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Monday, December 7, 2009


The other day I was saying how the frost on the bridge looked like snow. Saturday we actually did have snow! In December! I can't even remember the last time we had snow in December in Chattanooga. Snow has gotten very scarce around here and when it does come, it is never this early in the year.

Of course, it was gone by noon. A typical southern snow event. So these pictures of snow on the bridge are rare indeed!

Here is Q walking across the bridge. I was on my bike when I encountered him. He was looking very picturesque, I think.

It seems the snow brings out unusual characters-here is Santa Cow! Santa Cow wasn't talking so I couldn't get the reason exactly why Santa Cow was out there. But, hey, why not?

Friday, December 4, 2009

Stone Cup Visit

Yesterday morning Q and I had breakfast at Stone Cup. Q goes out for breakfast as his regular thing but during the week I rarely do so. I like the coziness of my own home for my morning oatmeal. but circumstances led me to go out with Q on this morning.

Stone Cup was doing a bustling business. It was closes for a while and it is good that business seems to have bounced back. Maybe even better then before. Chattanooga has had,in recent history, great coffee shops with several that do their own roastering (I read once that Chattanooga has more roasters per capita then Seattle. Who knew?) But at one time there seemed to be a trend for these coffee shops to develop ownership/management problems. It was like a virus that fell over our most favorite coffee shops. It was getting hard to go and find a spot to enjoy a good cup of coffee.

But it seems Stone Cup is back. and is better then ever. The new owner has brought in fresh ideas. He has brought more of a reading room atmosphere to the place with lamps were positioned next to the couches and chairs-I never understood why many coffee shops are kept so dark that reading at night is very difficult. Pictures of banned authors have been placed on the wall plus the banned books are for sell.

But of course, a coffee house is about the coffee. The coffee is still being roasted by Jennifer Stone and her gang so that is the same as always. But Q, as much as he loves coffee, judges his morning coffee house visits by the oatmeal being served. While Stone Cup was going through its woes, their oatmeal got very inconsistent. Q, patience finally running out, quit going. There is nothing that can set a negative outlook to life then stiff, lumpy oatmeal.

I am pleased to say Stone Cup has gotten its game back and has been producing consistently good oatmeal. Q believes you can judge the state of the management by the oatmeal and I agree with him. As these coffee shops started going through their woes, the first sign was a decline in oatmeal quality. Don't know why, but that is what we have found in our experience.

Of course, Stone Cup's location provides unique amenities. The view out the garage doors is the one of the best views of the bridge. The doors are raised on nice days to open out to the patio.

And the bike parking is covered! The breeze way next to the shop serves as the ideal bike parking place. On rainy days, I feel bad if I am in the cozy dry while my bike is left out in the rain. And then there is the coming back to a rain logged seat. Invariably I left something in my panniers uncovered. So covered bike parking is the best.

As to be expected for a coffee shop on Frazier Ave, there are plenty of bike riding patrons. The only business that I can think of in town that regularly have more bikes parked outside their door is Greenlife. So Stone Cup is definitely part of the laid back biking lifestyle.

It is so good to have Stone Cup back!

Another Bike2Work

Today was Bike2Work First Fridays. Another wonderful gathering. It is so nice to see so many bikers even in this cold weather. Bike commuting is such individual activity. We are just going about our business and the bike part is a means and not an end as is social riding or exercise riding is. We have somewhere to go and we have chosen the bike as the best way to get there, whether for practical reasons or aesthetic reasons, or probably a combination of both. So getting together isn't innately part of it.

Although, as more and more people bike, the serendipitous coming together is happening more and more. One time as I approached Mississippi from Tremont, there was a biker coming from each direction of the intersection. I actually had to stop to accommodate bike traffic!

And recently riding through a North Chattanooga neighbor, three of us individual bikers found ourselves riding along together. 3! Totally independent of one another! I think these incidents are showing the growth of biking.

But nevertheless, it is an individual activity and Bike2Work is an opportunity for us to get together and bond with one another. We trade stories and tips about biking, but mostly it is like getting together with friends. I have met great people. I like to know the stories of why,when, where and how (all those journalistic points) of their biking.  I encourage any Chattanooga Bikers who are reading this and do not know about this gathering, to come out and join us. Through the winter we are meeting at the Outdoor Chattanooga Center in Coolidge Park between 7:00 and 8:30 am on the First Fridays of each month.

