Coffee and Bicyclettes

Returning to work after a beautiful three-day weekend is never fun. Despite this, I’ve quite enjoyed the last two days of bike commuting. Aside from the usual driver tomfoolery, my trips have been easy and breezy.

Knowing of the forecast for thunderstorms this morning, I decided to ride anyway. Luckily, I made it to work five minutes before the sky opened up. Either way, I had a rain coat and would not have melted. Some people genuinely seem to think getting wet is a state of emergency. I did consider taking the L train – for about two seconds. The thought of starting my day without my bike ride, passively sitting, is miserable.

I crave the fresh air rush, the blood pumping rush. This is not the same as the adrenaline rush: nothing that extreme, simply a gentle reminder that I’m alive. My bike commute craving is physical, even stronger than my caffeine addiction. Certainly among the healthiest of addictions, though.  No need for the Surgeon General’s warning.   :)

{Speaking of warnings, you’ve got to check out this awesome post and the ensuing conversation at Copenhaganize. I hope the Active Transportation Alliance does not excommunicate me.}

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33 thoughts on “Coffee and Bicyclettes

  1. vicki says:

    I love your blog. Whenever I visit I feel inspired to cherish the simple things in life even more. Sigh….a cup of coffee and a bike ride. How much better does it get? :)

  2. spacemodular says:

    Hey Dottie,

    Do you wear a helmet while riding around Chicago?

    Just curious…

  3. John Nelson says:

    well if you do get excommunicated you should wear it as a badge of honor (or a helmet). that was ridiculous.

  4. jane says:

    That waiver is so funny! I totally know what you mean about the rain thing. The number of times people have asked me “Do you cycle even when it rains” – yes – “But… don’t you get…wet?” – yes – “Wow, you’re very [brave/dedicated/hardcore]”… so silly. Yep, of course I get wet, but fortunately I am not water soluble and I don’t mind a bit of rain in the slightest. I did once lose a contact lens due to rain in my eye going over Waterloo bridge though, heh.

  5. Steve A says:

    Rain is one thing, but thunderstorms are another.

  6. Lady Vélo says:

    I’ve yet to cycle in the rain, but I know that it’s gonna happen one day…!

    Coffee and Bikes = bliss. Just wish my favourite coffee place was much closer to home.

  7. Doug says:

    One of my replies when asked about riding in the rain is, “Getting wet doesn’t hurt”. Also, when it is raining outside is when I get the most offers for a ride home.

  8. Michelle B. says:

    I too hesitated to bike today because of the impending thunderstorm for the ride home, got a ride instead. Rain I can handle, thunderstorms not so much. Days I don’t bike I feel a little grumpy, I think I am an addict as well. The ride clears my head and makes me appreciate what I am surrounded by. You see and hear so much more when you bike commute than if you drive.

    • Dottie says:

      The good thing about thunderstorms is that they usually don’t last that long and the air is nice and crisp before and after. If you can manage to ride around the storm, it can be nice. But I definitely don’t like to tangle with lightening!

    • Dottie says:

      Also – love your blog! But I can’t figure out how to comment on it. Sometimes I’m not the sharpest tool. Anyway, regarding your problem of carrying all your clothes to change at work in the summer – would it be possible for you to leave some clothes at your office? For example, bulky items like cardigans and blazers that don’t need to be washed often and can be worn with many different outfits. Then you’d only have to roll up and carry your skirt and cami on a daily basis, which should fit in the bag you already have.

  9. Michelle B. says:

    Oh and my favorite reply to folks who ask if I ride in the rain “Don’t worry I’m not made of sugar”

  10. James says:

    I am so excited about spring/summer being here because I actually love getting up early, hopping on my mighty Surly and make my way downtown to the Corner Bakery, where I grab a coffee and sit outside and watch the 7AM crowd get off the buses (looking grouchy) at Wacker and Michigan. I am smiling because I usually take the lakefront path and enjoy the sun and seeing a few familiar faces making their way downtown on two wheels. It is at that point that I think “life is great!”. I like the Dutch mentality when it comes to transportation, but I wouldn’t want to live anywhere but here (Chicago) for the foreseeable future.

  11. bongobike says:

    “Some people genuinely seem to think getting wet is a state of emergency.” Ha! True dat.

    I remember one ride back home from work (12.5 mi.) through a true downpour. I was riding through water so deep, my pedals–well, my whole feet–went under with every stroke. It was one of the funnest rides I had had in years. Of course, maybe it wouldn’t have been that fun if I had been riding TO work…

  12. David says:

    Yes, nothing like the “biker’s high”.
    I got wet on my long commute today. It was a little cold too, but nothing I haven’t done before. I need better rain gear though. And my panniers aren’t waterproof. So when I get caught in a moderate rainfall, there is a puddle inside my panniers!!

  13. Scott says:

    That contract language is hilarious! “Roadside garbage collector chic,” ha! That ride looks fun; I will try to participate.

  14. Cat says:

    loved this post! you are an inspiration to all! awesome pics as well. i love looking at bicycle and coffee photography.

