Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Bum(er) Bike Day

Today was a challenging day on the bicycle. It was way warmer than I expected and thus, I was over dressed. I ended up riding in sweaty jeans, which many of you already know, is awful. There is a kind of baseline awful involved in damp, clingy denim but today, it was worse than usual.

Right above the spot where my posterior meets my leg I have developed two very uncomfortable ingrown hairs that have further developed, with the help of my saddle and today's sweaty jeans, in to two huge swollen lumps that hurt when anything, including the sheets on my bed, touch them.

Needless to say, I am unhappy with this situation. No more bicycle until they go away.

Spectrum start.

Have a colorful end of the month everybody! Bike lanes come in colors everywhere =)
This super cool capture is a submission from Greg in Portland, via our flickr pool.
It is a very fitting photo to mark the last day of August. Cheers!
Sharrow Chalk
Sharrow Chalk by gregraisman

Monday, August 30, 2010

Snapshots Of The Bicycle World

Bicycles should all come with cameras. The two go so well together that I am sometimes surprised when I see one without the other. Some, of course, take truly wonderful pictures of the world of bicycles and our Flickr group has some fantastic examples of those shots. Every now and then someone sends us some pictures that really stand out, and this week, that person goes by "macfred64".

a nice pair

cycle touring - Zuiderzeeroute

Dutchbike on houseboat

Dutchbike on houseboat

cycle goddes

I love how all of these pictures feel like a really nice dream. These all make me want to get out and ride my Batavus. They also make me wonder how so many of us fell for the "cars are better" farce we have been operating under for so long? How did we let anyone convince us that fresh air and independent power were undesirable?

Macfred, with his beautiful photograhpy, reminds us all that we haven't lost anything. All we have to do to get it back is get out and ride. And take our cameras along to help us remind others.

Friday, August 27, 2010

friday fun times: one of these things is not like the other

as seen in a parking garage in downtown san francisco:

One of these things

um, yah. free bici. be careful while parking your bike out there. m'kay?

happy friday everyone!

Street Life

There is a lot of manufactured enmity out there. Not sure why.

We Can All Get Along

Seems to me like people are getting along just fine.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, August 26, 2010


Photo from El manubrio

The bike force is with you!!
Armed yourself with the most powerful social global weapon: la bicicleta
I'm digging the bike gloves, so formal =)
What do you think? I think it is a great idea for roaming around México City, the traffic sucks so bad, I have been able to walk 2 miles, faster than the moving traffic - and I'm a slow walker.

The invasion of the policletos:
Español: La invasión de policletos
English: translated link »

tiphat/ via my g.reader friend RXN

Sunshine, Sushi and Road Lessons

Finally, just when we all thought we were going to become walking mushrooms from lack of light, San Francisco has sun!!! Oh glorious sun from which all life springs, you have finally seen fit to visit us with light and warmth!! For a few days there will be no thought of taking a sweater, or two, when leaving the house. I will not have to wipe fog from my eyes or contemplate wool. No boots, no socks, no sleeves!

When it gets this warm, I stop cooking. On Tuesday we decided to have a family sushi night so we could ride in the warmth to the restaurant. Declan was very clear that he wanted to ride his own bicycle, not on the sidewalk. It was quiet out, and with four of us to buffer him, why the heck not?

Cute-icle Mass

I am quite sure that people seeing us pass thought I was completely nuts for letting my kids, especially one so young, do something as radical as ride a bicycle on a street (godforbidbutatleastheiswearingahelmet...) but that's fine with me. I had the great joy of seeing my three monsters pedaling away, joking with one another, keeping tabs on each other and enjoying the amazing evening.

Warm Weather Lessons

It is always a little difficult when he decides he would rather skid to a stop than slow down and come to a gradual one, but other than that, we just enjoyed a real summer evening on our bicycles. Something about sunset light, and summer heat, and bicycles and the prospect of sushi make a Tuesday night quite nice.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Behind the Scenes

People frequently ask me if I just jump out in the bicycle lane and start taking pictures. The answer is, yes, that is exactly what I do (unless I am riding, in which case it is straight from the saddle). It is always funny to see how people react to me and my camera. My friend Jon, who is the creator of the Bikescape podcast (now defunct, but there is great stuff on there you should check out. I think he should start it again.) filmed me taking pictures of the riders of Sunday Streets.

These are some of the pictures I took.


Two Thumbs Up

SF On The Mundo!

Just Out Of Focus


Blowing Kisses

All of these were taken at Sunday Streets. This closure was through Golden Gate Park and along Ocean Beach (where I grew up and would have been thrilled to have the Great Highway permanently closed to traffic). Last time it was closed it rained buckets. This time it was glorious with the most perfect weather anyone could ask for! You can see it on people's faces!

