Posts from the ‘bicycle culture’ Category
I thank all of you who took time leave a comment (entry) for the YMX jersey; I wish I could send everyone a jersey. But the winner, by random draw, happens to be Myrna from MN – and Myrna, I am also a big fan of Bridget Jones. 😉
I was thinking about other women cyclists, and have gotten to know Myrna over the past year or so from twitter and comments on this blog. This just seemed like the perfect opportunity to profile another strong and capable “girl on a bike” – and at my request, she was kind enough to send me her bike-ography and a couple of cycling photos … which I want to share with you.
Congrats, Myrna! (And thanks for this “guest post”!)
Cassi asked me to share a bit about myself…I’m Myrna the very lucky and super happy winner of the YMX sleeveless jersey. In addition to being a happy jersey winner, I’m a freelance writer and mom of two who lives in the country about a half hour south of Minneapolis, Minnesota. I’m also a private pilot, a gardener (well, I have a lot of flowers and a lot of weeds), a quilter who hasn’t had time to quilt and a person who loves to bake.
I’m also a fledgling bicyclist. Sure, like most people I rode as a kid – I even went on a long distance bike trip from Minnesota to Michigan with my youth group when I was about 15 – but I really only started riding with any regularity two years ago.
What happened two years ago to get me bicycling? Well, my friend, an avid bicyclist, had a mechanical and his bike pedal broke when he was going uphill – fast. He crashed. His helmet probably saved his life. At that point I had a bike that I rode sometimes but I didn’t have a helmet. My kids had bikes and helmets but they didn’t want to wear them. I figured if I should get a helmet and thought if I wore one it might help my kids wear their helmets, too.
So I went to the local bike shop to buy a helmet and I saw a flyer for a charity ride, the Jesse James Bike Tour. For some reason I decided I could manage to ride the 25 mile route even though the ride was just a month away.
Long story short, I rode the 25 mile route on my Specialized Crossroads bike with my husband. It was fun and we decided we liked bicycling enough that it would be worth getting road bikes. The next spring, March 2010, I bought us each a road bike. Yay! I planned to do a lot of biking but signing up for the first 30 Days of Biking challenge is what really got me going!
Thirty Days of Biking got me riding my bike each day, which was great fun even with the challenges. Through reading the tweets and blog entries of the many participants I learned that all sorts of people have fun with bikes and that the bicycling community is very diverse and full of neat people. I also learned the most important thing about bicycling, for me, anyway…Bicycling is not about going far or going fast – it’s about having fun along the way.
But best of all, I got to “meet” so many cool people through 30 Days of Biking – like Cassi here at shebicycles.com and Darryl from lovingthebike.com – these two people inspired me to keep bicycling more than anyone else I met along the way.
So here I am just two years after deciding to buying a helmet and deciding to do a 25 mile charity ride – where I am now? My husband and two children, Rose is 12 and Ryan is 9, are very much into bicycling. Adding bicycling to our lives has prompted us to become active year-round and has brought us closer together as a family.
I’m doing the same charity ride, the Jesse James Bike Tour, again in one week and plan to ride the 60 mile route this time. I’m a member of two bike clubs, ride both of my bikes regularly – my old Specialized Crossroads and a Giant Avail – and want to own more bikes (I’m thinking a mountain bike and a fat bike for the snow are in my future)! I’m also doing 30 Days of Biking again for the fourth time.
Bicycling has changed my life. I suppose that sounds sort of silly but it’s true!
2010 has come and gone, and I wish all of my friends a coming year filled with happiness, good health, smooth pavement, and contentment and civility with passing motorists. And so much more. 🙂
Took some time “off” (really, c’mon – the stuff I do in no way resembles “work”) to spend with friends and family, and do the annual Christmastime visiting. Think: the classic holiday movie Christmas Vacation. And this is my only excuse for behind so behind in posting.
The 7-state untold-number-of-miles roadtrip began with a few days in Chicago, my hometown, the place of my birth, my roots. There is nothing as wonderful to me as Christmastime in Chicago – the cold and snow, the wind, the lights of the city, the food. Oh, the food… !
