Monday, May 28, 2012

She Rides a Bike is moving! To Phoenix!

Yep, it's happening! We are relocating to Phoenix in June (actually July for me).  Bob just accepted an exciting new job, and I will be attending Arizona State University this fall to begin work on my Masters in Social Work.  Everything came together very suddenly this weekend while we were in Phoenix exploring housing options for me this fall.  We even found a lovely bungalow to rent in one of Central Phoenix's historical neighborhoods, right on the Metro Rail route.  We'll be within easy biking and walking distance to cafes, restaurants, pubs, the art museum, the ASU downtown campus, the downtown YMCA, the grocery store and even my cousin's house.  Bob was especially excited that we are exactly two miles from the front of our rental to the entrance of Chase Field, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks.  To celebrate this next chapter in our life together we headed to that very place to catch the 1 p.m. game against the Milwaukee Brewers.

The entrance of Chase Field is a mere 2 miles from our new house.
It's a pretty good bet Sunday's game will be the last one that we ever drive to.  Parking ranged from $5 - $10.  That's insane.  And who wants to get in a car that been backing over asphalt all afternoon when the high is over 100?  Luckily, Chase Field kindly provides free parking . . .

I wonder how soon these fill up before a game?
for cyclists, that is.  I wonder if there are more of these close by? 

This is actually a train coming into the Montebello stop near my cousin's house.
I mentioned the Metro Rail route, too, didn't I?  Bikes are allowed on board, and it stops close by Chase Field.  Yippy!!!

Bob with our celebratory tickets.
I didn't do any biking while in Phoenix this weekend so I don't have any bikey excitement to report at the moment but the transition from transportation cycling in a community with lots well-maintained multi-use trails and on-street bike lanes to one that was developed around the needs of the automobile should be interesting.  If any readers in the Valley would like to meet up for a tutorial on biking the streets of Phoenix I would love to meet up.  Coffee and lunch will be on me!  Bob and my mother-in-law are worried that the 100+ summer temperatures and overall sprawl will necessitate that we buy a second car but, after 4 years of bike commuting, I am resistant to the idea.  Once again, I'd like to hear from Phoenix cyclists on how they manage when the heat sores up above 95.   I've suffered the scorching July heat on many occasions and must admit that even "dry heat" is pretty bad once you get much above 90.   Is there a time to throw in the towel?

About two hours before the start.  Chase Field has a retractable roof, protecting the Diamondbacks (and I suppose their opponents from the sun's death rays).
Those are questions for a future post.  Meantime, here are a few pictures from our afternoon at Chase Field.  I can't believe I'm going to be living blocks away from Major League Baseball!  Is it crazy to say that I have waited my entire life for this??

Fans were invited to bring their dogs to Chase Field on Sunday.  And they did.  Perhaps hundreds.  We felt
a little guilty that Jade, Ashby and Daisy were waiting for us at Angie's house.
A swimming pool at a baseball field?  Am I the only one who finds this excessive?  How does the team feel about this?

This is Diane.  Very friendly and welcoming to soon-to-be regular visitors to Chase Field.

Being again in a city with a national sports teams is serious business for the Planner Guy.



Dan said...

Pretty exciting! I look forward to hearing about your adventures there. My parents live in a retirement community in nearby Mesa, and I haven't seen too many cyclists out there. Your experiences may help me plan a future vacation that includes a bike.

disabledcyclist said...

Congadulations on the next chapter,my friend! I too look forward to readin gthe new adventures :)

Whil we don't exactly have "dry" heat here on this corner of Virgnia (SW'ern tip,I'm i the bordertown of Bristol),we DO see temps 90-100 degrees F it seems,every year,with high humidity as well (I often joke to riding buddies when mtnbiking that "Gatorade??? You don't need no stinkin' Gatorade,just take a deep breath for H2O,it's 3,000% today" LOL :P),my best advice is plenty o sunscreen,hydrate or die,and know your body's warning signs of when to back off...of course,you will aclimate a bit to it as well,but those bits are golden nuggets IMO :)

The DC

anniebikes said...

Congratulations on the relocation. I regularly read John commutes all summer in Pheonix. Hope you find some of his insights helpful to your cycling navigation.

She Rides a Bike said...

Annie, I've been looking at John's blog and plan to pestered him for a tour! Thx for the reminder. Of course, John does might not have my grooming issues so I also need the wisdom of some Valley women cyclists.

John Romeo Alpha said...

Hey, welcome to PHX! For me, the keys to riding in the heat are hydration, avoiding the middle of the day, and acclimatization. If you keep riding every day, you get used to it. The earlier in the morning, or the later in the day, even evening, the better. Drinking large amounts of water is important when you walk or ride around here in the heat. If you do that, the low humidity can be quite nice--soak a bandana in water, wrap it around your neck, instant air conditioning! But if you get dehydrated, which happens fast, it's just miserable. Or worse.

She Rides a Bike said...

