Monday, December 23, 2013

Winter biking basics!

As we’ve been sharing about our partnership with Urbane, we have so enjoyed what people have suggested as future blog ideas. One was ‘why don’t you bike in the snow!?’ and we totally had to laugh. Been there, done that, and will continue to do that! People think we are absolutely insane, and maybe we are. But honestly - it’s all part of the adventure, and it’s actually really fun. And not to mention a great workout!

So now, maybe you’re curious (or just want to see if we really are that insane). What do you need to know to get you on your bike on a beautiful Michigan winter day?

Gear: To Wear

It may go without saying, but we’re saying it anyway. WARM GEAR. Like, Army/Navy surplus-style. Pea coats are beautiful and great but NO. You need padding and layers and more layers. When you’re biking, the wind can whip up pretty chilly, but you also need to remember that when you are standing at a bus stop, waiting? It’s even colder. So don’t be shy, you can always shed a layer or two (just make sure to leave a little extra room in your bag).

One of our favorite added winter biking gear items is what we affectionately call the ‘creepy face mask’. It wraps around your mouth and nose, with appropriate cut-outs for each so, yes, you can still breathe, and fastens behind your head. And think about what this looks like with cold-weather breath. Total Halloween/Jason. No one messes with 2W4W when we are face-masked up. A public safety bonus!

With all that extra padding from all those heavy winter layers (and delicious holiday treats), if you happen upon a patch of black ice? An easy bounce back!

Gear: On Your Bike

All you really need are wide tires and a good solid mountain bike. We both ride mountain bikes that we’ve had for years, and they are nothing fancy. But they are amazing, and have gotten us through many, many winters and many situations with very minimal falls (from sidewalks that are shoveled to biking through an actual mini-blizzard!). Just also make sure to give yourself a little extra time to get where you are going. Like driving, winter biking can be a bit of a slow-go!

Gear: In Your Bag

Three words: Kleenex, hand lotion and chapstick. Cold weather essentials that you are probably already used to keeping on hand, but they become even more important when it’s you + the elements.

Those one-time hand/foot warmers stashed in your bag are such a bonus. They don’t take a ton of space, and can be life-savers if you are stuck waiting at a bus stop longer than you had hoped.

Oh and a full flask. Keeping your insides warm is key, so be sure to stash some of your favorite warm-up drinks (we are partial to Jager and Hot Damn!).

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The 2 Women 4 Wheels 2013 Gift Guide!

We had a great time shopping with some new bus riders at our Holidaze shopping event on Saturday! Staring at 13 & Woodward, we headed to downtown Royal Oak to visit the Royal Oak Farmer's Market where one of our bus riders was inspired to make her own granola as a gift for friends. Perfect! After checking out a few other local stores, we headed to Ferndale for an excellent lunch at Woodward Avenue Brewers. We then took a bit of a longer walk to Green Daffodil Studio which was not only full of locally-made & adorable gifts, candles, soaps and lotions, but it was their holiday open house so that meant cocktails and treats. Holiday merriment at its finest!

If you weren't able to join us on Saturday, we'd like to present the 2 Women 4 Wheels 2013 Gift Guide!

We are all about shopping local, so here's a sampling of some of our favorite gift shops and ideas.


For your favorite biker 

The Hub Detroit - not only is a great shop/repair spot, but all proceeds go to support their nonprofit mission of "working to engage, develop and inspire youth through bicycles while providing space for those youth".

Wheelhouse Detroit - maybe give a gift of one of their really fun bike tours?!

Macomb Bike & Fitness - really friendly bike shop, and be sure to check out their great events too!

Gift shops to cover everyone on your list (heading south from Royal Oak)!

Shine - candles, books, gifts, some baby clothes, books and a really great selection of fun cocktail napkins. A super nice owner!

Write Impressions - stationery, card and fun gifts
A side note: Julie literally emptied her water bottle on the floor of the store during our Holidaze event and they were super cool about it. And YES, that was pre-cocktails.

Naka - beautiful jewelry, baby gifts and Michigan-themed items

Green Daffodil Studio - vintage finds, handmade candles, soaps, lip balms and lotions. Amazing scents from lavender to cranberry orange to coconut lime to patchouli (ok, maybe that last one is more “Julie” and less “Melissa”. There’s something for everyone!)

City Bird/Nest - fantastic Michigan-made and Detroit-themed goods & housewares.

The Peacock Room - adorable new and vintage fashions/jewelry at VERY reasonable prices. Not to mention, Rachel, the owner, always has an amazing/sassy story to share!

Give the Gift of Exploring

Motor City Brew Tours - we joined Steven for one of his biking Detroit Brewery History Tours and it was a blast!

