Riding for Change on Bike to Work Day

Happy Bike to Work Day!

I hope you all got a chance to get out and ride somewhere! Here in the DC Metro area, the weather is somehow miraculously absolutely perfect. After weeks of rain and gloom, we have blue skies and warm temperatures. Ballston SkyAfter spending the morning greeting people on their bikes to one of the Arlington Bike to Work Day pit stops, I took advantage of the fact that I not only had the day off, that I was awake, dressed, and desperate to get a bike ride in during the lovely weather. So off I went – a short loop on local trails where I enjoyed the large green trees, clear blue skies, and the occasional wild rabbit on the side of the road. One tiny baby bunny was so focused on its breakfast that it barely blinked when I pulled over to take it’s picture. I was tempted to scoop it up and bring it home, but I know better.

Baby bunny don't care...

Baby bunny don’t care…

On my way home, I took a selfie – Bikingand then Tweeted it to the US Department of Transportation. I don’t actually know anyone there. The purpose of this Tweet was in response to reading an email from Transportation 4 America, which asked people to Tweet photos of themselves biking today, urging US DOT to count people, not cars, in their new proposal for evaluating traffic congestion. Absolutely I want them to #MakeMeCount – I am traffic, and I want safe streets to get around, regardless of what mode of transportation I use (which is mostly walking and biking). At the same time, the Department of Transportation blog, Fast Lane, supports bike lanes and connections to help people safely and easily get to where they are going on continuous bikeways. Here here!

Safety is the current buzz word in biking and in transportation, it seems. While our Metrorail system takes steps to avoid a complete meltdown, and thousands of commuters will need to find alternatives to their daily Metro ride, biking could be a good option for many. But safety and comfort are top of the list of reasons why they won’t try it. If people don’t feel safe and comfortable biking, because their routes don’t connect, because they are on roads that are not remotely bike-friendly, because their work sites don’t have showers, because they don’t have safe places to leave their bikes once they get there – they simply won’t do it.

Safety and comfort were key points all of the presenters made at the National Museum of Women in the Arts “Women on Wheels: Can a Bicycle Be an Agent of Change?” Fresh Talk last weekend. Author Sue Macy, author of Wheels of Change: How Women Rode the Bicycle to Freedom (with a few flat tires along the way), talked about the challenges women faced in the late 1800s, as they discovered the freedom of bicycles. Lyne Sniege, director of the arts and culture program at the Middle East Institute, echoed many of the same challenges that women in the Middle East face when it comes to bicycling – but their challenges are so much more complex. Not just cultural challenges, but physical challenges of living in areas where *everything* is built for cars. Then the other panels brought the topic to our area: Renee Moore, founder of Bicycling and the City; Lia Seremetis, founder of DC Bike Party; Nelle Pierson, deputy director of WABA and the founder of WABA’s Women & Bicycles; and Najeema Davis Washington, co-founder of Black Women Bike. All of them talked about the need to have safe, comfortable spaces, both physically and emotionally, that will encourage and support women while they become comfortable (or learn to) riding bikes.

I know I’m preaching to the choir here, so I don’t feel that I really need to go on and on about bicycling, safety and comfort. I feel like today is a good day to sit back and look at some of the things that are going on to make us feel safer on our bikes. We have government officials supporting community designs that support bicycling, we have advocacy groups working with local governments to create safer spaces for us (Yes to protected bike lanes on N. Quincy Street!); and we have national advocacy groups working for us at the federal government level. It’s not us versus them anymore (well, depending on which street you are on…) – it’s a movement that is gaining some traction.

You know me, I’m a reluctant advocate, but seeing some steps in the right direction is empowering. I hope that you, like me, will find some time to speak up for bicycling. Even if you don’t bike yourself, I bet you know someone who does. And really, would you want to put anyone in a dangerous situation? Because that’s what happens to many when they hop on their bike.


Another Kickstarter – Sassy Cyclist

I first saw, and loved, Sassy Cyclist women’s bicycle jerseys at the National Forum on Women & Bicycles this past March, so when owner Becky Redett approached me last week and asked me if I’d share their Kickstarter, I said, “Of course!”

Love the Sassy Cyclist flow chart at the National Forum on Women & Bicycles!

