Posts tagged ‘biking’

May 28, 2012

Getting Started Bike Commuting: A Blogspedition inside Bike Style

Barb on a bike wearing a green dress

A typical day on the bike: Dress, pumps, helmet, gloves.

The blog now stands at over 170 posts after a year of writing. Lots of advice is sprinkled throughout every post, along with my ponderings and miscellany on bike policy, infrastructure creation, and other aspects of becoming a bike-friendlier world.

This post serves as a categorized round-up of many of the posts you may find helpful if you’re thinking about bike commuting.

Clothing

Riding and Mechanics

Weather

Hauling Stuff

Getting Started as a Commuter

Route Selection

Bike Parking

Attitude

Rules of the Road

Paying Attention

“Roll” Models

Women featured in our “On a Roll with” series talk about how they ride and other posts about or by individual women riders. Be inspired!

Snapshots of Riding Days and Destinations

These posts are of the “where I rode my bike today” variety to give you an idea of how easy and flexible bike transportation can be, whether it’s for the round trip to and from work or a Saturday full of errands. Many of them also tell you what I was wearing, in my ongoing mission to demystify and de-Spandex everyday biking.

Your Turn

  • Some topics are missing from the list. Helmets and hair, for example–an issue for many women and one I’ll tackle in a future post. What topics would you add?
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May 27, 2012

Intro to Bike Commuting (in Style) for Women: Talk & Shop Event at Two Wheel Transit May 30

Mark your calendar with an easy date to remember: 5/30 at 5:30. That’s when I’ll be at Two Wheel Transit at the invitation of owner Geoff Forshag to give an informal talk on how women can get started in bike commuting.

Two Wheel Transit, Spokane WA--logo

I’ve lost track of the number of times people–women in particular–have started a discussion with me along the lines of, “I would bike to work but [insert concern or perceived barrier here].”

Some people carry on this conversation in a quasi-confessional mode, feeling guilty for not riding because I’m standing there demonstrating that it’s possible to show up at a business meeting in professional clothing.

Others who start with this line are looking for the actual answers to the questions or barriers. These range from “I don’t actually remember those hand signals I learned when I was 10” to “What do you do about sweat or hair or carrying stuff?” to “How do I pick the best route?“.

I can whip out a few fast tips but in the middle of a business meeting or networking event I can’t really cover all the nuances. Hence this talk (and if you can’t be there but want me to give it again, let me know with an email to bikestylespokane-at-gmail.com. I love talking about riding and helping more people get started!).

Along with giving the talk I’ll be bringing the cuteness: some of the Nuu-Muus/Ruu-Muus, skirts, bags, gloves, lace-trimmed padded liners and knickers, Pedal Panties, and other adorableness I carry through Bike Style. It’s a great mix to add to all the bikes, gear, and other accessories available from Two Wheel, since my goal is to supplement rather than compete with any of the local bike shops. We all share a common goal: To get you rolling!

Since those of you reading this blog are presumably already riding to some extent, whether for recreation or transportation or the sheer joy of it, you may not need all the tips. Consider this an opportunity to bring your “bike-curious” friend along to get some encouragement.

Tomorrow I’ll post your assigned reading for the class, should you choose to do some prep work: A blogspedition round-up of some of the posts I’ve written so far about how I got started and the clothes I wear and guest blogger posts about their beginnings.

Related Reading

Your Turn

  • What questions do/did you have about starting out that I should be sure to answer in this type of talk?
May 25, 2012

Bike to Work. Bike to Eat. Bike to Shop. Bike to Everything.

Spokane Bikes logoThe post title is a theme we’ve used on our posters the past few years for Bike to Work Week and reflects the reason we changed our name from Bike to Work Spokane to Spokane Bikes. The Spokane Bikes philosophy is that we want to encourage people to bike for all kinds of transportation purposes, not just to and from work.

