“You’re a rockstar,” the lady at daycare said as I walked in to pick Lucy up fully clad in spandex and my helmet. “Don’t you work on the mountain?”
I can’t say this is an unusual comment. Even in our hyper-active mountain town, there are still plenty that see cycling as a fringe activity, rather than something that can be incorporated into daily life. The conversation finished with the lady saying she was trying to loose weight and should try riding her bike again. For me, that made the grueling ride more than worth it – inspire one person to get on a bike.
In our family, cycling isn’t a fringe activity. While I don’t ride the 8 miles with a 9% grade for the final 4 every day, I do try to ride a bike a day. Whether it’s doing a ride on some local single track, cruising down to the river to paddleboard, or even just going to the store to pick up groceries my bikes are a part of daily life. Even in winter, we roll out the fat bikes or put studs on the Xtracycles to get around. For Lucy, we have her Strider, the Chariot and a Yepp bike seat for the Xtras so no matter what we are on, she can be along for the ride.
And with any luck, Lucy will be just as addicted to bikes as her parents are.
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Competing in a 24 hour mountain bike race has always been on my to do list, so when a friend suggested putting together an all women’s 5-person team, it didn’t take more than 30 seconds to say I was in.
I rode as much as possible during April and May, but it wasn’t enough time for the brutality that is riding at race pace for 15 miles every 5 hours or so. It takes more determination and training than I would ever have to do any less than a 5-person team!
Mud season. Usually it causes groans or a last minute vacation to somewhere warm like Moab or Mexico. But for some, mud season also means the start of cyclocross season. And for the first time in the seven years I’ve owned my Kona Jake cyclocross bike, I actually used it for its intended purpose.
Lucy learned to use a cowbell.
A cross race is unlike any other bike race – the course laps are short and require you to dismount and remount your bike numerous times (and not just because I can’t ride a technical section…). There are wood hurdles to jump over and super steep hills you have to run up with your bike slung over your shoulder. And you ride until they tell you to stop – typically about 45-55 minutes. The adrenaline is high and the spectators are rowdy. In short, it’s a total blast.
I got a trophy! 2nd Place of 2 women in the Women’s B category! Sometimes it pays to be a girl. No competition.
Some dude named Ryan decided to do a Twitter challenge to ride your bike every day for 30 days, and then tweet about it with the hash tag of #30daysofbiking. I didn’t get wind of it until April 2nd, a day after the challenge started, and of course April 1 happened to be the only day I didn’t ride my bike after work due to a necessary trip to Costco (I am determined to do this on a bike at some point though…). But better late than never, right? So to help keep track of my 29 days (I’ll bike May 1st too to get to 30), I’m going to keep track of my days here as well as on Twitter. As well as what bike I rode to make sure all 5 get some sort of love…
April 1 – slacker
2nd: Recycling Center & Post office (Xtracycle)
3rd: Grocery Store for Easter Dinner prep (PowderGirl)
4th: Church for Easter (PowderGirl)
5th: 7-Mile Cross ride (Kona Jake)
6th: Yoga in the AM (PowderGirl); Cross Ride to Jake & Yvonne’s for bible study
7th: Met with mortgage lender (Xtra); Cruised downtown for shopping (PowderGirl) and friends house for a BBQ (Xtra)
8th: boo, no riding. at conference from 7am to 10pm
9th: Downtown on Powdergirl for errands
10th: Does going to Canada to ski count?
11th: PowderGirl to church; Xtra to store and gym (wow, this is kind of repetative….)
12th: Bowling! (Xtra)
13th: To Yoga in the AM (PowderGirl)
14th: Xtra to Super1, then to the gym (all these are under 1/2 mile, geez)
15th: Few miles on the Xtra today to the Chamber after hours event, and then downtown for Telluride MountainFilm! And the Xtra met some new friends.
16th: Xtra to yoga then an evening Fixie tour around Whitefish with margs, pizza, and impromptu hanging out
17th: Mountain bike ride finished with a cruiser ride to the brewery to fill up the growler
18th: exploring more mountain bike trails
19th: Cruiser ride for one
20th: 8 miles to work = 1:03. 8 miles home = 21 minutes.