Downtown, I really only saw a small handful of cyclists (compared to what I had seen back in August). Mostly messengers and bicycle delivery guys, the ones whose jobs made it necessary to be riding in the cold, snow, and slush.
My favorite bike encounter of the trip was Jack’s Bicycle Puppet Show. Jack parked his puppet-theater-on-wheels along the holiday shopper-filled corridor of State Street, and for a small donation you would be treated to some music and the adventures of Puppet Cat. Awesome.
We left Chicago and headed for rural Pennsylvania, to spend Christmas with Mark’s clan. My father-in-law was kind enough to dig an old 3-speed Huffy out of the depths of his garage so that I could do some pedaling while we were there. (I suspect they all knew I needed some kind of outlet to get me out of the house for a couple hours each day…)
There was a lot of snow (18+ inches?), and with the small rural back roads virtually empty of traffic and the occasional passing Amish buggy, the snow-riding was a blast! Three speeds of happiness in the snowy and slippery landscape. I couldn’t have asked for a better Christmas gift.
And so, to my friends (who are all more on top of things than I am – with full-blown statistics of miles ridden, events conquered, goals met and goals to be set) … thanks for putting up with my continued mindless ramblings, my lack of substantial contributions and goal-setting, and my silliness and lameness in general. Maybe 2011 will bring a change. But likely not. Anyway, thanks for inviting me to the party, and wish you all the best for the next 365 days on the bike.
(And now … to sneak in a non-bike photo – because that’s the way I do things here.)
It’s that time of year again … festive lights, festive bikes, winter riding, wishlists, and all of the riding that goes along with the holiday agenda – from the baking to the shopping to the shipping. And there is no other bike that can get it all done-with-fun like an Xtracycle.
There has been a lot of chatter in recent months about the growing selection of cargo bikes on the market. And kind of like the great Pillsbury Bake-Off, the cargo bike discussion seems to be taking on elements of a “Hauls(bury)Bike-Off”. From Xtracycles to bucket bikes to bakfeits to beer-on-tap bikes, it’s a great discussion to be having … for in my opinion, any bicycle that enables someone to substitute bike for car is a wonderful thing – and nothing does that better than a cargo bike.
However, if we ever get down to casting votes, I cast mine without hesitation for Xtracycle. If I could only own one bike, it would be my Xtracycle. No question, no debate. It is my favorite bike above all others, and the one I could not do without. And as I’ve looked at and contemplated some of the other contenders, I’ve been able to reach a few conclusions about why Xtracycle rules the cargo bike contest….
- No other cargo bike can accomodate irregularly-shaped loads as easily as an Xtracycle. You want to haul a Christmas tree, a kayak, a weed-eater, a vacuum cleaner or another bicycle? On an Xtracycle, it’s a piece of cake. We’ve hauled them all; easy to load in a variety of ways, easy to secure, easy to ride with. Even for a silly old lady like myself.
- I like the fact that my cargo sits behind me. Other cargo bike enthusiasts might like that Christmas tree or preschooler directly in front of them, but I like to have an unobstructed and distraction-less view of what’s ahead, thanks.
- You won’t out-grow an Xtraycle. While kid-hauling bikes like the Taga or the Feetz might be a fun way to carry your pre-schoolers, I can’t help think this is a short-lived use of a pricey bike. Kids grow – quickly. Why not carry your pre-cyclists on a PeaPod (or two) on the back of an Xtracycle for that short period of time? In the end, you’ll continue to love and use an Xtracycle for countless things, rather than being stuck with a limited-use stroller-bike after a few short years.
- If I need to take my Xtracycle somewhere else (out of state, or beyond timely riding distance) I can carry my Xtracycle on my vehicle. Using an extended rail on our Thule roof rack, we’ve transported our Xtracycles out of state for vacations and other weekend cycling trips. I can’t see putting a Madsen or a Bakfeit or a Feetz on top of my car nearly as easily, if at all.
