Saturday, January 28, 2012

Why is transportation funding still in question?

Warning:  I am about to go on a political rant.  If policy discussions make you feel faint or contribute to digestive problems do not read any further.  If, on the other hand, you ever wonder what you can do to affect positive change, give me five minutes of your time.  Maybe there is something you can do to further the cause of transportation cycling.
In a weak economy (oh, yes, I've heard that thing are getting better but so far I'm only convinced that true if you are Mitt Romney), when millions are unemployed or underemployed and gas remains and will likely to remain expensive, and many people just can't afford to own a car or to replace the failing car sitting in their garage, why are we (and by that I mean Congress!) still debating whether or not to fund pedestrian and bike infrastructure?  I am referring to the bike lanes, bike paths, bike corrals and sidewalks that would make it easier for more citizens, with or without cars, to opt for transportation choices less expensive and usually more enjoyable than dependence the automobile.  Well, I guess a significant portion of those elected gangsters (take that anyway you want to because that is the current level of regard I hold them in) are members of the 1%  with income above and beyond their generous Congressional salary and benefits.

Target does its part by placing abundant corrals on their front porch, along with a bench where my husband sat while waiting for me to pick up a prescription at the pharmacy.

So yesterday, I sent an email to my Congressional "representative" Paul Gosar letting him know that I support continuing funding for bike and pedestrian infrastructure and why.  Since I grew up in a Republican household, I am well-versed in conservative values and stressed that maintaining and expanding bike and pedestrian infrastructure facilitates the ability of citizens to exercise more personal responsibility for getting to and from work as well as their day-to-day finances.   I explained that I use my bike to get to work and that reducing my car use was a form of belt tightening required because we live in an expensive community.  I doubt that my email will make much of an impression.  The Congressional district lines have been redrawn and Mr. Gosar does not feel he can win so will run in another district - one that he does not currently live in, by the way.  Anyhoo, I exercised my civic duty and sent in my opinion and request that as a member of the Transportation Committee he vote in support of continuing the funding.  I hope that you, readers, will do the same.  Despite the Supreme Court's deplorable Citizen's United Decision last year, equating money with speech, a $1,000,000 dollars does not equal even a single vote.  All of us can and should tell our elected representatives where we stand on the issues, even if we know our opinion won't sway their vote.  Our collective opinions might just make a dent, however.  We can back up our ignored voices with votes. 

Not just for recreation, bike carry some people to work and many accommodate professional dress.
I am not a single-issue voter and would never suggest that anyone base their vote on election day on bike and pedestrian infrastructure funding alone.  What I am suggesting is that we all have to make an effort to familiarize ourselves with the issues. give our electeds our opinions when we feel we can properly articulate them and then go out and vote according the sum total of good that we feel the candidates support.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Hats for stylish winter bike commuting

Mostly a year-round bike commuter, I haven't yet overcome my fear of taking to the street on two wheels when it is thick with ice and snow.  The last three weeks have been warm enough to melt move of the ice and snow so I've welcomed the opportunity to be on my bicycle.  Despite the warmer temperatures, the Northern Arizona climate remains cold, especially in the morning and after 5 p.m.  Keeping warm on the ride to and from work remains the biggest challenge.  One of the first things I learned about surviving the winter at 7000 feet was the importance of keeping your head warm.    I developed a taste for hats in college but usually felt a bit self-conscious about wearing them since I rarely saw other people with them.  However, everyone in Flagstaff wears some kind of hat in the winter so now I had the perfect excuse to indulge myself without feeling like I was standing out.
Black felt cloche purchased in 2010 at Rainbow's End, Flagstaff.
Since moving to Arizona, I've taken to wearing hats regardless of the season.  During the winter, I find them essential for keeping warm.  I purchased the above hat, a cloche, last year at Rainbow's End. Unlike a lot of felt hats I've tired, this one fits securely and deeply on my head without crushing my hair; I've never had a problem with it blowing off in the wind as I do with a few of the little straw bucket hats that I favor once spring arrives.  I wear the cloche several times a week because it is simple, with no unnecessary flourishes and goes with just about every coat or jacket that I own (expect for skiing and other sports jackets).

