Photos by Molly Crealock
Heels on Wheels: Lilly's Lunches
Name: Elizabeth Callahan
Title: Owner and Operator, Lilly’s Lunches, a dandy new catering business-by-bike
Why did you decide to start a catering business that delivers by bike?
Biking as a mode of urban transportation just makes sense to me. It is so speedy, and if you are willing to push with your legs and be creative, you can carry quite a bit.
Tell us about this great bike.
I got my lovely ride at Curbside Cycle. My bike is made by Pashley, it is British Racing green and it handles like a dream. The bike is a proper deli bike, so the steering component is independent of the basket, meaning I don’t swerve or get thrown around when I turn tight corners. The basket was custom made by a real gem of a designer named Jano Badovinac, of the Fugitive Glue team. The design is genius. It was important to create something that first of all looks lovely as well as being perfectly functional. It has removable shelving inside, it is lockable, entirely removable from the bike frame, and of course, weatherproof.
When did you start commuting by bike?
I always enjoyed riding around the neighborhood as a kid. In high school I rode my bike to school from St. Clair and Bathurst to Etobicoke – by TTC my commute was 1 hour and by bike it was 45 minutes, so when the weather was good I would take my bike. It wasn’t until I started working in bars that I really took biking seriously; at 3 a.m. the TTC is spotty at best, and full of drunk people and I never wanted to spend my hard-earned cash on a cab. Besides, 3 a.m. is the best time to ride a bike in the city, it's so quiet and there is no traffic. I haven’t really taken the TTC regularly since then.
What is your favourite place to ride?
My favourite rides are to Toronto Island for a picnic, to the Junction to visit antique shops, High Park for some nature, or vintage hunting on Queen from East to West.
Have you ever worn heels while riding?
I wear heels all the time when I ride – it is surprisingly comfortable. I wouldn’t wear them while on delivery, on the bike though!
Have you ever biked to gala events in formal attire?
Absolutely! My lovely man and I enjoy arriving in style wherever we go by bike. Our bikes are usually our best accessories. Speaking of riding in style, my brother was married last summer and he and my sister-in-law rode from their ceremony in the park to their reception. They looked incredible – they even had a "Just Married" flag trailing their bicycles.
What is your favourite bike accessory?
My bell – it sounds like a doorbell.
How do food and cycling interest in your life?
They are my two favorite things in life. When I quit my job 6 months ago to start Lilly’s Lunches, I thought to myself: "If I could do anything all day, it would be making sweet food and biking around the city." Now, that’s what I do all day and it is amazing. Of course the two intersect because I bike to pick up and transport all my produce in the market, and I do love the satisfaction of getting to a good café or restaurant after a good appetite-building ride.
What is your favourite food?
I have a sweet tooth and have a hard time resisting desserts, chocolates, and the like. They are always my favorite to make too.
What are you looking most forward to this summer?
Sunshine, sundresses, picnics, and being lakeside whenever possible.
What could the city do to make it safer for cyclists?
I wish bike theft wasn’t such a huge issue in cities. I find it so disheartening, I don’t think people realize how connected cyclists are to their bikes and how devastating it can be to go to a bike post to find your bike gone.
Do you have a favourite bike-y quote or mantra / words to live by?
Lately, I have been hung up on this quote: “Money can’t buy happiness, but it can buy a bike, and that is pretty close”.
A bike is freedom.