Thursday, May 27, 2010

Keep on Biking

I posted the Scraper Bikes vid the other day... I'm tempted to bust out some tape and decorate my wheels.

Here's an article that was in today's World Herald:


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

One Quick Note...

Today's lovely overcast and not overly humid morning proved to be enjoyable for my quick commuting to meetings downtown on Larry, my Civia Loring bike.  However, I was passed and glared at crustily by a lady in a crappy old sedan with a WWJD bumper sticker and rosary of sorts hanging from the rearview mirror and I found it kinda funny. Ironic maybe.  Now I'm not Jesus nor even religious, so obviously I don't truly know what he'd do but my guess would be that Jesus would appreciate seeing cyclists on the road, and indeed, share the road instead of trying to smear me against the curb. Just a thought.

Also, who posted that Scraper Bikes video? Thanks for the contribution!  I just watched it, in its entirety yesterday and although at first I wasn't overly excited about it, by the end I did think that it is a cool thing that helps get at risk kids off the streets.


Monday, May 24, 2010


I rode in today.  It was a bit of a challenge, and had I not told my self that I was absolutely, positively, no doubt about it, going to commute in today I'd have come up with about 8 excuses of why I couldn't.  But alas, I dispelled each and every excuse and Copper and I arrived to work via bicycle (and bicycle trailer).

I'm so happy that we did!!  It was a warm but beautiful morning for a ride. 

Excuse #1:  I left my clipless shoes at work.   Excuse Busted: Change yer dang pedals!  So I did.  At first I lamented about the amount of weight I was carrying to work and how, with all of that weight, could I possibly arrive happily without the added power of having my clipless shoe/pedal combo?!  Then I told myself to suck it up; not everyone pedals with a clipless setup so why did I have to.  So I just put beefy platform pedals on my commuter and started out.

Excuse #2:  It's hot out.  Excuse Busted: It's only May!!!  If you think this is hot, move back to the mountains.  So, I put on a tank top and some cycling shorts, packed my change of clothes and dealt with the heat.

Anyway, I could list out all sorts of other excuses, but that would be whiny.  The fact of the matter is I rode and I'm glad I did.

So, I took a bit of a different route today and am overjoyed to be able to say: I HAD A COMPLETELY SAFE AND INCIDENT-FREE TRIP IN TODAY!!!!!  Isn't that exciting!?   No shouting, no "Get on the sidewalk", no close calls with motorists attempting to smear me into the curb...nothing.  Thank you Omaha drivers!!

There were a few positive comments (or at least bemused) thrown my way.  Most of them involve the fact that I'm pulling a 70 pound Golden Retriever behind me.  It always seems that the folks at bus stops are particularly enamoured with the set-up.  Today a few large ladies waiting for the bus on Leavenworth St. really were pleased to see me pulling my dog.  One literally started jumping up and down saying, "Look at that dog in thar; look at that dog!!"  To which the other responded by laughing heartily.

The only other reaction was an older gentleman in a large pick-up truck with aviator glasses (not the cool kind) and a flat billed trucker hat (not the cool kind) who passed me on Leavenworth and turned around as he was passing and gave me a thumbs up.  Now, I do have to say that this could have been interpreted one of two ways: either he was giving me a postive thumbs up or he could have been trying to point me onto the sidewalk with his thumb. I don't rightly know.  I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt and say that he was really excited that I was riding a bike.  I'm going with that.

I took a different route today as well; I'll post that later but suppose for the time being, I should get my orders in!

Over and out.

Scraper Bikes

This is so beautiful - bikes changing communities for the better!

Scrapertown from California is a place. on Vimeo.

Also - check out the documentary Beauty and the Bike, about girls riding bikes for commuting in Germany and England.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Excuses and Accountability!

So, I was gonna ride my bike to work today.  But, then I didn't.  I know, I know...I'm kind of a slacker.  Ok, a real slacker. 

So, instead of writing about how glorious my commute in to work was today, I'm going to talk about the Ladies' Ride that I lead every Saturday from Greenstreet Cycles. 

I woke up this morning to the sound of a thunderstorm and laid in bed thinking about riding, or not riding.  I decided that I'd show up hoping for company on the ride but not expecting much of a turnout and was happily surprised to find a group of women hanging outside the shop as I pulled up!

This morning we started pedaling into a massive headwind with a group of about 12 gals.  Oh what fun it is to ride...

