31 August, 2011

it's a ladies bike bloggy blog world

attention bike ladies, there is a wonderful comprehensive list of women's bike blogs that the lovely Barbara Chamberlain of  Bike Style put together. i personally love this list as i love meeting ladies who ride and blog about their experiences. if you are a lady who rides and blogs, leave a comment at the bottom of the post with your blog site so she can add you to the list. the list is quite long but this is a good sign that more women are riding, having a voice, and having a place to connect with each other. we each individually have our own unique voices and experiences and it's always refreshing to hear what other women are doing in the bike world. every now and then i enjoy stalking a few blogs and saying hi and perhaps adding a few to my own list.  so go check it out, make some friends on the interwebs, and hear what each other has to say about the way they like to bike.

30 August, 2011

the dirt on cycling

there are always the good, the bad, and the ugly, of cycling, but this is about the bad and the ugly. as much as the bicycle has become romanticized in photography, blogs, magazines, and movies, it is not all as pretty as we all make it seem. often times many of us use photos and share our pleasant experiences on bicycle, like the one above, but after a commute, i find my hands or clothes are somewhat marked by chain grease or dirt, i'm sweaty, sometimes smelly, red in the face, cut or bruised on my feet, shins, or ankles, exhausted after carrying my bike up and down 3 flights of stairs (twice in a day), and frustrated about an encounter with a car, pedestrian, or cyclist. commuting should be easy breezy but it isn't always so. everyday on my commute is a new experience and that's what makes bicycling fun. i've come to a point in my commute where i want things to just be a breeze but i can't always configure that into my routes, such is the nature of the road. the majority of the time i'm dodging pot holes, car doors, flipping off cat callers, practicing my bicycle etiquette by emergency breaking for pedestrians to illegally cross, looking back to signal to a motorist that i'll be merging into their lane because there's an obstacle in the bike lane, sharing a single lane with a car and pissing them off because i'm not going fast enough and waving "SORRY!", the list can go on and on. i know i'm not the only one who experiences this but there is nothing on my commute that get's my blood boiling more than when a cyclist who cuts corners, breaks laws, and is rude to motorist, cyclists, and pedestrians. now, i'm going to get all ranty up on this and say a lot of us are working too hard to get cyclists respect on the road and would appreciate it some people can just help us by giving a little respect to others because it really shouldn't be a shocking surprise for a pedestrian to cross the street and thank you for being "so kind" for letting them do so when it's their right of way, anyways. i don't know about the rest of America, but in California, we are upheld to the same laws as motorist. so the next time you run that red light and cut off a pedestrian, and piss the rest of us off that are worried for your safety, patiently waiting for the light to turn green, and the rest of pedestrians to cross, i hope your ass get's a ticket, douch bag!

29 August, 2011

women and the bicycle as accessory

 a while back i encountered a group of cyclists on my commute who started talking to me and said "nice bike, do you just ride it for fun?" with furrowed eyebrows i said "no... i commute everywhere on bike." their reply, "in those clothes?" my reply, "yes, even in the rain. a bike isn't an accessory, it's a bike." 

a bike is a bike is a bike is a bike, so to steal from Gertrude Stein. i know the bicycle has become and is growing into a bigger trend, especially in urban cities, fashion blogs, and in the fashion industry. where cities are developing more bicycle infrastructure, more people are riding. whether you consider yourself a bicycle advocate or not, you know that promoting cycling, even through fashion, will get people riding, especially women. with more women out on the streets on two wheels, there has been an increase of women that started changing the face of bicycle culture socially, economically, and politically. there are more women opening bike stores around the country, managing them, designing innovative and stylish bikes, cycling clothing, and accessories. women are even heading up influential advocacy blogs, bike coalitions, non profits, and other organizations. and just because they aren't heading up popular blogs, companies, websites, or other types of media and getting massive amounts of hits and followers, they are there, fighting in the backgrounds, and i am always searching for them. it feels good to hear these voices and even to be a part of them, so while some people may consider some of us girly bike bloggers to use our bicycle as an accessory, i just have to say,  we are doing so much more than being pretty on a bicycle. our presence on the road and voices are redefining livable streets and urban culture. so perhaps the next time you run into an a pretty girl and her bike, just remember, she is part of a quiet movement that many of us women are loudly fighting for.