John, it does seem like avoiding being out in the middle of the day during the really heat intense months is the key. I don't see a lot of people out in Phx during that time. When I lived in high,high humidity Louisville I teneded to avoid going outside during the heat of the day for that same reason; it was really brutal. Up here in Flag, during the winter, after the sun goes down I'm not on my bike very much since the temperatures is just too harsh. No matter where we go we have to make adjustments for the weather. I'm just so thrilled that we've found a neighborhood that close to the things we like to do and close to public transit. I'll be a city girl again!

Melanie Suzanne said...

Oh, congratulations! I am so excited for you and look forward to reading about your adventures in a new city. Best of luck with the move!

m e l i g r o s a said...

congrats on the new move +school +his new job. all sorts of good changes are in your way +your energy is nothing short of positive. so happy for you both
what better way to celebrate than baseball!!

next time you are in SF you should def. check out a game (if you haven't already done so) and there is free bike valet parking in a little warehouse room. very cool huh, the MLB should really encourage that program league-wide. Even NBA pros are biking around post-game. what a great sign of the times
cheers xxom

BluesCat said...

What JRA says is absolutely correct: water, don't go out in the middle of the day, water, acclimatization, water ... you get the picture.

The "heat index" is much more important than just the temperature alone. When the humidity is low, your body's natural air conditioning --- sweat --- works wonderfully. Augment it with a soaked bandana, or just spritzing some water over your helmet, and you do MUCH better.

Just for reference, here are the DesertCat's guidelines for himself (all advice assumes 10% humidity or less):
100°F or less - Perfect, just remember the drinking water.
100°F to 105°F - Okay, but take it REALLY easy and drink TWICE as much water.
105°F to 110°F - Need to have some "mitigating conditions" at this point: a light breeze, a lot of shade on the route, partially overcast, a totally downhill route, less than four miles total round trip, a rest area in an air conditioned facility partway through the ride, a return trip scheduled for after the sun goes down, free beer at the end of the ride; need to have at least three of these factors in play; oh, and even MORE water.
110°F or above - Be smart, don't complicate my life or the life of the EMT's by going out on my bike; staying home and drinking beer is perfectly acceptable, even if I have to PAY for it.

Any time y'all want to get together to trade notes, just let me know (email address is on my blog site ). Maybe we could get JRA to join us and have a Bike Commuter Conference!

She Rides a Bike said...

Meli, Bob and I are already speculating that we'll be more able to visit SF now that we can fly directly out of Sky Harbor (and take the rail line there!). We went to a Giant's game the last time we were in town. What a beautiful ball field! Happy to say that Chase Field does provide a number of bike parking locations, including inside the parking garage (who wants to get on a white hot bike saddle?).

Blues: Why no biking after dark? And I do expect a Blues Cat tour of the city once I get settled.

BluesCat said...

You'll notice that one of my "mitigating conditions" is "a return trip scheduled for after the sun goes down." Riding in Phoenix after dark is pretty much like it is in a lot of other big cities: there are place you DO want to do it and places you DON'T want to do it. The only additional catch in Phoenix is sometimes the weather STILL plays a factor in the summer months.

Take last night for instance (6/1/2012). The temperature didn't go below 100°F until somewhere around 11:00 PM.

She Rides a Bike said...

100 degrees after dark. Wow. People have been telling me that yet I didn't believe it. The temperatures drop dramatically up here in Flagstaff, even on a hot day (80's). This morning we're only in the 50's but it will climb quite a bit. I guess I'll have to make some accommodations, just like I do here during snow season.

BluesCat said...

Years ago, I was talking to the Traffic Engineer for the City of Flagstaff. He was collecting some information on how a huge variance in temperatures plays havoc with highway infrastructure. This was in the days before the Internet and I remember he could only find two other locations where the available data showed a daily temperature variance greater than that of Flagstaff.

Number Two was the Sahara Desert. And Number One?

The surface of the Moon!

David Bickford said...

Weclome to Phoenix. A lot of good comments above about hydration and optimal times of day for riding. Another tip to keep in mind is that Phoenix provides plenty of opportunties to mix bicycling and public transit. The buses have horizontal racks that hold up to three bikes, and the light rail trains hold four bikes per car in vertical racks. In the hot summer, I pedal most of the way to work in the relatively cool morning but let public transit do most of the work during the hotter commuter home.

Sam said...

I guess you're just going to inch your way to Southern California? :)

Congratulations! What an exciting opportunity.

She Rides a Bike said...

Thx, David. I visited your transit website and will use it as a reference for my transit needs. One of the things that I am most looking forward to in returning to a large urban area is to be able to get to where I want to go using public transit. As with bicycling, if I can't get to a destination by bus or rail I will reevaluate whether or not it's really someplace that I need to go.

She Rides a Bike said...

We are so excited about being closer to SoCal! Did you know that I've never been to Disneyland?! Okay, Disneyland is perhaps not my top priority but I'd love to take a movie studio tour. And, hey, I'll finally be able to meet you. My husband's company has an office in Sacramento, which would be a very cool place to visit as I love state capitals and government. I wonder what Governor Moombeam (I really like Jerry) thinks about transportation cycling?

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