In looking at my pictures from this day, almost no pictures of women came out. The guys were all willing to smile for the camera, but the women were all shy. Come on, ladies! Time to represent! (I have noticed that when women wear helmets, I have a much harder time getting them to let me shoot. No one likes how they look in a helmet.)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Putting His Brompton Where His Mouth Is

Many of you out there in the world outside the blogosphere have heard of a bicycle store in Portland, Oregon by the name of Clever Cycles. CC was started by Todd Fahrner who has become something of an internet friend of mine over the last year. Todd invented the Stoke Monkey, too.

A little bit ago, Todd informed me he would be riding to SF from Portland at the end of August. I was more than a little jealous. A long distance bicycle tour is a dream of mine that I hope to fulfill in the not too distant future. What makes the tour really interesting is that Todd has decided to make the journey on his daily ride- his Brompton.


He has made a few modifications to make the long distance a little easier, but overall, it is just a regular old, everyday Brompton.


Todd will not have his trusty dutch bicycle to carry his folder with on this trip, but he will have his hammock and his IPhone and his GPS. With a Twitter page to keep us updated, we can all see how all you need is a bicycle to get you where you are going as Todd follows the coast on his folder.

Good luck, Todd! Let me know when you are hitting the Golden Gate so I can take your finish line shots!!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Saturday, August 21, 2010



We had to get some food shopping done this weekend. The cupboards were bare (despite a whole lotta of canning going on). We took the xtracycle and Cameron had his pannier on, but we still ended up filling my bags, too. Even Úna had a messenger bag to fill up.

Of On Ramps & Messenger Bags

By the time we got home, the shopping haul looked like this-

Shop By Bicycle

To get a sense of scale, my table is 6 feet long. On it are-2 bottles of wine, 2 bottles of balsamic vinegar, a pound of bananas, 2 pints of blackberries, a bag of chocolate covered blueberries, 5 pounds of tangerines, 2 huge boxes of TLC bars (Cameron keeps them at school as emergency snacks), 2 pounds of salad greens, assorted herbs, 2 pounds of trail mix, 5 pounds of pistachios, 10 pounds of cat food, 4 pounds of figs, 2 pounds of bread, a wedge of mimolette, 5 pounds of zucchini, 3 pounds of heirloom tomatoes, 2 pounds of rhubarb, a large bag of naan, a large jar of assorted pickles, a small jar of pickled banana peppers, a large eggplant, lemons, a pair of wool socks and 2 flannel shirts. Add to this my huge purse and a five year old... please do not tell me that a family of 5 needs a car in a place like San Francisco.

We ended up in several different places, today, including Costco. If we had driven, it would have been awful with all the parking lots and traffic. Instead, we had a good time enjoying the sun (light, at last!!!! No heat, but light!!!!) and snacking as we rode along.

You should try it!

Friday, August 20, 2010

friday food for thought...

a few weeks ago was the bikes 4 life peace ride in oakland. this past year, the ride was dedicated to oscar grant.

here's a radio interview with the co-founder of the bikes 4 life bike shop, tony coleman. my favorite quote from the below is describing the first bikes 4 life ride as a catalyst for how the shop came to existence:
it was kinda cool to see, cause [the ride] was mostly of color. and it was really cool to see a lot of young folks, 18, 19, riding bikes as well, because usually at that age, teenagers want to have their first car and ride around. so it was cool to see folks really enjoying their bicycles. so we wanted to expand that and have a space where that kind of programming can happen more often. create a space where folks can fix up their ride, their bikes. that was the idea, we wanted to open up a shop and call it "bikes 4 life."

go check them out online or in person.

happy friday y'all.

Youth adventures.

Found this photo via Richmond Spokes. So beautiful.
Cycles founders join other young changemakers at the 2010 Youth Venture Summit.
Photos taken by Adeline Heymann, photographer for the 2010 YV Summit.
via Cycles on Facebook

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Forests & Trees

Find A Way

It is easy to see the big picture when you are not stuck in a metal box. It's even easier to see the little picture.

Monday, August 16, 2010

School's In

If you go to public school in San Francisco, then today is the first day of school! My kids are public school all the way, and this morning, they each decided to start the year with a bicycle commute.

First School Bicycle Commute

Declan decided quite a while ago that he wanted to emulate his older brother and ride to school (he is in Kindergarten this year). It is only two blocks away, but the lure of a morning ride and his very own bike lock was too much to deny.

Leg Powered

It was really nice to see a lot more people walking to school than in years prior. There were still a number of people in cars, but the morning traffic tangle was nothing like I have seen it in the past.

Lock Up

The school has a bicycle rack, but it has still not been bolted into the ground (almost a year after receiving it!) so we used one of the polls outside the school. It works out fine and as I had to pass this spot a few times today, it was nice to see Declan's bicycle parked out there waiting for him.

Into The Fog & Off To 6th Grade

This year, Úna starts Middle School as she is the 6th grade. New school, new friends, new commute. Her school is only a mile and a half from home, but it is on the other side of the hill. She decided to take the long way around through a rather busy business district instead of climb the hill so I went with her, following behind to see how she handled the streets.

