“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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I spent all my twenties convinced I’d never have kids. I’ve never been a baby person, so the thought of having one I was responsible for wasn’t appealing. Well that thing called the biological clock started ticking when I hit 30, and while I still wasn’t into the baby thing, I do like older kids, and I figured when I got to be a real adult, it would be nice to have my own family.
So now at age 32, I have Lucy. Three months ago she entered our lives after 42 weeks of incubating. I’m smart enough to know that having a baby is drastically changing our lives, but determined not to let it steer. I’m counting down the days when I can put ski boots on her and get a Stryder bike. She already spends more time in the Chariot than she does the car seat; and a PeaPod seat for the Xtracycle is on the wish list.
And she has the added benefit of being born in Montana.
So while quick day trips to ski in Fernie may be far and few in between, there are still plenty of adventures to be had.
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!
August was my third time as a volunteer for Big City Mountaineers, an organization that takes inner city youth on backpacking trips. I always explain it as a combination between Boys/Girls Club and Outward Bound. The kids are all part of a local youth organization – usually after school programs. But some of the kids are from group homes. One day I would like to be a foster parent, and so I’ve been delighted that two of my three trips were girls from group homes and most of them in the foster system.
Now that I’m in Montana, and not near any regional programs, I’m not sure the next time I’ll get to go on a trip. But since the organization is one I’m passionate about, I’m helping where I still can, and I know there will be another Summit for Someone in my future. And even though I’m not on the PR team anymore, I will help where I can editorially. In December, Women’s Adventure magazine posted an article on its reader blog’s page of my experience:
The first day is always a bit intimidating. I’ve arrived at headquarters and met the trip leader and the other volunteers. We start sorting gear and loading a car. Then the van shows up. Five teenage girls tumble out (yes, tumble would be extremely accurate). After more sorting and passing out gear, we’re on the road to the Medicine Bow National Forest in Wyoming. And so starts one of the most rewarding weeks of my summers. Keep Reading:http://www.womensadventuremagazine.com
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.
The last few weeks have been full of exploring. Few things I’ve discovered that are cool:
1. Whitefish River bike path. The paths randomly start and end here, but I found a cool stretch this evening that weaves through trees along the river. Very peaceful and beautiful
2. The bike commute to work. Totally sucks because its uphill for 7 miles at a 9% grade. But it only takes 1 hour from my house to my office. Totally doable once (maybe twice) a week. And since I start work at 9ish, I’m not getting up too early.
3. Glacier National Park. Finally went on Monday. Total tourist trap, but like all national parks, once you get on a trail that is more than 2 miles, no tourists to be found… Still fun to stop and point at nothing and see who looks.
4. Tuesday Night Farmers Market. $1 oversized (and organic) zucchinis anyone? ‘Nuf said.
5. And so far the local microbrews are pretty tasty, too!
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I haven’t been much for writing recently. Too much going on could be my lame excuse, but really, I haven’t been inspired. Life took a drastic turn a few weeks ago when I accepted a job in northern Montana basically doing my dream job. Its been non-stop ever since, and the amount of thoughts and feelings going through my head should be great fodder for writing. But its been just a bit too overwhelming to even put it on paper (or the keyboard more like it). So here I am, 5 days into my new life in Whitefish, and realizing I’m still not inspired, but forcing myself to write anyway.
This is my second night alone since my mom left after driving with me. I’m in a condo at the ski resort where I work for a few more days before the lease on my apartment starts up. Dave will show up mid-September with the Uhaul in tow. I know I’ll make friends eventually and probably get involved with way to many things like I have a habit of doing, but for now, I’m by myself with nothing but my computer and a glass of wine. But I’m not lonely. I’ve time to work on grad school, hopefully get the pink poncho finished for Selah before she’s 2 and read – I’m reading a novel for the first time in months! I’m completely content. I’m sure it will be weird when I move into the apartment with nothing but a camp box and air mattress. I didn’t even think to bring some hangers!
I’m excited to get on my bike once I’m in town and explore. The coffee shop downtown is supposedly awesome, and I’ve already experienced the City Beach. Water and mountains are my favorite combo, and I’ve got both here. I’ve got a list of promising sounding churches to start checking out on Sunday, and so far it seems the bike culture here is vibrant (but nowhere near Stompa-style…). I think I’ll like it here and hopefully have stories to tell.
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’m now just over two weeks into my month-long cleanse. After my first couple days of utter starvation and cravings, I’ve settled into my new meal plan and the cravings for the most part have subsided. I feel like this process is actually teaching me how to cook! No more quick quesadillas, I now have to fully plan what I’m going to eat for the day. I’ve learned to make quinoa, polenta and have finally mastered the art of eggs for breakfast (that’s always been Dave’s job).
A few things have really been my saving grace: popcorn and rice cakes w/ almond butter. I’m a snacker, and these two things have given the little bits of energy I need mid morning and mid afternoon.
The downfalls? I’m tired really early. No caffine to keep me going on the weekends, I’m still in bed by 10:30 (party pooper). And I’m actually having to pack a lunch for skiing on the weekends as there isn’t much to feed me on the mountain (the usual sweet potato fries and a candy bar really doesn’t fit in this diet…).
Overall, I’m feeling great. But the Full Moon cruiser ride next week isn’t going to be the same with out my hot toddy in hand!
My new saying for the week: A day with no coffee is like a flower with no water: withered.
I’m on a cleansing diet to attempt to rid myself of a few ailments that traditional drugs haven’t cured. But I’m feeling like I’d rather deal with itchy skin than go without my daily joe or a tortilla with my eggs in the morning… The lack of sugar and yeast is supposed to bring up my moods and keep me from being tired, but while on this cleanse, I’m exhausted and grumpy. And my sweet tooth is killing me.