Monday, June 28, 2010

Tweedy Weekend Getaway

I'll return to more highlights from this past Friday night's Tweed Ride in a day or two but for now I'll digress to Bob and my post ride doings. The previous Saturday, Bob suggested that after the Tweed we spend the night at the landmark Hotel Monte Vista in downtown Flagstaff. Oh, yippy! I'd been wanting an excuse to stay at the Monte V. Staying downtown would be a mini holiday and allow us to enjoy our evening without worrying about the hassle of a long bike commute home after a night of drinking.

I checked us into the hotel about an hour before I had to be at Altitudes Bar and Grill to meet and greet the Tweed riders. I must say our room, which once Debbie Reynolds slept, was pinker than any room I thought possible. Startlingly pink but gratefully cast an attractive light on to my face. Here I am attired for the Tweed.

And here Bob and I are much later in the evening, after the ride, after a few tall New Belgiums, and eternally grateful that we had rented a room and hadn't very far to walk our bikes.

We slept later than usual in our very pink room, until about 9 a.m., practically all day for us. I must say for an old hotel in the heart of a busy downtown, our room was remarkably quite. When we got back to the hotel after the ride, despite the noise in the hall, once we shut our door, all was quiet.

A good morning starts with a good breakfast, which we decided to do at La Bellavia, 18 South Beaver. La Bellavia is a whole in the wall that's great for people watching, given its proximity to the University and the bohemian patrons of Macy's European Coffee House, next door. We had a great view of it all. Although the outdoor seating was full, we lucked out an got a table in a nook under a large window at the front of the restaurant and watched a parade of bikes, dogs, hipsters and foreign tourists passing us on the sidewalk. The interior is cozy too, with rotating displays of locally produced art for sale on the walls.
Soon though our attention fell completely on Eggs Benedict and blueberry buttermilk pancakes. Lots of coffee.
And turkey sausage and OJ. And coffee.

After breakfast we repacked our bikes with our panniers and garment bag from the night before. We had never used the 2-year old garment bag, specially designed for bike commuting, that we purchased on-line from Nashbar when we first began our "experiment" in biking to work and thinking we would change from lycra in to regular clothes every morning. Anyway, the garment bag was a perfect fit, hooking easily to Bob's rear bike rack and accommodating everything we wore on the Tweed Ride the night before. Remarkably, despite how loaded down with filled bags we were, the ride home was very easy, even under the increasingly strong sun. I wondered if I just wasn't carrying as much as I thought or if my legs had actually gotten stronger.

When we arrived home I was gratified that Bob, whose Ironman training schedule was interrupted by his willingness to cater to my Tweed Ride plans, announced that the previous evening and morning breakfast had been a lot of fun. We were both exhausted though, as much from the thrill of a successful fundraiser as from the physcial activity. After collecting the little dog, Jade, from our friends Erika and Todd we spent the rest of the day relaxing on the front porch and congratulating ourselves on fun well done.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Fridat Night Tweed Ride Highlights

Around 5:15 p.m. this past Friday, I was really sweating it. Where was everybody? Only two riders had arrived at Altitudes Bar and Grill (2 S. Beaver St.) and Habitat for Humanity staff was already set up to sell raffle tickets and talk about our raffle and auction items. Only two people had arrived so far and I wondered if a ride if an eight person ride, five of whom included my husband and two couples we know, would really count as a fun memorable ride. Angela, our very sensible Americorp student, reminded me that in Flagstaff everyone arrives on time and not a moment before. Oh, yeah, sure, I thought,hoping I wouldn't have egg on my face and tears running down my cheeks.

Then "they" arrived. Then I knew it would all be okay. Straight out of central casting.

Soon Angela was busy selling raffle tickets to the arrivals . . .

and the Altitudes bar was filling up.

Here is the Planner Guy and David McKee, the artist who created our Tweed Ride commerative poster enjoying a New Belgium at the bar and looking like they stepped out of another era.

