sara: YAY written over a tandem bike (yay tandem)
[personal profile] sara
Had great fun yesterday at the Eugene Disaster Relief Trials, a cargo bike event which is half bike race, half obstacle course: competitors have to haul a five-gallon bucket of water, a five-gallon bucket of dirt, and an orange cone around an urban course, cross obstacles (often with bystanders pitching in!), deflate and inflate tires, and generally do silly things.

I was not competing (I'm only just getting back in the saddle after a lengthy recovery from concussion -- from driving a car, not a bike accident, and yes, I DO wish I'd been wearing my helmet while driving -- and will not be fit enough for something like this for at least a few more months) but we did go down on the tandem, hang out with friends, and watch all the different ways people configured their equipment to meet the challenge! It's also neat that about half the bikes competing were locally-built (everything marked "Bike Friday" is local, as are many of the cargo bikes that look like nothing you've seen before, which mostly come from the Center for Alternative Transportation).

Big photoset on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ethanjewett/sets/72157636484496484/

p.s., because I know it may be of interest to some of you: organizers very actively tried to recruit more women competitors; sadly several were, like me, on the injured list, while others had other commitments on a Saturday afternoon. The associated "Fiets of Parenthood" competition was a shorter distance and more evenly gender-balanced (you had to cover an obstacle course with children on your wheeled-and-geared device, and obstacles included "picking up dropped toys" and "hauling groceries.")
lizcommotion: silhouette of a female bicyclist riding with a helmet (biker woman)
[personal profile] lizcommotion
I biked on gravel for the first time this week. Don't laugh, I only learned how to ride a bike at all last year and then spent the second half of the year unable to ride due to illness. I went on a very short ride to reacquaint myself with being on trails, and we detoured onto some unpaved trails for the first time in my biking experience.

They were gravel and went through trees, and there was a point where I may have yelled, "Crappity crap crap crap" as I went over a tree root (and stayed on my bike, thankfully). We went by a pond that I think had beavers in it, and there were a lot of really cool birds that I couldn't identify because I was focused on biking.

Still...it was really, really fun and I think I am going to try more gravel trails soon because I have a hybrid (Trek 7.3 FX) and so I can do that. I think at some point I may also want to learn how to mountain bike, because it sounds like it could fill the bit of me that enjoys hiking only I would do it on a bicycle. There's a class at a nearby REI that I might try taking sometime soon if I can afford it.

Damn, this means I will probably end up buying a mountain bike at some point. Better start saving now....and to think I was already hoping to save for a proper road/touring bike with drop bars.
lizcommotion: silhouette of a female bicyclist riding with a helmet (biker woman)
[personal profile] lizcommotion
I learned how to ride a bike this year (in my mid-20s), and have been uber-excited about it. Then I had some health problems this summer (namely, unexplained dizziness while doing cardio) that made riding really difficult. I did not want to get a dizzy  spell while on my bike.

Things have been gradually improving, but I was hesitant to ride my bike. I've heard lots of stories about people "never forgetting how to ride," but I had just learned. All of the fear I'd carried about bicycling for years started to creep back in. What if I fell? I didn't want another injury.

Today is beautiful, and I finally decided, "Frell it, if I fall then I fall."

I was able to start correctly (i.e. not sitting on the saddle while starting) on the first try, and it was even better than when I last rode. Shifting gears, making fiddly turns, stopping, all of it.

Now I just have to squeeze in as much riding as I can before the weather turns foul.

(crossposted to my own journal)

dragonfly: stained glass dragonfly in iridescent colors (Default)
[personal profile] dragonfly
http://www.slate.com/id/2299432/

But the moment of folly seemed to provide an aperture for new thinking. In the face of this fanciful idea (a traffic-busting flight!) it became possible to demonstrate that cycling, often taken as a non-serious or marginal or even annoying (to some drivers) form of transportation in the U.S., could seem eminently reasonable: Not only the cheapest form of transportation, not merely the one with the smallest carbon footprint, not only the one most beneficial to the health of its user, but the fastest.
sara: photo of a bicyclist (bicycle)
[personal profile] sara
Oh, this is neat: so, this weekend, the 405 freeway in L.A. is being shut down for roadwork; this is being referred to as "Carmageddon." Jet Blue has been offering $4 flights from Burbank Airport to Long Beach for $4 for the duration, as a publicity stunt.

But would it be faster just to bike? Never mind the lesser environmental impact.

