Monday, June 29, 2009

Missoula Says "Hello!"

A new submission here for your consideration! Lewis is one of our first Flickr group members and has sent us many pictures from Missoula. In this post, Lewis tells us about how he became a bike commuter and professional photographer- riding and shooting, 2 of my favorite activities!

My name is Lewis Kelley and I live in Missoula Montana. I started regularly commuting to college by bike back when gas first creeped over $2/gallon. Missoula has always been a great place for bicyclists, but not many people were actually commuting back then. I took some time off of school and worked for a year during 2008 on a construction crew during which time I rarely got a chance to hop on my bike.

Depending on how you view things, I luckily was laid off just before thanksgiving last year and had a lot of time on my hands in which to think about things. This is when I had the idea of going carfree. I would shortly be going back to school to study urban planning and thought that giving up driving would give me a perspective on urban design that many people overlook. I was also once again a poor college student and so thought I could save some very needed money.

It was also about this time, with lots of time on my hand, that I started up my own photography business, just as something to dabble in and hopefully to make enough money to cover my very expensive hobby. I had been an avid enthusiasts for the last several years, but really dedicated myself to improving my work once I was out of work and unable to find a new position.
So in Early March I gave up driving and started the blog to document the year in which I wouldn't be driving and the impact this would have on my ecological footprint. I turned my road bike into a commuter by adding fenders, a rear rack, and some panniers. I also made the plunge of purchasing a Bike trailer, and following some sound advice, went with a Two-wheel Burley model that could be broken down into a flat bed. This has really come in handy when going to Lowes and the grocery store and picking up large loads.

Between the time that I started my photography business in December and going carfree, I had met a few good contacts within the Missoula art community that gave me some good advice and made me feel more confident with my work. I decided to take the plunge and attempt to sell my work at our local farmers market which has a larger section of handmade crafts. For a town of about 60,000 people we have a very vibrant market with lots of tourists that browse.
I spent about two weeks getting ready for the market, spending much of my time outside of class, and eventually a new job with a nonprofit, organizing. I printed out a substantial inventory of photos, which I had to pick up and transport to the framer for mattes on my bike, I also picked up a table and photo stands from target; the table works great to extend my flat bed as its the perfect width to fit between my wheels.

Ready 4 the Market

I was a mess the first day of the market, having not gotten much sleep the night before because of last minute details that needed to be completed. Loading up the trailer in the morning took about 20 minutes of careful work. I used canoe straps to first tie down the table and then use this to stack up my supplies. The ride is about a mile over bumpy road and I was extremely nervous as I went over bumps and potholes in the road. Getting there at 7 am to register and setup I parked my bike against a building and waited to be assigned a spot at the market.
After setting up the market opened around 9 and the people started to slowly roll through. It wasn't until just before lunch that I made my first sale, but it certainly felt good. I have so far participated in two markets and have sold a few hundered dollrs worth of my photography. Being part of the market I am meeting many exceptional people that are fellow vendors. Three of which also transport their goods to the market by bike, which I plan on writting a blog post about at some point. It feels good to be able to be successful at something like this and not need a car which most people feel is a necessary for normal life in America.

Bike Ridn


Hippie vs. Child

Fixie Girl

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The change is universal. From San Francisco, we welcome you!

We'd like to give our humbled thanks to Mikael over at Copenhagen Cycle Chic for the lovely note and mentioned in their fabulous blog. And to you, for stopping by our collab bike story love child.

Riding our bikes and being blog readers (it might have been actually from commenting on the same post on CCC!) is how Adrienne and I connected, got together for coffee, and as they say, the rest is history. The first picture below we had some coffee and we talked about starting a collab/blog, so it means a lot to me :) and the one below is a recent one taken by my friend Omar, while we rode through the Golden Gate Park with the Bicycle Music Festival here in San Francisco.

Thanks for stopping by everybody, now send us your story and some pictures, we all love pictures!, and go ride your bike, now!! xo/♥meligrosa

double trouble comes in green and orange

all smiles

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Incredible Shrinking Man!

