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, August 30, 2008

Bikes and Buses are Beautiful: Parade SUCCESS!

The Walla Walla Fair Parade took over downtown streets this Saturday morning. As I rolled through the parade line-up looking for my contingent, I felt a small smirk lift up my cheeks. Truck, truck, SUV, truck, Semi-truck, truck, hummer, SUV limo, truck.. then BICYCLES, lots of beautiful BICYCLES.

I welcomed a cheer as I arrived, since I had this in tow:

A pirate ship!

It's not as big or grand or magnificient as I once hoped to create, but since the sprinklers attacked it twice and free time has been quite limited lately, I think it's got a nice homely appeal. :)

I even found a pirate!

What made me the happiest about our group was the fantastic variety we achieved. We were a great display of all the different ways to live, love and ride bicycles.

Barbara showed us that yes you CAN wear a skirt on a bike!

Jared piloted a PediPower pedicab.

Ben Chaddock, the new president of Whitman Cycling- Cheers, Whitman!

Reggie, from Bicycle Barn, rode a (remake) penny farthing. Now that is just plain COOL.

Jeanne brought beautiful flowers from Welcome Table Farm and designed beautiful posters for us to hang on our buses (I wish I had taken a picture of them!)

Hoorah! Alice (who grows tasty vegetables over on West End Farm) rode her Xtracycle!

Laurel (above) and Lish (below) were not lacking for enthusiasm. :)

Sean Duffy picked out one of his (many!) restored vintage bicycles to ride.

And there were many more.. (and it's taking me a long time to upload these, so that's all you're going to see!)

So cheers! and Thank You! to all the cyclists that came out to the parade to promote a beautiful way to get around and enjoy life.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Ship not quite sunk

So the sprinklers killed the pirate ship a couple times which set back my progress.. so it's not quite as 'grand' as perhaps I envisioned. It's much smaller, quite haphazard, extraordinarily misporportioned, lacking certain key features (like a sail and mast) and has a certain childlike appeal.. but that's what I whipped up. :) I'll cross my fingers give it a test run in the morning.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The unusual normal

At times I'm hyper-conscious about making bicycling as culturally normal as I can. I go to the grocery store on my bike, I go to work on my bike, I go to potlucks and movies on my bike, I go everywhere on my bike and I do it wearing regular clothes!

Other times I am consciously pushing the envelope so that going to the grocery store starts to pale in comparison to stunts like moving out of my apartment via bicycle trailer (including mattress, cabinets, etc.).

I wonder, though- does the latter cancel out the previous? If I'm doing culturally.. let's call it "unusual," activities like towing a bed and boxspring by bicycle-- do I negate all of my attempts to be a "normal" bicyclist? On the other hand, if I just focus on being "normal," will that normal become the radical, resulting in further dilution of my influence?

Monday, August 25, 2008

Bikery Racing: a junior cycling team

A little preview of things to come..

Bikes and Buses are Beautiful: PARADE!!

Bikes and Buses are Beautiful: PARADE

YOU ARE INVITED to be a part of the "Bikes and Buses are Beautiful" group in the Walla Walla Fair Parade, Saturday, August 30, at 9:30am, meeting at 5th & Alder.

Our purpose: Raise the profile of bicycles and buses in the community.

How we'll do it: We're going to have fun on our bikes- all sorts of bikes. Ride your cruiser, your roadie, your fixie, your recumbent, your tricycle, your banana seater, your two-seater, your balloon tires, your skinny tires, bring your trailer, deck it out, rediscover ribbon and wear your finest skirt, your suit, your beach shorts or gorilla suit; and sound!- bring sound! bells and horns and other cheerful chimes. Bicycles are not limited to speed and spandex- bicycles are much more than that. They are creative individual expressions and practical means of transportation! Load up your panniers and trailers with delectables from the market- bikes - are - beautiful!

AND, for those interested- we will have a "precision" section at the front of our group, cycling in patterns. Please meet the night before on Friday, August 29 at 7pm at Borleske Statium parking lot (Rees & Park St.) to practice. What fun.

For those wishing to tackle a big project in decorating their bike- keep an eye on this blog in the weeks leading up to the parade. We'll get together and have some paper mache fun.

And not only are bikes beautiful, but so are BUSES! We will be escorted by 2 Valley Transit vehicles- a trolley and natural-gas powered bus. They will be filled with energetic passengers (could be you!) and we'll also show how to load and unload bikes on the front of the bus.