And at today's Bike2Work, Pulse Radio (WPLZ 95.3)called in to check out the Bike2Work and Dale Deason actually asked to speak to me. I have started to send in regular bike reports so I guess my name is becoming known. (This morning I was listening to the bike report and my report was read and they even mentioned my name.) So I talked to Dale about biking. He sounds like he is really behind the biking idea. And I have to say everyone at the station is super nice. I e-mail originally all the names that were in the notice from Outdoor Chattanooga telling us about this report, and every one of them sent a nice reply e-mail back. I am so glad we have these people backing the Chattanooga biking scene. I just know this relationship can only bring good things. How exciting!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Cold and Radio Report

Today was cold!!! I think I heard it was 29 degrees. Did I ride? Yes! Now, at one time, the answer could have been no. I used to be more of a weather wienie. When I started biking as a commuter 8 years ago, it was to be fun. So any day that didn't promise fun, I didn't ride.

I still feel that way. It is just my definition of fun has greatly expanded. And cold no longer gives me the chills, so to speak. I have lightened my bundling (though there are those who say I still wear too much) and now love the feeling of exhilaration that only exercise in the cold can give. It is nice arriving at work with no sweat and that high feeling. I once recommended new riders to start in the warm weather but I might be changing that to recommending the cold.

The Walnut Street Bridge was beautiful as always on cold days. It takes on a layer of so much frost, that it looks almost like snow. In extreme weather conditions, only the most die hard bridge users are out. At the moment that I took this picture, there was no one to be seen.

This picture does not capture the beauty that I was seeing very well:

As I continued on, there were other users-the very regulars that I see everyday. This is the true morning bridge community that has become so familiar to me.

I took today to do my first bike report. Pulse News WLPZ-95.3FM has started to do bike reports. How cool is that? During the morning drive time, Denise Galloway, Louis Lee, Dale Deason and Chris Taylor of Pulse News will be taking reports from cyclists about the daily riding conditions. I wonder if this is a first in radio? It goes without saying that it is a first here. The goal is to normalize bike riding. Listeners hearing on a regular basis from cyclists as a normal thing. will eventually start thinking of cycling as a normal thing. This is such a good idea I am committed to try doing my part.

So today, I called about the cold and the bridge was my first report. It was recorded so I don't know when it played or if it did play. I don't listen to the radio at work. I don't know how often I will do these reports. Most days my ride is uneventful. But I will be on the lookout for interesting things to report. Listen for me!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Riding on the Cayman Island

  Q and I just returned from 10 days in the Grand Caymans. Lest you think that we were down there for fun and frolic, there was a real reason for going. We were attending a Stretch and Flexibility course by Kit Laughlin, the international leader in stretching (he is from Australia)

I don't go on very many pleasure only trips-in fact the only one I can think of for many years is the San Francisco trip that Q and I took last year. Most of my trips are for training. I am so work-focused that I was annoyed and perplexed when, in signing up for this course, I discovered there was 4 days with nothing planned right in the middle. What were we suppose to do? We are stuck on a Caribbean island, right on the beach, with no place to go, with nothing to do. It slowly sank in that we were stuck on a Caribbean island, right on the beach with no place to go and nothing to do! Has it been so long that I it takes me a while to recongnize what a vacation looks like?

The workshop was great. We are both totally stretched out and is ready to unleash this stretching technique on the Chattanooga world. And we did get some bike riding in.

First a little background into the transportation program of the Cayman island-there is none. We were staying in a resort at the far end of the populated side of the island which was about an hour's drive away. This end is delightfully undeveloped. Everyone had to have arrived by plane and driven out there. What was in place for us to get around?  Basically nothing. We had to pay for our rides to where ever at greatly exorbitant rates. To go to a festival about 3 miles down the road, the hotel was charging $15 a person. Wow!

What about the walking- no, that was not recommended as there were no sidewalks, no shoulders on the side of the roads,and long distances between places to go. What about biking?- the resort had three huffy bikes for loan but no lights or reflectors for night time riding.

