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#330daysofbiking continues

a spot of color on the winter landscape … Mason

 

I’ve been enjoying spending the recent days riding with “my boys”.  Some days it requires a little coercion – when the weather is cold and grey, or when they’ve been up until 4 am watching movies and playing video games with the usual suspects (i.e., Matt, Tim and Boaz).

We actually had a day or two when the temps were unseasonably warm – into the mid-sixties, and warm enough to ride in shorts.  Now the forecast is back to normal winter stuff, including the likelihood of some snow in the next few days.

boy talk

boyz on bikes

bare trees, bare legs

 

I always find it kind of ironic that I don’t see more people cycling here during winter.   I’m not sure what keeps them off of their bikes?  Our temperatures are really pretty moderate, most of the time above 30’F during the day.  Add a skull cap, some gloves and layers of clothing, and I really like riding during this time of year.  (And I love that I don’t arrive everywhere a dripping ball of sweat).   The landscape is so … muted, peaceful.  Shades of dun and buff, silhouettes of tree limbs, and beautiful low light.

Even the boys admit that once they get out there, it’s always worth it.

typical winter

 

As of today, the official #330daysofbiking count stands as follows:  have ridden 253 of the past 283 days, 84 days remain.

In a few days, the boys will all head back to school … meanwhile, I am loving every minute of our being able to ride together.

thanks for your patience with my goofy ways, Mason - and for always managing to make me laugh

souvenir 🙂

 

 

day 1 and already behind…

 

buried (alive)

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… !

 

bike delivery and messengers on the streets of Chicago

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.

 

Jack's Puppet Show Theatercycle ~ State Street, Chicago

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.

 

happiness in a borrowed bike - the trusty Huffy 3-speed in the snow (Pennsylvania)

a little slipping and sliding up the hill

a "trip computer" from another era ... or from the local Amish (?)

out in the open

kind of like getting a bike for Christmas

snowy happiness on an old Huffy

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.)

 

... kind of like the inner peace & serenity you find while on a bike (only trees can't pedal; I know)

day 1 of the next 25 years

 

“holding hands”

 

Yesterday was our 25th wedding anniversary.   There were beautiful flowers, heartfelt messages and cards, and a lovely romantic dinner, reminiscent of our trip to Italy… yet how does one even begin to write meaningful post about something like this, without sounding like a smarmy greeting card?  I had to leave that to my beloved partner, friend and husband – Mark.  He sent me an email early this morning:

Happy Day 1 of the next 25 years!

Yes.  Just ….. yes. 🙂

As we near Thanksgiving, and celebrate this personal milestone, I am reminded of how beautiful my life is, that I am well-loved by an amazing and inspiring family, and that I can think of no person I would rather continue on this journey with than my husband Mark.

A very happy Day 1.

 

25 years later... (Steamboat Springs, CO - March 2010)

the center of my universe - my family (Washington DC by bike, October 2008)

 

#330daysofbiking & back on home turf

Xtracycle evening … #330daysofbiking Day 169

Finally … nothing Italian. 😉

#330daysofbiking has continued – missing the gelato stops and getting lost within small villages, but with beautiful Tennessee autumn weather, cooler temperatures, boys home for Fall Break(s), cruising the Riverwalk in Chattanooga, and on the road with the “fast” boys.  Riding for fun, and riding to get the job done (errands, groceries, library, bike shop).

And some important news from coming via our friend Jeff … If you live and ride in TN, or plan to visit and ride, please take a moment to participate in a quick 9-question survey from the folks at TDOT on the state’s bicycle and pedestrian program.  TDOT wants to hear from you! (And by October 30th please … my apologies for getting this posted so late.)

Although a couple of days were lost in transit (Italy), #330daysofbiking count is still on target.  As of today, have ridden 189 of the past 208 days,with 159 days remaining.  And so it goes.

(Coming soon … tales of a new city bike, “Elisabetta”. 🙂 Photos and details to come; stay tuned.)

 

 

the "fast" boys ... #330daysofbiking Day 175

 

 

the crunch of leaves ... #330daysofbiking Day 178

 

 

Fall Break ... #330daysofbiking Day 182

 

 

bicycle "gang" (heh heh) on the Riverwalk, Chattanooga ... #330daysofbiking Day 183

 

 

Irony: picking up a (car) bicycle rack - by bicycle ... #330daysofbiking Day 187

 

… to be continued

there will be lots of cycling and (too) many photos

Dear friends … Heading out for a few days.  My in-laws, and Tim from The Band, are here to keep Grant and the critters company and hold down the fort.  Mark and I are taking off for a well-deserved trip together – to Italy, with bicycles.  Yeah, I’m pretty giddy!  The agenda is to bike from Florence to Rome, roughly along the Tuscan Coast.  Figuring on filling my water bottles up with olive oil along the way. 😉  Ok, maybe gelato instead.

So, you can be assured there will be plenty of biking photos, and definitely a change of scenery from the same-old, same-old of rural TN.  Hope to be back to post around October 5th, and hope you will check back then.

In the meantime, the #330daysofbiking count: as of today, have ridden 162 of the past 176 days with 191 days remaining. Cheers!