I know a lot of riders wear a balaclava on extra cold mornings but I haven't had much luck with them.  The one that I purchased interfered with my peripheral vision so I abandoned it.  Instead, I just wrap a wool scarf around my neck, wrapping it so that it is just loose enough to pull up over my nose if the air is especially frigid.   My father picked up the one in the previous photograph for me several years ago in Scotland.  Again, in Flagstaff's chillier climate, I usually am wearing some sort of scarf all year long, depositing it in my bike basket or pannier if the mid-day temps climb much past 70 degrees.
Black wool beret purchased for about $15 at Incahoots in 2008 in Flagstaff.
My other go-to hat is a black, wool beret.  I've worn a beret on and off since college.  Again, the beret is just a fashion staple that really doesn't go in or out of style.  If, like me, you have a style obsession with all things French, or Audry Hepburn, you probably own a beret.  This one is lined and comes with a thin cord under the black leather band on the rim to I can secure it.  I hadn't worn my beret this season until a few week ago when we went to see Martin Scorsese's new film, Hugo, in which one of the main characters wears a beret through almost the entire picture.  Utterly charming, so of course, I had to pull mine out.  Again, goes with everything - especially my new pea coat.  A good wool beret can be expensive but I found this one at vintage clothier Incahoots downtown.  I think I paid about $15.  A steal since I had planned to order one on-line for about $85!

Wool herringbone cap from Poor Little Rich Girl consignment shop in Phoenix.
Here's another re-sail hat I found last year in Phoenix.  Not sure what you call this style.  It sort of looks like a cycling cap.  Any guesses? Also wool and right around $15 at Poor Little Rich Girl in Phoenix.  This one is just a bit snug on my head so I only wear it on the coldest days when I know my head won't sweat.  Since I keep my hair in a fairly short bob anyway, it doesn't do much damage.  Again, about the price, you don't have to pay a lot for a good hat.  I see great, almost new hats in vintage and consignment shops all the time.  People either wear hats or they don't.  Many would like to wear this or that hat, thinking it would make a great fashion statement, only to buy it and have it sit unused on a closet shelf because they don't feel "right" in a hat.  The remorseful buyer ends up sending it to Goodwill or consignment. All the better for me.

Wool, cable cap from Eddie Bauer.
Ali MacGraw made the knit cap a fashion-do some 40 years ago in Love Story.  It's taken me just about that long to appreciate it though.  My mom was forever admonishing me to wear a knit cap in cold weather when I was growing up, often just stuffing it on my head in a random fashion, only to have me pull it off in frustration with what she was doing to my hair.  Ugh!  The bob is a great cut for the knit cap since it usually just keeps the style in place on a ride to work or when it's really windy.  I can also wear it under my bike helmet when I'm biking after dark, the one time I consistently wear a helmet.  I love this soft, brown cable cap.  I purchased it at a downtown Eddie Bauer in Chicago the weekend Bob and got engaged, along with a matching scarf and gloves after arriving unprepared for bitter cold and wind.  Unfortunately, I left the scarf on an airplane a few years ago but I still enjoy the cap. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Overcoming my winter biking fears

One of my New Years resolutions this year is to toughen during the winter months and learn to bike through snow and ice.  When I say toughen up, please understand that I've set the bar incredibly low on this one.  We didn't have an especially impressive snowfall on Monday, maybe about three inches, and most of what was on the road, had melted.  Generally though, if even the slightest bit of snow and ice are present on the road, bike lane or multiuse path, I hitch a ride in the car with my husband, also an inclimate weather wimp.  We're both trying to work on this one.
Winter weather riding doesn't mean I have to dress for a blizzard. The pants are lined and I wore thin wook socks.
At the moment, I can't afford the studded tires that I've been promising myself for the last couple of years so I'm relying on the confidence that for me usually comes with being well dressed,
Add caption
along common sense riding behavior and bike accessories.

Planet Bike blinkie light for visibility.
LaserLiteLane for extra visibility.
When traveling over road that looks like this. . .

Would it be appropiate to ask the homeowners on either side of this short stretch to shovel the street?
the idea is to keep pedaling at a steady pace and avoid breaking.

Easy to pedal during the mid-day melt but quite challenging during my morning and early evening ride.
The bike lanes was mostly covered with jagged, rocky chunks of frozen snow so  I had to pedal in the main part of the road, as far to the right as safely possible, checking my rear view mirror from time to time.  I also made sure both my rear blinky lights were turned on to maximize my visibility.