While the weather and the flatness of the island made for potential great riding, it doesn't seem to be a favored way of getting around. While we did see some islanders riding their bikes, the locals that attended the course insisted that riding on the island was taking your life in your hands. Seems as though cars are used even for short trips-on this beautiful, flat, nicely breezy perfect to ride on island! How can they not insist on a more bike friendly environment?

Never the less, Q and I took a couple of bike trips. The first trip was to the aforementioned festival. We could not envision ourselves paying $30 to be transported a distance that we would be not just delighted but hungry to bike ourselves. By doing so. we were able to sightsee at different places that the others that were bussed did not get to see.

Here we are mounting on our single speed, coaster brakes Huffies.

Riding on  the left hand side was much easier, I am sure, then driving on the left hand side.

There were helpful road signs

  Justin was the only other of our group that was inspired to ride-good thing because there was only the three bikes.  He didn't quite know what to make of his too small, very pink bike!

  On the way home, we stopped at Vivine's Kitchen for an islander lunch.

Here I am, waiting on our food.  Hammocks-every resteraunt should have them.

My view of swinging in the hammock-

Ahh, our food!

Conch Stew with plantains and some things we couldn't quite identify (cassava?).  Wonderful!

The Beautiful Cayman Island experience!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Urban Riding and Hooch watching

Today was again one of those breath taking beautiful fall days. We, after an extremely wet fall start, are having our days of such autumn magnificent, that there is no choice but to get out in it.
After a typical Saturday morning breakfast at the Blue Grass Grille, Q and I decided to join the bike club ride to Crabtree Farms. Crabtree is an urban farm owned by the city and is runned by a nonprofit to produce and introduce organic vegetables to Chattanoogans. That is just one of the small treasures of our city that I feel makes it unique and special.

The ride was lead by Sydney Roberts who has a CSA membership at the farm. Periodically she uses her weekly pick up as a chance to organize an easy, relaxing ride for all who wants to join in.
The group was split almost evenly between urban riders with our city bikes and regular clothes and road bikers with bike clothes and dropped handle bars.

Every one seemed to enjoy themselves. At one time when all of my biking was the road biking type, I wouldn't have thought the distance and difficulty level was even worth getting my bike out for. But I am over that line of thinking

It was nice to see the farm and ask questions about its production. It is 22 acres with about half of that in production. They support 60 CSA's, sell at the Main Street Market and to Greenlife and have a U-Pick part of the farm. All organically. That is quite a high rate of production.

I was so busy looking around the farm that I forgot to get pictures. Take my word for it, it was beautiful.
After the ride some of the riders went to the newly reopened Stone Cup for lunch. Here we are sitting outside, overlooking Coolidge Park

Then on to shopping and other errands. The wonderful thing about biking it gets you to experiences just by riding by that was not on your list to attend. Car driving isolates you. Really, the only unexpected encounters to be had in a car are traffic jams.

No traffic jams for me! Instead, all the goings back and forth and along the river gave me a chance to experience the Head of the Hooch, one of the country's largest rowing regattas. Beautiful day, beautiful water, beautiful rowing.

I know I am overusing the word beautiful lately, but what else can I say? Even without seeking it, my bike riding gives me the gift of beauty. Can I help it that I find myself taking notice of it, that I feel it soaking into me, enriching me? That my vocabulary seems to be limited? Maybe I should buy a thesauras.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Chattanooga Biking Style

Chattanooga Biking Style

Who says there is no style in riding your bike? These are pictures of this morning's Bike2Work. The cold weather brought out a whole different season of style:

This is Laura Jane who is always cool on the bike. I will one day do a post just dedicated to Laura Jane's riding style.

Cortney, Chattanooga's resident ballerina brings a level of elegance on the bike. Bike riding has never looked as graceful as when Cortney rides in full dress up mode.

Patrick is always classic. Classic look on a classic bike. He never goes out of style.

People ask me about riding gear. Want to know what is the proper riding gear for riding a bike around town? Just look in your own closet! Ride with as much style and individuality as you do the rest of your life.

Would love to see pictures of the riding styles of any readers!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Fortwood Fall

I am loving these fall days. Here is a picture of my going to work route through Fortwood. Riding down tree lined Oak Street on this perfect fall day is rather awe inspiring.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Keeping Tootsies Warm

ugg boots uk  Ok, I am a weather weenie.  Though I put myself out there in all weather, I don't want to be anyways uncomfortable.  I like my clothes to protect me from the elements, be comfortable and easy, and if I am lucky, have a bit a style to them, (though I seem to sacrifice the style for the other features).

