Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Bikes Around The World

Knowing full well there is a world outside of San Francisco, I decided to put up some of the recent shots from around the world that have been posted on our Flickr group. We get some fantastic pictures from all over the globe. Every kind of bicycle imaginable, ridden in every conceivable way. Visual proof that there is no one way to ride a bike other than just getting on one and going!

night ride
image by RocketDog at A Pic A Ride (UK)

Sunday Parkways on Naito
image by Greg Raisman (Portland, OR, USA)

Family Truckster
image by rperks1 at Ocean Air Cycles (Ventura, CA, USA)

Bajo la lluvia en modo huaso style
image by Claudio Olivares Medina (Chile)

To fast for him
image by Iam Sterdam (Netherlands)

day1985 tue23aug2011
image by a.pic.a.day

No hands
image by Chris.0917 (Maple Springs, New York, USA)

Vélo de crème glacée
image by AlainG (Montreal, Canada)

2011/08/03Kurisawa Park
image by y.hayama (Japan)

Waffles rides the mighty Bullitt
image by Ian of Slow RPM (Melbourne, Australia)

barnard and bike rides!

a new chapter of my alma mater's alumni group has sprung up. the school was the big reason i was in for nyc for 8 years before heading on out here to the wild west. when i heard about the new group, i jumped at the opportunity to join since i truly loved my college experience.

i rode my bike in nyc a little bit, not during school, but when i lived in brooklyn. funnily enough, that bike was bought here in san francisco post-graduation, traveled with me up to seattle and portland and then to austin to brooklyn. then back to berkeley. phew. then it got stolen. sad face. although now my bikes better suit me than that one would if i had it now, i STILL look for it. it was stolen out of my padlocked shed. sad face. (side note: padlocks don't work in california)

anyway, this is all going in that my two loves, bikes and barnard, are going to intersect. i'm hosting a bike ride y'all. it's gonna be short and sweet and involve coffee and beer. yum.

did you go to barnard and live in the bay area? if so, please join us! facebook event here. don't do the FB? well, there's eventbrite tickets available too. see you and your guests on the ride!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Ride To Belize, Ninja Style

Excuse me. Can I have five minutes of your time? Could you watch this video?

The Ginger Ninjas have done something truly amazing here. It is the kind of thing the rest of us dream about and never do. Let's help them finish this film so we can all live vicariously through their incredible adventure. I know I want to see what happened along the way- the road from Todos Santos to Guadalajara is something I have only experienced on a bus, and that was something else!

Visit the Ginger Ninja's Kickstarter page. Give them a couple of bucks instead of buying a latte today. Bicycle community isn't just in the lane!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Thank You

"Change Your Life. Ride A Bike!" was started on a whim back in 2009 when Meligrosa and I decided we wanted to start telling people's stories about bicycle life. We didn't have a grand agenda, there was no huge plan. We just wanted to share the joy we saw around us all the time and find out where it was happening in other parts of the world.

Then we found Caryl and her amazing pictures of Los Angeles

How To Photograph A Photographer

And then we grabbed up our amazing Melyssa/CTX/Calitexican because she kept showering us with stuff to post...

We Silly Girls

and there we had it. Our line up of women from different worlds, different generations, different geography, different education.... we could not believe how lucky we were to be able to represent that.

So here we are in 2011. We have been through the mill this year, and several pounds of flesh have been demanded. There have been times when I think all of us have thought about just throwing in the towel. Somehow, we are still here. Somehow, all of you keep showing up to read what we have to say or to see what we have to show.

I think I can speak for all of us when I say we are humbled by your continued support. Your comments and stories make all of this worth it.

I bring this up today because CYLRAB has received a little recognition lately. We were recently added to the Top 25 Family Bike Blogs at Circle of Moms and the Top 50 Most Influential Bike Blogs at Extanz.com. This could never have happened without all of you reading and visiting us and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Further Adventures Of Declan- Repost

This is from back in 2009. I was asked to name 3 of my favorite posts and this one came to mind first. Declan does not sit on the back of my bicycle anymore, and I have to admit I miss having him back there. We had many wonderful, silly and very bonding conversations with one another while he was back there. It is fantastic to see him riding his own like a pro but I will always think of my Bat as a bicycle built for two.

