fall commute

ESSENTIAL GEAR FOR FALL RIDING

Ahhh, Ladies! That runny-nosed and rosy-cheeked chilled breeze? That encompassing waft of wooded fireplaces? Those unexpected gusts that wobble wheels and whirl leaves like the shaking of a snow globe? That’s Fall!!

Pedaling in this atmosphere is to experience, through all of our senses, the shifting of our world and rotation of seasons. It’s like the world is reminding us of our own potential to continually grow, shrivel, and reemerge as something more rooted and whole.

It’s also a time when echoes of squeaking chains remind me of needed two-wheeled maintenance and gear upgrades in preparation for hibernating temperatures and intensifying precipitation.

My favorite gear for fall is listed below! Feel free to share yours in the comments :)

1) A RIDICULOUSLY OVERSIZED SCARF

Those chilled breezes can lead to stiff-muscled, frigid riding, hence the need for layers and scarves. Keep your neck wrapped and warm to have a more relaxed, leaves-gazing ride. Great handmade options are available through Etsy, like this one made in Portland, OR. You could also knit your own (I have one my Mom knitted me a while back that I could probably smuggle several children in, and it’s WONDERFUL).

2) A LOVELY LONG COAT

I posted about this one a little while back, but in general, a slightly longer, water-resistant to water-proof, snuggly-warm coat provides a needed layer of elemental protection, and the added length helps keep upper legs dry when you forget your rain pants…

3) A GO-TO WOOL BASE LAYER

Wool is unbeatable for its warmth and drying capabilities. I have a zip-up hoodie from Ice Breaker (note: not certified humane. Make sure you do your research), but any thin zip-up is a great top layer for regulating your temperature and preventing the coat-sauna of winter.

4) 2 PAIRS GLOVES OR MITTENS – WOOL + WATERPROOF

I have both, and you should, too. If you’re enjoying a two-wheeled commute everyday, you’ll need more than one pair. The waterproof ones are… not so lovely, so having a go-to wool pair AND back-up water-and-cold-proof pair can keep you chic and frost bite free.

5) LIGHTS!!

Tons of options, and Knog has some great, bright, USB-chargeable ones. There are also these, which seem pretty amazing and worth the investment.

6) WARM. ASS. SOCKS.

I hate socks. In fact, I almost never wear them. Until it’s cold. Really cold. So when I do give in to the demands of my frozen toes, I snuggle my feet in these, or these (which are vegan, USA made, and recycled cotton).

Stay warm, chic, and enjoy your ride, Ladies!

XOXO

hair for helmet

PREVENTING HELMET HAIR

Hello, Ladies & Lady-lovers! Welcome to Fall – brought to you by the flavor of pumpkin!

As leaves turn, dry, and drop and temperatures welcome warmer attire, a quintessential two-wheeled dilemma rears its disheveled head – helmet hair.

It’s a kind of sweaty smushing in the summer, a wild, woebegone wash in the winter, and a half-sweat half-frizz fro for the spring & fall. Regardless of your unique head-nest, helmet hair can impede the chicness of your cycling.

Reader @rebeccadbar inquired on twitter about dealing with the follicular disarray, so I thought I’d pass along some advice!

1) THE SCRUNCH & HAND-TEASE: Since the most common form of hair du helmet is a cemented hair encasement of your skull, this technique seeks to preserve body. Basically, you take the top half of your hair, twist it into a bun or pseudo-bun on the very apex of your head (no hair tie required!). You then place your helmet over the bun and ride, letting your hair down upon arrival. The raised bun keeps your roots upright and stops the squish. When you get there, use your hand – with fingers spread apart like you’re holding a large ball – to jush your mane from the roots, helping your ‘do fall back into place. If your hair is too short for a bun, just lift roots up and back pre helmet – it has the same effect.

2) TRY A HELMET-FRIENDLY TIE-BACK: Low ponytails and buns to the rescue! If your hair is long enough, you can give up the fight and just roll with the realities of wearing a helmet. Here are some options to try, and I’d add the loveliness of a side-swept braid to your arsenal if your hair is long enough.

3) HEADBANDS: These can look professional, stylish, sporty, or hippie-chic – le versatile! They also allow you to prop up the front portion of your hair upon arrival, helping to hide helmet effects. Check out Etsy for all sorts of options.

Keep riding and looking lovely, Ladies!

XOXO

Riding Coat

TRIED AND TRUE

Coats. Not just pretty, warm coats, but coats that move well, breathe well, and keep rain off well enough for riding year round. I wore my down puffy beneath a rainshell for years, but the look was… not ideal – Michelin Man-esque and more appropriate for backpacking than political hearings.

I posted a while back about gorgeous rain coats made by a lovely Lady in the UK – The Cambridge Raincoat Company. I still recommend these lovely threads, but I’m adding another option to the list.