   I have written about my zebra rain boots.  That fits all categories and has wonderful style..  And I love them.  I have been wearing them a lot this year because of the rain and that has given me a lot of thought to footwear in other weather.  Cold weather is starting to come up so I have been giving much thought on how to keep my tootsies warm on the bike.  I have been getting into wool this past year-I will have to write a blog just on my ventures into wool wear.  The stuff is amazing.

   So in thinking on how nice it is to wear  boots and how nice wool is led me to thinking about sheepskin boots.  I have by passed the craze for these-not because I could not appreciate the appeal.  But mostly I don't go into fads and I have to personally value the attributes of the item for me to pay the bucks. So it is just now I am considering it.

    In my  search for the boots I came across Whooga Boots from Australia.  They have extra thick and soft sheepskin lining and they look so,so cozy.  My feet are already yearning to slide themselves in.  I have a feeling once I put them on, I won't take them off all winter.  Heck, the whooga website says they are great in the summer time  too.  I might not ever take them off!  I can't wait! 

   I will let you know how they are!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Bus, Baby, and Bike

 I wanted to go visit my new grandbaby today. Since the baby is out in East Brainerd I thought I would take the bus with my bike. I have learned from experience that if I have my panniers weighed down, it is almost impossible to pick the bike up to put on the rack. Since I was taking out frozen food packets for the family, I was pretty heavy. But I keep my  things in a back pack inside my pannier and I then can easily take it out of the pannier to lighten the load. Otherwise,I have been in the situation struggling to lift the bike up on the rack while the bus driver is patiently, then not so patiently gazing down at me. It is an uncomfortable thing at the very least.

   The bus was full and as though a party was gong on.. I don't know if it was the day, the route or just coincidence but it seemed everyone knew one another. As new people boarded on each stop, it it was like old home week. Everyone was talking to one another and soon I was caught up in the friendly banter.

It was a very mixed crowd-old and young, able and disabled, black and white, people who looked like they probably relied on the bus for their sole transportation and those who looked as thought they probably had other choices. I love a group with a large variety of different type folks.

I even had a touch of old home week myself. A young mother and her two little children boarded. When she sat down she looked at me and asked, in that tone that people use when they aren't sure if they are making a fool of themselves "Are you a Carboni?" I affirmed indeed I was and she said she had gone to high school with my niece, Karen. When she said that, I knew exactly what family she was from-she had the distinctive family traits of a very large Irish Catholic family that I grew up with. I established which of the family she was the child of and met her children (am I really old enough to know four generations of one family?) I told her about Matthew coming home from Iraq for the birth of his baby and I was on my way out to visit.

The whole bus was hearing this conversation and several people joined in on congratulations of the birth of my grandbaby. It was a wonderful ride. Bus riding is put down as a form of transportation from hell but do people really know what it is like? Chattanooga had a great bus system in terms of nice clean buses, friendly bus drivers and friendly people riders. If more people rode them and it was subsidized by the government as much as individual car driving is subsidized, more routes and additional bus frequency could turn this into a great AND convenient way of getting around. I am all for it!

It came time for me to get off.  AS another bike rider had put his bike on the rack infront of me, I asked him if he would assist ome in taking off my bike.  He very kindly did so.  I was just expecting him to take off his bike so I could get mine, but he instead just reached back behind and lifted the whole bike off. 

    From the bus stop it was only a seven minute ride to the home of my grandbaby. I had a most wonderful visit. Indulge me as I slip into grandmother mode-Baby Athens is the most beautiful baby EVER! He looks like his most beautiful mother and is everything a baby should be. My own baby were beautiful and wonderful of course, but I think as a new parent fraught with worry and lack of sleep, it is hard to sit back and truly take full notice. A grandparent has the BEST vantage point in seeing how wonderful a baby is. I basked in the view!

When the visit came to a close, I decided to ride my bike home. I didn't go back the way I came-down Lee highway and Brainerd rode Instead I completed the loop around the city and went down Bonnie Oaks so I could connect with the River walk. It was a crisp chilled fall day. One of those rare days that you just have to feel so grateful in being out to enjoy it.

