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.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Mill Creek and Friends

My friends Matt and Linda and I went for a ride up Mill Creek the other day. Linda was celebrating her new speedy bike. While her trusty steel KHS will continue to be loved, I think her new all carbon Specialized Ruby Elite will be very welcome to the family. We have more adventures yet to come.
Matt, meanwhile, was stretching his boundaries by riding 30 miles on his second ever recreational ride! Matt does get some miles in while commuting on his bike, to be fair (and he's selling his car!)- but he is new to the constant effort required of longer rides. Linda and I were SO impressed and proud of Matt for rising to the challenge. I can see more pleasant miles spinning by in his future.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

First Tour Test

Last Friday I loaded up my Surly and pedaled out to Waitsburg (20 miles north of Walla Walla) in my sneakers. Other than having a good time, my intent was to see how the Surly & Xtracycle combination performed while loaded over longer distances and hillier terrain. While I'm sure I've more than maxxed out my Surly/Xtracycle with ambitious grocery loads- I've only towed those around small and flat Walla Walla. I was pleased to find that I could still stand and rock the bike uphill, and since I enjoy climbing, that scored a lot of points. (Though I did not have a very heavy load on.) It was speedy enough to move along without growing impatient (especially since my other ride is approx. 17 lbs). It was also, unsurprisingly, a solid and stable all around and just plain enjoyable. However, I may still decide to tour without the Xtracycle to simplify things- less weight, less complex mechanical maintenance, etc. So that's the review- but if you want to know what I was really thinking about: dinner! Clint and Patty Froke were so kind to BBQ up some delicious grub for me, let me set up camp in their back yard and have a turn at milking one of the goats in the morning. They were wonderful hosts. I had a grand time. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Copenhagen & the Netherlands

So, I spend a lot of time on Copenhagenzie.com slobbering over things like this:

A blind spot in the bike lane is indicated by
a painted red and white target in Copenhagen.

and wondering why the crap we can't (or, more accurately, aren't) doing smart things like that here in the US. Or wondering why we don't see Everyday Cool People riding Sweet Ass Bikes like these cargo bikes here:

And while I will continue to feed on Copenhagenize, my NEW favorite slobber site is Hembrow Cycling Holidays. I mean, where else can you see 850 cycle spaces for 725 students at a grade school?

I mean, heck, the rubbish bin is even designed for cyclists!:

Wow. And buck up and put on your woolies! It's 24 degrees F (-4 C) and watch this 1 minute tour through downtown Assen:

Y0u don't see that many bicycles or parked bicycles on a SUNNY day here! Sheesh.

Dream of a better life at Hembrow Cycling Holidays where you can:
  • Go on a "Study Tour" to learn about cycling infrastructure
  • Browse mind-blowing photos & videos
  • Thicken your arsenal with handy & informational articles
  • And start t'inkin' about HOW WE CAN DO IT HERE!
I mean, COME ON, people!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Street Corner in Amsterdam

This is the photo of the flippin' week! Young Amsterdam lady pedals in heels while her boyfriend rides side saddle in the back.

I found this shot from "Amsterdam Bicycles," a small but interesting website. The author stood on a street corner and took pictures of cyclists for 73 minutes. The result is a collection of people riding their bicycles..

in suits,
in dresses
with children,
with dogs,
carrying flowers..
oh, and there was ONE person wearing spandex.

Bicycle Workshops!

Since there are so many people saddling up to bicycles these days due to hefty gas prices as well as environmental and personal health concerns, I thought I'd share some good info for all these newbies.

Wed. JUNE 25: Fix a flat & basic maintenance!

Wed. JULY 2: How to not get hit by cars!

Wed. JULY 9: Grocery shopping, weather & more tips!

All workshops are:
@ Pioneer Park, near the gazebo
& are FREE!

A Daily Market event.

My $15 Motebecane!

I was cruisin' down Second Ave when I spied a YARD SALE and there were BIKES at this yard sale. I pulled over IMMEDIATELY and tried to keep my run to a walk. I casually perused the bicycles. One generic beat up mountain bike and one.. mixte Motebecane! I checked only a few things (how true are the wheels? do the brakes still have life? etc.) and determined that my average bike mechanic skills could take this project on. I then quickly justified ownership since "I always wanted a bike to wear a skirt on!" Reigning in my enthusiasm, I walked over to the yard sale owner, "how much for the bike?" "$15." Jumpin' George! don'tgettooexcited. don'tgettooexcited. "Okay."

And of course, how else do you get a yard sale bike home? Your Xtracycle. I was a tisch concerned since I didn't have my wideloaders with me (doh! I almost always bring them just in case.) and I had an audience. The entire Yard Sale family HAD to be watching me, I was sure. But I calmly laid the bike down on the snap deck, letting the front end hang off the back, and strapped it down with the 3 buckles on the Xtracycle and 2 bungees for good measure. Got it, first try. As I pedaled off into the sunset, I let that goofy smile burst onto my face and let out some good nerdy, self-satisfied chuckles. I didn't take the pictures until I got home, of course.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Bikes I'm Starin' At

It's funny that a lot of people in the US ogle at the bikes you see in the pages of Velonews or Pro Cycling with carbon fiber shoved into every nook and cranny and this is what I ogle at:

The Breezer Greenway: "Be advised, though: commuting by bicycle can be addictive!"

