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Barely Biking in NYC

i am on my way home from a successful and tiring yet relaxing long weekend in New York City. Trips to NYC are tiring just because I want to run around (almost literally- it’s so much walking!) and see everything and everyone I miss since I left the city. I accomplished a lot of my goals but managed to relax as well.  

  

My first goal was to head straight to the fabric stores but I only made it to one. I had a hard time finding the perfect fabric to coordinate with the teal reflective fabric I have, and had just decided on something when I found a gorgeous cotton lawn in lavender with real hummingbirds and snatched it up. Perfect!  

  A friend gave me some remnants of vintage Liberty of London fabric she found cleaning out her mother’s things, which is of course a wonderful treat. I had been caressing them in B&J Fabrics earlier and now at last I have some!  
  

The entire purpose of my trip was to see my talented friend Kimberley Faye Greenberg perform in three different shows in rep at the Beautiful Soup Theater. It’s been ages since I saw her perform and even though she has a powerhouse of a voice, these were plays, not musicals, so something different. That was Saturday. Friday night I went to see ” Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder,” which I have wanted to see since it performed in last year’s Tony Awards. It’s not The Mechnic’s sense of humor so I took the opportunity of being in NYC without him to go. Despite my $35 second-to-last row Today Tix app seat, I loved it.  

  

Through all this I did get a chance to at last ride Citibike. I needed to get from SoHo to 21st and 1st where the Beautiful Soup Theater is, so naturally, in nearly perfect weather, I opted for bike share. It woks just like Capital Bikeshare (but the kiosk was nicer and the screen was easier to read), so not much to report there, but I was impressed with the infrastructure. Bike lane right away from the station, then the entire way up 1st Ave. I saw two signs that read “Construction in the Bike Lane” and one sign that said “Bike Lane – Bikes only.” What?! Helpful signs?! So impressed.  

    

  

I also saw dozens and dozens of people on Citibikes. And people on their own bikes. And delivery bikes. Even a Whole Foods cargo bike delivering groceries! Wouldn’t that be nice? New York certainly had the feel of a bike city, where business is conducted by bike. It will be nice when DC and Arlington get to that point.  

   

Sunday morning when I took the New Jersey Transit Light Rail to Hoboken, I saw several people loading bikes on the train, including two preteen girls. Yay for girls with bikes on light rail!  

 

Although I barely biked in NYC, I am happy that I finally got to. There is something about using local public transportation options that make you feel part of a city you no longer belong to (or have never visited), something about bike share that makes you feel more connected to it. It isn’t enough to just walk the streets – you have to get into it, use it like a local, to really experience it. And maybe, after over five years, I finally miss the city.  

   

Hold Please!

Oops. Somehow the week went by too fast and I never got my blog post written for Thursday! And here it is, Friday morning, and I am writing from a Vamoose bus en route to New York City. I have a busy schedule of friends and theater and fabric shopping, plus getting my hair cut at my favorite place, the Aveda Institute (the students practice on willing guinea pigs!). When I lived in Manhattan I only went there – the price is right and it appealed to my constant desire for something new while having a consistent place to go. And in all the years I went, I can only think of one haircut I really didn’t like. 

I also hope to have an opportunity at lady to try out CitiBikes. I confess a degree of nervousness about biking in NYC but I know it’s improved slit since I lived there, so I need to get over my worries. Nonetheless, New York does not have a good track record for biking and pedestrian protections.

So please excuse the lack of a bike-themed post for this week, and I’ll get back to you soon! 

Enjoy your long Memorial Day weekend!  

 

18 mile Pit Stop

First Official Bike Event of the Year, Completed!

The sign pushed under our hotel room door the morning of the CASA River Century Ride did not make me feel any less anxious – the town was under a boil water advisory. Water Boil AdvisoryWe had already prepped our water bottles with water from home, except it wasn’t enough and The Mechanic had used tap water to fill the last. Uh oh – should we be worried?!