   It took me about an hour and a half of riding to get home. It took exactly 37 minutes to take the bus/bike combination. The car probably would have been about a 20-25 minute drive. But if I had opted to save a little bit of time by driving I would have missed out on a couple of truly exceptional experiences.

Bus, baby, and bike. What a day! Can life get any better?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Grand baby!

  This past Friday, my son Matthew and his girlfriend made me a grandma.  Athens Omero Carboni,weighing in at 6lbs13 oz made his way into the world.

  And boy am I excited!     

   The bike world has changed in the twenty years since I have a little one of my own.  Today there are the bike trailors, tag-alongs and every imaginable accessory for getting kids around on bikes.  I am ready for it.  I can't wait to be taking little Athens to all sorts of places by bike. 

   My own children did not take to the idea of bike riding.  But I know I can get Athens, the first of my grandchildren, to take to it. Just let me have the chance!

Spot of Sunshine on a Rainy Day

It is being one of those days. Of course it is raining again. I'm used to drought weather , I guess, because whenever it starts raining lately my first thought-didn't we just have rain last week? As though we are only suppose to get rain once a season.

But rain weather has its own joys; like the zebra boots I wrote about recently. So riding in the rain is no problem. At one time it would have sent me scurrying to my car but now I don't even stop to consciously make a choice.

It is only after I get to work that things start going remiss. I didn't have my keys! Now I am really standing in the rain trying to figure this out.

Q did pick me up from work last night. I have systems fo everything to keep me straight but if my system gets disrupted I'm lost. Figuring I had left my keys in his car and hoping to catch him before he left town for three days I frantically tried to call him. No such luck. No answer. He was probably already at the airport.

I next went next door to my landlord. He should have a key. He didn't at least not there on him. Hmmm, what landlord doesn't have keys?

Next plan-go home and get another set. I probably could have asked Shaw of Aunt Sue's Pet Bakery to borrow his truck; he is always the go-to-neighbor for our little block of businesses for almost any problem. He would have generously let me take his truck.

But I had already sent  Carol, my student coming for her session home. She was so kind and gracious about it. I am truly surrounded by wonderful and kind people in my life. It does smoothe out the bumps and jagged edges of life.  My next session had cancelled and I was already in the rain and had plenty of time to ride home for my spare set of keys

So I did. And it did wonders for making my messed up morning better.  My joy of the ride home? Seeing Jill. She looked like pure sunshine on this sunshine devoid day. Jill is a make up master at Elea Blake on Frazier Avenue. I know because she does wonders for me and I even can replicate at times what she does. She is on her way to get coffee and I was lucky enough to see her.

Makes forgetting my keys worth it!

Friday, October 23, 2009


Brighter Planet's 350 Challenge

   In this blog I usually blog about the joys and adventures of my bike riding instead of car driving.  I do it because it makes sense to me.  I try to solve the problems of my life-in this case transportation need, with solutions that upholds my values.  I don't usually talk much about that side of my thought processes-I know I can get too preachy so I try not to do it. 

  But today in the blog is different.  Tomorrow is the International Climate Action Day and I am taking this day to explain what I do in a bigger picture.  I will just state the bigger picture-its bad out there.

    Scientists have determined  that is the Earth is to conintue to be the way it iat has been the the whole 10,000 years of our civilization and that provides an environment for life as we know it, the atmosphere can have no more then 350 parts per million of CO2.  Where does it  measure today? 389.  That should give us pause to think. And think deeply, and long.

   I am amazed that people still say our activities have no consequenses in our world.  When has anything not had consequences.  Denying responsibilities does not make those consequenses disappear.

   I am not a scientist.  But I have a deep feeling that what I pesonally does makes a difference-either in a positive way or negative.  I keep that feeling in the fore front when I am making decisions on my life.  I make a difference.  My decisions make a difference.  My actions make a difference.

   I have been trying, bit by bit, to live a low impact life.  In this very rich and wasteful country of ours, it takes planning to live simply.  I have long said, our country does not have a problem with not enough, we are drowning in affluence.  Try to NOT buy things and brings things into your home.  Much harder then you ever would think.  It takes more effort to keep it simple and be thrifty then it does to accumalate and be wasteful. 

