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Monday, October 25, 2010

Stubborn Snake!

     I had to be rescued the other day (Q would say there are many days I need rescue!)  I have a very cute lock that Molly, my fellow instructor gave me a while back. I don't know where she got it-it's definitely not something you would find in a bike store. Its probably the lightest weight bike lock you can have and still call using it locking your bike. But we don't have professional bike thieves around here (at least we didn't until recently, I will write about that soon), just thieves of opportunity so even a flimsy lock is of deterrence and this one is so cute. I am sure Mr. Snake scares all would be bike thieves.

My Viscious Bike Lock

   Of late, it has been harder and harder to unlock my lock and the day after the first rain we have had in over a month, I found myself locked to a fence unable to get myself unlocked.

  So who do I call?  Who do I know who can wrestle with an ornery snake and get it to open its jaws? Q, of course, and he showed up in short order with WD40 and if that didn't work, bolt cutters.

Luckily, one squirt of that magic solution and my little snake gave up all its fight. Its been opening easier than ever since. Thank goodness. I would miss my little snake friend if we had had to snip it to its demise.

Q, the snake handler

Monday, October 18, 2010

Parking Ticket

 I don't drive that often and rarely, hardly ever park downtown, so I guess I have an excuse for not knowing parking rules.  Because I had errands to run afterwards that necessitated the use of the car, I drove to breakfast at the Blue Plate.  I parked on River Front Parkway and totally ignored the parking meter.  It was Saturday.  There's free parking on Saturday, Right?  Wrong, as I found out when I returned.

   That's when things got really funny with me.  I found different parts of my self having very different reactions to this and it was quite uncomfortable  having this internal self squabble.  My driver self of course exerted itself fast and loud, "What the h...., Its free parking on Saturday.  I should get free parking.  This is ridiculous what I have to pay now, this is a trick by the city to reach into my pockets."

  Now, my alternative self had to work to get a word in," There is no reason to expect the city to subsidize my parking.  Willing to pay for my car's needs is all part of being a responsible car owner.  The fact that governments have subsidized not just parking but many aspects of car driving has produced many of the issues that we, as a society, have to deal with today. As a bike rider, I experience this everyday.   Now just pay your parking ticket and be quiet."

My car driving self- "It still feels like an injustice.  My expectation was I should get it free, so I think it is only right that I do get it free.  This is a travesty!"

   My Higher thinking self-  "Better pay it quick. That $11 fine  grows to gigantic amounts if it is not paid on time. Now just pay your parking ticket and be quiet."

It seems as though my car driving self got outvoted. I paid the fine.

Maybe the tension between bike riders and car drivers is just a bigger version of what went on inside me.  And maybe the results will be the same-one day.


Friday, October 15, 2010

Sunrise over the Tennessee River
  I have missed several Breakfast on the Bridge-blogging at least.  I haven't missed any to attend, so some Fridays my visits have been short and quick.    But I am here to catch you, dear reader, up with some images from the Brieakfast. 

Jeffry, a breakfast regular talking with an new resident-a new,Chattanooga resident and a new doctor resident.  I now know several doctors riding their bikes to the hospitals.  Can  I get my nurse daughter to do the same?

Preston Tyree of the League of Americn Bicyclists.  He was in town for the Pro Bike Pro Walk Convention in town and came by for breakfast.

Another gorgeous sunrise
Randy Larson looking dreamy on the bridge

Randy Larson's dreamy bike

Randy and his bike together, totally color coordinated

  Randy seldoms ride less then 100 miles at a time but this Friday he did a quick short ride (with his keds, no less) just to have breakfast with us.

As for this morning's breakfast, this was the picture for the day:

Q, ever quick thinking, with an unexpected cold and windy morning, modeling his makeshift windbreaker. Offering it to any bystanders taht was looking cold, he had no takers.  But several of us fought over his coat he was also sharing!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Moving Video

  Immediately after the wedding, my time was taken up with the ProBike ProWalk Convention.  This happened right here in Chattanooga and I got the feeling that many people were positively surprised by our city.  In fact many had said so.  Coming from places like Portland, Oregon, it was hard to imagine a small southern city would have anything of note going on in the biking/walking arena.

