Yesterday's posts was all about being in a car too much. Today's post is about having a bike heavy day-though I would not call it as being on a bike too much.
Day-to-day my riding is to work and back. Things come up that take me elsewhere but mostly i stay downtown with limited miles. Occasionally though I get big bike days and I am off everywhere and the miles rack up. Last Wednesday was a day like that.
I have written about going out to the Lee Highway area. This trip has turned into a regular thing as I go out there for a weekly Pilates session. So that is just what I was doing last Wednesday. The more I go that route the more comfortable I am with it although the tunnel will never be a nice thing. I went through it today also and I was honked at. I knew having all the drivers being courterous wouldn't last. But over all I have adjusted and settled in the ride.
But last Wednesday was also the Ride Of Silence. I didn't know how many riders would show up. Last year was the first year for it and it was inresponse to the death of David Meek. We were still in shock over his tragic death and the ride with over 200 riders was very moving and healing.
This year didn't have that immediate feel. Happily, there was not a bike death this past year so I was not sure how well the ride would be attended. A large group did show up-estimated to be over 100. I have been talking about our emerging bike community here in Chattanooga and I think the attendence at this Ride of Silence is another strong indicator of our growth.
The after party was held at Moccasin Bend Brewery in St. Elmo, hosted by Q. He had taken goodies to eat by bike trailer before the ride and participants of the ride came and shared a beer in memory. After the long day, I still had to ride home.
By the end of the day, I had ridden 50 miles-and all without bike shorts. Long hours on a bike is always preferable to long hours in a car. I am so glad my life has developed in a way I can take care of business, go to work, and socialize all on a bike. Wouldn't have it any other way!
This past weekend was an extensively heavy car riding time. I had to go out to Memphis Saturday- out and back and then Sunday was a trip to Nashville. Total over the weekend I spent over 17 hours in the car-and not one minute on the bike.
So how did I feel? By Sunday night I was feeling stiff, slow, and heavy. Monday morning I weighed myself and I had gained 2 pounds! Is this what car riding does to a person?
Granted, this was a very unusual weekend and very few people ride cars that much on a regular basis. (My brother is a truck driver and I do think of him though) But it did have me reflecting on how we transport ourselves shapes our lives and our bodies. Because I rarely ride in cars, I could feel the effect it was having on me. And because I ride bikes so much, I don't notice the effect it has on a day to day basis. It just is. But I know it does
. People who know nothing but car driving are probably very unaware of what it is doing to themselves-but doing it does. Studies have found there is a correlation to the number of hours in a car and weight gain. From my experiece as a Pilates instructor, I would suggest there is a direct correlation of car riding and the level of basic physical functioning. But because this is on going and so common, very few think of it when they are trying to figure out why they are so stiff, slow and heavy. If people are looking to change, extra lifestyle bits are added to what is already a full and hectic schedule. A proscribed diet or exercise done outside of any connection to any aspect to day to day life are the best things to add. Of course, just look at ads that are trying to get us beleive that adding a very high priced bit will change the effects of all all day-to-day lifestyle choices.
I am grateful that I have the ability to drive where I need to go. While I did not like the driving part, taking the trips to Memphis and Nashville were valuable to me. I am glad I was able to do it.
But I am especially grateful to being able to come home after all that car travel and get on a bike. I love how biking shapes my life-and my body. And it does it without me having to think of it. I get on the bike because I need to get to work. The bike takes care of all the rest. How simple is that?
The inspiring ladies, Dottie and Tricia of the blog Let's Go Ride A Bike is sponsoring Summer Biking Games with GREAT prizes. This contest has nothing to do with how fast or how far you ride your bike. They are not encouraging more spandex wear or arduous training schedule. Its all about getting on the bike and having fun!
Until June 6 is is about Social Biking. My favorite event is dressing up and going on a Bike Date. I might be disqualified because this occured before the official starting date but I will have to enter my Biking To The Ballet, It was the dressiest yet I have been on the bike.
I will attempt to compete in the Ride With Family event. I better start asking my kids. My son did do the ride Tour De Brews (which I WILL blog about soon) with me, but again that was outside the dates and I didn't get pictures. I should be able to get him to come with me again on something. But the real coup would be to get a daughter. My oldest has been spotted on a bike but the youngest daughter on the bike is a rare site indeed. Think I am up for it?
OF course I have the Group Ride in the bag, just deciding which one to enter.
This should be fun. I encourage everyone reading this to join in the action. Go to Let's Go Ride A Bike pick out your event, get on your bike and GO!
