Monday, March 29, 2010

Front Porch Season Has Begun

Well, Front Porch sitting season has officially begun at the Bob and Karen home with both of us parked in our respective comfy chairs, our elevated feet covered with blankets, and our laptops open and powered up. With glasses of red (box) wine close at hand and the puppy-chows at our feet this will be our usual post-work, post-run, post-bike place for unwinding and documenting our day.

While I focused on planning my outfits for the May 16 and June 18 Tweed rides (more on that later), the Running Bob was out this weekend in search of a small laptop after throwing in the towel with his 10-year-old desktop. He came home Saturday afternoon with a mini-Dell and has been glued to it ever since, as he prepares his blogs for his fundraising endeavor - the National MS Society's Kentucky/ SE Indiana Chapter through the Janus Charity Challenge. Bob's fundraising challenge is in conjunction with his Louisville (KY) Ironman. (See Ironman Question for more details.) Between the June Habitat Tweed ride and his Ironman we hope to raise a lot of monies for good causes.

Now back to the Tweed ride outfit . . . . I know what I'm after but don't yet know how to put it together so for now I'm just picking up a few pieces from some boutiques and vintage clothing stores in downtown Flagstaff and seeing what materializes. Two rides, two outfits. Seems reasonable. Of course, it is impossible for me to shop for clothes for one event without purchasing something completely unnecessary, especially when I find it for a good price. Mountain Sports (24 N. San Francisco) is having a sale and despite the fact that Patagonia is not very tweedy I found myself leaving with a dress (currently at the seamstress) and this scarf from Ojai. I justify the purchase as it was only $19 and, given how chilly Flagstaff can be on summer evenings, I am sure that I can wear it year round. And I love it. The little green cardigan is my new favorite Target find. At only $22 I picked up three.

I will wear this classic, black beret at one of the Tweed rides. I like this one in particular because it is not too big, holds its shape and has a black leather band at the rim. This one I found at InCahoots (9 E. Aspen Avenue) for only $15. The last time I priced a beret of this quality on-line it was over $50. The beret will go much further than the Tweed rides and I'll wear it most of the year. Is it just me or does the beret make you just really want a black Dutch bike. Darn it! Just when I had stopped obsessing about the Oma!

And here's some cycling progressives this past Sunday on Heritage Square registering people to vote and speaking with members of the community about state and federal legislative issues.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Saturday's Highlights and Errands

When I say Saturday highlights, I mean that in the hair and makeup kind of way. I scheduled 9a.m. highlights with Paul at Shear Irony Salon (15 w. Hunt Ave., 86001) for this morning. Again, traveling straight into the head wind, I left the house this morning at 8:15 in order to accommodate the extra effort and time it would take to get there. Upon my arrival, Paul looked up from his People magazine (no doubt, I interrupted the sad tale of Sandra and Jessie)and shook his head. "You rode all the way in from Ponderosa Trails at this hour?" It's Saturday, sunny, and Bob needed the Element, so of course I pedaled. And the trip is only 5 miles.

Soon foil covered by head and the usually client-stylist topics of conversation commenced: how's work?; how are the men in our lives/; opinion on healthcare reform; opinion on Sandra and Jessie; opinion on Mariah Cary; my crush on Daniel Craig; Paul's crush on Hugh Jackman; and our mutual agreement that Tyne Diggs is a stunning man. Since I would be riding home wearing my Nutcase helmet, Paul applied only the lightest of styling products before the blow dry in order to minimize helmet head. Thank you, Paul.

Just before I left, another customer, overhearing a reference to my blog, asked me about blogging and mentioned that she bike commutes but struggles with hair, makeup, and worry about working up a sweat before work. I told her about the fashion-bike commuting genre of blogs and explained to her I avoided pre-work perspiration by pedaling slowly and wearing moisture wicking fabrics whenever possible. Naturally, I took advantage of the opportunity to promote the May 16 and June 18 Tweed rides in downtown Flagstaff.

My next appointment was at Late for the Train for coffee with Ray to discuss webhosting for the Tweed rides. I arrived first and snagged the last table, a coffee, and a raisen bran muffin. Ray arrived, also on his bike, a nifty old red Schwinn with cruiser handlebars, his laptop in hand. He gave me a tour of what he has been doing on-line to promote other rides, all of which somehow escaped my radar, including a series of sprint rides. Ray will have the bones of the website at the next April 5 Habitat-Tweed ride meeting at the Green Room.

And this is Ray and his bike. And no, I don't know if he has a girlfriend but I do know that he has 8 bicycles.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Progress on Two Fronts

Yet another Tweed ride meeting after work. Francis, our Habitat Executive Director, and I met with the rep of a yet to be named sponsor for our ride. I'm excited about the possibilities and will work with Francis on getting our sponsorship application done this weekend. I feel a sense of momentum and am constantly energized by the enthusiasm with which people are responding to our plans. This evening, we arranged to meet at Altitudes Bar and Grill (2 Beaver Street), a pub on the south side of the tracks, favored by local ski bums and mountain bikers. This evenings activity at the usually packed bar and grill was sparse for happy hour, possibly due to the very high winds. Francis was surprised to see me arrive on my bike due to the considerable head wind most of the way. What choice did I have really when the CNN is telling me that I need an hour of exercise everyday in order to maintain my weight into my senior years? With all these Tweed ride meetings I'd never fit in exercise were it not for biking into a head wind.