Despite that and my general anxiety about not feeling properly trained up for a 50 mile bike ride in hilly West Virginia, it turned out to be a perfect day! We got started a bit late, but the ride (we did the Jefferson loop, having done the Berkeley loop in 2012) immediately put us into a good frame of mind by touring us past the Potomac River and some local Civil War ruins, then along the Shenandoah River. It was a lovely morning, and the predicted threat of rain was in fact a gorgeous warm partly-cloudy day. There were some short steep hills before the first pit stop at mile 18, where we were able to enjoy the Shenandoah and peanut butter and jam sandwiches.

The miles until the 40-mile point pit stop were mostly just rolling hills, full of fields and trees and puffy white clouds in blue skies. For the most part there was not much traffic, and we were barely on major roads, and since we were moving slow, we rarely saw other cyclists. We saw peacocks, cows, brilliant red oriental poppies, purple and lavender flowers of some kind, horses with their foals, lots of cardinals, Civil War battlefields near Harper’s Ferry, and tons of beautiful green trees. I love this area. I just wish I could have stopped to take pictures of everything, but we never would have finished!

M&Ms at the 40 mile pit stop! They knew the way to my stomach, err, heart!

M&Ms at the 40 mile pit stop! They knew the way to my stomach, err, heart!

Despite lack of training, we did pretty well. I had some mysterious pain up my lower back for a while, and had to keep standing out of the saddle to relax it, and the work-related shoulder pain was not helped by the aggressive bike position, but it was all manageable. The Mechanic had to switch to a more supportive knee brace but reported that his ibuprofen diet during the week had helped with minimizing the pain. (Geez we are old before our time!) On the RoadBut we made it! I am very pleased, especially since doing this ride was on my list of New Year’s Resolutions. 50 Mile LoopElevation ChartAfter the ride, we threw some normal clothes on over our bike shorts and headed to the all-you-care-to-eat lunch provided by the ride organizers. On our way, we were stopped by an enterprising young lady who was selling loop band bracelets to support CASA, so of course we bought bracelets. I had one custom made in some favorite colors.  BraceletWe also discovered a cool piece of space satellite-looking interactive art next to the Shepherd University Center for Contemporary Art – a giant metal piece that actually rolls when you push it. I was so tempted to stand in it and let it circle around, but didn’t want to hurt their art (although I bet plenty of college kids have tried this). Interactive ArtThe boil water advisory was still in effect; the cafeteria drink machines all had giant signs written on them and one of the employees told me about the water main break in town. I hope they get that fixed soon! Luckily, it didn’t seem to extend to the restaurants, because later we hit our favorite bakery, the Sweet Shop Bakery, for a celebratory cupcake, and had dinner at Domestic, with no water problems.

Ha!

Ha!

The other treat that the day had in store for us was that the Shepherd University Little House was actually open! We have admired this tiny house so many times, but the only time we have been there when it was open was our wedding day last year, and I was afraid I couldn’t get in the door in my wedding dress. Turns out I was right – I barely fit in in a skirt and tee-shirt! The Little House is even tinier inside, and I almost felt a bit claustrophobic, especially once I went upstairs – I couldn’t fit up there so just peeked in the rooms from the middle of the staircase before backing down. It’s a bit shabby and run down, which makes me sad, but I bet it’s hard to keep up.

It poured rain while we ate our delicious dinner at Domestic, but cleared up nicely for our drive home. We stopped again at the Silver Diner in Tyson’s for more food (I’m sure I ate all the calories I’d just burned off!), and were home in bed before 10pm, exhausted, a bit sore, and definitely happy.  Now I need to find a fall half-century to complete!

Map My Ride BtWD Email

Helping You Prep for Bike to Work Day

Are you ready for Bike to Work Day? I am – I’ll be working at a local pit stop (Ballston – if any of you reading stop there, look for me!) and I *might* be wearing something special, something women & bike specific, not of my own making! Intrigued? You’ll have to wait until next week to find out – or check my Twitter feed on Friday.  BTWD-Logo-2015-black-e1421436521719

If you aren’t ready, there are plenty of retailers out there who want to help you – I swear I’ve gotten (and deleted) several emails this week for gear and clothes and so on. I couldn’t find all of them, but REI, Map My Ride, and Terry Bicycles top the list. (Note that the Map My Ride ad shows a woman in heels on a bike with a front basket – everyone is trying hard to avoid the MAMIL image!)

