Monday, April 30, 2012

Another take on university bike parking

Bike storage lockers.
Northern Arizona University now has bike lockers on campus.  This group is located just off the newly improved bike path near the University Union.  I'm not sure when the school installed them but if I lived on campus I'm pretty sure I'd be first in line to get one since I prefer to keep my bicycle protected from the elements, especially the winter snow, and potential bike thieves.  There don't appear to be that many yet although groups are located at three campus locations.   The university rents the locker to students for $30 per semester or $75 annually and are on a first come first serve basis. Not a bad price, even for a poor college student.  I wonder how many bikes each unit accommodates?  They look pretty roomy. 

Bike appear to fit in the locker in the position demonstrated by the Planner Guy.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

A new favorite route

You can't keep orthopedic patients off their bikes. 
I had a physical therapy appointment one morning this week.  IT band and knee issues. . . .
Given the number of world-class athletes who train in Flagstaff for the benefits of the high-altitude, it's no wonder that the Summit Medical Center has bike parking at the front of the building.  Uhmmm. . . I'm not among the world-class athletes by the way.  Still, I appreciate the accommodation.

Alas, lovely but far too short.
After my PT session, which included some much needed deep tissue massage, I decided to take a different route home and found a part of the multi-use path that I'd never seen or used before.  It's too short and stops prematurely without merging into the bike lane that sit above it on Turquoise Drive but I had to take a picture because it may be the loveliest part of the Flagstaff Urban Trail System.

Couldn't resist posting this portrait view as well, which really capture the height of the Ponderosa Pines.
Am I wrong to suggest that perhaps every stretch of the urban trail should look exactly like this?  I think not because aesthetics matter.


Then I headed over to Flag Bike Revolution to ponder the matter at their coffee bar.  Bikes and coffee.  Whoever came up with that combination is a god damn genius.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

What to do on a rainy day? Test rain gear!

The 'hood's tent-like properties keep the rider dry, even in blowing rain.
I've been product testing and writing a review of a rain cape from Cleverhood.  Although it's not a bike specific product it definitely has some bike friendly features.  Here I am testing it a few weeks ago in a strong wind.  Today, it finally rained (imagine that in Arizona!) so I tested it this morning for waterproofness (is that actually a word?).  Combined with a stylish pair of Wellies, it's pretty good!  Very New England-y.  Did I mention that the Cleverhood is American made in Providence, Rhode Island?
And the hood stays in place!
Look for my full review soon on www.commutebybike.com

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Ladies who bike to lunch

Last Sunday the Planner Guy and I, with our respective sports related injuries, biked to the natatorium at NAU for a 50 minute water running session.  Such grueling activity naturally requires a nutrious meal afterward, which we enjoyed, along with some local brew, at The Lumberyard.

Robin and one of the truly coolest bikes in town.
As we walked in I was surprised to be recognized by Robin, a local bikey fashionista and SRAB reader, lunching with her bike lady friends on the "terrace" under the just right Northern Arizona sun.  At first I thought they were saying hello to Bob since he works in a somewhat high profile job and, well, he's cute.  I look at Bob who tells me that, no, they are greeting me!  I don't get recognized from this blog that much but when it does happened I'm both immediately flattered and slightly embarrassed.  Please, God, don't let me say anything stupid. 


The new Ladies Who Lunch!

When I first started thinking about writing a blog (at Bob's encouragement) the first barrier I needed to overcome was the idea that nobody could possibly be interested in anything I had to say.  I was brand new to transportation cycling but wanted to share what I was learning in hopes my words and pictures might give another woman the peculiar notion of trying something outside the mainstream.  Bob reminded me of this during our lunch and remarked at how I excited I am when people tell me that they enjoy reading SRAB and that seeing the photos of bicycles, Daisy in her bike basket and people using their bikes in their everyday life motivated to give bike commuting a try.  In addition, several of them lit up as they told me about their own experiences in blogging about their respective passions.  He sounded a little envious as he remarked about how women in the blogosphere seem to support each other on-line and in person.  One of Robin's friends, Elizabeth, told me that she's blogging about her experiences at local cultural events at her blog The Flagstaff Culture Connection.  And true to Bob's observation she is also interested in meeting up with other local female bloggers for ideas and inspiration.

You gotta wear shades.
One possible bike event might be Robin's suggestion of a womens' summer ride.  I think she suggested a Mod Squad theme?  I'm all for any reason to dress up like Peggy Lipton, so Robin, drop me a line if you want help getting the word out!

