Skip to content

Posts from the ‘#330daysofbiking’ Category

the gallon of milk

 

cartoon world of our local grocery store

Although I am tempted to rant about our local grocery store choices (or more accurately, lack of choices…), and the disappointing assortment of over-processed, over-packaged convenience foods within our horrid chain stores – we have no Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, EarthFare or anything remotely decent within a 25 mile radius – I will spare you my whining.  My family is weary enough of my complaints.  But I like to cook – and I like to cook real food.  Food “from scratch” as we used to say, rather than out of a box or a freezer case.

And today as I was heading to the grocery store on my bike thinking about all of this, wishing I had a decent grocery store/market within riding distance, I was reminded of a wonderful 3-minute video I had seen earlier in the week by the amazing people at Streetfilms: Moving Beyond the Automobile (Vimeo).

Of course it features the incredible cycling infrastructure improvements of the Big Bicycle Cities (NYC, Portland, SF, etc.), but what really struck a chord with me were some of the statistics about the exponential increases in ridership when safe, protected cycling infrastructure is provided to the public.  The old, “if you build it, they will come …” idea.  Tenfold.  One-hundredfold.  Exponentially.

As (my hero) Rep. Earl Blumenauer so perfectly states:

“People shouldn’t have to burn a gallon of gas to get a gallon of milk … “

He goes on to talk about the need to give people safe and accessible transportation choices of all types – choices that will reduce the demand for using the automobile, which can ultimately save people time and money, while improving their health and “ultimately enriching their daily experience.”  I couldn’t agree more.

So I cycled to my poor-excuse-for-a-grocery-store and got the gallon of milk.  And a few other items of “real” food.  And I dreamed about how wonderful it would be to have a bike lane, or even a little bit of road shoulder, to easily cycle to some Real Foods store …  Maybe someday.

 

the enriching experience part ... "cartoon" Xtracycle, back home with the milk & groceries

 

 

Day 300: Napolean Dynamite

 

Day 300: no shocks, no pegs, and I've never tried taking her off of any sweet jumps...

Today I reached day 300 of #330daysofbiking … and I am still wondering how I actually got here?  (Don’t even say “by bicycle”.)

I will be honest – I am sighing a big sigh of relief and happiness that I’ve managed to stay on target and am on the final stretch to meet this ridiculous goal.  For some reason, I was feeling … well, ridiculous.  A little giddy, a little goofy, and considerably nerdy for some reason.

I wanted to ride out to get a cupcake (but didn’t).  I didn’t want a “serious” ride today.    For other reasons unknown, the famous bicycle scene from Napolean Dynamite was on my brain today – as well as the Napolean Dynamite soundtrack song, Music for a Found Harmonium from Penguin Cafe Orchestra.  Ok, well that was on my iPod.   (But please listen and watch, for it is the only way you can appreciate my peculiar mindset.)

Dressed in skirt, tights and a sweater with ruffles (and I would’ve added a hat with feathers if I owned one) –  rather than “cycling clothes” –  I took Elisabetta out for a purely leisurely and fun ride through a local abandoned golf course (more about this place will come in a future post), riding on the golf cart paths.  No traffic, no people, no chasing dogs.  It was relaxing, it was fun, and it was probably a little bit silly and pointless basically riding around in a series of circles.  But I think it was what I needed.  To just let loose, to let my inner Napolean come out – to feel like a kid on a sweet bike.  Without the sweet jumps, of course.

 

no more golf carts

So … I have until April 1 to finish the last 30 days of biking (for #330daysofbiking).  Hard to believe that nearly a year has passed by, and even more baffling to realize that I may actually see it happen.  We’re heading to the mountains and going to be doing some spring skiing in March, and I was (am) afraid of not having access to a bike for several days.   But if all goes as planned, I still have enough “buffer” days to finish.  Fingers crossed.

Meanwhile, here are a few pics from the last few days of #330daysofbiking.  A little more serious, a little less my inner “Napolean”.  😉

 

a taste of springtime

in search of Holsteins

father and son ... Mason made a quick trip home last weekend; we had some beautiful riding together

they laugh and make jokes over the things I ask them to do for my camera 😉

I cannot master the panda {-P

 

karma Friday

the hauling

Do you ever have days when a tiny voice inside says something along the lines of … “today is not the day”?  The planets are not aligned, there is a feeling of bad karma, an inner hesitation, clouds overhead.  And of course I completely ignore that little voice.  Serves me right.

