Help With Motivation.

January 31, 2012

Sometimes on my day off, and especially when Dexter is off having fun at grandma & grandpa Chan's (their house is so fun we refer to it as Chateau Chan), I don't feel like doing anything. I just want to laze about and watch some shows and not get dressed.

But life is too busy and there are things that must be done! I was having trouble mustering up the motivation to go out and complete a few mundane tasks, so I texted Don to see if he would have a gap in his afternoon to go on a bike date with me. Sometimes it's just more fun to bike with company.

Don did indeed have a little gap in his schedule! He passed through the bungalow in between meetings and we both got the winter bikes out of the garage. After taking Dougal for some exercise via bike, we continued to ride to the high level bridge area.

Don came along with me to satisfy my craving for poutine at La Poutine. I get the "Canadian" one, which is basically poutine with bacon.

Then it was off to see the printers and pick up a consignment cheque from Red Pony. Did some browsing while I was there and spotted a really fantastic Calvin Klein LBD (size 4) for a steal. There was also a "grandpa" cardigan by Maison Scotch for a fraction of the retail price. If you live in Edmonton, you should go and get your hands on those before somebody else does.

On my way home, I also stopped by Flirt cupcakes to get a little something for afternoon tea.

Rush hour was just beginning when I was heading back, and even with the gross road conditions and patchy dirty/sand mixed with ice chunks, it was easy to ride in traffic. Things are a little tighter than usual in the winter, but generally speaking, our roads are very wide in comparison to the kind you would see in Europe. There really is plenty of room for everybody, even without marked bike lanes. I just took it slow to ensure that I didn't run into any doors, and went in a nice straight line so the traffic beside me didn't feel the need to freak out.

All in all, it was a producive, active, and calorie-ridden day!

All made possible with ease and convenience, by the bicycle.

Cycling While Pregnant: Q&A with Jamie

January 30, 2012

As part of my collaboration with S from Simply Bike, we have been gathering some Q&A's from other cycling ladies out there. Ladies, thanks for sharing!

Here is Jamie, cycling at 25 weeks pregnant with Teto the dog.

Name: Jaime

Age: 34

Location: San Francisco

Cycling for how many years: 13

Favorite part about cycling: When I bike, I am a part of my surroundings, a part of the environment. But when I am in a car, I feel more like a disconnected observer.

Bike(s) you ride: Specialized Sirrus for around town and Specialized Roubaix for distance cycling

What three words sum up your cycling experience while being pregnant: Slowly by slowly

How did being pregnant affect your approach to cycling or your daily commute: I rode much slower and with more caution. I also tried to avoid extremely busy streets in favor of less trafficked roads.

What (if anything) surprised you about cycling while pregnant: I kept expecting at some point to find that it would be uncomfortable to bike, especially since my bike is not an upright step through, but I never reached that point. I even biked the day I went into labor, at 41 weeks.

How did your family and friends react to you cycling while pregnant? They thought I was crazy to keep biking, especially as my belly got bigger. However, they couldn’t really raise too many red flags as my midwife fully supported my biking.

What (if any) special accommodations did you require to continue cycling throughout your pregnancy: I didn’t really have to change much; towards the end of my pregnancy I had to stick my knees out a bit more to make room for my belly.

What would you say to another woman interested in cycling while pregnant: What have you taken away from the experience? I would say – “Go for it!” Growing up, people always treated pregnant woman like they were extremely fragile. Pregnant women weren’t supposed to do much, just sit around and be miserable. But that was not my experience, I felt great most of the time. I realized that pregnant women are strong and powerful.

In addition to cycling, what other activities helped you stay fit and active during your pregnancy: I ran until week 33. Then I switched to walking 5km a couple of times a week until the end of my pregnancy. I also did Bikram yoga until week 38.

Here is Jamie again, this time cycling to a mid-wife's appointment at 40 weeks.

Public Transit Fosters Personality.

January 27, 2012

Public transit fostering personality... at least that's what I think!

Dexter and I motored on foot down to the train station where we caught the LRT downtown to the library for some singing and signing. Fun times! Dexter plays in the kids area afterward and we take out books to enjoy for the rest of the week. Did I mention that it's all free?

