Tag Archive: holidays

Give the Gift of a New Beginning via World Bicycle Relief

Tis the season of giving and receiving.

My local bike shop is busy this season building up bikes for kids – acting as Santa’s helpers when it comes to the gift of new bike! Since even Santa loves bikes, he’s asking for your help to give the gift of a new bicycle, too, via a contribution to World Bicycle Relief.

My colleague’s passion for WBR (which also happens to be a SRAM organization headquartered in Chicago) has inspired me to expand my concept of “giving a bicycle” to include “empowering someone with a bicycle.” I wouldn’t be better able to express the reasons for giving to this cause any better than my colleague, so I’ll share his words.

Raul Nino has expressed to me that “as a committed bike rider, and someone who wants to do good by others, I think that WBR is a very good way to do so. I know personally how much better my life is because of my physical, economic and psychological commitment to bike riding, it’s heartening to know that by donating a bike through WBR I can help improve the lives of my fellow human beings. The bicycle is a noble machine, and we are ennobled by it through our right actions, and right thoughts. Helping others is always the right thing to do.”

This holiday season I hope we all can experience the joy of giving (or receiving) the gift of the noble bicycle. Whether you donate to WBR, your local bike advocacy group or give a bicycle as a gift to someone in your own life, I wish everyone the richness of a bicycle.

As noted on the WBR donation page, all donations received through December 31st are matched $1 for $1, so your contribution goes twice as far this season!

Santa Rampage

Best part of my ride today? The Santa LED-blinky Hat on my helmet (a lingering token of the Milwaukee Santa Rampage bike ride)!

Santa Helmet

This past Saturday I took to my bike and spread some good cheer – during the 11th Annual Milwaukee Santa Cycle Rampage! Chicago also hosted a rampage – the Dreidel and Santa Rampage.

With just a dusting of snow on the ground, the Santas (and candy canes and elves and Mrs. Clauses and rudolphs and dreidels) set out on bikes on a two-wheeled trek across Milwaukee. I rode with the Santas that departed from the western edge of the city through downtown Milwaukee for our first libation stop. Another group of fun-loving Santas began their journey from a downtown location and over to meet up at stop #1 – the Lakefront Brewery.

According to one report from the Chicago Rampage – Chicago had about 50 Santas and 5 dreidels on their bikes.
As we were leaving the first stop at Lakefront Brewery in Milwaukee, the hosts confirmed that well over 300 Santas… and at least one dreidel had passed through its doors for the Milwaukee Santa Rampage ride! Now that’s a lot of good cheer and HO HO HOs.

Riding to the first stop amidst the morning sunshine and crisp whiteness was by far the best part of the day.

Holiday music blasted from the trailers pulled by several riders. Car horns tooted as we passed by. What a great feeling to be honked and waived at by supportive (and not angry) car drivers cheering on all the Santas on bikes!

Kids and adults alike gaped at us from the sidewalks and scrambled to get a photo.

Below are some of the highlights of my first ever Santa Rampage. Have a very happy holiday everyone. Keep spreading the good cheer from your two wheels too.

My Red and White Bike...and snow

Me as Santa! Ho ho ho!





This Grinch did not steal the cheer!

Bikes as ornaments


Dreidel amidst all the Santas

the Santa toast - "Cheers!"


Cycling through downtown Milwaukee to stop #2

Over the bridge

Rudolph leads the Santas?





Holiday Cheer

Each year no matter how much a I prep, I never quite feel ready for the holiday season. This year, though, with the temperatures plunging to wintry lows by Thanksgiving and snow already falling a few times, it actually feels like the holidays in Chicago.

Even my bike is dressed up in the holiday spirit.

My bike really has inspired me this year — some of my best gift-giving ideas come to me while I’m riding my bike to and from work. If only I could sync those thoughts and ideas with an automatic thought recorder so that when I get to my destination I haven’t already forgotten most of them. Today I managed to remember those last-minute ideas and jot them down before they fleeted away. (And if you’re still looking for some gift ideas, don’t forget to check out our Holiday Gift Guide.)

However you celebrate, may this season bring you good cheer both on and off your bike(s).

How is your bike a part of your holiday season?

After the rain

What a Monday – overslept, awoke to dark gray skies and thunderstorms – BUT today only Chicago is having a return of spring weather. Hearing that forecast was all I needed to brighten my day.

This morning my commute could have been a soggy and chilly mess, but luckily my later start time meant that I only had to contend with gray skies and wet pavement. With temperatures hovering in the 60s (Fahrenheit), needless to say, the ride made for a wonderful start to a short work week.

Holiday decorations are already being installed along my route – though it still seems so early for the wreaths and the garland.

Tonight’s ride home may be amidst storms and a tornado watch… or maybe it, too, will happen after the rain.

Either way, I’m prepared; my rainy day check list:
* bike cap (visor to keep the rain out of my eyes)
* rain jacket (I keep a vinyl jacket in my bag just in case, a wind jacket and/or use a waterproof jacket when it gets colder)
* wool socks (just the lightweight Wigwams today)
* Gore-Tex sox (especially for when it’s cooler and when I know I’ll be riding in the rain) – not needed today
* Under the Weather Sit ‘n’ Spin 3/4 length pants
(but I also sometime opt to wear tights or leggings with the UTW Twizzle skirt)
* Waterproof Pannier from Banjo Bros.

Share your rainy day commuting stories and gear. In the summer rains, I’m usually willing to just let it rain on me. These fall and springtime rains are when we need to have the right layers to protect against the damp and the chill. I’m still figuring it out.

The best gift of all

Today I rode my bike; ordinarily that statement would come as no surprise. But unfortunately for the past couple of weeks, I’ve been battling congestion, sore throats, fatigue – cold symptoms that just wouldn’t quit! – and I’ve not been riding.

On my final work day this week, I’m happy to report that I bike commuted. In the wind and sleet, I smiled all the way and enjoyed breathing in the crisp air. I wished I could just keep going.

It’s the best gift ever – not the ride – but the restored health so that I can ride.

Even the green machine got “dressed” up for the holidays, sporting a red and gold holiday bow from my mom.

Happy holidays!