Logistics: Parade starts at 10am, please show up at the start (5th & Alder) at 9:30am to organize. We'll establish groups, go over details and do a demo of the bus bicycle rack. Participants must be 18 & older and helmets are encouraged.

Ready for the fun?: Email ww2020 (at) charter (dot) net and jensenrs (at) gmail (dot) com and let us know how you'd like to participate. Questions can also be left as comments on this post.

Bus participants should call or email Gail at 525-9140 or gail (at) valleytransit (dot) com.

For more information, call or email
Rebecca Jensen (RJ) at 509 205 1430, jensenrs (at) gmail (dot) com
Dan Clark at 509 522 0399, clarkdn (at) charter (dot) net
Andy Pryor at 509 525 7163, apryor (at) gohighspeed (dot) com

Sponsored by the Walla Walla 2020 Transportation Committee, Sustainable Walla Walla, and Valley Transit, together with area cycling groups.

MORE INFO/UPDATES: anadventurecalledbicycling.blogspot.com

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The pirate ship..

..is in progress.

I need to buy more duct tape. :)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

a Bicycle Declaration

My friend Debi, who is an attorney, sent me this:

47.26.300 Bicycle routes ‑‑ Legislative declaration.

The state of Washington is confronted with emergency shortages of energy sources utilized for the transportation of its citizens and must seek alternative methods of providing public mobility.

Bicycles are suitable for many transportation purposes, and are pollution‑free in addition to using a minimal amount of resources and energy. However, the increased use of bicycles for both transportation and recreation has led to an increase in both fatal and nonfatal injuries to bicyclists.

The legislature therefore finds that the establishment, improvement, and upgrading of bicycle routes is necessary to promote public mobility, conserve energy, and provide for the safety of the bicycling and motoring public.

Guess when this was written?

1974 – during the first energy crisis during the Arab Oil Embargo. Not much progress since then.

-Debi Toews | Willis & Toews, PLLC

Monday, August 18, 2008

Bike Thyme - August 19

This week's Bike Thyme we will be going to *Bennington Lake*!

Bike Thyme: every Tuesday, 6pm, meets at 1st & Main St. No spandex. Picnic pace. Bring dinner. Have fun.

An Announcement & a Search

It's official. I am the new Bikery director and cycling coach.

A few years ago, my Whitman Cycling teammate, Greg Dering, and I started a program called 'the Bikery' to teach bike repair (and indirectly, critical thinking skills and life lessons) to youth in Walla Walla. The program was funded by and based out of the Walla Walla Community Center for Youth. Since Greg and I left, a junior cycling team did sprout, but the Bikery has remained only sporadically alive. Now the WWCCY has hired me on to tackle the Bikery and coach the junior team. The potential in my brain is exploding.

BUT! One step at a time. We need a space. The Bikery, you see, doesn't currently have a home. The Bikery is a bunch of tools and an old curriculum binder stashed in a closet. We are looking for a space that is:

-Somewhat central (e.g., the airport is too far east)
-Free, or very cheap
-Safe and secure
-A place we can leave tools and some bikes

Have ideas? Leads? Contacts?

Sunday, August 17, 2008

"Motorist Mania"

Even the nicest people can turn into jerks once behind the wheel of a car.

This was made in the 1950's. It's a shame we haven't really made progress.

Saturday, August 16, 2008


Since espresso and bicycles are so closely related, here is quite possibly, quite newly discovered- my new favorite treat. Our Bella Luna Decaf (yes, our decaf tastes great, has got body and is water-processed!) under silky soy foam (first time I tried steamed soy for myself!) with a sprinkle of raw sugar and one of Lauren's delectable currant scones. A Barbara Kingsolver book completes the nutritional value. 

Friday, August 15, 2008

How do I fix this?

This is me, a college sophomore, smiling and shouting out to my coach, "Hey, look at me!!" I was quite proud of myself at the time for keeping up with the 'A' ladies (I was a 'B') as we crested a hill in a road race. Inspired by my team, I worked my butt off (quite literally) on my bike during college, keeping the Collegiate Nationals Team Time Trial in mind each year. The 3 years I was on it, we won.

I later entertained the idea of "going pro." I never imagined myself as the super star, or winning gold- but I had a George Hincapie mentality (which I blame on being a defender during my soccer upbringing) and I knew I could contribute. So I dipped my toe in it, tried a few pro-level races which I mostly spent hanging timidly on the back. The level of seriousness, however, turned me off. There were things I LOVED about that level of racing (mostly, getting exhausted), but I just wasn't quite so cut-throat enough (I thought) to care so terribly about whether I won, but I cared more whether I got in a small, hardworking circular paceline, because those things are FUN.