In fact, those short utility trips on a weekend—say, a run to the hardware store, fabric store, or grocery store—can be a great warm-up for transitioning into work-related riding with its greater demands for timely arrival and appropriate appearance at the end of the ride.

Once you’ve gone through that evolution from cautious beginner to full-fledged commuter, riding your bike in various kinds of conditions for different trip purposes, you might get a great week like what I had for this year’s Bike to Work Week.

Monday: In our fifth year we continued the “tradition” of having somewhat (ahem) moistish atmospheric conditions for the Kickoff Breakfast. But we didn’t get rained on. Not really.

Mayor David Condon, City Council President, and City Council member Jon Snyder all spoke, Pedals2People ran the bike corral, Spokane Transit had a bus parked for people to practice putting a bike on the rack (first transit agency in the state to have racks on every bus, in fact!), we instituted composting for our paper and food throwaways, and we got the week rolling.

I got to chat with stalwart Marc Mims, who every year leads a contingent of Spokane Valley-ites all the way to downtown for Mountain Gear pancakes and Roast House “Ride the Edge” coffee. This year he rode downtown alone—blame those threatening skies at the hour he had to leave to be downtown before 7 a.m.—but Amy Biviano, candidate for the State House of Representatives in the 4th legislative district who had ridden in separately, rode back with him. Bike-commuting State Rep. Andy Billig, now a candidate for State Senate in the 3rd LD and a volunteer for the event in years past, also attended the festivities.

Tuesday: Incredibly windy! Strong enough that when Belles and Baskets founder Betsy and I met up to have coffee, I have to ‘fess up that we wrestled my bike into the trunk of her little Honda Civic and drove together rather than me fighting my way to our rendezvous.

It was probably an entertaining sight to watch us load up, as my Donkey Boxx—while uber-awesome for hauling stuff—adds to the challenge of working with the hatch configuration of the Civic.

Further confession: I missed the Belles and Baskets group ride on the Fish Lake Trail in the evening and the post-ride chat at the bike-friendly Elk Public House, having gone home early and gotten comfy while I worked on some deadline-driven projects. I know, ladies, I missed out. Another time!

Wednesday: Energizer Stations! My sweetheart and I biked down together and stopped at Rings & Things (designated a Bike-Friendly Business by the League of American Bicyclists), where Polly and Amy served up Roast House coffee and bananas with the help of young Zander. For a good laugh read Marc Mims’ tale of coffee delivery woe, and shed a little tear over the spilled elixir of life.

The forecast for the day had some rain in it and I had quite a few meetings out of the office, but I had one of those lucky days where every time it rained I was inside and by the time I needed to ride the streets were drying out again. Biking has definitely made me far more weather-conscious.

At the end of the day, riding home around 7:45 p.m. from a LaunchPad event at Mobius Science Center (I can’t wait ’til it opens! Our kids are gonna love it), I saw the kinds of sights I’m sure I often missed as a driver, including a young African-American kid with one of the glossiest and most beautiful sets of long braids I’ve ever seen spinning along on a small bike and stopping to talk with his friends, and a double rainbow to the south over the freeway.

Eastbound on Fourth at Stevens I rolled alongside a man on the sidewalk who spun his wheelchair rapidly past Lewis and Clark High School, wearing a crisp white shirt and black dress pants. At the stoplight I wasn’t sure if the driver waiting behind me to turn right saw my wheeled companion since I might be blocking the view, so when the light turned green I moved slowly into the intersection to ride interference for a few yards before accelerating.

Thursday: An early-morning breakfast meeting followed by yet another meeting at Atticus Coffee, a regular stop for me thanks to the bike rack out front and the Roast House coffee served inside. (Yes, this is a recurring theme. I ride caffeinated and Roast House totally rocks the support for local bike events.)

After another busy day at work—busy because I was taking Friday off and had to pound out quite a few things before leaving for a four-day weekend—I headed to the always-rewarding Bike to Work Wrap-Up Party at Steam Plant Grill, one of our founding sponsors who every years throws a bike party for us and pours the beer they brew in-house.

