SPACE FOR A HEADER PICTURE

Spring Break!

March 30, 2012


It's spring break here in Edmonton, and although we customarily leave town for a mini-break, this year we decided to stay local. Our goals were to get some things done (3rd trimester nesting instincts have kicked in) and spend time together as a family.

I looked into some mountain getaway situations, but with our interspersed meetings and various obligations (though sparse), it just didn't seem reasonable to spend a bunch of time and money going on a 2-3 day break. Instead, it made more sense to stay in the city and do fun stuff together here!

We went to the John Janzen Nature Centre the other day, where Dexter seemed timid about the awesome indoor play area, but was very focused on watching baby chicks for an extended period of time. 

We've been on family brunches with friends. And also went to the AGA  to see Gabe Wong's Method and Madness. We happened to run into an "auntie" at the gallery as well, and Dexter was treated to an impromptu Eric Carle block puzzle from the gallery store. Lucky guy!


Today, I also spent some time getting my hair trimmed for the first time since... November? My hair girl moved away, so I had to wait a long time for my appointment with a new girl at ponytails + horseshoes.  My choice of stylist was in part motivated by a referral by a friend, but also greatly motivated by the location of the salon. It's just a block away from all my highlevel bridge area haunts, which makes it an easy bike and a moderate walk for future visits. 

No more dead ends. Lovely! 

Also, this is what 31ish weeks of 2nd pregnancy looks like on somebody who is five feet tall. I am definitely rockin' the baby bump - Hello!


Afterward, I strolled over to Transcend to pick up some espresso beans. Locally roasted!


And next door at Whimsical Cupcakes I picked up half a dozen treats to bring home, and ordered a cake for an upcoming birthday party. I scored a complimentary red velvet cookie too! I thought it would be perfect to munch on while I was walking home (got dropped off earlier, and it's about a 20-30 minute slow walk home for me). 


But then I went to redbike and they had the Linus I wanted, so I just bought a new bike instead, and rode it home!


Since I saw them last season, I have been referring every friend who is looking for a new bike, to the Linus. They're an amazing bike for the price! 

I know the Linus will never be my Pashley, but I am aching for something just slightly more aggressive, light, and suitable for towing a trailer with babies in it (that's where having 20 or so less pounds to lug around in bike-parts is handy). I have also been having an unnatural desire for a mixte for a LONG time, solidified by my riding Steph's mixte around Halifax last year. 

So don't get me wrong, the Pashley is still my great love, and I am a total convert when it comes to loving a steel-framed bicycle. I just need something that is less hefty for super hills and for babies in car seats in trailers, and potentially a 3 yr old in a rear-mounted seat too. I am all for a good work out, but all my extra cargo is going to give me plenty to lug around. 

Best thing of all was running into my friend, Brent, at the bike store. He had also purchased a men's 3-speed Linus in black. Can't wait to go on a ride with him:)

While I was at the shop, I also picked up some cork grips and a new Nutcase Helmet. I am not usually a fan for patterned helmets, but this one was so cute and it fits so comfortably - I made an exception. My white Bern helmet (can be worn in winter and summer) is really snug and doesn't leave any room for my braided up-dos. The new helmet has an adjustable thingy so will give me more room. It doesn't have a brim... but I suppose I can wear the Bern if it looks like rain. 

All I need to do now is change out the Mixte's saddle and I'll be ready to roll at full capacity.

So that's my spring break so far. Family stuff. Home stuff. A bit of work. And, a new bike! 

Hope your week was good too, and your weekend even better :)

Girls and Bicycles Turns Four!

March 28, 2012


It gives me great pleasure to wish Girls and Bicycles a Happy (4th) Birthday! 

I was going to get a little cupcake to mark the occasion, but given all my recent (and first ever) viewing of Twin Peaks - I was inspired to opt for cherry pie instead. 


You see, Don and I already ate a stack of doughnuts the other night to celebrate our very belated Twin Peaks initiation. 



I wish I had more exciting news to report on G&B's 4th year, but it's still the same old, same old. Wearing regular clothes, out doing regular things (like buying groceries for tonight's BBQ dinner), and riding around on a bicycle. 


I am very excited for Pashley to be out and in action again, but first we have to extract it from the winter storage situation that is happening in our garage.

For now, I am glad that my studded tires are not studded down the centre, just a bit on the sides to prevent slipping. This means riding around on the winter bike, when it's all gross and sandy, is still alright in this transitional weather (just a bit of drag since I'm on a heavy bike).


And although we're still up to business as usual here on G&B, I do suppose it's worth noting that I'm up to the same old, same old while 31ish weeks pregnant with my 2nd baby. Life with a bike goes on!

Where Do Babies Come From?

March 23, 2012


























Dexter is so obsessed with his train trips to the library (I'm not sure how much the obsession has to do with trains, and how much it has to do with libraries). When Don was trying to tell him about how we're going to have a baby, Dexter proclaimed that babies come from... the library!

VERY FUNNY.

This week's library trip was accompanied by Don on his bike. We generally never leave the house at the same time, but it just worked out today that we caught the same train. Good times.



























After the Sing, Sign, Laugh & Learn class downtown, we picked out some books, and then walked across the square to meet dad for lunch.



























We read books, drank chocolate milk, and Dexter continued to display his skepticism for public washrooms. Have any other moms out there had kids who were totally game for the potty training, but just refuse to go in a public bathroom? I mean, I never take him to the sketchy ones...

All in all, it was a leisurely morning and lunch. It's always a treat when we can find some impromptu family time in the middle of the week!

Mail Delivery via Push Bike.

March 22, 2012



We raised the seat up two notches on Dexter's little push bike, but after our excursion today I am convinced we have to raise it up to the tallest position. If that doesn't do the trick, it's probably time for a bigger push bike. How did my little dude get so gangly?



I am determined to get Dexter push-biking next to me in time for baby's arrival because I am not buying a new stroller to accommodate 1 infant and 1 toddler. My plan is to continue to use my beloved Frog stroller by Bugaboo, and for Dexter to paddle alongside. And my other plan is to use this wagon, wherein I put the car seat bucket inside, and Dexter can hop on and hop off depending on his mood. Done!



For now, we're in spring-conditioning mode. The little guy is actually pushing and coasting the same speed (if not faster) than my walking, but he stops very frequently to comment on all the sights and sounds. He helped me deliver a preschool registration form to a neighbour approximately 3 blocks away and it still took over 20 minutes.

I consider it an investment in future people-powered mobility. I refuse to be the sort of mom of two different-aged kids who has to climb in and out of the car every time I have to get somewhere. I know to some, it's just accepted as the cost of doing business with little ones. For me, it feels like prison! Can't go anywhere unless you HAVE to take the car? I don't know... that just strikes me as lame, if it's your only option for mama-mobility. No thanks!

I refuse to succumb.


Road Rash - It's Uphill From Here

March 21, 2012


This is part of a series of posts featuring parts of my paper, Road Rash.

It’s Uphill From Here

Although North American cycle writing tends to illustrate the struggles of bicycle commuting in the city and not the successes, there are many more recent examples of writing on cycling that seem to confirm the continent’s shortcomings, but also offer projections of hope.