Rest assured – nothing truly bad happened.  No crash/collision, no flat tire, no mechanical issue.  Just a multitude of  basic annoyances that began with getting rained on (and having no rain gear, of course), continued with wasting energy (Staples no longer carries the type of photo canvas I went to buy), and included a superabundance of discourteous Friday motorists (the left-hand turn cut-off, the texting-while-driving twenty-something passing too close for comfort, and the barreling log-truck driver apparently late with his delivery to the pulp mill).

There are not many days I am happy to get off of my bike and off of the road, but today was one of them.  I should have listened to the little voice.

universe off-kilter ... but home again, safe and sound

#330daysofbiking Day 294: long ride & longhorns

 

little longhorn

 

Exquisite riding weather today … sunny and temps near 70’F.  So I set my to-do list aside and took a nice long road ride into the neighboring county.   And although I had my eye out for some Holsteins for my friend @bikerly, they were apparently out grazing in distant pastures.  Instead, it was a day for Longhorns.

 

sweet black ears and nose

you could probably hang a bicycle from those horns (... and no, I didn't try it)

 

 

spotty

always propped up along a fence

always propped up along a fence

 

waiting for springtime green

 

I <3 bicycles

Happy Valentine’s Day to the beloved ones near and dear to your heart … including your bicycle. 🙂

the continuing tale …

 

waking up to snow ... #330daysofbiking Day 287

 

I figured it was about time for an update on the #330daysofbiking tally.  The official numbers as of today: have ridden 287 of the past 317 days.

And I am happy to report that my legs haven’t fallen off.  Yet. 😉

While I never really find it a problem to be motivated to keep riding and ticking off the days for this #330daysofbiking business, I will admit that my daily mileage has taken a bit of a nose-dive lately.   It’s been more commuting trips and riding close to home over the past week or so, rather than some nice long road rides.  I will blame it in part on some crappy weather (cold and rainy), and in part on yarn.  Yes, yarn.

I’ve suffered from a recent bout of knititis, and when it’s rainy and grey outside, I find that I’d rather be inside with some alpaca-merino “comfort yarn” and a cup of tea by the fire than outside with frozen fingers and a wet camera on my bike.  It’s just how I am.

 

a case of knititis

But this is not to say that there hasn’t been some nice riding lately – because we have had a few beautiful days.  And when the sun pops out and the skies turn blue, not even a tempting skein of pink yarn can keep me inside.

 

obviously a no-knitting day

a great, big, bicycle-filled world

 

 

 

fear factor

 

underpass, undertraffic

It’s been a grey week.  Yesterday, I had an appointment in town – and I’m always glad to have the stretch of greenway to ride.    It’s not that I mind riding in traffic, but having a stretch of traffic-free – and stoplight free – pavement makes the trip much that much easier.

While I was at my optometrist’s office, I had a brief conversation with his assistant about cycling.  She told me that she and her husband and finally unearthed their old bicycles out of the back of their garage, had them tuned up, and had started to do a little riding – but “not on the street!”

And the usual comments followed … too many crazy drivers out there, too scary to ride on the road, the fear of being hit by a car.  While I was so happy to find out that she and her husband were re-discovering the joy of cycling, it also made me a little sad.  It’s so unfortunate that people who really want to try to ride about town, past the constraints of bike paths and greenways, have reasonably legitimate fear of doing so.

 

finding the quiet streets in town

 

This morning I read an insightful blog post by one of my favorite twitter pals and cycling bloggers in Austin, TX – Tim Starry, aka An Old Guy On 2 Wheels.  Tim is a really great guy, an enthusiastic cyclist and cycling advocate, a devoted family man, and I feel honored to call him a friend (and you must check out his blog).   He just attended a cycling transportation lecture highlighting a Canadian group called 8-80 Cities, who pose a really interesting question:  (basically) is your local pedestrian/cycling infrastructure adequate for an 8-year old and an 80-year old to use safely?

In our case, I’d have to say yes to our local Greenway for the most part … but a resounding no to too many other places throughout town.

Tim also cited an excellent and revealing article (definnitely worth a read) by the Portland Bureau of Transportation that discusses the large demographic of people who are curious about cycling and might like try cycling for transportation, but are fearful about the traffic interaction component.   Just like the woman I talked with at my optometrist’s office, and likely the majority of the people using our local greenway.

 

coming thru…

 

I know that progress along these lines will be slow to come in our area.  We are not an Austin, TX, or a Portland, OR, or even a Steamboat Springs, CO, as far as cycling rideshare or political will.  I am grateful for the stretch of greenway we have, as well as the outlook for its future expansion.