Sassy Cyclist is a local business, out of Baltimore, MD, designed by women who love riding their bicycles, and who wanted more beautiful jerseys than they could find. I haven’t tried one on, so I can’t speak to the fit and fabric from first hand knowledge. Honestly, it’s the luscious prints that draw me to the jerseys. I’m completely in love with the “In Pursuit of Peonies” jersey – floral print, plum and raspberry… yes, this has my name written all over it. In Pursuit of Peonies Sassy Cyclist JerseySpecial touches that make me appreciate their jerseys even beyond just looks – the clothing measurements they use are intended to correlate more with regular clothing sizing, and they jerseys are cut a bit more relaxed than traditional skin-tight bike jerseys; AND each jersey has a reflective strip going down the entire center back. The hems are elastic-free, hallelujah, and I love the raglan sleeve look. I pretty much assume that any bike clothing company is going to use 4-way stretch, antimicrobial wicking fabric, and having them made in the USA is a nice touch, but what really sells me on these are the fabrics. They are floral but somehow, not too “shrink it and pink it.” Adding blue sleeves to the “Queen of the Road” jersey’s bold red flowers really makes it pop. Sassy Cyclist Queen of the Road

Now Becky has launched a Kickstarter to get her vision off the ground. If I hadn’t just supported Reid Miller’s Kickstarter, I would probably get a short sleeved “In Pursuit of Peonies” jersey, to inspire me to dust off my road bike. Instead, I encourage you, Dear Readers, to check out Sassy Cyclist and support them if you can (or at least follow the company on Twitter). It’s not an easy task, putting your heart and soul and bank account into a product you believe it, and I wish them luck. And I know that I will be mad with jealousy when I see one of these beautiful jerseys out on the roads and trails! Will that person be you? Capture

Trends in Reflective: Floral Prints

Anyone who knows me or follows this blog knows that I love floral prints. Big flowers, small flowers, Liberty of London flowers, embroidered, printed, batik – just check out my Pinterest board for proof. And this summer, floral prints seem to be everywhere. Naturally, I did my best to keep up with this trend!

I’ve had this top planned forever, it seems, but only now was able to complete it. It’s Vogue V9087, an asymmetrical top that I decided was perfect for the blue floral reflective fabric I have. I hunted around for a long time trying to find a floral print to coordinate, and since I kept coming back to the same Robert Kaufman London Calling one, decided it was meant to be. And I think they go together nicely! Asymmetrical Floral Top 7Asymmetrical Floral Top 8The unusual pieces had me scratching my head in confusion more than once – I’m normally pretty good at visualizing how pattern pieces fit together, but this one was not as intuitive. Thankfully, this blue reflective fabric doesn’t have the same rubbery backing as the teal in the Hummingbird blouse, so at least it was easier to sew. Doesn’t press well, however, even with a press cloth. Nonetheless, I’m pretty excited about it. This is an unusual pattern, and makes the ditsy floral print a bit less precious. At least, I hope it does.

Some of the details up close:

Naturally, you want to know how reflective it is. I carefully picked the left side for the reflective pieces, as I feel that is where a car is most likely to see anything reflective. And the whole side, under my arm and everything, is quite reflective! (Before you get too upset, please note that we ran out to take photos in front of our apartment and I completely forgot to grab my helmet. I didn’t feel like going back to get it. So although I am paranoid and almost always wear a helmet, no helmet appears in these photos.) Asymmetrical Top Reflecting 1Asymmetrical Top Reflecting 3Asymmetrical Top Reflecting 4I’m amazed that we don’t see more garments made out of this reflective fabric. It’s just so cool! Asymmetrical Top Reflecting 2I can’t wait until The Mechanic and I have our next bike date night, so I can wear this out in public! A night when we can’t get reservations until later, so I can get the full effect of biking home after dark and lighting up the roads in this asymmetrical reflective floral top!

This will have to keep me going for a while, because I will not be at home for the next three weekends, which means no sewing. <sniff> Very sad. I can’t wait to finally start my jumpsuit, and hope to get that made in August. I covered the machines, like I’m closing up shop.

Until we meet again, old friends....

Until we meet again, old friends….




Rainy Day Reflective Hummingbird Blouse

Saturday, June 27th, was not only a rainy Saturday, it became a record-breaking day for rainfall (2.75″, beating the previous 2.59″ record of 1881) and made June 2015 the second wettest June on record since 1871. Just look at the photos and videos at the bottom of the article to see how dramatic it was.