Today's installment of Declan's life on the back of a bike- harmonica playing! Declan has decided, for now, to be a "Blues Man". Today, I was serenaded whenever I got tired toiling up the hills. Not a bad way to ride along on errand day : ) I will try to be a better camera person, next time!

Sierra Goes Public

Bikes and the environment go together. A lovely side effect of riding those bicycles we love! In that spirit, Public Bicycles and the Sierra Club have joined forces to give away three Public bicycles to three lucky people out there in the world.

PUBLIC bikes
photo by Antonio De Lucci

So, if you would like a chance to win a bicycle, and to learn more about the Sierra Club and its good work in the world, enter here and cross your fingers! If you win, please, send us a picture of you and your new bike! Everyone here at the blog likes to see pictures of our bikey matchmaking. We hear that we make pretty good bicycle Rent-A-Yentas!

While several of us here at the blog know a few people at Public, we have no official affiliation with either Public Bike or the Sierra Club. We just pass on the opportunities as they fall in our laps, where appropriate, and most especially when one of our readers could win an orange mixte.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Come On Aileen

For those of our readers out there on the East Coast of the United States who are waiting for the storm to make land, stay safe! If you haven't done it yet, make sure your bicycles are ready to go! They don't need gas, they don't need good roads and for those places the hardest hit, they could be your only way to get around for a few day. If you can, make sure you have spare tubes and tools to fix minor problems along the way. If you have to evacuate, try to take your bicycles with you so you will have low tech transportation when you get back in.

Good luck and see you on the other side!

Addendum-I know it is Hurricane Irene, but I like the song.

Experiment In A Basket

For a great while now, I have wanted a handwoven bicycle basket from David Hembrow. You may know him from his blog, A View From The Cycle Path.

I have had my Batavus for three years now, and it has taken quite awhile to get it exactly where I like it. Instead of jumping into buying things that look like they will be great, but end up not being used, I have purchased or made most of the things on my bicycle only after really thinking about it or experimenting with cheep alternates to see what is truly useful. For the last year and a half I had repurposed the removable Wald basket from my old bike by zip tying it to the front rack.

Baby Gets A Turn
This bike was nothing but old stuff thrown together!

The rack its self was the cheapest I could find, $18, because I was not sure I would I like having a front rack on the bike. Now that it has been on for so long, I can't imagine the Bat without it. So when the one that is there now becomes too disreputable for my taste I will find a much better one knowing that it will be something well purchased.

Back to the basket. Having someone make a basket, and then ship it across the world is not something to take lightly. What if it just isn't right? My Wald basket was great because it was impervious to weather, was really cheap ($18, just like the rack) and when empty didn't cause much wind drag or collect water in the rain. The problem for me was it wasn't meeting my aesthetic requirements. Every time I looked at it, it just wasn't hitting my eye the right way. Some may find this a silly reason to replace something that works, but my front basket is something that is always in my line of sight when I ride, so if it is ugly it will always rankle. With that in mind, I had started thinking about David's beautiful baskets again. Not only are they aesthetically pleasing, they are works of art that I can buy directly from the artist (I am a total sucker for that kind if thing). But again, what if I didn't like having it on the front of the bicycle?

Big Basket
Zip ties will tie down just about anything!

A solution presented its self to me last week in the form of a giant picnic basket being sold at a sidewalk sale. With negotiating it came out to $7 and that meant I had the correct basket for my experiment. Will having a larger basket, with greater wind resistance on a crappy fork mounted rack work for me? So far, it has been a mixed bag. Even unloaded I notice a change in the front end handling, especially in the wind which blows hard constantly these days. It isn't horrible, but I am not sure how much I like it. This basket is also not going to work in the rain as it is lined and kinda cheap, so I will not get an idea of winter riding with it (David's baskets are good even in the snow). On the other hand, it has a great lid which keeps things in and the sun out and it looks great.