- Affordability. The ability to convert an existing bike (from road to commuter to mountain or whatever you might already own) to an Xtracycle requires minimal investment when compared to buying an entire dedicated cargo bike. And of course, if you’ve got some spare cash, the Xtracycle Radish or Big Dummy are beautiful, quality builds and very competitively priced – and the folks at Xtracycle are among the friendliest, most generous and helpful bike people I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with. (And they’re not paying me to say this. 😉
- But the biggest reason of all to own an Xtracycle … it is beautiful bike just to ride. Even when I don’t have to haul anything, I love being out on my X. It’s a beautiful ride – on the back roads or in traffic, in town or on the bike path. I don’t have to make a conscious decision when I head out – like, “do I need to take the big bucket bike, or utility trailer today?” I ride my Xtracycle like other folks ride a road bike or a commuter – and if I get a phone call along the way telling me we’re out of orange juice at home, I always have the easy ability to stop and pick some up. I just can’t imagine that I would ever do the same amount of non-cargo everyday riding on bucket bike or bakfeit.
If I were Santa, I would bring everyone an Xtracycle … But in the meantime, I’ve combed through my pile of Xtracycle photos from the past few years to give you idea of the fun that you, too, could be having on the best cargo bike EVER. Put one on your wish-list … because you never know what Santa has in his bag 😉
Happy Haulidays* and Happy Pedaling!
(*Thanks to my friend Rick for letting me borrow his clever homonym (haulidays) :-D)
I have some “nice” fall color biking photos from days prior … but today, while I was riding in the rain, I was thinking about friends in Portland and the Pacific Northwest. (And yes, also snowbound Minneapolis, @bikerly, @blueallez, and @myrnacgmibus). In my mind, cities like Portland, Seattle, and Amsterdam are my idea of cycling nirvana. And Minneapolis. I see the videos, the pictures, read about the bicycle culture, the rideshare, the cupcakes (big incentive), and converse with a few friends who live there in the midst of it. I am fairly convinced that I belong there.
And then I ride on a cold, grey and damp day and wonder if I really would have what it takes? I can easily do a few days here and there in crappy weather, but am I really cut out for months on end of this kind of kind of stuff? I dunno. The cupcakes I could definitely do on a daily basis. The rain riding, well … ?
For now, I ride in it … just to practice. And to pre-qualify. 😉
Meet Elisabetta. By now you should know that I’m not called @morebikes for nothing …
Several years ago, I became smitten with the idea of a beautiful “city bike” after seeing several cycling videos about Amsterdam, and this beautiful photo of Scott’s Jorg & Olif “Opa”. I argued with myself over the practicality: would a 3-speed or 8-speed upright city bike, no matter how stunning to look at, really be a practical bike for me to own? And I won’t even get into arguments over curbing excess, needless consumption, etc. I certainly didn’t need another bike. But – good grief – they are so beautiful, I just couldn’t help lusting after one … admittedly with some misguided mid-life-crisis fantasies of becoming a Beautiful Godzilla:
The Beautiful Godzilla is a particular kind of urban female cyclist who rides as though the rest of the world were created simply to yield to her … She also rides an old three-speed or perhaps a 10-speed or Dutch city bike, carries her handbag on the edge of her handlebars and if she has a basket it usually contains a small dog or perhaps a baguette… Her approach to cycling in a densely populated city is a combination of self-entitlement and Mr Magoo-type dumb luck…. Like any self-entitled person, she can’t imagine a car would possibly hit her, even if she’s riding against traffic and it’s coming right at her. Actually, you sort of find yourself disappointed when it doesn’t. And just like Mr Magoo would wander into a construction site and a girder would materialise right as he was about to walk off the scaffolding, the Beautiful Godzilla blithely rides through red lights and busy intersections, emerging on the other side unscathed and just as photogenic as she was when she entered it.
Why other cyclists don’t like them: They should be dead but aren’t.
~ BikeSnob NYC, The Bike Snob’s Guide to Cycling Tribes
OK, maybe not quite. Lol. But still, the yearning to have a pretty, step-through, latte-and-lunchdate Amsterdam-y Eurobike never faded – and thus, when my bike shop guy, Charles, showed me the 2011 Globe Live 3 Mixte … well, you can guess what happened. (And I would like to take this opportunity to thank my husband and “sponsor”, Mark, for making this possible! 😉 )
She actually arrived literally the day before we left for Italy, so the first real test rides didn’t take place until our return. She is not only beautiful to behold, but is quite a dream ride, in that upright, city-cruising-in-a-skirt kind of way. Lighter and quicker than I expected. And did I mention – beautiful to look at? I have ridden her on a couple of 20-mile trips to and around town, and even with only 8 speeds, she handled every incline with ease. The front integrated rack will carry essentials and more with no difficulty – a loaded messenger bag, a bag of groceries, or even a Godzilla-appropriate designer handbag with miniature dog and baguette. 😉 Or my bag full of camera stuff.