The train ride is an integral part of the outing. D likes to announce each stop and to imitate other passengers on the train (today it was somebody who was napping with a scrunchy face). On the way back home we even ran into our friend, Jason! The train was crowded so I stuck the stroller in an empty space behind my seat, where Dexter proceeded to show some ladies his Thomas book from the library while I got caught up with my gentleman friend.

Whether it's somebody you know or some random interaction, the train is always more social than when we have to drive. I like that Dexter is learning how to get around the city on his own two feet (or in this case, 4-wheels of his stroller). I am also happy for the low-impact cardio for me at the same time, and the unexpected social visits are equally welcome.

Road Rash - Abstract

January 25, 2012

Some of you may know that I finally completed my Masters degree last year, after several years of hacking away at it part-time while working full-time and more recently, having had Dexter. Phew!

It was a relief to get my final paper completed and out of the way. I suppose it's what most grad programs would refer to as a thesis, but Athabasca University has things structured differently, which meant my paper was classified as a "project". As a result, I believe the length of my work is much shorter than average.

I figured since the winter here is so cold and dismal, I could publish bits of it at a time up here since I am not out on the bike on a daily basis like I am in the warmer months.

I'm not entirely sure how to divide the work up in a way that makes sense in a non-academic context. It's in MLA format, so I figure I will just include the Works Cited with every post, and at the end of the series of posts I can include the Bibliography as well. My academic writing voice isn't actually all that academic in tone, but hopefully it reads alright. I like to use large quotations, and because of the formatting limitations from my document to blogger, I've just dealt with my large quotations by putting them in italics. They're originally supposed to be indented.

The pictures featured in the posts were not originally included in my submitted work, they're just included here to make the posts look bikey.

So without further ado, here is the abstract for Road Rash: A Literature Review of Cycling on a Car-Continent, by yours truly. I'll publish a new section weekly until we've wrapped it all up.


There is a general North American characterization of bicycling as dangerous and cyclists as daredevils, or at the very least there is a perception that bicycling is widespread as a recreational activity but not so popular as transportation. The pervasive car culture in North America also marginalizes cyclists, making the shift in how we think about transportation all the more difficult. However, there is also a new school of bicycle advocacy emerging in various blogs and urban cycling magazines focusing on every day biking. These are helping push the agenda of bicycle commuting by portraying the activity as normal, modern, and fun, on a continent where the norm is usually travel via car for the large majority who can afford it.

Winter Bike at 22 Weeks.

January 24, 2012

We finally had a break in the icy weather, which meant the perfect opportunity to bike out to lady brunch! After the cold snap, -13C (which I think is approximately 7F) felt perfectly balmy. By the time I got to the Sugarbowl, I had my parka unzipped to help regulate my internal temperature.

No particularly special gear. Boots, leggings, sleeveless top, chunky cardigan, winter bike and winter helmet.

My winter bike's studded tires make getting to brunch super easy. There isn't much in the way of needing to correct the way I ride on ice and snow, the studs offer excellent traction.

Worked up an appetite for my french toast, and ate my Sunday brunch amidst other Sugarbowl regulars.

I've been wearing my little glove liners.

Underneath my edit mitts.

I have zero finger-frost!

To make sure the toes stay cozy, I also wear wooly socks.

Inside my boots.

Once I arrived home, Dougal and I went out for some additional cardio.

He doesn't fancy boots.

Other than the crazy cold week, being out on the bike feels much like it did before. Obviously at this point in the pregnancy people always assume I have stopped riding because of my growing bump. I usually just remind them that sitting on a saddle and pedaling is way faster and less cumbersome than walking. It's super low impact and I like that I can go my own pace, it's easy to ramp it up or scale it down depending on how I'm feeling and my energy levels.

Balance still feels fine and swinging a leg over the saddle remains unproblematic. So, it's pedaling and coasting as usual!

Cycling While Pregnant: Q&A with Hannah

January 23, 2012

As part of my collaboration with S from Simply Bike, we have been gathering some Q&A's from other cycling ladies out there. Ladies, thanks for sharing!

Here is Hannah, on her Brompton at around 24 weeks pregnant

Name: Hannah K

Age: 33

Location: Philadelphia (and Baltimore)

Cycling for how many years: Six and a half in Baltimore

Favorite part about cycling: I love not being beholden to bus timetables! I decide when I’m leaving the house and I don’t have to wait to transfer. Also, parking a bike is so easy, as opposed to when I would drive to work (and it’s free!). I also love the exercise I get as an added benefit.