This just in from one of our wonderful Flickr folk, "Wirehead". His real name is Ken, he is a photographer, artist, and committed bicycle commuter! You can visit him at Wirehead Arts, but first, you should read his story!

Before and After!!!

Two years ago, today, I walked into a bike store and rode out on a new bike, with the idea that it was fairly stupid to be driving 10 miles to work when I could bike 5 miles and take the train the rest of the way. I figured that I'd save money and get some exercise. Because I knew the summer immediately before I got my driver's license but worked two part-time jobs (one making pizzas and the other assembling PCs) that I biked to... I had a good degree of physical fitness.

I'd tried dieting to lose weight. Didn't do much.

I'd tried going to the gym. Didn't stick with it.

But biking, I've stuck with. See, if you are going to start a life change like this, you need to be able to keep with it for a few months. It's 6 months before you start to look different. And biking is fun enough to stick with.

So, yeah. I'm a lot thinner. I'm a lot more muscular. I look a lot better.

My back used to be a little tempremental. If I didn't adjust my chair right, it would start to hurt. I shouldn't have a bad back at my age. The last time my back did complain at me, it was after about 60 miles of chip-and-seal roads on the bike.

For the past sixteen years, I had blood sugar problems. If I ate too much sugar, my body would overreact and I'd have a blood sugar crash. It's called reactive hypoglycemia. Except that I don't have it anymore. Last Sunday, I had a Psycho Donut for breakfast with a piece of toast. I didn't feel great, on account of having a fairly unhealthy breakfast. But I didn't have a blood sugar crash, either. I'm really excited about this. Old habits die hard, so it feels really weird to be having sweets whenever I want.

Also, I've been skipping out on anything that makes health claims (Less fat! Reduces cholesterol! Colon Health!) and don't take any supplements. Still losing weight and my cholesterol is fine.

My brain works better, too. Less fake-smiles because I don't want to explain why I feel meh for no good reason, more real smiles. No pills needed there, either.

Yeah, one of the better decisions I've ever made. :)

Friday, June 26, 2009

Happy Bike People, Happy Friday!

Aside from the fact that I am fascinated by how tall that Tall Bike is, and the great desire I have to see how one actually launches that thing, I love how happy all these people are to just be alive and together.

Go ride your bike to the people you love! There is nothing better than the smell of the wind on someone you are getting a huge hug from.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Tuesday Injection of Fun, on Wednesday: Picnic Panda

picnic panda by warbin k

This picture is not only a super fun panda. This is a yellow bike, green chucks and a picnic basket - WHILE riding on the Golden Gate Bridge. What.
This is our riding lovely new friend and partner in rides, Ramona. San Franciscans, we know how to party. and picnic. Okay! /xo.♥m

Monday, June 22, 2009

Fairfax Or Bust

I get what I call "15 mile ass". I can always tell when we have hit the 15 mile mark by the stabbing pain in my left buttock. It goes away if I just get off the bike for a bit, but it comes back pretty quickly. There is no question that it is a combination of riding in a very upright position and a probable need for a different saddle, but I just put up with it. Of course, this situation means I frequently limit my riding to no more that 20 miles at a time, which for a utility cyclist in a compactish urban environment is not usually an issue.

Could this be the issue?

The problem with "15 mile ass" is that it makes longer, recreational group rides problematic, as most of them are a minimum of 20 miles. Needless to say, I don't go on them very often, and I end up feeling like I am missing out on the fun. I have done the Paradise Loop in Marin (20ish miles) on the Bat, and my butt hurt for 2 days after. So, I took the bike by the horns and decided to try a longer ride on a different bike- San Francisco to Fairfax (22 miles, one way) on my Xtracycle, the FUB (F---ing Ugly Bike). A bunch of friends were going, including Meli, and it was the perfect opportunity to introduce my 14 year old son, Cameron, to longer distance riding.