Riding a bike won’t stop […] dire predictions from happening in our lifetimes, but maybe if some cities face the climate, energy, and transportation realities now they might survive, or even prosper—although the idea of prospering seems almost morbid, given that so many unsustainable cities will inevitably flounder through droughts, floods, unemployment, and lack of power. I expect some of the cities I’ve ridden around to more or less disappear within my lifetime—they’re resource hogs and the rest of the continent and world won’t put up with it for long. I don’t ride my bike all over the place because it’s ecological or worthy. I mainly do it for the sense of freedom and exhilaration. I realize that soon I might have a lot more company than I have had in the past, and that some cities are preparing for these inevitable changes and are benefiting as a result (Byrne 276).

North American bicycling culture reveals a lot about the continent: the way people identify with their transportation choices as a reflection on their personal mobility; the issue of safety and the culture of fear people continue to perpetuate. The preference of cars to other modes of active transportation result in sedentary lifestyles, where the commonly prescribed remedy is fad diets, or visits to the gym or other scheduled physical activity. Ironically, this generally results in increased trips made by car. In a study of obesity rates in Europe, North America, and Australia, “the United States (23.9%) had the highest rate of obesity” (Bassett et al 798). Adding to that, “there are large differences between nations in their use of active transportation and obesity rates. European countries that rely heavily on walking and cycling have lower rates of obesity. In contrast, the United States, Australia, and Canada demonstrate extreme automobile dependence and have the highest rates of obesity” (Ibid). A literature review on North American bicycle commuting culture inevitably becomes a review on North American transportation behaviour, and the challenges the continent faces in either surging ahead with change or resigning to perpetuate the status quo. In North America’s uphill bicycle battle against the continent’s dependence on cars, the direction of literature still offers up bicycle commuting as a viable alternative. Bicycle commuters and the minority of bicycle riding converts are still leading the charge and believing in a form of transportation that is logical in terms of economy, heath, and convenience. Despite the set backs and challenges of rebranding the cyclist’s image, the minority of North American bicycle commuters are making ripples in the cause of active transportation. Overcoming the constructed barriers to cycling, both literal and figurative, offers the promise of a healthier lifestyle, which fosters community and self-awareness. Coming out from behind the four doors of a car means revealing oneself to one’s urban landscape, which may or may not be preferable to some. Regardless, enough voices are rising in praise of such a transition that the journey towards becoming more like successful European cycling cities may be a possibility for some North American cities in the future. After all, “observing and engaging in a city’s life—even for a reticent and often shy person like me—is one of life’s great joys. Being social creature—it is part of what it means to be human” (Byrne 292). I hope that the future brings new additions to North American cycling literature, including success stories of more cities promoting active transportation, complete with an increasing number of healthy, social, joyful citizens on bicycles.

_________________________________________________________
Works Cited

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Scott, Todd. "Detroit." Momentum May 2010. Print.
Skinner, David, and Paul Rosen. "Hell Is Other Cyclists: Rethinking Transport and Identity." Cycling and Society. By Peter Cox and David Horton. Aldershot, England: Ashgate, 2007. Print.

Spinner, Justin. "Cycling the City: Non-Place and the Sensory Construction of Meaning
in a Mobile Practice." Ed. Dave Horton. Cycling and Society. Ed. Peter Cox and
David Horton. Aldershot, England: Ashgate, 2007. Print.

Vanderbilt, Tom. Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says about Us). New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2008. Print.

Wesson, D., D. Stephens, K. Lam, D. Parsons, L. Spence, and P. Parkin. "Trends in Pediatric and Adult Bicycling Deaths Before and After Passage of a Bicycle Helmet Law -- Wesson Et Al. 122 (3): 605 -- Pediatrics." Bicycle Helmet Research Foundation. 2008. Web. 03 Mar. 2011. .

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_____________________________________________________
Bibliography

Abbott, Ryan. "Along for the Ride." The Globe and Mail 1 June 2010, sec. L: 6. Print.

"Active Living by Design and Public Health." North Carolina School of Public Health. Web. 27 May 2010. .

Basset, David Rowland., John Pucher, Ralph Buehler, Dixie L. Thompson, and Scott E. Crouter. "Walking, Cycling, and Obesity Rates in Europe, North America, and Australia." Journal of Physical Activity and Health 5 (2008): 795-814. Print.

Berry, David. "Road Warriors." Avenue Aug. 2010: 62-64. Web.

Brackett, Dorothy. "Bicycling and Self Esteem." Weblog post. Let's Go Ride A Bike. 18 May 2010. Web. 18 May 2010. .

Byrne, David. Bicycle Diaries. New York: Viking, 2009. Print.

Chan, Sarah. Web log post. Girls and Bicycles. Web. 15 May 2010. .

Colville-Andersen, Mikael. "Bicycle Commuter Superhighways in Copenhagen." Web log post. Copenhagenize. 18 Aug. 2009. Web. 24 May 2010. .

Colville-Andersen, Mikael. "Bike Helmet Protest in Melbourne." Web log post. Copenhagenize. 3 Aug. 2010. Web. 28 Aug. 2010. .

Colville-Andersen, Mikael. "Cycle Chic Origins." Cycle Chic™ - The Original from Copenhagen. Web. 16 Aug. 2010. .

Colville-Andersen, Mikael. "Debunking the Flat Country/Bike Country Myth." Web log post. Copenhagenize. 19 Nov. 2007. Web. 25 May 2010. .

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Feucht, Dave. "Portland Bicycle Plan 2010." Web log post. Portlandize. 4 Feb. 2010. Web. 27 May 2010. .

Fincham, Ben. "Bicycle Messengers: Image, Identity and Community." Cycling and Society. Ed. Paul Rosen, Peter Cox, and David Horton. Aldershot, England: Ashgate, 2007. Print.

Gotschi, Thomas, and Kevin Mills. "Active Transportation for America." Rails to Trails Conservatory. Web. 24 May 2010. .

Halbur, Tim. "Women, Transit, and the Perception of Safety | Planetizen." Planetizen | Urban Planning, Design and Development Network. 11 Feb. 2010. Web. 27 May 2010. .

Horton, Dave. "Fear of Cycling." Cycling and Society. Ed. Paul Rosen, Peter Cox, and David Horton. Aldershot, England: Ashgate, 2007. Print.

"I Love Riding in the City." Urban Velo May 2010: 14-34. Print.

Kay, Jane Holtz. Asphalt Nation. New York: Crown, 1997. Print.

Mackintosh, Philip G., and Glen Norcliffe. "Men, Women and the Bicycle: Gender and Social Geography of Cycling in the Late Nineteenth Century." Cycling and Society. Ed. Paul Rosen, Peter Cox, and David Horton. Aldershot, England: Ashgate, 2007. Print.

Maples, Jeff. Pedaling Revolution: How Cyclists Are Changing American Cities. Corvallis, OR: Oregon State UP, 2009. Print.