What’s a bicyclist to do when it pours rain? Sew! I was anxious for some sewing instant gratification, so having planned ahead and trekked to JoAnn Fabrics in Seven Corners (on the bus, so I could also buy new fish and not jostle them too much before getting them home), I was prepared with thread, the Butterick pattern I wanted, and my fabric. I set aside the cool blue floral asymmetrical top for a weekend when I have more time, and cranked out Butterick B6214.

Fish on a bus! Three new Platys and a horned snail made it home on the bus

Fish on a bus! Three new Platys and a horned snail made it home on the bus

I thought this pattern was a perfect design to show off the reflective fabric from King Tech Industry I have, as well as give perfect 360* visibility for the reflective design. The fact that it is a pretty easy pattern didn’t hurt. I opted to do French seams again, because they are easy and I like the clean look. Hummingbird 5Probably because I was in a hurry, I spaced and cut out the longer sleeve pattern, rather than the shorter one designed for Version C, the version I chose. It didn’t even occur to me until I had finished the top and was putting the pattern envelope away and looked at it again. D’oh! Thankfully I had cut it out too long, but rather than try to recreate it as designed, I just shortened the sleeves a few inches. It definitely made the top look better; I am still a bit dissatisfied about exactly how boxy it is.

One of the reasons why I liked this pattern is because of the dropped hem in the back. It’s subtle, but it’s there. Just a nice touch for biking – the subtle drop will be just enough while I’m on my bike, since my position isn’t too aggressively forward. Hummingbird 7I am pretty much in love with the fabric. The lavender and teal hummingbird print is the cotton lawn I purchased at B&J Fabrics when I was in New York last month. I had been hunting for something to coordinate with the teal reflective fabric and almost missed this. I’ve never worked with cotton lawn before and I might be a convert. It’s so lovely, soft, fine, presses up well….. The reflective fabric, unlike the others I have, is very rubbery on the back, so for the first time, I tried the tissue trick – I used a bit of the pattern tissue scraps to put between the fabric and the feed dogs, plus used my new Teflon foot. It worked amazingly well! After all the projects I’ve struggled through… Hummingbird 6The reflective fabric doesn’t press well and doesn’t drape well, so it’s not really an ideal fabric for this drapey boxy top. I’m sure it won’t breathe either. But it doesn’t matter! It’s my favorite color and it’s REFLECTIVE!

Hummingbird 10Hummingbird 8The only thing that I don’t love about this top is that it is *so* huge. I’m still debating on whether or not to try to take it in at all on the sides. Normally I prefer to wear clothes that fit my torso a bit closer, so I’m not 100% sold on this shape. (I didn’t use a bunch of photos here because they made me look pregnant, which I definitely am not; that’s never a good look if you aren’t actually pregnant.) But I’m going to try it out and see what I think – and what my friends at work think. I need their fashion advice sometimes, too.

I mean, that's a lot of fabric until you get to my waist....

I mean, that’s a lot of fabric until you get to my waist…. (Also, note the Levi’s Commuter Jeans and purple Dansko heels)

I will need to test out a few different skirts and pants to figure out the best way to wear this blouse to work, but I think the fabric (both print and texture) and fun reflective fabric will win out over the fit. It’s just so pretty! Hummingbird 9

Comfort Biking: Picking the Bike Lane Over the Trail, Again

Wednesday night I attended a work-related event in Westover; naturally I biked there. The event got out around 9pm, I chatted with a few people, then walked out to rain. We’ll ignore the fact that I had a coat for the air-conditioned auditorium, but not my Cleverhood, so not only was I then not properly and fully waterproofed, it covered up my reflectivity. The issue here is that I opted, again, to use bike lanes and sharrowed streets to get home, rather than use the much more convenient and very nearby Custis Trail.

I also opted against the Custis Trail to get to my location but that had more to do with the fact that the direct route would have had me pedaling straight up a hill, one I know to be short but steep, and I didn’t want to arrive too sweaty. But the other option is Washington Blvd, which only has a bike lane for about a half-mile near the destination. I biked with the traffic and survived; it was not perfect but fine. However…. coming home after 9pm meant not just rain, but dark.

Rats! I didn't even have the IKEA poncho that makes me look like a giant strawberry on a bike!

Rats! I didn’t even have the IKEA poncho that makes me look like a giant strawberry on a bike!