  15. Re the waiver thing – Too ludicrous too comment, I am tired of this stuff. Just an hour before reading your post, I was stopped by a police officer on the street (in Boston) and told to “wear a helmet”.

    Re Cycling in the rain – To be fair, for many people it is not about “melting”/ “being made of sugar” but about arriving to work looking professional. It is not always possible to change in the bathroom, and wet hair is not a confidence-inspiring look.

    • Scott says:

      Yeah, you can’t walk into a business meeting with a wet head. I can always keep my hair dry because it is short and I have a hat or cap for any temperature.

      I was discussing cycling to work with someone who said he will only do it if the temp is above freezing. He did not understand the benefit of not having to worry about getting wet.

    • Dottie says:

      How annoying – the police officer should stick to enforcing the law.

      Regarding wet hair, that hasn’t been a problem for me. My helmet keeps my hair pretty dry (I assume a good hat would do the same), but also wet hair is a great way to get my hair to stay put in a sleek bun. Everyone’s hair is different, but it works for me.

  16. Tinker says:

    You did note that he used the photo of you taken over the Easter holidays, on Cycle Chic, right? Lets all go and look at that again, calm down, get a little contact high, and forget the helmets.

    In fact I saw that photo there first! I thought there was an agreement not to spoil the blog owners’ surprise by photo-snatching before the second day! LGRaB alphabetically falls well after Cycle Chic from Copenhagen.

  17. neighbourtease says:

    1. That waiver is truly insane.

    2. Spring is making all the cyclists so happy and it’s really infectious and lovely.

  18. Beany says:

    Ridiculous? That waiver was far beyond that and well into insanity-town. I liked the suggestion that all car drivers ought to have a similar waiver to sign before buying or renting any car: WARNING: this device may cause death, permanent and debilitating injury, separation from humanity, obesity, and an extreme case of the grumparoos.

    If you get excommunicated, you will have blog fodders for months!

  19. Apparently, one of the most common causes of injury on group rides are crashes that occur in tight groups, often at startup time.

    Unfortunately, since the head is a heavy object it is likely to hit the ground first in a crash. I’ve had two crashes in the past twenty years. Both were at low speeds, Fortunately I landed on the top of my helmet both times, so I got up, brushed myself off and rode home. The second crash left the helmet with a six inch crack. I donated it to my physician, where it hung on the wall of her waiting room for a couple of years.

    Look we all dislike “legalese” that seems to tie us in knots, but requiring helmet use at a public ride is both smart and prudent.

    The paranoid notion that requiring helmets will be the “death knell of American cycling”–propagated endlessly at Copenhagenize–is both wrong and selfish. Copenhagen’s bicycle infrastructure is light years beyond anything in the USA.

  20. donnarino says:

    The rain has been putting me off cycling this week unfortunately. It’s not a big deal if it happens to rain as I’m heading home but I just don’t feel like setting off for work on my bike in the morning if it is raining heavily. And I have yet to find a proper raincoat. My bigger problem right now is trying to find a water bottle cage for my Pashley Princess because they thought of everything but drilling holes to the frame (though the loop frame doesn’t make it exactly easy to do that).

    • Dottie says:

      I’m the same way – If it’s pouring out in the morning, I’ll think twice about riding, but normal rain is a-okay.

      I really like my Patagonia rain trench. It’s long enough to cover everything except my tights sticking out from under the skirt, and luckily tights dry quickly.

  21. Milo says:

    The waiver-thing and the efforts of promoters to cover liability is a hilarious example of ‘marginal dis-utility’ – the more the interested parties try to both promote their interests AND cover themselves, the more they screw it up for everybody! Cycling at its natural best is autonomous, non-threatening, individual and liberating.

    How to promote cycling? Just seen a UK website with an 8-minute video showing English girls in a northern English town called Darlington. They ride, and persuade their friends to ride, ‘Dutch’ bikes. What struck me immediately is that focussed, professionally-filmed footage brings home what a thousand still photos do not:the sheer practicality and undimmed beauty of sit-up, step-thru bicycles, and the women who ride them (Oma – where you bin lately?).
    Until I saw this vid I hadn’t understood why so many women remain indifferent to bikes. If bikes and cycling are seen as mucky, sweaty, inelegant, masculine and dangerous, women will stay away in their millions. Why should that matter? It matters because if this beautiful and profoundly sane movement is to spread it will do so because of women. Bicycle-evangelization (to coin a term) cannot come from men (sorry Mikael!). It’s not for me to define roles, but if a critical mass of women in enough big cities integrate cycling into their daily lives as a fun, fulfilling and supremely practical thing to do, then life will change for the better for many people on the planet. Even Chicago TV News might notice (and make up for recent cavalier neglect of women on bikes!).

    So what I’m suggesting is that Dottie, Trisha and friends might explore the possibility of a professionally-made video on practical, urban cycling for women (hand-held fun videos suggest that cycling is wobbly, wet, adolescent and maybe dangerous). The British video I saw is called Beauty and the bike/Cycling UK, and filmed by the Darlington Media Group in hi-def. I’ve just heard it is now a 55-minute DVD and is pulling in prizes in various parts of Europe as word spreads. But you’ll have to get passed those Northern British accents.


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