We headed out and over the ped bridge and towards Manawa.  Every time we'd stop, I'd ask the group if they wanted to keep going, or turn around.  And, every time, I had a handful of excited "Let's keep going!"s.  So onward we went.  By the time we reached the Wabash Trailhead the wind had picked up even more and the clouds had turned a darker shade of gray so at this point, we turned around and rode back with pizza and beer on our minds. 

One thing I particularly enjoy about these Saturday morning rides is the chance I get to throw my random event/trip ideas off of the gals who show up.  My newest idea was well received!  Let me know what you think: BIKE CAMPING!  I'm excited.  I've been talking about doing this for quite some time but have realized that if I actually tell people that I'm going to organize something, I'll have to do it.  Thus the title of the post, Excuses and Accountability.  That being said, I'm going to pick a Saturday night sometime in the next month or so and make this happen. 

Here's the plan:  meet at Greenstreet at 7:30 p.m. with bikes, lights, camping gear, food, beverages, what-have-you, good attitude, and anything else you can fit on yourself or your bike that would make the trip more enjoyable.  We'll roll out and head down the Wabash and camp (location still being locked down but I have a few ideas...) and then enjoy the evening and pack up and roll out the next a.m. 

Fun, eh?!  Who's in? And what do the next several Saturday/Sundays look like?  I'm thinking maybe June 12th? Thoughts?


Thursday, May 20, 2010

Day 1 Commuter Challenge. Done and Done. (from Monday)

So, I took a different route today, both to and from work.  Kinda fun to switch it up.  On the way to work I first headed to Caffeine Dreams off of Farnam and Saddle Creek.  I rode 50th St. to that cemetery off of Leavenworth and then headed east on the next street north of there.  Up a few blocks and north again until I met up with Farnam St. and cruised down to the coffee shop.

By the way, I am convinced that the only readers of this blog include myself and my mother.  Prove me wrong. 

Met with Andy and got all of the (ok, most of the) orders done for the day and then cruised up to McFoster's to grab a bite before heading to the shop.  We rode together up and down a few of the hills that are between McFoster's and Midtown Crossing where we headed north on 33rd, crossed Dodge (after waiting forever at the light) and then pedaled to Burt where we then turned east and continued to the shop.

The way home was rather uneventful as well and pleasant overall. 

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

chicago to omaha

Today was my second time riding to work, and it was much more enjoyable because of the route I took. I live near 31st and Leavenworth, and ride the Field Club Trail south to Vinton, over 480, then south on 24th St, west on Q, then south again on 27th until I arrive at The Salvation Army Kroc Center where I work. It's a little under 6 miles, which I can do in about 20 minutes on the bike machine, but it takes me about 45 minutes on the streets. Last time I took 32nd almost the whole way and it was awful (potholes and semi trucks!).

I move here from Chicago a few months ago, and rode my bike semi frequently there (though now I wish I would have done it more!). It was a bit of a shocker for my legs to have to pump through hills, but I'm slowly getting used to it. Riding in traffic is no problem for me, although here people pass me up and probably see me as more of an inconvenience. I'm hoping that the more I ride, the more people will notice and think about cyclists, and hopefully more bike lanes will get put in! There's a bike lane by my house that's literally a block long - it's a joke. I'm looking forward to the addition of more trails here.

I'm also excited about the growing biking community - it's awesome that the mayor showed up for a ride. Speaking of the community, there's a Ride of Silence tomorrow night in Bellevue:

Join cyclists worldwide in a silent slow-paced ride (max. 12 mph/20 kph) in honor of those who have been injured or killed while cycling on public roadways.
  • To HONOR those who have been injured or killed
  • To RAISE AWARENESS that we are here
  • To ask that we all SHARE THE ROAD
We will gather at the Keystone Trail / Bellevue Loop trailhead Parking lot located near Raynor Parkway and 36th Street in Bellevue, NE. The 10 mile ride will begin and end at the trailhead parking lot. We will leave promptly at 7 pm. A motorcycle escort will be provided by city and county law enforcement.


UPDATE: My ride home was a little more eventful. Upon pulling into a grocery store parking lot I nearly got ran over, so I screamed as loud as I could and the driver noticed me at the last second. Later on, a police car drove around me and the officer said, "You should ride on the sidewalk or something..." To which I replied, "We're allowed to share the road!"