Only an eight minute ride to m workplace, I made without incident.  I noticed along the way that other  morning commuting cyclist who I typically see on my morning ride in was nowhere to be seen.  He rides a mountain bike, always speeding past me with a wave and friend "Hello".  I wonder if he  was on a different schedule this morning or, like me, feels intimidated by the ice and snow.  If so, just how much does it take for him to throw in the towel and grab his car keys?  I've seen him biking to and from work for several months now and he looks like a pretty serious sports cyclist so I'd be curious as to whether or not he is even slightly a fair weather rider.  Something tells me that crazy bicycle lady with a camera will be making an appearance sometime soon to get the answer to this question.

Mocha update. . .
I regret to report that Bob and I lost Mocha early Tuesday morning.  Mocha refused to nurse Daisy; I suspected a developmental delay in his sucking reflex.  He lost weight and body temperature,  and developed an eye infection.  Under the care of the veterinarians and staff at Westside Veterinary Clinic he showed steady improvedment in all areas, and we learned to bottle and tube feed him, take his temperature and respond to his crying effectively. 

Mocha, day one.
He was a little fighter, and by Monday morning Bob and I were sure that Mocha had turned the corner for good and that within nine weeks we'd be sendings a happy, healthy puppy to his new family.  Unfortunately, sometime Monday he developed an infection in his GI track.  Our vet said that although she could revive him with fluids the prognosis was not good and he would be in considerable pain.  Bob and I could not let him suffer.

Day eight with Daisy and me after a successful tube feeding.
Bob admitted to me later that when he first saw Mocha's image on the sonogram he was filled with hope.  Despite the vet's warning that pups from first litters and very young mother's had a poor survival rate, for Bob, Mocha symbolized a determination to overcome disappointment, setbacks and obstacles - something very important to us at this time. 

Bob with Mocha, who liked being swaddled in a chenille sock.
Bob was certain that he and I could help Daisy care for her baby so that he would thrive, whatever the odds.  Bob said he worried that somehow he had let Mocha down but remembered that in his final moments, Mocha started to open his eyes for the first time.  He hoped that Mocha saw that we were there for him.  I, on the other hand, and certain that through our scent and touch that Mocha was aware of our presence and felt safe.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

I sold a bike: a not so brief history. . .

Excluding  a red tricycle, I've owned seven bicycles in my 49 years.  Not really that many, in my opinion.  Strangely, I have photos of none of my bicycles prior to 2007 and I can't tell you the fate of any of my childhood bicycles.  I outgrew one, and another, I left at home when I went off the college.  My mom did something with each but I haven't a clue as to what.  I didn't really care either.  My only biking experience for the most part was pedaling around Merryfield Park, the neighborhood where I grew up; the furthest I ventured on two wheels was the community swimming pool and The Family Mart on East North Street.  I didn't carry a bike lock, by the way, since I didn't worry about them being stolen.  Very suburban I'm afraid.  Not much for a girl and her two sister to walk or bike to - no movie theater, no coffee shop, no parks or shopping areas with cool public spaces where you could meet up with your friends.  Because of our suburban location, my childhood bicycles really didn't offer me much in the way of freedom or adventure.

A borrowed image of someon else's Giant Iguana.
I purchased my first adult bicycle when I was in art school at the University of Georgia.  Mountain bikes were all the rage in Athens, and I envied the students that I saw pedaling everywhere and over everything on them at, what appeared to me, high rates of speed.  I found a bright yellow Giant Iguana at Sunshine Bicycles downtown and was quite impressed with myself for dropping $300 for it and an cable lock.  Quite a chunk of change for a college student. 

I rode the Iguana a lot when the weather was good.  Nobody wore bike helmet back then so I never had humidity induced helmet hair. This time around I did worry about it getting stolen since bikes locks were getting cut in broad daylight all over campus.  I kept my bike locked up in my studio space in the art building.  I trusted  my fellow ceramics major to protect both my little dog, Pepper and my mountain bike. 

When I moved to Louisville for grad school, I only used my Iguana a few times to get to class.  Louisville, at that time, was nowhere  near as bike-friendly as Athens.  I hung it up after my first experience at being screamed at by a meathead.  The bike stayed with me for another 10 years, rarely used except for a brief period of recreational biking in Cherokee Park, than until I sold it for $150 to a 5'0" male art student.  Did I mention that the bike was a small?  He was thrilled with it, as it was in pristine condition.  Other than that, I don't know what became of it and never give it much thought.  Naturally, I was without a bike for several years afterward.