For now, the jury is out on what my final decision will be. I really love how terribly traditional the Bat looks with the basket on, I may just end up with a Peterboro one, but the call of David's baskets is still quite strong. One thing is sure, taking time to make these decisions pays off. My bicycle is exactly right for me and riding it is always a pleasure.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Walker This Way

OK. So my DIY from yesterday has been one-upped. OK. 20,000 upped! As a woman who has spent a decade and a half with walkers and the elderly all I can say is that this guy is killing it! I also have to give huge props to his family for not getting in his way. Thanks to Ramona Wheelright for dropping this in our laps!

Super Grandpa Rig

Once a life has been changed by cycling, the notion of not riding becomes a threat to all that is good and true. As demonstrated here by Super Grandpa, of San Francisco, no expense will be spared to accommodate the aging cyclist in her/his quest to be mobile. Do you know someone who exudes this sentiment and clearly will always ride? Do you know this man, whose image was captured on Dolores Street? I'd love to learn more about him and how he fashioned his bike support system, as I figure I will be doing the same in a few decades.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Do It Yourself

Sometimes you need something strange. One of those things that you are just not going to find ready made at Target. For myself, I found myself needing one of those strange things after Hubby the Bikeman (James) put something very useful and not strange on my Bat- a wheel stabilizer.

Ugly But Serviceable

The front end of the bike was just so damn wiggly when parked that it was becoming a significant problem. Whenever I parked the bike on the center stand, the front wheel would flop into me and I would get tangled in the handlebars or my hair would get tangled in the brake levers while I was locking up the bike. More than once, this ended up with either me or the bike falling over. The problem with putting a stabilizer on was that my lower tube is very thick and tear shaped so James had to improvise with bits and pieces not meant for this purpose. The stabilizer worked, but the mounting was ugly and it caught on my longer skirts or wider pant legs. Thus the need for the "strange thing".


I needed something to wrap around the spring mount that would cover the metal that was sticking out. It needed to be removable in case we decided to adjust the mount. It had to be able to withstand the rain and sun, it would not be twine*, and it had to be made with stuff I had in the house. Of course, I decided to knit something! The World's First Wheel Stabilizer Cozy!

It was terribly simple- bulky acrylic yarn, a big plastic button and 20 minutes of seed stitch later and I had the "much needed strange thing" in hand. It has been on the Bat for about 6 months and has done exactly what I needed it to. I have not been caught on the mount, or cut myself on it once since I put the cozy on.

Trolley State Of Mind

It isn't that noticeable on the bike, but it certainly serves quite a purpose. This of course what all "much needed strange things" have in common when we decide to make them for ourselves. What have you made for yourself? Share with the group!

*twine is all and well and good, and lots of people think it is great but I can't stand it most of the time and refuse to have it on any of my bicycles. Sorry if you love twine.

** This article is cross posted at Vélo Vogue.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Grass Is Just As Green

In the Netherlands? Really? The land of the Ultimate Modern Bicycle Culture?

I'm fed up with it!
submitted to our Flickr group by Roermond op de Fiets

Just goes to show, no matter where you are, you gotta work to have a bicycle friendly society.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Things Heard In The Lane

The snippets you hear as you whiz by are always amusing.

"Don't tell me what to do, devil woman!"

"So next thing he tells me he has scabies"

"Don't get in a cab if you think you are going to pee in it. Take the bus."

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Are We Cultured?

I started writing this terribly long post awhile ago. I have decided to leave it as is, unedited and rambling. Read it and continue the conversation in the comments, should you chose to accept the challenge. I am sure that you all have more to say that makes sense than I do!

I think it is time that we all started talking about "bicycle culture". It is a term that gets thrown around a lot, but I am not sure that anyone could actually define what it is if asked. Can you? I can't. There is a lot out there about adding to bicycle culture and creating bicycle culture and defending bicycle culture. There are whole blogs about it : ) but what do we mean when we say these things?