I love that party. There are the regulars who have been there since the beginning, the ones who started riding that first year and have become regulars, the long-time bike advocates who’ve been at this far longer than I like Spokane Bike Buddy Eileen Hyatt, and the newbies who are thrilled with their accomplishments in their first-ever week of riding.

Spokane Public Radio, another important sponsor for Bike to Work Week, gave us some goodie bags to give away at the event. We weren’t doing a full-on raffle so co-chair Erika Prins and I hatched an idea: We would give the bags to people who have founded or established something that is making a difference and expanding opportunities and motivation to ride. Our list (and there would have been more had we had more goodies):

  • Bill Bender, founder of SpokeFest, which grew from their first ride the same year we founded Bike to Work Spokane to add Spokane Summer Parkways.
  • Marc Mims, who organizes the Spokane Valley activities for Bike to Work Week, rallied “Spokane Valley Cyclists FOR the Broadway Safety Project” to protect a key bike lane project from the ax, and put together a “Pedal with the Politicians” ride to educate elected officials about the project and the need for infrastructure.
  • Jon Snyder, Spokane City Council member and candidate for the House in the 3rd legislative district, for his leadership in spearheading adoption of the Complete Streets ordinance and all he does as publisher of Out There Monthly to highlight biking in the region.
  • Betsy Lawrence, founder of Belles and Baskets, which now has over 450 fans on Facebook and turns out dozens of women twice a month to ride, chat, and support each other in informal and transportation riding.
  • John Speare, blogger at Cycling Spokane and former member of the Spokane Bicycle Advisory Board who has been a consistent voice for everyday riding and the all-important “bike hang” at various beverage-dispensing establishments.

Friday: Stayed home, attended to the Women’s Bike Blogs list so I can keep highlighting featured blogs and adding to the RSS feed on Twitter and Facebook (from a list that will number over 700 the next time I post an update!), and did other bike-related word work like this post. I wish I’d had time to ride since we had some nice sunshine, but reflecting back on the week is worth the time.

Work to eat. Eat to live. Live to bike. Bike to work (and everything else). Happy biking!

Related Reading

Your Turn

  • Pretend we have unlimited goodie bags. What unsung sparkplugs (to mix a metaphor) would you give them to as a thank-you for what they’ve done for biking in Spokane?
  • How much riding did you get in during the week? What kinds of destinations?
  • Did you help anyone get started riding this month? If so, self-high-five! (raise hands over head and jump a little as you slap them together)
May 15, 2012

It’s Time to Bike to Work, Spokane! (Energizing Update)

Ahahahaha! That’s a funny joke Mother Nature played on us. Responding to pleas that we hold the Spokane Bike to Work Week later than the national week because our Kickoff Breakfast always gets rained on, we scheduled this year’s events for Sunday, May 20-Saturday, May 26.

And did you get a load of that weather forecast for this week, which is National Bike to Work Week? Sunny and beautiful. Every. Single. Day. Next week? A little partly cloudy heading our way.

But not on Monday, I hasten to add. We will have a nice morning for the Kickoff Breakfast. This is your warm-up week and next week is the real deal.

So here’s the deal: You need to sign up. We want everyone who bikes to count and be counted and that’s what your registration does.

It’s a simple little form–about 30 seconds of your time–at the Spokane Bikes website. While you’re there you can RSVP for our fun events so the good folks serving up the food know how many riders to expect.

Monday, May 21, 7-9am: Kickoff Breakfast, Riverfront Park Gondola Meadows. Founding sponsor Mountain Gear will be serving up those great pancakes, and Roast House Coffee will pour some Ride the Edge to get you properly caffeinated for the day!

Wednesday, May 23, 6:30-8:30am or thereabouts: Energizer Stations, various locations. Date/time may vary depending on the specific location/sponsor so check the map and plan your route to get a boost on your way to work or whatever your destination may be.