Some retailers have figured out that this event means big business, and they should. It’s a great excuse to get new gear, sort of like the bike equivalent of Back to School in the Fall. Now we just need to get non-bike companies to figure this out as well, and get on the retail wagon. Maybe once bigger companies cater a bit more to Those Who Bike, and Those Who Bike For Transportation, stores and cities and neighborhoods will be more inclined to cater to us as well – better bike racks, more bike lanes, more polite street behavior (cars, I’m looking at you). It’s a dream I realize, but hey, a girl can dream!

Eventually, everyone will realize BikeArlington is right with their Number One Reason to Bike to Work: Bike ArlingtonAll your friends will be there – because they biked as well!

See you in the bike lane, friends!

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W&OD Trail 3

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

Brooklyn Industries bike locks tee

Bike Inspiration

There comes a time when we all need a bit of bike inspiration, and this being the beginning of National Bike Month, maybe you are new-ish and want some inspiration. Maybe you’ve been doing this for a while and just want to see what other people are doing. NBM2014_Web_540x59First of all, it’s hard to not be inspired when reading about Gillian, Arlington resident, founder of Kidical Mass Arlington, head of the Arlington Bicycle Advisory Committee and overall bike woman extraordinaire, in the latest Chasing Mailboxes blog post. I can’t imagine biking while 8 or 9 months pregnant (honestly, I can’t imagine being pregnant at all), plus doing it with two other small children! She makes it sound so easy! Inspired – or maybe now I just feel inadequate. Days when my legs hurt and I just don’t want to bike, I’ll need to remember her story and just suck it up.

Maybe I need this tee shirt from Spread Shirt

Maybe I need this tee shirt from Spread Shirt

Speaking of needing to suck it up and do something, I’m pretty inspired by something that is about to happen: Local bike bloggers The DCyclist, Rootchopper, and Bicycle Bug are soon departing on a grand bicycle adventure, doing the entire Pittsburgh to DC Great Allegheny Passage, also known as the GAP (not to be confused with the Gap, a clothing store where I occasionally like to window shop). The Mechanic and I have talked about doing this, perhaps the upper part only, later this year, so I’ll be watching their adventures and eager to hear their stories afterwards. I’ll be the first to confess I’m not as hearty as they are, but I really enjoyed the two nights that The Mechanic and I camped the C&O Canal from Shepherdstown, WV. co_map3_v2

I’ve mentioned Bikie Girl Bloomers before, but haven’t worn mine too much yet – but love them anyway. Imagine my surprise to be featured in the latest Bikie Girl Bloomers newsletter! There were my bloomers, hanging out for the whole social media world to see! (Don’t feel left out, I’ll share them again). Now it’s your turn to #showusyourbloomers!

Lounging at the La Quinta Resort in Palm Springs

Lounging at the La Quinta Resort in Palm Springs

If you don’t want to buy a pair for whatever reason, you can always be inspired by my biking and sewing friend across the Pond and make your own. Helen is on a “Ready to Wear” fast (something I should be doing) and sewing up a storm. She’s so talented – check out the jeans she made! I’m inspired to sew harder garments, after reading about her projects.

I don’t know if this will inspire you or depress you, but I have to share this post from The Discerning Cyclist, other friends in the UK, “How to Protect Your Bike from Thieves in 4 Steps.” I love the photo of the bike covered in locks. But along with other reminders/tips about smart and safe biking, protecting your bike should be on the top of your list.  I prefer the lock technique on this tee shirt I bought The Mechanic from Brooklyn Industries. Brooklyn Industries bike locks teeI hope that just the simple fact that this is National Bike Month will inspire you to do something different, learn something new, or bike someplace new. What inspires you?  bike_month_web_900x900_0

See you on the trail!