Masoner, Richard. "Q&A with Eben Oliver Weiss Aka Bike Snob NYC." Momentum May 2010: 26-27. Print.

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Pucher, John, and Ralph Buehler. "Making Cycling Irresistible: Lessons from The Netherlands, Denmark and Germany." Transport Reviews 28.4 (2008): 495-528. Web.

Renzetti, Elizabeth. "London's Cycling Movement Powered by Canadian Know-how." The Globe and Mail [Edmonton] 22 July 2010, A9 sec. Print.

Scott, Todd. "Detroit." Momentum May 2010. Print.

Skinner, David, and Paul Rosen. "Hell Is Other Cyclists: Rethinking Transport and Identity." Cycling and Society. By Peter Cox and David Horton. Aldershot, England: Ashgate, 2007. Print.

Spinner, Justin. "Cycling the City: Non-Place and the Sensory Construction of Meaning in a Mobile Practice." Ed. Dave Horton. Cycling and Society. Ed. Peter Cox and David Horton. Aldershot, England: Ashgate, 2007. Print.

Vanderbilt, Tom. Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says about Us). New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2008. Print.

Wilson, David Gordon, Jim Papadopoulos, and Frank Rowland. Whitt. Bicycling Science. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT, 2004. Print.

Wilson, Mighk. "Bicycling Is Better » Which Cycling Politics: Doom or Possibility?" Bicycling Is Better. 1 Oct. 2009. Web. 26 May 2010. .

Wood, Daniel B. "On the Rise in American Cities: the Car-free Zone / The Christian
Science Monitor - CSMonitor.com." The Christian Science Monitor –
CSMonitor.com. 2 May 2007. Web. 27 May 2010.
.



Miss Sarah - The Mommy.

March 19, 2012


I have been reading some posts online about being a mom and "doing it all" lately. Joanna at A Cup of Jo had a superb post, as did S from Simply Bike (who I have been collaborating with for some time now, with posts on riding with a toddler and riding during pregnancy). I figured it was a long time since I wrote about being a mom, and thought I would weigh in.

The following statements are all true:

- Having Dexter was the best decision I have ever made
- Caring for, teaching, and providing for Dexter is the most important and rewarding thing I do
- Dexter is an endless joy and challenge
- Having a baby hasn't really fundamentally changed the things I care about (active transportation, genuine friendships, good communication)

Sure, there is a lot of monotony in some tasks. Like how we get up every morning and I help him visit the potty, wash his hands, brush his teeth, get dressed, and make him a good breakfast. Same goes for after work when he has a snack and we do the whole bedtime routine as well. Getting "stuff" done is just a normal part of everyday life, whether you have a baby or not. I've always been very efficient, so the most stress this causes in relation to little D are when other people are trying to be helpful, but they're not actually helping because they are slow or doing it wrong or can't follow instructions (insert comments about being a control freak here).


By far, the most challenging aspect of being a working mom (first of all, being a mom is a full-time job all its own) has been childcare. Being self-employed, I returned to teaching piano approximately 3 months after Dexter was born. Daycare was useless to me because my hours are not 9-5, and Don and I both work late into the evening (I work weekends too). Let's just say we are very lucky to have lots of supportive family and friends that help accommodate my work and our busy schedules.

This was even more challenging during Don's most recent election, where 10 hour days turn into 16 hour days, and please include weekends in that count too. AWESOME.

Even with all the family and friend help, all it takes is for somebody to get sick or for my parents to go away on vacation for 4 weeks - And everything quickly unravels. This does not take into the account the normal ferrying of the baby back and forth and the general ongoing coordination and scheduling that happens between me and Dexter's various caregivers. It's very time consuming.

In one scenario, your baby is being cared for elsewhere... which results in not seeing your kid very often. The other scenario has Dexter being cared for at the bungalow, which can be noisy and distracting since I run a home-based business.

Layer on top of this a baby that is always changing and the whole "project management" aspect of being a mom is elevated. The development of your baby from zero to 2 years is phenomenal. You might have a routine that works for a while, but things are always in a state of flux, which is difficult to communicate and translate to various caregivers who are in charge of a baby's nap time and meal times. This is all very stressful. There were many times that I thought (and this still happens) it would be more straightforward to stop working and just do it all myself. But, from what I have seen and heard, doing "baby" 100% of the time can create problems for mommy too.

Also, I happen to love my work so I'm not ready to give it up either.

One of the parents of my student put it really nicely. She said you can't have it all... at the same time.

It's true! If you're looking to care for your baby by yourself, have a great marriage, maintain your friendships and relationships with your family, make the same amount of money as you did before and/or further your career, go on amazing vacations, have a clean house where the laundry and dishes are always done, complete all your home projects and renovations, have time to work out and be healthy... uh, these things are very difficult to accomplish even when you tackle them one at a time WITHOUT a kid.

It's busy. And although I am proud that I do A LOT without breaking a sweat (I was bred by my mom to get things done from a very early age - Think Tiger Mom), when I stop to think about it... it's a little crazy-town. I'm the sort of person that derives satisfaction and fulfillment from accomplishing tasks. If I don't feel as though I am reaching expectations somehow, my self-loathing sets in. Also, making lists and that sort of thing keeps me organized - For better or worst, it's how I roll. But I am the sort of person that puts a lot of pressure on herself, and I get resentful when I feel there are people around me that are hindering my progress (this doesn't make me the most understanding and enjoyable person to be around). I am also the sort of person who gets incredibly impatient and frustrated when things don't go according to plan, or when something or someone falls short of my expectations. I am really hard on myself, and I am hard on others too.

I know, it's not healthy.


So I am Dexter's mom, I am a piano teacher to many kids, I am wife to a super busy guy who has a whole world of his own preoccupations (Don's work is very consuming), and then there are my other supporting roles like trying to be a good friend, blogger, and volunteer, etc.


I usually stick to bike-talk and fun times on the blog, because those are the things that bring me smiles and are the sorts of things I enjoy sharing. Blogging makes me happy! Especially in the summertime when I am off work and dub myself a "lady of leisure." The sunshine and almost daily bike rides are truly blissful. I don't want anybody to misunderstand me and think that I don't enjoy keeping up with G&B, I only aim to reiterate that it is but one part of my life.

Here at the bungalow I refer to myself as the project manager. I am quite certain that this is the case in many households.

There are tons of moms out there doing it every day, and each in their own way. I don't think my position is unique amongst mamas, and I know each mom faces her own challenges whether she is "working" or not. I haven't even touched on the subject of hormones or lack thereof, which affects each lady differently.

Everybody has to figure out what works for their family and lifestyle, and just get it done while trying not to be too hard on themselves.



Despite the scheduling and working and project management, I rarely feel like I am doing a bad job raising Dexter. I feel really good about that one:)



So behind all the biking and enjoyment of fresh air, there is definitely a whole machine or organization and coordination that drives the Miss Sarah lifestyle. It's been challenging to manage time and to balance the important aspects of our life (including being able to determine what isn't so important), but I am still proud of everything we manage to get done and the quality in which we do it all.

Most of all, having a great husband, family, and friends on my side are key to everything functioning (despite my dysfunctional ranting).

