Featuring: Martha and Her New Oma

Fellow Chicagoan Martha (chibikegal) commented that “after stumbling onto your lovely blog, I was motivated to re-start my search for a beautiful bike.” Soon she purchased a shiny new Azor Oma made by Workcycles, the same as mine. She very kindly responded to my request for pictures and her cycling story. Read on for the goods, including a bike-themed wedding cake, $10 train station bikes, and a glimpse of Henry of Workcycles as a high school student.

Martha and Her New Oma

Martha and Her New Oma

I started exploring by bicycle probably around the time I inherited a red tricycle from my older brother circa 1970.  After spending my teenage years on a 10-speed schwinn, and my 20’s on a Specialized Rockhopper (SO cool in 1989) I really bumped up my bicycle exploration in 1995 when I moved to Chicago – a big flat city where I knew almost no one.  I did meet a few people over the next few years, and in 2005 I married my favorite cycling companion, Dean, celebrating with a cake decorated to look like the Chicago skyline, with two bicycles riding across it (followed by an old VW, but that is stuff for a different blog).   Our favorite dates still involve riding to some food-themed destination – Chinatown, various ice cream shops and bakeries, or shopping for spices and curry leaves up on Devon.

Chicago bike-themed cake!

Chicago bike-themed cake!

On a normal day though, since my office is in the suburbs, my commute since about 2004 has consisted of a short ride down Leavitt to Hubbard on my “train station bike” to the Western Ave Metra.  On a mundane note, the great thing about riding to the train station, is that (unlike walking) I can wear any shoes … no changing into flats.  Or wearing running shoes with a suit and pantyhose, like I did as a government employee just out of law school, thankfully before digital cameras existed.  Thunder or snow storms can be a drag – hence the need for a bike that can be abandoned at a train station if you get a ride with someone (I gave my mom, an avid garage-sale shopper, a $10 budget, and it took her about a day to find one).  Now that my office has moved up past Lake Forest though, I need to shop for a foldable bike, as I often end up at a different station from the one I left.  Ah well.

New Workcycles Oma

New Workcycles Oma

My latest bike, however, is particularly special.  I wasn’t able to ride much at all from about October of 2007, until this summer (2009).  In short, I had two herniated discs and bone spurs removed from my cervical spine, the deterioration likely the result of whiplash I got when a limousine rear-ended my Subaru in 1994 (yup, so much for that feeling of safety I used to have riding in a car).  With my new titanium neck, riding any way but straight up is not an option for more than about ten minutes.  I tried several bikes this summer, but last week finally bought an Oma I can practically lean back on, breathing a sigh of relief.  I admit I knew about the Oma because I’d run into Henry (Workcycles) at our 20th high school reunion, and later, Dean and I stopped by in Amsterdam to try some of the bikes.  So, it’s worked out well for many of us that Henry survived high school, we were a little worried about him on that crazy old Raleigh on those dark leafy streets…

So at this point, the only things I can see that would keep me from riding are snow piles in the bike lanes, and heavy rain.  It’s good to be back.

Thanks so much to Martha for sharing her beautiful pictures and story with us! Hopefully I’ll see her around the bike lanes – I surely would notice a big, black oma.

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19 thoughts on “Featuring: Martha and Her New Oma

  1. cyclemaniac says:

    Am very glad that Martha has found a another [besides the one she has got married to :-) ]congenial cycling companion, Oma!
    Btw. Dottie , thank you (& your partner) for all your wonderfully interesting and educational posts.

    Best regards always.;-)

  2. sara says:

    That cake is so darn brilliant! And Martha’s Oma is looking good too.

  3. Ooh, what a great bike! I’m going to the beach this weekend….maybe I’ll bring mine along.

    Fyi, I took a photo of my vintage raspberry Schwinn this weekend and posted it on Flickr. I’m new to photography so not sure how good it is, but here’s the link if you want to take a look. http://www.flickr.com/photos/36280025@N06/3875723803/

  4. You’re gonna love your Oma! And it is going to be easier on your back. I’ve been riding mine for a month(ton’s of miles) and the upright position, makes my back very happy. My wrists also apreciate the break from having to carry all that weight, when you’re leaning over on conventional bikes. One thing that I have found is not keeping the tire pressure too high, really eases the ride. I made that mistake once, when pumped up to 60 psi and nearly shook my teeth out. Lol

  5. Wat a story! What a cake! I wish Martha all the best!

  6. Scott says:

    Awesome! Welcome to the azor oma club. This is a great city bike for Chicago. I’ve been riding one everywhere since I got it in 2007.

  7. jennine says:

    that is the best wedding cake ever!

  8. chibikegal says:

    and the cake tasted good too ;)
    happy riding everyone! Martha

  9. dave says:

    Really cool ride Martha! It certainly has the Euro look going for it. Don’t leave this one at the train station.
    Out in my part of the world, (Rockford, IL), there are 2 kinds of bikes; “road” and “mountain”. Have fun on your city bike!

  10. Sigrid says:

    I love the cake.
    I love the story.
    And of course, I love that bike.
    I don’t know Martha, so can’t say I love her, but I can tell I would like her.
    Ride on Martha!

    PS – What’s the basket? Details…

    • chibikegal says:

      thanks Sigrid! the basket was chosen by the good folks at Dutch Bike Chicago – photo here … http://dutchbikeseattle.com/html/accessories/FR_23_01.html – quite a handy little model that hooks over the handle bars. cheers!


      • Sigrid says:

        thanks Martha! love it – how much would you say you can fit in it – one or two gallons of milk? a gallon of milk and a six pack? a six pack and a burrito? :) The basket on my Pashley is cute, but too small. I’m ramping up for my Christmas shopping…

        • chibikegal says:

          so the closest unit of measurement I had nearby was a 12-pack of soda, and two of those fit in the basket vertically (sticking out of course). the shape is narrower at the bottom, so one gallon of milk would fit in the bottom, with a fair bit of burrito room surrounding, possibly room for added six pack … though then your chips may fly off the top, so secure them accordingly!

  11. melanie says:

    What a nice story! I just got a folding bike and am really loving it. Seeing a picture of a person smiling with a Dutch bike though… definitely tipped the scales on which bike I’ll be riding to class tonight. Many happy rides to you Martha! :)

  12. Trisha says:

    Love the story, Martha. And the cake! Thanks for sharing it on our blog.

  13. Drip Tray says:

    all of my kids love to dwelll on ice cream shops, they really love to munch lots of ice cream ‘~:

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