What this blog is about

Bicycle commuting, bicycle touring, bicycle racing; bicycle ADVENTURING.
To the grocery store, up a mountain, across the country or to the finish line--
it's all an adventure.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

I was short.

The other day I was loading my trailer (Percy) when a middle-aged man parked his rumbling pickup, lumbered out of it, and then stood staring at my trailer. "Nice rig, ya got there," he smiled to one side.

Now, ordinarily, this would cause me to light up and talk proudly and enthusiastically (not hard to imagine, if you've ever met me for about 5 minutes and said the word "bicycle") about how I use my bike to get around. But something very subtle in the tone of his voice, his posture, the way his eyes studied my trailer stacked full with shelves, a desk and two very large paintings.. something made "Nice rig, ya got there," sound more like "what a cute toy of a contraption ya got there," and I did not appreciate that at all. So, regrettably, I was short with him.

"Yeah. I don't pay for car insurance, car payments, gas, repairs.. Plus, I'm fit."

"Well, there's something to be said for that," he smiled large again.

"Yeah, there is." And I turned away to continue loading my trailer.

Whether that man really thought I was "cute" or not-- I have a bigger theme in mind. Many, if not most Americans still think of bicycles as strictly "recreational" vehicles that you put in the car and drive to the local park to ride. It is the minority of Americans that realize the practical everyday potential of bicycles as transportation vehicles. The time is ripe to change that mindset.


One of the bike blogs I read is Copenhagenize.com, a site that celebrates Copenhagen's brilliant bike culture. Their busiest bike lane sees 35,000 cyclists PER DAY. To better illustrate that point, watch THIS sort video from Copenhagenize's sister site (or at least I think of it as a sister site) Copenhagen Cycle Chic. First count how many bikes go by. Then count the cars.


A few pictures from Copenhagen Cycle Chic.. these are real everyday people, not model shots.

You don't need spandex to ride a bike!!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

West Side Story - "America"

Recent Adventures

Rode out to Harris Park, hiked a bit, rode back.

Rode out to Bennington Lake, hiked a bit, rode back.

Rode up to Tollgate, ate a lunch that was too greasy, rode back.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Emancipating Bicycle

Hmm. Wonder how they would feel about my spandex in the 1880s.

Susan B. Anthony once said, "Let me tell you what I think of bicycling. I think it has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world."

The severity of the outcry against women participating in these activities is proof of their effectiveness. The brave women who donned rational dress were criticized, denied access to public places and widely mocked in the media. A satirical poem in one U.S. paper, for instance, suggested bloomers were a sort of "gateway garment," the wearers of which might go on to participate in such dastardly pursuits as business or reading.

Female cyclists were often accosted verbally and physically as they rode. Emma Eades, one of the first women to ride a bike in London, was attacked with bricks and stones. Men and women alike demanded that she go home where she belonged and behave properly.

For the complete article, click here.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Meet Percy.

Meet Percy.

My new trailer. :)

Percy is named for the cheeky, reasonably experienced yet occasionally overconfident engine from the Thomas the Tank Engine series.

Percy's first load was 3 complete sets of Zipp wheels. I felt like there had to be some irony in there somewhere. Especially since I intentionally kept pace with the male bike commuter in front of me while giggling about how "aero" I was.

If you want to learn more about this quite industrial trailer, check out Bikes at Work.

Now and Then

Jim Borgman, cartoonist.

Dust your bike off.

This June I will be putting on a bike workshop series!

#1 - Fix a flat & basic bike maintenance.
Learn what regular adjustments and repairs you can make with only a few tools!

#2 - How to not get hit by cars.
Learn the most common bike/car accidents and how to avoid them!

#3 - Grocery getting by bicycle.
Learn how to pedal more and drive less!

The workshops will be on 3 weekday evenings in June, more details on time/location t.b.a.

Missing Blog??

If you wandered over to my page in the last few days only to find a strange "blog not found" message.. that's because Blogger has robots that look for spam blogs and then shut them down. Instead of having real live humans look at the blog to make sure it is INDEED a spam blog BEFORE shutting it down.. it just gets shut down and you have to appeal and wait a few impatient days while someone checks it out to make sure you're a human and not a spam machine. It was annoying, but oh well. They gotta do what they gotta do. Darn spammers.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Blues & Brews (AND BIKES??) in Joseph, OR



Be sure to note the elevation map if you check it out.. 10,000'

For Families

There are lots of ways to cycle with your kids: big or small.

Pop 'em in an Xtracycle using the nifty Pea Pod accessory..

Or if you're handy, add some seats to the wooden deck (snap deck) of an Xtracycle..

A bakfiet from Clever Cycles can carry LOTS of children!