I don't think all these feelings of being misunderstood or feeling inadequate at times is specific only to mothers, though being a mom gives you another lens in which to experience these emotions. Plus, people take motherhood very seriously, so it's not surprising that it becomes one of the predominant ways ladies with children frame themselves.

I have plenty of ongoing challenges and areas of self-improvement I must continue to work on, but I realize I'll have to let time be my helper in sorting some of these things out.

The most important thing is that despite my reservations and frustrations - Don and I are churning out a pretty exemplary little Dexter. I'm not sure how much of it is the raw materials he was given at birth, or if it's the choices we make for him or the way we treat him, but he is really awesome! So despite my misgivings about my shortcomings, I still feel confident that I am on the right path.



Being a mom is the best!

And I'll be doing it with TWO kids in about 10ish weeks. Stay tuned for more self-deprecation ironically mixed in with lots of fun times!

Friday Night Eats.

March 17, 2012



Originally Don and I were scheduled to have a double date with some friends, but the flu that has been plaguing the city (I think we're on wave #3) prevented us from realizing our dreams of a dinner for 4 at Red Ox Inn. Curses!

We'll just have to try another time. Since Don and I still had the night scheduled "off" (no baby, no work events) we decided to grab some more casual eats at the nearby sushi place.



I like that it's really tiny and moms & pops (there are nicer and fancier Japanese places that are farther away, that are better if my whole family is getting together, etc). And, it's a short bike ride with a multi-use trail most of the way. Some days I embrace riding in traffic. Other times, on a Friday night after a LONG week... I just want to pedal and not think about traffic.

Then we came home and watched The Descendants, where I impressed myself by mastering my hormones and NOT crying. Great movie!

At 30 weeks pregnant (will have to actually take some baby bump + bike photos soon), it's nice to have the odd night devoted to dinner and a movie with Don. Nice!

First "Real" Spring Bike Ride!

March 15, 2012


I don't usually post photos of my excursions to Pilates class. Mostly because I am always in a rush, or always have my hands full of groceries afterward, or because I am generally dressed in the same ugly thing every time I go. Work out pants and a tank top. Often with zero makeup.

It's definitely not glamourous, but it's all sorts of functional:)

Over the winter I have been carpooling with Lisa. The route I usually ride is very traffic heavy and it's not like the residential routes I take when I am meandering over to Old Strathcona. Even though there are bike paths and sharrows, people are in a rush, and the addition of snow makes the road very narrow and pinched.


The bike paths are still pretty messy with clumps of one thing or another. And where there is no more snow or ice, there is a whole lot of gravel. I am thinking it's time to switch out bikes soon and put away winter Kona with her studded tires, and try ambling around town on the Urbana that I still have in my possession. It's supposed to be a tough bike, so it should suit this messy spring time quite nicely.


Anybody who reads G&B with regularity knows that I am awful about going to the gym. I find it time consuming and boring, which is one of the big reasons why I bike. My workouts are functional and all tied up in transportation. I do, however, make an exception for pilates.

I started going to pilates class to see if it was something that would help fix my back problems that surfaced after being rear-ended by a tow truck in 2009. Funny how cycling gets a bad reputation for being safe, when it's that collision that has plagued me with chronic back pain for years after the fact. Not to mention that 4 month-old Dexter was in the back of our little sedan. The car which we had planned to drive until it was dead (and it had many many years left in it) was a total write-off. The worst part is when we filed the police report, they informed us that these rear-enders happen several times a day, EVERY DAY.

What a waste of time, money, materials (scrapped cars... awesome), and a hazard to public health and safety. ARRRGGG.

Anyway, I had gone through two rounds of physio (which helped, but didn't provide a permanent solution), and gotten lots of massages too.

The back pain kept coming back. So last spring I start attending a pilates class.

I had read that pilates is all core-based and I figured that strengthening my core and back was likely a good thing - and I also started seeing an acupuncturist too. Pilates has indeed really helped with strengthening, stretching, and my posture (which I always thought was good, but I was wrong). I am a total convert now.

Although with work and Dexter and being pregnant I don't have time to be a super pilates lady (there are some amazing women who go 2-3 times a week at my studio, who look FANTASTIC), I manage to get there once a week and I love it.

I have no idea whether it's going to be helpful with me having the baby. But, I do know there is no shortcut to fixing chronic health issues except creating the conditions in your lifestyle (meaning, you can keep it up long term) that accommodate your rehabilitation (for lack of a better term).

So the long story short is that I biked to pilates. It felt great!

Road Rash - My Perspective from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

March 14, 2012


This is part of a series of posts featuring parts of my paper, Road Rash.

My Perspective from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

During my time as a cyclist in a northern Canadian city, in the province that has one of the richest oil deposits in the world, I have experienced most of the ups and downs of cycling illuminated in this literature review. When I was a child and teenager, riding my bike was my only option for independent transportation and it never felt dangerous to pedal my way to school, to a friend’s house to play, or the ten to fifteen minutes to the grocery store to pick up odds and ends for my mother. My best friend lived a mere five minute bike ride away and on the days when she was not riding, I would often double her on my rear rack and we would coast downhill from the junior high back to her place. We would then raid the pantry and hang out while I waited for my little sister to finish school, so that I could also ferry her home via bicycle. This was all done without a bicycle helmet.

Years later, long after having received a driver’s license and having travelled quite extensively, the bicycle and I have experienced a rebirth. When navigating some of the world’s greatest cities, like New York, London, Paris, or Hong Kong, I was amazed at how interesting the city was on foot or by public transport. I also observed that by using active transportation, I was able to participate in the urban landscapes around me instead of just driving through it. I decided to begin cycling in Edmonton to see how active transportation complemented every day life in one of the world’s less renowned cities. If anything, it transformed the hometown I knew into a whole new community. In retrospect, it is surprising how much riding a bicycle has subsequently shaped my views on driving versus cycling or public transportation, how I think of the city as an efficient space, and how it has given birth to opinions I now have on urban planning, and even the mobility of women.

Edmonton is a winter city that spends the majority of the year under a blanket of snow and ice. Because of the decisions of the past policy makers (and the citizens that voted them into office), the city’s design and climate both promote travel by car. The general attitude here is that biking is recreational, but not efficient as a viable mode of alternative transportation. Somehow, once we grow up and are able to drive and able to maintain the expense of operating a motor vehicle, we are expected to drive. Even short trips that can be made by foot in twenty minutes or even greater distances that can be covered easily by a half hour bike ride, even in the summer season, are typically turned into trips by car. This reliance on the motor vehicle in Edmonton brings to light many of the North American challenges highlighted in cycling literature. The obstacle of fear is very much alive here, even though the roads are much wider than in many cities. The concept of cars sharing the road is often overlooked. I have had my fair share of drivers emphatically indicating to me that I should “get off the road” but I have also had somebody tell me that I looked very nice while “saving the world on [my] bike!” In Edmonton the law states that bicycles are vehicles and are not permitted on the sidewalks. Cyclists are therefore relegated to the same roads and are expected to obey the same traffic rules as cars.

