Gangster rap: an interview with bike style icon Lorena Cupcake

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[This piece also appeared in Checkerboard City, John’s weekly transportation column in Newcity magazine, which hits the streets in print on Wednesday evenings.]

In a Midwestern town where folks dress conservatively, bike style icon Lorena Cupcake (her legal middle name) Caiazzo stands out like a handful of Skittles scattered across the Wall Street Journal. Easily spotted by her candy-colored outfits, rainbow-and-lollipops tattoo and messenger bag emblazoned “Cupcake Gangster,” she’s also an astute commentator on the local cycling, drinking and foodie scenes via her frequently updated, often hilarious Twitter feed.

But Caiazzo, 25, is far from just a hipster gadfly. A frequent participant and volunteer at “alleycats,” underground, messenger-style checkpoint races, she runs the bike event Twitter calendar @chicagoholdup and helps stage the annual Bicycle Film Festival. Last year she and a few other petite fixed-gear enthusiasts formed Tiny Fix, a bike gang especially for women under 5’2”, which organizes bar nights, dance parties and now their first alleycat, last weekend’s Tiny Fix Ace Race.

I recently caught up with Caiazzo, fresh off her day job as a bank teller, over $3 cheeseburgers at the Blue Frog, a messenger bar at 676 N. LaSalle in River North. She gave me the skinny on Tiny Fix, the upcoming race, and the things she loves and hates about biking in Chicago.

Continue reading Gangster rap: an interview with bike style icon Lorena Cupcake

Weekend events: two ciclovías, two Bloomingdale Trail charrettes, and two bike rides

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A car-free Ridge Avenue in Evanston, Illinois. Photo by Esther Chicago.

It’s a busy weekend for bicycling events and the next step in the Bloomingdale Trail design process. The weather forecast on AccuWeather.com shows sunny and 60°F on Saturday and Sunday.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Open Streets
10 AM to 3 PM
1 N State Street

Enjoy the ultimate urban playground as State Street opens for pedestrians only to play, walk, bike and enjoy healthy recreation in the heart of the Loop on a seven-block stretch of State Street, from Lake Street to Van Buren Street, into an urban playground for all ages, Saturday, October 1, from 10 AM to 3 PM.
Continue reading Weekend events: two ciclovías, two Bloomingdale Trail charrettes, and two bike rides