We started in San Francisco and crossed the Golden Gate Bridge. This was the first time I have crossed on the west side of the bridge. The east side faces San Francisco and is usually jammed with tourists, so I am used to dodging people and having to be patient. The west side is only open at certain times, and only to bicycles. Needless to say, this is where the fast riders like to ride. We are not fast riders. We are slow and like to take things in. Many, many people whizzed past us, yelling "left!!!" repeatedly- some as a warning, but many because they wanted to make sure nothing and no one slowed them down (the man in the shot above was of the former variety).

Cameron's First Bridge Crossing

After crossing the bridge and getting through Sausaltio we hit more open road and settled in for the ride. I was amazed, 20 miles at this point and no nether region problems. Between a different saddle and more forward riding position, my backside was just peachy! My hands, though, were starting to let me know there was a reason I had dumped my road bikes and moved to a traditional upright city bike- arthritis, recent wrist surgery and various other issues that will never go away. "To hell with that!" I declared to myself. "I will ride!" (my inner voice is very much the swashbuckler).

Camino Alto Stop

We made it to Fairfax after several stops. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I was still in one piece. Even my right wrist was willing to take a break from stabbing me. We walked around and enjoyed the festival for a bit (funny how much pot smoke is allowed at environmental events : ).

We will get by, we will survive!

Tree Man Coronation

Valet Is Full!

Coming home was a race against time. The ferry was leaving at 3:40 and we needed to be on it. There was no way I could make the whole trip home. The ride to Larkspur was balls to the wall the whole way ( especially after I threw my chain with just 5 minutes to spare!), but we made it. My friend Veronika and I talked about unemployment (pros and cons) while Cameron slept like the dead.

We should have had a beer!

The ride home was all about concentration- the last 6 miles was spent ignoring my flaming wrist, the kink in my neck and the not so dull ache in my knee. Cameron had to concentrate so hard he didn't notice the 50 naked riders that passed in the opposite direction! We pushed the last two blocks. But we made it!

My right hand hurt for days after that ride, but Cameron and I rode 43.71 miles in all. I have not done that in 20 years! It has taken 15 years to get past knee problems, neck issues, hand injuries.... but I did it. I can do it again with minor adjustments (OK, not minor. I need a good touring bike with just the right set up for me, but I like the hunt, so it will be fun). Half a dozen Doctors and Physical Therapists have been proven wrong, and I have recovered most of what I lost.

There is a lesson here- never let someone else limit you. The only way you will ever know what you can and can not do is through trying. In the last 20 years I have failed more times than I care to remember, but I kept trying. I am not finished trying, there is so much more to do. Injuries can be dealt with, compensations can be made.

15 Mile Ass can become 44 Mile Ass!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day!

From our friend, Dick. Happy Father's Day to all! Visit his group Suburban Assault On Facebook.

Today, my daughter decided to take a ride with me. It was a bit slow and we didn't go very far, but I don't care. I got to share one of my favorite things with my little girl.

I'll never forget this father's day.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Bicycle Built For Two

If you live in San Francisco, then you have seen me riding around with my son. We are hard to miss and we are all over the place. Declan likes to make very realistic siren sounds from the back seat. This is from today.

Declan will not look at the camera.

Sneaky, aren't we?

Where do you ride with your kids?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Tuesday Injection of Fun: Rock on!

This is how much the ride from San Francisco to Fairfax rocked. Good times. /xo♥meligrosa


Jeremiah -teeeh teeeh teeh Dusty! & I

Monday, June 15, 2009

Chasing Chas

Two weekends ago, I had the chance to join the paradise loop lightweight ride out in Marin. I refer to it as the retro ride, where steel frames, wool jerseys, a mellow pace and down shifters rule. Amongst the riders, I had the pleasure to meet Charles or Chas, as his friends call him. He is a great story teller and we had a great time chatting it up at a cafe brake, in Marin. The times when he used to train and also race in Arizona, frames he built, friendships, photography and his enthusiasm around all the bicycle peripherals and benefits that can be brought into one's life. Overall a great time with Chas, it was great chatting with you, and look forward to hear more stories. The black and white photo on the left, was provided by Chas
Below is Chas and his latest addition to his bicycle collection. It is a Holdsworth from across the pond. Spotless. This powerful machine is an absolute smooth operator gliding through the Marin hills. And as a note, the leather on that brooks saddle, his wool jersey, the frame color and his phone, were all in sync. Oh so nice!
Here is Eric's post as told by Chas: [Chas Talk Story]

