Archive for March, 2012

March 31, 2012

Another 30 Days of Biking–Can We Do It? Heck Yeah!

Rosie the Riveter. You Can Do It!Last September I recorded my daily path through 30 Days of Biking, making it through the month riding (and blogging) every single day.

April is another 30-Day-er and I’m in again. Are you with me?

April can be the cruelest month, involving as it does a week’s worth of travel to Washington, DC, for me that will make bike time a little more challenging (that and other issues shot down my attempt in April 2011). Good thing DC has a bike share program! (Although it would be even cooler if I could find someone to borrow a bike from.)

I’m not promising 30 blog posts this time; that was tougher than the riding! I’ll do the weekly “accountability” posts because keeping track does make a difference.

Want to sign up? Register at 30 Days of Biking, check them out on Facebook, and if you’re on Twitter be sure to use #30daysofbiking to talk about your rides.

30 Days of Biking has only one rule: Ride your bike every day.And here’s an offer for you: If having a bike buddy to encourage you will help you complete the challenge and email encouragement will fill the bill, send me an email at bikestylespokane-at-gmail-dot-com (fooled you, spammers!).

I’ll send you all a daily email, and if fame is a further incentive and you have stories to share about your adventures I’ll feature them in blog posts here (with whatever identification you want me to use).

Related Reading

Your Turn

  • Are you up for it?
  • What will represent the biggest barrier or issue for you (that you can foresee at this point)?
  • How do you plan to get past that?
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March 24, 2012

The Skirt Scoot: A Key Maneuver

Skirts can be easier to ride in than pants, but they have their dark side. Read on for a little Twitter discussion I was reminded of the other day. (Note for those who aren’t on Twitter: When someone replies to a tweet the original appears above with the reply below in this format, so you’ll see some tweets duplicated.)

Just the other day I experienced “some alarm” and was reminded yet again of the importance of the skirt scoot maneuver.

What’s that, you ask? My nickname for a little move I’ve adopted, born of a combination of the occasional disastrous skirt fabric/length combo and my fondness/weakness for alliteration.

Cream-colored vintage knit dress from Carousel Vintage, Spokane, WA

Love-love-love this stretchy little number from Carousel Vintage. It’s a soft, nubbly knit and even if I forget my skirt scoot I can easily pull the skirt up and off the saddle just by standing on the pedals. Woven fabrics? Not so forgiving in your nanosecond of need.

This is the maneuver I now try to remember to execute any time I get on the bike, whether it’s as I leave the house in the morning or when the light turns green: Lift up and slide back, making sure the fabric of the skirt is trapped between the saddle and your butt.

It’s just a simple little step, but an easy one to forget. The times I have forgotten it and just plopped onto the saddle led to the “some alarm” tweet above. Those were the times when a skirt with an unforgiving non-stretch fabric happened to be just the right length to get caught over the back of the saddle.

What happens next, as you begin to slow for a stop and plan to step smoothly and gracefully off the saddle, is that you can’t. You are caught on the saddle by the fabric of your skirt and you are starting to tip over.

So far I’ve been lucky. I’ve felt the catch in time to push back on the pedals and unhook the skirt, but not without a nice little adrenalin rush.

I’ve already mostly moved away from straight skirts in my wardrobe as I’ve shifted my shopping toward a bike-friendly mindset. I ride a regular road bike for my commuting as well as for fun and straddling the top bar is just less (ahem) ladylike in a straight skirt that I have to hoist to mid-thigh to get enough leg maneuvering space. (I still have a few I won’t give up, mind you–I’m careful about where I stand when I hoist on so I continue to be the lady my mother raised me to be. Avert your eyes, you creeper.)

The moment of panic when I realize I didn’t skirt-scoot and I am now skirt-stuck is a reinforcement of my fashion move toward skirts with a slightly flippier hemline, and definitely ones with stretchy fabric.

Related Reading

Your Turn

  • What clothing-induced moments of panic have you experienced?
  • Any great tips for avoiding said panic in the future, à la skirt scoot?
March 22, 2012

Shop & Swap! Spokane Bike Swap Saturday-Sunday

Close-up of Nuu-Muu and Ruu-Muu fabricsC’mon down! Bike Style Spokane will hold our first shopping event of the season (it is the season, honest! Snow? What snow?) at this weekend’s Spokane Bike Swap.

The event offers plenty of reasons besides our bike stylin’ cuteness to head on out to the Spokane Fairgrounds, and with a forecast of 57 degrees for Saturday and 59 for Sunday you’ll be itching to think about bikes (and what you’ll wear riding, of course).

The deets–

Saturday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

Sunday, 9 a.m.-noon

Spokane Fairgrounds, Annex A

Entrance fee: $5 (kids 12/under free)

Proceeds benefit the Friends of the Centennial Trail, who have worked for decades to provide this great community amenity.

Once upon a time I was a volunteer for the North Idaho Centennial Trail Committee as we worked to construct the trail segment on that side of the state line, before I moved back to Spokane to a location that lets me ride along the Spokane River pretty often (but never often enough).

If you’re in the market for a bike for yourself or a kidlet in the family, you’ll have an array to choose from, both new and used–everything from mountain bikes to recumbents. If you’re ready to trade up or get rid of a spare you can sell your bike too ($10 fee to sell).

