkles never form. Sweat spots never show. Best of all, there is a shorter layer of fabric just below the waistline that flies up in the breeze and flaps behind me like a cape. Very fun :) The shoes are super comfortable gold leather flats. When choosing between this outfit or shorts and a tank top, this outfit wins hands down.

In a couple of months I will look back on this post in mourning, as I begin my winter ritual of layering wool leggings, pants, two pairs of wool socks, wool undershirt, wool sweater, wind breaker, two pairs of gloves, ear muffs, scarf, Russian winter boots, and safety glasses.

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Cycling Chicago’s North Lakefront Trail

Chicago’s gem is not the Sears Tower and other skyscrapers or the Magnificent Mile and high-end shopping. Rather, it’s the beauty of nature carefully curated by city planners – the Lakefront Trail that runs along Lake Michigan from the north to the south of the city, with downtown in the middle.

Betty and Chicago's Skyline

Betty and Chicago's Skyline

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How To: Fresh Summer Cycling

Cycling with style is easy and fun. However, I don’t want it to seem like I simply hop off my bike fresh as a spring flower and go along my merry way. If that’s what people think is supposed to happen after they read about how easy it is to ride in regular clothes, then they will be annoyed when it does not work for them and give up. So I want to be clear that I sweat. A lot. More than the average person. I have been known to sweat in the dead of winter on my bike if I wear one layer too many. My hair gets sweaty and a bit frizzy. Sometimes I get grease on my leg and curse at Betty Foy. Over time I have learned how to deal and always have a plan of action for hot rides.

For example, yesterday I rode 7 miles downtown to have lunch with a friend. The sun was at its peak and the temperature was around 80 F. I wore a breezy lined silk skirt and a cami, stowing my cardigan rolled up in my purse. I strapped my purse in my front basket with a bungie cord and put on my helmet. I then cycled at a steady but easy pace to avoid getting too hot. Twice I stopped to turn my skirt around to prevent sweat spots from building up.

On Bike

On Bike

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Together Again

This week I am in Nashville, vacationing at the Trisha Resort and Spa. Highly recommended, as it includes a pool, cats, bikes, alcohol and delicious home-cooked meals. Except for the ride from the airport on Tuesday, I’ve yet to get in a car. Here we are last night setting out for a Yazoo party in celebration of its new beer, Sue, a high-alc, cherry-wood smoked porter. Yumm.

To the beer party!

To the beer party! Special thanks to photographer C

I must say a bit about the hills. And the humidity. Ugh. Very articulate, I know, but that pretty much sums it up. Trisha is a Southern warrior, I tell you!

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A Bike Ride in the Blazing Sun

The sun was blazing today with temperatures near 90 degrees. Although I grew up in North Carolina and should be used to it, I absolutely hate extremely hot weather.  I’d much rather cycle in the snowy sun.  Despite the heat, I couldn’t sit around all day, so I put on my breeziest summer dress and set out on Oma.  This picture captures how hot the sun was, apparently burning through my clothes.

Blazing Sun

Blazing Sun

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Life in the Slow Lane

My employment-free ride of the day was to the drug store to pick up a prescription and to the pet store to stock up on cat food. I know, I live such a glamorous life. But wait, it gets really exciting – I forgot my lock key in my garage. What a plot twist! So at the drug store I had to use the drive-through window and the pet store was nice enough to let me bring Oma inside. Whew, crisis averted! As you can see in the picture, I got a lot of cat food – both wet and dry. I am so rock ‘n roll with my bike and my cat food.

Catfood-mobile

Catfood-mobile

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Perfect Weather

Oma on the way home

Oma on the way home

As much as I love the sun, today’s somewhat stormy and cool weather was perfect for cycling. The storms stopped before my ride home, which meant that the trail was dramatically less crowded than it usually would be (people are easily scared off by the rain) but I did not get wet. The temperature hovered in the low 60’s, which meant that I did not sweat. I had a 16 mph headwind, so I simply popped Oma into 4th gear and took my sweet time. Mmmm, lovely. What is your perfect cycling weather?

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Perfect Weather

Oma on the way home

Oma on the way home

As much as I love the sun, today’s somewhat stormy and cool weather was perfect for cycling. The storms stopped before my ride home, which meant that the trail was dramatically less crowded than it usually would be (people are easily scared off by the rain) but I did not get wet. The temperature hovered in the low 60’s, which meant that I did not sweat. I had a 16 mph headwind, so I simply popped Oma into 4th gear and took my sweet time. Mmmm, lovely. What is your perfect cycling weather?