He can easily say: Change your life, build your own bike!! It was great meeting you, and look forward for more rides, more stories and good times. /xo♥meligrosa

Charles Uploaded by meligrosa

Chas and new holdsworth Uploaded by ericm

6.609 ride 017 Uploaded by ericm

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Video Killed The Radio Star

I saw this video over at CCC and I had to put it here. Watching it made me realize I need a Japanese man with a bicycle bell in my life : )

Friday, June 12, 2009


We do not refer to the adorable leaf chewing black and white beasts of China (although they are cute and deserve a blog of their own and probably have one out there someplace). We speak, instead, of the cycling in progress self portrait type. Everyone shoots one, eventually. There is at least one Flickr group devoted to these wonderful shots. This month, I asked our Flickr group members to submit their own Pandas so we could see them all in action out in the world.

I love Panda shots because they show us as true people. They are pictures of us at our best, in motion, comfortable in our skin. Pandas are proof that we indeed "can"- we can be strong, we can be fast, we can be self sufficient, we can be beautiful.

photo by Madness Rivera

photo by Amsterdamize

photo by Johnclimber

photo by calitexican

photo by the Goat Whisperer

photo by bikepilot

And then , there is Meli and me!

Now go take a picture of yourself on your bike! Now!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Flower Power

Just because. Pictures like this make me happy. /xo♥m

nelly Uploaded by the bline

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Terrible Twos

photo by Mikael Colville-Andersen

Just a little shout out to Copenhagen Cycle Chic. Today is the blog's 2nd birthday! That's a lot of cycle chic! Come on, people! It is time to catch up! Throw on something nice and take your bike and significant other out for dinner to celebrate. Take some pictures and send them to Mikael over at his Flickr group (then send them to us : )

Monday, June 8, 2009

Éste Es Mi Barrio

I moved to the Mission District in 1984. I loved it and I have missed it ever since I left in 1993. When it was announced that there would be two Sunday Street events in the Mission I was super jazzed! The Mission is always busy, always crowded, always loud. It has more life oozing out of it than any other place I have ever lived.

Seeing the streets closed to traffic, quiet, with children playing in the median and running across the lanes with complete freedom and joy was something I never thought I would see in the neighborhood that is the Heart of San Francisco.

For this Sunday, the streets belonged to the people. The buses were rerouted to make this possible and even the Police were on bicycles. Roller skates ruled instead of delivery trucks.

I know it can't be a huge party everyday on the streets of San Francisco, but maybe it could just be a city with more room for our kids to grow and our citizens to live freely.

It may be true that if you build it they will come, but first we have to dream it up. First we have to dream about the streets in front of our homes actually belonging to us. We have to dream of children playing stick ball, and Dads teaching kids how to ride without training wheels and neighbors talking on the front steps. We have to hear bicycle bells in our dreams and picture ourselves gliding down the street at ease with the world around us.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

If Only...

If there was more space for people instead of traffic, Declan could have this every day.

What You See When You Haven't Got Your Gun

It is fun to see the word from my saddle. All kinds of things that you can't stop for in a car or on a bus are just waiting for you when you ride your bike.

I was on my way home from an event that was over before I got there. The Mission was showing every sign of Summer beginning. El Salvador won something, football I assume, and there were cars honking and El Salvadoran flags waving out of cars. Every corner had a street performer of some sort, including a poet standing on his head.

There was a Felliniesque band. They were pretty good.

Mission Dolores decided to be more colourful. Maybe it could hear the upside down poet.

What do you see when you are out? What do you stop for when you are out riding that you wouldn't see, otherwise?