Yes, the Custis Trail has street lights, but it’s still pretty isolated, and I just don’t trust isolated locations after dark. Maybe I lived in New York for too long. Maybe, as a woman, I’m more paranoid about my safety. Maybe I read the news too much – even though this is Arlington, women are still attacked, and on the multi-use trails we all love. Regardless, I decided against the Custis Trail, and set off down Washington Blvd.

It was dark, the bike lane ended, it was raining, and frankly, I don’t trust drivers. So at George Mason Drive, I thought, “I know – I’ll cut down to the Bluemont Junction Trail, catch the very end of it, then pop out into the bike lanes in Ballston!” George Masson Drive has sharrows and “Bikes May Use Full Lane” signs – but in the dark, in the rain, riding a well-lit bike in a light lavender coat, I was super paranoid that drivers *still* couldn’t see me. (One proved it, too, by the way.) So at some point I thought, “I’ll just pick up the Custis Trail here, and be done with it. There isn’t too far to go to get to Ballston from this point.” I turned towards the connector to the trail – and circled back. It was so dark, even with the street lights on! Maybe the residents dislike the lights so they aren’t on fully, I don’t know, but it was too dark for my taste. I turned around and went a different route.

(Freshbikes location used as approximation)

(Freshbikes location used as approximation)

I felt so much better once I was on Fairfax Drive, where there are proper bike lanes, lots of lights, lots of people around, and yes, even cars.

I do use the Custis Trail, and the W & OD Trail, and the Mount Vernon. But I don’t always want to *have* to use them. I like that we have options here and that Arlington takes biking as transportation seriously. I know of many localities where bike lanes are put in here and there (Fairfax, I’m looking at you – what’s up with that paved path that parallels Route 7?!), because biking is a sport, something you do recreationally, not something you would possibly do to <gasp> get somewhere. And ultimately, I’m only going to bike on what I feel comfortable with and that might not be the same from day to day. It will depend on the weather, where I’m going, what time of the day, what day of the week, how my knees feel, and so on.

Paved lane that appears to end in the bottom right corner - but it will reappear someplace else, I'm sure

Paved lane that appears to end in the bottom right corner – but it will reappear someplace else, I’m sure

So it is important to have ALL the options in place. If you truly want the 60% interested but concerned people out there riding their bikes (and reducing congestion and improving air quality and getting healthier and boosting the local economy), you need to have a range of comfortable option for them. And don’t even get me started on making it easy for children and older/less physically able adults to bike for transportation either – that’s a topic for another blog post!

Product Preview: Bicycle Wrap Skirt

I really had planned on being able to do a more in-depth review of this fun skirt, but I haven’t had the time and since the Kickstarter has now launched, I want to get something out there. So please excuse the brevity and poor quality of some of the photos. Stay tuned though! This probably won’t be the only review of this skirt!

I don’t remember exactly how I found about about Lara Neece and her company, Forest and Fin. I did buy my sister-in-law one of her tee shirts for Christmas last year, but that was *after* I read about her plans to design a Bicycle Wrap Skirt. Always interested in helping out designers, especially one doing bike fashion, I reached out to her, and we met for the first time at Northside Social, when she was in town, far away from Savannah, GA. I lured her to the Women’s Bike Summit to introduce her to some people, and have stayed in touch. At last, her Kickstarter launched this week! I’m so excited for her!

Here is Lara herself, modeling the skirt in dreamy Savannah

Here is Lara herself, modeling the skirt in dreamy Savannah

But about the skirt – It’s seriously the perfect summer bike skirt. Lara focuses on earth-friendly materials and production, and come up with a linen/cotton blend that is machine-washable. It has a high waist that is flattering on almost every woman, but the best part is the wrap. How many of you have wrap skirts and dresses that expose way more leg than you want? Yup, we’ve all been there, and some of us are not comfortable with that kind of exposure. But the Forest and Fin Bicycle Wrap Skirt wraps and wraps and wraps! So much coverage! It has some clever hidden fastenings in the hem to keep it from flying up, but it’s probably not necessary.

Wearing the Bicycle Wrap Skirt in Shepherdstown, WV

Wearing the Bicycle Wrap Skirt in Shepherdstown, WV

Other cool features include a hidden side pocket and two different lengths, a regular and a tall, which is 2″ longer. She has come up with a fun way to clip the skirt a bit on the sides, so if you don’t like the skirt fluttering around while you are biking, you can rein it in. The detachable pouch is adorable and yes, fits an iPhone 6.