Speaking of coffee, this is one of those posts that I have been slow to getting around to. At the 3 State 3 Moutain Challenge, I had a nice visit with Kevin Price of Blue Smoke Coffee who was giving the coffee away at the Greenlife tent. I was there at 6:00am helping to check riders in and I NEEDED MY COFFEE
So I was a frequent visitor to the tent and ended up having a great conversation with Kevin. I had met him before at Greenlife when he was stocking the shelf with his wares. (That is one of the things I like about Greenlife, you often actually run into the people behind the products. Hope that doesn't change as it morphs into Whole Foods)
There is something about bikes and coffee-a natural affinity of sorts. Blue Smoke Rostery is Chattanooga local but thinks globally with a sustainable and very generous spirit. He uses fair trade,organic, shade grown coffee that he roasts in a carbon neutral roaster using green renewable energy. And if that isn't enough to have credentials as a responsible, caring business, he gives 5% of sales to environmental and humanitarian causes. And of course, most interesting for this blog's topic, he makes his local and post office deliveries by bike.
I have been drinking his coffee since I ran into him around Christmas. About that time the the source of my morning coffee, the Deli next door to my studio closed and I have had to start making my own. While nothing can beat having ole man Joe hand deliver my coffee to me every morning, that smell of fresh brewed Blue Smoke Coffee has given my mornings such a wonderful perk that I am glad for the opportunity to get back into my own brewed coffee.
If you are interested in great coffee, check out Blue Smoke Coffee. You can get it in Chattanooga at Greenlife or order it directly. Kevin will bike to the post office himself to send it on its way to you.
Breakfast on the bridge is always interesting. This morning though had a tragic aspect to it as those of us on the Walnut Street Bridge were witness to the aftermath of a suicide jump from the Market Street Bridge. We watched as she and would be rescuers were pulled out of the river. While it was dramatic, the sense of sadness is great. I don't know who she was and what was her story, but my heart goes out to the woman and her family. This kind of interesting we can do without.
On the lighter side, we are always inviting people as they go by to stop for coffee. Reactions are greatly varied, with some people stopping and others not. This guy though immediately perked up and stopped at the mention of coffee.
It turns out to be Andrew Gage, who is starting up a coffee roastery in the business development center. His coffee, which he is calling Velo Coffee, will be sold in Greenlife starting next week. And as you can tell from the name, he is an avid cyclist and hopes to start a coffee delivery service by bike. He has offered to supply some coffee for our breakfast. How wonderful! So people, come out next Friday for a taste of Velo Coffee!
Of course, any landmark event deserves an after party to celebrate. Big River Grille (don't be fooled by their website. They may have grown but Big River is Chattanooga, born and bred) came through for us.
Trek brought displays for the pool table!
Melissa Taylor, Chattanooga'sTransportation Planning Leader, and Phil Pugliese, Chattanooga's Bike Director
Sondra Aten of Collective Clothing and Ruth Thompson of Outdoor Chattanooga
Fellow Models- The Stone Cup Gang- Laura, Rusty and Stacy
Two more who have been known to show style on the bike, Patrick Hall and the Lady Jane
The rains came and went, leaving us undecided whether to have it indoors or outdoors. At show time, it was looking clear enough to have it outside.
This was another event just this month that was new for Chattanooga and proof of a coelescing biking community. And it is fashionable! This was our humble entry in the world wide movement of fashion on bikes. Personally, since I am NOT the fashion diva, I would not have put the fashion on bikes. But Cameron, the photographer, has been following this movement for a while and has been documenting the fashion scene here in Chattanooga for about a year now. I was not even aware of how people were finding themselves fashionable on bikes until Cameron took note.
Cameron matching up with Sondra was pure genius. Sondra is eclectic, idiocentric and totally original in her fashion style and Collective Clothing is a FUN place to shop. And the two of them together wanted to a join up with the biking scene.
A call went out for models. It turned out there were more people into fashion willing to get on bikes then those on bikes willing to get into fashion. Many of the models had not been on a bicycle since childhood which made for some wobbly riding. But I think they had fun and I know at least one that was inspired to go out and get a bicycle.
As for me? What I was doing in the show? The biking connection was obvious, the fashion connection was not. And I was over the age of twenty (by a great, great deal!) Thanks, Blythe(who has been known to show style on the bike) and Rebecca for helping to bridge that large age gap-and for being fellow bikers. For a while, I thought I was going to be the odd man out.
Reba rocking it!
Here I am after Darin of Elea Blake worked on me. This is the pre show shot. I actually wore a different outfit in the show. I hope to get more pictures and I will post those. Hopefully, there are pictures floating around on our bikes.
The night before the 3 State 3 Mountain was the Bike Expo. Q and I went there after our Lookout Mountain Adventure (I will get around to blogging about it) and spent time visiting friends and vendors. I was slated to do some volunteering for the event the next morning so this stop was purely social.
