Signs of Spring

This winter has been especially difficult in Chicago, and I’m sure in other places, given the weather reports.  I biked through December, but honestly barely biked in January and February.  I know, lame.

On Saturday, the deep freeze finally lifted, with temps in the 40’s, and I enthusiastically reunited with Betty-the-Bike.

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My destination was a French cafe, where I met my friend Cynthia for brunch, and then Aroma Workshop, where we created our own perfumes after sniffing countless possibilities.

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In honor of spring, I chose tea roses.

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Here’s to more warmth, flowers and bikes!

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Anyone else coming out of hibernation or have you been steady through the whole winter?

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14 thoughts on “Signs of Spring

  1. Abraham Fillar says:

    I biked through December, not in January, and twice in February. However, I’ve enjoyed a handful of rides this March. Thank goodness for the 40’s and cleared ice, here in South-West Michigan! I love hearing the birds too!

    • dottie says:

      Sounds like we have a near identical track record for this winter. :) Glad you mentioned the birds – I heard them for the first time this weekend and it was music to my ears! Really, there are not many birds singing in Chicago any time of year, but I’ll take what I can get.

  2. Freeda says:

    It is affirming to know that others also didn’t really ride in January and February. I tried a few times on warmer days, but was met with poorly salted and very slippery bike lanes. It seems like they’ve done a worse job with snow/ice removal on the bike lanes in Chicago this year. I’m ecstatic to be back on my bike now!

    • dottie says:

      Yes, it is affirming to know. :) Ecstatic is a great word to describe the feeling of climbing on the bike after this long winter!

      I agree that the bike lanes were awful. The new protected lane on Harrison, in particular, was filled with piles of ice and snow for weeks on end. The city did not even try to keep it clear.

  3. Norm @ Ridinkulous says:

    Totally snowed in here, and they definitely don’t plow the bike path I take to work. But it’s was 40 yesterday and today and it’s all melting! It’s a miracle! Looking forward to getting out again.

    Aroma Workshop looks fascinating. Bet my wife would love it…

    • dottie says:

      Sorry to hear that you’re still snowed in. As much as I complain about the weather in Chicago, I should remember that others have it much worse. But yay for 40 degrees and melting!

      Aroma Workshop was very cool, a must-do activity for anyone who loves fragrance.

  4. Jim says:

    It is better to take the ‘L’ for two months than ride every day and hate cycling.

    This is my first year being able to bicycle commute in Chicago. I did ride through January and February, but as everyone will tell you – I am an idiot. I did discovered the magic of old wool sweaters ann in the end, cold was never really a problem. I can’t compare how the bike lanes were cleared to past winters. My biggest problem was people not clearing the on street parking area and just moving the parking area into the unprotected bike lanes.

    • dottie says:

      “It is better to take the ‘L’ for two months than ride every day and hate cycling.” Very true! And, I must say, nothing makes me love cycling more than returning to it after two months of taking the L everyday! I am SO OVER taking the L.

      Props to you for biking through the winter. I think the term adventurer is more appropriate. :) I love wool sweaters for winter biking, second only to cashmere sweaters.

      I definitely noticed the parking issue. The buffered bike lane on Halsted is still a parking lot for all practical purposes, since the snow is piled against the curb where the cars are supposed to park. That does not make parking in a bike lane legal (!) but the city obviously couldn’t care less. (end rant)

  5. Amanda says:

    I am officially a winter bicycling crazy person. I moved from Seattle (where I never took a day off bicycle commuting) to Boston. The only days I did not ride in to work, I either took the bus for non-weather related reasons or no one commuted in to work, because there was a travel emergency in place. I hate the the inconsistency (and long commute time) of public transit, so I will gladly brave the of snow and cold. (also thank goodness I put studded tires on one of my bikes) I also have to hand it to my area’s snow removal work. They have done a great job, even on the bike path, for the most part. Before it got really cold and snowy here, I read up on your tips for dressing for winter cycling, and I really appreciated your content. Thank you!!

  6. Myra Hill says:

    We had a rough winter here in New York City. I biked when I can as long as the streets were cleared and wasn’t too cold. But I am glad that spring is few days away.

