Archive | March 2012

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Biking to the grocery store is the best kind of gateway drug.

April 1st kicks off the third annual 30 Days of Biking. The idea is to commit to biking somewhere, even just around the block, every day for the entire month of April. I’m in! For a split second, I thought, “Wow, why didn’t I do this last year?” Then I remembered that on April 1st […]

My ’79 Schwinn Le Tour IV

Based on bike blogs and my friends, naming your bike seems to be very popular. As much as I enjoy my bike and get a kick out of other people’s bike names, I just can’t get into it. This is either “the Schwinn” or “my road bike” and it’s what I ride 95% of the […]

Bike Commuting on Tomboy Style!

Bike Commuting on Tomboy Style!

Tomboy Style has been my favorite blog for months. Lizzie Garrett’s well-curated site always looks so effortlessly cool. Up until now, however, there has been a glaring lack of bike-related posts. How did she miss this for so long? Isn’t it obvious that bike-commuting is the ultimate glamorous, sporty, hip tomboy activity?

Today’s post was written by Lizzy Fallows, a Timbuk2 employee. While I don’t think anyone in San Francisco should be allowed to use the term “winter” to describe what happens in that city, it’s a pretty good list. Of course, you don’t need this stuff to bike to work. I wear the same helmet (with various layers underneath) whether it’s -20 or 95 degrees out. But we should all have style icons to inspire us.


The Foundation of my Beauty Routine

I usually don’t put makeup on prior to my commute, because I tend to “glisten.” Upon arrival at work, I duck into the ladies room. Even if I have had to stop to change a tire en-route, done the equivalent of time-trial sprints through downtown, and am now barely on time to work, I don’t […]

Outfit #1

Outfit #1

As I mentioned in my first post, I work in the fine arts industry, which presents unique wardrobe challenges. As far as I can figure out, anything goes as long as it is not basic or expected. Little black dresses are out if not accompanied by wild jewelry or glasses visible from a block away. Since my closet mainly holds staples in neutral colors, every opening I work brings a new “what do I wear” crisis.

Above is one of my successes. I was co-hosting a casual performance art event on a February night. The temperature hovered right around freezing. I threw a drape-y cardigan and long necklace in my panniers and put on skinny jeans, a long sleeved wool undershirt, a black belt, wool socks and black leather boots. For outerwear I had a lightly lined soft shell jacket, lobster gloves, and a fleece balaclava (plus my trusty helmet).

Style Pros/Cons: I got lots of complements that night and have no fashion regrets!
This outfit could easily be dressed up for an office situation. All it would take is to switch out the jeans for dark chinos or dress pants and wear dressier boots. I love the Icebreaker merino wool undershirt I got for Christmas (thanks Mom and Dad)! It performs well while I’m biking and serves as a great base layer upon arrival, all without looking like performance clothing.

Biking Pros/Cons: Merino is awesome! A thin wool undershirt and soft shell jacket were the perfect combination for this trip. The outfit was practically perfect, except… Skinny jeans are not appropriate biking attire for Minnesota winters. Since I was only going 3 miles and it wasn’t much below freezing, I braved the resulting cold, wind-chapped thighs, knowing they’d warm up quickly when I got there.

Had the trip been slightly colder or slightly longer, I would’ve put a layer of synthetic long underwear underneath and taken it off once I arrived. Had it been much colder or much longer, I would’ve worn windproof, lined snow-pants and changed into my jeans at the gallery. Again, I have no regrets, but I’d hate to suggest that you should tackle winter biking in jeans in the upper Midwest. You’ll be significantly more comfortable if all of your outer layers are windproof and all of your inner layers are wicking.

Happy International Women’s Day!

Last Saturday I went on a group ride with Grease Rag Ride and Wrench (a loose organization of WTF, as in Women/Trans/Femme, cyclists) in celebration of International Women’s Day. It was my first group ride ever! Eighteen of us represented the Twin Cities, biking in fresh snow on a 25 degree day! There’s a great […]

Atlanta Bicycle Chic is a really fun blog, and this is my favorite photo so far. This woman looks stunning! Her candy-apple red coat is a smart alternative to the standard “be seen” clothing options – between the coat and her yellow bike she should catch any driver’s eye. I am looking forward to the days when it is once again warm enough to wear something like this in Minneapolis.

Photograph by Cameron Adams via

Black Leather Boots

Black Leather Boots

I hate fashion articles with titles like Spring’s Must-Haves! or anything that features “essential” wardrobe components. Inevitably, they tout something that I either cannot afford or can’t imagine wearing. My black leather boots are, however, such an indispensible part of my wardrobe that when the zipper broke on the pair of knee-high Rockports I’ve had for four years, I panicked.

I built my winter wardrobe around these boots to such an extent that I couldn’t imagine what I would wear without them. They had faithfully looked good with skinny jeans, dress pants and skirts, and neither my cowboy boots nor my hiking boots were as warm or as cute. I’d had them re-heeled by a cobbler this fall, but this time he took one look and told me that this repair would cost $50 and then the zippers wouldn’t match!

It was time to buy new boots. Fortunately, tall leather boots are often on sale in February. After oogling these ( much more polished, dressed up Merrells online, I decided on a pair of Clarks.

Style Pros and Cons:
I like that the buckles add a bit more attitude than my last pair had, which fits the casual urban vibe of my current wardrobe. Just like the pair that I wore until they wore out, my new boots will go with the vast majority of my closet. I compromised a little bit of dressy-ness and polish by choosing boots with buckles, but the trade off of having them look better with my casual wardrobe was worth it. If I had a dressier job I would’ve picked something sleeker. I know that I will wear these boots six days a week for 6 months of the year.

Biking Pros and Cons:
Material matters for biking attire. I have owned synthetic upper boots before, and I got rid of them because my feet got uncomfortably sweaty just walking. The leather upper is a key feature – leather breathes more than the alternatives. The soles have a bit of traction on them, which grips the pedals better than my previous pair. My new pair is not pre-waterproofed, so I’m going to have to do that myself, but many companies do waterproof their boots (Merrell is a good example). The tall shaft keeps my calves warm and my pants clean and dry in messy conditions. Because this pair is lightly lined all the way up, they will also be reasonably warm. I expect to be comfortable down to 30 degrees F while wearing wool socks.

Fashion is a form of self-expression, so if you’re looking for something similar, make them your own. If you’re a heels kind of woman, biking in a moderate heel is very doable, though wedges and platforms can be tricky since there is no heel to catch the pedal should your foot slip. Traction on the sole will help with this as well. I personally like black, but any dark color would be similarly practical.