Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Catherine, 2000 Block of North Ave, Chicago, IL

Catherine rides a  Silver Marin Larkspur hybrid.

Make/model color of your bike, and where you got it? Silver Marin Larkspur. Didn’t have a good experience where I bought her but I’m horrible & hardly ever even oil the chain so she gets a lot of attention at Johnny Sprockets & Uptown Bikes
Where are you going? To a friend’s house up north
What are you wearing?  REI jacket, scarf I got in Cambodia, garage sale cords & cashmere sweater, Smartwool socks, boots from the alley behind my apartment (thx departing Loyola student), pearl izumi bike gloves, Bern helmet.
Why ride? b/c I love it, it’s often the easiest way to get around the city, & I like beer & chocolate & hate gyms.
Favorite ride? Don’t have one favorite but I love biking along the lake or through the city late late on a summer night
While riding you … hum, swear at bad drivers, smile stupidly at beauty.
How can Chicago improve bike infrastructure or make Chicago more bike friendly? No cars in the city center?  Since that’s never going to happen, whatever needs to be done to deal w/the drivers who don’t want us out there & the ones who are just plain bad - Education, enforcement, & dedicated & protected bike lanes. (& thanks Active Transportation Alliance for working on these things & more)
And other tips? Wear the appropriate clothing & you can ride most of the winter, often more comfortably & w/less hassle than cramming your down-encased self into an overheated 'el' car.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas 2011

Kevin from Boulevard Bikes was kind enough to share this great photo of him and his daughter Hazel picking up a Christmas tree via bike.  Merry Christmas to all!  

Monday, December 19, 2011

Holly, 1600 Block of N Wolcott Ave, Chicago, IL

Holly rides a '70s Schwinn Suburban called Penny.

Tell me more about bike, and where you got it?
My bike, Penny, is a '70s Schwinn Suburban. I spotted her years ago in a thrift store on the south side. I went back the next day at 6:00 am to get half off the price! I had the bike in storage until the folks at Boulevard Bikes installed new wheels, brake pads, a new chain and a basket. I don't often ride this bike, so it's great that you caught me today on Penny, my pretty parade bike. 

What are you wearing?
I'm pretty heavily layered because I plan to be out all day. I'm wearing a merino wool Icebreaker sweater under a vintage cashmere cardigan. This skirt is from one of my favorite indie fashion concerns, Made with Love By Hannah I have on a pair of tights under my Smartwool leggings,  red Vans, and a high-viz bicycling jacket. 

Why ride?
I can't imagine living in the city and not riding my bike. The first years I lived in Chicago, my bike sat in the basement. I used to work in the West Loop and was terrified of riding in Chicago. I didn't know how to dress, how to carry things, or how to make things easier by riding assertively or taking quiet streets.  Now, after nine years of riding anywhere and everywhere, my fear has subsided and I absolutely love being on my bike. I'm a dog walker. My daily dog walker route is a ten mile loop. Driving a car to walk the dogs is not at all efficient. It's a lot harder to deal with my car than just hopping on my bike. What's more, it makes me feel awesome!
While riding you...
I try to enjoy the scenery and relax, but I admit that sometimes I ride fast.  My other bike is a road bike and she loves to go fast, especially when we're headed to and from clients' houses. I know those streets like the back of my hand. Still--I'm intensely focused and alert.  Oh, and I always chew gum.
Favorite ride?
I love riding at night and in all seasons. The Chicago Bike Winter Group  has been really helpful and encouraging, and I've really developed an appreciation for winter riding. Lately, I've gotten involved with Chicago Critical Lass. That's a really fun ladies group ride.  You should come sometime!
How can Chicago improve bike infrastructure or make Chicago more bike friendly?
Ideally, fewer cars! In lieu of that, drivers need to understand that bikes have a place on the road. I get frustrated when some driver honks or treats me like I don't have a right to be on the street. There needs to be some mutual respect and maybe some re-education on defensive driving. Don't they teach that anymore? 

Check out Holly's amazing vintage clothing site.  I know I've got a few dresses from there on my Xmas list.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Ruby, 2500 Block of North Kedzie, Chicago, IL

Ruby rides a Schwinn World sport called Black Betty from A Nearly New Shop.

Where are you going? To Boulevard Bikes. My dear Betty is missing her chain!
Tell me about your bike, and where you got it? My bike, Black Betty, is a Schwinn World from the '80s or '90s I assume...adopted from Nearly New in Lakeview.
What are you wearing? I'm wearing a red hat with awesome ear-warming abilities, blue wrap skirt and boots that are all from thrift stores. My "stuffed animal" coat is from an estate sale in Seattle, and my gloves were my grandma's. 
Why ride? Chicago is wonderfully flat - why not?
Favorite ride? I don't know if I have a favorite, but I like biking down Webster Ave at night. No potholes, virtually no street lights or traffic - its perfect.
While riding you …? Worry about all the different ways I could be hit by a car.
How can Chicago improve bike infrastructure or make Chicago more bike friendly? Chicago streets need clearly defined bike lanes so bikers can feel safe and drivers can watch where they're going.
Any other tips? Don't bike in Wrigleyville after a Cubs game or some drunk guy will push you off your bike into a telephone poll for a laugh. And wear a helmet!!

