Sunday, July 11, 2010

Balconies and Bicycles

view looking west (rosemary, lemon basil, mint, coleus)

There are 2 big loves in my life right now jockeying for favorite balcony garden oasis is the first one.

view looking east (more basil, grape tomatoes, sage, chives, succulents)

I have decided to dub myself the "balcony gardener" for obvious reasons, but I think it has a kind of charm to it. Most folks use the term "container gardening" for what I am doing, but I felt like I needed to take it to the next level. It's funny, but most of my neighbors have next to nothing on their balconies save for a lonely ol' barbecue grill....kinda boring!

I was going for the "outdoor living space" idea and I think I am on my way! Got outdoor rugs down (made from recycled plastic), a cute bistro table and chairs for dining al fresco, and a way cool girly umbrella for the days when a little shade is necessary.....

inside the umbrella

Just need some more seating and I think it will be amazing. I am on the fence about a grill- I did see a really cute one on a balcony a few blocks from here, but not sure what the brand is so I am googling around the web to see if I can find it!

Now onto my second new love......

So I have been thinking about those bikes I blogged about last summer, and decided that this summer it was time to go for it. So I went to Boulevard Bikes up in Logan Square to take this girl for a test ride. I wasn't sure how this was going to turn out- but the minute I got on, I knew I had found the one! I went back a week later and took her home. It was a great ride down to the West Loop- about 5 miles or so.

I think that these days, researching and buying a bike is much like buying a car- even more so, because it has to fit not just your body, but your lifestyle- what are you going to use it for, how often and in what weather etc..and for me, I am not into a "speed machine" but a reliable, built to last type of ride. I dare say this may be the last bike I will have to buy in my lifetime!

The Pashley Princess (yes that is really it's name!) is a dream bicycle for anyone who wants to use this in a city (Chicago) in good and bad weather, for commuting and shopping etc. I had no idea what a cult following this bike and many of the Dutch bikes have out there! The Pashleys are hand built in England and apparently, there aren't that many dealers here in the US so I do believe I got lucky by having one here in Chicago. It is not a lightweight bike by any stretch of the imagination- she is really designed to carry loads and go over city streets- perfect for what I need. I chose the dark green color because I thought it looked more stunning in person than the white.

here she is hanging out on the balcony!

There are countless blogs out there in the blogoshere on bicycles, but here is one of my faves, and one of the two gals who write this blog, is a local so maybe we will bump into each other one of these days. Their blog is really great and inspiring to me especially since I am new to this biking way of life. There are even cool accessories to rig on to the bike so you can carry your work, groceries etc- it makes me want to give up my car for sure! Well, that is a strong possibility once my lease is up in December of 2011 it may be bye-bye car hello cyclist commuter! We'll see how I fare riding in the snow this winter then we'll talk about that!

I took her for her first trip to the Farmer's market yesterday and I gotta say it was a lot of fun. I loaded up on fresh veggies, hit the wine shop on my way back and couldn't have been happier to combine exercise while shopping! I mean, how great is that? Even made a stop at the Spice House to purchase some much needed spices- great place and awesome people and service!

Stay tuned for more adventures with me and my new ride and I'll post more as the garden grows...tomatoes coming soon!


  1. Congrats on the new bike - she is a beauty! I so want a Pashley, but that is a dream that must be deferred (either that or my school loans).

    Riding to the farmer's market and wine shop are my favorite activities :) We should definitely get together.

  2. Hi Dottie- great to see you here- I was just on your blog! Definitely love to meet you and get a look at Betty too!

  3. Beautiful bike! What kind of lock are you using to keep her safe?

  4. got 2-one is built in to the back wheel(very cool) and I have a kryptonite for the front- not taking any chances for sure! I do worry the seat can be taken, but it's not that easy to just "pop" off-

  5. nice trip. . .I like what you're doing and it's healthy. Plant's for the soul, bike's for the body. Good combo rolled into one. . .

  6. thanks Daphne- you got it right! and it's never too late to start either!