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The Sun and the Bicycle

The majority of my waking hours are spent in a skyscraper. My office has a big window with a view of Lake Michigan, but looking at the view only reminds me of what I’m missing. Without bike rides before and after work, my life would be pretty sad. Because of this, I try to really appreciate my time outside: winter, spring, summer or fall, I love it all if I can be outside on my bike. Today I focused on enjoying the summer sun – a rare bird in Chicago, land of the six-month winter. The sun reciprocated by playing fun games with my camera.  Betty, of course, was happy to mug.

lalalalalaaa, sang the angels

And on the eighth day, God create the bike...

And on the eighth day, God create the bike...

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The Sun and the Bicycle

The majority of my waking hours are spent in a skyscraper. My office has a big window with a view of Lake Michigan, but looking at the view only reminds me of what I’m missing. Without bike rides before and after work, my life would be pretty sad. Because of this, I try to really appreciate my time outside: winter, spring, summer or fall, I love it all if I can be outside on my bike. Today I focused on enjoying the summer sun – a rare bird in Chicago, land of the six-month winter. The sun reciprocated by playing fun games with my camera.  Betty, of course, was happy to mug.

lalalalalaaa, sang the angels

And on the eighth day, God create the bike...

And on the eighth day, God create the bike...

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The Best Skirts for Cycling

People are surprised that we cycle in skirts and dresses so often, but it’s not rocket science. Over the past year, we’ve learned that almost every type of outfit works fine on bikes. Skirts offer freedom of movement and are much cooler than pants or shorts, making them especially good for summer cycling. There are some skirts and dresses that are not ideal for cycling, but those are few and far between, easy to work around or avoid. If you find yourself in a problematic skirt, be prepared to either hitch it up or hold it down with one hand. Three factors determine whether a skirt or dress is easy for cycling: structure, fabric and length.

A good dress: short but not too short, narrow but stretchy and not skin tight

A good dress: short but not too short, narrow but stretchy

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Here’s Oma!

It’s been mentioned that I am neglecting Oma. I don’t think I’m neglecting her in real life, although I usually ride Betty for my commute, but I’ll try to post about her more often. She’s still my favorite bike in the whole wide world and every time I get on her after a brief hiatus, I’m amazed at how totally plush she is.

Oma Outfit

You can tell I'm posing because the kickstand's down

Today I rode Oma to work, taking the city streets instead of the lake path in the morning, and also wore my work clothes – drivers are definitely nicer when I’m dressed like this. Usually I don’t ride in work clothes, preferring to change when I get there, but this morning I was going straight to a panel discussion and did not have an opportunity to change. There’s really no reason not to wear work clothes when I’m riding Oma, since she’s made for that sort of thing and I sweat much less on her – although I am a sweat-er – but it’s easier for me to leave all my suits and shoes at work in an empty office that I took over (can you say walk-in closet?). My three-inch chunky heels presented no problem at all. My tweed skirt is a bit narrow, so when I take off from a stop I have to launch myself straight up, then straight back while fully lifted, and then straight down. A small price to pay for fashion.

Post Script: I want to highlight three newer blogs that I’m absolutely in love with. Readers here probably already know them and I read a huge amount of bike blogs, but I’m so taken with these lately that I must share.

Lovely Bicycle!
– as the name says, lovely bicycles, plus a lovely bicyclist to narrate!

Change Your Life – Ride A Bike! – of course, Meligrosa and Adrienne’s fabulous joint blog.

Bikes by the Sea – seriously, there’s a place constantly this gorgeous and I’m stuck living in Chicago?? plus another lovely cyclist to share the pretty pictures.

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ça pue!

Et ici “ça” = “moi.” At least for a few minutes after I arrive at the office. Temps aren’t too high yet, but with 95% humidity, I’m thinking it’s time to start coming into work early lest my coworkers start begging me to work from home. I got here today, cranked up the air and purchased some Action Wipes. Next week, I’ll come in wearing different clothes than the ones I work in, and wipe down and reapply deodorant in the bathroom once I arrive. Ah, the glamour of summer commuting!

What are your strategies for coping with the summer heat?

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