My next and much bigger bike purchased occurred a few brief hours after running my first Derby Mini Marathon in 2000.  There's nothing like running your first half marathon to charge up that part of the brain that loves spending money you don't have.  I was buzzed from what was then a huge athletic accomplishment, and fueled by a sugar and caffeine packed Starbuck's Frozen Frappaccino, the additional thrill of buying a bike and becoming a professional mountain bike racer pulled me across the street to Bardstown Road Bicycles.  Within those doors, I met my soon-to-be neighbor, buddy and romantic advisor Winn, who, with unmatched salesmanship and considerable charm, soon closed the deal on a striking Specialized Rockhopper in kiwi, black and pearly white.  I believe he sold me a lock, a helmet and some bike accessories as well.

I paid over $500 for the Rockhopper, lock and accessories and after the delirium of the Mini and the Frappaccino lifted I was determined that I would get my monies out of this purchase.  And I did.  In the eight years that I owned that bike, I pedaled it all over Louisville, to and from its numerous Fredrick Law Olmsted parks and across the growing miles of greenway that runs along the Ohio River and Bear Grass Creek.  All my miles consisted of hot, sweaty, recreational riding.   No stopping to shop or rummage through a book store; stops were limited to refilling my water bottle, munching on a peanut Clif Bar or admiring the view of the Ohio and downtown Louisville from Southern Indiana. I mostly pedaled on roads and paved multi-use paths but occasionally took the bike over rocky, muddy,  occasionally hazardous, single-track trails in Cherokee Park.   I was by no means a "serious" rider but I usually took my bike out for at least an hour each week, except during the winter, as a good means of cross training, since by that time I was running around 30 miles per week.

In 2006 my fiance and I moved to Flagstaff.  Now you would think that in a little mountain town and just 30 minutes up the road from Sedona's red rock country that I'd have immediately started taking my mountain bike out of the trails.  Were I not terrified and repulsed by dirt and dust I probably would have.  It rains in Louisville so dirt turns to mud and there is not dust but I really hate dirt.  It's dry and I hate touching it or feeling it anywhere on my body.  I have a similar aversion to flour, which is really unfortunate if you like to bake cookies.  Because I was more committed to running than biking, I tolerated the dry dirt and dust in order to go trail running, the only kind of running people seem to do here, but it was difficult.  And mildly disgusting.  But I digress.  The Rockhopper sat mostly unused in our garage . . .

A downtown fashion shot with the Specialized Expedition in 2009.
until 2007, when I had to use it to get to my temp job at NAU while my VW Beetle was in the shop.  About a year later in order to do a little belt tightening, Bob and I decided to make a concerted effort in incorporate bike commuting into our transportation options.  After successful participation in Bike to Work Week, we sold my Beetle, bringing us down to one vehicle, and I purchased the Specialized Expedition, an up-right model in the step-through version to accommodate skirts and dresses, to which I added fenders; a bike bell; a headlight and a red, rear, blinky light; and a rear rack.  I based my selection on careful research reading numerous bike commuting blogs that addressed the most common concerns and challenges faced by women bike commuters.  Cost was also a concern.  My clear preference was for the Breezer Uptown 8 but it retailed for over $1100, and I worried if I would exercise the discipline to make bike commuting enough of a habit to justify the expense. Not only were all the accessories I purchased already included on the Breezer but the higher end bike also came with a cafe lock, a full chainguard and front and rear lightening powered by the internally geared generator hub.  Sweet.  But cost was an issue.  Would I really need all those things anyway?  Would they make that much of a difference?

A morning ride into work, equipped with a pannier.
Well, yes.  I used the Specialized successfully for over a year but couldn't get my mind off the Breezer.  The longer I bike commuted, the more I understood my needs.  I pedal at night and needed a brighter lightening system.  Due to cold I usually wore long pants and tired of pinning my pant leg down.  Finally, the internally geared hub made pedaling in street traffic much more efficient since I could shift after stopping at a light rather than having to remember to do so before the stop.  Plus, do I have to remind anyone that the 2008 version of the Breezer Uptown 8 is a stunning ruby red?  Who wouldn't obsess about that?  But I wasn't going to confuse wants with needs so I tried to satisfy my desires by making weekly and sometimes daily pilgrimages to Absolute Bikes to pay homage to the object of my desire.
The stunning ruby red Breezer Uptown 8.
Bob got a little tired of it and decided one day to bite the bullet and surprise me with one.  It took me several hours after work one summer day to find it hidden under a pile of clean clothes in our guest room.  Sitting on the front porch relaxing with a glass of wine, I'm sure he laughed at the screams of joy he heard emanating from within the house.  I now possessed my dream bike, about which I had developed fantasies of bike dates involving smart trench coats, spontaneous visits to coffee shops and panniers loaded down with bread and wine.  Obviously, I would sell the Specialized immediately.  Or not. . .

