Friday, July 30, 2010

A Dark and Stormy Night For a Bike Ride

Beer Ranger Grant invited me to another gathering of similarly inclined cyclists on Tuesday night at Altitudes Bar and Grill (2 Beaver Street).  The Planner Guy had his own bike plans apart from me on Lake Mary Road, training for his Louisville Ironman on August 26.  The weather this week has not been ideal for outdoor adventures but monsoon rains cannot overcome the anticipation of a Sunshine Wheat and a group bike ride. 

I made a souvenir of the Clips of Faith Beer and Film Tour coaster.  The tour is coming through Flagstaff mid-August.  It will be an outdoor viewing of films about bikes and beer and include beer tasting.  An excellent end of summer diversion.

Friend and committed bike and beer fan David joined us on his vintage cruiser, covered artfully in rust and outfitted with handlebar that could also double as empaling devises.

Our friend Will had son Nixon in tow on the rear of his bike.

This couple managed the threat of rain on a tandem, their combined pedaling allowed them top speed on the hilly route through NAU that we took.

Due to impending rain our ride was a short one, only 30 minutes and we arrived back at Altitudes just in time to miss heavy rains, thunder and lighting, which have remained with us all week.  Our group spent the next hour of so on the covered porch enjoying beer and appetizers, and conversed about the recent flooding, biking during lightening, and crude South Park clips that shouldn't be funny but really, really are.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Pretty Things

Made a trip to Red Thread after work on my bike early this past week to pick up some alternations from Jenn, my seamstress.  Outside the studio, fellow seamstress Tina had parked her pretty, 7-speed vintage bike.

After a long chat with Jenn about financial reform (who knew she was such a policy wonk?), I rode home in a light and refreshing rain.  This rainbow followed me all the way home.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

People, Beer and Bike Rides

Summer time is the season of the group ride just about everywhere, and certainly in Flagstaff.  Grant arranged a group ride this week beginning at Granny's, a Flagstaff institution of many years.  Their parking lot is home to this large Lumberjack statue (the NAU mascot), the  base of which made a very nice bike rack.

After a pre-ride beer, we met up in the rear parking area to decide on our route and commence to pedal. 

I confess that I don't know this young lady's name but I've chatted with her at a recent Tweed ride.  I like her lace top.

Biking for two.

Father-daughter biking.

Soon we were pedaling through the NAU campus, which enjoys many bike paths and not a few hills.

After returning to Granny's for the post-ride beer (and a soda for little Claire), I prepared for the possibility of a summer monsoon while we were inside by wrapping my saddle in a plastic grocery bag. 

A plastic grocery bag makes an excellent, though admittedly not very stylish, rain cover and Flagstaff cyclists in-the-know carry them during monsoon season for just in case.

On the way home, Bob and I spotted this mural on the outside of a photography studio.  I pass by here at least once a week and have never noticed it so it might be new.  Regardless, I really like it as a nice addition to a funky southside neighborhood.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

More on No Problem Bike Parking

Why is this man smiling?  Perhaps because he knows he can get to where he want to be in downtown Flagstaff on time and hassle free because he is on a bike?

Here's bike parking at an always packed pedestrian area just off Route 66 right in the heart of the historic downtown.    Bikes are locked up and down the area and into the alleys that run on either side of it.  No parking for cars is provided because the pedestrian area is designed for people mixing and mingling over coffee, beer, dinner, and shopping.  The bikes add to the friendly, casual and fun atmosphere in a way that cars simply can't compete match.

Last weekend, Bob and I were traveled on our bike down here to a restaurant just outside the alley on San Francisco, Criollo Latin Kitchen.  Locked our bikes half a block down the street outside the Rendevous where we stopped first for drinks before dinner.  Parking was at a premium that night but not for us since all we needed was the nearest bike rack of free sign post.

Criollo has been open several months and the food is wonderful.  I ordered catfish tacos with black beans and rice, while Bob had skewered shrimp with mango chutney. 

For the occasion, I went off the supermodel diet and decided to eat the entire meal.  Cindy Crawford's position as the reigning supermodel over 40 still safe but the catfish tacos were well worth it.  Being that I had a 5 mile bike ride back home following dinner, though, I didn't feel the least guilty about cleaning my plate anyway.

So what's all the Flagstaff Hullabaloo?

The Flagstaff Hullabaloo is a celebration of bikes, beer, weirdness of all manner . . . . We lost Tour de Fat in 2007 so we gotta have something!

I went down this past Saturday to see what it was all about.

Very large puppets that scare me.

A rest station when drinking beer becomes just too exhausting.  Note the bike with a canopy to shield the rider from scorching high mountain UV rays.

Dr. Seuss character and a young lady who wants to be a cat; both with bikes.

Channeling the B-52's.  I love the B-52's.

Lot's of music and Samba drummers, much dancing . . . .

I didn't dress up.  Despite a BFA from UGA when it comes to putting together a costume I'm a lost cause and a Halloween no-show.  I did buy a chicken BBQ sandwich and slaw from Big-Foot BBQ.  No picture but I promice you, it was delicious.   All proceeds benefitted Flagstaff Biking Organization.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Low Fashion, Rustic Art and Cool Bikes

Bob indulged my need to be in the downtown mix this past July 4 weekend and pedaled with me to Art in the Park (Wheeler Park that is).   The lovely day called for my new Patagonia sundress.  This summer I've purchased 3 Patagonia sundresses and this one is my favorite, the Margot sundress.  I have broad shouldered and have a large ribcage so I wear a medium.  I love the fit.  Very flattering, not too clingy and a medium weight knit that doesn't feel flimsy when I riding on a windy day.
Though we originally planned to observe the parade from the balcony of the Weatherford sipping cold vodka lemonades by the time we arrived downtown the crowd was too thick so we went straight to the art fair.  Bob saw Don Swanson first and played it cool.  I saw him second and made a bee line for his booth.  Lovely, beautiful, low fire pottery with rustic southern European surface design of the variety one might see on a pitcher resting on a rough farm table outside an Italian farm house surrounded by olive trees.  Not that I put a lot of thought into it . . .  

