Chicago Women Who Bike Do Brunch In December

Thanks to Dottie from Lets Go Ride A Bike we had another “Women Who Bike” brunch on Sunday. This time we met at the Handlebar Bar & Grill in the Wicker Park nieghborhood. We had a smaller crew than last month’s brunch, but with a lot of new faces.  Please excuse the less-than-stellar photos that follow as I forgot my camera and had to use the one on my older iPhone.

Say hello to Kate who rode to our brunch  from Roscoe Village. She rides around the city on her trusty Schwinn Searcher.



Sara also rode from Roscoe Village on her lovely Jamis Commuter bike.



Also joining us was Lauren of the Central Park Cocktail Club blog who admitted that she had not been on her bike in months and months and had not been much of a winter rider. She certainly chose once of the iciest days of the year to venture out on her blue Schwinn.



And  I also met another Sarah, on her Manhattan Green steel-framed bike with a rather stylish basket sporting a bottle opener on the front!  If she looks familiar to you, that might be because she’s part of the Slow Bike Society.

Sarah from the Slow Bike Society

Sarah from the Slow Bike Society

We were also joined by Megan from the travel blog Me-Go but I don’t have a picture of Megan as my battery was running low and decided to act up from this point on.  I’m also lacking photos of  Dottie from LGRAB, and Martha from the wonderful bike photo blog Bike Fancy.

After our tasty brunch at Handlebar we rode over to the holiday installation of the Renegade Handmade Craft fair,  in Pulaski Park which is located the south east side of the Wicker Park neighborhood.

Renegage Handmade Craft Fair

Once we arrived at the craft fair Martha convinced a passerby to snap a picture of all of us with her camera.The picture was taken in front of the Pulaski Park Fieldhouse  – one of the many architecturally amazing fieldhouses built by the Chicago Park District in the early 20th century.


The December installation of the Ladies Who Ride Brunch

While we were locking up our bikes we ran into another Megan who said ‘Hey, aren’t you the Women Who Ride” group? We said we were indeed those women and asked her if she was going to be joining us for our next brunch. She assured us she was. And yes, I thought I had a picture of you as well Megan, but I guess my iPhone had something against women with Irish names this weekend.

Inside the fieldhouse it was packed! The lobby was packed, the gym, the auditorium and stage, and even the balcony and small second floor! As I said,  it’s a good example of the grand historic fieldhouses that were built around the city about a hundred years ago.  Each one is architecturally unique.  The barrel-vault ceiling in the auditorium caught my eye, as well as the murals painted above the stage. My iPhone pictures are rather poor, but you can click on them to open them up and you can kind of get an idea of what this structure is like.

Pulaski Park Fieldhouse - Auditorium

Pulaski Park Fieldhouse – Auditorium

Pulaski Park Fieldhouse - Gym

Pulaski Park Fieldhouse – Gym

Pulaski Park Fieldhouse - second floor

Pulaski Park Fieldhouse – second floor

The fieldhouse was built in 1914 according to the Chicago Park District’s website:

A large fieldhouse and outdoor swimming facility were constructed in 1914. Incorporating elements such as tile roofs, half-timbering, a tower, dormers, and verandas, architect William Carbys Zimmerman designed the three-story brick fieldhouse to emulate Eastern European architecture familiar to the immigrant community.

In 1919, Jens Jensen met with officials at the Art Institute of Chicago to discuss the idea of a competition for art students to paint a mural on the semi-circular proscenium above the stage in the Pulaski Park field house. The park commissioners provided the prizes of $100, $50, and $25 and instructors at the School of the Art Institute selected the winners. The first prize went to James G. Gilbert, who received $200 for materials as well as the $100 prize. In 1920, Gilbert painted his mural composed of a dramatic series of allegorical figures. A second mural, hidden in the upper tower room, portrays Polish themes. A Chicago Park District arts and crafts class created this painting in the late 1930s.

The park pays tribute to Casimer Pulaski (c. 1748-1779) a Polish war hero who fought for the American cause in the Revolutionary War. After distinguishing himself in the Battle of Brandywine, Pulaski was appointed by Congress as Brigadier-General. Pulaski died in action at the Battle of Savannah.

And now you know!

There were a lot of great vendors at the fair, and I’ll talk more about a couple of them in my next post.  While I was talking to a vendor from Philadelphia about her nifty bike gear, I also met a couple from Chicago who had recently been reading my blog. I wanted to talk to them and ask them about their bikes, their winter riding this weekend, etc, but I have a feeling that they had better things to do than wait for me to finish asking questions about bike gear, and they left before I could catch their names. If you guys are reading this post send me a note and tell me about your ride to fair and what you thought.

And just when I thought I could not possibly meet any more cool women who ride bikes (in the winter) in Chicago, I ran into two Bike Polo players outside the fieldhouse as I went to unlock my bike! Kelly plays polo here in Chicago, and her friend plays up in Milwaukee. And yes my friends, they play all winter long.

If you want to be included on the invite for the January rendition of the Women Who Ride brunch, send an email to Dottie over at her blog or to me here at ddlr at dingdingletsride dot com and I’ll add you name to the list.  It will most likely be on Sunday, January 9th.

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