Slightly less expensive, designed and founded in Portland, OR, made from recycled and low-impact materials, I’ve found the perfect go-to coat for just about everything! And after extended experience with their product and stellar customer service, I’m officially offering my pick for the top two-wheeled commute-coat maker: Nau!

The designs and details are spot on, clean, and sophisticated, the inner lining is luxuriously soft, and the coat cleans (& stays clean) easily. Style AND practicality – a lovely combination! And huge kudos for an oversized collar that seconds as a face warmer & wind shield – an easy single handed, one-button conversion while riding. I’m currently loving the Shroud of Purrin Trench, with added length to keep my thighs dry but enough stretch to prevent hinderance to leg movement. It isn’t fully waterproof – just resistant – but it holds up to year-round Portland-misting, light rain, and dries pretty quickly after downpours.

I encourage you to buy from and support this awesome, USA based company. Yes, they manufacture outside of the US, but they’re transparent about it and have standards far beyond most apparel producers. I buy USA made, particularly locally made, whenever possible. This is one instance where their ethical and environmental standards coupled with a commitment to headquarters in the USA made the purchase alright with my standards. I still hope for USA manufacturing in their future, and encourage you to send along a give-us-a-USA-made-option request to them, too!

The cost is moderate for a coat that lasts years (my first Nau coat is still in excellent condition after wearing it, sweating in it, and testing its limits nearly daily for almost 3 years), but you can also best your they-still-have-my-size luck and reap major savings from their yearly sale, which usually happens at the beginning of the summer.

For a full-on raincoat, check out Cambridge. For your everything-else coat? Nau’s the way to go.

Keep riding beautifully & comfortably, Ladies!

XOXO

Sahn Helmet

TRIED AND TRUE

Until recently, I was under the impression that helmets could be either stylish or comfortably cool, but not both.

Sports helmets have holes and airflow that provide cooling comfort in the summer heat, but have a utilitarian nature that looks amiss with my biking attire. Gorgeous cap helmets look fabulous but turn my head into a sweaty, helmet-haired sauna. Le sigh – is there really no option that provides both?

Well, after a year of use – from daily commuting to legit, sweat-drenched biketouring through mountains – I can unequivocally say: I’ve found the goldilocks of helmets!

Sahn helmets, designed and made in Vancouver, B.C., make beautiful helmets that breathe. They’re on the pricier side, but the investment is well worth it. I no longer swap out helmets for long-rides, requiring both a stylish and sporty helmet to choose between. I now have one, lovely helmet and I use it for everything. Bonus points for a perfectly shaped and sized visor – it effectively keeps both rain and sun from your eyes.

The investment is worth it, plus you’ll be supporting the lovely small business owners (whom I had the pleasure of meeting at a local trade show – kind, wonderful people) rather than a larger corporate producer.

So strap on some loveliness, head out wherever you’d like, and enjoy your gorgeous, well-dressed ride!

XOXO

Blue Lotus Chai

TRIED AND TRUE

(Welcome, Ladies and Lady-Lovers, to a new weekly blog segment: Tried & True! I’ll be providing product reviews based on experience, and only those worth sharing make the cut. From biking gear to outdoors equipment to housewares – if it’s awesome, I’ll let you know about it! Suggestions for items you’d like me to try? Get in touch and I’ll give ‘em a whirl!)

Whether bike-touring, backpacking, or otherwise getting lost, this Lady’s luxury of choice is a hot cup of something in the morning. Nestled in the woods, nursing a mug of coffee or tea before departing on epic adventures? Nearly nothing rivals it :)

The only set-back to my morning routine has been weight. Carrying a french press is doable for leisurely trips, but climbing mountains at higher elevations? Those added ounces add up.

And so, during my most recent adventures, I was incredibly pleased to discover these: Blue Lotus Masala Chai Mix packets (17 cup Stand Up Pouch).

They come in a number of flavors, but the Traditional Masala is particularly gustoso!

Not only is the packaging resealable, brewing up to 17 cups, and the mix simple to reconstitute (just add water – no steeping required), but they even include a little bamboo spoon for measuring and mixing! It made for a relaxed and spicy morning on the trail and energized me for a successful summit bid.

Do you have a trail or touring luxury? If so, what’s the one thing you bring along regardless of usefulness or weight?

Keep exploring, adventuring, and enjoying life, Ladies!

XOXO

 

LADYGYVER: HOW TO RIDE A BIKE IN A SKIRT

Don’t have a bicycle garter? No worries, Ladies!

Here’s a great how-to for keep your skirt down and Lady-parts concealed whilst wheeling through town. All you need is a penny, a rubber-band, and a fabulous skirt.

Some additional tips from my experiences:

*Sporting a mini, flyaway skirt? Sit your underweared behind directly on the seat, allowing the skirt to flow around you. Trying to tuck limited fabric beneath you often creates a cheeky street show.

