Friday, December 6, 2013

Product review: The RockiNoggins Kate Helmet Cover!

That's me in the RockiNoggins Kate helmet cover.
Wow!  It's been September since my last post.  All owing to my intense focus on graduate school, and now that I am a few days away from winter break, I will soon be doing a recap of my past few months of life on a bike. 

The Kate cover fits perfectly over a Nutcase helmet.
Despite all the reading and writing of this past semester, I still had some time for a product review for my friends over at Commute by Bike, whose parent company Bike Shop Hub has relocated from Flagstaff to Tucson, by the way.  Melanie, who is now managing the Commute by Bike blog, thought of me at Interbike when she saw the RockiNoggins' stylish bike helmet covers.  She shot me an email and asked me if I'd like to give one a try and I got to select any of their many offerings to try out.  I chose the Kate cover.  RockiNoggins actually got two reviews in one because my friend Lisa who works for Phoenix's new bike share program (we'll discuss later) has one, the Kate cover, as well as loves it.

Lisa, wearing the Rayne waterproof helmet cover.
So, if you'd like to take a closer look at our helmet covers and get my thoughts just click on the link here to go over to Commute by Bike.  Meantime, I have one last paper to trudge through before I'm back to regular blogging.

Friday, September 20, 2013

A folding bicycle society on campus?

Perfect for living in small spaces and travel by train.
I attend ASU's downtown campus.  Over the last few years with the expansion of downtown campus city dwellers have enjoyed greater housing options with the construction of condos and apartment buildings.  Although downtown is not uncontaminated by parking, from what I understand, some of the new buildings have limited spaces for cars, with the understanding that many of the residents are less car dependent and more amenable to walking, biking and using public transportation.  As one might expect, many of the new apartments seem to be geared toward university students and the living spaces are smaller.  If you a student or downtown worker who gets around mostly by bicycle, storing it in an already cramped space, as well as rolling it into a crowded elevator, can be a bear.

Lisa and Joey's vintage Raleigh Twenty's.  Heavy as anything but oh, so cool.

I purchased my Brompton, partly due to the needs of living in a small space.   I keep it stored in the living room behind a stuffed chair, totally out of the way.  Recently, I've noticed a lot more folding bicycles at the bike corrals at downtown campus and have been wondering  if their owners chose their bikes for much the same reasons. It certainly makes more economical sense for a student not to have to worry about paying for either student parking or for a private space in the parking garage. Here's a few I've seen:

I think this little silver bike is by Citizen, but I'm not sure.  Very cute.


This orange folder is the Tokyo, definitely by Citizen. From a distance, I saw the young lady who owns it unfolding it and riding away quite elegantly a week or so back.  Citizen is one of the more conservatively priced but very stylish brands.  I've never been on one so I hope to run into the owner soon and find out how she likes it.  As you can see, it folds up very nicely.

This is a vintage Dahon I discovered a while back.  I had to get some detailed shots.

Here is another older model Dahon, nicely appointed with a trunk and a Brooks saddle. 

I don't think of Schwinn when I think about folding bikes but they do make them, as does Breezer, although I haven't seen any on campus.   I thought this one was very pretty; it has a spring rack on the back and a kickstand.

If anyone has any information or knowledge about any of the models shown in this post, please leave a comment with whatever you know.  It's always interesting to me.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Product review time! The Bikie Girl Bloomers Trio

The cute flippy skirt with the bike shorts just peaking out from under the hem.
Recently, Commute by Bike published my review of the Bikie Girl Bloomers Trio, a flirty skirt and bike short set for us lady bikers.  Like most products I test for Commute by Bike there's some stuff I like and stuff I'd change about the products and you are invited to post your thoughts either here or on Commute by Bike. 

Not big on patterns but found the short comfortable and cling free.
Regardless, I love biking in dresses and skirts so having ways that I can do so without worrying about over exposure is always welcome.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Bike date to Georges of Galilee

A view from our bikes of the beach at Point Judith.  Look closely for the surfers.

Oh, no!  More photos from the Voyer family reunion in Rhode Island this past July. Bear with me - this post revolves around Bob and my bike date from Narragansett Beach down to Point Judith and on to the little fishing village of Galilee.

A brand new Trek rental straight off the show room floor of Narragansett Bikes.