D:hive Detroit Tours - we've heard really good things about their tours!

Preservation Wayne - for the Detroit history or architectural nerd in you - GREAT tours.

Detroit Historical Society - we were able to join for a tour of Fort Wayne earlier this year and it was fantastic. Highly recommended!


Think globally, bus & bike & shop locally! 
Happy shopping :)

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

It's Giving Tuesday - Use Charity Miles When You Bike!

Yesterday was Cyber Monday and today is "Giving Tuesday" (we're not making this up). And we found a neat opportunity for you to give while biking and walking. Have you heard of Charity Miles? It is an application you can download on a smartphone to track your miles while you bike, walk, and/or run. For every mile you bike, walk, and/or run, a donation is made to a charity of your choosing. How neat is that?!

I’ve used it to track the miles I bike to the transit center, work, and downtown. I also use it to tra
ck the miles I walk and run during my free time.

It’s pretty easy to use. First, you need to download the app, which is free. Then you need to register. When you are ready to bike, walk, or run, go to the app, select the charity you want to support, and the app will track your distance with a GPS. When you bike, a donor will give $0.10 per mile that is tracked. For every mile you walk or run, a donor will give $0.25 per mile. The cool part is that you get to select the charity or charities you want the donor to support.

Charities include:
  • Feeding America,
  • She’s the First,
  • Stand Up to Cancer,
  • RED to Benefit the Global Fund,
  • ASPCA,
  • Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America,
  • The Nature Conservancy,
  • Every Mother Counts,
  • Autism Speaks,
  • Soles 4 Souls,
  • Special Olympics,
  • The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research,
  • Habitat for Humanity,
  • World Food Programme,
  • Wounded Warrior Project,
  • Leukemia & Lymphoma Society,
  • Girl Up United Nations Foundation,
  • Partnership for a Healthier America,
  • Pencils of Promise,
  • Shot @ Life United Nations Foundation,
  • VisionSpring,
  • Achilles International,
  •, and
  • Ironman Foundation.

As you can see, it is a long list of charities. Hopefully, there is at least one charity you want to bike, walk, and/or run to support. To learn more about “Giving Tuesday,” go to

Monday, December 2, 2013

Bus Rapid Transit (What?)

Is bus rapid transit coming to metro-Detroit? Possibly.

We know that this system is working in Cleveland and Chicago. It might be a good form of transportation for Detroit. The Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG) will host a series of meetings to share information about the proposed system and to gather input from us, potential users of this system. Unfortunately, this is probably the worst time of the year to gather this input but nonetheless, this is our opportunity to explain what we want and need for public transportation in metro-Detroit.

What is bus rapid transit? Some refer to it as BRT. Basically, it is a bus-based form of mass transit. What would set it apart from DDOT and SMART if it came to Detroit is that the buses often get their own lane on the road, which allows them to move faster. In some cases, there are sensors on the buses that trigger traffic lights to go green, which helps increase the efficiency of the buses even more. Also, instead of paying the fee on the bus, you pay at the bus stop to save time. It also requires less construction than rail. It sounds like it might have some promise in our region. What do you think?

Will you attend one of SEMCOG’s meetings?
Here are the meeting dates, times, and locations. If you need help finding a bus to one of the meetings, go to SMART or DDOT’s websites. (NOTE: Unfortunately, DDOT’s “trip planner” is not working so the link goes to all the bus schedules.  Also, many of the locations are not immediately near bus stop locations, so plan accordingly.)

Tuesday, December 3, 2013, 6-8 p.m.
Beaumont Hospital Administration Building, 3711 W. 13 Mile Rd., Royal Oak, MI 48073 (Free parking in South Parking Deck; access through South Entrance, Coolidge Highway)

Thursday, December 5, 2013, 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Berkley Community Center, 2400 Robina Ave., Berkley, MI 48070

Saturday, December 7, 2013, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
St. Joseph Hospital, Anthony Franco Communications Center Auditorium, 44555 Woodward Ave., Pontiac, MI 48341

Monday, December 9, 2013, 6-8 p.m.
Michigan State University Detroit Event Center, 2nd Floor, 3408 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI 48201 (elevator access through Erskine Street entrance)

Tuesday, December 10, 2013, 6-8 p.m.
NextEnergy, 461 Burroughs St., Detroit, MI 48202

Wednesday, December 11, 2013, 6-8 p.m.
Coolidge Intermediate School Cafeteria, 2521 Bermuda St., Ferndale, MI 48220

If you cannot attend one of these meetings, please send your comments and suggestions to Tiffany Gunter with SEMCOG. Her email address is gunter(at)