#330daysofbiking Day 157 ~ the colorful world of my favorite bike shop: Trailhead Bicycles

#330daysofbiking Day 159 - evening on the Xtracycle (Lensbaby)

#330daysofbiking Day 160 - busy Monday blind shot

#330daysofbiking Day 162 - a fritter inferno of (pre-)Happy Birthday wishes to my twitter cycling pal, @blueallez ... Happy 50th, C! (you geezer...)

#330daysofbiking: an update

Day 139 ~ their sign was missing; I thought this made a nice replacement 😉

A few of the random pictures from the recent days of #330daysofbiking.  (And I am on a mission to try and stay on top of things from here on, not letting this stuff pile up into one big post.  Apologies.)

The weather has been pretty spectacular; dry and not so hot.  Lovely and cool in the mornings and evening.  Fall is around the corner, and the prospect of autumn riding stirs my heart.

The official count:  As of today, have ridden 147 of the past 160 days.  Sometimes nice long road rides, sometimes just a grocery haul or errand run.  On my own, or with “my boys” or friends, it is the daily elixir – it is happiness in motion.

Day 140 ~ the little reminders that fall is on its way

Day 141 ~ pedaling, pedicure ... pedalicure (?)

Day 144 ~ just groceries and errand-riding

Day 145 ~ it was great to have Dillon home for the weekend; *perfect* riding weather too!

Day 146 ~ back at Berry, riding around the Mountain Campus & Winshape Retreat (see note below)

Note: Returning Dillon to school, had some time to check out more amazing architecture on the Berry campus.  This is part of the Winshape Retreat located within the Berry property. Story behind it: college founder Martha Berry traveled to France and upon return, decided to build a dairy farm resembling the architecture of Normandy. It was part of the college’s Ag pgm for over 75 years. Eventually, the Cathy family (Chick-fil-A chain) was given the opportunity take it over when the dairy operation changed location, and they converted it into a retreat for church & marriage encounters, a youth summer camp, as well as corporate gatherings, etc. They also offer a variety of scholarship opportunities and special residence halls for Berry students up in this area, known as Berry’s “Mountain Campus” … several miles removed from the main academic center.  The students living at the Mountain Campus have the option of taking a shuttle bus (humorously referred to as the “chicken wagon”) to classes, or cycling/walking on the Viking Trail – which is a great paved path between the two locations.  It was a beautiful ride (below).

Day 146 ~ riding the Viking Trail between Berry's Mountain Campus & Main Campus (no Norsemen, but plenty of deer)

Day 147 ~ riding home from errands; between rumble strip and overgrowth of waist-high weeds, I'm not too happy with TDOT lately

biking Berry

Tim & Dillon ... biking near the Ford Complex at Berry College (GA)

After 3 weeks at school, lots of kids decided to make a last trip home over the long Labor Day weekend.  Dillon had several things to take care back here, “stuff” to re-deposit, other stuff he’d forgotten to bring, so Tim and I headed down to Berry College to pick him up and bring him home.  We took our bikes down and took some time in the afternoon to ride around the campus and explore parts of the seemingly endless grounds before heading home.

Ford Dining Hall, Clara Hall and Mary Hall and the reflecting pool

A little bit about Berry … A small, private Liberal Arts college located in NW Georgia.  With over 26,000 acres, it is the largest contiguous college campus in the world.  Parts of it are designated Wildlife Refuge, there are approximately 70 miles of biking and hiking trails, a gazillion deer, beautiful old and new architecture, and close to 2,000 students.  The nature of the campus also provides a wonderful arena for research opportunties – from biodiversity and conservation, to water quality and agri-studies.

One of the most interesting aspects of college life at Berry is their on-campus Work Experience program.  Nearly every student participates in some type of paid, “meaningful work experience”; Dillon’s job is with the campus’ environmental “Green Team”, which connects with his studies in chemistry and environmental science.  There are also several on-campus Student Operated Enterprises, conceived and impemented by students – my favorite being the newly formed Viking CycleWorks, a small facility offering bicycle repair services and basic parts/supplies.  Their slogan: “You break it, we fix it”.

Viking CycleWorks - student-run enterprise at Berry

It’s a perfect college campus for biking – from the quiet campus roads to the amazing trail network.  Although most of the academic and student-life buildings are centrally located, it is spread out enough that cycling is the perfect and preferred means for getting around.  We kind of ran out of time  – riding around the main campus, and visiting the Mountain Campus – but I look forward to another visit to check out more the trail system.

Enjoy the long weekend – get outside on your bikes! 😀

(More images on my Flickr set).

the new Audrey B. Morgan Residence Hall ... and lots of bikes

Ford Auditorium (can you spy my bike? 😉 )

#330daysofbiking update & some photos

an excellent message ... as seen in Clarksville, TN

I probably should have waited one more day for the end-of-the-month update, but the pile of photos was getting out of hand.

