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Posts tagged ‘Riverwalk’

utilitaire 10 of 12: a-go-go

Riding across the Riverside Drive glass bridge in Chattanooga always gives me an imaginary sense of victory(?) over cars.  I love standing on that bridge with my bike and looking down at the cars driving underneath; I am looming over them for a change (even it it’s only in my mind…).

Today’s destination was number 12 on the Utilitaire control card: to get my hair cut.  My once-a-month-or-so trip to Chattanooga to visit my stylist, Chris, at Hair-A-Go-Go gives me a chance to ride into the city on the Riverwalk.

I will confess, I have to drive (shame on me!) to the northern terminus of the Riverwalk from home; but living about 40+ mi outisde of the city, an 80-mile round trip would be a big stretch for a reasonable commuter distance for me. Sorry. This way, anyway, I cut a little off of my driving distance, and get to ride the  “scenic route” into downtown, and have some time to enjoy the destination.    I think the approximate distance from the north end of the path to the Bluff View Art District downtown is about 8 miles one way, so the round trip  makes  for a relaxing and comfortable ride which I almost always make on Elisabetta.

Got my haircut, stopped into the downtown art supply store for a new pen, and then lingered around Coolidge Park for a little while enjoying the incredible sunshine and the balmy temperatures.  I think we reached the mid-70’s.  Lots and lots of people were out, walking, biking, sitting on benches on the Walnut Street Bridge, enjoying picnics in the park.

Before heading back, I stopped to treat myself at Rembrand’s Coffee House in the Art District.  I was in the mood for one of their blackberry Italian Cream Sodas …  it was heavenly, especially on the warm day.  I am not exactly sure what makes it “Italian” (because I don’t remember ever seeing anything like this in Italy), but it is basically blackberry syrup, soda water, and some cream – yes, real cream – over ice.  Not something to indulge in on a regular basis, but for an occasional treat, I shall have no guilt over it(!).

My hair is back to it’s short and trimmed state, my journal enjoyed the sun and the park (if not my attempts with the new pen), and I am still imagining the sweetness of blackberries and cream.  A few scenes from the day … and a big thank you to the very kind new friends who have visited these pages from today’s Freshly Pressed; it was an unexpected surprise, and I am quite bowled over by the kind words and responses.  Many thanks.

buying pens

playing with new pens

Chattanooga has a thriving hipster population  … Riverwalk

Scenic City bridges … Coolidge Park

‘family’ portraits

morning skyline from the North Shore

OK … not really family portraits, but I get a lot of teasing that I take more photos of my bikes, especially Elisabetta, than I do of my kids these days.  It’s actually the reason I bought her.  (Kidding…).

Another lovely fall day riding around Chattanooga.  Had some errands to run, did some shopping, enjoyed a lovely lunch with my beloved (human, not bicycle), took some time to doodle and take pictures.  You should all know by know, it’s what I do – mastering the art of goofing off….

steel sidewalk

bike and barge

there is the art of the bicycle ... and the art of a real artist (Hunter Museum)

#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


no impact experiment – day 1: consumption

Ross riding the Riverwalk, Chattanooga

Ross riding the Riverwalk, Chattanooga

A while back, I read about Colin Beavan’s No Impact Project – and the truncated version of his experiment, designed for the masses, called the No Impact Experiment.  I decided to sign up and try it for a week.   Yesterday was Day 1.

The idea behind the Experiment is to examine and evaluate different aspects of our daily habits, and find ways to change our behavior and habits to make less impact on the environment and live a “fuller and happier” life in the process.  Sounded very interesting and worth trying, so I read the official “participation guide” and signed up.  Biggest obstacle – at least from my perspective – is the fact that Kids are in the middle of Fall Break, Mason and Ross home for a few days from college, and the gamut of other things we had scheduled to do during these few days, and the Experiment was not on others’ lists.  Ah well, I am trying to make the best of what I can do, as well as I can.

Day 1 (Sunday) was an examination of consumption and our personal shopping/consumption habits.  Step one, make a list of all the stuff I “need” to buy this week, and delete the items I can live without for the week.  For the rest of the items, figure out a way to possibly borrow, make or purchase them second-hand.  We were also instructed to use a re-usable bag to collect all of the trash, recyclables, and food waste we generated.  I kind of failed with that last part…

Here is the list of things I would be contemplating buying this week:

  • Watercolor block – decided I can do without for now.
  • Boots – decided I can definitely do without; simply a desire, not a “need”.
  • Electric bicycle conversion kit – long story behind this, but contemplating a retrofit of my mtn. bike for occasional use (when I am totally wimped, tired, and just don’t have it in me to pedal over the big hill)- considering possibility sending car off with one of the college Kids.  Not going to make the purchase, for now.
  • Food – the one thing I can’t take off the list.