We parked our bikes next to one another and up against the fence. When we were leaving, I had to fight my derailleur out of his pedal. I pushed off and away we went. but It took just rounding the corner to discover that something had gone seriously wrong. Absolutely no rear shifting. Something must have happened in that little bike tangle.
What a nuisance! But, on the other hand, there could not be a better place to have a bike malfunction. So back to the Expo. And I knew exactly who would fix me up.
Owen's Cycles have a booth every year at the 3 State 3 Mountain Expo and they have honed anticipating what cyclist about to do a major ride might need. They are indeed a busy booth! I was hoping, though, not too busy, that Eric of Owen's couldn't take some to help me out.
I have been going to Owen's since getting my first "10 speed" from there way back when I was in high school ( and we are NOT counting the years!) and have over the years bought many bikes from them. Eric has been an owner for a few years now and has continued the quality of service Owen's is known for.
OF course, I also love Owen's because they have been a big supporter of our Bike2Work, going on for many years now.
So, with all that, I knew Eric would help me out. And he so kindly did. He diagnosed a broken cable and quickly replaced it. He also tightened up my brakes and lubed my chain (i know, I know, maintance is not my strong point and I am late for my maintance check up)
So in no time at all, Q and I were back on the road.
Stopping at a stoplight in East Ridge coming back from the dentist. The window of the car next to me rolled down to reveal two young african-american women. "How old are you?" the one in the passenger seat asked. "52" I admitted. "Wow, you are looking good!!!" She looked as though she knew a thing or two about looking good. I was given the thumbs up as they drive off.
Its always nice to get a thumbs up and as I get older, the unexpected "You look good!" becomes extra sweet. And maybe, I planted a seed for the idea of looking good and bike riding in their minds.
I am way behind on my biking posts. This is National Biking Month and I have been so busy doing biking events and just riding around I haven't had time to actually blog about them.
I will be trying to catch up and will be doing my stories as I have time. They won't be in particular order as I will do the simple and shorter stories first.
Last Saturday, Q and I went to the ballet to see our BBB (beautiful biking ballerina) friend, Cortney in in last performance in Chattanooga. She will be leaving us, for what we are hoping only for a short time, to go to Oregon to continue her education in getting a degrree in Transportation. To say she bikes is an understatement-she is making it her life and is angling to work from the inside to promote biking. Yay to Cortney!
Of course, to honor Cortney, we wanted to ride to her ballet. We had our doubts because it had been threatening to rain all weekend (this is the weekend of the Nashville disastor. Because the rain front stalled over Nashville, Chattanooga was spared. It is hard to rejoice on how our biking events weren't rained on when Nashville was hit so hard).
But as it wasn't actually raining at decision time we decided to risk it. We took precautions though. You can see that I have my panniers filled with raingear-totally ready for the monsoon that did not come.
As it was sprinking when Q was preparing to leave, he threw on some rain pants, probably thiking that sitting through a ballet in wet pants would not be fun. He whipped them off when we arrived, to the obvious shock to the elderly couple that was walking by at that moment. It did look as though he was preparing to moon them!
The ballet was wonderful and Cortney danced beautifully. So yes, you can get dressed nicely to go to a formal event and ride bikes. And Cortney is just the one to appreciate that fact!
Bad news just in! I have talked many times in this blog of Chattanooga's local grocery store, Greenlife. Greenlife is often compared to WholeFoods but, for me, it is much, much better. It was local store with deep roots in this area. Owner Chuck Pruett is a Chattanoogan with long family ties to the grocery business. Many of the vendors were local and I became personally familiar to many of them, meeting them as they were bringing in their goods to the store or out in the community. Greenlife was for me a Chattanooga symbol of our version of sustainable, healthy, food system. I LOVE Greenlife and shopping there is an important element of my sustainable, biking lifestyle that I have been creating for myself.
The bad news? Greenlife has been sold to WHOLEFOODS!?!! NO, NO, NO.... Chuck, how could you? I hate to begrudge you of what I am sure is a wonderful business opportunity. Your vision and hard work deserves whatever compensation that comes your way. But...but...wasn't there any other way?
Youwere successful beyond your dreams in making Greenlife part of the essence of Chattanooga. At least what I considered an essence and I know I am not the only one. While I will shop at Wholefoods (it still is the easiest place for me to shop by bike) it won't be like home that I considered Greenlife.
Forgive me for reacting as though a death had occurred. Because for me it has.
I started riding my bike as my primary form of transportation because I love riding bikes. Add in all the wonderful benefits- you know the drill-exercise, money saving, pollution free, oil free, and all the other great things, it just seemed a reasonable choice.
But what I had not anticipated was how different life would look mounted on top of a bike verses looking out of a rolling metal box. The places I go, the people I meet, the things I see are so different. And I love it all.
This is a record of my adventures!