A couple of the details that make her extra special:
- Shimano Alfine 8-speed internal hub
- belt drive (!) … (So far, I am loving it; amazingly smooth and quiet)
- front and rear dual piston hydraulic disc brakes
- very nifty two-leg foldable kickstand
As you can tell, I am very infatuated. Sometimes you just have to ride like a Beautiful Godzilla (even if you are just pretending). 😉 Call me if you want to meet up for a latte.
Dear Family and Friends,
I have returned. A bit changed, no doubt – as inevitably happens when visiting a new place, meeting new people, experiencing new things. Happy, tired, filled, and fulfilled. Full of bicycle memories and wonderful food, the warm colors of of the Tuscan landscape, the lyrical and expressive sounds of the Italian language. Awakened to important lessons – learning the beauty of living slowly, savoring the flavors, taking in the landscape, speaking through actions and gestures.
I’ve been debating on how best to tell some of the stories of this trip … As you may have already guessed, there is an excess of photos (will be putting final cut on my Flickr as I manage to get them uploaded) along with experiences on the bicycles that are probably too numerous to re-tell. But for my family, and especially my boys away at school who wanted some details, I have decided to tell the story over the course of several days (and several posts). So please bear with me – and check in as often or as little as you care to. I guess that’s the beauty of the blogosphere, isn’t it?
The story begins in Florence, where we arrived and had roughly a day to spend walking and enjoying this incredible city before setting out by bicycle across Tuscany. The architecture is stunning – from the cathedrals and museums to the Ruine Anno (river) and Ponte Vecchio. Bicycles and cyclists are everywhere. From the young and hip, to the older and more classically chic Italians, everyone rides bicycles.
The streets are typically European – narrow, cobbled, winding, and always charming. Everyone gathering in the piazzas in the evening for food and wine and fellowship. The food was beyond description; olive oil, rosemary, porcini mushrooms, crusty bread, vino rosso, and light fragrant pasta dishes … hard to get enough. And of course, our daily GOD (Gelato Of the Day).
Twenty-four hours is not nearly enough time properly see and appreciate this beautiful city, but we managed to walk until our legs nearly fell off and saw as much as we could. Simply, it was breathtaking. And I want to return someday.
So began the adventure….
halcyon |ˈhalsēən|, adjective — denoting a period of time in the past that was idyllically happy and peaceful.
Last weekend when we were taking Mason back to APSU in Clarksville, we made a quick stop in Nashville to visit a fantastic used bike store – Halcyon Bike Shop. Mason had visited the shop last spring with one of his cycling/physics friends, and was convinced I would love the place. And I did.
There is so much beauty in the endeavor of recycling, rehabbing, re-using bicycles and old bicycle parts. Everyone wins. Beautiful new (old) bikes are born. Affordable transportation is created from discards. Landfills are spared. Pink bikes get to go to college.
The growing number of “bike kitchens” and used bike shops also often offer places where people can volunteer time to work on bikes, and learn basic mechanical skills. Many of them, like Halcyon – through their Bike Workshop – help educate and provide transportation for underprivileged youth in the communities they serve. Everyone wins.
We saw some really divine machines at Halcyon; it was hard to leave without one. Mostly, there was a great informal vibe to the place – friendly and creative. I think a single sentence on their website describes them best:
Come to the shop and say hello, we are very nice and want to be friends.
Rest assured – the bikes were not stolen. Just their image… I will explain.
I have hesitated to even post this, because I mostly feel that it’s not what I’m about, not what I want this blog to be about. But I also feel quite strongly about right and wrong, ownership and theft, lessons learned, and I think there is an important message to be conveyed.