From Basil.  It snaps easily and securely on to your bike rack.
Speaking of style, Robin carries her stuff around our little mountain town in this very adorable pannier from Basil.  Love Basil everything!  As you can see it coordinates perfectly with her pink one-of-a-kind mountain bike turned commuter. 

Fueling my obsession with Kenya bags . . .
Elizabeth could easily be a world traveler just off Amtrak with her natural fiber Kenya (I assume it to be Kenyan) bag.  Also roomy enough for not only wallet, cell and cosmetic bag but also a book, a cardigan, a bottle of wine and a large take-out gyro sandwich.  Not a bike specific bag (neither are any of my Coach bags), she's training it on her porteur rack with a bungee cord.  This bag reminds me that I really need to renew my passport!

In closing, I'd like to thank everyone who visits this blog, especially those women who are encouraged to work bicycling into their daily lives.  It's not always easy to do something that falls a bit outside societal expectations but every time you're out there pedaling on a cold morning with a smile on your face you are serving as a model for other women to dare to try something different.  So on Sunday outside The Lumberyard, we parted after a brief round of photos.  Robin and her friends biked off for coffee, and most certainly the making of plans.  No ladies who lunch were they; I'd prefer to think of them as women of influence.





Friday, April 20, 2012

Just a girl on a bike

Just a happy, out-of-work girl on a bike with a funny little dog.
In recent posts I've alluded to stress and change in our life.  We would like to include hope but at the moment, we are facing some unknowns.  A few weeks back I resigned my job, something I should have done a long time ago but didn't because I wanted to retain my health insurance rather than shell out the dollars to be on Bob's plan.  I quit my job because I know that better things await us but we won't get to them if I continue in a dead end position.  So after weighing the possibility for almost a year, I've decided to go back to school this fall and pursue a Masters Degree in Social Work, returning to a career that I left 10 years ago.  I've been accepted at one program and am awaiting news from another.  In order to facilitate the decision, we decided to follow through with the tough decision to short sell our house (because that's about all you can do in Arizona; not that homeowners in California, Nevada or Florida are unfamiliar with this sad state of affairs) so that we can be more ready to respond to whatever the next few months bring.  More than likely, once school starts we'll have to live apart during the week and see each the other on the weekends and holidays.  Not our preference but a lot of things have happened in the last few years that weren't on our Top 10 list.  We push forward, taking one day at a time and reminding ourselves that we have a lot of company and probably more options than quite a few in this age of the Great Recession.

Favorite bike parking on Phoenix Avenue.  It's April and not a green leaf in sight.
Someone asked me the other night what I did.  "Right now, I'm just a girl on a bike," I said with a wry smile and a little sigh.  That's not so bad.  Twice this week I met Bob for happy hour downtown and we biked home together under the stars.

BSH bike corral and sign is the perfect marriage of form and function.
One afternoon, I met up with Ted at Bike Shop Hub to pick up some bike accessories, a wheel stabilizer and a double pronged kickstand for the Breezer, that he'd ordered for me, as well as admire the handsome porteur rack he recently installed on his beater bike.  A nice way to kill a mid afternoon hour, if I do say so.  In between, I did some here-and-there pedaling, checking out the progress of the landscaping at the shipping container house and dropping in on a local merchant to inquire about an idea for a blog post featuring her shop.  As I write this post, I've even penciled in a Democratic women's luncheon to hear the two mayoral candidates speak.  I'll bike there and enjoy a guilt-free fish taco plate.

Pretty sure that Bob and I would be happy in a shipping container house (on a light rail route, of course).
So, for the moment, I'm going to say goodbye to stress and hello (again) to hope and change.  Not sure where I'll be attending school this fall but in both cases I'm excited that I'll be able to combine biking and public transit to get around.  In either city, we have family and friends who will certainly get me up to speed on all the best routes.  Obviously, my plans will have a big impact on the content of She Rides a Bike, since both schools are in large urban centers (with rail!).  Thinking about how SRaB will evolve in the next year excites me almost as much as the idea of returning to school (just a few months short of my 50th birthday, too!).  Until then, bear with me.  Posts have been spotty of late, and this has been the reason.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Pizza, brew, dogs and bikes. What could be better?

Not really sure what a 'tache has to do with dogs but it was fun to wear.
Bob and I celebrated my resignation from work two weeks ago by  attending a Mustache March fundraiser for Second Chance Animal Shelter sponsored by NiMarco's Pizza and New Belgium Brewing Company.  Beer is not part of my weight management program but  just one for the dogs seemed like a pretty good cause.  A Sunshine Wheat.  Very refreshing way to wash down a slice of veggie pizza.