26 August, 2011

shakin from east to west coast

in california earthquakes are normal, we feel a little shake we think "no big deal" and go back to our daily tasks. maybe we'll check our phone messages, twitter, facebook, the news, and let everyone know there was an earthquake, "dude, did you feel that?" "naw man, what happened?" 
i grew up in L.A. were we often get earthquakes. in grade school we had earthquake drills and learned how to react calmly in case of an emergency. now I live in a city that is constantly visited by little 3.6's that has San Franciscan's saying "i knew it, it's too hot, this is earthquake weather." even i said it. when we get waves of heat surging into our fair foggy city, we don't find that normal at all. the rest of california can be burning (sometimes literally) and we are wearing jackets and scarves. since its recently been so hot here in the bay area, we had two little shakes that we shrugged off and went about into our day, where the day before the East Coast experienced a 5. 8. and we californian's still remained indifferent. i'm not saying we have no sympathy, we just hope you all are okay and not earthquake shocked. 
i also read of hurricane's heading for the east coast too. dude, we don't get those here. so i hope you have bikes in your rescue kit. they come in handy. bicycles have historically played a role during tragedies. remember when japan was recently hit by that major earthquake? followed by hurricanes, well they used bicycles as a mode of transportation to evacuate and get home when their cars and traffic failed them. even during both world wars were oil was being rationed, bikes were being used to transport troops. so just know east coast, that the world, and us californian's are not indifferent to tragedies, we've had our fair share of natural disasters. just remember to have your bike ready and come to california.

please be safe east coasters, we are thinking of you here in the west coast.
xoxo


25 August, 2011

a commentary on the helmet debate.


before i start this commentary on the massive debate on helmets, i just want to say that i find it difficult to see how the cycling internet community will misread and tear each other to pieces over this subject. some of the most exciting people that i had mad love for made we weep with disappointment because of the way they have handled the topic, seriously, don't crush my dreams of you, it's too painful! i know the internet is a public place for people to share information but i personally don't find it a place to hold a debate of any type. there needs to be a sense of internet etiquette when handling topics as such and well... etiquette isn't what i see being handed on tabloids, forums, blogs, and twitter. i understand people have their personal stories and data to share on the subject but i think the debate of the bicycle helmet is bigger than we think it is. 
i found some interesting articles on the helmet debate after i wrote the last post, i won't list any because it's just shameful, i weeped. although, i did see unnecessary bashing and name calling, i believe "helmet haters" was a title that i thought genius out of this, okay not genius but funny! there was one that said wearing a helmet is the responsible adult thing to do, shmh! i even saw some debates being held on twitter, it was crazy! i wont mention any names but i wish we all could just sit down in the park, throw back some beers and talk about our problems with the helmet debate and hug-it-out. for many of us who choose not to wear helmets, we accept that people aren't going to like us, will misunderstand us, and calls us all sorts of names like "HELMET HATERZ!"i accept that, and i'm sorry for you who call us that, but from what i read based on these responses, i find that the concept of not wearing a helmet is too big and hard for people to understand, maybe it's the tight fit of your helmet minimizing your intelligence, just kidding! but i bet that's going to be an argument some day, i can imagine it already. i know i don't live in a country were the people are the brightest, our politics are backwards, we don't think before we act or say anything, Sarah Palin thinks she can see Russia from her house, our thinking is limited to weird medieval concepts, perhaps not wearing a helmet for one's own sense of comfort is a progressive way of thinking that is hard for american's to grasp. america if you think this is a slap in the face, be an adult and deal with it. you are missing out on the point that it's about your freedom to choose.
i don't think that this debate will end until people start to realize that the energy we spend on worrying about  our safety on the road needs to be taken away from the helmet debate and geared towards organizing protests, writing letters to our city and state demanding laws that protect cyclists on the road, helmet wearing or not. continuing the debate is like adding more fuel to a fire. it does nothing positive for the cycling community. i'm lucky to live in a city that takes its cycling community very serious when it comes to urban planning and bicycle infrastructure. going to a meeting every now and then puts things into perspective when dealing with so many issues of community and road safety, there is a lot more involved than just wearing a helmet. i consider myself to be aware of my experiences in life and on the road and as a result, i started pursuing a second degree in urban planning because i would rather do something that can make a difference in the system. i'm not asking that everyone else do the same but i do encourage you to inform yourself of your rights as a cyclist and get involved with your community or bike coalition.
and please, for the sake of the bicycle interwebs community, stop hating all up on each other over a helmet (please don't take that last statement out of context, thanks).