Anyhow, I struggle now to figure out my "athletic identity." I've considered running (a marathon!), triathlon (an Ironman!) and cyclocross (a muddy, technical bonanza!) and haven't succeeded in committing to any of them. Now my quads have shrunk, drastically, in my mind- and I can feel it on the bike. I stand to keep pace... and the power just isn't there.

I've also been having a harder and harder time actually getting myself out the door for a ride. Is it because I know that it doesn't feel the same and I just want to ignore the problem? Why don't I have the fervor to improve that I once had? Because I have no team?

All I know, is that it is much harder to discipline yourself to improve when you're trying to get BACK into the shape you were formerly (and recently) in, than it it is to improve from ground zero where every gain is a new experience. It's harder- because of pride.

It also occurred to me that I had been accustomed to such a high level of energy output (..ha, and input!), that maybe I'm feeling like an addict coming off drugs. I'm craving the endorphin highs.

So how do I fix this?

A very brief summary




(I'm working on getting a better photo)


Thursday, August 14, 2008

Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Committee

Yesterday I went to my second Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Committee meeting. I'm still learning 'how the system works', but here are a few interesting points that I thought I'd share:

  • Regarding the Tausick/Isaacs intersection, where the lights have been updated but the lane markings have not (causing confusion and thus a hazard to cyclists and drivers), how the bicycle lanes should be marked was discussed. It was said (I paraphrase), "There is just going to be a portion of the population that is going to be uncomfortable with this intersection."
  • It was suggested (by a cyclist) that the Walla Walla Police pull over cyclists riding against traffic.
  • The City is re-striping the streets. Only the left line (between cyclists and traffic) of the bicycle lane is being striped so that twice the amount of bike lane can be striped instead of half as many bike lanes being striped fully. The price of paint has doubled.
  • Want to get things done? Run your truck into a traffic signal pole. When repairs are made, new standards must be met. At the Roosevelt & Alder intersection, a truck ran into a pole, the light had to be replaced and now the intersection is being updated to meet new standards. Including appropriate bike lane markings.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

NEW YORK CITY hosts 3 Car-Free events!

On Saturday, NEW YORK CITY closed down PARK AVE, 4th AVE and LAFAYETTE ST to car traffic and hosted activities such as "Children's Latin Percussion Class" and "Cha Cha Class" and "Chalk Drawing"!! And there was live music and bicycles and pedestrians and rollerbladers and joggers and.. just watch the video.


Check out the Summer Streets event page!

Another Great Bike Thyme!

Hoorah! Thanks, Alice for giving us a tour around West End Farm! Your vegetables were beautiful and your basil cookies truly delicious. Another wonderful Bike Thyme. (And check out her Big Dummy/Xtracycle! Aka- Hot Rod :)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

HA! Another Glorious Xtracycle Load

I have yet to come across anything that I couldn't bring home on my Xtracycle. This here is the makings for my pirate ship! ..oh, you just wait. :)

Monday, August 11, 2008

Walla Walla August

Earlier this summer, Walla Walla was sandy blonde. It wasn't quite sure whether it wanted to be gold or green. For a while, you could even see it grow out its roots. Now Walla Walla has been bathing in the heat for 2 months and boasts a well-earned sun-bleached blonde, daring perhaps, to go platinum.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

I'm excited for the BICYCLE PARADE!

I'm excited for the Bikes & Buses are Beautiful portion of the Walla Walla Fair parade.. now what shall I make?..






Or perhaps a.. (these are the best ones, check 'em out!)



A special thank you to Willis & Toews for sponsoring costs for this event!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Bike Thyme - Tues, August 12

For this week's Bike Thyme, we will be stopping at Alice Bagley's farm on Wallula Rd and eating our picnic dinners at Fort Walla Walla on the way back! Though it's still summer, we are slowly losing light- so please invest in a red rear light and front white light if you don't have one already. Allegro carries the Planet Bike Super Flash, which is my recommendation for a red light. I'll leave the white light up to your perusing. :) See you Tuesday!

Bike Thyme
  • Spandex free.
  • Picnic pace.
  • Local farm, park & tasty destinations.
  • A good thyme.

And now for some Eagles.. "Take it Easy"

New Belgium Brewing - Introducing Team Wonderbike!

New Belgium Brewing is a really awesome company.

