Dinner and Bikes Tour to make local stop

Wednesday, May 8, 2013
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— A Portland bicycle advocate is coming to Schenectady at the request of a religious education director.

As if that’s not unusual enough, the bicyclist will bring with her a vegan chef who will prepare a feast for the audience and a filmmaker who will show excerpts from a documentary about biking.

The event will be May 15 at the First Unitarian Society of Schenectady, 1221 Wendell Ave. Tickets are $20 in advance at Plaine & Son Bikes and Broadway Bicycle Co., or $30 at the door.

“I’m really excited,” said Unitarian Director of Religious Education Melissa MacKinnon.

The church has a Green Sanctuary Committee and many dedicated bicyclists.

“It fit perfectly with our ideals,” she said. “And it’s really kind of a fun way to do it. You’re getting to share a meal.”

Portland bicyclist and writer Elly Blue will present her new book, “Everyday Bicycling.” The message: it can be done.

“It can be really easy to do this,” MacKinnon said after reading the book. “You don’t have to wear certain clothes and ride a certain bike. More people can do this than realize they can.”

She commutes to work by bike, but not in the rain.

“I’m a fair weather biker,” she said.

The book also discusses ways to carry cargo and manage family cycling, as well as “bike economics,” MacKinnon said.

The presentation will be informative, but mainly MacKinnon thought it would be a fun way to spend an evening.

“I thought it would be something that would be fun, that would be inspiring,” she said.

There’s no question it will be funny. Blue and her fellow presenters write a rollicking blog detailing their travels on what they’ve named the Dinner and Bikes Tour.

At, they’ve described their car catching fire, how they guess at the size of the next audience so they can buy the right amount of groceries, and the unusual places where they’ve held presentations.

So far on the tour, they’ve crammed into one person’s living room, held an event at a bike shop amid a Dutch festival that featured people in full Dutch costumes, and are planning to serve dinner in Columbus, Ohio’s “only vegan dive bar,” according to the owner.

Wednesday’s event will run from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. The meal will be a vegan and gluten-free buffet.

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