(Not to mention I also owe Casey, Jenn and Stan some beer and pizza over this one. 😉
Imagine my surprise when one of my twitter friends, Casey – a great guy, biochemistry PhD candidate, and fellow Xtracycle owner out in Montana(!) – sent me a note saying he was pretty sure he had seen a photo of my bikes in a local magazine, Outside Bozeman. Yeah – as in Bozeman, MT. And really, what are the odds of that – on every level?!
So I managed to get a copy of the magazine, just to see if he was correct. And sure enough, there they were – my photo of our bikes that I had taken almost three years ago out in our front yard. In Tennessee.
They had apparently pilfered the photo off of either my old blog, or from my Flickr set – both of which expressly state “License: © All Rights Reserved by (me)”. They never asked for permission, they offered no attribution.
So, what to think? Part of me was a bit conflicted. If it encouraged anyone to start riding a bike, or even purchase an Xtracycle, I felt like this was a good thing and served a good purpose – and really, it’s one of the main reasons I like to share my love of bikes and biking through photography and blogging. And yes, it was exciting (to some degree) to see one of my photos in print.
But I also feel very strongly about copyright, ownership, asking for permission to borrow or use or modify, having heard several stories of other peoples’ photos being “stolen” for profit-making endeavors (made into postcards, store flyers, etc.).
Wrong is wrong. And in the end, after discussing with several people in-the-know, I decided it was important to let this magazine know that I didn’t find their actions appropriate or ethical. I wrote a letter, and I sent them a “republication” invoice for the use of my photo. And waited.
Two days ago, I received a small and brief hand-written note of apology along with a check for what they claim was “twice their usual rate” – basically about enough for beer and pizza, but more importantly, evidence that they had gotten the message. And hopefully won’t resort to doing this kind of thing again. (Or so I like to tell myself.)
When all is said and done (and photographed and posted and published), I want to be clear about a couple of things … First, I am more grateful than any of you will ever know for the kind and positive comments I get on my photos that appear on this site, on my Flickr, and on ShutterCal. And while I strongly respect ownership – of all art forms, from photography to music to any other medium – I am typically honored to share, to offer the use of my images to those who are considerate and ask. Please know this, and please feel free to ask. (As long as you don’t intend to print postcards to sell…).
Over the past months it has been an privilege to collaborate and share photos with people like Rick from Xtracycle, Darryl at LovingTheBike, and even recently with an online poetry journal, POOL, put together by another amazing friend and photographer in her own right. A couple of my friends have wanted prints of certain shots, and I am so very flattered to offer them. Every one of them has honored me by asking, been more than generous with attribution, and provided me with a wonderful opportunity to share what I love. Because in the end, photography is meant to be seen; and if the bicycles I love are in the mix, even better.
So – Casey, Jenn and Stan … I will buy the beer and pizza, but I have decided to send the proceeds of this little experience to the Dan Austin and the great people at 88bikes – because it just feels like the right thing to do in the end. Someday, possibly, I will be able to put my camera to work for an endeavor like theirs….
So, you are a college student with not-so-much money, but you want a bicycle. And one day, at the local thrift store, you spot a nearly-mint condition bike for $10 … ok, actually $9.99. It is pink, a step-through frame, and there is no denying it is a girl’s bike. And you are a full-fledged-secure-in-your-maleness kind of guy.
Immediately you know: this is your bike.
A little bit about Matt … He has been a friend of all of the boys for a number of years, and has become like a member of our family. Spending time here, especially this summer, I like to think that our family’s love of bicycles and cycling has rubbed off a little. He’s a brilliant student, studying higher mathematics at Georgia Tech. He’s also an amazing cook (we joke that he should minor in culinary arts), a talented musician, and one of the kindest and most considerate young men we have ever known. He’s incredibly enterprising, conscientious and hard-working, and is definitely a free thinker.
He said that the unconventional, and maybe “slightly bizarre” look of a guy riding a pink vintage-ish girls’ bike was an appropriate reflection of his resourcefulness and even his personality – for $10, how could he possibly complain? Honestly, it’s a beautiful bike – obviously garage-kept and rarely ridden. It’s perfect. And somehow, it is Matt.
This weekend, Matt headed back to college. This semester, with a better (and pinker) way to get around campus and Atlanta. It makes me smile. Ride on, Matt – see you soon!