You could even combine a Clever Cycle bakfiet AND an Xtracycle!

Wondering if your kids can handle a bike trip? THIS family goes TOURING on trips as long as 4000km!

And when they're too big for the little seats, but not big enough to ride on their own, they can always tag along!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

India Arie - "Video"

Sometimes I shave my legs and sometimes I don't
Sometimes I comb my hair and sometimes I won't
Depend on how the wind blows I might even paint my toes
It really just depends on whatever feels good in my soul

I'm not the average girl from your video
And I ain't built like a supermodel
But, I learned to love myself unconditionally
Because I am a queen
I'm not the average girl from your video
My worth is not determined by the price of my clothes
No matter what I'm wearing I will always be India Arie

When I look in the mirror the only one there is me
Every freckle on my face is where its supposed to be
And I know our creator didn't make no mistakes on me
My feet, my thighs, my lips, my eyes; I'm lovin' what I see


Am I less of a lady if I don't wear pantyhose?
My mama said a lady ain't what she wears but, what she knows
But, I've drawn a conclusion, it's all an illusion, confusion's the name of the
A misconception, a vast deception
Something's gotta change
Don't be offended, this is all my opinion
Ain't nothing that I'm sayin' law
This is a true confession of a life learned lesson I was sent here to share wit
So get in where you fit in go on and shine
Free your mind, now's the time
Put your salt on the shelf
Go on and love yourself
'cuz everything's gonna be all right

Keep your fancy drinks and your expensive minks
I don't need that to have a good time
Keep your expensive car and your caviar
All I need is my guitar
Keep your crisp style and your pistol
I'd rather have a pretty piece of crystal
Don't need your silicon I prefer my own
What God gave me is just fine



I discovered two things today-

First- my quads have definitely atrophied. It feels totally alien. It's like my legs belong to someone else's body! Surely MY legs are not this small and weak. I need more riding and less reading-about-riding. I've had a little bit of a funk lately. Time to break the trend and get back to adventuring.

The other thing happened whilst I was teaching Chelsea, one of our B women on the Whitman Cycling team, how to ride rollers. I was in the middle of saying, "when I rode rollers a lot in the winter, I eventually could ride standing up.. some people can ride with no hands, but I think that's way harder on rollers than standing up.." and to demonstrate I attempted to sit up with no hands.. and then I DID. Wha??

So my quads have shrunk.. but I can ride rollers with no hands!

It's all give and take.

Collegiate Nationals!

A quick review of the 2008 Collegiate Road Cycling Nationals with the Whitman Cycling team..

18 hours in the car is actually preferred to half the time on the plane.

The boys were late to their team time trial- oops!

The ladies were 1 second out of 3rd place with a THREE lady team (teams usually have 4 riders).

The road race was EPIC. Climb after climb after climb. And those babies were STEEP. It was also especially windy. I'm telling you- it was epic. KENDI GOT SECOND!!!? Devon11, Mia 17. Wow, wow. Zac hung on with his teeth to keep in the top 50. Colin fell only just outside of 50, while Ben pulled out to save his muscle fibers for the criterium.

We stopped at the thrift store before the banquet on Saturday night. We got LOTS of compliments.

The criterium was fast, flat and exciting. Ben, unfortunately, folded his chain in the final lap, Colin was taken out (and is fine) by an MIT rider and Zac, after his awesome performance on Saturday, fell off pace but was glad to have all of his teeth intact. (He lost half of one in the last criterium he was in..) Kendi flippin' GOT SECOND AGAIN after dominating the primes. Mia was fantastic support throughout and put out some real flamin' attacks (I have one on tape!), including a vicious one in the final lap. Devon finished strong.

Kendi TIED for the individual omnium, but the title was given to another lady who scored 1st in the road race and 4th in the criterium. In my mind, 2nd + 2nd is better than 1st + 4th. Kendi's the real winner. Kendi's only a sophomore, though. The other girl is 27.

And then we drove home. :)

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Thoughts in Line

I stood in the checkout line at the grocery store today and watched my fancy snacks roll by. I'll be road tripping for 16hours tomorrow, so I needed some healthful and snackful sustenance.

My food hums by on the conveyor belt. Organic yogurt, bananas, vegetable chips, whole wheat fig bars, organic fair trade tea, oranges, apples, strawberries, nut crackers..

A mom and her two wiggly children are in line behind me. Tv dinner, tv dinner, tv dinner, candy, candy.

Spoiled, spoiled, spoiled am I.

What are you spending?

What are you spending?

This handy pie chart
shows you the breakdown of what Americans spend their money on in 2008 vs. 2007. Drag your mouse over various pieces for more detail.

