Monday, March 19, 2012

Melanie, 1800 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL

Melanie rides a 1986 blue Schwinn Traveler Mixte

What are you wearing? White House Blake Market Tunic, Filene's Basement black leggings and my favorite boots that I bought many years ago. Not quite wearing it, but my husband bought me the Po Campo bag for Valentine's Day this year- it is awesome and worth more than my bike :) 
Tell me more about your bike, and where you got it? 1986 blue Schwinn Traveler Mixte from Craig's List, refashioned by myself with sparrow handlebars, blue butterfly springer seat and rack. It's name is Swifty Blue Butterfly, but I call her Swifty for short. 
Where are you going? Heading home from work.
Why ride? I love to ride and its the only way I know to have fun and get some exercise at the same time. I also hate crowded trains and buses and I can get to my destination faster and more reliably than if I would drive or take public transportation. I am always on time when I am biking.
Favorite ride? Riding the North Channel Trail through the Skokie Sculpture park and the Lake Front Trail in the mornings when it is less crowded. I also love to just ride late at night or really early in the morning when it is pretty and peaceful on the streets.
While riding you …?  I sing weird and off-beat tunes out loud, usually relating to whatever the weather is like. For example "I'm only happy when it rains" when it is raining, and "it's a beautiful morning" on those types of days. 
How can Chicago improve bike infrastructure or make Chicago more bike friendly? I would love to see Chicago actually fix many of the bike lanes that are deeply pot-holed and maybe distinguish the bike lanes with high-visibility paint so drivers understand they are not passing lanes. I would love to see signs on street posts and parking meter payboxes that tells driver's to look for bikes before they open their doors into traffic, too. 
And other cool, funny tips or stories? On our wedding day/night, we were married in the morning, had our reception in the afternoon, and then took our tandem bike to meet a group of friends to go out riding- my husband in a tux and I in a short wedding dress, on the tandem. It was exhausting but wonderful, and we did it in November! As far as tips go, I would say you can ride in any type of weather if you prepare for it.  Rain, sleet, snow, heat, it really isn't a issue as long as you dress appropriately and ride safely and are aware of your surroundings. I ride year round and I love it.  On the other hand, I also believe that if you are uncomfortable riding in certain weather conditions, it is fine to skip riding that day and shouldn't feel pressured by your riding friends to ride. Riding should be fun, and you should enjoy it, whether it is just for transportation or recreation. 

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