   At one of the sessions, given my our own Phil Pugiliese, this video was shown as a light hearted closer.  I put this movie together in a very quick mode.  I shot this of the bike move with the video recorder on my new phone.  To say I am not an experienced movie maker is an understatement and then putting it together was a true learning experience.  So excuse any rough spots.  With little skill or time, this is what I put together.
  So here it is-  THE BIKE MOVE, THE MOVIE

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

No Room For Bikes

  In the previous post I wrote about the neat bike rack that the city had installed in a parking place.  I went by it the other day and it was filled up with cycles-motorcycles, that is. That area is a favorite for motorscycle riders, and when their parking places filled up, I am sure  that bike rack just shouted motorcycle parking to them. 

   No room for bikes!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Wedding (rehearsal)

I haven't posted in a while.  Life seems to comes at ya sometimes like a steamroller and the past few weeks the steamroller has been coming!  A big part of the steam roller was my youngest daughter's wedding.  So that was decidedly a fun steamroller, but if you have been a part of planning a wedding, you  understand how it can take over your life.  This is a picture of me preparing to ride to the rehearsal and then dinner.  I didn't ask my YD if I could ride to the wedding,  I knew she would nix that in the bud.  But  she seemed resigned to the fact that I would be riding to the prewedding activities.  What an embarrassing burden I have been for my children!

    Q took the picture.  He came to pick me up at the DoubleTree Hotel  where the wedding party was staying. We are in the lobby and if you look through the window, you can see Q's bike parked outside.
My panda on the ride there.

Me on the ride to the dinner.  As we rode by these million dollar townhouses, a very stylish woman in a Mercedes  stopped to actually gush over me.  She was saying I was the picture of fashion forward style.  I always crack up when I get fashion compliments.  If they really knew!  But it tells shows how putting a dress on a bike makes the hohum cutting edge.  I am glad I do have that fashion trick!

And here is Q riding in his fashion forward style,

At Blue Waters/Big River we got to bike park in the new bike racks the city had installed.  The city actually took a parking place and put up this rack that is shaped like a car.  I had not realized that had been done so this was a wonderful surprise.

The evening was wonderful.  My family is used to my ways, but the rest of the wedding party did not know quite what to think.  A brother in town that I had not seen in 5 years was worried that I was riding from his hotel back to the DoubleTree late at night.  I had to convince him that this was par for me.  I did get back to the hotel at the same time the young people were getting back and they just stared at me as I glided in on my bike from the street and dismounted.  I could tell they didn't know how to react.

 Here is a picture of the bride and groom.  I won't post wedding pictures because they aren't part of any bike stories (to stay in theme with the blog) but if any readers are interested in seeing some pictures, go here

It was a great wedding!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Good bye, Cortney, We Will Miss You

 This Friday for Breakfast on the Bridge we had a littlest biker to come.  This is Henry. He is a little camera shy.  And he was busy.  
He stopped long enough to have some juice and muffin and then he was off again.

This weeks Breakfast was saying Good bye to Cortney, our Beautiful, Biking Ballerina.

 She is leaving us to go to Eugene, Oregon to study transportation. Yay, a biker getting into transportation planning!!!  Yay, Cortney is following her passion, to the eventual benefit for us all!!!   Boo, Cortney has to leave us. Eugene's gain is definately our loss.
In Cortney's short time here she was a strong force in coelising the biking community here. She started the Brews Cruise
She planned and led the our Jane's Roll Event, 3 Hoods, 3 Rides.  She is repeating this event for the  ProWalk ProBike convention next month (we are getting a bit of reprieve when she returns to do this)
And of course, it was just seeing Cortney in her classy presence on a bike.

She was serious about bike riding (and you should see the hill she lived on.  In this city of hills, in the part of town that is called Hill City, she had a heck of a hill to go up.  I would show a picture, except going up that hill, I was never able to think of taking a picture.).

  Yes, we will miss her, and we are hoping for her return.  Best Wishes, Cortney.  Come back to lead us on more bike advenures!

Friday, August 20, 2010

A View of Chattanooga.

  I am always fascinated by the impressions that visitors have of Chattanooga, and the impression of cycling visitors is of special interest to me.  I have written before the visit of Laura and Russ of PathLessPedaled.  They are the couple who gave up life as they know it to live on the road-the road on bicycles that is.