Bike(s) you ride: Right now I mostly ride my new Brompton; in Philly I recently switched from my Surly Traveler’s Check to my mom’s old Peugeot that I converted to a 3 speed a couple years ago since it’s more upright.

What three words sum up your cycling experience while being pregnant: Independence, healthy, easy.

How did being pregnant affect your approach to cycling or your daily commute: We found out I was pregnant the weekend that we moved from Baltimore to Philadelphia. I had already planned on using the Brompton and Amtrak to get to and from the office and to get around while in Baltimore 3 days a week. Fortunately during the first trimester I was feeling great and the commute was easy – 15 minutes from my house in Philly to the train station, just over an hour on the train, and then another 15 minutes to the office. I really like that the Philly portion is 95% on the Schuylkill bike path – it feels quite safe since there are no cars, but I found myself worrying a little bit about traffic in Baltimore. In the end cycling is the fastest and most convenient way to get around and my route in Baltimore is one that I’ve been doing for the last five years, so it feels familiar and relatively safe. I’d say that other than making sure I take the lane and making myself highly visible (yellow jacket, extra blinky) I use the same level of caution as before.

What (if anything) surprised you about cycling while pregnant: How easy it’s been!

How did your family and friends react to you cycling while pregnant: My husband is an avid cyclist and very supportive, but he’s been good about helping me think through alternative strategies if conditions aren’t great or once I get quite big. My family as well – both my parents bike to their university jobs in a very-flat Midwestern college town, so while I’m sure they have concerns, they trust me. Now that I’m showing, a few people at work keep asking if I’m still biking – one woman even said “isn’t your balance off?” and while that may be true, it’s not in the side-to-side axis!

What (if any) special accommodations did you require to continue cycling throughout your pregnancy: I did stop riding my ‘racing’ style bike to my appointments and around Philly once my belly got in the way; now I take the mixte or the Brompton.

What would you say to another woman interested in cycling while pregnant? What have you taken away from the experience: So far, cycling has been the best option for me to be mobile in my new commute – much faster than waiting for the bus! As long as you’re confident about your cycling ability and your road safety precautions there’s no reason not to try it. But go with what is comfortable for you – not everyone I know is comfortable cycling in Baltimore even when they’re not pregnant, but knowing which routes tend to have the fewest cars or where there are protected lanes or plenty of room can do wonders for your sense of security. Also, take the lane, signal and stay out of the door zone!

In addition to cycling, what other activities helped you stay fit and active during your pregnancy: I was running a bit at the beginning, and now at 23 weeks I’m doing weekly prenatal yoga. I walk our dog around a large park on most of the days that I’m home which is a great excuse to be outside and roaming.

The Man That Got Away

January 20, 2012

THE MAN THAT GOT AWAY movie trailer from Trevor Anderson on Vimeo.

In the weeks after getting back from winter vacation, all Chiveson family members have been hunkering down to get caught up with all things work and house-related. Then, just as we're starting to get back on track, we get hit with a chilly week of -20C and colder weather. Brrr!

The cold spell really isn't so bad, if it weren't for having zero time to do anything extracurricular.

After this lull in activity and general hibernation, I was excited to receive some exciting news regarding my dear Bryce Kulak's movie premiere! It will actually be premiering (and the only Canadian short accepted) at the 62nd Berlinale Film Festival! It's crazy to think that Bryce was just here this past summer working on this project with director and producer, Trevor Anderson.

So if you want to come and see the Edmonton premiere, you can help the project out by purchasing the soundtrack, and receive an invite. You'll get to hear the 6 original songs that Bryce was rehearsing over and over again here at the bungalow.

Also, Bryce is paying his own way to the festival (indie movie budgets don't stretch that far) and will be performing in a fundraiser concert in Toronto, on Thursday January 26th. Go enjoy the show and help out a home-grown artist if you're in the neighbourhood!

In other event-related local stuff, I was also pleased to see that Latitude 53 is hosting a winter rooftop party in February. See you there in your outerwear?

And finally, if you're a fan of Gilbert and Sullivan, you should join me at The Mikado!

We'll see if I can find something both formal, pregnancy-friendly, cold-friendly, and bicycle-friendly to wear.