And I did get my hour in; 30 minutes each way.

Naturally, I can't pedal through the south side of the tracks without checking out Flagstaff's most unique construction site, that of the shipping container house. On my way home, I stopped briefly and leaned over a chain length fence to take in significant progress on the side of the house. I cherish our front porch but feel a pang of house envy when I gaze at the shipping container house! Oh, who is the daring soul soon to inhabit the shipping container house? An architect? A bike commuter? Or just a *@!$# genius?! I must speak to this person. Perhaps a SRAB exclusive for a future post?

And just when you thought I would finally spare readers my endless ski photos, I can't resist posting a few shots from our Sunday adventure at the Flagstaff Nordic Center. We spent the whole day there, packing a lunch for refueling after several miles of groomed trails. While the snow is retreating rapidly at 7000 feet it still covers everything at 8000. It's hard to believe that in a few short months those same trails will be the playground for runners and mountain bikers.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

She Rides a Bike to a Tweed Ride Meeting

Planning the Tweed ride has become my obsession and today I met my friend Gail, an events planner, at Macy's European Coffee House and Bakery to bounce ideas off her over lunch. Habitat for Humanity Flagstaff Executive Director Francis Mazza joined us to explore the Habitat fundraising arm of the event. I have not done any events planning since undergraduate school so I am grateful to Gail for offering her time and expertise.

Since Macy's is right around the corner from the shipping container house, I decided to swing by check out the progress of construction. No doubt the heavy and frequent winter snow has slowed work down but I was pleased the house taking shape as all the windows seem to have been installed. The shipping container house is on its way to becoming someone's home.

And Just Something that Made Me Laugh . . .

The Planner Guy and I were having drinks at The Wine Loft (17 N. San Francisco, downtown) a couple of weeks back. Sitting at the bar we noticed this humorous note posted under the wine list. Yes, Arizona's state legislature thought that while they were busy resolving our budget woes by gutting healthcare for disadvantaged children they might as well pass a bill allowing guns in bars. Not surprisingly, some bar owners still believe guns and alcohol aren't a good mix. Thank you, Wine Loft.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Surprise! Tweed Has Hit Arizona!

I had hoped the Flagstaff Tweed Ride benefitting Habitat for Humanity would be the very first Tweed ride in Arizona but too late, we've been bested. Phoenix and Tucson got there before we did. Perhaps we can be the first Tweed Ride for a really good cause (other than recruiting more smartly dressed bike commuters, that is).

The second Tweed ride organizing meeting took place Monday evening at The Green Room and I'm happy to report it was one well attended gathering. Joining Habitat board members Rand Jenkins and me were our Executive Director Francis Mazza; artist, back country skier and Floodplain Inspector David McKee; City of Flagstaff Multimodal Transportation Coordinator Martin Ince; Flagstaff Bicycle Organization members David Needham and Ray Walker, and Green Room general manager Jeremy Balaba. With so many creative minds huddled around one table it's little wonder that when I left the meeting two hours later my fears about organizing a successful Tweed ride and fundraiser had been replaced with giddy excitement. Oh, the possibilities!

We are looking at three stops downtown for food and drink, a ride through and urban and park-like setting, live music, an art auction, and hopefully bike raffle. The ulimate goals for me are raising awareness of and monies for the next Habitat homes in Flagstaff (we are now in the family selection process) and promoting biking as a means of getting you where you want to go - not just to work but to the local pub, as well.

Flagstaff Biking Organization has decided to organize a Tweed ride on Monday, May 16 to kick off Bike to Work Week. I'm looking forward to working to pool our efforts to make both events successful.

Helping to fuel my excitement, I celebrated the ice-free streets and urban trail by biking to work this morning. Chilly though it was, it truly felt like a spring morning as I was able to pedal in with my leather jacket open and only by fur lined mittens rather than my heavy NorthFace ski gloves. Since I could ride the entire way (less than a mile) on my the urban trail I decided to ride without the helmet and not spoil the perfectly good hair day. Maybe I will be able to survive 8 months without skiing . . .

Saturday, March 6, 2010

The End of a Good Thing But the Start of Another . . .

I'm thrilled with the encouragement I've received from my fellow bike commuting bloggers about my hopes to organize a successful Tweed ride and fundraiser benefiting Habitat for Humanity Flagstaff. So far, I haven't seen a ride organized in conjunction with a fundraiser so it's possible we could be the first. The first planning meeting is this Monday at 5:30 at the Green Room, and I'm anxious to hear the ideas of the others attending. So far, the Tweed ride has been met with considerable enthusiasm so I'm hopeful.

It looks like I'll be back to regular bike commuting fairly soon. The snow forecasts have not called for more than two or three inches the last few weeks and we've had some very sunny days in the last few weeks with considerable snow melt.

I greet the newly visible streets and urban trail with a certain bit of sadness since I've really enjoyed my after work skiing. Happily, there is still quite a bit of snow remaining at the Nordic Center and Snow Bowl and should be for quite some time. This afternoon, The Planner Guy and I spent two hours at the Nordic Center skiing groomed trails, a first for me. It was lovely. Nordic Center is surrounded by Aspen groves,which I find particularly stunning when the ground is covered in snow. We only spent about 2 hours on the trails but decided we'd try and get a group of our friends to come out with us for the day next weekend