Monthly Archives: July 2010

Farmer’s Market by Bike

Another farmer’s market visit by bike. You’ll be seeing a lot of these this summer. Today Mr. Dottie and I rode down to Green City Market in Lincoln Park with Arielle. This is a relatively big market, so there’s always something new to capture my attention. This week: sunflowers, rainbow chard, raspberry pie and a bluegrass band.

Me and Arielle


Rainbow Chard

Hoosier Mama Raspberry Pie

Blue Grass Band

Flower Specials

Mr. Dottie aka Greg

Betty My Love

I love riding in the summer to do stuff outdoors. Even though I sweat buckets during the ride, I’m not compelled to rush to a restroom and freshen up. I walk around and naturally cool down a bit, while dust and grass enter the mix with my sunblock. Being a little grimy is good for feeling like a kid again, back when I hated taking baths :)

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In Kentucky, where there’s sunshine all the time . . .

I spent part of the holiday weekend in Kentucky, tasting bourbon, taking pictures of bourbon barrels (which I’ll keep to a minimum here) and roaming the streets of Louisville (as a public service announcement, let me tell you right now to stay away from Fourth Street Live no matter what the nice lady at the front desk says).

Barrels and barrels of bourbon

There's something about that honey-colored wood . . .

Though we didn’t spend many daylight hours in Louisville, there was enough time to notice a few elements of biking cuture—like this interesting bike rack. Nashville has gotten some flak lately for valuing style over substance when it comes to bike rack installations, but this dragon seems to have both.

And, um, this interesting bike rack, which, having no bikes ourselves, April, Chiara and I decided could do double-duty as a jungle gym.

Louisville does appear to have a Bcycle bike sharing program of sorts—but as far as I could determine from the street, this station at least was only for Humana employees.

I can't ride this bike, since I don't work for Humana.

Our destination was the 21C Museum Hotel, where we perused the awesome exhibits (and imbibed delicious cocktails). This was our favorite piece of art.

It's raining poetry

Then we walked over to the Brown Hotel, where we borrowed some sparklers from a wedding reception and had our own little Fourth of July celebration.

Then we decided to pedicab it home. My first ride in one ever!

The Louisville pedicabs have 21 speeds and internal hubs. Our driver certainly seemed to transport us effortlessly—but then, we Southern belles don’t weigh more than a cotton boll, bless our hearts.

How was your holiday weekend?

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Take the Long Way Home

Am I the only one who hears the Supertramp song in my head based on the post title? I blame my dad.

Today I did indeed take the long way home. Normally my commute route is a major diagonal street (Lincoln Ave, for the locals). Diagonal streets are favored among both cyclists and motorists because they cut through Chicago’s usual grid – after all, the quickest way from point A to point B is a straight line. Due to the heavy bike traffic, this street is a designated bike route and there are either bike lanes or sharrows the entire way. However, due to the heavy car traffic (and bus traffic and truck traffic), it can be stressful.

There is an alternate street route, which I’d never taken as part of my commute before (Armitage and Racine).

The route is along two secondary streets at a right angle, instead of the one diagonal street, adding a little less than one mile to the ride. For someone outside of a big city like Chicago, these would probably be busy streets, but they’re calm compared to my normal route. One street has a bike lane and the other has wide lanes but no bike lane. With very few stop lights and many four-way stop sign intersections, they’re ideal for bikes.

My ride was much calmer than usual and, surprisingly, I got home in pretty much the same amount of time as usual. Maybe 3-4 minutes longer. I’ll have to take the “long” way more often! Conveniently, this way took me right by a quaint neighborhood wine shop. Sauvignon blanc is the perfect treat after a ride in 94 degrees.

This is going down as an event for the Summer Games, take the long way home.  I’m grateful that I took the opportunity to try something new, thanks to the Games.  I look forward to hearing about everyone else’s adventures. :)

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Sweltering v. Freezing: Better for Bicycling?

The whole country seems to be pretty hot this week. Chicago has been at a high of 90 degrees, including during my ride home yesterday. As I sat at a stoplight in the sweltering heat of the direct sun, car exhaust swirling around my head, I fondly recalled the winter. But is one really better than the other?