So today I thought about it. Having lived in San Francisco for the vast majority of my life I have been able to see what bicycling in the City has been like for the last few decades. When I was a kid in the 70's and early 80's it was just what everyone did in my little beach community. We all got around by bike or train or Mustang GT. We didn't think about it, we just did it. The bicycles were just part of the landscape, and unless they were 10 speed road bikes (which were sooooo cool) they were just bikes. We parked them outside of the corner store to get a soda, we rode them to the other end of the beach so our parents wouldn't see us smoking, we took them to the park to play ball. We only thought about them when they were stolen. Our parents used them as a means of not having to pick us up from anything.

By the time the mid-80's came around, something started to change. It became strange to ride a bicycle for any other purpose than competitive racing or to storm the dirt trails of any planted area you could find. This was the beginning of bicyclists as a fringe element. Whereas just 5 years before when you got on your old Schwinn to go to the library, now there was neon, lycra clothing and knobby tires and flat handle bars and a horror of anything practical like fenders or baskets or kickstands. We started wearing helmets that looked like toddler training potties. Of course, if all the riding we did was jumping over logs, then this wasn't so strange, but there was still that trip to the Park & Rec that needed to happen to take a cooking class. The only way to do it by bicycle had become a lycra, chamois, helmet experience and if we tried to do otherwise we were ridiculed and driven off the road.

This was the beginning of "bicycle culture". When we allowed ourselves to be easily pegged, and thus, marginalized by donning more gear than the guys on the Tour de France did just so we could ride along the beach in the summer. Those who rode a bicycle became a deliberately visible group, defined by the activity of riding and the accouterments that we put with it. We came to a collective agreement that unless you walked away from your bicycle dirty and exhausted that you were not a legitimate bicycle rider. We read magazines with articles about maximizing pedal stroke and how to shave grams and most of all, we became afraid of our bicycles.

By the early 90's we were all convinced that our bicycles would kill us if given half a chance. If we rode on a city street, we would be immediately struck down by a car. If we rode on the sidewalk we would get hit by a car pulling out of a driveway. It was indisputable. If we rode on a trail we would get thrown by every pothole or stick in the forest. If we did not wear a helmet, Satan would find us and it would be our own fault that we were dead. In response we became one of three types of riders- non-riders who looked at their bicycles in the garage and thought "I would ride it to the beach but...", weekend sport riders who drove their bikes to points of embarkation away from the crazy streets of death, or urban street warriors who would "live free or die". That was the next step of "bicycle culture". Those who didn't disappear became almost superhuman in the eyes of the non-cycling world (whether that was super-humanly stupid or super-humanly strong was up to the changing interpretation of society at the time).

The 90's were also the beginning of what we see in San Francisco, today. The 90's were the time of the bicycle messenger and the beginning of Critical Mass. While both were, and continue to be, somewhat controversial, they were nonetheless, the only non-sports related bicyclists any of us saw in San Francisco for a whole lotta years. They were almost all male, almost all young, almost all completely broke, and many of them were drawn to the drama of the daily fight for survival in streets that no longer welcomed any thing with less than 4 wheels and 150 horsepower. They looked nothing like the Bicycle Girls of Copenhagen. Hell, they didn't look like the Office Girls of the Financial District (remember the big hair and the skirt suits?). They were brash, confrontational, brave and fast and the people of San Francisco could only ever see them through the haze of bicycle fear that had engulfed the nation.

Until recently, this was the status quo of San Francisco. That has changed quite a bit. The people on the bikes look like the people walking on the sidewalk. The bicycles are no longer of the mountain type. More than that, there are lots of them. Everywhere. And they are all going to work or shopping or lunch or school...

