Biking with yard games

How I Use My Bike

My bike is my primary mode of transportation. I’ve been biking regularly since I moved to Minneapolis for college 13 years ago and have spent the last eight years bike commuting. Over that time, I’ve figured out how to bike in fancy clothes, in the cold, with my dog, and with stuff. Here’s a photo essay of how I bike in these different situations. I hope they might inspire you to try the same.

Fancy Biking

Biking to work

This is a photo taken on my first day of a new job three years ago. Starting a new job was no reason to not bike.

Fancy biking

Biking in a dress or skirt is something I do daily. I prefer to ride in what I’ll be wearing for the day, and that includes nice dresses and nice shoes.

Wedding Biking

This is me and my partner on our wedding day earlier this year, after the reception I hiked up my skirt so we could bike to First Ave and take a picture with the Hold Steady star.

Biking in cold

Winter biking

I’ve been biking through winter for several years now. This is what I wear on winter days where it’s not quite so cold. I have a pair of clear safety goggles that keep cold air out of my eyes. This jacket is my normal light jacket. I get really hot while biking, even in winter, so I wear this jacket down to about 20 degrees.

Winter biking

When it’s colder out, I’ll use real bike goggles and my thicker, bike-specific jacket.

Biking with my dog

Biking with a dog

One dog biking set up that we tried, which my pup, Rosie, did not care for. I liked the idea of having her on the bike, but after this failed attempt we settled on using the trailer.

Biking with a pup

I originally got a bike trailer so I could bike with Rosie. I’ve since upgraded to a nicer, dog-specific trailer. She also runs alongside the bike sometimes depending on the distance.

Bike camping

Bike camping with Rosie, photo courtesy of Patrick Stephenson.

Biking with Stuff

My bike and Linus bike bag for regular work commuting.

Biking with a frittata

Sometimes the smaller things are harder to bike with, this is me with a fresh frittata bungee-corded to a cutting board and my rear rack.

Biking during work

I’m a city planner and this photo shows me carrying a registered land survey on my back on my way to get a signature.

Groceries by bike

I used this set up last winter for weekday grocery shopping after work.

Post Wedding Bike

This photo was taken the day after our wedding, biking home from the hotel. We used a bag my folks bought us with a bungee cord as an auxiliary pannier.

Groceries by bike

This is my weekly set-up for picking up groceries. I prefer the trailer because I don’t have to worry about balancing panniers on my rear rack. I’ve also been prioritizing shopping in bulk to reduce plastic waste and the trailer can accommodate as many mason jars as needed.

Biking with kayaks

This summer, we got inflatable kayaks and are able to throw them in the bike trailer and bike over to the lake. It makes for an awesome summer evening.

Biking with plants

Some friends gave me their trailer which is the larger version of the one I already owned. For now, we have two and use them both. In this photo, I picked up a container of compost and a bunch of perennials from a friendly neighbor.

Biking with yard games

This is a few years old, but I planned a group bike ride with yard games and managed to Tetris them into my bike trailer for transporting.

Biking with a Christmas tree

A little creativity on a bike will get you a long way.

Lindsey Aster Silas

About Lindsey Aster Silas

Lindsey Aster Silas is a year-round bicyclist, amateur urban farmer, and city planner. She has a master's degree in public health and a firsthand understanding of how the built environment shapes individual choices. When she's not riding her bike or digging in the garden, Lindsey walks her dog, reads library books about permaculture, sews her own clothes, cooks lots of vegetables, and spends too much time on Twitter (@lindsmpls). Lindsey lives in south Minneapolis with her partner, Dave, and dog, Rosie.

11 thoughts on “How I Use My Bike

  1. James Kohls

    Excellent gallery of pics. I remember a lot of these from your Twitter feed. Seeing how others move themselves and their stuff is always helpful and inspiring—even for seasoned bikers.

  2. Rosa

    Good job! I think we have the same dog trailer! When my kid outgrew the Burly I really missed the grocery hauling capability

  3. David

    Thanks for posting. I appreciate the effort to normalize bikes for things more than commuting. It’s liberating and generally a lot easier for me bike to Target (express) and shop versus my several mile commute!

    Also, biking in normal clothes… Do it people!

  4. Ian R Buck

    Last winter was my first time biking through the whole season, and I have some kinks to work out. In particular, I found that my breath fogged up and froze on my glasses when wearing a scarf. Does anyone have strong opinions on what goggles I should get to avoid this problem? Or will any old ski goggles do?

    1. James Kohls

      I highly believe you get what you pay for, with goggles. I’ve had several pairs of sub-$100 goggles. Unfortunately, very nice ones are really expensive. I now use Smith Optic’s I/O7 (aka I/OX, I/OS, med, large, small) and rode all last year with zero fogging problems. They range from ~$130 to over $200, depending on style and where you get them. But I can wear my full face covering and breath easy without worrying about fogging/icing. So, put a value on that.

        1. Ian R Buck

          The guy at REI recommended the Smith Knowledge OTG, since I mentioned I wanted to be able to wear my glasses under them. Sounds like you wouldn’t recommend those though?

  5. Lou Miranda

    Fantastic article, Lindsey! I love how this normalizes biking.

    Biking isn’t just for MAMILs biking 25 miles round-trip to work on racing bikes.

    It’s everyday people, just trying to get around, run chores, go to work, meet friends, and have fun. It’s the old, the young, the canine, the feline (maybe!), the fit, the not-fit, the people who find it easier to bike than walk, it’s everyone.

    We need to make it easier and safer for more people to choose this option.

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