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Bike to Work Week

Friday was a good day.  It was the Mayor's Ride and Greenstreet had a little donut and coffee pre-ride get together.  I rode in pulling Copper, my 70 pound Golden Retriever, behind me in her Burley Tail Wagon.  This dog-pulling contraption is a bit wide so I decided to switch my route up a bit to avoid too much (acutally any) time on Center St.   I rode up and down the hilly road that is Frances St., one block south of Center.  Way more hilly but way less hectic.  Copper and I then connected to Twin Ridge Blvd and took the normal route from there. 

On Leavenworth at a red light just on the other side of the interstate I encountered a fellow whom I assumed to be homeless.  "Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey!!  You got a dog in there!" he said followed by maniacal laughter.
"Yup," I said. "Have a nice day!"  And off I pedaled.  Kept me smiling for a while.

Then, also on Leavenworth which never leaves me un-entertained, I ran into another cyclist riding to his place of work: ConAgra.  He was pedaling on the sidewalk and I noticed him bouncing off of un-cut curbs and dodging pedestrians.  I, of course, had to start up a conversation at the next red light.  "Nice morning for a ride, huh?"
"Sure is," he shot back, a bit winded.  He was riding an older Marin and was helmet-less at the moment.  "You always ride on the sidewalk?" I asked.  "Usually, it's kinda scary in the midst of all those cars."  The light turned green.

As we cruised nearly side by side (although I found it much easier and faster to cruise along in the street without the issue of curbs and walkers) we continued a bit of friendly banter.  I noticed after a few blocks, he was now riding in the street, although certainly hugging the curb.  I was happy that he took the chance for a bit and saw that it's not so scary to ride in traffic.  We parted ways at 13th St. when I turned north and he continued east-bound. 

Copper and I pulled up to Greenstreet and were greeted by about 10 other cyclists waiting outside in hopes of tasty donuts and coffee.  It was a glorious site: all of these other folks on bikes that had ridden downtown for the ride with the mayor.  Fun stuff. 

After stuffing ourselves with 4 dozen donuts and 4 gallons of OJ and 3 pots of coffee, the mass of about 40 riders hit the roads heading down towards the Kerrey pedestrian bridge where the festivities were to continue.  We were pleased to pull up to another huge group of supporters of bike to work week.  After a short proclamation by both mayors from Council Bluffs and Omaha, the rides through the streets began.  It wasn't all that realistic of a commute, considering there was a police escort and blocked off streets, but enjoyable nonetheless.

I want to hear from you all!!  Who's out there?  What/where/when are you riding?!  Let me know.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Here we go.

So, it's 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, May 12th; 44 degrees out and raining.  And I rode my bicycle to work today.  My commute isn't too long of a distance:  I ride from my house, off of 50th and Center down Center, to about 45th and head diagonally along Twin Ridge Blvd to Woolworth to 32nd to Pacific to Park Ave to Leavenworth to 13th and then North all the way to good ol' Mike Fahey St and arrive at Greenstreet Cycles.

I decided this morning when I woke up and heard the rain that I would ride in today.  I hadn't ridden to work in a while and since I'm giving a lecture today at Physician's Mutual about commuting, I felt the need to gather some fresh perspective on commuting (in the rain).  Plus I figured, if I can ride in today, when it's 70 and sunny out, I really have no excuse not to.  So off I went.

It wasn't too eventful aside from nearly getting brushed into the curb by an oblivious driver cruising down Center Street.  I had a yoga mat strapped to my bag (yoga at Greenstreet tonight at 7:30 by the way) and felt the mirror of the car come into contact with my mat.  Woah.  Holding my line, and place in the lane, I pedaled onward. 

The only other bit of excitement was while I was turning off of Leavenworth on to 13th St.   I signaled my turn and proceeded through the light with another car close on my wheel.  There was a car heading towards me turning as well and gave me the right away and then laid on the horn.  I waved and looked at him as he passed me along with another car that was turning behind me.  Then a funny thing happened:  the car that honked looked at me, gave me a thumbs up, and then pointed to the guy in front of him so as to show who he was honking at.  I smiled and continued pedaling.

The rest of 13th St. was pleasant enough.  Hit most of the lights and arrived at work with plenty of time to spare.

Where are you riding today?


Saturday, May 8, 2010

Welcome Gal Commuters!

This is a bit of an experiment at this point but the idea is to provide a forum for women cyclists to help each other out and get advice on commuting in and around Omaha, Nebraska.  Please give us your feedback!