Tune in tomorrow -- or perhaps later today -- and find out....


ETA: Victory for bicycles and public transit! From [personal profile] dragonfly:

Places:

1. The bicyclists, 38.4 miles in 1 hr 34 min.
2. The public transit riders in 1 hr 44 min.
3. A rollerblader in 2 hrs 40 min (her start location and time was unwitnessed, so we should call her unofficial *g*).
4. Airline commuters, 2 hrs 54 min.
aedifica: Drawing of a bicycle with the logo "Put the fun between your legs." (Bike fun)
[personal profile] aedifica
I was noticing over the last few months that this must be a community whose members are mostly in the northern hemisphere, since everyone got quiet when the northern hemisphere moved into winter. :-)

It's mid-Spring where I live, and I've been biking to and from work for the last few weeks. Until today I've been riding my hybrid (full shocks), but today I got out my road bike (no shocks) for the first time this year--and rediscovered how much bumpier* the roads are without suspension! *Now* I remember why I mostly just ride the road bike on paved trails, not actual roads...

Are you riding much so far, this year? What's it like where you are?

* Around here, winter causes potholes. It may be different where you live. This winter it got bad enough that I overheard someone make a tongue-in-cheek reference to the unusual level of asteroid activity we've been having lately. *grin*
vlion: cut of the flammarion woodcut, colored (Default)
[personal profile] vlion
Biking across the USA.

http://www.bikeacrossusa.com/index.htm

My calculations suggested that it can be done in about a month of riding daily; this website confirms that.

I think it'd be awesome to do this someday.

Has anyone here done anything like this?
sporky_rat: It's a rat!  With a spork!  It's ME! (Default)
[personal profile] sporky_rat
So, best ideas for cold weather bicycling? Granted, I'm not in the coldest part of the US by any means, but still, 38° for Mississippi is not fun.

On Slime

Nov. 17th, 2010 06:28 pm
roadrunnertwice: Wrecked bicyclist. Dialogue: "I am fucking broken." (NeverAsBad - Fucking broken)
[personal profile] roadrunnertwice
Ah, the wet season. Let's get a great big "welcome back" for all the puddles of decomposing leaves and unidentifiable slime that will be assisting in wipeout-related program activities for the next six months. 

I think I managed to avoid any major slime incidents last year, but there was a real gnarly one in early '09 that involved slowing to a stall in the median to let a cop car pass  and then losing all friction as soon as I pushed to accelerate. It was epic: I was clipped-in and couldn't put a foot down, so I just fell sideways like a cartoon character hit with a poison dart. The cop totally saw me bite it in his rearview and did not slow down. I ended up with a bruise the shape of California on my hip. 

Also, I definitely spun my back wheel at a stoplight yesterday while idly thinking about this post on the commute. 

Anyway, take care of yourselves, and watch out for slime on the corners!
sara: photo of a bicyclist (bicycle)
[personal profile] sara
A resident's-eye view of RAGBRAI, the annual bike tour across Iowa. Really very charming. Makes me wish I were getting out on my bike more than I have been this summer.
foxfirefey: Look at this wee octopus! LOOK AT IT! (squee)
[personal profile] foxfirefey
I've been putting it off while trying to budget, but then my friends got new bikes, and my newly transplanted boyfriend also got a bike, leaving me the ONLY PERSON WITHOUT A BIKE! Meaning I wouldn't be able to go on any fun bike outings until I, too, possessed one. After trying out the Novara Mia, I decided I really didn't like being THAT upright, and ended up getting Cannondale Quick Feminine 4--with fenders and a rack!

Today was the first day I commuted into work (around 2.9 miles), and it went pretty well. I did, however, have to walk my bike up what seems to be a fairly slight upwards incline. Hopefully my legs will get into better shape! I'm looking forward to some quantifiable amount of vigorous exercise being present in my day-to-day activities. And it'd be a shame not to take advantage of my work's facilities--a bike locker and a locker room with towels.
sara: photo of a bicyclist (bicycle)
[personal profile] sara
So the weather report finally promised me two consecutive non-school days without precipitation, for the first time in I don't even know how long, and yesterday morning I said to the kid, "This is it, get your bike pants out, we're going camping." I've been promising her a bike-camping trip on the tandem since we bought it last September.