   Laura wrote yesterday of their impressions of Chattanooga:

    We found Chattanooga to be a really wonderful city with a “small town” feel. It’s an active city, with a city-sponsored focus on how many amazing outdoor activities are nearby. And it’s fairly easy to get around on a bicycle, as there are a lot of low-traffic side streets and a beautiful greenway that runs for many miles out of the city.
     Of course, when people say that Chattanooga is a “working” town, they’re absolutely correct, and this distinction colors everything that happens in the city. You spend time in Chattanooga and you can feel the work ethic that runs through the veins of the city. Even with all the recent progressive changes, it’s a definite Southern, old-money, conservative place (with a long history as such). But it’s also a city that’s not afraid to get its hands dirty, and Chattanooga has put itself to work transforming itself from the most polluted city in American to a gem of an outdoor recreation destination (Chattanooga is host to the highly successful Head of the Hooch Regatta, which now rivals the Head of the Charles).

  It sounds like they got a good impression of Chattanooga and got the nail on the head. But she framed this impression around another impression that we are envious of Asheville.  That caught me by surprise, and by the talk around here, it caught a lot of us by surprise.  Asheville?  I can't say that we talk about Asheville often and as far as I know, it is all positive.  A getaway to Asheville is considered a nice thing indeed.  But wanting to BE Asheville.  I don't think so.  We do talk about become the Boulder of the East, but as far as I can tell, it has not been expressed that we are trying to be Asheville.  Jim Johnson posted a wonderful reply to that impression.  Mostly, I think we are fashioning ourselves with waht we have-a unique mixture of southern conservatism and progressiveness.  We are following our own path into the future.  We might take our clues at times from other cities but the expression is always our own.  So much so, I know that other cities come to study how Chattanooga has done what it has done and how to emulate it. 

  But over all, I think Laura and Russ enjoyed their time here and we enjoyed having them.  They are getting to a lot of towns and I am sure they have learned how to read them. I find reading about their observations and experiences immensely interesting. I am glad we were part of it.

    To read their compete post go here

Breakfast on the Bridge Friday

It was a beautiful day for Breakfast on the Bridge today.  The air had a hint of chill to it.  How long has it been since that has happened?  Is our long hot summer drawing to a close?  The beautiful weather brought out  lots of bikes and people to enjoy the walking bridge and breakfast.

   The view was exceptional this morning.  The reflection of the Market Street Bridge  was clear and sharp upon the smooth as glass  river .
     And there was an interesting cloud formation over Lookout Mountain. Keith, a breakfast attendee, identified it as a lenticular cloud formation.  Lenticular clouds are called that because they are shaped like a lens.  It is theorized that many UFOs  sightings are actually lenticular cloud formations. 

What a treat to be in a spot to take notice of such things.  Thanks, Keith, for pointing me into the direction of more information.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Moving Lisa by Bike

  When Q heard that Lisa needed to move to a new apartment, he was immediately inspired to offer to move her by bike.  But who could blame her for being dubious?  Q convinced her he could pull it off, but then he had to convince others to join his moving crew.  It was, as our Lady Jane friend called, a hard sell.  But I have written before how stubborn Q can be and eventually he had rounded up a crew of 5 movers, strong riders all with trailers.  These movers found that saying no to Q wasn't an option!

  So early Saturday morning, in the fruitless effort to avoid the heat, they gathered and  moved.  This was the ideal bike move-the distance between the two places was only about a mile and a half, there didn't seem to be any hills (but of course on a heavily loaded bicycle, the hills appeared!) and while there were big items, the over all amount was modest.  It took five movers three trips to do it all.

  Watch the slideshow to see the fun!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Breakfast on the Bridge Goes To the Dogs!

Last week the Walnut Street Bridge was opened to the dogs.  It has been opened before but the failure of dog owners to pick up after their dogs and to keep them under control resulted them getting banned.  But local dog lovers have been working hard in educating dog owners and working with city officials, so it was decided to give it a try again.
So for Breakfast on the Bridge we had several dog visitors.  Next week we will have doggie treats to hand out and bowls for water.  We don't want to leave anyone out!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Yelled At-By a Cop!

  I was riding to my weekly Pilates lesson out towards Lee Highway ( have writtean about this bike route here) and I was emerging from the Wilcox Blvd. Tunnel, I heard a "Get off the Road!"  A familiar enough, sad to say, yell.  But I looked over to the oncoming traffic lane to see who was yelling and discovered it was a police officer in his official police car.