24 August, 2011

a taste of indian summer

yesterday the bay area was sizzling. i have been anticipating our indian summer since i've saw way too much rain and fog during my summer vacation in paris. i welcome sunshine on the real, it's a super mood booster but in san francisco we're not accustomed to mid 80's temperature. we like our bay breeze, our rolling fog, and do just fine with 65 degree overcast weather. san francisco is a city where you always need to be carrying a scarf and jacket just in case, maybe an umbrella too (you can see in my basket the blazer under my bag). i can appreciate days when it's warm out but then i tend to complain when i sweat a little. the entire bay area is this way, we are not accustomed to sweat when walking for 5 mins. when i was young and living in L.A. i would stay indoors with a sweater on because i despised the heat, it doesn't compliment my fall wardrobe. there, i said it! san francisco is my body temperature's dream city come true! occasionally i read that some other cyclists experience hot hot weather conditions and usually i think "thank god SF doesn't get that hot, or that cold." are we spoiled here in the Bay Area? yes we are, we don't hide it, we love that we have moderate temperatures, we don't like seasons, only when we go on holidays. and when we can't ride our bikes cause it's raining, we are pissed, but screw it, we still ride anyways cause that's how hardcore we are. and when it's hot, everyone in san francisco is out riding around like the sunshine will never return, why not? this is an occasion to ride!
how do you spend your summer days on bike?

23 August, 2011

i'm back!

hopefully none of you will ever have to experience going weeks without biking over an injury. i have a hard time listening to the doctor when he says "no biking!" biking is my therapy, my joy drug, so i've been doing short commutes here and there and running a few errands on bike but being out of the house and moving feels great. plus we've been getting lot's of sunshine here in the east bay so i need to take advantage before summer ends right? i'm not 100% but i'm a dreamer that's a go getter so i guess i can say i'm back!
school is starting this week so i imagine being incredibly slow on posts. i hope you guys will hang in with me this fall semester as i assume many of you will be going back to university too. i got to revisit the old bike commute route and realized how much i missed having that time to breath just before a long lecture and work day. also, Wendy is getting a new license to park and ride around campus, we are required by law to have one. i wonder what many of your college bike commute experiences been. have or do any of you commute to school on bike?

15 August, 2011

relax?

this weekend the unexpected happened on sunday. my dog and i go out daily for an early morning run or walk  together. when walking downhill i twisted my foot and injured myself. sounds silly i know but i have the worst of luck with this foot. sad to say that my weekend was spent in recovering from this injury, welcoming 5 days of relaxing recommended by the Dr. i've gone through two other foot injuries on the same foot and now made it my third. i call it my silly foot. of all the walking, running, and riding i do, why this incident? it was so silly, a bad step downhill turned into a swollen and bruised tendon. luckily it wasn't fractured or broken. i haven't tried cycling but i doubt i'll be able to until it is healed. i'm going to put the blog down for the rest of the week and live through you all. i hope you all have a great week and some fun stories for me cause i'll be reading until my eyes fall out.
xoxo