As I said in a previous post, Bob and I rented bikes from Narragansett Bikes on Boston Neck Road so we were able to get a little biking in every day.  Despite the holiday weekend, the road, which mostly included bike lanes, were remarkable easy to navigate, as long as we pedaled single file.

Me, the Trek and the old lighthouse at Point Judith, now surrounded by fencing courtesy of Homeland Security.

We stopped at Point Judith to look at the old Point Judith Lighthouse standing guard on a small cliff above a rocky shore.  My Grandpa Voyer took my sisters and I to the lighthouse when we were little girls.  I remember walking right up to it.  I seem to recall going inside and up the stairs.

Take down the fencing, Ironman Bob is here to protect.

I suppose my grandfather knew whoever worked there.  Since those days, at least 40 years ago, a lot of little summer cottages have gone up - and so has a tall chain fence with a sign marked "Department of Homeland Security".  Sniff!  Sadness.  I guess things have come full circle.  When my dad was a little boy the area was on the lookout for German submarines carrying spies and who-knows-what-else.

Bob and I spent a while sitting on a bench on the cliff and watched surfers riding the waves.  The water looked cold and grey, and most of the surfers wore full body suits.

Convenient bike parking in Galilee.

Back on our bikes, we pushed on to Galilee in search of Georges of Galilee (a Voyer family tradition since my dad was a kid), and some bike parking.

Clam cakes.  Food. of. the. Gods.

Next on the agenda?  A bowl of clam chowder and a basket of clam cakes from Georges!  Clam cakes??  Like a apple fritter but with clams.  You can't eat just one so don't think about the fat and calories, just plan to bike it off later.  Or surf it off if you are of the inclination.  I've never known anyone outside of Rhode Island who has ever heard of clam cakes, which are a true delicacy and a Voyer family obsession.  Now a Caravona obsession, because Bob loved them.

Tough choices to make at Georges of Galilee.

We decided to sit outside on the balcony and look at the beach, filling with bathers despite the clouds and the likely chance of rain.  From our table we could see the ferry heading out to Block Island, a destination that time did not permit on this RI vacay but maybe next time.

Me, at the fishing docks.

After lunch, Bob indulged my wish to go walking on the docks where I remember going with my dad and grandfather to buy fresh lobster straight off the boat.    I had hoped we'd find a fresh catch spilled out on the dock but no luck.  Instead we strolled and looked at the fishing boats, the seagulls and the Atlantic Ocean.  And then it was time to pedal back to Narragansett Beach and the likelihood of more clam chowder and clam cakes.  Like I said, they are a family obsession so it's  good thing we rode bikes.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

New Product Review: The Detours Ballard Market Pannier - it's three bikes bags in one!

Lisa, on her vintage Raleigh foldy, with the Detours Ballard Market Pannier in her basket.
No, my friend Lisa and I normally don't call each before we meet for lunch and arrange to both carry the same bike bags!

The Ballard Market Pannier worn as a backpack.
Okay, maybe this one time we did, but it was just because she was helping me with a review of yet another great product from Detours - the Ballard Market Pannier.  Yes, we were also color coordinated but that was sheer coincidence.

Interior of the Phoenix Public Market.
We met at the Phoenix Public Market, one my very favorite new places to meet up for iced latte, pancakes or a sandwich.  You can eat outside under the misters but it was really hot outside so we stayed in with the AC talked about what we liked about the Detours bag. 

I have not gone Hollywood.  I shoot on an IPad only. 
We even made a video with my IPad about all the cool stuff Lisa carries in her bag (and yeah, I shot it vertically and that is called an "artistic decision", film critics!). 

You can fit a lot in the Detours Ballard Market Pannier.  I carry my IPad in mine.
You'll have to go to the Commute by Bike website to read the whole thing and watch the video though.