More lovely Savannah shots of Forest and Fin models

More lovely Savannah shots of Forest and Fin models

Lara sent me a prototype (in the tall length) to wear on Bike to Work Day, a few weeks ago. Alas, it was a bit cooler than expected/hoped, so I had to put a jacket on over it. But I modeled it for a few women who stopped to chat. Then I wore it while I biked to several different schools around Arlington, so I had the opportunity to get some real testing done.

Then I continued to wear it when we drove to Shepherdstown, before the CASA River Ride. We took our road bikes and our commuter bikes, and scooted around town on our commuter bike, so the skirt was the perfect thing to wear that evening. Alas, we were having so much fun we didn’t get too many photos, and the ones we did get are blurry. I’m sharing them anyway, but with apologies….

Here are my initial thoughts:

  1. I love it. It’s so full that it feels romantic and summery. I love full skirts, so I’m totally a fan.
  2. As I mentioned earlier, the wrap is so full, I didn’t feel I needed any other “modesty” help, but I like the side clips and the sneaky snap tape. While biking my errands, I tried wearing it every way, unclipped, clipped, snapped and clipped… The clips do make a huge difference, since I was afraid the skirt would flap into the wheels (if I didn’t have skirt guards, at least). Looking at the photos later, I realized that the tall length is still short enough that it wouldn’t get interfere with the bike.
  3. The side pocket is great, and I love the little pouch, but I’m not sure I’d wear that too often. I usually always have a purse or at least my front basket to carry stuff.
  4. The tall length was perfect on me; I wouldn’t want it shorter. But it would be super cute shorter, as well. (I think it made my legs look good!)
  5. I wore my Bikie Girl Bloomers under this, but they really aren’t necessary. I never worried that it would blow up. I just like to wear “bloomers.”
  6. If you live anywhere that is humid in the summer, this is the garment for you!
  7. I support Lara’s sustainability goals, and want to support this product in part because of that. I know it’s being made in this country, with eco-friendly fabrics and dyes, and they will donate part of the post-Kickstarter profiles to ocean and forest conservation organizations. Part of practicing what you preach. I say Amen!

I’m not getting paid to say this, but I strongly encourage you to head on over to the Bicycle Wrap Skirt Kickstarter page and pre-order now! Forest and Fin Bicycle Wrap Skirt Press Photo 2

Bike Riding Zen

Friends on Facebook post photos of their #DWZ – Dog Walking Zen. I was going to start a Bike Riding Zen hashtag for Instagram and Twitter, but apparently #BRZ is a car. Um, maybe not.

I needed some Bike Riding Zen this weekend when The Mechanic and I dragged ourselves out on a bike ride, our last “training” ride before our half-century this coming weekend. After a long day cruising European Union embassies for EU Open House Day in DC, we were exhausted and hadn’t had a chance to get any chores done. Sure, we had a good day, but there’s always that weekend stuff that needs to happen, and just hadn’t.

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I felt downright crabby about taking the time to drive to Purcellville, VA, to the end of the W&OD Trail, so we could ride for a few hours. (Why does it seem like when I’m sleepy The Mechanic is wide-awake chatty, and vice versa? Do we really suck that much energy from each other? Is that married life?!) All I could think about as we set off was the litany of things I needed to do – wedding gift for friends, early Monday morning meeting prep, must write check to German Honor Society, rental car for our trip to Wilmington, NC, we still haven’t ordered wedding photo prints!, etc. An hour each way, at least 2 hours of biking, plus set up and break down at every end point…. That did end up being our whole day, actually. (Hence the post on Tuesday, not on Monday, in case you noticed).

And yet…. somewhere along the trail, my crankiness evaporated and my list slipped out of my thoughts. W&OD Trail 1 W&OD Trail 2 W&OD Trail 3Isn’t it amazing what a few hours on a bike in a beautiful landscape can do for your happiness?!