Summer Bike

In the sweltering summer:

  • I wear a tank top and skorts, carry my work clothes with me and change in the bathroom at work after freshening up with an Action Wipe or washcloth.
  • My hair gets sweaty, especially my bangs.
  • I ride more slowly to stay cooler.
  • I slather on sun block to keep my sensitive skin from burning.
  • Lots of other cyclists are on the road with me.

Winter Bike

In the freezing winter:

  • I can wear my work clothes on my bike.
  • I have to wear extra clothing layers – tights, leggings, scarf, gloves, wool socks, snow boots, ear muffs.
  • Oma is the bike of choice, equipped with studded tires.
  • I ride slowly to watch out for slush and patches of ice.
  • Lights are essential, as my commute is usually in the dark.
  • Only a few other cyclists are out there with me.

Both extremes have their challenges and benefits.  Of course, the best weather for cycling is between the extremes, which is most of the time.

How do you deal with the different seasons?  Would you choose sweltering or freezing, if you had to pick one?  And why oh why do most people choose to ride their bikes on the hottest days and abandon them after Labor Day?

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Bicycle Picnic in the City

On Monday (hooray for holiday weekends) I rode a few miles, set up my blanket under a big tree by the lake, laid out my spread of fizzy drink and fresh berries, and read a novel for a couple of hours. Although the local news warned that because of the 90 degree temps everyone should stay in the air conditioning (sigh) the day was beautiful in the shade with the legendary Chicago wind keeping things cool.

The gorgeous location, so private and quiet, was amazing for a city as big as Chicago. The city has so many lovely spots for those who put forth the small effort to find them.

This is going down as an event for the Summer Games, go on a picnic by bicycle. Bicycle picnic was the first event I came up with when Trisha and I started planning the Games. I’m excited that it’s finally come around and I hope others take the opportunity to have a bicycle picnic of their own :)

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Bikes=summer fashion trend?

It’s been the hottest June to hit Nashville in more than 50 years, but regardless I feel like I’ve seen more people riding bicycles this month than I did either of the two previous Junes put together.

Another thing I’ve been seeing more often this summer? Bicycle-themed clothing. Of course, I completely approve of both trends, even if wearing a dress printed with bikes while riding a bike might be overdoing it a little bit.

Oh well, subtlety can be overrated. And a cool cotton dress is the perfect choice for a hot summer ride.

Anyone else out there sporting bike fashion these days? And if so, do you wear it while riding your bike?

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Simple Pleasures

Sustenance and transportation are two necessities of daily life. People need to eat and need to get from one place to another. How one chooses to fulfill these needs greatly affects one’s life. Our society in general is going about it all wrong. Pleasure, health and happiness can be derived from these tasks. I don’t mean by eating steak and driving a porsche; I’m not talking about anything money can buy, but about simple pleasures.

Just some thoughts after another beautiful Saturday at the farmer’s market, eating fresh food in the shade of old trees and then hopping on the bikes for a quiet ride home. The price for hours of entertainment, quality time, exercise, transportation, fresh air and happiness – nada. For local food (cherries, cheese, arugula, croissant, mushrooms) – ten dollars per person.

I’m no master of simple living, but I know what makes me happy. Bicycles and fresh food are so obviously good, their near-invisibility in society boggles the mind.

What is your take on simple pleasures and how they affect your life?

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Keeping Cool

Riding 5 miles in 80+ degree temperatures does not have to be miserable. Take the opportunity to kick back and relax, keeping cool while keeping your cool. Everyone else can rush rush rush, but you’re too smart for that.

After my Friday work commute

That’s how I roll :)

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A Red Batavus BUB

We are less than three weeks away from the final Summer Games prize drawing. The Batavus BUB is our grand prize, very generously offered by Fourth Floor Distribution. I have some more BUB photos that I’ll post periodically to keep you all motivated. You can see a previous photo of Mr. Dottie on a black diamond frame BUB here.

A Red Step-Through Batavus BUB from Copenhagen Cyclery

{Note that this is not the actual grand prize BUB, just one from the floor at Copenhagen Cyclery. The prize BUB is coming straight from Fourth Floor .}

Good luck!

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