With my beloved Brommy.
I have a lot of Detours bags that I've featured on this blog and this is another winner.  I'm also wearing the Bikie Girl Bloomer Trio, which I product tested for another upcoming review on Commute by Bike.  That's about as far as I take multi-tasking.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

A Rhode Island family reunion on bikes

A view of the Atlantic from Narragansett Beach from Ocean Road.
My father was raised in Wakefield, Rhode Island.  Or Peacedale depending on which side of Allen Avenue he happened to be standing.  His parents, and most of his immediate and extended family, lived in or near New England when we were kids, and most still do.  I always wished our family would move to Rhode Island because I loved the idea of being close to the whole family, especially getting to see Grandma and Grandpa Voyer all the time.  We moved to South Carolina when I was very young so it was quite a distance to travel. We visited Wakefield every four to five years and making the trip was a big deal.  Since then, the cousins (usually spearheaded by my cousin Sharon) have tried to get together for New England family reunions, including a pilgrimage to Wakefield.   Sometimes, the reunions have occurred in conjunction with a wedding but the biggest treat is spending them in Wakefield. Very often, one of us can't make it due to school, work or money, and  not being able to go comes with sadness and regret because you know you're going to miss something memorable and too rare - along with clam chowder and clam cakes. This year, all my sisters and I were able to go.

Awaiting our table  (and chowder and clam cakes!) at Aunt Carrie's: mes cousines Rachel, Angie, and Alison.
This would be the Planner Guy's first Voyer family reunion so I was especially excited.

The Planner Guy, Valerie, George and my cousin Andy (a new daddy!).
My youngest sister Alison made the house arrangements, booking a large beach house off Ocean Road at Narragansett Beach.  My middle sister Valerie and her husband George rented bikes for the week for pedaling around the Narragansett Bay area and Point Judith so Bob and I decided to do the same.  Narragansett Bikes on Ocean Road outfitted us all with hybrid bikes that they delivered to our beach house, complete with locks and helmets (which neither of us wore).  Bob and I rented rather last minute so a rental in my size wasn't available when we walked in the bike shop.  The staff just pulled a brand new Trek Verve straight off the sales floor and rented it to me for the week.  I loved it - a black step through with a comfy saddle and very, very upright seating position.  They set Bob up with a smart Gary Fisher city bike.  Very sweet, and obviously styled with a planner guy in mind.

Bob, Val and George at a brief stop near Narragansett Beach.
Mid-week, Val, George, Bob and I decided to take a ride together down Ocean Road toward Narragansett Beach.  The weather was cool and damp, with dark skies that threatened rain any minute but we all love being on bikes and were curious a grouping of artfully stacked rocks we had seen along the ocean wall the day before.

A landmark from my childhood - the old Coast Guard House.
 I also wanted to stop for a closer look at the old Coast Guard House, a landmark in my childhood memories of Rhode Island.  As a kid, I assumed it to be a castle, home to the King and Queen of Rhode Island but today, I know that it houses a seafood restaurant.  I was tempted to push for stopping for clam chowder but given how nasty the sky looked I opted not to - plus my family is fairly obsessed with chowder and clam cakes at Aunt Carrie's Restaurant in Point Judith and I had a feeling the whole family would end up there anyway.

Bob dressed for cool and damp New England weather.
Me, wishing we were here for the entire summer.
We pedaled down further toward Narragansett Beach until we found the spot with the rocks stacked on the other side of the sea wall.

Add caption
My sister, Valerie.
Unfortunately, I could never seem to get a photo that captured them well, but trust me, they were worth the trip, and I did get some nice, and all too infrequent shots of my sister and I making memories together.

Narragansett Beach - watch out for that under tow.
I'm sure that she would agree neither of us would have ever dreamed that, as adults, we would want to intentionally travel hundreds of miles to spent time  together.  Or that we would share a common love of bicycles.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

The July meeting of Phoenix Spokes People - Sunday, July 14 at PHX BikeLab!

At a meet up stop at the group ride to the May Phoenix Spokes People meeting.
Yes, it is a bit warm but that needn't stop you from coming out to PHX BikeLab (740 W. Grant) for the July meeting tomorrow, Sunday, July 15, at 5 p.m.   We'll be riding there as a group if you'd like to join, with a couple of meet up locations posted on PSP's Facebook page.  Since I last posted in May, PSP has also launched our own website, where Lisa our fabulous administrator is posted lots of good news about transportation cycling in Phoenix, including glamour shots of local cyclists and their bikes.  I heard one of our Council District 8 candidates will be attending!

Sarah, one of our newer members at the May group ride.
Annie will tell you that nothing beats a skirt on a hot weather ride.
Anna, lady who started it all.
We'd love to have you join us in our efforts to make Phoenix a world class city for transportation cycling.