Monday, May 11
The bike to work part of Bike to Work Week began on Monday with a bike parade downtown beginning at City Hall, crossing Route 66 and riding down Butler bordering NAU and returning downtown to Heritage Square for a continental breakfast and social time. With perfect weather for a morning bike ride the parade participants represented families, seniors, members of various nonprofits, City staff, employees of NAU, and several elected officials. Seeing so many community leaders supporting the ride and bike commuting was heartening and hopefully inspire more local employers to facilitate bike commuting to their staff and support inclusion of more bike infrastructure in future development.
Also inspiring was cyclists modeling how easy it is to ride in normal work clothes, ready to get started when they arrive at the office.
Tuesday, May 12
BTWW continued with a Tuesday group ride beginning at Altitudes Bar and Grill south of the railroad tracks and Rt 66. The ride took several dozen riders accompanied by stalwart Officer Dave through NAU to the FUTS running through Sinclair Wash, most of which Bob and I had never explored either running or on our bikes. Pedaling down the gravel dirt path I wished my morning commute took me over this route.
Again, a local bike commuter proved you can bike in a skirt.
New community members Karen and Sala (please forgive the likely misspelling) road tandem and in style. Married and from California and France respectively, Flagstaff's mountain community was quite a change. Sala bemoaned the lack of cloth napkins in area restaurants. Bob and I suggested he give Josephine's for cloth napkin service and fine dining mountain style.
Another stylish couple on tandem.
Post ride Planner Guy and I ponied up to the Altitudes bar with fellow bike commuters David and Martin, who is also the City's multimodal planner and staff liaison for the Bicycle Advisory Committee. Group bike rides and bikes in general, in my opinion, often lead to communing with friends and coworkers over beer and wine. The appreciation for human interaction go hand-in-hand with the ease of more relaxed pace of bike commuting. It just feels a little easier and natural to make time for one another when we aren't securely locked and belted into a car.
Time to go home to start again the next day. Bob and I road home well after dark. The streets were quiet and the experience somewhat surreal.
Wednesday, May 13
Bike commuters were treated on Wednesday morning to breakfast stops located all over town. I indulged in hot bagels from Biff's while watching the train roll past the Amtrak station at Jack's stop. On my way to City Hall, I met Martin and Conner who stopped at New Frontiers Natural Food grocery for waffles and quiche. They strongly suggested I pedal over there instead of waiting for yet another train to pass. No time as I was already slightly late for work. Next year for sure.
At City Hall David and Maggie manned a breakfast station, proving that looking fashion forward can mean anything you want.
Later than evening, I accompanied Planner Guy to Flagstaff High School for the Bike Forum. Planner Guys Bob and Martin were joined by fellow Planner Guy Dave (not to be confused with David) to talk to the public about bike commuting and other transportation issues relating to both the Regional Plan and the Flagstaff Metropolitan Planning Organization. While perhaps many wives would rather wash dishes than hear about their husband's jobs, I feel I scored a major coup in the husband department by landing an urban planner and was delighted to listen his talk with the public about how important their input was to the Regional Plan, especially if they wanted to see continued and greater accommodation to the needs of bicyclists and people who depend on public transit. Indeed, I am a planning groupie. I love this stuff.
Thursday, May 14
Thursday BTWW activities included a Bike to School segment, which as Bob and I don't have kids we skipped. I will note, however, we witnessed a disturbing trip down very busy Milton Avenue by a mom and her several children twice earlier in the week. Disturbing because on both days we saw either no helmets on the children and mom or helmets on only half the children. While I am not a helmet zealot, if young kids are going to be on a busy road without bike lanes (this choice I had to question, as well) for the sake of safety they really need to wear helmets.
But this blog is not for finger shaking, but to preach the religion of looking good on a bike. Team Housing demonstrated how it's done, as did my friend Nicole. I think we can all agree their regular clothes look so much better than spandex.
Friday, May 15
As Planner Guy had to dietarily prepare and rest for his Run Up the Mountain 1oK on Saturday morning (for details see The Running Bob ), we skipped the student bike film contest (on which I hope some reader who attended will post a comment) and biked with Running Dave to his house for a pasta dinner prepared by his lovely wife, the Running Kendra. Running Dave lives on the other side of town from us and took us on yet another route over the FUTS that we were unfamiliar with (goody, I love new experiences!). We stopped at the very nice Cedar Avenue Safeway for garlic bread and a bottle of wine (contraindicated, I am sure, he night before a 10K). The ride was rather hilly most of the way but nothing we couldn't manage as regular cyclists.
We shared wine and pasta on the deck of Dave and Kendra 70's ranch, overlooking their rambling, brambling back yard. I admit to feeling significant yard envy as I look down into a yard I could see hide horticultural treasures soon to be uncovered by Kendra. Their yard had that magically quality of my Grandma's old New England garden, where fantastical kingdoms arose under large flowering bushes and large trees with heavy hanging branches. As an adult I would definitely appreciate their secluded yard as the perfect place to curl up in a hammock with a cup of tea, a good book, and a blanket. Yes, I have digressed a bit here but again, my blog is about the art of simple living as much as about bike commuting and fashion.
Our meal ending and the three runners all in need of a good night's sleep before an early rise, Bob and I pedaled home. Dusk arrived by the time we got back to the west side of town so we turned on our head lights. I was glad I had pack both our headlights as it was quite dark by the time we came to our street. Riding at night twice in one week! It didn't seem like such a risky thing anymore but something perfectly normal. Nothing scary or bad happened and wrapped in the darkness and quiet with my Planner Guy I felt relaxed and confident.