So, the official count as of today: 138 days on a bicycle, out of 151 days.  Two-hundred and sixteen days remaining.  The month of August was a tough one – missed 6 days of riding –  between the heat, the trip to Chicago, and schlepping the college-bound boys.  But now, everyone is back in school, the weather should be turning cooler, and there are many beautiful riding days ahead.

Spent the past week riding a lot with Mason before he headed back to APSU.  It was perfect, and I will miss his company.  😀

So … a few of the images from days past.  (The remainder, and more, can always be seen in my #330daysofbiking set on Flickr.)

#330daysofbiking, Day 127 ... behind the rails

#330daysofbiking Day 129 ... fun with iPhone and Xtracycle

#330daysofbiking Day 130 ... new and old

#330daysofbiking Day 133 ... Mason, moving faster than the river

#330daysofbiking, Day 135 ... final days. Met the owner of this barn today while riding, who told me it would be torn down soon; old timber/log frame is more valuable than the building left standing. Makes me sad tho.

#330daysofbiking Day 137 - while I jump off to take photos, she gets to take a nap

#330daysofbiking Day 137 ... last ride; heading back to school today

#330daysofbiking, Day 138 .... stopping for coffee, and my sweet little PoCampo rack bag/purse

intersections

The Night Shines

We arrive at intersections, in our lanes with others heading the same direction.  We stop or slow down, some turn right, some turn left.  People arrive from other directions and enter our lane, driving in front of us, or behind, but on the same bearing.  We stay together for a while.  We part.  We merge and we move forward.

We’ve arrived at one of those intersections once again – the boys are heading back to school, moving forward, changing lanes.  The summer has been kind of non-stop camaraderie between the boys, the band (The Night Shines), friends and family, and the partings can be somewhat bittersweet – a combination of excitement and apprehension.  For the band, I think it is been especially so; they’ve shared the same lane for so long, it’s tough to turn off, to part ways for a while.

While I can never adequately describe or define their personalities, the silliness, the connections between them – I think the picture above caught a very brief spark.

For now, I have a few more days of riding with a couple of them before they, too, make the turn and head back to school.  The story of the pink Caliente is still coming – hopefully later this week – when I can get some photos with the new owner.

The official #330daysofbiking count: have ridden 126 of the past 138 days (today will be day 127), with 229 (228) days remaining.  Meanwhile … a couple of the photos.

#330daysofbiking Day 122, 8/12/10 ... in motion

#330daysofbiking Day 124, 8/14/10 ... pedalpuddle

#330daysofbiking Day 126, 8/16/10 ... Mason a la Lensbaby

chicago: city of bikes, lights and music

one of countless pedi-cabs seen around Chicago; popular choice for Lollapalooza concert-goers at the end of the day

I am behind in posting … and I have been reminded of this fact.  Sorry.  We just returned from a trip to Chicago – nine of us (including boys’ friends) headed up for Lollapalooza 2010.  Just. Amazing.

The bicycle culture has always been vibrant in Chicago, even from back in the day when I was growing up there.  And now, especially in summer, the city is saturated with cyclists of all kinds.  Women in heels on beautiful Dutch bikes, messenger-types on fixies, all variety of commuters on all types of bikes.  Fast bikes, fancy bikes, hip bikes, beater bikes.  I think my favorite (and one I am tempted to duplicate in my own manner) was the fur-covered bike we spotted on Michigan Ave.  Good grief, how I loved that one! 🙂

despite the heat wave, this one apparently needed a little extra warmth

The truth is, we actually hauled two of our own bikes up there with us – but never ended up riding, I am very sad to say.  Our group decided to just stay together, enjoying the music and each other’s company, walking everywhere.  And I mean everywhere.    At first I wasn’t sure I’d be willing to stick it out for 10-11 hours a day in the massive Lollacrowds (estimated at 68,000 each day, I believe), and thought some biking would be my alternate plan if I needed to escape.  However, the whole festival scene, the truly amazing music, the energy of the experience kept me – kept all of us – in the park the entire time.  It was wonderful and unforgettable.

Every night when the festival ended, the mass exodus of concert-goers would take over the surrounding streets of the city, all heading home.  It may look chaotic or even scary – but it was exhilerating, happy, filled with energy and excitement. On the last night, the entire crowd – probably a few thousand people – broke out into spontaneous singing of the chorus to “Wake Up” by Arcade Fire (who were the last to play on Sunday); you’ve probably heard the song from the movie soundtrack “Where The Wild Things Are”. It was just …. spine tingling, and a moment I will never forget.

the body of music lovers - leaving and taking over the streets, singing

I think I almost managed to break my camera taking photos, but decided to leave the music and city shots (as I am slowly uploading them) for Flickr, and only put a few of the bike shots up here.  I also may have put myself behind schedule on #330daysofbiking; but the truth is, as much as I would’ve liked to have ridden, I just don’t regret it.

Chicago – I miss you.  It was a magical reunion – from bikes to music to your breathtaking skyline at night.  The enchantment of Grant Park on a summer night, and Lake Michigan in the moonlight.  Not to mention some of the best food in the world, which I have dearly, dearly craved.  Thanks for welcoming me home.  Rock on; bike on!

late dinner in Greek Town ... and a bike on Halsted