How the trip went. )
copracat: Part of an illustration of a lady on a bike (Treadly)
[personal profile] copracat
One of the cycling blogs I read linked to this great article in the Times Online:

Cycling should be dull, not an extreme sport

It was a marvellous day here today, sunny and warm and breezy. I cycled to my lunch date and when the time came, didn't want to go home so I set off around the bike paths. Eventually knees and bladder outvoted me! At a cycle crossing, a lycra lad smiled at me and said, 'Isn't it a brilliant day?' We were waiting for our crossing lights, watching a near jam of cars crawling past us and I have to say, I felt extremely superior in my mode of transport. Likely I will feel less so in a couple of months when the drivers are in their snug dry capsules and I am flexing my fingers to warm them up and wishing the lights would change so I could get back into the lee of buildings and out of the wind again!

Intro post!

Apr. 8th, 2010 02:43 pm
rivenwanderer: (Default)
[personal profile] rivenwanderer
Hello! I've been bicycling for the last 6 or 7 months. I bike the (totally walkable) .7mi to work each day to keep in practice, and go for longer rides on weekends or in the evenings when I want to see friends in the next town over and that sort of thing. My bike has panniers on it, so if I decide to do errands on the way home from work, I can carry stuff home easily.

My purple Electra Townie, next to my girlfriend's Dutch bike )

The stickers are reflective, though it's not in an area that needs a lot of visibility help--it's mostly just for fun. (They're from http://www.funreflector.com/)

My girlfriend's been biking in the city since childhood, so I think of her as the "real" bicyclist and myself as the dorky "new kid" (though both of us are more Clever Cycles types than either fixies or spandex). It can be tricky to bike together because she tends to be more aggressive about interacting with traffic. Anyway, I love my bike--the upright position and intended-to-have-a-foot-on-the-ground geometry, the balance between speed and hauling capability, and of course the fact that it's purple :)

We're hoping to bike to a pick-your-own berries farm later this summer--it's 12.5 miles away, which is easily 3 times the farthest distance I've ridden (though it looks like the terrain will be relatively easy). How much should I freak out about practicing riding for farther distances to get ready? Will just a few trips to 6-miles-away destinations be enough practice? (How do people usually describe bike trips, anyway? Do you talk about the distance away that the place you're going is (e.g. 12.5mi), or the length of the total round-trip (e.g. 25mi)?)
sara: photo of a bicyclist (bicycle)
[personal profile] sara
So yesterday we had an almost-springlike day here in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, during which it was (1) not raining, for a change and (2) light late enough that I could go to and from school and it wasn't completely dark the whole time (hooray). And I went up and down a couple of big hills and felt very pleased because it looks like the weight-lifting I did when it was dark and cold is paying off in increased hill-climbing capability now that the weather's not quite so crap.

All of which got me thinking that hey, it's nearly long-haul cycle riding season and I have done some but not a lot of planning. I've promised my daughter a camping trip on the tandem once she's out of school, and I'm planning on doing the Alpine Century fifty-mile course in August (I finished last year, but it was definitely work, and I'd like it to be more fun -- there is a lot of up and down in that course!), and quite possibly some touring with friends in the upper Willamette Valley in mid-August.

How about you, fellow northern hemisphere dwellers? Anyone plotting epic bike adventures this summer? Anyone in the southern hemisphere have an epic bike adventure to share about?

(Yes, going for ice cream on your bike is totally epic. Going to work, I'm not sure about, but ice cream? TOTALLY EPIC.)
daedala: line drawing of a picture of a bicycle by the awesome Vom Marlowe (Default)
[personal profile] daedala
Went biking again today; the ride out was the same, but the ice cream parlor is closed on Mondays, which is a travesty.

I decided that the gearshift problem was annoying me too much -- I couldn't switch to the hardest gear in front (the chain wheel?), which meant that every downhill was for coasting. Now, coasting is fun, but it can get a little boring, and I kept wanting to go faster. My aerobic capacity has never been the best, but I have enough leg strength that I usually spend most of my bike rides on the gears that aren't working. So instead of coming home, we took the bikes in for their spring tuneup and walked home. (That's 5 miles of biking and 2 miles of walking, so respectable. But no ice cream.)

Sadly, it will be a week, but I figured that the wait time wasn't going to get any shorter any time soon. (Yes, I could have left a deposit, taken my bike, and brought it back in a week for the tune-up. But that seemed complicated and I have an excess of stress as it is.) The gearshift is busted and the bottom bracket is loose. I may also try to retrieve my half-clipless-half-normal pedals from a friend. I never got the hang of clipless pedals, but I would like to.

