The weather was icky and cold at first, but finally the Sunday after Thanksgiving dawned a perfect fall day. As I rode through the golden afternoon light, I swear every family in town was out raking leaves before the snow came, it was positively Norman Rockwell.
(Warning: I've been reading too many bike blogs and drooling over the test rides and gorgeous photography. I'm sort of channeling that here... just minus interesting bike knowledge and a fancy camera. Apologies!)
My dad is luckily not a huge guy, so I can ride his bike without feeling like I'm going to topple off. But where's my step through frame?
Besides being a men's bike, this Specialized Tricross is SUCH a contrast to my vintage Raleigh. It has exponentially more gears, first of all! I just threw it in something that made it feel like work. Whereas mine is solid steel, this has an aluminum frame with carbon fork. Mine is ever so reliable, but ponderous to get going and then is quite sensitive to any steering. The Tricross is delicate but actually steadier. It feels almost spring loaded and then floats along the ground, practically under its own power. It's really screaming to be ridden with no hands. Which is a good thing, because I'm not used to drop bars! The angle was actually very upright, not aggressive at all, but the distance of the handlebars was a bit much - well, duh, the bike is just too big for me! But it was a pleasure to ride for a short distance and it seems perfect for my dad. Because I'm a meddlesome kid, I keep encouraging him to use it for more rides around town and not just sporty leisure riding - it's designed to handle both.
Speaking of urban cycling, having ridden a lot more around Oakland and San Francisco in the last year, and kept my eyes open for bike culture in other places, I was so curious to see how bike-friendly Oak Park is these days. As kids we used to ride everywhere, but I don't remember there being any kind of safety awareness - other than lots of nagging to wear my helmet. Well, it's no Portland, but there's certainly way more visibility! There are bike lanes and bike routes and lots of signs to remind people that cyclists share the road. Even in the cold I saw a good representation of serious commuters with panniers and all.
My mom lives just a few blocks from all the Frank Lloyd Wright homes. I took an impromptu bike tour/photoshoot. Enjoy!
The Home and Studio, where all the foreign tourists were starting their walking tours.
333 Forest Ave. Right about here a mom and young son passed me on a tandem.
318 Forest Ave.
6 Elizabeth Court. Until I passed it I'd forgotten that my friend lived here in junior high. I actually had several friends who lived in FLW homes, which made me fairly jaded. They're not that comfortable on the inside, you have to buy fancy period furniture or what's the point, and you have to get historic approval to, like, fix your roof. Plus, you have silly people taking pictures on your lawn all day :)
Design aside, if you haven't read Loving Frank yet, well, hadn't you better hop on your bike and pick it up today?