Pride, Organized Chaos, and a Crafty Lady

At times the chaos was only somewhat organized, but when a group of strong, resilient motorcycle chicks work together to get a non-profit organization up and running in six months, put on a major fundraising event and secure participation in the Chicago Pride Parade, there are bound to be a few moments of contention.

But in the end, everything got done, the fundraiser was successful, and nearly 50 bikes lined up two by two to take Pride by storm.

What do I have to do with motorcycles?  Not much, but over the past year I’ve come to really appreciate the culture and solidarity these women give so much of their time and money to.  There really isn’t a valid comparison to being out on the open road with the wind in your face, and the loyalty that comes from being a part of a community of riders.

Plus, it goes really well with the vintage image…

The view in the rear view mirror at Chicago Pride 2013
The view in the rear view mirror at Chicago Pride 2013

I kid…

…not really.

But seriously, I’ve had the pleasure of working on media relations and social media for these women for the past 3 months and it’s been such a joy to become involved with the newly born, philanthropic 501(c)3 Organized Chaos – Chicago.  As an Associate Member of the club (which basically means I get to hang out with them and ride on the back of my gf’s motorcycle…) OC took me under their wing and helped me to meet my fundraising goal for the Ride for AIDS Chicago with a smashing event at Spyner’s.  I thought about their generosity a lot this past Saturday while I was peddling 80 miles in my last big training ride before riding 200 miles in 2 days, and I thought about it again yesterday as we proudly rocked the crowds on Halsted Street.

Here are a few pictures from Pride, and be sure to check out Organized Chaos if you ride, want to ride, or just want to be a part of an incredible group of women (like me). Photos (except for my mugshot) courtesy of

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I’ll Never Spin Without Cycling Shoes Again (and how to wing it at the gym)

As you know, I’m embarking on an epic journey by bicycle this summer.

But since Chicago looks like a wet, cold, slippery noodle this time of year I’m relying on a couple of weekly spin classes to get some training in.  I have my favorite instructors, my favorite bike, and in homage to my 10 pounds of healthy weight loss I’m once again rocking the padded shorts sans sweat pants over top.

Today a new addition came into my life, and I’m never letting it go….

It’s a pair of ultra-cute, Velcro strappy, Giro brand cycling shoes.  With the fancy cleats on them.

Anxiously awaiting my first chance to take these babies out for a spin (pun intended)
Anxiously awaiting my first chance to take these babies out for a spin (pun intended)

I’ve traversed a couple thousand miles by bicycle (cumulatively), and all of it has happened on a heavy hybrid with flat peddles and tennis shoes.  I don’t have anything against “clipping in” – I just never really wanted to go through the embarrassment of trying to learn how to use cycling shoes out on the road and falling several times in the process.

So  I thought spin class would be a great way to rip the bandaid off…

Until the instructor didn’t show.

Fortunately, the staff to the gym was willing to open the spin studio and plug my playlist into the stereo, so I was able to wing a 50 minute class on my own.

You know, just three hills, 3 sprints, some bouts of 90-100 RPM, Missy Elliot, and lots and lots of sweat. No big deal.

And the shoes?  Well, after a little wiggle, my foot came in and out of the peddle with no problem, and the stride is so super way better and more natural than riding in tennies.

Cute Giro cycling shoes… I think I love you.