So, no biking to ice cream every day this week. :( This also slows down the adjusting-to-the-bicycle-seat program. But it's probably best to get the tune-up out of the way, especially with the gearing issues. It's kind of disturbing to go down a minor hill and have no traction on the pedals at all.
daedala: line drawing of a picture of a bicycle by the awesome Vom Marlowe (Default)
[personal profile] daedala
Today's temperature was around 10C ("50F if you want to use those weird units," says the boy), so we went for a bike ride. My first bike ride of the season! We biked two miles to the ice cream parlor, and then two miles back, most of the ride on bike paths along the creek. It was too warm for my coat and too cold for my thin gloves. I was able to keep up with him pretty easily, despite my disinterest in cardio exercise. I found that I need to get batteries for my bike's lights, and a velcro strap for my pants legs. The bike itself needs a tuneup -- one of the gears did not want to work and it's one I use a lot -- but it was otherwise wonderful to ride. I have a Terry mountain bike, which I bought because my old bike wasn't comfortable.

The rest of the week is supposed to be warm, too. I'm going to bike to the ice cream place every day. Four miles is a nice distance to start with -- if my next job is downtown (likely), I'd like to try commuting, and that's five miles away.
darkemeralds: Naked woman on a bike, caption "I don't care, I'm still free" (Bike Freedom)
[personal profile] darkemeralds
Ha ha ha ha! I have inducted a new member into the cult.

Today I met my good pal at Waterfront Bicycles* in downtown Portland, where she rented a bike so she could experience this thing I've been raving about for six months.

Rent-a-bike
Rent-a-bikes

A perfect day for brainwashing )

*If you ever want to rent a bike in Portland, go to Waterfront Bicycles. They are extremely helpful, their prices are good, their service is outstanding, and they have lots of good bikes to rent. I watched them treat every single customer--young, old, fast, slow, newbie and old hand--exactly the same, with friendly respect. They are my new bike shop for sure.

This entry is crossposted from my DW.
copracat: Part of an illustration of a lady on a bike (Treadly)
[personal profile] copracat
Bicycle was my main transport when I was university and then in my early working days. It was affordable! I stopped when the commute to a new job was through some very non-bike-friendly city traffic. Times have changed in 15 years and my city is now trying to make the city much more bike friendly so I'm having another go.

I bought myself an Electra Townie a week ago because it was suggested to me as a great bike for people with knee problems and I'm recovering from a knee injury. I tried one out and fell in love immediately.

I've been having a little ride around the flat streets of my suburb after work this week. Today was the first time I took her out for a run. I did a long, mostly flat, very low gradient loop taking in the bike paths near my house and I'm just exhilarated. I cycled with families and with people going places. I could smell the sausages on the bbq as I rode past a school fete (Note: always take your wallet when you go for a ride). I could feel the autumn sun and the fresh breeze and hear people and birds and dogs as I came through the park.

I can't believe I forgot how wonderful bicycling is. And my knee doesn't hurt!
sara: YAY written over a tandem bike (yay tandem)
[personal profile] sara
We had a nice sunny afternoon today, so I was happy to get out on the tandem to pick my daughter up at school. We stopped in at the bookstore, then came over the river and went to one of our local bike shops to buy chain lube (wow, a tandem goes through a lot of chain lube) and scope out new helmets for me.

I'd done my research (previously mentioned here) and knew I was looking for something light colored, preferably with reflective stuff on it, and with a rounded rather than a pointed back. And I was not particularly interested in something pink with flowers and butterflies on it, though I did try on a couple of those (to the great delight of my child).

I came home with a Bell Citi in the yellow, my choices having been yellow and black. It is much, much easier to adjust than the old helmet was, and noticeably more comfortable. And it's got a bit built into the back for a light, which is a nice feature. Admittedly, in the yellow it's maybe not the most fashion-forward choice (my daughter has already developed a mocking song that goes, "Please, cars, don't hit me, don't hit me!" which she sings when I put it on -- ah, parenthood) but it does match my panniers, so hey.

The old helmet? The bike shop guy didn't actually need to use the baby sledge he pulled out to break it up -- he just stepped on it and it came apart. Er. Okay, so maybe that wasn't the best personal safety choice I've ever made, there.

Home along the bike path, an errand or two along the way, and then up the hill for a nice carbohydrate-laden dinner and beer (for me, not the kid) -- good end to a long week!

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