12 August, 2011

happy friday & bay area events


happy weekend everyone! i'm looking forward to getting out in the glorious sunshine we've been having and riding all over this city. thank you all for your responses in this weeks posts on helmets and the "slow bike movement," i thought them stimulating and loved how everyone shared a little about their experiences and thoughts on the subjects, i think everyone is valuable to the wave of bicycle culture in a unique way.
i found that yesterday's post on "hold your bike" seemed to sync with posts from various sources such as Mia Birk's - "The Big Idea-Stop and Stay Stopped" on MomentumPlanet.com and Streetsblog San Francisco's - "Pedestrian Hit by Cyclist..." all holding a common thought: “I feel like we’re at a tipping point and that we have reached Critical Mass with bikes, and with power comes responsibility"- Stampe. responsibility is definitely something to take into account whenever we set out into our communities on two wheels, we must always be looking out for each other's safety and respecting the fact that we all must share the road.

so with that said, i hope this encourages you a little further to connect with in your community. there are many wonderful events going on here in the bay area and i hope to see some of you out there, don't be shy and come say hi!

August 12, Meet up at MacArthur BART at 7:30pm
August 14, From 11am – 4pm, Tenderloin/Civic Center

have a happy weekend!
xoxo

11 August, 2011

hold your bicycles

i live in a city that accommodates all sorts of cyclists and many are usually commuters in a hurry to get to work. during rush hours i feel safe whenever i find myself in a group of cyclists when riding downtown of san francisco, but it's hard to enjoy my commute when i have to watch out for the next rushing cyclists to fly by me. i don't take pleasure in racing someone to pass a light, i've got nothing to prove dude, i just wanna ride my bike. i'm not really one to speed my way through a bike lane either. i'm one of those cyclist's that constantly get's passed by and left in the back of the group, stops when the light turns yellow, and patiently waits behind a bus to pick up passengers. i know fast riders hate me! thinking "omg, when is she going to move so i can squeeze through this lane." sorry if it was you but don't make me jeopardize my safety so you can save yourself 10 seconds, mmkay? i don't like to be in a hurry when i ride, i have nothing against speed (especially when going downhill!) so i always give myself time to enjoy the air, maybe interact with others around me, and find places that i would like to visit or grab a cup of coffee. i also find when i'm not in a rush for any reason, i'm less stressed, confident, and safe on the road. i'm aware and allow myself to communicate with drivers, cyclist, and pedestrians. you would be surprised how many people appreciate this and always allow me to move ahead. i know there is a whole movement called the "slow bike movement" but i just like to consider this as the reason why the bicycle became so popular. thinking back on my visit to the Velo Expo in Paris, a lot of photos referred to the bicycle as recreation, it encouraged people to take a holiday on a bicycle, to experience freedom, and to discover the world about. i think the bicycle was meant to be just that (even in a commute).

what are your thoughts on the "slow bike movement?" how do you like to ride your bicycle?

10 August, 2011

Public Bikes M3/D3 Sale via Planet Gear


M3

D3
if any of you ladies or gents are looking to for a new bike and have been drooling over Public Bike's beauties but would like to purchase one at a low price, Planet Gear is the place to go. they are having a sale on  Public Bikes model M3 or D3.  the sale runs August 9th through August 16th. PlanetGear.com is a women owned and adventurous retail community offering the best pricing on cute casual apparel, active gear and travel destinations that focuses on a healthy living and a healthy planet. be sure to sign in and check out their weekly discounts and saving opportunities! happy shopping!

note:  there is a $125 shipping and building fee that comes with each bike

09 August, 2011

to helmet or not to helmet?