The Merry Month of May – Bike Tips

May is a wonderful month! It’s full of many wonderful things – my birthday (May 2), Mother’s Day, Memorial Day (aka a long weekend), lilies of the valley, warm weather, and this year, a baby princess was born on my birthday! I’m sure that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will name Princess Cambridge after me. Princess Cambridge

But May is also <drumroll please> National Bike Month! And the start of the National Bike Challenge! And Bike to Work Day is May 15th! And Bike to School Day is May 6! So many bike things to celebrate this month, so dust off those bikes and get out there!

But before you get too excited, I’d like to share some thoughts about how to make it a better experience for all of us. I’ve observed some things in my days, weeks and years of biking around that are unsafe, illegal, or discourteous, and it concerns me, because I spend a good deal of my outreach time listening to people ranting about how “those bicyclists” are putting drivers and pedestrians in danger by their careless behavior. I know there are people out there who follow the rules and are careful and are victims of careless, discourteous and unsafe drivers nevertheless. But I think it is important to try to do the right thing. I’d like to see a day when drivers have nothing to rant about – maybe then they would realize that car drivers are worse than bicyclists and pedestrians!

So let’s talk about some things I’ve observed.

Helmets – a bike helmet is meant to be worn on the top of your head, right above your eyebrows, parallel to the ground, not on the back of your head, the side of your head, or backwards. The helmet should fit TWO finger widths above your eyebrows. Tighten those straps under your chin, if it won’t stay on properly; that’s what they are there for. Check out this really great article from KVAL.com – an oldie but a goodie. This is especially important for children – please please please make sure their helmets not only fit properly, but check them frequently if you are biking with them to make sure they stay like that.

Hand Signals -Using your hands to indicate which way you are planning on turning is no different than using turn signals in a car (you do signal before you plan on turning, right?). But it’s important to make sure that others actually see your hand signal. I specifically am referring to the practice I frequently see (if I see a cyclist signaling a left turn, that is) where the person on the bike flicks their hand out around their waist area. If I didn’t know what it meant, I would have NO idea that it indicates a desire to move to the left. Stick your arm straight out! It’s not hard! Consider it a good time to stretch your shoulder. Make it obvious to the people behind you that you intend to do something. You won’t win cool points if you flip your hand and someone fails to realize what you are doing.

Check out these awesome examples from Bikeable Dallas! This is a great post, too, so check it out.

Check out these awesome examples from Bikeable Dallas! This is a great post, too, so check it out.

Bike Correctly in the Bike Lane – In the last week or two, I have come across people biking towards me in the bike lane. No! Not only is this incorrect, it’s scary – geez, we don’t have enough threats to worry about without other cyclists making it worse! If you are riding in a bike lane, you need to go the same direction as the traffic, unless of course you are in a two-way bike lane. Those, however, are few and far between outside of Pennsylvania Ave in DC, so chances are good that you are not. Seriously, it is bad enough that runners think they can run the wrong direction in a bike lane, please, please, if you are on a bike, find the proper place to be.

Biking in the direction of traffic on South Eads Street

Biking in the direction of traffic on South Eads Street (Photo from Arlington County DES Project webpage)

Stay Out of the Way If Stopped – If you need to stop for some reason, do not stop in the middle of the lane. Move to the side, so that you are not creating a potential traffic jam. If your car suddenly dies in the middle of a lane, what do you do? You try to move it out of the way of other cars. Same with a bicycle. I’ve seen kids do this and I’ve seen roadies do this. It’s unsafe.

Red Traffic Lights – Technically, bicyclists are supposed to stop at red lights. Legally, bicyclists are supposed to obey all traffic signs, signals, lights, and markings. I make an effort to stop at red lights, so at least once a week (sometimes daily), I will see someone bike past me, then swerve into the pedestrian crosswalk to continue biking through the red light. This does not make it okay! This is still going through a red light! The pedestrians have a “don’t walk” signal too! Swerving back and forth between the road and crosswalks/sidewalks confuses me, confuses drivers and confuses pedestrians. Also, when stopping at a red light, don’t stop in the middle of the intersection and start up as soon as the opposite light turns yellow.