A few things I noticed: every category in transportation had increased spending except for the purchase of new cars and trucks. Gasoline spending went up 26%, other motor fuel is up 40%, fuel oil for the home up 48%, these are HUGE numbers, especially when most of the other increases are between less than one and 4%.

Also, bicycles are listed as "recreation," not "transportation."

Things to do with your Xtracycle..

Things to do with your Xtracycle..

Go to the Farmers Market.

Go shopping for the cycling team BBQ.

And take out the recycling for a local coffee shop!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Rock the Bike!

Your Xtracycle may be a Grocery Getter or Adventure Maker by day, but by night.. it's the beat of the party. Check out Rock the Bike, a company that offers fully custom and do-it-yourself kits for "soul cycles," bicycle sound systems.

Also check out Shake Your Peace, a folk band:
touring on bicycles (without a support van) and using public transportation, powering its P.A. system with human/audience power via bicycle, planting a tree for each CD it makes, and more.

You can download or listen to a live stream of their music, here.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Get Patched!

This patch is going on my Xtracycle ASAP! You can get a patch of your own, here. You can get the "normal" size, 2" x 6" or the "bumongous" size at 5" x 16". There are also some awesome "53 miles per burrito" tshirts in many tasteful colors, necklaces fashioned out of old downtube shifters and bike tires reborn into bike-lock holding hipster belts. It's all at zeropergallon.com, check it out!

Bikes on the Freeway

This just made me crack up.

These guys ride where bikes are banned.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Car vs. Bicycle

Rob and Kurt Widmer of Widmer Brothers Brewing in Portland had a contest. Starting from the same location and using the same route, Rob rode his bike to work and Kurt drove his car. The winner was whoever got there first. Well, obviously, since I'm posting this- Rob won by 5 minutes! They also had another co-worker take lower traffic streets and she only arrived 2 minutes behind the car.

Folks, if it's less than 3 miles- a bike can do it just as fast. :)

Read the full article from BikePortland.org here.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

"My Daughter Made Me Ride" by Barbara Hutchins @ Practical Pedal, a free magazine

This is an excerpt from the article "My Daughter Made Me Ride" by Barbara Hutchins, published in Practical Pedal. It's a great reminder that commuting by bicycle doesn't have to be a moral or environmental issue for people, it can also simply be a practical one. I know that I always have to check myself when talking to people about bicycle commuting- I try not to sound like I'm trying to single-handedly save the planet, but rather that I ride my bike everywhere so much simply because I enjoy it. Just today I put smooth tires on my mountain bike and I had to don my BTA (Bicycle Transportation Alliance) tshirt and converse shoes and run out the door just so I could ride it around town a bit. I went sprinting down Main St. just for the heck of it.
I asked Sarah what made her dislike automobiles so much. "What do you mean, Mom?" she said. "I like cars."

"Why do you ride a bike everywhere?" I said.

"Because I don't need a car. I live in a city. Everything I need is within twenty miles. If I had a place to park it I'd probably buy a car just to have for trips, but I'd still ride my bike around town. Does dad still think I need a car? Is that what this is about?"

"So you don't hate cars?" I said.

"No. Why would you think that?"

After our conversation I felt rather stupid. I'd spent months feeling guilty because I'd framed my dilemma as requiring a choice between convenience and some sort of romantic notion of necessity. I felt stupid because I'd framed the problem all wrong. As Sarah saw it, the choice to ride a bike wasn't a rebellion or an Amish-like resistance to the evils of technology. Riding a bike wasn't a denial of progress. In fact, from her perspective, riding a bike was the epitome of the idea that technology is progress. The bicycle is technology perfectly applied to the problem of urban transportation. The bicycle eases congestion, keeps us healthy, consumes fewer resources, and is cheaper.

"All About Bike Trailers" by Wiley Davis @ Practical Pedal, a free magazine)

If you're bike trailer shopping, a haul-aholic, or just plain bike nerd, this is the article to read. It explains the advantages and disadvantages of various designs of trailers, and best of all- the physics behind it. This is for the geeks who want to know why oscillation happens and so forth.

Xtracycle's Beginnings & Practical Pedal online magazine

Did you know that Ross Evans and Kipchoge Spencer, the guys who started Xtracycle, met at Stanford? Did you know that the concept was born from exploring ways to make bicycles more utilitarian for Nicaraguan workers? Did you know that Xtracycle decided to open for business even after receiving zero market acceptance?

There's an awesome article on Xtracycle's beginnings at Practical Pedal, the free online (& print!) magazine for "anyone who thinks bikes make great transportation." I'm also a big fan of their Fixit part of their site that provides pictures and helpful-while-humorous writing on all topics mechanical (and a few off-topic), including the basics.
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