Some allowances are made to accommodate bicycle commuting, such as the bike racks on buses and the permission of bikes on the LRT (light rapid train) during non-peak hours. This helps increase the radius of travel for a cyclist who may otherwise be going long distances or to a part of the city that is difficult to navigate on bicycle. The location of bike racks is sometimes an issue, though most of the time one can find a street sign, street lamp, or tree to lock a bicycle to. There are dedicated bike lanes through some of the city’s main arteries, though these routes still require revision as there are many broken links which reduce the efficiency of such lanes. Many people remark about the amazing network of river valley trails, though these routes are generally designed for recreational biking and less for bicycle commuting. Those who commute through the river valley are generally outfitted with a performance bicycle and performance wear in order to contend with the hills. In these cases it is helpful if places of employment offered facilities for cyclists to change, store work and bike clothes, and also offer a secure place for bicycle parking.

The most enjoyable biking in Edmonton is akin to being in on a secret. Now that I have gained experience about which residential streets are bike friendly, which bicycle paths are efficient, and have conditioned my body to bike greater distances and operate a variety of bikes, cycling strikes me as very convenient and easy. Personally, the greatest barrier to cycling in Edmonton is the snow, which is rather unpredictable. I am now in possession of a suitable winter bike for my needs, and with the tandem use of a bicycle and transit, conducting every day activities using active transportation is very straightforward. The location of my house and work, proximity to amenities, and the choice of recreational activities for my child also factor heavily into how seamlessly cycling has been integrated into my lifestyle. My observation is that cycling in Edmonton is not that it is inherently dangerous. It is true, however, that motor vehicles are not accustomed to sharing the road with bicycles. The greatest mishaps occur when the cyclist does not obey the traffic rules, which generates much confusion and frustration on the road, and when the drivers do not realize cyclists are present. In the latter case it is prudent as an Edmonton cyclist to endeavour to appear visible amidst traffic, and to ride predictably while following the traffic laws, to compensate for the lack of experience cars have with sharing the road. Perhaps cars that share the road more regularly with responsible bicycle commuters can eventually become more accustomed to traffic that sees bicycles integrated safely with motor vehicles.

__________________________________________________________
Works Cited

Basset, David Rowland., John Pucher, Ralph Buehler, Dixie L. Thompson, and Scott E. Crouter. "Walking, Cycling, and Obesity Rates in Europe, North America, and Australia." Journal of Physical Activity and Health 5 (2008): 795-814. Print.

Brackett, Dorothy. "Bicycling and Self Esteem." Weblog post. Let's Go Ride A Bike. 18 May 2010. Web. 18 May 2010. .

Burgueño, Meli. Bikes and The City. Web. 03 Mar. 2011. .

Byrne, David. Bicycle Diaries. New York: Viking, 2009. Print.

Chan, Sarah. Web log post. Girls and Bicycles. Web. 15 May 2010.
.

Colville-Andersen, Mikael. "Bike Helmet Protest in Melbourne." Web log post. Copenhagenize. 3 Aug. 2010. Web. 28 Aug. 2010. .

Colville-Andersen, Mikael. "Cycle Chic Origins." Cycle Chic™ - The Original from Copenhagen. Web. 16 Aug. 2010. .

"Cycling in the Netherlands." Ministerie Van Verkeer En Waterstaat. Web. 24 May 2010.
.

Davies, Julian. "Family Biking Ages & Stages." Web log post. Totcycle. 26 June 2009. Web. 21 May 2010. .

Dennis, J., B. Potter, T. Ramsay, and R. Zarychanski. "The Effects of Provincial Bicycle Helmet Legislation on Helmet Use and Bicycle Ridership in Canada." Injury Prevention. 2010. Web. 02 Mar. 2011. .

Feucht, Dave. "Portland Bicycle Plan 2010." Web log post. Portlandize. 4 Feb. 2010.
Web. 27 May 2010. .

Fincham, Ben. "Bicycle Messengers: Image, Identity and Community." Cycling and Society. Ed. Paul Rosen, Peter Cox, and David Horton. Aldershot, England: Ashgate, 2007. Print.

Gill, M., and M. Goldacre. "Seasonal Variation in Hospital Admission for Road Traffic Injuries in England: Analysis of Hospital Statistics." Injury Preventon. 2009. Web. 2 Mar. 2011. .

Gotschi, Thomas, and Kevin Mills. "Active Transportation for America." Rails to Trails
Conservatory. Web. 24 May 2010. .

North Carolina School of Public Health. "Active Living by Design and Public Health." 8-80 Cities. Web. 27 May 2010. .

Halbur, Tim. "Women, Transit, and the Perception of Safety | Planetizen." Planetizen |
Urban Planning, Design and Development Network. 11 Feb. 2010. Web. 27 May
2010. .

Horton, Dave. "Fear of Cycling." Cycling and Society. Ed. Paul Rosen, Peter Cox, and David Horton. Aldershot, England: Ashgate, 2007. Print.

"I Love Riding in the City." Urban Velo May 2010: 14-34. Print.

Kay, Jane Holtz. Asphalt Nation. New York: Crown, 1997. Print.

Looft, Sandra. Simply Bike. Web. 04 Mar. 2011. .

Mackintosh, Philip G., and Glen Norcliffe. "Men, Women and the Bicycle: Gender and
Social Geography of Cycling in the Late Nineteenth Century." Cycling and
Society. Ed. Paul Rosen, Peter Cox, and David Horton. Aldershot, England:
Ashgate, 2007. Print.

Maples, Jeff. Pedaling Revolution: How Cyclists Are Changing American Cities. Corvallis, OR: Oregon State UP, 2009. Print.

Martinelli, Deandria. Los Angeles Cycle Chic. Web. 04 Mar. 2011. .

Masoner, Richard. "Q&A with Eben Oliver Weiss Aka Bike Snob
NYC." Momentum May 2010: 26-27. Print.

O'Brien, Catherine. "A Footprint of Delight, Exploring Sustainable Happiness." NCBW
Forum Article (2006). Web. 25 May 2010.
.

Parkin, John, Tim Ryley, and Tim Jones. "Barriers to Cycling: An Exploration of Quantitative Analyses." Ed. Paul Rosen and Peter Cox. Cycling and Society. Ed. Dave Horton. Aldershot, England: Ashgate, 2007. Print.

Pucher, John, and Ralph Buehler. "Making Cycling Irresistible: Lessons from The Netherlands, Denmark and Germany." Transport Reviews 28.4 (2008): 495-528. Web.

Scott, Todd. "Detroit." Momentum May 2010. Print.
Skinner, David, and Paul Rosen. "Hell Is Other Cyclists: Rethinking Transport and Identity." Cycling and Society. By Peter Cox and David Horton. Aldershot, England: Ashgate, 2007. Print.

Spinner, Justin. "Cycling the City: Non-Place and the Sensory Construction of Meaning
in a Mobile Practice." Ed. Dave Horton. Cycling and Society. Ed. Peter Cox and
David Horton. Aldershot, England: Ashgate, 2007. Print.