*Long skirt or maxi? Tie the base in a knot (not too tight – make sure you can still pedal!) to keep it out of your rear wheel.

*Pencil skirt? Unzip or unbutton at the waist and wiggle the skirt down a bit for added coverage. And wear tights, leggings, or adorable undies, since this skirt is the biggest flashing culprit I’ve donned.

Do you have any tips from your fabulously frocked rides? Share them in the comments below :)

Keep riding and looking lovely, Ladies!

XOXO

Morning coffee clearly calls for fancy hats

FANCY HATS FOR EVERYONE!

Thanks to a dear Lady friend of mine for sending this along!

There are plenty of helmet accoutrements out there, (including great reflective bows!), but nothing meets these excellent and amusing fancy hat covers from Bandbox. “Elegance in Safety” – even the tagline is grin-inducing.

Riding to the Kentucky Derby? Covered!

Huffy-ing it to High tea? Done!

It’s like the tweed ride all year long! Whether its for costuming purposes or a legitimate love of exquisite hats, check these out.

Keep fun-ifying and enjoying your ride, Ladies!

XOXO

MODULAR CARGO BIKE? YES, PLEASE!

When not taking part in imaginary two-wheeled space adventures atop my metallic pink streamer-handled-huffy, this Lady loved to build random creations with her older brothers’ left-over Legos.

So imagine my resplendent glee upon seeing not only an adult lego-like toy, but one that happens to also be a bicycle.

This is so incredibly awesome ! Check out the link, Ladies (and Lady-lovers) to read about the N55 designed XYZ Cargo bike!

Want a simple cargo bike? It can do that.

Want a fruit stand, ice-cream-pedalmobile, roving-library, portable-banana-stand? It can do that, too.

How about an INSTANT PARK?! It does that, too!

Absolutely fabulous (and fun) concept & design. Lovely!

From the article:

Like all modular systems, XYZ nodes enable people to build things based on the principle of a few different parts repeatedly used to create an overall structure, similar to construction sets like Lego, Meccano and Erector. Because of the open and modular design, the XYZ Cargo Cycles are easy to customize and to rebuild. For example, a cover or a body to improve wind resistance and protect from the weather can be applied — turning the cargo cycle into a velomobile

Several modules have been developed that can be put on top of the XYZ Cargo Trike to transform its functionality: a roof and table module, a passenger seat module, a kitchen module with table, roof and sink, and a platform module. The latter transforms the cargo cycle into a 1.5 x 3 m large movable space, while from a legal point of view remaining a bicycle. The platform module was used to create a ParkCycle Swarm, which empowers people to build an instant public park whenever and wherever they want to.

 

The possibilities are endless, and the cost/design is accessible. So what would you make with your build-a-bike XYZ?

Erector set meets bicycle

Erector set meets bicycle

Keep innovating, playing, and pedaling, Ladies!

XOXO

LADY OWNED, FOCUSED, AND RUN BIKE SHOP OPENS IN PORTLAND, OR

More Women riding bikes more often.

Gladys Bike Shop in N Portland, OR

Gladys Bike Shop in N Portland, OR

That’s precisely the goal of Gladys Bikes, a new bike shop located inside the HUB building along the heavily ridden Williams corridor in Portland, OR (2905 NE Alberta Street, Portland, OR). If you’re a Lady riding Vancouver/Williams, you need to check this place out.

Owner Leah Benson has stocked her shelves with essentials for a comfortable and fabulous ride, from reflective flower pins and helmet bows, to rain jackets, saddles, helmets, and more. Also offering Lady-run maintenance, classes, and bike fittings from an oh-so-accessible $50, Gladys is exactly the kind of shop that makes entering the realm of riding feel approachable for Women of all ages and abilities.

And did I mention free cookies?

Lovely reflective pins!

Reflective pins… and cookies

While the face of two-wheeled travel is still predominantly male, shops like Gladys are tapping into what happens to be the fastest growing segment of the two-wheeled world: Ladies! From the League of American Bicyclists:

Looking at the gender breakdown, the data shows the total number of women bike commuters in 2012 grew to 236,067, which is an almost 11% increase from 2011. More broadly, women commuting by bike has grown by 58.8% since 2006. What’s more, the ACS data shows that the growth in bike commuting by women is outpacing that of men. Between 2011 and 2012, the growth in bike commuting by women was 10.9%, compared to 8.4% for men.

The lovely Leah Benson, owner of Gladys

The lovely Leah Benson, owner of Gladys

Gladys Bikes is a lovely shop in a great location with a wonderful owner and mission worth supporting. Check out the accessories and awesomeness in the space just behind Ristretto next time you’re riding by, and in the meantime, you can check out and LIKE Leah’s shop on facebook, and attend her clinic “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Your Bike (But Were Afraid to Ask) on 10/17 @6:30pm at the shop.

Keep pedaling, supporting local Lady-run businesses, and enjoying the ride, Ladies!

XOXO