Whether you are new to biking, starting up again after time away, or think you know it all, brushing up on rules and etiquette during National Bike Month is a good idea, sort of like changing smoke detector batteries when the Daylight Savings ends and begins. Just get into a habit of occasionally reviewing a few websites. I’ve linked to a few of my favorites here:

“New to Biking?” by BikeArlington

“Learn Bike Etiquette From Your Legos,” WABA’s Women & Bicycles Tip

Bike Laws, summarized by WABA

Lastly, I encourage you to sign up for the National Bike Challenge, if you haven’t already. The five-month challenge rewards you for just getting on your bike, so regardless of where you go, how far you ride, and what type of bicycle you prefer, this challenge is for you! I hope to see you in the bike lanes (modeling good behavior, of course)!

See you on the trail!

See you on the trail!

Indego Bike 1

ICYMI: April is Over?!

Um, where did April go?!

May is a good month, because it’s National Bike Month, and there are soooo many bikey things going on! But before we get to May, let’s wrap up the goings-ons in April.

I didn’t get much sewing done, and I didn’t do much biking either. I hope this isn’t a trend for the spring! So here’s what is going on with other people:

Indego

Philadelphia launched it’s new bikeshare system, Indego. Huzzah! Welcome to the bikeshare city club, Philly! And check out their snazzy bikes: not just a wire mesh basket in the front, but one on the back rack – and yes, I said rack! Those bikes have back racks! That means I could take my own pannier with me and just clip it on the bikeshare bike! Genius! What a difference that would make to me. As it is, I frequently don’t take Capital Bikeshare because my pannier doesn’t fit in the front basket, it smacks me in the knee when I hang it from the handle bar, or it’s just awkward to carry over my shoulder. #gamechanger I can’t wait to take a weekend trip to Philly now and check out these bikes.

Carniesha Kwashie of the Mayor's of Transportation and Utilities and Claudia Setubal of Bicycle Transit Systems on Indego bikes. Photo by Mitchell Leff, from Metro.us

Carniesha Kwashie of the Mayor’s of Transportation and Utilities and Claudia Setubal of Bicycle Transit Systems on Indego bikes in Philadephia, PA. Photo by Mitchell Leff, from Metro.us

Women BikeDC

Mary at Chasing Mailboxes, here in the Washington, DC, area, has started a blog series about women in the DC area who bike. It’s great because I’ve thought about doing the same thing, but never found the time, and she write much more frequently than I do, so you’ll actually get something often. Check it out and keep an eye on it, especially if you are in the DC area. I think it’s so great to know a bit more about the women I may pass in a bike lane (well actually, they are probably passing me).

EverNote

Sam of Sam’s Signature Seams recently blogged that she uses Evernote as her pattern tracker. I think this is brilliant! I’ve tried Evernote before, but found that it always deleted my categories, so I eventually gave up on it. I’m inspired by her blog post to try it again, and not just patterns – maybe it’s a good way to track and categorize the things I actually make. I’m bad about remembering when I made things, so maybe this will help. Have you used Evernote before? What are your tricks and tips, if you have? I probably need the help. Evernote

Random Brushes With Fame

The Discerning Cyclist published a post I wrote about spring shoes, which reminded me of the shoes I had been lusting after, and now I’m lusting after them again. My feet hurt at the moment, which makes me really want the sneakersNeiman Marcus Rene Caovilla Metallic Floral Lace Up Sneakers

The League of American Bicyclists

I was innocently cruising through Twitter during work recently, trying to catch up on world news and industry news, when I found a ran across a photo of myself! The Bike League has used a photo of mine on one of their blog posts! It’s a photo from when some friends and I did a bike ride last year, something I’d Tweeted but haven’t thought about in ages. Therefore, it was a bit weird to see it staring at me on Twitter. I’m not opposed to it, I just had no idea they were going to use it. I think it’s a bit odd that they used a photo of us on a blurb about bicycle-friendly engineering, but whatever. I’m flattered to be a Bike League model! 2015_0430_Bike League TweetI’m looking forward to May because it’s a busy and important month. I hope you are ready for lots of sewing and the National Bike Challenge! Dust off those bikes and sewing machine and get ready for fun!