Stay warm for now, and I'll see you out on the town soon enough!

Guest Post by Simply Bike: Cycling While Pregnant!

January 18, 2012

We cycling Mamas have gotta stick together, so when S offered to help contribute some thoughts on cycling while pregnant I jumped at the opportunity to have her featured here on G&B.

I am now hanging out in week 21 of pregnancy, and you will hopefully see more posts of me cycling with my bump as soon as the weather goes back under -20C. At this point in time my chain is actually stuck to its gear!

For now, thanks to S for providing G&B with a much needed infusion of cycling.

{Dec. 2010, cycling at 8 weeks pregnant}

Hi! I'm S. and I am the author behind Simply Bike. I was thrilled when Miss Sarah asked me to contribute a regular series of guest posts on cycling while pregnant as the subject is near and dear to me: I was cycling with my own little bun in the oven not that long ago. My daughter just turned five months old this January and it often feels like it was just yesterday that I was riding my bike with her still in my bourgeoning baby belly, excitedly awaiting her arrival.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Miss Sarah asked me to reflect on some of the thoughts I had while cycling as a pregnant woman and I think I will start at the beginning; the first trimester.

{Jan. 2011, cycling at 12 weeks pregnant}

The first trimester was a wonderful time for cycling for me. My body was still relatively unmarked by the pregnancy and I only suffered from mild nausea mostly in the evenings. It was winter and cold, and the fresh, crisp air felt good. I was often tired but cycling offered me a way to stay active and fit in spite of that since it felt less strenuous than running. Looking back on that first trimester, I can only remember feeling able and excited.

As my body changed and my belly grew, I had to increasingly make accommodations to stay comfortable and safe on the road. But that first trimester was unmarked by those concerns: I was ecstatic to be growing new life inside of me and I relished each day on my bike, in my changing yet still very much familiar body.

{Feb. 2011, cycling at 3.5 months pregnant}

My advice for new moms-to-be who are interested in cycling or continuing with an exercise regime during pregnancy is as follows: First, check with your health care provider to make sure you are cleared for exercising, and second, listen to your gut. I heard from so many people who either cheered me on and lauded my efforts to stay active, or expressed concern at best and scorn in the more extreme cases. The pregnant body is a public body in our culture and even strangers feel comfortable giving pregnant women their unsolicited advice. But here is my unsolicited advice for you: don’t get bogged down by the myriad of opinions expressed by others who are not you and who do not know how you. Staying fit and active is healthy for both you and the baby and if your body is giving you the green light to walk, run, cycle, swim, etc, then listen to it and do what feels good to you and the baby.

I’m thankful that I had a very supportive husband and some wonderful midwives who encouraged me to stay active and fit. And if I’d only known then, in those first couple of months, that I would be propelling my pregnant body forward with an extra 20, 30, and ultimately, 40 lbs by the end of it, I think I would have relished those first unencumbered weeks even more. First trimester cycling = a great way to set the stage for a healthy and happy pregnancy.

Happy cycling!

When in Cuba...

January 12, 2012

You go on fun catamaran rides on the ocean.

Then you chill out on the beach at Cayo Blanco.

And in the evenings after dinner, you continue to relax with other indulgences.

It was sad to stay away from all the mojitos, but I was happy to leave the cigar smoking to the gentlemen. I got by with virgin pions coladas, fizzy water, and cinnamon coffees!


More photo-blogging!

Being from the prairies, I am very appreciative of pretty skies. It's always weird to be somewhere that is constantly overcast and grey. Although Edmonton can get pretty cold and snowy at times, we are often treated to nice sky.

This made me especially appreciate the sun when it came out halfway through our vacation. The first couple of days were surprisingly cold!

Off the resort and into town we saw bikes.

And in the fields, there were more bikes.

I rode a horse for the first time.

This is the uncommonly relaxed vacation Don.

And vacation Miss Sarah!

We took a little speed boat out on the Canimar river.

Had a tasty local lunch and spotted a teeny tiny lizard.

These are some houses we spotted in Matanzas.

And we also went swimming in a cave!

Even though it was super duper fun to be hanging out doing adventurous things in a sunny location, there is something equally sweet about making french toast and having breakfast with my little Dexter on a Thursday morning.

Girls and Bicycles All rights reserved © Blog Milk Powered by Blogger