Still, what is our current "culture"? I am not sure there is an answer to this question. There are so many different kinds of people riding and so many different kinds of groups that they could fit into that I do not think that there is a way to define it simply. Nor do I think it would be good to be able to do so. Back when just about every cyclist on the street was a kamikaze messenger we could define the culture very easily, and subsequently, very few people wanted to join in. Without firm definitions anyone can find a place.

of bikes and babes

fresh off the tribute to val, here's where we get to pass along the love of bikes to the newest generation.

the last time we talked of this little one, he was in his mama's belly, shopping for bikey onesies in the mission.

now? he's got his first birthday behind him and more than a couple of teeth in those gums.

sup, esss a close up.

we went to nomnom. while waiting in line, look at what his mom said that she got for him, but really for me. heh. ;)

hat and bikes

they are sold out of the shirt, fyi....at least it appears so by going to their site.

i walk now

he can barely walk, but he can stand really well!

teedler toddler


oh haiiiiii! look at that smile. melts the toughest of cold hearts. (mine is not of those.)

mama here is wanting to take him around their neighborhood in LA on a bike. maybe next time he's on the blog, he'll be on a skuuuuuuuuuuuut it up! ;) well, maybe first he'll be on the back of a bike. he's certainly dressed for it.

other than bikes, looks like we have something in common. a love of hats.

ok, and he loves dogs too. he make friends easily :)


love my favorite baby b-boy! besos con mocos simpre! babas por vida!<3<3

Sunday, August 14, 2011


It is with great sadness that I opened our email today. Long time friend to the blog, Val Kleitz has passed away from cancer. Val was a never ending source of stories and photos of his unique, and wonderful view of bicycle life in Seattle. His hat and handlebar mustache always made me smile, even if I only got a chance to see them on my computer. The Labor Day Cargo Bike ride in Seattle will be dedicated to his memory.

The below picture and email were sent to us by Val in May , 2010. It is the picture I always had in my head whenever I saw a new comment from Val on a post. Good journeys, friend. You will be missed.

Today, as I was walking through the local grocery store, I had to pause for a moment to give a couple of very young girls a chance to consolidate themselves to one side of the aisle. They looked to be 3 and 4 years old, out shopping with their dad. The older one (who had the task of carrying the basket) looked up at me as I passed and said "Cow..boy". I get this a lot from the small ones, and I always just walk away proud, thinking "Yep, well spotted, kid". This time, as I walked away, I heard the dad telling her "No, no - that's that dude on the bike, you remember, you've seen him...". Now I'm thinking "Oh HELL yes!" Say what you like, but I seriously believe that the cowboy hat makes me much more visible, and therefore keeps me safer, than any bike helmet.

Friday, August 12, 2011

friday fun times: foggy summatime!

welcome to summer in SF! where it's not sunny, but foggy, cool and windy with grey pea soup hanging low in the sky.

this is a little video i took the morning after the century ride. i woke up on the opposite side of the bridge. so while this may look like it's taken from chrissy fields (to some), it isn't. this place is also easily accessible by bike from the city. don't have reservations? go anyway during the day!

enjoy your hot weather and if you want to cool off after a bike ride, come and join us here in sun-deprived sf!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Mom Always Knows Best.

Again with the silly Cycle Chic kerfuffle? It seems "Cycle Chic" is now a patented concept. It seems others continue to have trouble with the concept. I have talked about it many times before, so there is little for me to say about it at this point. This would just about cover it.

A couple of years back, I was visiting my Mother in suburban Los Angeles. As per usual, I took my bicycle with me so I could use it to ride around the neighborhood and across the Valley when we were not out as a big family. When I am down there, I usually ride to the cafe near her house in the mornings to grab a cuppa and to get a few minutes of bicycle peace before the family circus kicks in. Until this morning, my Mom had always viewed my bicycle advocacy and blogging as one of "those things" that I "do".


That morning, my mom beat me to the punch and asked if I would like to ride with her to the cafe. She was going to put on a skirt and I was to take a picture of her for my blog. And "not that Change your life one. The other one, Vélo Vogue".

My Mom, a seasoned, successful medical professional who manages a multi-million dollar hospital department, who will knit the world back together after the Tea Party gets through with it, who grows her own food and learned how to drive a race car had no interest in letting anyone know about how her bicycle has effected her life. She wanted to be cute and to be seen being cute on her bicycle. My 63 year old mother didn't feel like she didn't fit a mold that was being imposed on her by someone else. She could see the message for what it is- take joy being yourself while riding a bicycle.