Pre-ride social.
A NiMarco's staff member with bike and 'stache ready to ride.
New Belgium events often involve bicycle rides and this one was not different.  A few dozen riders met up at NiMarco's on Beaver for a pre-ride cool one and socializing.  And bike admiration, of course.


Dawn, Biria and friend
I met Dawn, who arrived pedaling a this lovely Biria.  She was kind enough to allow me to test around the block.  Nice ride and ever so stylish.


Will is a past New Belgium Cruiser winner.  People you know really do win!
And off we went . . .



You suppose they are all three texting Hillary?

for a ride through the NAU campus . . . .


solo pedaling. . . .


and tandem. . . .


and atop handlebars.


Eventually we arrived at NiMarco's new shop on University.  No bike corrals immediately available so we took over the sidewalk around the building.  Nobody seemed to mind.

This one's for the dogs.
More beer and eats.


And of course, we bought mustaches for a chance at winning a New Belgium Cruiser equipped with a porteur rack for a summer beer run.  Nice.


Alas, we didn't win but we did contribute to over the over $1100 to help care for the abandoned dogs and other pets at Second Chance.  And Bob was honored with a pair of New Belgium logo wool sport socks.  Not bad either.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Busy, stressed, and Daisy's new bike basket

Daisy enjoying the Urban Trail wearing her stylish Martha Stewart collection hounds-tooth jacket.
It's been nearly a month since my last post.  A month of stress, activity, loss and unknown change on the horizon.  We're getting through it all with a mixture of sadness, fear, relief and excitement.  Someone once told me that no matter what comes your way in life, make it work for you.  Good advice then; even better advice now.   Determined to keep on that focus, this morning I dove into a product review that I've been looking forward to for my other blogging gig at Commute by Bike, testing a pet bicycle basket from Snoozer Pet Products.  Daisy had no idea what an exciting and exhausting day awaited her!

A little nervous after many months off the bike.
Yes, Daisy fans, the little abandoned Chihuahua from Phoenix is back on these electronic pages and will soon get even wider exposure on those of Commute by Bike.  Little dog-star that she is, she demanded to be photographed in her hounds-tooth jacket - plus it was windy, and despite the sun, she is prone to a chill.

With the wind in her ears.  Notice the fingerless gloves crocheted by my cousin, Angie!
Daisy remains a good little bike companion, settling into the Snoozer Sporty Pet Bicycle Basket easily.  The carrier has a firm harness and a very sturdy mounting system keeping Daisy safe and secure the whole day long.  She had plenty of room to sit, stretch out for a nap and move around, and the nylon constructed basket was in no danger of snagging Daisy's tiny claws, a potential concern with my usual natural fiber bike basket. For her comfort during the ride, I lined the interior with a small squishy pad from her pet carrier and a snugly little blanket.  Nothing is too good for our little dogs.

Edith's classic vintage coat adorned with new buttons.  Her granddaugher will wear it thread-bare.
As for me, since this April day proved to sunny but windy, I decided to keep just warm enough, in my late grandmother's vintage cashmere blend coat and one of her scarves.  I always loved this coat when she was alive and it was handed down to me after she passed away at the age of 94.  A fashion plate until the end, her coat originally had splendid bejeweled buttons but after I had the coat dry-cleaned a few years ago, I discovered all the amber, cut-glass stones were gone.  Recently, I decided to replace them with new buttons my grandmother certainly would have selected were she alive.  (Sigh!  My grandmother never met a sale.  Luckily, I only needed four buttons).

There's always time for coffee.
Daisy and I took a short break from testing the basket, stopping to meet Bob, also taking a breather from his next Ironman (Boulder, this August) session, at Campus Coffee Bean at University and Milton.  Just sitting in the sun, neither Daisy nor I required our coats.

On the multiuse path running through NAU campus.
Since Bob's running route would be taking him back to our house, he offered to help us with photos along the way.  Although Daisy loves to ride in the bike basket and normally sits calmly and quietly enjoying the wind in her face, having Bob running along beside us excited her quite a bit.  Had it not been for the adjustable harness, she might have tried to make a jump for his arms.  The bike ride and I are no match for Bob's allure.  After a good many photos, we eventually parted ways and Daisy returned to her relaxed and happy disposition.  Who knew a bike ride was so calming for a normally hyperactive Chihuahua?  Not even a colony of prairie dogs could disturb her restive disposition in the basket.

Now that's one calm dog.  I mean the one in the coat.
Anyway, a full review should be up on Commute by Bike within a week or two.  I'll have a link here and on Facebook and Twitter so look for it.  I'll go ahead and say right now, the Snoozer Bike Basket is an excellent product, and coincidentally comes out of Greenville, South Carolina, where I grew up.