   I ride bikes because I feel the world's future depends on it.  But it is not enough.  By refusing to take action a long time ago (just think how the picture could have been different if we had stuck to the energy policies being set in the '70's) we are  in a position to having to do drastic actions-much like putting off that 35 page paper for world history class until the night before.  Its time to pull a world all nighter and get serious about our climate.

    I challenge you to find out what you can do. Go to   Their mission is to inspire the world to rise to the challenge of the climate crisis—to create a new sense of urgency and of possibility for our planet.

  What you do does make a difference.  Live your life like it does.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Bras Over Water

I never know what I will see on my bike ride across the Walnut Street bridge. It is the scene for more unexpected sights. This sight on a recent morning is a case in point-bras being strung across the bridge.

And here is high five dog all decked out!

Who was responsible for this? Turns out it was it was a breast awareness event sponsored by US 101, a radio station in town-Chattanooga's top rated radio station. Country of course. What else? They were collecting bras for Breast Cancer Awareness.

And here is Ken Hicks, US 101 DJ himself really getting into this bra thing!

I thought I would stop and donate. But then I thought better of it!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Funny Story

I was leaving Greenlife, making my way with my bike between the parked cars.  On the hood of one car was a baby in an infant seat with a woman standing nearby.  I stopped to coo over the baby (just can't resist babies!) and out of the corner of my eye I noticed movement inside the car.  The car had tinted windows so it was hard to see inside but I did make out a man sitting in there, eating potato chips.  The woman and the man (and baby too,) had an air of waiting.  Just waiting.

  I turned to leave when suddenly another woman comes running up, "That's not my car!  I thought it was my mother's car.  Her car is over there!"  With that, she scooped up the baby and ran off, with her friend who must have been assigned baby watching duty, followed her.

    I looked at the man inside the car.  He looked at me, smiled and shrugged.  Then he went back to eating his potato chips.

  I rode home.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Fashion Statement

I have one thing in my wardrobe that gets more comments then anything thing else I wear.  Not that I wear many things worthy of comment-a fahionista I am not.
  In rainy weather (and lately that has been most days) I bring out my zebra boots.   I bought these years ago because they made me happy.  Apparently they make other people happy also because I never fail to get comments on them.  Never.

    It has been a great opportunity to get to meet people.  Once people talk to me about my boots it is so easy to go on to a more formal introduction.  Once you bond over shoes you are friends for life.  Might as well get to know names.                           Before I started riding my bike to get around I had little use for rainboots.  In fact I had not owned any since I was a kid and then they were just for the rare snowfall.  If you use a car to get around and can park close to your destination, the need to protect your feet rarely comes into play.  But not in wet weather bike riding!  In seeking solutions to my wet feet on rainy days (oh how I hate wet and cold feet) I rediscovered rainboots.  And when I found these I found true love.  How did I live life without them?

    But my boots are getting a little beat up looking and actually have cracks in them.  It might be coming close time to replacing them-but I do hate to do it.  In fact, I can't stand the thought.

A Moment of Loveliness!

My very favorite aspect of riding my bike instead of stuffing myself in a rolling box to get to work is meeting of the people I would not otherwise get a chance to encounter. This morning (actually now yesterday morning) coming off the bridge I spied a wonderful couple, dressed to the nines strolling with the "we are in our own world and have all the time in the world" air that only young lovers.can have.

Of course I had to intrude. It was too wonderful of a sight so early in the morning to pass by. I asked what the occasion for dressing up. They looked at one another and she, with a little giggle replied "we are celebrating!". Well, even I could tell I should not question any further.

I took their picture-here they are looking so lovely. I went on to work, having a spot of my day filled with that loveliness. How great is my view from a bike!


  An update-when I took the picture of this lovely couple, I immediately e-mailed it to them (the advantage of taking pictures with my phone.  People love having their picture taken if they can get it for themselves).  So I had their e-mail when it struck me that I should get permission to put their picture and story up.  It was such a private moment  and maybe they would object to having it spread to the whole world.  Alex wrote back-now I have a name.  I didn't ask names before-a lovely note back. These people must be totally wonderful .  It seems they just have that inate loveliness with everything they do.  Here is the note ne wrote me-

Dear Ms. Colleen,

It was a very fun time meeting you! I have not ever been stopped to have a picture taken of me before, and it was a fun experience. Please do not feel that you were not being intrusive at all.

