The Long and Short of it

May 28, 2008

It turns out that whether riding in a long dress or a short one... nothing really stops the skirt from slowly making its way up one's leg and then sailing behind a fast moving bike. I am resigned to people seeing my legs and sometimes my panties. With my cruiser in the shop it's hard to say whether this would be the case on my usual dutch bike?

Oh well, I got to our dinner at Culina sans grease stains or a wipe out! They have a Sunday night family style dinner where you get 3 courses for a set price ($20 or so) and it's absolutely delicious.

I also came across this awesome doggie in front of the video place next to the restaurant. Doesn't have much to do with bikes... but the dog is notable.

Cadeaux on Bicyclette

May 27, 2008

Just got back from a wedding in Vancouver, a city with tons of cyclists of all kinds! It was just a weekend and a friend I was staying with offered her road bike up for me so I didn't bother bringing my own. Different to ride, but very enjoyable. I especially like the little gears for all those hills.

After rehearsal dinner where my friend gave me a beautifully wrapped gift, we had to get it home. Luckily the bike had a back rack. We took the ribbon off the cadeaux and tied it on. Ta da!

Also, the gift turned out to be a Design House Stockholm "Carrie" bike basket in white! How fitting. Both for a "best girl" gift at a wedding and specifically, for me! My gorgeous friend knows me well. I am feeling the love.

Marimekko to Dinner

May 22, 2008

I was thrilled to see that H&M has a tribute to Marimekko this spring. I just had to get a few pieces! Here is a happy Marimekko dress on the way to treat a friend to a birthday dinner.

Bike to Leva

May 20, 2008

This past Friday was beautiful albeit windy! Met my lovely friend Leanne at Leva for iced coffees after work. She rides a custom single speed Marinoni road bike too (her partner is the fine man who put mine together).

Take note of excellent pumpkin coloured dress and patent sapphire ballet flats.

Egg Beaters + Heels = Success

May 16, 2008

With the cruiser in the shop I've been riding the road bike a lot. Not that I'm complaining, I love how fast and light it is! It is harder to accommodate style-wise, however. The handlebars don't take very well to shoulder bags and I don't have a back rack. I could wear my bike bag, but that's more utilitarian. I'm going to experiment with a smaller market bag today and see if that is better for my balance.

The main point of contention was riding those road bike egg beater pedals (beautiful) without bike shoes. More specifically, with pretty high heels. It works! So far. I wouldn't recommend it for the faint of heart or for those who are working on their coordination. Or riders who are otherwise wobbly. If you practice in your neighborhood first you should be alright. I have a feeling that I might be an anomaly in this respect, and not many other women will see the need to potentially tempt the fates of safety like I have.

Make sure to use the groove between the heel and shoe for pushing off, once you get going you can reposition. And always be aware of where the pedals are in relation to the ball of your foot.

In the photo I haven't mounted the bike, but if you look closely by my right ankle you can see how tiny and shiny that pedal is.

To Wear or not to Wear (a Helmet)

May 14, 2008

I never wore a helmet when biking as a kid. I just grabbed the blue mountain bike from Canadian Tire my parents bought me and went riding over to my friend's house or out for slurpees. Or to school and back. Never gave it a second thought.

Helmets are optional for adults here in Edmonton, but compulsory for kids. I think it sets a good example to wear one. And in the volatile Edmonton traffic safety is a real concern so a helmet is a good thing to have on. Since there aren't dedicated bike lanes (properly marked out, et all) the cars in my city aren't really that accommodating to cyclists. They are either too cautious which makes them unpredictable and confusing or absolutely oblivious so they end up running through stop signs and taking right turns without a shoulder check. Regardless, the result is cars hitting cyclists or at the very least, close calls where the motor vehicle operator ends up honking like mad and hurling an unending stream of obscenities at the cyclist.

Yes, I understand many helmets are not fashion compatible. That is why I didn't ride a bike for so long. Don refused to ride with me if I didn't have one, and I refused to wear one that would insult all my aesthetic sensibilities. Now I am a total convert, after finding the right one for me! My helmet is totally outfit friendly and I love that it keeps my hair in place, instead of my hair and earrings flying all over the place and looking ghetto once I reach my destination. Now I have a smooth and shiny coif... if I put the helmet on and take it off carefully.

If you don't squish your hair randomly into a helmet, your hair won't looked randomly squished sans helmet. This all depends on the hair and the helmet (or course, everybody is different), but I am confident in stating that I think everybody's hair can look decent on the other end of a ride.

Remember to remove the helmet immediately after you arrive at your destination. Letting your potentially sweaty hair sit in your helmet will be asking for some serious helmet head.

When buying a helmet, one has to approach the experience like buying a pair of good jeans. You have to try them on. Try on many different styles and colours and make sure you have the right size and fit (ask somebody who is an authority on these things at the store). Also, consider a skateboard style helmet for a different silhouette. I like the rounded crash helmet look as opposed to the super speed pointy sport helmet. On the other hand, good friends of mine have these wickedly patterned ones that look fantastic, and those are sporty. It's all about your own style and finding the proper bike accessory to compliment it.

My red and black ones are from Jorg & Olif. They ship.