every now and then i like to add a little controversial subject to the blog. i can't be all paris pictures and x's and o's, i'm a real person here with real thoughts and i like to talk about real stuff! since i've been back from paris i've developed a new habit of not wearing a helmet when riding my bike and it feels liberating, kind of like not wearing underwear, i'm going commando! well, not really but it feels great to not wear a helmet. when a bike partner was like "dude, where's your helmet?" all i could say is, "i don't feel like wearing it." they were surprised and said "you came back braver." not sure i feel braver, but it's true guys, i stopped feeling all freaked out about everything because riding a bike feels pleasant and i don't feel or think bikes are dangerous,  but the law doesn't tell you that because it's your fault for not wearing a helmet and having a hemorrhage since that car hit you, despite who's at fault. i think helmets are great, they do save lives, children should absolutely wear them. i think they are completely necessary depending on what type of cycling you are participating in and depending were you're going, or type of commute you have, you probably should wear one considering the awful laws that punish cyclist and not drivers depending on where you live. there's a lot of controversary over helmets where some countries absolutely detest the helmet and some countries make it a law for you to wear one, freakin crazy if you ask me!

in my recent experiences in riding in paris, i noticed that i rarely saw a cyclist wearing a helmet unless they were training or bike messaging. i asked my french roommate about the french's view on traffic laws and cycling and they told me that the french detest helmets because bikes are not dangerous, the fact that there are so many cars on the streets makes the roads unsafe for cyclist and pedestrians. i mentioned before that people don't really respect vehicle rights in paris, although they drive like lunatics, because the driver will be heavily punished for injuring a cyclist or pedestrian, so a driver lives in greater fear of punishment from the law. you see, it's the opposite here, sort of, and that's seriously mentally disabled in my opinion because there's a complete giant protective shell over one person where there isn't on another, you don't have to be a genius or have experience in a terrible accident to see that one does more harm than the other? or do you? more people die from fatal car accidents everyday, more than they do on a bicycle, but this isn't just common sense or genius, it's a proven fact.

my point in all this is that the helmet is not the problem, it's the laws that don't protect the cyclist and place them in fear of the law and vehicles. i think fear is an unhealthy way to run a country but that's just how some countries like to operate and suck the power from the people right? 

i've avoided this topic for a long time because of the psychotic neurons and emotions it stirs in people and the divisions it creates in the cycling community. i mean, people go batshit crazy over this topic! calling each other this and that and judging them when they don't know anything about the author's life or experiences with the topic, what kind of society does that? and i'm not trying to provoke arguments here either, i'd rather have you say nothing if this starts to make your blood boil or eye twitch, quit stressing, and take a mental health day. i'm just practicing a basic freedom on MY blog ya'll. like i'm practicing the choice to not wear a helmet just so i can go pick up cat food and pie ingredients 5 mins away from home at the nearest trader joe's. i'm not saying that i'm not going to ever wear a helmet again, although i would like to, i'm just choosing my helmet battles a little more wisely.

Buck for a Bike



Recipients of brand-new bikes from TurningWheels for Kids
What are your memories of your first bike? For many of us who grew up riding a bicycle, we understand how a bike can make a difefrence in the world of a child, you will appreciate and find that TurningWheels for Kids (TWFK) is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing a new bike to every underprivileged child that has ever wanted a bicycle. TWFK was founded by Sue Runsvold, a Nurse Manager at the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center. On July 14, 2011, TWFK announced a Buck for a Bike campaign to raise money for bikes to donate to needy children in Santa Clara County. The goal of the Buck for a Bike campaign is to get at least $1.00 from every one in Santa Clara County’s 1.7 million residents, to build a bicycle endowment fund. Local bike shops are going to be part of the effort by hosting donation boxes. But, your help would be greatly appreciated.
Every year TurningWheels for Kids has a big bike build where 700 volunteers come together to assemble more than 2,000 bikes for needy kids. With the Buck for a Bike campaign, the organization hopes to raise money to provide at least 3,400 bicycles for needy kids in Santa Clara County
Currently, TWFK donates 2,400 bikes in Santa Clara County. The goal is to provide at least 3,400 bicycles to meet demand in Santa Clara County, and to extend operations to the rest of the Bay Area. Some of the agencies that currently distribute the bicycles donated by TWFK include Catholic Charities, Bay Area Rescue Mission, City Team Ministries, San Jose Fire Department and San Jose Family Shelter.

