Top 10 of ’12

Well good people, it’s as good a time as any to reach deep into the annals of the year and celebrate those select posts that probed and subsequently tickled our collective fancy. Or at the very least were met with something other than the deafening sound of crickets. Using a combination of sophisticated surveillance technology and my own completely arbitrary selection criteria, I give you, in ascending chronological order, the Winnipeg CycleChick Top Ten Posts of 2012.

1. Dressed to Chill
This post documented in words and pictures the layers I wear when riding in ridiculously cold weather. It also included a striptease, which seemed to go over well with the boys. Much to my surprise, it also caught the attention of Heidi Swift – photographer, blogger, racer, and editor at large of Peloton magazine. Now that was pretty fucking cool.

Speaking of the boys, I wrote a follow up story called One for The Boys, which was inspired by a rather – um – personal question from a male reader about how to keep things warm south of the border. His border, specifically. The topic was even farther out of my realm of expertise than usual, so I relied on tips I gathered from male (and some female) friends, readers and Twatters from around the world who have suffered similarly frosty bits.

2. Actif Epica: Words and Pictures
When I look back on them, race reports like these always seem rambling and self-indulgent. But they also remind me of the amazing things we are all capable of when taunted while under the influence of liquor. What started out as a dare turned into one of the most memorable (and dare I say epic) cycling events I have ever done. Actif Epica was a 130 kilometre race that followed the old French oxcart trails of our Manitoban forefathers, who may or may not have been crazy enough to do so in the dead of winter unless little Jacque broke his arm or Mémère was suffering from rickets. There were laughs, tears, and plenty of bilingual swearing.

3. Good Game
There are many eloquently written blogs out there that examine personal relationships and explore deep and meaningful matters of the heart. This is not one of those blogs. But every so often (like when I can’t get an appointment with my therapist) a story gets past the “dear diary” filter and lands squarely on the screen. Like this one, about a bad decision made by my son’s hockey coaches during an important playoff game. It broke two of my cardinal rules: a) it was not about cycling, and b) it was very personal. Nevertheless, the outpouring of empathy, outrage and shared experiences was almost enough to make me fire my therapist.

4. Evil Skivvies
In short, the most fun I have ever had buying underpants.

5. A Letter to Halfwheelers
Being a relative newcomer to cycling, I have to be careful not to get all preachy about etiquette. I don’t want to get caught saying something I don’t know anything about (because God know that never happens) – plus I don’t want people to worry that when they ride with me they might end up as the weekly ‘don’t’ on this blog. The best part of this post was the number of people who tried to guess the identity of the unnamed perpetrator(s). Still not telling.

6. Winnipeg Cycle Chick’s Healthy Homemade Hippy Bars
If my statistics are to be believed, cyclists (and runners and hikers…) around the world have embraced their inner flower child and pillaged the Safeway Hippy Aisle to make this simple recipe. Many people shared this recipe on their own blogs, and I had lots of people tell me about their own special variation on the Hippy Bar. My favourite by far was Colin’s version that uses organic honey from Ginger and Luc’s pet honeybees. It doesn’t get hippy-er than that my friends.

7. 24 Hours of Awesome, 50 Shades of Black and Blue
This was the report of my first ever mountain bike race – an eight hour solo ordeal on the most technically challenging course in the province, complete with video highlights. Yes, I sucked. And yes, it was awesome.

8. 15 Years

2012 was not Lance Armstrong’s year. It was incredibly hard not to get caught up in the most significant cycling story of the year, if not the decade, but this was a case where anything I had to say had already been said better, in a multitude of stories like this one. This post and infographic was an attempt to provoke thought rather than provoke a fight.

9. This is Glenn
The story about Glenn, our bike courier getting hit by a distracted driver was a pretty big deal here at Winnipeg CycleChick. Much to my surprise, the post caught the attention of the local media, who had been previously unaware of what had happened. I actually felt a little bad about bringing so much attention to Glenn, not knowing how welcome it was, but it was really his story – not mine – and if it made even one idiot think twice before texting while they drive, it was worth it. I’m happy to report that Glenn’s ass is back on his bike, where it belongs.

10. Calendar Girls
Sometimes, even though you know you shouldn’t,  you can’t help but kick a hornets’ nest, just to see what happens. I knew writing about a titty calendar featuring female bike racers was about as close to a hornets’ nest as I could get, but I could not resist. I wrote it carefully, trying to examine both sides of the proverbial (and in this case, literal) page, yet still managed to raise the hackles of a certain big shot bike racer in the U.S. Our Twitter “discussion” was heated, but I was willing to play – until he accused me of being (and I quote) “oblivious to the never-ending barrage of images reinforcing gender roles girls get every day.”


Apparently being born with a vagina and uterus is no match for a night class in Women’s Studies. Nevertheless, I learned two things: 1) Never attempt to have an intelligent discussion or argument on Twitter, and 2) Kicking a hornets’ nest once in a while is pretty fun.So there you have it. Another year behind us.

It’s hard to believe it’s been three years since I started this thing. Like most blogs, I started off writing it for myself, as an outlet for my obsession that spared those around me from the mountain of cycling-related thoughts, questions, rants and observations that completely occupied my every waking hour. Inevitably – the interwebs being what they are – I was found, and somewhere along the way, as much as I was still writing for myself, I also began to write for you. Unfortunately, like dancing around the house in your underwear, things always change when you know someone is watching. I’ve tried to keep my stories personal and honest, but I am now more conscious of being entertaining and useful too.

It’s been a bang-up year, thanks mostly to you crazy kids who keep coming back here. Your comments (both good and bad) and encouragement truly inspire me to keep this damn thing going.

Here’s to a new year, new adventures, and new stories. In the meantime, keep the rubber side down.