Bike Date

May 13, 2008

After an afternoon teaching kids music, I got home eager to do something outdoors. Don and I decided to ride over to Lendrum shopping centre (a little strip mall packed with moms & pops businesses) to check out a new luggage store. He needed the sort of bag that is friendly to suits.

While there we also visited the little pet store in anticipation of our little Border terrier who will become a permanent member of our family in June! Nothing like spending your money at a place owned and operated in your community, and going for a fun afternoon date! When there are no cars around I make Don hold hands while we ride for short periods of time. Riding bikes with people you love is fun. You can talk the whole way and race each other!

That's his tire in the photo.

Lock Up.

May 12, 2008

Halfway to my doc appointment this morning I realized I had forgotten my bike lock. That's one potential issue with riding lots of different bikes and changing bags all the time. Was planning to buy a new U-lock for the road bike, anyway, so I figured I'd just park Jameson at the doc's office.

Encountered a very condescending lobby security man who kept trying to explain to me that bikes are usually locked up outside either to a bike rack or to a pole somewhere. Uh... thanks for the advice? He didn't seem to understand that I do, in fact, speak English. I asked him if I could keep it on the lobby office and come get it in 15 mins. He said no. I said I couldn't leave it outside because I forgot my lock. He said I should lock it outside. I said I didn't have a lock. This continued for several more rounds.

Finally told him I was bringing the bike up to the office and would be happy to leave if my doctor or her office had an issue with it. I also informed him that he could contact security to forcefully remove me from the premises if this was not acceptable. He later came into the office while I was waiting and told the secretary that I wasn't allowed to have the bike there (which we had covered in great detail downstairs). The secretary relayed the message but basically said "whatever" and let me go to my appointment.

I could understand if I was brining a giant muddy bike into a building. Or, if I was damaging the building somehow or offending somebody. Or, if I was being difficult and crazy and refused to lock up my bike. I simply did not have my lock! The man offered no other good solution other than continually telling me I wasn't allowed to have it in the building and making inappropriate inquiries as to where I work and what my doctor's appointment was about.

I was frustrated on two levels. First, that he didn't even listen to me and kept speaking to me like I was an ESL student. Second, that somebody making a healthy life choice and using an environmentally sound mode of transportation should be treated like some sort of terrorist.

I now have the proper lock for Jameson. But not because the evil man made me come to my senses. For those of you who receive hate for strange little transgressions associated with biking? Keep fighting for your right to party.

One-Way Ride

May 10, 2008

Went downtown for a haircut, but my husband had his car down there so we were going to drive back to the south side after he was done work. Needed the car to bring my cruiser into the shop (broken fender). The perfect vehicle for a one-way trip? The folding bike! Ride one way, fold it up, and stick it in the car. Tiny.

It was surprisingly not-slow and I zoom zoomed all the way up 109 st at a comparable pace to the cruiser. And going north on the high level bridge, I saw a beautiful girl riding the exact same Dahon folding bike south! I wish I could have gotten her picture.

Mr. Origami will be a good companion in the meantime, anyway, since Jürgen the cruiser is going to be at the shop for an undetermined amount of time. I'm going to attempt riding Jameson (the road bike) with heels and see if I'll live to tell about it. Jameson has these beautiful egg beater-like pedals that are for bike shoes, not real shoes. So far I've done it in flats. Another option is changing out the pedals, but nothing I've found is nearly as beautiful.

Just like anything worth doing, biking takes practice and a little forethought. But, with a little organization from the start, you get to navigate the city without having to complain about fuel prices and traffic. And have fun!

4 bikes

May 8, 2008

No pictures as of late, too lazy to bring the camera out. And, most of my excursions have been on little errands like the video store or groceries. There's nothing like getting fresh bread and bringing it home in a basket!

In response to a question in one of my comments, I have four bicycles!

The mountain bike is a Kona, which I bought off my god-brother in highschool. It's a tad big for me (toes can't touch the ground unless I sort of dismount and lean over, sort of dangerous and uncomfortable). Colour: metallic maroon. Name: Tatanka.

The Electra Amsterdam cruiser is really the bike that changed my life. The bike that accommodates pretty much any outfit you can think of, and allows me to change nothing style-wise and still bike. All I do out of the ordinary is wear a helmet, which actually keeps my hair in place so it doesn't go all over the place (I prefer wearing a helmet). This is my commuting bike, the one I usually ride. Colour: buttercream. Name: Jürgen.

The custom Marinoni is really my most recent pride and joy. Since I am petite and have short legs, I had to get measured up for a custom frame. My good friend, Dan, is an avid bike builder (recreationally). He offered to help me source the parts and put a custom bike together. With the help of Redbike and Dan, we put together a beautiful single-speed road bike for going on long rides, and for going fast. It's very fun to ride, actually, and on dry days I want to work the Marinoni into my routine. Colour: metallic green. Name: Jameson.

Finally there is the folding bike. A total novelty. An impulse buy. I love it. Intended for keeping in the car when I'm some place and need two wheels. Also, intended for taking on trips. Once again, my short legs make it difficult to rent a bike. And, I don't want a dumb bike someplace while I'm on vacation where my skirt will get sucked into the tire spokes. I'll bring my own! Colour: fire engine red. Name: Mr. Origami.

Bikes I hope to own in the future include a tricycle and a tandem bike. My husband thinks I'm crazy, but I think bikes are a bit like shoes. I like having one for every occasion!

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