W&OD Trail Barn

Ladies’ Night: Bikes, Wine and Shopping

I’m pretty sure all the women who showed up for Revolution Cycles Ladies’ Night event in Clarendon last night would have come without the wine incentive but it didn’t hurt. Neither did the chocolate or cheese. The event was sold out and then some – over thirty women who were interested in women-specific biking. And it was worth the $5 admissions price! RevCycles Ladies Night 8I’ve written before about how attending a Ladies’ Night at the same Revolution Cycles shop when I first started biking changed the experience for me: I bought padded bike shorts, I felt encouraged by the other women who spoke about their experiences, I worked up the courage to join the Rev Cycles Sunday morning group ride (on my 7-speed hybrid!), etc. I told general manager Katie how often I’ve talked about the impact of that event and that it’s why I support women-specific bike events. They will get more women onto bikes. I’m glad that Rev Cycles understands that. (no, I was not paid to say that!)

That's right Katie, I'm back in the front row again!

That’s right Katie, I’m in the front row again!

This event was different than the one years ago. We got gift bags! We sat on the floor! Items were passed around the group! There was a raffle with amazing prizes! We had tons of time to shop! And there were many more women employees – shout out for that! Katie said it was the first time the male employees were outnumbered by all of us. Heh heh.

Rev Cycles employees, including three women (plus Katie who was behind me)! Sooooo nice to have so many women in the bike shop!

Rev Cycles employees, including three women (plus Katie who was behind me)! Sooooo nice to have so many women in the bike shop!

We talked about women’s impact on safety and went over the differences between men and women and bike fit. Katie did her fantastic demonstration of how to use chamois cream, and women asked questions it – in the comfort of a group of women, we could. I don’t even want to have that conversation with The Mechanic. I was really pleased to see that most of us there ride our bikes for transportation – to work, to run errands, etc. Slightly fewer bike for recreation on the weekends, fewer still race, and only a handful do triathlons. Seeing so many women who use bikes as transportation, many who are car-free, gives faces to the idea bikes are not recreation “toys” used by wealthy white males. This was a diverse group of women of all ages and backgrounds.

With two of the women employees (sorry it's so blurry, ladies!)

With two of the women employees (sorry it’s so blurry, ladies!)

During the bike fit conversation, Katie explained center of gravity, how it is different on men and women, and what that means for different styles of bikes, especially as you get into the more aggressive bikes. Of course I know about the different centers of gravity, how women have stronger legs and men have stronger upper bodies, but how that translates into bike fit was not something I’ve seen demonstrated so well. So even though I’ve been biking for a while, I’m still learning new stuff! As it should be. I appreciated the set of chamois that were passed around; I probably need new padded bike shorts. “Diaper pants,” one woman called them.

Pick yer chamois!

Pick yer chamois!

I did mention a swag bag and shopping. I was NOT expecting a swag bag at all, nor such a generous one! My friends and I were surprised as we kept pulling stuff out of the bag – great catalogs of Electra bikes and Trek bikes, plus the cool “new bike” folder from Rev Cycles full of info, but also an Electra Solona Clutch full of more goodies: socks, a lever set, and sunscreen, pants strap and bell from BikeArlington! Then there were the raffle tickets – two saddles, two messenger bags and water bottles; one of my friends (the one who rides the least) won a saddle! I’m super excited about the clutch.

Swag bag items! I bought the bike gloves during the shopping part of the event.

Swag bag items! I bought the bike gloves during the shopping part of the event.

Shopping was part of the event, and women were in full shopping mode. I saw several trying on helmets, since Katie suggested we compare expensive and less expensive helmets to experience the difference (she said they are lighter weight; I didn’t try any on). Several were swooping up bike short and skirts, some like me headed for the gloves, others were trying on jackets. I think everyone appreciated the almost one-on-one employee attention, and I suspect that it encouraged some to spend more than they might have otherwise. Or maybe that was the wine helping. RevCycles Ladies Night 2I’d like to thank Revolution Cycles, owners Pinkey and Mike, Katie, and all the employees who were there tonight (yes, guys too!). One of the main topics of the Women & Bikes Forum was the importance of creating safe spaces for women to grow more comfortable, become more confident and really find their bike “voice.” Another thing that was talked about at the Forum was the fact that women like to do things in groups, that we are social, and place great weight on what our peers are doing. When I introduced myself to owner Mike on my way out, he said that he could host a beer and brats event for men, and they wouldn’t show up the way women do for a social/networking/women only event. I guess we just proved how important a safe space is for women.

Thanks Mike!

Thanks Mike!


My Name in Lights?!?