How did it make me feel not to purchase anything?  Well, I’m not a big shopper to begin with, so it doesn’t really bother me – at least for the short-term.  I find that I tend to get something in my mind that I want to purchase – the camera, a book, some yarn, some bike accessory – and don’t typically “impulse” buy these kind of things.  The boots (although officially one of SimpleShoes’s “green” styles) were an impulse consideration, and it was not a problem to nix the idea.

Did I really do a good job following the experiment to the letter yesterday?  No.  I didn’t collect my trash.  We also took a ride into Chattanooga and spent part of the afternoon cycling on the Riverwalk and in the city.  I got some coffee in a disposable cup.  We all went out for dinner – by car.  Could I have been more conscientious?  Yes, definitely … but just trying to balance the wishes of the family with my own state of experimentation.

Did evaluating my consumption have an impact?  Yes, I think so.  Had I not decided to participate in the Experiment, I probably would have bought the watercolor block, and possibly the boots, without much thought.  I do think it’s important to evaluate our purchases – do I really “need” this? I like the idea of making a list of proposed items I intend to purchase – that constraint alone could be very effective, and an excellent evaluation tool. I also think I need to re-evaluate my aversion to shopping at resale shops, thrift stores, etc.  It’s one of those personal things I’ve just never been crazy about, but I know it could be worthwhile to try.

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independence day – riverwalk ride

RIding the glass bridge from Hunter Museum of Art; Chattanooga Riverwalk

Crossing on the glass bridge from the Hunter Museum of Art; Chattanooga Riverwalk

Summer is here, the Tour de France has officially started, and yesterday was Independence Day.

After spending the earlier part of the day glued to the Tour on television, we had an early BBQ at home and then headed toward Coolidge Park in downtown Chattanooga, via the Riverwalk – by bike.

The Riverwalk Route (map) is a leisurely bike (& pedestrian) path ride, winding from the TVA dam, near Amnicola Highway, into downtown Chattanooga/Ross’s Landing.  It passes through several parks and picnic areas, the Amnicola wetlands/swamp (which despite the sound, is really lovely), and along the Tennessee River into downtown Chattanooga.  Most of the scenery is picturesque, with the exception of a couple of industrial areas you pass through near the downtown end of the trail.  Currently, I believe the contiguous path is about 8 miles in length – from TVA dam to downtown (16 mi. roundtrip for out-and-back).  It’s a great opportunity for family riding, being almost entirely flat, smooth, and mostly free from street crossings.

Upon reaching the Bluff View Art District, you will need to travel one small stretch of low-traffic street to get to the continuation of the path near the Hunter Museum of Art.  At the museum, you get to cross the slick little glass bridge (shown above); it offers a neat view of down below, as well as the Aquarium and the Walnut Street Pedestrian Bridge.

The guys, riding merry-go-round style in front of the Hunter Museum of Art.

The guys, riding merry-go-round style in front of the Hunter Museum of Art.

A quick cross over the Walnut Street Bridge and you are in Coolidge Park – home to the weekend downtown Marketplace as well as the venue for concerts and other gatherings.

I had the trusty Xtracycle to haul a blanket, our camp seats, a cooler, and the rest of the necessary odds & ends. We picked a shady spot to park ourselves, and enjoyed a couple of hours relaxing and people-watching.  Chattanooga Outdoors was supposed to be offering a Bike Valet Service for the July 4th gathering, but we must have missed it.

Coolidge Park and the Walnut Street Pedestrian/Bike Bridge

Coolidge Park and the Walnut Street Pedestrian/Bike Bridge

We hung out till near-dusk and decided to head back, skipping the fireworks, etc.  We’re a little unclear on the official Riverwalk policy, but I believe that sections of it are closed at sundown.  There are a couple of lockable metal gates along the path, and we didn’t want to take the chance of getting trapped-out of riding back.  I need to investigate this matter further, because we’ve often considered riding down for an evening Lookouts game, but are not sure we’d have access to the path to get us back.

We missed the Bike Valet - oh, well...

We missed the Bike Valet - oh, well...

It’s always encouraging to see the efforts being made by more and more cities to become more bike and pedestrian friendly.  I’m happy to say I think we should add Chattanooga to the list.  If you ever have a chance to use the Riverwalk to explore the city, or just to take a leisurely ride, you won’t be disappointed.

Kinda nice to add a new meaning to Independence Day – independence from the car!