Independent Fabrication's Independence: "extremely durable and timetested world traveler."

Lightfoot Cycles' Courier: "The wide fenders are used to carry oversize loads (and often passengers). There is enough room to carry large tool boxes, and tote boxes.."

Velorbis Victoria Classic: "...Easily and seamlessly integrated into your everyday routine, whether you use it for commuting, shopping or simply arriving in style to meet your friends for a coffee at the local café."

The Ann Ride: success!

Describe your overall experience at the Ann Ride:
An enjoyable day and memorial for Ann.
Fun, fulfilling, an overall good time. Good food, too.
This was an awesome ride, I had a blast!
Riding & remembering riding with Anne.
Great- people were VERY nice.

What did you enjoy the most about the Ann Ride?:

I liked it all: cause, people, organizers, location, course.
The scenery, freedom to take my time to enjoy it.
Support stops. 
Quiet roads, nice people.
The scenery.

How did you hear about this ride?:
Knew Ann.
Bike shop.
Word of mouth.

Would you recommend this ride to friends?

What made you decide to join us for the Ann Ride?
Knew Ann, wanted to support the cause.
I rode with Ann.
My wife and I wanted to do it together.
Walla Walla wine tasting & the ride, mostly the ride.

How did you like the route?
Loved it- scenery was great.

Any other suggestions for next year?
Just do it again.
Don't stop.

Camp Wooten & Windmills!

The other week Debi Toews and I rode  out to Camp Wooten and her husband Jim Toews sagged us- which basically means to frog hop us in a car and pamper us with water, cool rags, cookies and chocolate milk in martini glasses along the way. And yes, Jim was sagging us on Father's Day- but I'm pretty sure that sagging his wife and bird watching all along the way was something that Jim Toews would want to do on Father's Day because Jim likes helping people.

AND THEN, after the ride we drove up to the windmills and I posed alongside one for scale. :) They're big. And super neat. They churn like quiet, fantastical giants with age-old wisdom that have grown weary yet patient with mankind's fretting. In other words, these things popped out of a Tolkien novel or something.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Join the movement; wipe out MS.

Okay, now THIS is how you advertise for an event. Or at least how my sister advertises for an event. :)

Wipe out MS.

the Ann Ride!

The Ann Weatherill Cycling Classic is THIS Saturday.

Not only is the metric-century course beautiful..
Not only is there L'Ecole wine at the finish..
Not only is the ride throughly sagged..
Not only will there Verve coffee & muffins in the morning & a Merchant's lunch in the afternoon..
Not only do the funds go to cycling safety in our valley..

but registration is still open!

Hurry! Go to http://annweatherillcyclingclassic.blogspot.com/ and come ride with us!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Muenster Demonstration

LEFT: This is how much space cars take up to transport X people.
MIDDLE: This is how much space it takes to move the same amount of people on a bus. (*The picture is zoomed out so the crowd may look smaller.)
RIGHT: This is how much space it takes the same amount of people on bikes.

To learn more interesting facts, watch this video of John Pucher's lively lecture, "Cycling for Everyone." It's 70 minutes, but it can easily be broken up into 10, 20 or 30 minutes chunks for your convenient viewing pleasure. It is a MUST SEE.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

This could be you.

In the US..
25% of all trips are within 1 mile of home.
40% of all trips are within 2 miles of home.
50% of the working population commutes 5 miles or less to work.

More than 82% of all trips 5 miles ore less are made by personal motor vehicle.

But you work farther away than 5 miles?..
Take a bus, train or car part way and cycle the rest.

You'll get sweaty or wet?..
Ask for a shower to be installed at work, ride slower, and there are lots of handy gadgets out there to keep you try (fenders, rain cape, cute rubber boots, etc).

You don't want to look goofy?..
The info & photo above is from Copenhagen Cycle Chic, a website devoted to style over speed on bicycles. There you will find photo after photo of chic women riding their bikes in heels.

So.. you want to bike commute but don't know where to start? Try these classes!:

Fix a flat & basic maintenance!

How to not get hit by cars!

Grocery shopping, weather & more commuting tips!

All workshops are @ Pioneer Park,  near the Gazebo, 5:30-6:30PM-
and are FREE!

A Daily Market event.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Learning to Love You More (dot com)

Learning to Love You More is both a web site and series of non-web presentations comprised of work made by the general public in response to assignments given by artists Miranda July and Harrell Fletcher.

At www.learningtoloveyoumore.com you can find assignments such as:
  • Repair something.
  • Take a flash photo under your bed.
  • Take a picture of your parents kissing.
  • Grow a garden in an unexpected spot.
  • Recreate a poster you had as a teenager.
  • Make an encouraging banner.
Here are some entries for "Make an encouraging banner."