I must say that the occasion for the fine dress was in fact a celebration of a birthday.

My girlfriend, Naomi, and I (Alex) were having a nice day together after being apart for a long time, and she was treating me to a birthday present.

Naomi and I will be glad to give you our permission for publishing your story, and you can include our first names if you would like.
Thank you for the picture and the fun experience!


Again, I will say how I love my view from my bike.  I get to meet such lovely people!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Breakfast on the Bridge

Q has been doing a Breakfast on the Bridge for a couple of years now. He found the traffic on the Walnut Street Bridge to be interesting and diverse, with people from all walks of like using the bridge for their place of exercise, socialization or as their passage way to getting to the other side of the river.

Q was inspired to draw these people together in a friendly, casual, no criteria breakfast  So every Friday (except for Bike2Work Fridays) Q is out there with coffee and pastries for anyone who stops by. It has been amazing the people who do drop by- kind of a gathering for Chattanooga Characters. I think being a character is a wonderful thing and I always imagine I personally am so bland and unnoticeable next to these wonderful and colorful people. But Q reassures me that I am the biggest character of all (I'm sure he means that as the highest compliment, right? I think?)

   I should make a regular feature in this blog about our visitors. This breakfast has been so popular that is has become a community effort. All casual and disorganized of course.

     This is Lee. He might be recognized by regulars on the bridge as a bridge troubadour. This is his famous bike. I actually liked it better when it was painted up in bright Christmas colors but I think he got tired of people playing "Where's Waldo" with his bike. Bridge regulars were always reporting to one another where his bike was spotted-he would leave it in the oddest places. But after getting it stolen a couple of times, and getting it flattened by a tree at a construction site, he painted his bike these boring monotone colors and doesn't leave it around as much. But I hate to tell him that his bike is just as recognizable as ever.

This is Laura Jane. I knew Laura when she was born. She was baptized in the same ceremony as my youngest daughter. I met up again with her as an adult because she grew up so very quirky and I seem to find myself getting to know the quirky types. I love Laura Jane! She is wry, intelligent, thoughtful and so fresh as she starts out on her adult life. She has gone car free which in this part of the world a very unusual thing (actually you wouldn't think so judging by the number of people who come to this breakfast who are car free.)

Today the view of. Lookout Mountain from the bridge this morning was glorious.(see the picture above.)  I consider myself lucky that riding across the bridge is part of every day for me. I love getting to know the people who are my fellow users. My life is rich and very blessed!

Saturday, October 3, 2009


It started with a text from my youngest daughter, "I need my mom." That got my attention out of my oatmeal. My children as adults are independent, capable and lovely. They feel they can handle most situations better then me and often they are right. I feel proud that I raised them to be so self sufficient.

So it is rare that one will send out a "Mom" crisis cry. But once a mother, always a mother and I go on instant alert. Soon I was on the phone listening to my daughter on her crisis. She was extremely upset and I was no way going to tell her I couldn't talk to her because I had to get to work. So I continued to listen to her as I finished my breakfast, finished my preparations and got on my bike.

    I know what you are thinking - you rode your bike talking on the cell phone? Technically, I was mostly listening, but yes, I set off on my bike with my phone glued to my ear.

Down the hill I went. i was all ears to my daughter-so much so, I must have shut down other senses. What were my eyes doing at this point? Nothing I guess. Next thing I knew BAM! and an OOF from me. I reared ended a car parked on the side of the road. I never even saw it!

(I will take a short break hear so everyone can have a chance to voice their opinion on my safety sense. Believe me, I have been hearing it for the last couple of days. But what can I say? My baby needed me!)

My first thought as I started to pick myself off the ground was "My new Blackberry!" I could see that it had made it much further down the road then me and it was now it a couple of pieces. I did a fast inventory of my body, which still seemed to be in one piece and I scrambled to get my phone. If a car happened by that would be the ultimate end of the phone. I was lucky-only the battery cover had fallen off. It didn't even lose power but I had been disconnected.

After a couple of attempts (ever notice when you get disconnected then both parties try to connect again you keep crossing wires) I got back with my daughter and reassured her I was all right. I did a compete body check while talking to her-bloody knee, hurting spot on thigh, scraped elbow-all surface and superficial injuries. The bike except for the chain seemed ok. The car was unharmed.