Monday, December 12, 2011

April, W North Ave & N Honore St, Chicago, IL

April rides a Trek Belleville step-through she calls Michelle.

What are you wearing? calf-high, high-heeled leather boots I received for Christmas a couple years ago. I started wearing heels again since taking up riding. As the saying goes, it’s much easier than walking in them...and unlike travel by car or train you can go to door to door on a bike.  My coat is a Cambridge Raincoat, which is especially designed for cyclists. It is made of water-proof material and has reflective ribbon on the buttons, cuffs, and belt.  Underneath I am wearing a sleeveless turtleneck I created from an oversized button-up sweater I bought it at a thrift store. It’s made from the softest merino wool and has lovely chocolate brown stripes. My legwarmers are from the same sweater.  My skirt is felted wool, also from a thrift store.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      
Make/model color of your bike, and where you got it?
My bike soul mate is a Trek Belleville. I call her Michelle, like the song “Michelle ma belle…” She is cream and blue colored.  I bought her off of Craigslist from a couple moving to Portland but she originally came from Turin Bicycles in Evanston.
Where are you going?  I am on my way home after attending the Women Who Bike Brunch.
Why ride? -Biking is more than a form of transformation. It’s a philosophy and a lifestyle.  I started biking because I wanted an eco-friendly mode of travel, but what I discovered was something so much more.  Biking is fun, healthy and free! On a bike the city opens up to you; you can go anywhere without restraints of “L” stops, bus routes, traffic headaches or parking struggles. Suddenly the city is full of wonderful places worth going to.  When you travel by bike you feel the wind in your face, you smell food from vendors and flowers; you hear music from street performers and kids playing in parks. The world does not rush you by, insular and behind glass, instead you are smack in the middle experiencing it live and in full color. I am also amazed by the Chicago bicycling community.  Thanks to The Chainlink and blogs like Let’s Go Ride A Bike and Bike Fancy (of course) I feel like I’m part of an exclusive fun-loving club.
Favorite ride?  I think every ride is my favorite. I do tend to ride east on Wilson pretty frequently. Milwaukee Avenue, especially south of Montrose is fun because it is like a superhighway for bikes.  I recently took a contract job in Niles and got to commute on the North Branch Trail. It was so peculiar to be battling the traffic on Milwaukee one minute and then to be speeding down a tranquil path through the woods, over bridges and past grazing deer. It was definitely the most peaceful commute I have experienced.   Of course nothing compares to riding the Lake Front Path with the wind in your hair and the lake splashing up beside you. Conclusion: Chicago is a fantastic city for riding!
While riding you …?  Think. I work through plot holes in the novel I’m writing, brainstorm post ideas for my blog or compose cover letters for jobs I’m vying for. Surprisingly, this does not keep me from paying attention to where I’m going and enjoying the scenery.
How can Chicago improve bike infrastructure or make Chicago more bike friendly?
Well, I think we are headed in the right direction with the promised 100 miles of protected bike lanes.  Anything that can be done to make biking as transportation accessible and appealing to regular people especially Parents and senior citizens is a boon to our city. In addition to building of bicycle infrastructure I would advise reduced speed limits on streets with bike lanes and enforcement of the 3-foot passing distance rule. My neighborhood (Jefferson Park) is populated by many senior citizen cyclists, however the majority do not feel safe riding on the streets and stick to the sidewalks.  When Grandma has to “break the law” just to feel safe going to the grocery store, it is a clear indication of a need for change.
I love your legwarmers, where did you get them?
I made them!v  It’s really easy to make cozy wool legwarmers from the sleeves of an old sweater. Simply cut them off near the shoulders. Determine how tall you want them to be. Cut straight across the top. Turn them inside out. Measure a length of elastic (available at craft stores) to fit either your shin or thigh depending on how tall you want them. Hand- or machine-stitch it shut so that it creates a circle. Slide this onto the top of the legwarmer about 1-2 inches from the edge. Fold the fabric down to cover the elastic and create a hem. Stretch the legwarmer and the band around something while you pin it, making sure the hem is even. Then, sew all the way around (a zig-zag stitch works nicely on a machine). Turn them right-side out and voila, you’ve got cozy legwarmers! 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Rachel, W Haddon Ave & N Marshfield Ave, Chicago, IL

Rachel rides a Scattante road bike from Performance.

Where are you going?  I'm headed to work.  I am a hairdresser at Strange Beauty Show.