On the way to work with my new Dahon Eco 3.
But then a year later I also acquired a Dahon Eco3 folding bike.  Bob purchased a Kestrel triathlon bike.  And the garage just got crowded.  We also started firming up some personal downsizing and life simplification plans so I had to confront the question of just how many bicycles I really needed.  Two  bicycles seemed reasonable and less than that, frankly, insane.

It was settled; I would definitely sell my Specialized.  Of course, the Specialized represented a lot of firsts for me and many happy times for Bob and me.   Just selling it to any Joe-the-street seemed somehow disloyal to a bicycle that done well by me.  The Specialized could not go to just anyone.

Angie, early this fall, out for coffee with me Phoenix.
Enter my cousin, Angie of the Valley - of the bicycle garage.  My first and most dedicated bike commuting convert.  A yoga instructor, Angie possesses her own Jedi mind tricks and, upon learning of my intention to sell the Specialized, set about among her friends to gain her own league of cycle chic converts.  Given that I ride small bikes of around 15 - 16 inches, she would limit her voodoo to her more petite friends.   Her dear friend Emily, surely no taller than 5'3" (but I must say when you meet her, she really does strike you as much taller) was a likely good candidate.  Motivated to incorporate bike commuting into her life; purchased a bicycle for her husband so that he could begin biking to work; and, like my cousin, is skilled in the art of finding high-end, stylish clothes at rock bottom prices at area consignment shops.  I consider this part particularly important due to the "content" potential for this blog.

Angie communicated my set price of $200 (including 2 panniers, a wicker bike basket, and a Planet Bike headlight) to Emily.  "She wants it!", reported Angie.  She suggested that they drive up from Phoenix on New Year's Day and spend the night. Superb!  It was settled.

Angie and Emily arrived last Sunday evening.  We ate a wonderful New Year's meal and closed the deal.  I will add as a side note that Emily works at a veterinary clinic and declared that, despite my denial, Daisy appeared to be quite heavy with child and should be seen by our vet in the next couple of days as Chihuahuas often require a Cesarean section. 

Daisy nursing her son, Mocha.  I had to work a picture in, didn't I?
Probably, I would have allowed my denial to go unchecked had Emily not been really certain she could feel a pup moving in Daisy's belly, so thank you Emily.  Bob and I avoided complete chaos during yesterday's birth.

But back to Emily and her new bike.  Bob adjusted the breaks for her after finding them too tight.  We also suggested that she raise the seat post a bit as my seating position appeared to be a bit low for her.  I suggested that she might want to try one of NiteRider's really excellent battery lights if she plans to do much riding after dark as well as a couple of really good bike locks if she plans to ever leave it at a Metro Rail stop. 

Emily and her newly acquired Specialized Expedition, tricked out for bike commuting, or shopping at the farmers market.
And here is Emily with her new but gently used Specialized Expedition.  She is, by the way, wearing a sweater jacket from Anthropology purchased at an enviable sale price.  She found these soft-as-butter tall boots, pictured below, at a Valley consignment shop. 

Like butt-ah.
Angie and Emily left Monday morning with plans to stop at the Anthem outlets to take advantage of the post-holiday sales.  Damn, I wished I could tag along but had things to do around the house.  After they left, my garage held one less bike and appeared strangely empty. No regrets here, though.  My bike has a good, new owner, and I know Angie will keep Emily motivated.   I'm sure it won't be too long before Angie tells me she and their respective spouses have been on an exciting double bike date.  Naturally, she will remember to take pictures that I'll post here!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Daisy the bike-basket dog: an exciting update!