  I am used to being yelled at but I was taken aback that a cop would do the yelling.  We have cops on bicycles, for goodness sakes!  But this was a little out of the city center and I was coming out of the Wilcox Tunnel.  As I have said before,  cyclists are a rare sight out there and the environment is not extremely bike friendly, but that is no excuse for the officer to yell at me.  I was totally within the law.
   It is disappointing, when trying to advance  the acceptance of bikes, a city official acts in such a way.  I didn't get a chance to identify who he was, otherwise I would make a complaint.  Who knows if the other drivers  around heard him.  How many will be taking their cues from hearing that cop yelling at me to get off the road?

Monday, July 26, 2010

More Bike Racks

Speaking of Bike Racks, Russ of the Path Less Pedaled captured Q as he was installing the bike racks at Stone Cup.  Stone Cup, which attracts many cyclists was in dire need and Q had been working with David, the owner, about getting new racks. 

  I love this picture of Q.  Russ, with a true photographer eye, caught the essence of Q, the bike rack man!

  And these are the bike racks installed.  I am loving these artistic racks!

Thanks, Q!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Bicycle Bike Racks

The Q-man has taken it upon himself to get more bike parking in Chattanooga. The city and businesses have been very slow about providing bike racks in sufficent quantiy and quality to accomadate the ever growing number of bike riders.

This was where bikes were parked on the outside of Q's daughter apartment building. Q set his sights on remedinying that and after meeting several times with the apartment building manager, new bike racks were installed. Here is Q doing the installing

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New Picture

 I have been meaning to get a new blog picture of myself.  The picture I have up is a picture taken of my with my bike (though the bike really isn't evident in this cut) for a public service announcement that Chattanooga was doing  to encourage to get moving.  Different active people were photographed and then put up on billboards and buses with the admonishment to Just Get Moving".  I was the biking person and I saw my picture going by on the bus for several years.

  So obviously the picture was out dated and I needed a new one.  Since I let my hair go gray I felt this picture was a bit misleading.  But I liked it. I don't have many pictures-or at least good ones-taken of me so I hated to change it.  I happened to see Trisha's picture on LGRAB at the same time that Russ and Laura of  PathLessPedaled came into town.  What a serendipitous moment!  I would get Russ to take pictures of me with my bike for the blog. 

  So Russ and I met early Tuesday morning to get some pictures and I think I definitely got some to take the place of the currant one.

  Thanks, Russ, for helping me update my blog picture.  Happy travels to you and Laura!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Entitlement Thinking, Do You Think?

  Cortney, our BBB (beautiful biking ballerina) told her story at Breakfast on the Bridge this morning about being sideswiped by a car.  Neither she or her bike was damaged and the driver of the car stopped and started apologizing profusely.  Cortney, though shaken tried to get in the state of mind thta would turn this into a teachable moment for the driver in an ever so kindly way.

   So, in her kind and gentle way, Cortney led her in an conversation about what happened.  While the driver admitted fault, by way of explaination stated that she thought Cortney would pull over to let her by.  Cortney asked if she had done anything that indicated that she was about to pull over and and driver admitted, no she had not.  But she assumed it anyway.

   Cortney did explain that the lane was too narrow for a car to pass safely without going into the next lane.  In retrospect, she wishes that she had called the police and had her cited for violating the Three Fool Law. 

   But I thought it was a telling thought process for the driver to say she assumed Cortney was going to pull over.  Why?  Because a car was coming by.  The driver had more rights because she was in a car?  Getting drivers to reflect on their grandiose sense of entitlement is a major feat.

   There was a letter to the editor in the paper recently lamenting one Chattanooga's few bike lanes in St. Elmo.  The writer lived on the street was was greatly upset that she was not allowed to park in the bike lane or the sidewalk.  She actually had the audaciaty (don't they think at all?)  to ask "do bikers need a place on the road?  And do strollers need a place on the sidewalk?"  She, with no ironly whatsoever truly, thought that other modes of transportation-biking and walking, should be impeded so she could PARK her vehicle.  How do we get these people to do some self reflection on what they are truly saying...and expecting. 

    I know this is America, and Chattanooga is in the South and the car culture is greatly entrenched.  But even in this culture, isn't there even a little bit of sense that being in a car does not grant the driver greater rights and protection then those out of the car?

  I am glad that Cortney is all right and hopefully that driver will be driving with a bit more awareness.  And as to the writer of that letter, I hope she gets a ticket every time she parks in the bike lane or sidewalk.

