Newcity Cover Story: the Martha Stewart of Chicago biking

Last week John Greenfield interviewed me for a cover story in Newcity, a Chicago news and arts weekly. I enjoyed chatting about bicycling with him over a beer and the story came out quite nicely. Apparently, I am the Martha Stewart of Chicago biking! I want business cards with that title.

One funny thing about the paper layout, though. The Pitchfork bike cut-out is grouped with two photos of me and before reading the interview (which mentions the objectification issue), people may think it’s also a representation of me. My co-workers were joking, Is that you after a few drinks??

You can read the full text and see more photos at Grid Chicago, where John blogs with Steve Vance about transportation issues. If you’re in Chicago, you can pick up a paper copy at any pink Newcity dispenser around the city.

Thanks, John!

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21 thoughts on “Newcity Cover Story: the Martha Stewart of Chicago biking

  1. Matthew says:

    I’ll be visiting Chicago this weekend for my first time. As an avid cyclist, and a LGRAB reader, I’m looking forward to seeing some of the sights you’ve shown us.

  2. Erik Sandblom says:

    “I get mad sometimes and yell back at the driver so I’m not a total role model”

    Well you’re a role model for me! Yelling has its limitations but somehow people need to be told: It’s not okay to endanger or frighten people, and that goes for car drivers too!

  3. Lauren Taylor says:

    “So it’s things like that—I see a lot of guys huffing away with their backpacks and their plumber’s cracks. I wouldn’t mind a little spiffing up from that.”

    this made me laugh so hard. although i totally agree! and yep, i yell back too – sometimes people need to be reprimanded!

  4. Sure thing Dottie! Thanks for all your work promoting cycling in Chicago and beyond, and I’m glad you like the Martha Stewart reference. One thing I like about your interview, especially the on-line version featuring “Dottie’s Dossier” of great local shops, women’s bike blogs and style resources, is that it doubles as a guide to getting started biking in the Windy City: (

  5. Cyclin' Missy says:

    Cool, Dottie!

  6. maureen says:

    Ahhhh, great article about cycling, blogging, and two inspirational women. Thanks for sharing it, and all your ideas, experiences, and photos always! LGRAB is a true delight!

  7. sugaroni says:

    My husband went back to Chicago this week and when he came back, he said “I got a present for you!” and handed me a copy of NewCity and said, “I thought you’d like to see what was going on in Chicago and then I saw the girl on the cool mixte on the cover and I knew you’d love it.” And I said, “oooo! It’s Dottie! I read her blog!” So, you made my day! Congrats on being featured on NewCity!

    I read your blog all the time and your shots of your bike around Chicago make me happy and homesick all at the same time!

  8. citygirlrides says:

    i really do hope you get business cards with that slogan, it would be most epic.

  9. citygirlrides says:

    i really do hope you get business cards with that slogan, it would be most epic.

  10. Dukiebiddle says:

    Wonderful! I do have some very minor differences of opinions with you, or rather, different perceptions:

    Man “always” passing. When women, or men, pass me I do not pass them back, unless they turn out to be riding really really slowly. I’ll even slow my roll to avoid being that guy. Well, actually, one exception is if an inexperienced cyclist blows through a light and passes me waiting with the other traffic, I’ll pass them and demonstrably stop at the next light, hand signal and all, to show them they’re not saving themselves any time. And YES I realize that’s passive aggressive as all heck. :) Okay, most guys have to pass women when passed, but not all of us do it.

    Personal safety and it being a greater concern for women. I understand what you are saying, but anecdotally my practical experience has been the opposite. A last year my city had a large problem with mobs of youths attacking cyclists to rob them and steal their bikes. I was attacked twice, but was able to barely escape both times. The local media picked up on the problem, and luckily the police stepped up patrols in the problem areas. As far as I could tell, it seemed the mobs were targeting males. No women reported being attacked as far as I know. I can tell you from my attacks the kids were definitely having a very good time and enjoying themselves. I don’t know if that is because they wanted boy bikes, if attacking females seemed less sporting to them or if was less impressive to their friends if they beat up females. Also, I’ve had three altercations with male drivers where the men have stepped out of their vehicles to fight me (and yes, I’m a courteous and legally observant cyclist. The threats of battery were punitive for standing up for myself when assaulted). I’m not sure if women experience that as often as men.

    • Dottie says:

      So sorry to hear about what you’ve been through. That is a very good point. I guess when he asked me the question, I thought of the biggest challenge of being a woman in general, which is the constant fear of physical and sexual assault. Based on talks I’ve had with my husband, that’s not something always on the top of his mind, which is a big difference. But I can see how bike-specific assault by hooligans can be aimed more at men.

      If I could answer this question over again, I would say that the biggest women-specific challenge is balancing childcare/child schlepping with bike commuting, but that would be based only on second-hand knowledge, since I have no child to schlep yet.

  11. dhin says:

    We love seeing you all around town on New City!. The crack crack was my fave. I must admit it made me think of Dottie maybe less as the Martha and more as our own bike Patti Smith in a great dress.:) She’s our favorite Chicago bike rock godmother!

    • Dottie says:

      Best comment ever! I need to make business cards out of this:

      Dottie Brackett
      Chicago bike rock godmother
      Bike Patti Smith in a great dress

      I only wish I were that cool.

  12. Beany Counter says:

    Yay!! You’re getting famous and stuff! I should have gotten both your autographs when you visited so I can eventually sell it and make millions.

    I’m glad you took the Martha Stewart phrasing as a compliment as I see her as a highly controlling, neurotic, and well…a criminal, not to mention more than a little bit annoying.

    I’m also encourage to learn that all (or most) of your clothes were thrifted. You certainly have a really good eye. Now if I can only be motivated to just go and at least pick some clothes, I’d be satisfied.


  13. Karen says:

    Great read about a woman of positive influence!

  14. Anonymous says:

    Cycling is so fortunate to have a great ambassador! Congrats!

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