Speaking of New Belgium, here is their Flagstaff Beer Ranger Grant Dunstan and Linda, one of the owners of Altitudes sitting at the bar mingling with their fellow riders. Both New Belgium and Altitudes were very excited to be a part of Habitat's construction fundraiser, especially one with the velo connection. Altitudes is a favorite stomping ground for local bicyclists. New Belgium Brewing has a special devotion to biking, both awarding a new bike to employees at their first anniversary with the company and asking employees to bike to work at least one day a week.

Our ride leaders CJ and Kyle pedaled up at 5:30 as more riders continued to pour in. We decided to push back the ride 15 minutes later to allow riders to enjoy some refreshment before taking off. CJ ownes Revolution Bicycles, and as another early parnter, donated a reconditioned vintage bicycle to our auction. His roommate Kyle manages Single Track Bikes (575 W. Riordan Rd) and both guys generously agreed to act as ride leaders, which proved extremely helpful at traffic lights and stop signs on this very busy Friday night.

Oh, the fashions!

And soon we're off!

We stopped for a group photo op at the old telescope at Northern Arizona University Campus. A vintage telescope seemed appropriate for a Tweed Ride. I love this group photo because I think it really captures the spirit of the ride. The bicycles and the opportunity to dress up in something outrageous brought friends and strangers together.

Back on our bikes, soon we arrived at our next destination: The Historic Weatherford Hotel. Walking in, we immediately prompted questions from other customers. Were we in a play? Members of a marketing team? Time travelers seeking libation? Whatever the answer, it was clear that we were having fun and the period dress seemed to add to the enjoyment of everyone's evening. As we left on our bikes to continue our ride, the patrons left on the Weatherford balcony waved and cheered us on.

Here we are waiting at a traffic light on our way to Francis Short Pond, gotten to over urban trail and city and neighborhood streets. It was the location of another group photo.

Back to downtown Flagstaff and the Green Room. We took advantage of a Movie Night on Heritage Square to draw attention to ourselves (all for a good cause, mind you) to all ring our bike bells and call out "Tweed Ride!". No problems caused since the movie had not yet started.

And finally The Green Room, and the auction and raffle, more New Belgium and BBQ from Satchmo's.

Bidding on the bikes was competitive to say the least. Here is CJ with his vintage Sears Free Spirit (circa 1970). The Free Spirit winning bid was for $120 and it was no sooner put up for auction again, and won for $100 for a total donation of $220 towards the next Habitat for Humanity home in Flagstaff.

Here I am posing with the 2010 Kona Lana'i mountain bike donated by Bryce Wright of AZ Bikes. Bryce is another one of our locals merchants who needed no persuading to partner with Habitat for Humanity Flagstaff and immediately suggested the $400 Kona for the auction. In a mountain town like Flagstaff, the Kona was a hot item and raised $200 as the final auction item for the evening.

I'll have a second post about the Tweed Ride later this week, with more pictures and info about the local merchants who helped make the Tweed Ride Benefitting Habitat for Humanity Flagstaff possible.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

What We Saw From the Front Porch and the Balcony of the Weatherford

First we saw this:

Then Bob got on the phone and described the scene to his parents, while the Jade-Dog watched the unfolding scene in awe.

Then we hopped on our bikes and went here:

Next we went here:

And did this:

We sat on the balcony and observed the merriment in downtown Flagstaff as the huge smoke plumb continued to expand overhead.
In between staring at the smoke monster looming overhead, Bob and I worked out the Tweed Ride route for this coming Friday's ride. We thought this would make a nice stop. Hope the fire is out by then and everyone is safe and can enjoy the ride. If you live near or plan to be in Flagstaff, please join us. Visit Flagstaff Tweed for details.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

World Premier Flagstaff Tweed Promo Video!

Check out the June 25 Flagstaff Tweed Ride promo video below! The ride will conclude with an auction and raffle benefit for Habitat for Humanity Flagstaff at The Green Room in downtown Flagstaff.

June 25th Summer Ride from RobothouseTV on Vimeo.

New Belgium Brewing Company and Cruz Tequila will be there too in support of the event. AZ Bikes and Revolution Bikes donated bicycles for our auction and many home grown businesses, including Late for the Train, Cosmic Cycles, Zani, Aspen Sports and Biff's Bagels have donated items for the auction. Habitat hopes to raise at least $2000 for the our next home construction phase.