Vanderbilt, Tom. Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says about Us). New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2008. Print.

Wesson, D., D. Stephens, K. Lam, D. Parsons, L. Spence, and P. Parkin. "Trends in Pediatric and Adult Bicycling Deaths Before and After Passage of a Bicycle Helmet Law -- Wesson Et Al. 122 (3): 605 -- Pediatrics." Bicycle Helmet Research Foundation. 2008. Web. 03 Mar. 2011. .

Williams, Martha. Bike Fancy. Web. 03 Mar. 2011. .

Wilson, David Gordon, Jim Papadopoulos, and Frank Rowland. Whitt. Bicycling
Science. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT, 2004. Print.

Wilson, Mighk. "Bicycling Is Better » Which Cycling Politics: Doom or Possibility?"
Bicycling Is Better. 1 Oct. 2009. Web. 26 May 2010. .

Wood, Daniel B. "On the Rise in American Cities: the Car-free Zone / The Christian
Science Monitor - CSMonitor.com." The Christian Science Monitor –
CSMonitor.com. 2 May 2007. Web. 27 May 2010. .


For the Love of Dr. Jiang.

March 12, 2012



This is what my ride looked like last Thursday, when I pedaled over to my beloved acupuncturist, Dr. Jiang. Most of our bike lanes are covered in slush/ice/snow, so I just go and barrel through the residential streets.

I saw a few other cyclists, but they were winter sidewalk people. I still prefer to ride on the road.



Love my winter bike. I replaced the handlebars a long time ago so I sit upright. No knees + baby bump yet.



Yuck.



Good thing there are fenders on the Kona. Things are a veritable mess of freeze and thaw. There is a long patch outside of the bungalow that is sometimes a lake and sometimes a skating rink!

"You Must Really Want to Ride."

March 9, 2012



Last weekend we had more snow. It was the sort of drifty and pretty kind, and means that we're living in a winter wonderland again.

When I arrived over at the playschool for teaching, one of the recess supervisors looked at me like I was insane and said, "You must REALLY want to ride your bike if you do it in weather like this!"

To which I replied, "It's so much faster than walking."

And that's the main reason why I ride instead of walk. It accelerates my pedestrianism!

So when I get "YOU'RE CRAZY" looks from people, I just remember that I'm efficient. Why walk and slip on the sidewalk when I can just barrel through the snow and roll up to work?

Road Rash - Grassroots Advocacy

March 7, 2012


This is part of a series of posts featuring parts of my paper, Road Rash.

Grassroots Bicycle Advocacy

Alternatives to traditional bicycling literature and an emerging grassroots approach to bicycle advocacy in North America exist in the form of web logs, known more commonly as “blogs”. These are platforms where bicycle enthusiasts can self-publish their own stories, questions, research, and experiences with cycling so as to initiate discussion amongst those who are interested in daily bicycle commuting or bicycle and transit oriented lifestyles. Web logs come in many different styles, ranging anywhere from digital photo scrapbooks, to diary and journal entries. There are blogs that focus on reviewing certain kinds of bikes, others that focus on technical how-tos when it comes to fixing and maintaining bikes, and many that reinforce the recreational, “sporty” side of bicycle use. The Internet has become a great source of information on all things bike related and it has also provided a forum where communities of bike advocates can congregate. Some bike advocacy blogs are focusing on the joy of cycling without specialized equipment or expensive gear of any sort. Others may document somebody’s bike touring, and illustrate the planning and special circumstances of those sorts of bike excursions. These personal testimonials on what has worked and what has proved less successful offer insight and encouragement to those who may be new to bicycle commuting. Most importantly, many of these bike advocacy blogs document cycling from the perspective of the every day cyclist, which is in counterpoint against the bike messenger daredevil image that has been so pervasive to the masses. At the very least, a bicycle blog will generally provide an account of cycling that is unique to its author, a normal person. For example, Mikael Colville-Andersen, a photographer, journalist, and film director, began taking photos of stylish cyclists in his city of Copenhagen and posting them on his blog, Copenhagen Cycle Chic (Colville-Andersen, Copenhagen Cycle Chic). If a picture is reportedly worth a thousand words, then Colville-Andersen’s images of cyclists from Copenhagen speak volumes. Since his blog debuted in 2006, scores of inspired would-be cyclists have been subscribing to the idea that cycling can indeed be practical and chic. With almost daily fresh photos of every demographic out on bicycles conducting normal, every day activities, the original Copenhagen Cycle Chic has given rise to many “cycle chic” blogs all over the world, including Barcelona, Italy, Bordeaux, Los Angeles, Sydney, New York, Lisbon, Dublin, Mexico, Vancouver, and Hungary, just to name a few. Blogs in the Copenhagen Cycle Chic style work together to craft a new image of the urban cyclist, one that does not involve bicycles weaving in and out of traffic while the riders tempt the traffic fates Instead, it is one where cyclists exist harmoniously as citizens engaging in active transportation.

North American versions of blogs uniting fashion, bikes, and advocacy have sprung up in all corners of the continent. They take on various forms, but all tend to focus on discussing how sustainable bicycle transportation can be whilst sharing helpful tips, stories, and creating a community to share in North American cycling trials and tribulations. Dorothy Brackett from the popular blog Let’s Go Ride A Bike writes about her experiences with bicycle commuting in Chicago. In addition to how-to posts about dressing for inclement weather, Brackett expounds about bicycle use as a fun social activity, and a healthy, environmentally conscious form of transportation that has the merits of being efficient, easy, enjoyable, and affordable.

Riding a bicycle as daily transportation can radically shift both how you feel and how you feel about yourself. The benefits are the same that make sports so good for adolescents, especially girls. Transportation bicycling is even better than sports, as there is no competition or pressure to perform, and cycling fits seamlessly into every day life. Free of the need to carve out time in your day to work out, you are simultaneously free of the self-loathing that accompanies the failure to do so […] Bicycling is not a wonder drug or a total solution to the deeply entrenched problem of body image and self-esteem, but it is a small change that individuals can make to live a healthier and happier life. Plus, riding a bike is fun! (Brackett, Bicycling and Self-Esteem)

Brackett points out that having an active lifestyle may be more effective in maintaining health on a day to day basis instead of the extra trips required to go to and from the gym. Furthermore, she suggests that a lifestyle-integrated form of activity is likely to lead to better self image because the activity itself makes one mindful of their body’s energy output. Her daily commute to and from work becomes a story about fitness and self-care intermingled with a story of life without a car in one of America’s greatest cities. Grassroots writing such as this represents one voice in the much larger conversation about transportation, health, and activity. Bloggers such as Brackett try to emphasize the positives of biking as transportation while being measured about the challenges. In bicycle literature of this genre, the general conclusion is that despite the pitfalls of cycling in cities that are dominated by cars, the positives still far outweigh the negatives. One of the challenges for bicycle blog advocacy is attempting to initiate a cultural shift in North American thinking on bicycle transportation, though, the addition of commentary and discourse on the matter surely adds to the overall issue. Blogs can provide supplementary perspectives on cycling and transportation while representing the interests of every day cyclists, and with the unique voice of that citizen.