And people wonder why I live in Walla Walla..

Click the photo for a better view.

Hey, Moms & Dads!

The trioBike is brilliant. Ride your bike with your kids safely buckled in front of you (not behind you like with a trailer), then when you get to your destination- simply unhook the bike and it turns into a regular jogger/stroller! Or, if you want to ride without the stroller/cargo portion, once unhooked, you have a regular bike! For a much better explanation, check out this neat and short trioBike video.

Click here to visit the trioBike homepage.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Cycling for Everyone

If you care anything at all about commuting by bike, you have GOT to watch this presentation by John Pucher (professor at Rutgers University), Cycling for Everyone. 

Mr.Pucher shares with us the policies, structures and attitudes that make commuting by bike in Germany, Denmark, Finland and the Netherlands not just safe and convenient, but also incredibly pleasant. 

It is a lengthy 70 minutes long, but divide it up into  30, 20 or even 10 minute chunks if you can't sit for an hour. Mr.Pucher is quite animated, though and there are lots of slides to accompany his presentation.

Here are some quick facts I learned:

  • % of total trips by bike in USA 1%, Italy & France 3%, Germany & Sweden 10%, Finland 11%, Denmark 18%, Netherlands 27%.
  • 90% of bike trips in Denmark are utilitarian.
  • The #1 reason people don't bike commute is the perception that it's unsafe.
  • Cyclists deaths per 100 million km cycled in USA 5.7%, Netherlands 1.2%, Denmark 1%. The Dutch do not wear helmets yet have the safest cycling in the world! It's bike policies and infrastructure that makes bicycling safe! Not just helmets.
  • The more cyclists there are, the safer cycling becomes. Drivers are more likely to be sensitive if they're a cyclist too and more aware if they know to expect cyclists. Demand for cycling facilities also increases.
  • On newly zoned "car-free" streets, merchants complained that they would be put out of business. What they found was business boomed and other merchants asked to be car-free, too!
  • For every hour that you ride, you add more than an hour to your expected healthy lifetime. Driving subtracts.
  • The average Canadian spends 2 months of their paycheck working just for their car! If you add the time spent working to afford a car to your commute, a bicycle is definitely faster!
Finland, Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands have got it down! These are not poor, technologically behind countries. People can afford cars, but due to culture, government policy and traffic infrastructure/facilities- bicycle commuting is safe, convenient, fast and pleasant.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Is it in the family?

My sister Rosanna, who got MARRIED this weekend (congratulations!! ..I'd post pictures but mom still has my camera..) runs the Group Health Bike MS Ride AND is the driving force behind Seattle Tailwind, a cycling club for women with active lifestyles. Wow. I think she was born for event promotion and planning because she does it in her work life AND her free time!

Her hubby Brian is a real leader on his team, Byrne Invent (Jet City Velo) and writes a blog on his racing and training with a bit of music and life mixed in.

And now my other sister Rachel, while she maintains that she's "not going to be hardcore" (which I assured her, it's okay!), will be selling her car and utilizing the bike and bus to get around so she can use her money on things that benefit her instead of gas, parking, insurance and car payments.

And I'm still working on my parents. :)

How did all these people get on bikes? I rode alongside my sister Rosanna in her first triathlon. Brian grew up riding with his father. Rachel is trying to save money. My parents, though not on bikes YET, are interested in the health aspects. And I just think it's plain fun and like to explore.

Sunday, June 8, 2008


Yes, that's Barack Obama riding a bike. But I have lots of other good reasons to vote for him, too. ;)

I'm not the only one!

So the next time I move, are ya'll gonna come over with your Xtracycles and Bikes at Work trailers? Introducing the official "Bike Move," a community event.

"30 minutes Outside My Copenhagen Window"

Do you think that I will get to ride in Copenhagen when I die?

Saturday, June 7, 2008

New Belgium Bike for Car Swap!

New Belgium Brewery is giving away a beautiful commuter bike & trailer in 11 cities around the country to those ready to rid themselves of their automobiles. If you're ready for the purge, click here for info on how to apply.

Chicago 6/21
San Francisco, CA: 7/19
Truckee, CA: 7/26
Seattle, WA: 8/2
Portland, OR: 8/16
Boise, ID: 8/23
Fort Collins, CO: 9/6
Denver, CO: 9/13
Durango, CO: 9/20
Tempe, AZ: 10/11
Austin, TX: 10/18

Thursday, June 5, 2008

My two legs

Moved out of my apartment by bicycle. I moved everything from..

bookcases, backpacks, desk chairs and lawn chairs

to books and sidetables and art supplies

to art cabinets

and paintings, shelving and desks

to clothing and the dresser they reside in

my bed

more furniture

bike stuff and a reading chair

and more piles of art supplies.

And a few *bonus* loads:

My roommate's bed and boxspring.

And both our bike boxes.

Did I just move out of my apartment by bike?

Yeah, I think I did.

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