Thursday, May 25, 4:30-6:30pm: Wrap-Up Party, Steam Plant Grill (another founding sponsor and a great bike-friendly restaurant with that rack in their covered parking area). Pay attention, peeps–party is on Thursday! Usually we wrap up on Friday but since the change of date pointed us into Memorial Day Weekend, we thought we’d party early, encourage you to ride one more day in the week, and leave Friday for you and the family.

Commute Challenge: All month long! Use the form to share how many vehicle miles you’ve avoided by riding your bike and help add to the awesomeness.

And did I mention you should sign up?

May 13, 2012

The Ultimate Bikespedition: Support the US Bicycle Route System

May is National Bicycle Month and it’s also the third annual Build It. Bike It. Be a Part of It. fundraising campaign for the U.S. Bicycle Route System (USBRS). The campaign kicked off May 1, 2012 and runs through May 31. What better way to celebrate Bike Month than by supporting the creation of a national system of cycling routes?

Last year, this effort raised more than $32,000 for the project—the goal this year is $50,000.

Here are the details:

The U.S. Bicycle Route System is a visionary project similar to the national and international cycling systems blossoming across the globe. Adventure Cycling is working with dozens of state agencies, national organizations, nonprofits, volunteers, and the US Congress to realize this vision.

 Can you give $10 to help build the largest bike route network in the world, encompassing more than 50,000 miles?

You can already see the effects of last year’s USBRS campaign:

  • 6 new routes approved by AASHTO — the first new U.S. Bicycle Routes approved in over 30 years!
  • 11 new states coming on to develop routes. 41 states are now actively working to implement US Bike Routes. In my state of Washington the Bicycle Alliance of Washington is coordinating with Washington State Department of Transportation so you can join “Team Washington” with your donation.
  • The re-release of a Technical Advisory from the Federal Highway Association that advises DOTs on how to implement rumble strips without putting cyclists at risk.
  • 5,000 new fans of the USBRS on Facebook since last year’s campaign, now at more than 19,000 supporters.
  • Adventure Cycling now has a closer relationship with the National Park Service, aimed at improving bike travel and tourism in national parks as well as facilitating designation of US Bike Routes through parks as appropriate.

I have yet to go on any long bike travel but the lure of the open road does beckon. I’d sure love to take that ride on a route that’s signed, supported, and serviced to make it a better experience!

And imagine the benefits for small towns that will get stops from bike visitors who wouldn’t bother with those towns if they were burning carbon instead of calories zipping past on the interstate.

Related Reading

Your Turn

  • Have you done any touring around the United States?
  • What route(s) did you use?
  • Where would you like to see a bike route for travel?
  • Have you had a small-town experience as a bike tourist you’d like to share?
April 21, 2012

Just Capital! The Blogspedition Heads to Washington, DC

This coming week I get to appreciate our nation’s capitol yet again on an annual trip I make as part of a community delegation to meet with our federal elected officials, their staff, and various agencies on behalf of Spokane priorities.

Since these include projects of the university where I head up communications and public affairs I’m working while I’m there, but the schedule does have some gaps that may permit me to check out the Capital Bikeshare program or rent a bike from a local shop and pedal up and down the Mall a bit. I usually walk myself into the ground squeezing in museum visits between meetings–a bike would make it all so much easier and more efficient!

Meanwhile, as with my trip to New York City in February, I’m doing a blogspedition round-up in honor of the trip. I’ll also share some impressions of the biking the way I did for the Big Apple.

Washington, DC, has a number of active bloggers, and without further ado, here they are!