The thing about beautiful pottery is (and you really don't see a lot of really beautiful, inspiring pottery at art fairs) that I have to pick it up, turn it over and look at it from all directions, and study the little imperfections that really aren't imperfections but evidence of the human touch, the hand that formed the art.  I have to study the little intentional flourishes and imagine what inspired each.  Why did Don Swanson places the little rosette just inside the lip of the vase?  I don't ask; I'm sure it just felt right.

Certain that Bob was not moved the way I was I pulled myself away from the booth and headed toward the hot dog cart for a Chicago dog, which proved not to be a real Chicago dog since it lacked pickles, onion, celery salt, poppy seed bun and who knows (except a upper Midwestern boy) what else.  For the love of God, foot cart vendors, don't advertise Chicago dogs unless you really intend to sell Chicago dogs.  We should be able to trust that when we order a Chicago dog that is what we're going to get.

Okay, so anyway, following the dog episode, we continued browsing.  After wandering the entire fair, Bob asked me if I was ready to go.  Yes, but I want to go back and visit that ceramic booth, I said.  "I liked those pots," Bob agreed.  " Those would look nice in our house."  Soon we had 2 vases and a pitcher selected for purchase (at Bob's urging I came back later and purchased a fourth piece).  After our purchase we thought of the challenge of carrying them home on our bikes.  Don had wrapped the pots well with bubble wrap and butcher paper but would we have enough room in our panniers to carry them all home.  Not worry, the Planner Guy brought a bungee cord net!  It was a very tight fit but I managed to get a small vase in my Detours pannier and Bob fit the very large vase and the pitcher in his Nashbar pannier and fit the bungee net over the top so that nothing could could bounce out if we hit a bump in the road.

On our way out we ran into this young woman and her boyfriend locking their bikes to a tree.  I loved her skirt leggings combo, a look I never feel capable of carrying off very well but always find really cute on other people.  It's a very Flagstaff, young look and maybe I worry that I have simply aged out of that look.  I see it on women older than me and they look great but still I worry.   Is it just me but do any of my readers ever struggle with the fashion dilemma "Am I just too old for that"?  I don't stress out about my age and for some reason really look forward to turning 50 in a few years.  I don't ever plan to leave the house in a velour sweat suit or sit on the porch in a floral housecoat but I fear being seen in public in anything that suggests a painful attempt to appear 25.  All the clean living, exercise and SPF in the world cannot conceal the fact that I am a "woman of a certain age".  Feedback is welcome.

Anyway, we made it home pottery in tact.  I went back later and collected a mid-sized pot, as directed by Bob.  Don Swanson seemed to doing a bang up business as his supply looked very depleted, including a set of teacups I was considering buying for my sister.  I left with my pot leaving behind a long line of people greedily clutching their finds.  Once home, Bob and I arranged them on our console and admired ourselves as people of culture and good taste.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Hurray for Bike Parking!

The Planner Guy and I had a Friday night date to usher in the July 4 holiday weekend. We met up after work at Pay n' Take and shared beer with Martin and Jeff for an hour or so . . .

This past Friday being the night of the First Friday Art Walk, downtown Flagstaff was a hustle and bustle with activity and not many parking spaces were to be had. As you and I already know though, parking spaces aren't much of a worry when you ride a bike.

My favorite "no parking" sign was open across the street at the Orpheum . . .

and Bob was able to find a place to lock up just a few steps from the bar, even with all the other bikes on the sidewalk . . .

and this one hanging out on a fence.

After leaving Pay n' Take, we tooled around downtown for a while and took in some street music and general urban ambiance.

Eventually we were ready to dine and decided to bike up San Francisco to Brix and enjoy a wine and cheese plate. We've been to Brix a couple of times, including for our anniverary this past April. The food is great, the service impecible and the interior of the restaurant is stylish and charming at the same time. Unhappily, once again I have failed to capture this on camera due to the excitement created when the cheese arrived at the table. I didn't even think about even taking a picture of the cheese plate until after I had already destroyed the artistic presentation. Damn! It really was delicious, too. I'll try to do better next time in the photog department but remember, this is a bike blog, not a foodie blog. So in keeping with bikes and the overall parking theme of this post, I did take pics of the exterior bike parking area!

Very nice. A bike rack in a well lit area, close to entrance rather than hidden in the shadows. One could probably fit more bikes at the bike rack than one could cars in the parking lot. Thank you Brix! How nice it is to be able to enjoy a date with my husband without it being marred by the unpleasantness of the lack of parking spaces or an ugly altercation over who saw said parking space first. Parking is never a crisis on a bike.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Pretty in Pink

The first time I met Robin was in late Spring at the Bike to Work Week Bike Swap on Heritage Square, where I snapped her picture. The second time I met here was at the last Tweed Ride, when I again snapped her picture. I took a third picture of her at the Friday Art Walk when we spotted each other at the gallery where she works. She's got a really great fashion sense. I love her hat.

Robin's anxious for another Tweed ride and is aleady planning her ensemble. No doubt she might also want to show off her very cute mountain bike, painted pink and retrofitted for ultimate style.

A white leather saddle with brass studs.

The handlebars are a big WOW!

Love these leather grips!

Robin's bike gets the SRAB award for the most stylish bike of the month, hands down.