21st: Took PowderGirl to meet a finacial planner to set up my 401k
22nd: 8 miles to work = 1:00:51! Home? Downpouring so caught a ride. But then Xtracycles to downtown for the World Indoor Golf Championships.
23rd: Got a haircut with PG
24th: Cleaned the ‘Fish with the Xtras in tow
25th: Xtras to brunch
26th: fixie to Dairy Queen for a butterscotch dipped cone
27th: Cold cross ride to work, and a wet ride home
28th: Xtra to the Northern for Jim’s going away party
29th: raining still – xtra to breakfast at Loulas
30th: and still raining. Biked to the gym to swim. Then to friends house for dinner on the Xtras
1st: rain rain go away – but did bike related things like trail work and bought fenders for my cross bike. I then I stuck a sewing needle through my finger so spent the rest of the evening on the couch… So we’re adding one more day:
2nd: cruiser ride to church and then an epic-style 30-mileish 3.5-hour mtn bike ride. Then cruiser bikes to dinner. Think I made up all those skipped days in 1!
One of my favorite things about riding my bike is the time to look around and think. I dearly miss my daily bike commute, but now the chance to pick one of them out of the garage and go for a ride makes it just that much more special.
This video pretty much captures it exactly. The combination of the artwork and poetry is fantastic and makes me want to go ride my bike. It was made for the NY Bicycle Film Festival (which I hope to attend someday!) by Andrea Dorfman.
We all want to be a part of something. Something great if we had our way, but sometimes just something is sufficient. We are part of our jobs, families, social circles, volunteer networks. But sometimes that “Tribe” is a little less intimate.
I drive a Land Cruiser – a FJ62 to be exact. Kind of the Xtracycle of the car world really. FJ owners have an unofficial tribe: we wave at each other when driving by. But its the old FJs, not those fancy new plastic ones built on a 4Runner frame. Even though it is a gas hog, I have a sense of pride driving the Beast, as we’ve come to call it. We have plans to eventually get a diesel engine hopefully convert to Veggie, but for now its a standard SUV.
Now that I’m an Xtracycle owner, I have the same sense of pride and belong to another tribe. I pass Xtras on the street, and we wave – but with a much bigger smile than the FJ owners. I’m not sure what it is about it, but Xtra owners just seem happier when riding their bike – almost a defiance of not having to use a car to get stuff around.
I’ve always had trouble answering the question “what’s your passion?” I’ve always been the type that was interested in a lot but passionate in nothing. To many things to experience to really focus on just one thing. But I think I’ve found a passion finally – bikes! It may sound shallow and flippant, but when I spend $30 on a t-shirt that says “saving the world ain’t so hard” with a pic of a bike, it has meaning to me (especially if you know me and know I’m don’t buy new things that often). I’m not the obsessed roadie or mountain biker. I do these things, but I’m much more interested in the simpleness of the bicycle as transportation and how it can benefit communities through less traffic, pollution and getting people outside. The past few weeks with the 18 Hours, 5Point (not the films themselves, but more hanging out with the New Belgium guys) and then this week as Bonedale Bike Week, I’ve been the most happy as I have in months.
Some days I think we should just get rid of the car, as least one of the cars. Not like both of them are ever out of the driveway at the same time, unless one is in the shop. They sit and get snowed on and rained on, but rarely started. Why may you ask? Well, could be because of any of the 12 bicycles that live at my house. They demand to be ridden. If I walk outside with my keys in hand ready to start up the Land Cruiser, I see PowderGirl’s tassels blowing, beckoning me to come ride…
We started ‘Bonedale Bike Week last year in an effort to get more people out of their cars and on their bikes. Our small town of 5000 people is the perfect bike town. No hills, bike paths almost everywhere (well, except on the last stretch of highway that gets to my neighborhood, but that’s a whole nother story) and cops that escort us on Full Moon Cruiser rides wishing they were on bikes too. My friend Tracy took me to Boise where she started Boise Bike Week for inspiration, and the vision took hold. So last year, with help of a few others, we started up Bonedale Bike Week. With the popularity of the cruiser rides, we figured why not devote a week to all things bike?
So we’re now in the midst of planning all the cool events we’ve got planned for this year. We’ve enlisted New Belgium as a sponsor as well as got the town rec departement on board (helps both Tracy and I work there part time). Should be a blast! May 11-16, 2009.
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