You’ll find bikes and gear both new and used, the chance to practice getting your bike on and off the bike rack on a Spokane Transit bus, helmet fitting, bike tour info, and more–and of course, the chance to hang out with Spokane’s friendly bike community and talk shop.

Bike Style will be there with a sampling of some of the cute products we carry and a new item or two you haven’t seen yet, with special pricing on a few items just for you.

Pop quiz: What’s one of the distinguishing features of the Spokane Transit system as it relates to bikes? Post your guesses in the comment section below and I’ll post the answer later.

Poster for Pedal Panties: Underwear for extra comfort on your bike saddle that fits under regular clothes. Made in US.

Pedal Panties. You know you want 'em. Or need 'em. More than underwear, less than a bike short.

March 19, 2012

Around the World in 80 Days (and then Some): A Traveling Blogspedition

World map from 1808How would you like to bike around the world, meet people, share food with them, and blog about the connections you create in the process?

Yeah, me too. Amie Thao and partner Olli Tumelius are cycling across Europe and Asia, the world’s largest land mass, to document people, stories, and cuisines at their site, International Supper Club. Amie got in touch to let me know about their Kickstarter campaign to help fund the trip and I wanted to share it with you all.

A couple of notes from their blog:

“Why cycling? Human-powered, environmentally-friendly, cost-effective and fun. On bikes we are fast enough to cross deserts without going insane and slow enough to say hello to everybody along the way.

“Why food? Besides being delicious, food serves as a catalyst for storytelling and grounds the story in a tangible way.”

If you’re not familiar with Kickstarter, it’s a means of crowdsourcing a creative project that lets all of us be little tiny investors (or great big investors) in cool projects that speak to our hearts, not just to our wallets.

Amie and Ollie join a great group of world-traveling people on bikes I’ve gotten to know a bit about through the process of compiling the Women’s Bike Blog list. Thus they inspire this blogspedition:

  • Family on Bikes: The Vogel family biked from Alaska to Argentina; their kids now hold the world record as the youngest ever to cycle the Pan-American Highway.
  • Travelling Two: Friedel & Andrew have cycled in 33 countries.
  • Cycling Silk: Kate and Melissa cycled the Silk Road (again) in 2011.
  • World by Cycle: Kristina and Nic are cycling around the world in 2012.
  • Cycling Gypsies: In 2008 Zoa and Fin quit their jobs and packed their ginormous dogs into bike trailers to head out around the world. They haven’t stopped.
  • Bicycling Around the World: Paul and Grace are photographing their way by bike.

Your Turn

  • Have you ever dreamed of bike travel?
  • What’s holding you back?
  • What are you going to do about that?
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March 14, 2012

Why a Cyclist Needs a Pedometer

StepUp Spokane pedometer

Not nearly enough steps showing on this baby! Take the stairs, take the stairs, take the stairs....

I’m going to blow my cover here. What with being a poster girl for riding a bike in all kinds of clothes and all kinds of weather, I have people reasonably convinced that I’m “active.”

They say that very thing: “Oh, you’re so active!” Like yeast, or yogurt cultures.

The truth is that I bike because I’m lazy. A pedometer proves that in no uncertain terms, which is why I need to wear one.

I like keeping track of my healthy activities in a log—seeing all those days when I do something gives me a sense of accomplishment and makes me want to keep the string going. When I started adding steps to the bike mileage, that gave me a reality check on just how little I do some days!

Here’s why: My ride to work is a hair under 2.5 miles, which takes me around 9 minutes of pedaling (under 9 if I “race”). If I don’t run any errands or go to meetings and ride home at the end of the day, I’ve done under 5 miles—around 23 minutes total riding time or thereabouts (hey, it’s uphill on the way home—takes longer).

I don’t ride fast because I don’t particularly want to sweat, so this isn’t vigorous training time.

When I get to work I may think, “I rode my bike to work, didn’t I?” and take the elevator to my fifth-floor office.

If I plug that bit of bike time into a standard activity calculator like the StepUp Spokane one that translates time into steps, it’s around 4,600 steps—less than half of the healthy target of 10,000 steps per day.

If I have a day that doesn’t involve meetings outside the office, it’s probably also a day plugged into my two-monitor set-up so tightly I may as well be physically jacked into the system. I sit-sit-sit, staring at the screen, leaning forward a little in my chair until the backs of my legs go dead.

What I do not do is get up and walk around.

But if I’m wearing the pedometer, that moment of arrival at the building represents a chance to rack up steps climbing the stairs to my office. I get up and walk down the hall to talk to a colleague instead of shooting her an email (crazy, I know!). I may take a stretch break and walk down a couple of flights and back up. I walk down the stairs at the end of the day.

Wearing the pedometer is the first step (walking pun!). But it’s the power of writing it down and looking at patterns that really makes this work. If I wore a pedometer but didn’t log the data I wouldn’t have any sense of how one day compares to another. I wouldn’t be able to recognize that riding my bike gives me the illusion of more activity than is actually occurring.

And I wouldn’t have the sense of satisfaction I get on a “high mileage” day: one that includes lots of walking in addition to biking.

This post originally appeared on StepUp Spokane.

Related Reading

Your Turn

  • Are you a recordkeeper when it comes to your health and fitness?
  • How does that make a difference in your behavior and choices?
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