I am trying to build a better self, to move from survival mode to something more fulfilling. And resist turning this into a kitty blog.

chirp chirp


Follow Me on Pinterest

The Voyage of the "Dawn Treader"
Betting on the Muse: Poems and Stories
Pattern Recognition
Les Misérables
Anne of Green Gables
The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry
The Fellowship of the Ring (The Lord of the Rings, #1)
Wuthering Heights
Brave New World
The Ringed Castle
The Return of the King
Omnivore's Dilemma
A Wrinkle in Time
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle
Agnes and the Hitman
On the Road
Dark Blonde: Poems
Fables: Wolves

My favorite books »



Tinniegirl Blogtoberfest 2011





Entries in bicycle (5)


Apartment Bike Living

I hope it's been evident in spite of my rare posting, that I am in love with bicycles and riding bikes. Since acquiring our fancy bikes this summer, Matt and I have been dealing with having to keep our bikes in the living room. They've been blocking our bookcases, actually, and have been the primary element in our decor, whether we appreciated it or not.

Bike Storage4

Lucky for us, all that has changed now, with the Michelangelo Gravity Stand. Sure, the bikes are still an unavoidable key part of our decor, but at least we can reach the books now! This rack is so fantastic for us as apartment dwellers. It requires no drilling into walls and holds the bikes as close to the wall as a couple cruisers can get. LOVE! Highly recommend.

Bike Storage3


Skirts on Bikes

I am not a fantastic cyclist, so I need to ride my bike as much and as often as possible. To make frequent riding easier, I am trying to kit out my bike for all clothing, including skirts and longer jackets. Being a big dress and skirt wearer, a skirt guard is essential to my bike gear. 

Dress guards can be very expensive and/or can require drilling one's fenders to accomodate the guard. Lucky for me/us, there is a brilliant etsy shop poised to meet all of our skirt guard needs. Frill Ride offers a variety of simple, fabric dress guards for any ready bike. From bridal rides to basic sport guards, there is probably a dress guard to fit your style and needs, though they skew feminine (in case you couldn't guess as much from the name).

I chose a black fishnet/mesh guard that would blend into my black bicycle, but has a reflective pink bow on the back for fashion and safety purposes. I simply love it. The guard was easy to install, and seems likely to last for years to come. 

Bike Bow Collage


Behind the curve

So. It turns out falling in love with the idea of bicycling and getting a bike does not automatically, magically enable one to ride said bicycle. What a rip off, right? Ugh. As beautiful as my new bike is, when it arrived in July, I had to confront the reality that I had just spent a chunk of change (we called it our "anniversary present") on something I barely knew how to use. 

scary bike

While perusing bicycle blogs I've encountered the same late-to-bicycling story again and again. Lady (this is a gender neutral story, actually, but the neutral pronouns were sounding stupid) rode a bike as a kid and pre-car teenager. Lady and her gang of girl friends rode all over town! Meeting up at the park or riding to each others houses or going to get ice cream. Oh how carefree she was! The bicycle was freedom! Then Lady got her driving license, grew up, and forgot all about the glory of bicycles... until one fateful day when she climbed back on one, and voila! She was home! She was off! It was bike romance happily ever after! 

This is a great story, and I love and respect it, but whenever I encounter it I can't help but think "you weren't new to riding a bike, you were just out of practice. I would kill to have a history of bicycling skills." And to be honest, I owned a bike when I was a kid. A sweet, stingray-style, banana-seat bike with badass pinstripes/racing stripes. But I learned to ride late relative to the neighborhood (around 9?), and I never felt truly comfortable. I rode past 4 houses, through the dirt field, and then past one more house to my bestie's home a lot; but rarely, if ever, rode farther than that. By the time middle school rolled around just a couple years later, the bestie had moved and the bike was stored in the garage. 

christy bike polaroid

In the interest of full disclosure: 6 or so years ago I acquired a beach cruiser, at which point I relearned the practice of pedaling and moving and maintaining balance, but soon after I got it I moved to a more hilly neighborhood, so I never rode it further than around the block to Walgreen's or the weekly farmers market, and never in traffic. 

Anyway, the point is I have never in my life been the carefree kid who rode her bike everywhere. I have had a few faltering starts, but have never come close to more than the most rudimentary competence at the mechanics of moving a bicycle forward. And now I have a bike that I am still only beginning to learn to ride.