What are you wearing?  I am wearing layered lace tops from Penelope's with a white peter pan collar, my favorite pair of jeans, vintage boots from Etsy a Penfield plaid short puffy coat.  It's super warm (best investment ever), and snazzy triangle earrings from Eskell.  I try to be cute and stay warm during the winter...I am a hairdresser, so I gotta look like kinda' a girl.
Tell me more about bike, and where you got it? My bike is a Scattante from the frame a few years ago and kinda' added stuff over yellow chain is from Irv's bike shop in Pilsen...and the seat and fuschia peddles are both from Rapid Transit in Wicker Park.
Why ride? I ride because it's efficient and really is the most time efficient way to get around the city...not paying for a car or contributing negatively to the urban landscape is a bonus.
While riding you... While riding I often think over my day...or kinda' prioritize stuff I gotta get done....try hard to focus on the road though....I have been known to ride and talk on my phone...I know that's not the safest.
Favorite ride? I love riding into any unfamiliar 'hood....urban adventures via bike are the best...
How can Chicago improve bike infrastructure or make Chicago more bike friendly?
Wider bike lanes....and encourage drivers to least some of the time.  Once a driver has an understanding of what it feels like to bike in the city, they usually  are much more aware of cyclists.
I got hit by the Fullerton bus a couple years ago....most intense accident I've been in....the bus side swiped me.  I was little scared to ride for a while, but I got back on pretty quick.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Larissa, W North Ave & N Leavitt St, Chicago, IL

Every time I think I've got winter riding all figured out, someone shows me something new!  Furry hood over helmet, not a bad solution to winter riding.

Where are you going? To work, which is at an elementary school.
Why ride? It's the fastest and most fun way to get around. I am definitely a late bike bloomer. I am coming up on my 1 year anniversary of cycling being my primary way of getting around the city. I am a part-time filmmaker, and the cinematic view from a ride never gets old.

What are you wearing?  Costco's finest imitation down puff coat with gigantic faux fur lined hood, my boyfriend's bike helmet that I think he got in high school, brown and peachy-stiped skirt, grey tights, and my greybrown Game of Thrones-esque tall boots.
Tell me about your bike, and where you got it? I ride a Schwinn Passage. I think it was made in the late or mid 80s, and is "one of the last good Schwinns" according to various bike friends and message boards. The color is midnight blue with a few gold and red accents. If it had a human name I think it would be something in the male tennis star family.
Favorite ride? Through Humboldt Park at night, and the cruise to my house on my own block.
While riding you …? Alternately feel like I am cheating death/am going to be cheated by death. And I sing sometimes!
How can Chicago improve bike infrastructure or make Chicago more bike friendly?
Lately I have fantasized about street parking only being allowed on one side of the street, and having bike lanes be on the non-parking side. The lane on Kinzie is a dream, so more clearly marked/divided lanes like that make me feel more safe when riding. And posting gigantic signs that say hitting pedestrians equal a huge fine might help as well.

Any thing else? Immediately after this picture was taken a lady screamed at me for being in her way by saying "You think you pay plates?!" I kind of wish there were bike licenses you could pay a small yearly fee for so I too could be entitled to shouting this at people. You think you pay plates?!

*** Martha says: I can get enough of these old catalog pictures! Click to read.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Kelly, W Chicago Ave & N Wells St, Chicago, IL

Kelly rides a vintage Motobécane Mirage single speed road bike named Bucky

What are you wearing? Boots are from a thrift store in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Dickies Girl Jeans are band swag passed on by my musician coworker (thanks Alison!) My helmet is from Working Bikes, glasses from D/Vision. The bag is from LL Bean, a gift from my dad given with bike use in mind.
Tell me more about your bike and where you got it? 
My bike's name is Bucky, because when I got it I had previously owned a cruiser, and getting on a road bike felt a little like riding a spirited colt after a complacent trail horse. It's a silver single speed road bike I found on craigslist. The frame is vintage Motobécane Mirage, but the handlebars, wheels, and seat are's kind of a Frankenbike.
Where are you going? Home to Ukrainian Village. I just finished shopping and have a bagful of wine & groceries!
Why ride? It's often the best way to get anywhere in this city. Plus I really enjoy it, and love the perspective from a bike.
Favorite ride? Grand Avenue. It runs through some really diverse chunks of the city, and there are long, uninterrupted stretches the further west you go. It's also wider & less congested than some of the other main roads.
While riding you …? Alternate between daydreaming and paying serious attention.
How can Chicago improve bike infrastructure or make Chicago more bike friendly? More protected bike lanes like the new one on Kinzie would be nice. That demonstrates a real dedication to safer conditions for cyclists, and a validation of our presence on the roads. I think Chicago is generally a comfortable place to ride, though.

*** Look who else rides a vintage Motobécane Mirage!