The “Buck for a Bike” campaign will run through December 10, 2011 in order to coincide with the “Big Bike Build.” The annual “Big Bike Build” is when the community comes together to build thousands of bikes for kids in downtown San Jose. Funds raised from this campaign will go towards purchasing the bikes needed for the “Big Bike Build” as well as the “The Bike Doctorz” repair clinics which are currently being held three times per year in low income neighborhoods where children are able to walk their bikes to the clinic safely.
To learn more about the “Buck for a Bike” campaign, please visit turningwheelsforkids.com or “Like” Turning Wheels for Kids on Facebook.

08 August, 2011

i heart you, bicycle

happy monday! now that i'm back in san francisco it's time to rock out on riding my bike because wendy and i have been separated from each other for too long. if bikes can be besties then wendy is definitely my bestie. i just don't see how any other bike would do, she's my girl. i guess that's why people say riding a bike is theraputic, cool because it saves me money from having to go to therapy and talking to a complete stranger when wendy knows what's up. she's been through these steep hills, she knows the push and pull through the bay winds, and knows how to move with me as i dodge a few car doors. i almost forgot how fun riding in san francisco is! i definitely know my body has but we'll work on that. there are so many places i'm dying to ride to, like the dahlia exhibition at Golden Gate Park, Ocean Beach, across the Golden Gate Bridge up to Sausalito for taco's!! the list goes on but one thing i love returning to is feeling that fog on my face when riding, god i've missed you san francisco.
xoxo

05 August, 2011

sweet friday

happy friday! so glad to be back in san francisco although it presents a challenge since my head is still in Paris. adjusting to pacific time has not been easy at all but returning to my bike and daily commute is just heavenly. rolling through these hills is another story, let's just say i have some adjusting to do.

in friday news, if you're in the bay area tonight, there is the SF BIKE PARTY with the theme of Steampunk, very Sherlock Holmes and Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. meet up at United Nations Plaza, rolls out at 8pm.

in other happy news, one of our lovely lady bicycle bloggers S of Simply Bike announced the birth of baby C. we've all been anticipating you baby C, welcome!

thus far it's been a sweet friday. i can only anticipate the weekend to be just as sweet. i hope your weekend is filled with adventures wherever you are!
xoxo

03 August, 2011

final days in Paris


i'm back in San Francisco and ready to move forward with new adventures! coming home was a long journey and it left me missing Paris painfully but i'm so happy for the memories and experiences i gained from it, ah Paris! the photos above are of my final days in Paris were i spent a significant amount of time exploring all the little details that i just couldn't miss like visiting the Moulin Rouge, walking through Montmartre, seeing the Sacre Couer, having tea and musing through La Musee de la Vie Romantique where one of my favorite writers George Sand used to visit and write frequently. during the weekend i strolled through the largest flea market in the world of Les Puces and found some vintage French stamps, bowls, and books. i also had the pleasure of experiencing some of the greatest creperies in Montparnasse. i loved the experience of having one savory crepe & one sweet crepe with a side of cider, so delicious! when i got tired from walking i set up camp along the Seine to soak up the summer sun where Paris Plage was thriving with other sun bathers, children, and picnickers. i also made sure to see the sparkling lights of Mademoiselle Eiffel and kiss her goodbye.

thank you all for being incredibly helpful and supportive while abroad. i know traveling alone is sometimes challenging when one doesn't know a place very well but i always felt like you guys where there with me to guide me through Paris and i'm glad you all enjoyed the journey with me. as we know, this is just be another journey to greater adventures. 
xoxo.

01 August, 2011

bonjour san francisco!


leaving for home today. it pains me to say goodbye to Paris. i spent my final hours eating delicious crepes, drinking cider, sunbathing in the Luxembourg gardens, and locking my love for Paris at lovers bridge. Paris will always be in my heart but my heart belongs in San Francisco. i'll always dream of returning but there are new adventures to be had now that Paris was just the beginning. 
au revoir Paris.

see you back in San Francisco!
xoxo