Pediatrician Julian Davies of the blog, Totcycle, writes about his family’s life using bikes in Seattle. He takes part in a regular organized bike ride called Kidical Mass, a ride that is devoted to bringing families out to ride with their children in tow. He features reviews of various cargo bikes used to transport children who are too young to ride by themselves, and also shares his experience with retrofits on bikes in order to better equip them for the every day transportation of kids of all ages, including infants. Davies’ blog features subjects ranging from finding the correct sized helmet for a young one, various devices and methods for protecting the kids from the elements, to brief biographies on other cycling families that have made the decision to transport their kids as bike cargo.

If you like to ride bikes for the wind on your face, swoopy turns, the sensation of self-powered speed, and getting to experience the world around you with all of your senses ... then so will your kids! If you're a reasonably confident & careful rider, don't miss the delightful conversations and shared delight that comes with riding together on a family bike. (Davies, Family Biking Ages and Stages)

Because of his professional vocation coupled with his love for cycling, Davies offers a unique perspective for readers who are curious about what family cycling would entail. It stands to reason that many people who would write cycling off as dangerous and foolish, would think it even more dangerous if children were involved. Many of the reasons why people choose to drive over biking is also attributed to the child factor. The child’s school, day care, and extracurricular activities are often cited as the reasons why parents feel that driving is absolutely necessary in order to accomplish the family’s comprehensive schedule. Davies dispels many myths about the risks of cycling as a family by offering experience and insight from his perspective as a doctor and as a father. Like Brackett, he focuses his message on education and the positive side to riding bikes, so people can feel confident and prepared for cycling. The critical mass required for levels of government to feel as though radical changes in infrastructure are necessary, may only be achieved if enough people feel as though biking is not merely a consequence of socioeconomic status, but if people begin to value the benefits of a lifestyle that incorporates active transportation.

On the topic of grassroots advocacy in North America, there are also some newer bicycling magazines, such as Momentum Magazine and Urban Velo, that highlight cities on the rise in terms of bicycle commuting culture, have features on certain cyclists, and publish reviews and news about bicycles and other reports on developing bicycle cultures. The tagline for Momentum states that it is “the magazine for self-propelled people” and grassroots bike magazines like Urban Velo have the tagline, “bicycle culture on the skids”. The latter has an entire section of its publication entitled, “I Love Riding in the City”, featuring cyclists from all over North America with photos and a Q&A. Lydia Brownfield of Columbus, OH, says of cycling in her city, “I have lived in New York, Atlanta, and Columbus, but spend a ton of time in Los Angeles as well. The city is just so alive, and the battle between good and evil lies around every turn” (Urban Velo 30). Natalie Newberry of Mufreesboro, TN says of cycling, “It makes me feel free. It makes me feel like I’m actually doing something. It raises awareness to motorists saying, ‘We’re not blocking traffic, we ARE traffic’” (Ibid 32). Personal testimonials of this variety add to the growing collection of every day bicycle commuters and slowly begin rebrand cycling as logical, joyful, and convenient.


__________________________________________________
Works Cited

Basset, David Rowland., John Pucher, Ralph Buehler, Dixie L. Thompson, and Scott E. Crouter. "Walking, Cycling, and Obesity Rates in Europe, North America, and Australia." Journal of Physical Activity and Health 5 (2008): 795-814. Print.

Brackett, Dorothy. "Bicycling and Self Esteem." Weblog post. Let's Go Ride A Bike. 18 May 2010. Web. 18 May 2010. .

Burgueño, Meli. Bikes and The City. Web. 03 Mar. 2011. .

Byrne, David. Bicycle Diaries. New York: Viking, 2009. Print.

Chan, Sarah. Web log post. Girls and Bicycles. Web. 15 May 2010.
.

Colville-Andersen, Mikael. "Bike Helmet Protest in Melbourne." Web log post. Copenhagenize. 3 Aug. 2010. Web. 28 Aug. 2010. .

Colville-Andersen, Mikael. "Cycle Chic Origins." Cycle Chic™ - The Original from Copenhagen. Web. 16 Aug. 2010. .

"Cycling in the Netherlands." Ministerie Van Verkeer En Waterstaat. Web. 24 May 2010.
.

Davies, Julian. "Family Biking Ages & Stages." Web log post. Totcycle. 26 June 2009. Web. 21 May 2010. .

Dennis, J., B. Potter, T. Ramsay, and R. Zarychanski. "The Effects of Provincial Bicycle Helmet Legislation on Helmet Use and Bicycle Ridership in Canada." Injury Prevention. 2010. Web. 02 Mar. 2011. .

Feucht, Dave. "Portland Bicycle Plan 2010." Web log post. Portlandize. 4 Feb. 2010.
Web. 27 May 2010. .

Fincham, Ben. "Bicycle Messengers: Image, Identity and Community." Cycling and Society. Ed. Paul Rosen, Peter Cox, and David Horton. Aldershot, England: Ashgate, 2007. Print.

Gill, M., and M. Goldacre. "Seasonal Variation in Hospital Admission for Road Traffic Injuries in England: Analysis of Hospital Statistics." Injury Preventon. 2009. Web. 2 Mar. 2011. .

Gotschi, Thomas, and Kevin Mills. "Active Transportation for America." Rails to Trails
Conservatory. Web. 24 May 2010. .

North Carolina School of Public Health. "Active Living by Design and Public Health." 8-80 Cities. Web. 27 May 2010. .

Halbur, Tim. "Women, Transit, and the Perception of Safety | Planetizen." Planetizen |
Urban Planning, Design and Development Network. 11 Feb. 2010. Web. 27 May
2010. .

Horton, Dave. "Fear of Cycling." Cycling and Society. Ed. Paul Rosen, Peter Cox, and David Horton. Aldershot, England: Ashgate, 2007. Print.

"I Love Riding in the City." Urban Velo May 2010: 14-34. Print.

Kay, Jane Holtz. Asphalt Nation. New York: Crown, 1997. Print.

Looft, Sandra. Simply Bike. Web. 04 Mar. 2011. .

Mackintosh, Philip G., and Glen Norcliffe. "Men, Women and the Bicycle: Gender and
Social Geography of Cycling in the Late Nineteenth Century." Cycling and
Society. Ed. Paul Rosen, Peter Cox, and David Horton. Aldershot, England:
Ashgate, 2007. Print.

Maples, Jeff. Pedaling Revolution: How Cyclists Are Changing American Cities. Corvallis, OR: Oregon State UP, 2009. Print.

Martinelli, Deandria. Los Angeles Cycle Chic. Web. 04 Mar. 2011. .

Masoner, Richard. "Q&A with Eben Oliver Weiss Aka Bike Snob
NYC." Momentum May 2010: 26-27. Print.

O'Brien, Catherine. "A Footprint of Delight, Exploring Sustainable Happiness." NCBW
Forum Article (2006). Web. 25 May 2010.
.