Monday, July 19, 2010

6 Bridge Route

This is my entry for the last phase of the summer Games for LGRB.  I combined two events into one-I know that is a point loser but hopefully it won't disqualify me.  I took the long ride to work and rode on our greenway to do it.

   Any time I take the long way around to something it usually includes the RiverWalk.  It just is a nice way to go.

   My starting point for this ride was the Y  Here is my bike at the bike rack (that Q installed).

I turned right instead of left out of the Y.  It is a straight 2 mile shot from the Y to my studio.  Today I am going a big loop around.

Turning from 6th Street, right onto MLK and then right onto RiverFront Parkway.

Under the Olgati Bridge. I never mention this bridge because Interstate 27 goes over it and I don't ride my bike on it.  So getting underneath it is the only way to experience it on my bike.

 Here I am approaching the Market Street (John Ross) Bridge.  This picture was taken as the lanes were reduced from 4 to 2.  As you can see, traffic is very light, lanes are wide and until this point there were multiple lanes.  It is strange that on this street I was agressively honked and yelled at not once but twice.  I wasn't on it longer then 3 minutes.  It is hard to predict when drivers are going to take strong exception to you being on the road with them.

Under the Market Street Bridge.

Under the Walnut Street Bridge.  I am usually writing about crossing the top of the bridge.  It is rare view to see it from below.

This is the glass pedestrian bridge  I wanted to take a picture as somebody was crossing it, but  traffic was light and nobody came over while I was crossing.

This is crossing a bridge by crossing a bridge.  I am now on the Riverwalk on the bridge over looking the Veterans Bridge.

The RiverWalk. I just went on a little bit of it, up to UTC.  If I had time I  would have gone furthur, at least up to Wilcox and have continued to work that way.
Going through UTC I went up Vine Street instead of Oak. Oak is really nicer but I enjoy going down Vine everyonce in a while.  Oak Street looks pretty much as it did when I went to school there so many years ago, but Vine seems to be always changing with new buildings.  This view didn't exist 30 years ago.

Then I continued on to work in my usual way over the McCallie viaduct.  My camaera had died so I couldn[t take a picture of that bridge.  All in all, I went under, or over 5 bridges on this route to work-and never crossed the river!

Saturday, July 17, 2010


  Imagine selling everything you own, setting out on your bikes, with only your trade of jewelry making and photography to support yourself for an adventure of a life time.  This is exactly what Russ and Laura did a year ago and have been on the road ever since.  They rolled in Chattanooga Thursday for a week of exploration.

    They headed out from Portland, Oregon a year ago and have been meandering every since.  They don't have firm plans set and take suggestions from oneplace as to where they should go next.  They were in Nashville when they were told to come to Chattanooga.  I don't know exactly who mentioned CKhattanooga, but looking at the Nashville people Russ and Laura talked about I know Dan Hensley of Nashville Bicycle Lounge and Tricia  of Let's Go Ride A Bike fame.(though I haven't actually met her in person)

  This is their trip so far  
View Larger Map

  So who are these people?  To read more about them go to Path Less Pedaled.  Chattanooga was treated to a presentation Thursday night at Outdoor Chattanooga to hear their story.  There was less then a day notice to arrange and publicise their presentation but there was a good size and very interested crowd that showed up.

   A small group of us took them to dinner at Taco Mamacita's for Mex fusion food.  Russ and Laura are a delightful and down to earth couple.  To live such a lifestyle, going with the flow is a valued attribue and they seemed to have just the right amount of mellowness.    But on the other hand, to live a life where you don't know from one night to the next, where you will be sleeping and always seeing new places and meeting new people requires an alertness and sharpness that is often lost in living the same ole same ole.  After a year on the road, Russ and Laura seemed to have gotten those two contrasting attributes of mellowness and sharpness about right. 

   They love the quiet touring where it is just the two of them, rarely talking to others, and they then look forward to the constant socialization of city stays.  It does sound they get the both of both worlds.

  Talking to them does light those adventure fires that are always smoldering deep within.  Maybe it is time to  Sub 24 hour overnight trips (S24O).  I used to do those occasionally, long before there was a name for them, but it has been a long time since I have done them.  Time to hit the road again, I think.  Russ and Laura might be leaving behind a trail of inspired bike tourers in their path.  What fun!