She had to pass between City College of San Francisco (the largest community college and the second largest learning institute of any type in the United States) and Riordan High School which was a tangled mess of traffic and random jay walking pedestrians. It was so busy I couldn't take pictures of her riding through it like it was nothing (just like how people in India don't seem to notice the traffic and crowds there). She was fantastic and did everything right.


Once we got past the college mess, it was a short trip through a business district she is very familiar with. There was construction all over it, but after a short stint on the sidewalk, she got around it with no problem and made it to school on time with no stress (unlike the 5 blocks of tangled car traffic around the school building!!!! What kind of madness is this?).

I was uncomfortable with the amount of traffic on her chosen route. It will calm down in a couple of weeks, like it does every year, but until then I am going to make sure she goes over the hill instead. She had no problem negotiating the craziness this morning, but I would not feel comfortable letting her go on her own and the whole point is for her to do this by herself. Next time, we'll try the hill route which is much less busy and crazy.

Over all, a good day. All three of the kids got to where they were going under their own power. They all took the next steps in the process of growing up. I love it!

And so it begins

Another Monday. What is new with you all?! Back to school, back to work?!
Hope you have a nice sunny Monday!
Here a back to school selection from our flickr pool:

Our Xtracycle school bus. The best way to get to/from school!
Our Xtracycle school bus. by mslaura
"The best way to get to/from school! No waiting in pickup/dropoff lines, and always easy parking!"

Richardson ISD School Bus
Richardson ISD School Bus by dickdavid

First Day of School
First Day of School by fullhands

Sunday Parkways @ Lent School
Sunday Parkways @ Lent School by gregraisman

So, this week, a little sun for SF, maybe?! ...please señor weather, we need some.
0016_9A change your life; ride a bike! by velopete

Sunday, August 15, 2010

DIY Enforcement


In the summer of 1988 I was driving along some of the back roads of Ensenada, Mexico. I noticed a lot of homemade Stop signs at the intersections of the less populated parts of town. This sign, found at the side of the road during the century we all just completed, reminds me of them. Gotta say, I like 'em!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Friday creatures =)

These great little companions will make the Friday seem to get to Friday night, a little faster. Little fun shots from our flickr pool. Happy end of week!!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Black & Tan

Installment two of this ground breaking series of posts. Others talk about handlebars, I talk about baggage. Today I talk about my canvas stuff. I never really intended to have so much, but here I am with a bunch of it.

Brooks, Acorn, Minnihaha

The small, faded black saddlebag is from Acorn bags. Acorn are hand made bags created by a husband and wife team in Los Angeles and when I first heard about them I wanted a bag for my new Batavus. I couldn't resist handmade in California. It took me three months to successfully order my bag and I have loved it from jump.

Zebra Bat
note my amazing winterizing : )

I used to keep it on the Bat as a handlebar bag for my camera. My newer cameras do not fit in it so it is now a permanent fixture on my mixte. Although the bag faded a bit too fast for my taste, I love how well made it is and how perfect it is on S.A.M. It holds my lights when not in use, my tools and patch kit, my lock keys, a fold up shopping bag and a seat cover. I love that I can keep the flap fastened loosely and slip my hand under it to unzip the pouch to get at my stuff. Super fast, super easy. It is also secured enough that I usually just leave my basic stuff (minus the keys) in it when I am parked.

Even Number

The really big saddlebag above is on my road bike. It, like the panniers in the top photo, were gifts from Hubby the Bike Man after he found them through some discussion forum he is on. They are from the Minnihaha Company. They are mass produced out of the country, but I couldn't afford to have full panniers made in the US for a bicycle that I will only tour on occasionally (he paid less than $30 for each of the bags). The panniers have shoulder straps that make them easy to carry off the bicycle and a simple bungee chord and hook system that works with one hand to get them on and off the rack.

No matter how nice they look, though, having only small buckles for the leather straps makes getting in and out of them, especially the saddlebag which has the buckles under the bag, inconvenient. I always think twice about getting anything out of them. However, this also means that nothing falls out of them easily. For small things like my wallet and keys and cell phone that I need to get to easily I use my Hambone bag.

My Bicycle Takes A Nap

Hambone bags are made by a friend of mine, here in California. Mine is leather and has a detachable purse strap so I can carry it off the bicycle (it looks nice with just about everything). It only works on a diamond frame, so I only use it with the Hoff, but I love it and the fact that I bought it from the maker directly is even better.

One of these days I will do some actual touring and use my canvas bags for their intended purpose. For now, I use them for unpredictable, non-food related shopping days or times when I need dual panniers (which is any day I am carrying too much crap back from the thrift shops : )

Next stop on the baggage line- huge European bags that can smuggle people in them.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Heels and hills

Page hill on heels
Our city isn't flat.
Our city isn't 90° in August.
Our city has all kinds of bicycle riders.
San Francisco moms on wheels rock.
Page hill on heels
Page hill on heels