  7. morlamweb says:

    I’ve biked all through the winter, through all of the cold temps, wind chills, snow, and ice. I’ve biked through a couple of snowstorms, when my company decided to open for the day (despite the forecasts for heavy snow!), and then let everyone out early, into the middle of the storm. Studded snow tires are an absolute winter biking essential for me. I’m keeping them on into the early part of spring as we still have freezing temperature overnight. The snow melts during the day (yay!) but freezes, leaving us early-morning commuters with large ice patches. My studded tires handled them with nary a hint of wobbliness. The only day that I did not bike to work was when my office was during the blizzard and my office closed for the day. I was back out on the road, on two wheels, the next day.

  8. Lil Bruin says:

    Oh, I am so glad you are still here. I’m a big fan of this site, and was starting to fear you two had decided you had covered it all and moved on to other things. And while there is a wealth of info here, part of what makes this site wonderful, is that sense that the two of you are keeping an eye and keeping it current. Thanks for being here.

    When I started commuting, after essentially not riding since my university days decades ago, I did a lot of reading—as if that would prepare me for the experience—and found LGRAB. I’ve been an avid reader for many months, and wanted to officially delurk and join the community.

    Allow myself to introduce myself …

    I’ve always owned a bicycle, most recently a 2001 Cdn tire bso. I took it in faithfully for an annual checkup, and some years I would ride it the four blocks home, feel like I’d accomplished something, and not touch it again.

    Last year, after decades as a freelance, I finally had an in-house gig, and someplace to bicycle to! After the snow melted in April, I treated myself to fenders and a rack, essentially doubling the value of the bike, and thought I might try to ride to work once or twice.
    (I actually took a trial run on a day off, to see if I could ride 6km and still work after without being too exhausted :-)

    I could. I did. I rediscovered the joy!

    But I was doing this on an ugly old rusty thing, with my husband’s ugly old black nylon panniers. I won’t admit to ugly, but I myself am old enough to have an infant granddaughter (yay!) BSO and I were neither fast nor elegant. Clearly, something had to add a little class, so I ordered a lovely Basil bag through a bike shop further afield.

    On the fateful day my bag arrived, after I had admired the Bromptons and the cruisers and the Linus bikes, I thought, since I’m here, I might just have a peek at the (more affordable, if only slightly) bikes in the basement. One purred, “Buy me. Take me home.” I resisted. For months. Finally, in Sept, I was back in that neighbourhood and had another peek. My bike was still there, still hanging on the wall. Still on discount, but still priced more than some cars I’ve owned. Still said, buy me, take me home. I took it for a test drive. It was too big. If I wanted clearance over the bar, I would have to wear platform shoes. It wasn’t a step-though like I was sure I wanted. It was too fast. It was too scary. It was like flying.

    Nice bike-shop people listened to me say it was too big, and brought out a number of other bikes to try. All were lovely. Most technically fit better. None said buy me, take me home.

    Indecisive as ever, I tried bikes until closing and then trickled away.
    And came back the next day and bought “my” bike.

    Now I’m the proud owner of a 2012 Brodie Infinity. Brodie is a Vancouver company, and we lived there a number of years ago, so it feels almost like shopping local. The bike isn’t perhaps anything special by the standards here, but it has 30 gears (instead of the few that were accessible on the bso where the derailleur wouldn’t even acknowledge that there was a granny gear), disc brakes (the bso thought I could just drag my feet—that gets old fast), and I added a basket even though it destroyed the silhouette. I am enjoying it a great deal. So much so, that I went on to buy another bike, a Kona (another Vanc company), Dr Good, which I outfitted w studded tires as a winter bike.

    Wanted to say—If someone had told me a year ago I would try biking to work and enjoy it and find ways to do more of it and even try to ride through a Cdn winter, I would have thought them mad. Yet here I am, if not a “cyclist” at least someone who gets from A to B on a bicycle. And due in no small part to the information and advice of this blog. Great writing, great content, great pics. Thank you.

  9. Dawn says:

    Do you still ride your Oma? I’m considering getting one but am hesitant due to the hilly SF Bay Area terrain. They sure look like fun!!!

  10. noviaadieta says:

    Thanx for the info!
    I recommend purchasing the foldable helmet Fuga by http://www.closca.co to enjoy the spring time

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