We decided that I would continue on my way after saying good bye to her.

Now it is two days after the accident. i did get a nasty bruise and every morning I seem to wake up with more stiffness in more places. But nothing major. In a week I will be a good as new. My bike ended up with a jammed head set. Makes it hard to steer. I will take it to the bike shop this weekend.

And the crisis that my daughter needed me for? I saw her later that afternoon. She said that after she slept(she works night) the situtation didn't seem so major and she felt she over reacted and she could take care of it on her own. That is my independent baby! I am so proud of her! But never the less, my mother hormones are set to go off at a moment's notice. hopefully next time they won't take me to the back end of a car!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Friday Evening

Q and I went to Chattanooga Stands Party. at Create Here 26,0010 people were asked their opinion on what direction Chattanooga should take. Saw alot of people-not 26,001 though.

 During our little bike spin around afterwards, we noticed the full moon over the Chattanooga Choo Choo (that is the blurry sign)

We stopped to chat with the sign painter squeezing every bit of daylight possible out of the day to finish his work. Then off to dinner.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sunday Breakfast

We are having breakfast at the Blue Plate. In Chattanooga.if the word Blue is in the name, you know it is a good place to eat. We have just finished hearing the story from our wonderful waiter, Ben, of owner Rob Gentry, going to visit the Benton farm where their sausage, ham, and bacon comes from. The old farmer has been raising and smoking his pigs for years on his little farm. I like my food to be personalized and home

grown. There is very little else we do as personal as eating so I like to know who produces my food. And when I go out, I like to eat at places where the owner gets to know the producers for me. You know if they take the time to get to know where their food comes from, they will take the time to fix it well. Thanks, Rob. Always enjoy eating at your place! (And those sliders were Wonderful!)

But as I sit here on the patio I am looking out on the extreme other end of the eating experience I just described. Our beautiful Ross's Landing is the sight for the Krystal's Square Off. Something about these eating contests really disturbs me. Do you think that there is a connection of making a sport of stuffing our face until we puke and fast food?  Something has gone so seriously wrong here. 

But I don't want to dwell on that ugly thought on this beautiful day.  I did get a picture of Zac White, part of the bike stunt men that will be performing at the festivities Now that is cool!

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Saturday Morning

Often on Saturday mornings, Q and I go to BlueGrass Grill for breakfast. It seems to be the happening place. This is a family affair, the Rev. Jonas Worsham and his wife, Joan Marie with their children are there everyday (closed Sundays and Mondays) serving up the most wonderful breakfasts. Everything on their menu is good. I have tried them all and am now on a daily quiche run. But I always get one of their whole wheat biscuits. They are unique in Chattanooga and are the absolute best!

     This family run restaurant with a family style atmosphere is the only place in Chattanooga that gives you an option of sharing tables. It is a good idea or otherwise the line can go out the door. This is a popular and small place. Sharing tables is one way of getting everybody in at a faster pace.

     Q and I always opt to share tables. We started out as a way to help out Joan Marie and the gang with the crowd flow. But we have found it to be a great way of meeting interesting people. Interesting enough, most of these people are from out of town. How do these people find this place?

     We have met a homeschooling family from Indiana  whose business was translating bibles into Braille (the father was blind), a young couple from Atlanta who worked on an urban farm. Another young couple who ran a small business converting pictures into digital format (and I have to do that!)

     This morning we had breakfast with Christie Burns, Chattanooga’s Dulcimer Girl and her visiting friend from Bowling Green, KY, Tonya. Christie is a professional dulcimer play (yes, that is how she makes her living. Actually, Chattanooga has several professional dulcimer players. What does that say about us?) and Tonya is a building conservationist, which gave Q lots to talk to her about.

    An enjoyable breakfast all around. If you are in the Bluegrass Grill at a busy time, I would definitely recommend doing a table share.

    After breakfast, Q and I rode around Main Street to check out the progress of all the new developments and then cruised over to my studio. Riding this route between my studio and Main Street has enabled me to get friendly with the neighborhood residents. Here is Q talking with Quawe in front of the Islamic Center. Ride a bike to get to really know your world!