After a few short, relatively miserable trips, I was feeling a bit resistant to riding. I knew my seat was too low, but I liked the stability. Unfortunately we couldn't quite tighten it enough and it kept slipping in weird directions while I tried to ride. We dropped both bikes off at Mission Hills Bike Shop when we left town for a week in early September, and finally having the seat raised and adjusted has made all the difference!

bike racks

I'm not saying I'm any kind of super- or even intermediate-biker. Trust me, I am a total menace. I can't even take my hands of the bars to signal, so I wear my helmet and stick close to Matt. But I finally feel like I can do this. Or will be able to do this if I keep just taking the risk and riding to destinations. In the last couple weeks Matt and I have made a few trips of 2-3 miles each way. I walk up some of the hills, but I can ride up some of them too.

I'm getting better at looking around and seeing what's around me. I am totally in love! I want to ride my bike all the time! The businesses in my neighborhood and the surrounding areas are really bike-friendly--even giving bicycle discounts--and I love feeling like I'm joining this culture and getting even more involved in my community in a new way.

Bikes in the World

Unfortunately our stairs are super narrow, and with the 90 degree angle 2/3s of the way down (or 1/3 of the way up) I have a really hard time carrying it down the stairs, and simply cannot carry it all the way up. I've been stranded halfway a couple times when I've decided I was just being lazy not carrying it myself. So I have to rely on Matt to do the literal heavy lifting. This limits the quick impulsive spins that might give me more practice on my own (there isn't anywhere to lock up a bike for a few hours in our complex downstairs). Still, I'm feeling much better even in these last couple weeks. And now I'm kind of obsessed with the idea of moving into a first-floor apartment, if we can find a decent one. 

If you live in San Diego, beware of me! I am quite possibly bicycling through your area next! Try not to get too close, and I'll do the same. Don't honk! But do meet me for a beer at my destination!

 helmet face


Just Ride

Have you ever read a book that changed your life? I've had a few, from books that taught me to love reading, to books that introduced new genres to me, and even taught me about feminism. Yes, there have been numerous books that, looking back, I realize have significantly impacted my life. But you know what has been rarer? Books I recognized would change my life even as I read them.

I don't remember how I came across Grant Petersen's Bike treatise, Just Ride, but I read it while on vacation with my family of Memorial Day weekend this year, and I knew within pages that my life was changing.

As a fancy, tech-savvy lady of the 21st Century, I read this using the Kindle app.

It just made so much sense! Riding bikes could be regular transportation. Riding bikes could be fun! There's no need for special clothing or crazy light-weight materials--a steel bike designed for commuting is all we need. We should all ride bikes all the time!

Now you should know I am no athlete. Hahaha--as if you even suspected I might be! But seriously, I'm even less athletic than that. Riding a bicycle somewhere has always sounded about as fun as running there. Chased by a rabid grizzly bear. With a taste for girly human flesh. In other words, not fun at all. 

I don't know what special bike-loving drug is emitted by one's smart phone upon reading the Just Ride e-book, but I was converted. I admit that I really couldn't follow the chapters describing bike parts and fitting and whatnot, and the "bread makes you fat" chapter was good advice I'm familiar with not following, but the good, common-sense "hey, don't be a baby, get on a bike and ride it" stuff just spoke to me. The subtitle is "A radically practical guide to riding your bike" and it all sounded so radically practical there was no way I wasn't going to ride a bike as soon as possible. 

So I got a bike. 


Well, I talked about it with Matt, and he agreed that he was interested in riding. We looked around a bit, and in mid-July we ordered bikes. I had been rabidly consuming all the bike blogging and shopping the Internet has to offer, when I came across a previous entry on Petersen's "Bike Blug." In it he called the new Brooklyn Cruiser a "not dumb bike." Well, with such high praise, how could I resist? I couldn't. Plus, it was so cute. I am not going to pretend that even my feverish blog-reading had taught me much about bikes other than 1) I wanted one, and 2) there are lots of pretty ones. So a Grant Peterson endorsement of a pretty bike? WANT! Matt agreed that it looked like a decent, affordable bike, and admitted that he'd like one too. So we each ordered one. Yep, we have matching bikes now.

And that's the beginning of my bike love affair. I'll write more later, but I wanted to share that. How a short book changed my life even before I started making changes. xoxo

Aurgh! Fingerprints and smudging--the scourge of the modern era!


30 September, 2012

It's been a while, right? Time to do better! It was a great weekend. Lots of bikes and sun and food and drinks and fun. 

30 September

(Sunday Snippets via Tinniegirl)