Yee-haw!

Trend in Reflective: Culottes

I had just finished my culottes today when I checked my email, and lo and behold! VeloJoy’s newsletter was about culottes! She sums up the reasons why I decided to embrace this trend, despite my initial skepticism (okay, flashbacks to childhood fashions): freedom of movement yet classy, easy to dress up or dress down. Culottes are bike-friendly midi skirts!  The opposite of everyone’s favorite skinny jeans/pants for biking, culottes offer a more flattering fit (note: you have to get the right cut for your size!) yet are shorter than the other current trend, wide-legged trousers. Oh sure, you can use a pants strap on those, but culottes make it unnecessary. Swing your now covered legs off your bike and it immediately looks like you are wearing a smart skirt. Yep, I’m a convert.V9091

I ordered Vogue Pattern V9091 just this month, and found the plum colored linen blend fabric at JoAnn Fabrics. Initially I’d been thinking of culottes in some sort of faux suede, since suede is also on trend for Spring. I chose V9091 because it had a flat front; I still can’t bring myself to wear pleated pants or culottes or shorts. But once I got the pattern in my hands, I realized that Version B did in fact have a massive inverted pleat right in the front! Oh. So much for my faux suede idea; linen has a better drape.V9091 cullottes I actually cranked these out in two days, after a few days of trying to decide how to alter the pattern. I’m trying to be better about the fit of the things I make, and I know that back in the early 90s, when I took a pattern alterations class, I had to do a certain number of alterations to get pants to fit properly – lengthen the rise, more curve for the bum… I just can’t remember what the exact numbers were. So I only added 1/2″ to the rise and yet somehow they still ended up being rather high-waisted! No matter, it makes my waist look tiny, and I can’t complain about that!

Giant inverted center pleat

Giant inverted center pleat (Lands End tee shirt)

The linen blend was just lovely to work with, pressed up easily, nice and forgiving to sew on, nice drape. I started with the size 14 pattern and then took in the waist enough to fit properly, although maybe I did it a bit too carefully – there is no room to gain an ounce in these now! Not that I want to, just saying I can’t.

I didn’t have much in the way of obvious seams for reflective trim, so I only ended up adding a bit to the side seam. I probably should have done more, because now this falls into the “nice try” category – just enough to say it’s reflective, but not enough to be truly visible. Grr. I considered just edging the hem with it, but thought it would negatively impact the drape, so I didn’t, but that would have been more visible. Given the fullness of these culottes, the reflective bits might not show as much as I’d like.

Reflective bits

Reflective bits – should have extended it higher up the seam

The legs are much fuller than I anticipated, and I feel somewhat like those early cowgirls who wore giant divided skirts to ride their horses. Anyone else remember that Folkwear divided skirt pattern?

They are very comfortable to wear, but I didn’t get to bike in them today because, well, The Mechanic accidentally flung ice cream on my lap and I wanted to wash them right away. <sad face> But I can’t wait to try them out!

The next challenge will be to figure out how to style them. Some of the photos I’ve found on Pinterest show crop tops or oversized shirts, but I think any top I wear with these will need to be fairly fitted, to balance out the bottom. And although the oxfords look fine, I will need to try other shoe options. Even if they aren’t the “bikiest” of the things I’ve made (that is, with the least amount of reflectivity), they will probably become a summer favorite because of the lightweight, easy breezy feel of them.

Yee-haw!

Yee-haw!