  • A Girl and Her Bike: Kate is keeping up with her 30 Days of Biking riding and posting here and at Tales from the Sharrows too. You can catch up with her via Twitter at @girlonabikedc. What you may not learn unless you dig a bit more is that she’s a DC police officer and once got hit on her bike by a guy who did it deliberately, then tried to get away with it. Bad idea. That particular post has great advice in case you’re involved in a hit and run, by the way. (Hint: The police arrest drivers, not cars; go ahead and memorize the license plate if you can but get a really good look at the driver and passengers first.)
  • Bicycling to Work: Char blogs about her 14-mile daily round trip into DC with stories about chains, reflective vests, and all that good commute stuff.
  • CAWES Cycling: Racers with nicknames like Princess Leah, Raspa, Grizzly, and Lemming blog here about their experiences trying to move up in category, win, or just survive, and their work to support the IM Able Foundation, which works to inspire “all individuals, disabled and able-bodied, realize the potential to go further and push harder than their preconceived limits.” (I’m heading over to post a link about this on the Veterans’ Day post I wrote about groups and efforts like this.)
  • Chasing Mailboxes: She’s @gypsybug on Twitter and she rides some seriously crazy mileage in addition to commuting!
  • Mastering the Uphill Shift: @BloomingCyclist tells it like she sees it, including stories of those times when a ride doesn’t turn out all that great. She also hangs out on Tumblr at The Uphill Shift, where you’ll find a big set of photos of male bike-racing hotties. Enjoy!
  • Pedal ‘n’ Purl: @nikki_d bikes and knits, a combination I run across frequently in these blogs (hey, that would make for a great blogspedition! Coming soon.) and writes about her canning over at Gin and Pickles (getting pickled more than one way?).
  • Sticky Femme: Her Tumblr site mostly consists of very happy photos of dates with her sweetie and mentions of fabulous restaurants. This is a key site for me since I’m going to be eating out a lot this coming week! She’s @stickyfemme on Twitter.
  • Where the Bike Takes Me: It’s defunct (last post in 2009) but I’m capturing it here for posterity. It may symbolize a stat I just got from Andrea (soon to be a guest blogger here!), that 95% of all personal blogs are abandoned. It’s just possible that the final post’s reference to an “ever-growing belly” means that motherhood took over blogging time….
  • Will Bike for Change (or Pie!): My favorite title of all of these! She offers up a great mix of ride reports and passionate advocacy, and who doesn’t love pie? I’m thinking we’re long-lost sisters. She’s @willbikeforchange on Twitter.

Related Reading

Your Turn

  • Do you have any travel plans coming up?
  • Do they involve riding a bike?
  • Have any special requests for a blogspedition? Doesn’t have to be geographical–could be thematic (like the knitting bikers/biking knitters one mentioned above) or based on anything I might be able to tease out of the list.
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April 11, 2012

30 Days of Biking: Hills and Miles and Darkness, Oh My!

Today’s easy-squeezy 8.4 miles, broken up into nice manageable chunks of 10 minutes or less, nonetheless provided plenty of reminders of yesterday’s butt-burner: over 27 miles total, with a huge chunk of that spent slogging slowly up a hill climb that I thought would never end.

But it was fun, honest!

The set-up: I did my usual quick little ride to work, sprinting because I was going to be late to a meeting and beating my “race time” by at least 30 seconds.

After work I dressed in one of my cute little Nuu-Muus, a pair of actual (gasp!) bike shorts (couldn’t find the adorable lace-trimmed Sheila Moon lingerie knickers, alas, and decided I’d ride with more padding than Pedal Panties provide), and a white Sheila Moon bolero, along with (another gasp, please) bike shoes that let me clip in.

Just the thing for a nice long ride out to Spokane County Raceway Park, where Sweet Hubs and his compatriots were pitted against each other in the first of the season’s Twilight Series Road Race put on by his club, Baddlands.

Google Maps results list for routes from Riverpoint Campus to Spokane County Raceway ParkRoute selection required some comparisons of Google Maps choices. They offered three, with the kind suggestion, “Or take Public Transit” linked below, in case the idea of a ride of 9-10 miles with hill climbs (no matter what) didn’t appeal.