If you live in Flagstaff or just want to get out of the heat, I hope you'll join us for a really fun event. Please see Flagstaff Tweed for more details.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

More Flagstaff Tweed Ride Art

This is a preview of the art local artist David McKee created for the June 25 Tweed Ride benefitting Habitat for Humanity Flagstaff. I'm excited about how it turned out. The location of the image is the corner of Aspen and San Francisco. Those familiar with downtown Flagstaff will recognize Babbitt's and the Hotel Monte Vista. Check out FlagstaffTweed for more details about the ride and our sponsors.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Breezy Summer Style and an Elegant Black Bike

Following this evenings June Tweed ride planning meeting, Habitat for Humanity Flagstaff Chair Deb, an unidentified banjo player, and I stood outside The Green Room in complete agreement that Flagstaff had turned suddenly hot. The National Weather Service in Bellemont reported highs in the upper 80's on Sunday but Deb and the Banjo man swore the temperatures hit 97.

Our lovely Green Room bartender Brittany couldn't care less about the heat since she knows how to dress for the weather (and as my friend Marc would say, I hope sister is wearing sunscreen). Shoulderless striped sweater. Just below the waist cotton knee length A-line skirt (really the perfect length). Woven leather flip-flops. Very very breezy, feminine summer look. Of course, the flouncy wide brim hat and over-sized shades are a must during the summer in Flagstaff. Brittany likes to wear skirts and is very proud that she scored Specialized Globe step-through at Absolute Bikes. I think this might be a left-over from the 2008 models. The Globe step-through is virtually the same bike as the previously named Expedition that I often ride but the shiny black finish truly emphasizes the bikes elegant lines. The Globe is a great bike and a comfortable ride at a fantastic price (under $400). Although the newest Globe models come fully equipped for commuter biking, Brittany could easily upgrade her Globe with a Basil basket, fenders, a chainguard, a two pronged kickstand and a rear bike rack and be riding a perfect combination of style and utility. Oops, caught myself living vicariously!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Bike Date at Cuvee 928 (Wine Bar and Cafe)

A warm Saturday night means the Planner Guy and Karen on either side of a cribbage board. This night we decided to take our match to downtown Flagstaff and Cuvee Wine Bar and Grill, a favorite spot for al fresco sipping and people watching.

Artisan cheeses and a slightly chilled Napa Merlot are just the necessary snack when one is about to trounce or be trounced.

As for people watching, we were not to be disappointed. This Pucci print inspired group sat just inside Cuvee enjoying a light dinner and drink before moving on to the Adult Prom at the Orpheum. It's quite a shame they weren't arriving by bicycle; what an entrance that would make. The woman on the left laughed that she'd never be able to bike in her white platform boots but I'd certainly love to try. I didn't have time to convince her though since it was my crib and turn to deal.

With 35 years of cribbage under my belt, much under the tutelage of the master cribbage player, mon grand pere, it is no surprise that I was victorious. I never gloat, however, instead preferring romantic dawdling over our remaining wine as night fell. When we finally collected our bikes at the rack in front of Hertiage Square, it was quite obvious many others had the same idea for how to spend such a balmy Flagstaff evening. Date night on a bike.

Of course, romance does not have to preclude safety. I tested my new Planet Bike red blinker light.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Celebrating Warmer Weather and a Flowing Scarf

Celebrating the first warm morning of the year in Flagstaff. By warm I mean no need for gloves or leggings under my skirt required.

Perfect weather greeted my short morning ride to work.
My hair and scarf flowing behind as I pedal forward.
Ended the day with a hilly 8-mile ride to the Habitat Restore on 4th Street where the Habitat Family Selection Committee was meeting for further review of applications for the next building phase. The process of selecting a family to partner with on a home is emotionally exhausting and mentally challenging. Luckily we have a pretty diverse group on our family section committee, which leads to much needed discussion about why or why not an individual or family should move forward in the selection or wait and reapply during the next cycle.

The June 25 Tweed Ride in downtown Flagstaff is being held in support of the upcoming building phase, which will realize the home for the family with whom we select for partnership. Expect to read about the progress Habitat and I are making on that ride, as well as our private partners who are helping to make the event a success.