 

 

Clarks Busby Folly

Stylish Spring Cycling Shoes

It’s Spring and although it is currently chilly, I know it will soon be time for sandals! I’ve dusted off my warm weather shoes in preparation, and feeling a bit… uninspired… by my current collection. I seem to always be searching for THE perfect shoes, shoes that will go with everything, feel comfortable no matter what I’m doing, and look stylish and professional at the same time. Okay, this is probably a fantasy, but I do have high standards for my shoes.

My current collection - serviceable yet mostly uninspiring

My current collection – serviceable yet mostly uninspiring

First of all, any shoe I buy must be comfortable enough to walk to the Metro or a bus stop, to meetings and on outings. To me this translates into a slight heel and good arch support, plus some cushion between me and the pavement. (The mystery remains as to how my red reflective Cole Haan shoes remain my most comfortable shoe, since they fulfill neither of those categories…) Since I started biking, I have some additional requirements, but only a few – I don’t want to wear open-toed shoes on my bike, out of fear of injuring them somehow, and the super-wedge platforms make it hard for me to feel the pedals. So my new Dansko heeled sandals are not going to be bike shoes – open toes and a platform heel.

But this Spring, the trend is for *flat* shoes! What?!  you say – yes, all the magazine articles and ads are full of models in sporty looking flat sandals and loafers and other assorted flat shoes. It’s so refreshing. Additionally, many of the styles are menswear-inspired, oxfords and tuxedo slippers and kilties. These have my stylish bike shoe requirements – closed toes, sturdy heel, I can add insoles if needed, and most of them as professional-looking as well as stylish and casual. Here are some I am currently obsessed with:

 

I love the Nike X Liberty Air Rift trainers, because I owned four pair at one point; they were my favorite summer shoe. I thought Nike stopped making them, so I was pleased to see them return. Alas, I won’t buy a fifth pair, mostly because I don’t love the color of these, and besides, maybe I should move on.

I had to laugh when I saw that En Brogue had a whole blog post about Salt Water Sandals! I grew up in these, as did my little brother and cousin. I couldn’t wear them now because they are too flat, but even looking at the photos brings back memories of my new ones every summer. (PS – En Brogue is currently my new favorite style crush – she has the coolest flat shoes! #envious)

My cousin, my brother and I all in our Salt Water Sandals, circa no idea but probably 1982-1984

My cousin, my brother and I all in our Salt Water Sandals, circa no idea but probably 1982-1984

You can tell I’m totally in love with blush-colored shoes, can’t you? Those Finery London kiltie oxfords just make me swoon, and the gold Clark’s tasseled loafers, well, yes, lust. The Naturalizer Banner wedges shoes are the type of shoes I feel I should own, because they look so, well, business-y, in a casual sort of way, comfortable and practical. You call tell I like Clark’s, can’t you? I blame it on En Brogue again, especially after her recent report of next season Clark’s shoes. Clark’s is a company that I don’t normally associate with funky shoes, but they are doing a really good job of impressing me lately.

All of these shoes fall into my acceptable stylish cycling shoes category, so you could expect to see me in any of these shoes in the next few months. However, I don’t anticipate buying any of them any time soon. Let’s ignore the prices for a moment – I frankly don’t know what I’d wear any of them with! All could go perfectly well with jeans, but I don’t wear jeans that often, and definitely not to work. I’m in the process of completely redoing my wardrobe, complete with an appointment with a Nordstrom personal stylist for my birthday next month. And I’ve learned over the years that what I buy at the beginning of a season tends to not be the item(s) I wear throughout most of the season.

So I have to force myself to not buy new shoes any time soon, and continue to bike in the shoes I have.

But I really want these Danskos! Danskos have become my go-to comfy shoe, after years of denying that they could be cute and comfortable. Surely these would go with everything?!

But I really want these Danskos! Danskos have become my go-to comfy shoe, after years of denying that they could be cute and comfortable. Surely these would go with everything?!

Do you buy (non-bike-y) shoes based on certain criteria, the way I do? Or do you wear bike shoes, and change into work/dress shoes when you reach your destination? And am I the only one weird about not biking in open-toed shoes?!