Parkin, John, Tim Ryley, and Tim Jones. "Barriers to Cycling: An Exploration of Quantitative Analyses." Ed. Paul Rosen and Peter Cox. Cycling and Society. Ed. Dave Horton. Aldershot, England: Ashgate, 2007. Print.

Pucher, John, and Ralph Buehler. "Making Cycling Irresistible: Lessons from The Netherlands, Denmark and Germany." Transport Reviews 28.4 (2008): 495-528. Web.

Scott, Todd. "Detroit." Momentum May 2010. Print.
Skinner, David, and Paul Rosen. "Hell Is Other Cyclists: Rethinking Transport and Identity." Cycling and Society. By Peter Cox and David Horton. Aldershot, England: Ashgate, 2007. Print.

Spinner, Justin. "Cycling the City: Non-Place and the Sensory Construction of Meaning
in a Mobile Practice." Ed. Dave Horton. Cycling and Society. Ed. Peter Cox and
David Horton. Aldershot, England: Ashgate, 2007. Print.

Vanderbilt, Tom. Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says about Us). New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2008. Print.

Wesson, D., D. Stephens, K. Lam, D. Parsons, L. Spence, and P. Parkin. "Trends in Pediatric and Adult Bicycling Deaths Before and After Passage of a Bicycle Helmet Law -- Wesson Et Al. 122 (3): 605 -- Pediatrics." Bicycle Helmet Research Foundation. 2008. Web. 03 Mar. 2011. .

Williams, Martha. Bike Fancy. Web. 03 Mar. 2011. .

Wilson, David Gordon, Jim Papadopoulos, and Frank Rowland. Whitt. Bicycling
Science. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT, 2004. Print.

Wilson, Mighk. "Bicycling Is Better » Which Cycling Politics: Doom or Possibility?"
Bicycling Is Better. 1 Oct. 2009. Web. 26 May 2010. .

Wood, Daniel B. "On the Rise in American Cities: the Car-free Zone / The Christian
Science Monitor - CSMonitor.com." The Christian Science Monitor –
CSMonitor.com. 2 May 2007. Web. 27 May 2010. .

The Belgravian.

March 6, 2012



This past fall, I took over the neighbourhood community league newsletter as a local-volunteer opportunity. So far it's been a learning curve! Laying things out, getting acquainted with various contacts, invoicing for ads, printing, etc. Though they're not perfect, I'm happy to be part of the communications team for Belgravia Community League!

Usually after I pick up our print job, I drop off my boxes at the sweet sweet lady 2 blocks away, and she sorts and distributes the newsletter for our various circulation volunteers. This month she is away on vacation so I am distribution lady too!

I make my deliveries by bike.

I had to come home a few times to re-load, but it was still better than trying to drive around reading addresses on houses.



Brought Dougal along so he could get some exercise too.



He was a nice little delivery companion.



Community leagues are so vital to a neighbourhood, they really provide a support network for facing challenges (for us, it has been recent parking issues with the opening of the LRT station near our place, and Belgravia's proximity to the University hospital and campus). Also, the community league is the entity that organizes events that connect us to our neighbours.

And it's all run by volunteers!

So here's to strong community leagues - get involved in yours so the fine people on the board don't get burnt out and eventually have to quit. Everybody has more fun and lasts longer when the work is divided among many.

Guest Post by Simply Bike: Cycling in the 2nd Trimester

March 5, 2012

Yellow, Red, and Navy


{19 weeks pregnant, heading to work on my bike}


Hi, I'm S. and I'm the author behind Simply Bike and an avid reader of Girls and Bicycles. So when Miss Sarah asked me to contribute a series of guests posts on the subject of cycling while pregnant, I was thrilled. I biked until my 38th week of pregnancy, albeit increasingly slower and for much shorter distances towards the end. But even with those amendments to my daily routine, I still was happy to get on my bike and ride to work or to my doctor's appointments, moving my legs and keeping my body feeling healthy and strong.

The second trimester in particular was wonderful for cycling. I was done with the dehabilitating fatigue that put a cloud over the first trimester and I wasn't yet so unbearably huge that I needed to ajust my stance to keep my knees from hitting my belly as was the case in the third trimester. Like everyone always says, the second trimester is the honeymoon period.

And honeymoon we did, my bike and I.

Spring time panda


lunch time bike ride


Baby Belly at 25 weeks


Complimentary Colors Panda
Fiona
April showers bring May flowers
31 week baby belly


Bike ride through fallen magnolia petals


During the second trimester, I was still comfortably riding both of my bikes (a more upright vintage Raleigh and a more forward-leaning Peugeot mixte). I was still easily making my daily commute (just under 2 miles each way) to work and back home. I was also still able to throw in some longer bike rides or tackle days of errands, biking to yoga, and meeting friends for lunch, as long as I was careful to stay hydrated and to give myself breaks when needed.

In preparation for writing this post, I searched my blog archives for all my 'cycling while pregnant' posts to see what I had to say about the subject back then, when I was actually going through it. I was almost dissapointed to see how little I touched on the pregnancy part during the posts on cycling. In one post, typical of so many others composed during that time, I wrote:

"That ride back home is all I need to decompress: the brisk pedaling, the sounds of the city and nature, the crisp sting of the winter air. Nothing makes me shake off office stress and switch to home mode more easily than that transition bike ride between campus and home. It’s just not the same by car."

This tells you just how little the pregnancy was affecting my riding at the time. It was insignificant enough to my daily commute that it rarely factored into my writings; rather, the joy and everyday bliss of getting on my bike dominated those entries.

I'm well aware that the sight of a pregnant woman on a bike is somewhat of a rarity in our North American culture but there is nothing to be afraid of, if certain precautions are taken. The pregnant body is not an incapacitated body and a woman should be free to continue what was previsouly routine activity for as long as she feels good and the baby is doing well. In my case, getting on my bike and continuing to ride gave me that much needed psychological boost that was especially important while pregnant and caring for another life inside of me.

Thanks S, for continuing to share your thoughts on baby-bump riding! We're looking forward to your post about the 3rd and final trimester!

-Miss Sarah

Big Snow.

March 2, 2012



We had a big snowfall last weekend, which gave me a good 4 consecutive days of "NO" when it came to bicycling. I am not a fan of the oatmeal snow.

The graters have now been through so things are starting to look civilized again, albeit a little chilly. It's really no big thing if you're wearing a proper coat. Kona and I rode on bumpy Belgravian roads (praise to mountain bikes in this context) in around -12C/9F. The only pregnancy precaution to take in this case was making sure to go pee before leaving the house (heavy emphasis on the all-terrain nature of some winter riding).




And hey, today was the first day in YEARS that I have had to fix a loose chain! I am very proud that I was able to get the chain back on in record time, with my mitts on.

For those of you who are into bike-details - check out the little rusty bits on my winter ride! Signs of love and use, I say. Admittedly, I don't wipe down my bike after each ride. I just roll it into the garage and leave it for next time.

Oh, and here is a glimpse of a Belgravian windrow.



And yes, the parka is back. Good thing it still zips up over the baby bump.



Snowfall in the end of February? No probs. Bring it on. I'll still be pedaling.

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