Daisy, the fashion plate, in a hounds tooth fleece.
Many SRAB readers have inquired as to the status of Daisy in our home.  Well, a lot has happened.  After finding her abandoned or lost on the Interstate 51 ramp in Phoenix, we transported her back to Flagstaff.  We placed an ad on Craig's List but, despite numerous responses, we didn't find a match.  Daisy seemed just as happy to settle in as dog number three but as it turned out, she was pregnant.  Swollen mammary glands are a huge hint that all the denial in the world cannot overcome.  Our vet visit last month was inconclusive (they weren't ready to rule it out and preferred not to push an x-ray) but when Bob took her in for a booster shot yesterday, a sonogram confirmed the presence of a rather large pup who large head would require a C-section.  The vet, uncertain of the exact due date, scheduled the procedure for next Friday but warned us labor could begin at any time.

Daisy nursing little Mocha.
Labor began just after midnight this morning.  We moved Daisy and her preferred bed to a hallway closet where she could be easily separated from the very curious Jade and Ashby.  We called the emergency on-call line and left a message around 6:30 a.m. and waited for return instructions since we weren't completely sure what was happening.  Bob decided to take a quick shower and at 7 a.m. while I was getting dressed in preparation to pack up for the vet, Daisy delivered little Mocha.  Apparently, she got out of bed, expelled the little guy in the hallway and carried him back to the closet where I found her cleaning him when I returned to the hall.  It must have been an easy delivery, despite the head size, because I  never heard a whine or yelp out of Daisy.  Instead, when I discovered them together, Daisy was already at work being a new mother, diligently cleaning her new baby, her body curled protectively around him. 

Daisy allows a slight view of her little pup.  Already a protective mother.
All I needed to do was help her by pulling out the placenta and she did the rest.  Our vet called around this time and expressed amazement when I told her Daisy delivered completely unassisted with no complications.  Apparently, Daisy had it all under control.  Bob and I could only watch with tears and in awe. 

Daisy loves her baby.
Little Mocha will remain with us until she's at the right age to separate from Daisy.  Our vet receptionist has expressed interest in adopting him.  We're in no hurry at the moment since Daisy, still a puppy herself, is taking to her job quite well.  Eventually, probably by the time spring arrives, she will again accompany me again on the Dahon, riding shotgun in the bike basket.  Until then, I keep everyone posted on the progress of mother and child.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Bikey resolutions for 2012: some ideas from people who write about bikes

Ted of Commute by Bike recently asked the Planner Guy and I to contribute to a New Year's post  compiling the bikey 2012 resolutions of his writers.  I jump on any chance to express  my thoughts and submitted my ideas right away.  Among them included my re-commitment to cycle chic.  I began writing She Rides a Bike as a means of demonstrating how a fashion conscious woman can express her love of clothes while also participating actively in people powered transport.  Maybe it's living in a mountain town. . . . maybe it's just that I'm cold all the time. . . . maybe I've just been trying to exercise a little discipline in the clothes shopping department. . . . but lately I've felt that I've fallen down on putting my best fashionista-face forward.  In any case, I'm well on my way to making 2012 a more stylish year.

As I state in my contribution to Commute by Bike's New Year's Resolution post, I have no intention of reverting back to my past frivolous clothes horse ways.  I'm simplifying and being more deliberate in my choice to purchase or not.  And, I'll be favoring quality over quantity (at least that the intention).  Bob and I did a huge cleaning out of our closets this past week and found we only kept the items we turn to again and again.  I've had enough a fashion trends that don't suit me; I'm reaching for the classic staples that never fail me - simple, uncomplicated and always easy to wear on my bicycle.

Peacoat, trim black pants, charcoal turtleneck and a black beret.  Ruby red Breezer for a splash of color.
Bob gave me a classic Majesty Peacoat from JCrew for Christmas (actually her purchased a longer fitted car coat but it proved to be a little narrow through the shoulders for me so I made an exchange after being unable to find a size up). 

My first peacoat had brass buttons like these. 
Peacoats never go out of style so I plan to get years of good use out of it.  Similarly, I'm beginning to think that maybe I've still got years of good use in my two-year-old Breezer Uptown 8.  Not sure I want to be a bike-horse either if it doesn't serve a legitimate purpose.  Not promising anything but I'm thinking that I don't need a garage filled with bicycles any more than I need a closet packed with clothes.  Is that heresy?  Is anyone else reassessing just how much of a good thing they really have to have in their lives, be it shoes, snow globes or bicycles?