So, for those who see no value in "cycle chic" I say this, if my Mom likes it, then it is OK by me.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

marin century 2011

this weekend while ade was encouraging you to get off the interwebs and on the bike, i was already a few hours into my 2nd century, the first one to be 100 miles. 100 kilometers no more. here are some pictures.

the beginning

head tilt
base conditioned ready.

good morning 1011

a moment of peace. and cows. and signs.

marin haystacks
marin's haystacks

who's rad?
who's rad?

bike posse finished!

soma dino!
soma saurus!

post-century meal
post-century meal

no nio! that's mah food.
don't mess with this meal!

and then i woke up to this. it was pretty amazing. calmed the screaming thighs down.

sunday morning views.

sunday morning

it was good to run into so many people from butterlap, and from the sf bikey community in general. we are awesome! i look forward to doing more rides and becoming a stronger rider as a result. i've come a long way in a year, but there's so much more to do and so much farther to go. that means more time in the saddle, and that is never a bad thing.

much love to all of you. happy tuesday.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

It's The Weekend

Stop looking at the internet and get out there!

Kick Back

Your bicycle wants to go see something!

Thursday, August 4, 2011


It was brought to my attention yesterday, that should I follow certain links, I may find myself in odd places. Spots usually reserved for those traveling to and from Brooklyn and riding the Tour de France. If you look carefully, you will also find another CYLRAB face in there. Should I be nonplussed?

addendum- I don't do nonplussed too well. I'll just go with my smartass look. More people will recognize me like that.

Smart Ass (227/365)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Yeah, Baby! Run 'Em Over!

Maybe you have seen the Mayor of Vilnius (Lithuania) running over a car parked in the bike lane already. Maybe this is all over the internet. I don't care! I would vote for him if I could.

As I have stated before, San Francisco has more of an extended cell phone parking lot than it does an extensive bicycle network.

First Kids Encounter First Double Parker

So, Mr. Mayor, if you would like to run to be the next Mayor of San Francisco I will be your campaign manager for free!

Monday, August 1, 2011

i'm not nervous, i'm not nervous...

"i'm not nervous, i'm not nervous" is the mantra i keep telling myself. but yes, i am. i'm doing the marin century for the 2nd year in a row, but instead of doing 100k, i'm doing 106 miles. i'm not getting any younger, ya heard?

Serious riders.

last year my "training" regimen consisted of going up to twin peaks a few times, some rides in marin, and lots of butterlap. after riding in 5 year old pumas with toe cages and while nearly at the top of my monster hill, i conceded defeat. only to see the top of the hill when i pulled over. ugh. i felt so OFF that whole day, and riding in the heat was something i was not entirely used to. this year i have some new fears, some new shoes/pedals, and some new riding partners. i've been going on longer rides more frequently, starting with a small tour to SC, eventually going up and over 6k + hills, including the seven sisters (whoa, that was fun! the crappy roads into mill valley, not so much...).

i resolved after last year to try clip-ins, and i finally got the shoes a couple of weeks ago. i've almost fallen twice, and totally fell once while on my block. so the fear of falling over is one new fear i have. another new fear i've developed is descending. i didn't used to be so nervous about it, but i know why i'm more reserved this year than in years past. that's another topic for another time...

am also trying out different eating styles, different bars or should i have trail mix? what sort of energy drink should i get, if at all. my legs hurt, i should get a massage. do i like heavily padded shorts, or just liners? (btw, so far the liners seem to agree w/ me the most...). and don't forget the skorts!

i never thought my foray into biking for transportation would lead me here, but it has. and i love the challenge of it! i'm embarking on something i never would have thought a year ago i would do, much less five years ago. overcoming obstacles and challenges makes you stronger. amirite?

i'm not nervous. i'm not nervous. ok, maybe i am, but i'm enjoying every second of it, except maybe the clammy palms. saturday!! please come now!