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.
On Sunday, the Chicago Women-Who-Bike gathered for our April brunch. Although we had to cancel a planned picnic at the last minute due to the weather (never trust a Chicago forecast), a great group of both regulars and first-timers gathered at the back-up location.
Beth (on the left below), a first-timer, is preparing for a charity century ride in June and learning how to use clipless pedals. My hat is off to her! Those are two bikey things that I have never tried before. I love how her Fuji manages to be both utilitarian and attractive while primarily being sporty. You can follow her adventures at YAY BETH!! (tagline: “cheer me on, damn you.” ha!).
Jenny (on the right below) is a regular and she rides the most lovely Globe I’ve seen. The Carolina blue frame and cream tires are so gorgeous, right? Especially with her brown leather boots. I’m impressed by how far the Globe has come as a utilitarian and classy bike in the past few years.
Araidia and her lovely vintage Raleigh are regulars. I swooned over her shellacked cork grips for a bit (she shellacked them herself and they look so much nicer than my pre-shellacked ones) and we noticed that our 3-speed Sturmey Archer shifters are almost identical, even though hers is over 30 years older than mine. Ariadia designs and creates beautiful Love Letter Slips and we made plans to go thrifting together soon!
Chika (on the left below) joined the group for the first time. I was amazed to learn that we both grew up in North Carolina, went to the same college (the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill), and graduated the same year, 2003! Meeting a fellow Tarheel in Chicago is so rare, let alone one from my class. Very cool!
Lucy (on the right) lives near the restaurant, so she walked and I got a photo of her with her cool shoes, instead of her bike. :) Cute skirt plus leggings plus sneakers = perfect early spring outfit.
Ann was another first-timer. She rides a WorkCycles Fr8 with two child seats, one on the front and one on the back. This badass setup is rare in Chicago and I realized that I spotted her one morning in Lincoln Park last year, biking her children to school. I blogged about the sighting at the time, saying this:
I passed a woman going the other direction who was riding a Dutch bike with flowing hair, carrying a baby on the front and a toddler on the back. It was so beautiful, I could have wept. She must be Dutch or something, although I would love to be wrong. Anyone know a regular Chicago mom who throws down like that? I was tempted to turn around and catch up with her to snap a picture, but figured that would be weird.
I love that I ended up meeting her all this time later at my brunch, and I’m happy to learn that she is American!
We also had a very special guest visiting from NYC, Kim of Velojoy, a “growing online resource for city cyclists and those who may be considering riding in the bike lanes for the first time,” written by an all-female team. Connecting with people from around the country and world through the love of bicycling is the best. I’m so glad Kim contacted me and and now I’m excited to visit New York again soon.
I pulled out Coco for the morning. I’ll be riding her a lot this spring, I’m sure. Such a sweet and happy bike. :)
Unfortunately, I did not get a picture of everyone who was there (Seri, I’m looking at you!).
Of course, the women-who-bike brunch is also about food. My favorite dish at Ann Sather, a Swedish diner, is the Swedish pancakes with lingonberries. Yum!
Our next brunch will be the first Sunday of May and we’re also having a happy hour next Wednesday, April 11. If you want in, email me at LGRAB@letsgorideabike.com and I’ll add you to the mailing list. Don’t be shy – we’re a friendly bunch!
The first Women-Who-Bike brunch of the new year marked an excellent start to 2012! The lure of beautiful weather and the highly-acclaimed new restaurant Nightwood drew 23 women, including several first-timers.
Because the restaurant was in Pilsen, about 8-10 miles from my house depending on the route, I met up with a group of six to bike together. Sunday morning is the best time to cycle and low traffic allowed us to ride side-by-side and chat most of the way.
After a delicious meal, we all spent a good amount of time outside, chatting and bike-gawking.
Martha took some photos for her fab blog, Bike Fancy. Other highlights: Purple!
On Sunday, Chicago’s lovely bike ladies got together for the final brunch of 2011. The weather in Chicago is unseasonably mild and I was able to get by without a coat, wearing a sweater dress ($2 from Salvation Army!) and glittery Cynthia Rowley tights (a gift from Trisha last Christmas).
About 15 of us met at The Southern in Bucktown and boy was it good!
I had to get the fried chicken, biscuits and gravy (hey, I’m from North Carolina!). There was enough left over for yummy dinners on Sunday and Monday.
Martha seems to be taking her benedict seriously in this photo, but she liked it. And Ash her donuts. :)
For real, these cinnamon donuts with fruit and coffee dipping sauce looked amazing.
