Friday File

Happy Friday! What are you up to this weekend? We are moving tomorrow, and I can’t wait. We’ve been living among boxes for the past week, which has not been easy. The movers are coming in the late afternoon. Wish us luck!

And now some interesting links.

I need to add this book on the history of manicures to my bookshelf.

The August cover of Marie Claire is too cool. I kind of want to get my hands on an issue.

Some Ikea stores are advertising rescue dogs throughout their showrooms with life-size cardboard models. Such a cute idea.

This survey of scientists, most of whom work in the field, shows a high percentage of sexual abuse, especially for female students or postdocs. #yesallwomen

Back in the 19th century, doctors warned women about the dangers of “bicycle face.” Seriously.

I’m looking forward to exploring The Museum at FIT’s new website for its current exhibition Exposed: A History of Lingerie.

Style File – Bike Week Helmet Hunt

On the last day of Bike Week, I want to talk about my helmet. Oh man, did it take me a long time to find one I like.

There aren’t a lot of neutral options out there for women. It seems like most helmets on the market have a cutesy or sporty design, which I am not interested in. Why it is so hard to find a neutral yet fashionable helmet? Bikes are becoming fashionable items themselves, coveted by lifestyle bloggers and photographed by the Sartorialist.

But still there’s a dearth of headwear that doesn’t clash with a fashionable outfit. And no, do not expect me to match my outfit to my helmet. Helmets are commuter items that should go with what I already own, not the other way around. (I believe there is a niche market out there for the entrepreneur who wants to tackle this.)

But I finally found my lovely Bell Faction helmet after hours of online searching. I worried for a little bit whether I would seem like a “poser” wearing a skate-style helmet instead of a cycling one, but once I got it and tried it on I didn’t feel that way. Also, the Bell Faction is certified for bicycle use for those concerned about safety.

I purchased my Bell Faction helmet in matte khaki. That color is not currently sold through Bell’s website, so I tracked down a new one on eBay. Thankfully it fit when it arrived. In fact, I think it actually is kind of cute on me!

Another thing fashionable female bikers worry about is helmet hair. Refinery29 posted a Helmet Hair, Begone! tutorial on 5 bike-friendly hairdos last week.

I was inspired and decided to try out a version of what I saw there. I created a twist on the side of my head, starting in the front wrapping two sections of hair around each other. I added more hair to each section as I worked my way down and then pinned the hair in place before gathering the rest into a low ponytail. My hairdo might not have been quite as elaborate as Refinery29’s suggestions, but I thought it looked cute and it held up after more than an hour of riding. (See pictures above as evidence).

all photos by Travis Haughton – Wasabi Photography

Exhibition File – Bikes! The Green Revolution

I’m taking a break from fashion exhibitions this week to post one on theme. I discovered that the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum has a show on bicycles going on right now!

It’s called Bikes! The Green Revolution and explores bicycle culture in America, especially in Chicago. There are sections on bicycle history, urban cycling issues, and safety, etiquette, and maintenance. The show runs until September 9.

Address: 2430 N. Cannon Drive in Lincoln Park, Chicago
Hours: Monday-Friday 9-5, Saturday-Sunday 10-5
Admission: adults $9, seniors and students $7, children 3-12 $6, children under 3 free
Website: www.naturemuseum.org

Bike Week – In the Road

Riding my bike gets me from point A to point B without gasoline and provides exercise. It’s fun too, but sometimes it’s intimidating.

I’ve been riding a bicycle since I was a kid, but back then I stayed on the sidewalks (or was supposed to). When I had a bike in college I also road on the sidewalk on campus and only later learned that technically that was illegal.

I also had a bike one summer in Massachusetts and attempted road riding. But I didn’t really have a good grasp of the rules, and would chicken out and jump on the sidewalk often.

But now I feel like it’s time to officially learn the rules of riding my bike in the street. That’s what a grown up does, right? So I’ve been studying up so that I feel more confident and know what my rights are.

I actually feel safer riding in the street than on the sidewalk. I don’t have to dodge pedestrians who always have the right of way. And if I’m on a mission to get to work, I’m moving fast. I don’t feel like cars in cross traffic are always looking closely at the sidewalks. They already look in the street, so if that’s where I am, they are more likely to see me and yield. I’ve learned that making eye contact with drivers also helps improve safety.

However, that doesn’t mean I can stop paying attention to where other drivers are. I’m going to start practicing looking behind me and maintaining a straight trajectory. I read about a technique where you put your right hand on the middle of the handlebar for better stability when taking your left hand off to turn around.

I’m using hand signals and stopping at every stop sign and red light. I figure drivers will respect me (and other riders) if I respect the traffic laws. That’s just common sense.

I’m getting braver about changing lanes and making lefts. I now know that I don’t have to ride in the gutter (there could be dangerous debris in there), and that if there’s a right-only turn lane, I have the right away to stay in the straight through lane.

So I’m curious — if you ride in the street, do you have any resources you’d recommend? I think we can all use more tips and advice for feeling confident on the road.

Bike Week – A Tour

It’s been a few weeks since I got my new bike as a surprise present from my wonderful husband. I’m kind of in love with bicycling around town now. So I thought I’d do something a little special on the blog this week — Bike Week!

Today I’d like to start Bike Week by giving you a little tour around my bike.

My bike is a Windsor Kensington 8 in Hunter green. Green is my favorite color and I love how pretty it is. The Kensington is a European-style cruiser, perfect for tooling around the city.

It has eight gears, which has come in really handy when riding up and down the dikes around the Red River. Instead of having a rear derailleur, which moves the chain into different gears on a cassette, it has an internal hub. This means less maintenance or things that can go wrong.

The bike came with a few other perks. It has a cute little bell, a cup holder for my morning tea, fenders, and front and rear racks.

I’ve been working on “tricking” my bike out with a few extras too. My husband Travis bought a little pouch for underneath my seat. It has a little multi-tool in it in case I have some trouble out on the road. Can also keep a few personal effects in it for rides. I bought a Camelbak water bottle and a cheap, silver water bottle holder.

And then there are my baskets, which make my bike into a utilitarian machine for much more than leisure. I bought Wald Folding Rear Mounted Bike Baskets. They are deep and can hold a lot. I wish they didn’t weigh so much, but it’s something I can deal with for their added functionality. They fold up when they aren’t in use.

This past weekend, Travis and I attempted to hit up a farmers market down by the Fargo East Dike. Unfortunately we arrived too late. So instead we went took a long ride to the grocery store. I strapped the groceries down with a Topeak Cargo Net.

And lastly, I needed a ulock and security cable. This Series 2 Kryptonite goes around the frame and a pole or bike rack, and then the security cable loops through both tires and the ulock. I can keep the lock and cable tidy with hook and loop tape, which is kind of like reuseable Velcro tape.

So that’s the tour! If you have a bike, do you have any accessories you just love?

all photos by Travis Haughton – Wasabi Photography