Bike-friendly Arlingtonians are all a-buzz these days, ever since BikeArlington announced an open casting call in partnership with Modacity and Vancouver Cycle Chic. Modacity will be doing a series of videos on everyday Arlington residents who just so happen to bike for transportation. They are taking applications through the end of the month, and then the lucky winners will be filmed in May. The whole goal of the campaign is to show biking as a normal activity, something people of all ages, ethnicity and socioeconomic backgrounds do. Check out this video as an example:


Of course I plan on applying! I think I’m perfect for this! What shall I wear? What photo should I pick showing me and my bike? What can I say about myself that will make them choose me as representative of Arlington bike riders?! Then there is a bigger question – I need to have my bike repainted, but what color?! I mean, if there is a chance it could be on film, it can’t just be any color! But I don’t see any reason to pick a different color, so do I ask to have it redone in the same paint? (The Mechanic, by the way, is the one who first painted it that color, before we even met.) And then I might need to make a new reflective dress to coordinate!

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But I think that I might be getting ahead of myself. First of all, BikeArlington is in my office, so is this one of those things where “employees not permitted to participate in contest” rules apply? I’m assured not, but I don’t know what Modacity might think. And I work in TDM, so maybe that disqualifies me. I’m not exactly a “normal” bike rider, although I started biking to work long before I even knew about BikeArlington and got my job. And then, making my own bike friendly clothes is different, not normal. Not everyone makes their own clothes that they can bike in and wear in the office.

How "normal" is this?!

How “normal” is this?!

The whole point of “normal” biking is that it doesn’t take any special gear to do it, just a bike and a desire. My bike is an extension of my style, and I choose to dress around it, as well as dress it up, but I have to say, I don’t see other women biking around like this. More so in DC, but not in Arlington. So I’m not sure how normal that makes me! And frankly, I’d like to see a good mix of bike riders chosen, people who represent all the differences that make up daily Arlington life – families, older people, people biking to the farmer’s market and to their jobs, in all the different neighborhoods, including Columbia Pike.

I still plan on applying and definitely want to be chosen to star in a video. But I will be okay with not being chosen, with not representing “normal” Arlington. I’ve never been “normal” my whole life, so I guess, why start now?

And if you or anyone else you know would be good for this cool project, be sure to apply or pass along the link above! Good luck, Normal Arlingtonians!

Edgar probably makes me not normal either.....

Edgar probably makes me not normal either…..


Product Review: Bookman Magnetic Reflectors

I was so excited to tell you about my cool new Bookman magnetic reflectors, but then I lost mine tonight. Both of them. They were on the cuffs of my coat before I went to the event after work, then after I’d left, I realized they were missing. Somewhere they must be magnetized to the couch or floor where I’d left my coat. I’m very sad by this. I hope a local bike shop decides to carry them, so I can buy a new pair. Bookman Reflectors_1 Bookman Reflectors_2

I can tell you what they were, however! I don’t remember how I first came across them (Twitter, probably), but they are a very new product from Bookman, the Swedish company that makes cool bike accessories. You are probably most familiar with their square bike lights. The reflectors are really cool, flexible strips of reflective material on one side, red fuzzy stuff on the inside, with magnets on each end, allowing them to magnetize to themselves. This means they can clip on a sleeve, collar, lapel, pant hem, whatever you want. They are also shown around a bike top tube, but they didn’t work on my bikes. Bookman Reflectors_3 Bookman Reflectors_4I liked them on my cuffs, because I thought it would be more visible for signaling. Also, as shocking as this is, my midweight coat is black, that is, not very visible, so whatever I can tastefully add to it to make it more visible, the better. I also tried them on the back of this coat as well, on the faux belt. I’m sure that worked fine, and was potentially a safer location than my cuffs! Bookman Reflectors_6I had knocked one of the reflector clips off my cuff the first day I wore them, probably when I pulled my purse off my shoulder, so I should have known better. I had thought I’d try them out as skirt clips, too, just to see how they stayed on. Now all I can say is that might not have been a good idea either.

I am disappointed to have lost these fun clips! I hope whomever finds them appreciates them properly. I wouldn’t discourage you from getting a set, but I would caution you – be careful where you place them!  Bookman Reflectors_5Postscript – After writing and scheduling this post, I found my reflectors magnetized on the inside of my desk locker when I got to work in the morning! Huzzah! Still – keep an eye on them if you get a set!