After a leisurely meal, we headed outside for our usual bike talk.
Maria, Samantha and Seri showed off their wintery white helmets.
Jen, Ash and Holly modeled their oh-so-lovely jackets. ;)
Catherine made a strong case for purple and green together.
Martha’s bright red scarf and Samantha’s neon yellow gloves were great pops of color (visibility!) next to their black coats.
And check out Martha’s new Yakkay helmet cover. Swoon!
April and Holly brought some spring colors into the mix. (Stay tuned for a full review of April’s raincoat coming later this week.)
So cheerful on a grey winter day!
I think I managed to get everyone’s photo this time except Stef and Carrie, so I’m posting these that I took at prior gatherings. (A bit underdressed for December, aren’t we, ladies? )
Those of us who were not out of town for the Labor Day weekend met up for our monthly brunch on September 4. We enjoyed the back patio at bike-friendly Handlebar Bar & Grill, a group favorite. The weather was perfect and we savored what may have been our last outdoor brunch for 7 or 8 months.
Megan and her Bianci
Cute shoes and Road ID
Sara and her Jamis
Cute bike flower
Stefanie and her vintage roadbike
Jennifer and her vintage Raleigh
Me and Oma
I love hanging out with this cool group of women! We meet for brunch the first Sunday of the month and for happy hour whenever. If you’d like to join us, email me at LGRAB@letsgorideabike.com.
[7/21, 11:15 p.m. - I want to thank everyone who has participated in this discussion, especially the creator of the cut-out himself. I did not expect that so many people would have so many different reactions to the image - and to my reaction to the image - and I've learned a lot by reading everyone's opinions. My feeling about the image remains the same, but I understand and respect that others feel differently. No matter where you stand on the issue, I hope you agree that open discourse on challenging subjects is a good thing.]
Photo by John Greenfield
As I read Grid Chicago’srecent post about event bike parking this morning, I came across the photo on the right. It depicts the Chicago Reader’s bike parking for Pitchfork music festival. As you can see, the Reader chose to mark its bike parking lot with a naked, faceless woman stuck between two Reader banners.
If I were looking for bike parking at Pitchfork and saw this, I would have turned around and kept looking, feeling uncomfortable and unwelcome. Something as relatively minor as this is like a punch in the gut when it catches me off guard.
This sign showcases the sexism that exists in bicycling. And music. And the world.
Of course, not all depictions of the female form are sexist. If a cutout like this had been created as a personal project by a woman to represent the power she felt on her bike, that would be cool. But for someone to create it as a public sign, slap a Reader logo on it, and prop it against a fence on a street corner to draw attention to bike parking is icky and, I’ll say it again, sexist.
This is a classic case of objectification and the fact that it was done by hip, bike-riding, indie music-listening people does not make it okay.
If any women would like to enjoy guaranteed sexism-free zones, feel free to join the women-who-bike happy hour tonight (6-ish, Blue Line Lounge) and the Critical Lass ride tomorrow (6:00, Polish Triangle).
July’s women-who-bike brunch in Chicago on Sunday was a lovely little affair. (I believe most of our ladies were resting up after the annual overnight L.A.T.E. Ride.) We set up a picnic on the banks of a river just off a recreational bike path. Everyone brought a little something to share and there were lots of fresh berries, homemade pastries, and refreshing spiked drinks.
The weather was a bit hot and there was a flat tire at the end, but nothing that the ladies could not handle.
It was so lovely to meet new people and to see familiar faces!
Are you in Chicago and interested in joining us? Email me at LGRAB [at] letsgorideabike.com. All women-who-bike (or are-considering-biking) are welcome!
More events coming up:
Women-who-bike Happy Hour: July 20, 6:00, Blue Line Lounge
Chicago’s second Critical Lass ride rolled out last Thursday, this time with a group of nearly 30. Like the inaugural ride in May, the ride was so much fun. I love it!
As you can see in my photos below, it’s a women’s ride, plain and simple. All lasses are welcome! I guarantee you will be greeted by the friendliest group of women in Chicago.
(Saying goodbye to mom)
Chatting with others and riding side-by-side was easy due to the super calm route. After about an hour, we ended at a bar in Logan Square, where I stayed for a couple of hours, enjoying beer and buffalo wing specials.
The next Critical Lass ride is July 21 – always the third Thursday of the month, starting at the Polish Triangle. I hope to see even more lasses there next time!
I bow down, once again, to our amazing leader Ash.