Tag Archives: Community

Bicycle Goddess Brigade

Bicycle Goddess Brigade – the kind of name that is formed while riding in the rain with a posse of fun women.

This morning I met some great new people, Arielle, Amanda and Anni (Yup, we all have blogs – Arielle created hers today after encouragement. Fun fact: Amanda’s brother is Lansing Photo Cyclist). Before today we were strangers and I knew them only through this blog. They all recently moved to Chicago and are interested in getting around the city via velo, so I arranged for us to meet for brunch and an easy ride.

I enjoyed myself so much, even though rain joined us for the ride. I figure anyone interested in cycling around the city must be pretty cool and I was certainly right when it comes to these awesome women.

Back to the Bicycle Goddess Brigade. Women of Chicago who like bikes: join the fun. You don’t have to be a hardcore cyclist or even own a bike (in fact, you could go bike shopping with Anni and me). I’m thinking of this as a low-key way to hang out and make friends, not so much for structured group rides, though we could do some. Seriously, don’t be shy! Email me at LGRAB [at] letsgorideabike [dot] com – or just leave a comment below – and I’ll keep you updated on the next get-together.

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Today I had a serendipitous meeting with Kara of Knitting Lemonade. We regularly read each others’ blogs, but have never met. I was at Dutch Bike Chicago to have Oma’s winter tires swapped out when she came up said, “Are you Dottie?” Yes! I am! How absolutely fun. Kara is visiting Chicago from Salt Lake City for a girls’ weekend and they just happened to stop in while in the area.

She is quite a fan of bikes, having three herself, including a lovely Pashley Princess. Out of her group of friends, only Kara rides a bike. They liked the Dutch bikes, though. Maybe one or two will pick up Kara’s influence.

Great to meet you, Kara! I hope you enjoy Chicago (and the Po Campo bag you bought) as much as I do.

Isn’t this bicycle community of ours pretty amazing? I think so!

{Update: see Kara’s post on the meeting here. :)}

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A Bike Lover’s Gift Guide: Give Back

Week one of our Bike Lover’s Gift Guide highlighted fun and beautiful handcrafts available on Etsy. For week two we are shifting our focus to gifts that give back to the bicycling community.

  • Life-Changing Bikes – Gift a bike in honor of someone you love via World Bicycle Relief. The Bicycles for Educational Empowerment program aims to give 50,000 bicycles to school children in rural Zambia – 70% of whom are girls – to enable the children to travel to and from school more easily. The cost is $134 per bicycle, which includes shipping and assembling the bike, as well as paying for a trained bike mechanic for each school. Any donation amount is welcome.
  • Local Bike Advocacy – Give the gift of membership to your local bike advocacy organization. In Chicago the Active Transportation Alliance works to create better conditions for bicyclists, pedestrians and public transit users. Membership is inexpensive and includes lots of discounts at retailers across the city, several membership events and a newsletter.
  • Bicycle Cooperatives – Give the gift of community. Examples include gift memberships at co-ops like Bici Co-op in Birmingham and used bicycles for purchase at Bikes Not Bombs in Boston and Working Bikes Cooperative in Chicago.  Your community may have a bicycle cooperative you could support in some way through your holiday gift-giving.
  • The Open Road – Give the gift of adventure. A gift membership for the Adventure Cycling Association includes a subscription to Adventure Cycling Magazine, discounts on route maps and affiliate benefits, and if you join or renew for yourself now, you can give a holiday gift membership for half off. If you really want to go all out, you could give someone an amazing cycling tour.
  • Magazine Subscription – Momentum, The Magazine for Self-Propelled People, is distributed free in several cities across North America. Gift subscriptions are super affordable and help support this first-class publication.
  • Organized Rides – Give the gift of a fun day together.  Many rides support bicycling or other environmental causes.  If you find a ride you like in another city, make a whole weekend vacation of it.  This ride along Chicago’s beautiful lakefront benefits Climate Cycle. The annual ride is scheduled for May 14, 2010 and cyclists select from a 4, 10, 20 or 62-mile course. Proceeds go to installing solar energy in Chicago public schools, which currently pay more for energy costs than books and computers combined.

If you have any other ideas or know of a worthy bicycling cause, please share in the comments!

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A Real Community

The best part of blogging is meeting (virtually and in real life) so many cool people who share my passion for cycling. A community of like-minded folks is invaluable: I may have been the only bike commuter at my office, but I was never alone. This weekend was packed full of visitors from the online cycling community, and I had a great time.

There’s so much for me to cover, including the people I met, the cocktail party ride, new Gazelles at Dutch Bike Chicago, and the temperature dropping into the 30’s. I’ll start with the visitors.

Velorbis and Elisa at Copenhagen Cyclery

Velorbis and Elisa at Copenhagen Cyclery

Continue reading

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Fair Weather Friends

We had beautiful weather over the weekend that extended through Monday. On Monday’s ride (courtesy of P and her Dahon!), I saw other commuters for the first time in months (to be completely honest here, I should say that “saw” is usually a substitute for the words “was passed in the bike lane by” — unless they’re traveling in the opposite direction, that is.)

As seen on Franklin Rd. over the weekend.

As seen on Franklin Rd. over the weekend, from the Mustang.

My first thought was, how nice to see other people out riding. Too bad they don’t know you can ride when it’s below 50.

Then I realized it was only a few months ago that I realized riding when it was below 50 was possible or desirable, and that I was not a happy camper on the day I rode when it was below 15 this year —  I’m not sure I’ll do that again. Also, I’m still working on negotiating rain, which kept me off my bike yesterday.

While I’m sure I can get to the point where a shower or two won’t keep me off the road, I doubt I’ll ever voluntarily ride in a thunderstorm or even hard rain (does anyone do this?). It’s not necessary, and I’m no masochist. What keeps you off your bike? I’d be interested in hearing where others draw the line. No judgments! And if you’ve conquered a former bike-commuting hurdle, let us know about that, too.

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