All employees of at least 1 year or more own a part of the company (and get a new bike!). Everyone gets a vote- for instance, the vote was unanimous to become the first 100% wind powered brewery in the world.

To date, New Belgium has donated $2.5million to philanthropic causes and continues to donate $1 for every barrel brewed. They are a member of 1% for the Planet, a group that has donated $30million since it began.

What New Belgium believes:

We believe, to be environmental stewards, we need to:

1. Lovingly care for the planet that sustains us.

2. Steward natural resources by closing the loops between waste and input.

3. Minimize the environmental impact of shipping our beer.

4. Reduce our dependence on coal-fired electricity.

5. Protect our precious Rocky Mountain water resources.

6. Focus our efforts on conservation and efficiency.

7. Support innovative technology.

8. Model joyful environmentalism through our commitment to relationships, continuous improvement, and the camaraderie and cheer of beer

You can see HOW they're doing it by clicking HERE. AND you can find out what YOU can do, by clicking HERE.

And NOW, New Belgium presents TEAM WONDERBIKE! An online community promoting riding more & driving less. Check out the blog, forums, media, 'My Commute', 'Why I Ride' and other cool stuff at www.teamwonderbike.com Also, please enjoy their short video (there's DANCING!):

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Bicycles: playful by nature

This was on the Momentum blog and was just too good to not share. It's inspiring in a funny way to realize that we've been playful about bikes for a long time. :) It makes you feel good about human nature, at least for a little while.

I particularly like the segment at 3:58- doesn't that look like something you'd conceive of when you were 12?

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Trek: 1 World 2 Wheels

You may have noticed the green 'widget' to the right for Trek's 'Go By Bike Challenge.' Go ahead, click on it! You'll be taken to a web page where you can pledge to ride to the gym, grocery store, work, wherever- and you'll have a chance to win a Trek 7.2 FX! (One given away every day!)

There are also other useful resources to click around, so you won't be left wondering where to start. There's a collection of helpful videos that cover topics such as 'finding the right bike', 'gadgets and gear' and 'basic commuting tips.' There's a neat blog as well! The most recent post invites readers to submit photos of their bicycle commute. Also, don't miss the awesome gear. I quite like their t-shirt designs and rumor on the blog says there might be jerseys soon, too!

Overall, I'm quite pleased with Trek's 1 World 2 Wheels campaign. Even though it's an online-based campaign, I feel like it strives to be as interactive as possible. You can join a community email list for support, you can watch real people give real advice in videos, the blog is updated regularly, you can wear gear to start conversations and when you email Rebecca Anderson, the Director, she replies!

Nice job, Trek.

Rock the Bike!

A great video from Rock the Bike!

..you know I'm still looking for a musician for my bicycle-towed trailer in the parade.. ;)

Some background: Rock the Bike creates and sells cool bicycle products like the Down Low Glow and Audio Systems for your bike. The company was started by Paul Freedman, also known as Fossil Fool, the bike rapper. I own a Down Low Glow myself and LOVE it!

Their advocacy philosophy, which sums up what I strive for, is awesome (bold emphasis is theirs, not mine):

We're bike people. We're inventors and advocates working away in a sweet little workshop in Berkeley, California, pushing the limits of bike culture. Our dream is to help spread the spirit of the bike into the broader culture by organizing, entertaining, inspiring, educating, and inventing new ways to get the message out there. And more importantly, we help our customers spread the message in their communities.

The bike is about so much more than transportation or environmentalism or physical fitness. It's about bringing the element of magic into our communities. You can't ride a bike and not be part of a community. We hope that our inventions and outreach efforts help more people experience this magic.

We're developing a new school of bicycle advocacy, working off of the old writer's adage "Show, don't tell." If you want more people in your community to ride bikes, then get out their and show them how fun, cool, and sexy it is. We make the kind of bikes that make died-in-the-wool car people want to ride bikes. We get pulled over by cops when we're riding. Not because we've done anything wrong. They just want to know where we got our bikes. The 'Sex Appeal School of Bike Advocacy' is not about guilt-tripping and alienating people. It's about shining our light brightly and spreading a positive message in the community.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Tire Inflation & Helmet Safety

This is a helpful video from Trek's new program, 1 World 2 Wheels: Go By Bike Challenge. Follow the link to find more great information on bicycle commuting AND pledge to ride your bike and you just might win a new Trek commuter!

Also, this Tuesday (@ 6pm, meeting at the corner of 1st & Main St) Bike Thyme will be riding out to Welcome Table Farm! Man, these guys have the bestest eggs. Don't miss this one!!
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