And yes, it’s always a good kick in the pants for me to read these things and think about them – and hopefully, to get more involved.

 

Indian summer-winter?

 

self-footrait 😉

It is winter.  And not really.  We’ve had a stretch of crazy warm days, with the thermometer reaching into the upper 60’s F.  It’s the stuff of riding in shorts, in short sleeves, of walking outside barefoot.  A ride past my neighbor’s field and the song of (too-)early Spring Peepers.   Vanishing memories of the snow of recent days past.

January?!

The warm weather makes me restless.   Feelings of wanderlust, longing for variation in the routine … metamorphosis, transformation.  Not exactly sure why.

Maybe in a few days it will snow, and I will return to normal (whatever that is)?

 

uphill on January 30 .... yes, in shorts

summing up January (aka ... shortening my camera's lifespan)

Freeloader transplant

 

evening glamour shot

Thanks to my awesome friend Rick and the great people at Xtracycle, I am now sporting a brand spanking new set of Freeloaders on Tenzing, my Xtracycle.  (In Xtracycle-speak for anyone not familiar, the Freeloaders are the rear  sling-type “bags” on the rear rack.)

The “transplant” was a breeze, and I am really impressed with the new and improved design features.  Topping my list of favorite improvements:

  • heavy-duty coated fabric, making the interior pocket quite waterproof
  • easy on and off – thanks to clips on the tabs (see below)
  • small weep-hole for drainage at the bottom of the sling
  • end gussets in the heavy-duty coated fabric, rather than mesh
  • sleek profile, uncluttered design

 

removing the old, installing the new … and the bare bones
can really feel a difference in the new coated fabric vs. the old fabric – very substantial and durable
really, really like the new clip attachment vs. the old sewn down tabs; can now remove the Freeloaders without having to remove the rack rails – very quick swap
transplant complete!

There are two small features of the old Freeloaders that I will miss.  The old version had a small mesh zipper pocket on the face of the inner compartment.  I really liked this little pocket for stashing small things I wanted to keep visible, and it was a perfect size for a spare tube.  The other change is more cosmetic – rather than the red reflective patches on the back end flaps, the clip tabs have woven reflective stripes … not sure if this will make much difference with visibility/luminosity, but I’d be curious to do a night-time comparison.

 

the little pocket I will miss (old version)

When all is said and done, the improvements in the new Freeloaders make these another design triumph for Xtracycle, hands down.  The fabric and the clip attachment system can’t be beat.  Functionally, I expect them to perform even better than the old, especially with the improved water-resistance and interior weephole.  And the cleaner, sleeker look/aesthetic is beautiful.  Well done, gentlemen!!  (And thanks again, Rick!)  🙂

I’ve spent the past two days “testing” them out – a grocery run, and hauling camera gear out among the Holsteins.  Same amazing functionality, beautiful new look … I am a very happy hauler, but I’ll let you be the judge.  😉

 

yesterday's grocery run

... and on the old bridge today

... and looking for Holsteins (#330daysofbiking Day 274)

rain commute out-takes

 

rain

When you’re going to end up jumping into a pool anyway, does it really matter?

One of the big gaping holes in my blog, I think, is … well, the rest of it.  The not-so-pretty stuff, the traffic, the rides around town that don’t take place on the pleasantness of the greenway, but rather, tailing exhaust pipes and edging away from distracted minivan moms texting on cell phones.

 

view of traffic from the handlebars, in the rain {-P

I rarely take pictures while on the commuting rides, largely because it’s tricky business, not-so-safe, and I typically don’t carry my DSLR along.  It’s not the kind of shooting where I can take time to stop, compose the shot.  When I manage to capture anything, it’s typically blind shots from the hip with my point-and-shoot.  And on days like today, rain on the lens and blindly shooting … well, not a pretty picture.

 

blind shot from the hip

like I said ... my arm (and a truck)

I had a couple errands to run, and since it was a better day to be swimming than cycling, I wanted to head to the pool.  The weather was pretty high on the crappy scale – upper 30’s, rainy, gloomy – and probably a blessing in disguise.  I ended up having the pool largely to myself.

 

going from wet to wetter at the Y

pool to myself

Had a great swim, got out and dried off …. just to go back out in the rain. {-P

So, although I may try to tip the scales and balance the biking photos with some real-life-on-a-bike shots, don’t hold your breath.  I think I am obviously more suited to old barns and quiet rural roads.  😉

 

blindly shooting wet legs heading home