Their first proposed bike route, West Trails road accessed through the West Central neighborhood and Riverside State Park, involved dropping clear down to the Spokane River Gorge and climbing back up out of it. Beautiful, sure, but can’t we stay on top of the grade?

Route 1: West Trails via West Central neighborhood and a lot of extra climbing.

Route 2, while a mile shorter, carries with it a more hostile traffic setting, taking Sunset Boulevard (not bad) to US-2 (not good, although I’ve ridden it before—the highway is the main route to a correctional facility, a casino, and Fairchild Air Force Base, making it busy and full of people who may or may not want to be making that particular trip). The one thing this route does get almost right is the section from downtown west to the decision point where you have to head toward West Trails or stay on Sunset Boulevard.

Route 3, Government Way and West Trails, again has part of it right. But someone needs to ask Google Maps programmers, “Pretty please could you take terrain into account, by which we mean grade?” This route, too, drops you down into the river gorge, this time via Peaceful Valley, then brings you back up out.

Getting closer, but still some unnecessary concessions to gravity.

The key to my route selection, since I’m not training for the Tour de France, sounds a lot like advice in drawing up battle lines: Hold the high ground for as long as possible.

As soon as you start enjoying one of those exhilarating “Wheeee!” moments down a long hill the back of your brain should remind you that riding a bike is like riding a roller coaster: A down is generally followed by an up that will be a lot slower and not nearly as fun.

So the route I chose is the Barb route, based on feeling comfortable enough to skip the Centennial Trail and stick to streets that are straighter, knowing neighborhoods to cut through to skip some of the streets with more traffic, and eliminating as much climbing as possible for as long as possible.

  • Spokane Falls Boulevard around to where it connects to the short stretch of bike lane on Riverside Avenue, then into Browne’s Addition onto Pacific.
  • Through the roundabout at Cannon by The Elk (a bike-friendly restaurant!) and down to Sunset Boulevard.
  • To Government Way and out past the turn to Spokane Falls Community College. Not long after that stoplight, Government Way becomes West Trails and you start to cliiiiiiiiiiimb.
  • West Trails becomes Hayford Road, you take a quick right on Sprague, and you’re practically there. Or if you’re me, you go past “there” and end up visiting the vicinity of the correctional facility before backtracking and wending in through the construction to the raceway exactly an hour after I set off.

Where—ta-da!—I arrived in time to give Sweet Hubs a good-luck kiss before sending him off with the rest of the B-pack for their criterium (several fast laps around a relatively short, flat track). He won with a nice sprint at the end, which is a great payoff for all those winter nights he spent on the trainer in front of a movie.

We then rode home together through the gathering darkness, shivering a bit (wish I’d had those knickers to cover my knees!) until the ride warmed us.

The downhill “Wheee!” was incredibly fast considering how long it took me to climb going the other way. I couldn’t believe it when we’d already reached the traffic light by SFCC and I knew we had just a few more miles and a bit more climbing, thankfully separated by some straight stretches and downhill rests, and we’d be home.

We heard frogs singing their hearts out, felt the difference in temperature as we entered the urban core and felt the day’s warmth radiating out, and made it home safe and sound with 27-1/2 miles on my cyclometer and 1,392 calories burned according to my heart monitor dealio.

And today, I felt every single mile in my legs when I climbed, whether it was climbing a hill on my bike or a set of stairs at work to help rack up the mileage on my pedometer. It will be a couple of days before I try anything like that long a ride again, but it felt great to be able to do it.

I want to build back up to the mileage I used to accumulate that made it easy to plan a 30-40-mile ride with Sweet Hubs and I have to start somewhere.

Just, maybe . . . somewhere flatter?

Related Reading

Your Turn

  • Climbed any really long hills/mountains? (Lately or ever?)
  • What’s the hardest part of it for you and how do you deal with that?
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?
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.

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