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Monday, June 28, 2010

Summer Games Round II

  This is my entry for the second round of the Summer Games at Lets Go Ride A Bike.  The first event I chose for myself was carrying a load, something I do it all the time.  I am ever amazing myself and others on how much I can carry on a bike.  I often go shopping without that very crucial question that bike riders should always have-how exactly am I getting this home?  When I make it out to the bike with my purchases, reality hits me, as though the bike was a complete surprise.  But I found with a little bit of ingenuity that I can fit it all and even ride it home.
  These pictures are from a typical Sunday shopping trip.  First a trip to the Chattanooga Market to get my produce, then a trip to Greenlife for all other grocery needs.  Usually that overloads me to beyond capacity.  But on this trip home, I by passed the 2 Bridges Art Festival and I was taken by the bright, big and cheerful flower.  My little garden corner is shaded and dark and it is hard to have colorful flowers. I thought this would brighten things up.

  Of course, I committed to buy it before I had a plan of getting it home.  No problem.  The stem went between me and my backpack.  I was quite the picture it seems, because several of the vendors stopped me to take their own picture of me.

Carrying Flower Home
"Planted" in my garden

For my second event, I had every intention of doing a maintance task but I didn't get around to it.  I am ashamed to admit that doing maintance on my bike is an extremely rare event.  I keep regular dates at Suck Creek Cycle for the guys there to keep me running but rarely do any on my own.  So while I have done enough to know I am perfectly capable, it just is not a thing that comes naturally to me. 

  So under pressure to get something done, I reached for something that does come naturally-reading.  I read Bicycle Diaries by David Byrne(Q, I bet you didn't notice that I had taken your copy)  Q had read it and greatly enjoyed it-telling me choice bits from the book.  He had forbidden me from reading it until he had had finished with it because he didn't want me ruining it for him with me telling him those choice bits of othe book.  While the book felt familiar because of this exposure, there were still delightful surprises for me to discover on my own.  A very enjoyable read.


Friday, June 25, 2010

Boycott BP?

  People seem to be upset, as they should be, about the oil spill in the Gulf.  That is a disastor of immense magnitude.  But I have to admit, I am not getting this reaction of supporting a boycott of BP. What is that?  How is going to another dealer for our oil addiction going to help anything?  All the oil companies have their hands dirty with environmental sins.   Making other oil companies more profitable at the expense of BP does nothing except making the high risk oil drilling more appealing to those who stand to grandly benefit from it.

   Where are the calls for lowering oil consumption? BP is the face right now of our oil bloated selves.  Calling for a boycott but with no reduction of consumption is like trying to starve the face while feeding the body.  How is this oil suppose to get to us?  Some magical IV that delivers oil to our systems while by passing the producers of oil?  Get real.  We and BP and the rest of the oil companies are in this together.  If we want oil companies to change their ways, we must change our ways.  If we are upset with the profits oil companies are making and the risks they are taking in making those profits, the solution is pretty straight forward-go on an oil diet.  Not a crash diet with little long lasting affect, like we did in the 70's during the oil shortage. But real lifestyle changes, the kind that have long lasting affects.

   If we all put the effort of reducing our oil use just 10%, that would start changing things.  We can drive 10% less.  Buy 10% less producsts that use petroleum.  Reduce the use of plastics.  Just 10%. That will send a message to BP, the other oil companies, Washington and whoever else.  We need everyone on board to get the oil companies more responsible, to get Washington more supportive about helping us find alternatives, and to produce real change in our habits.

   Forget boycotting BP.  Just using a little less does a lot more. So go out there and get on a bike, for goodness sakes!

B on B People and Bikes

It was a great crowd for breakfast on the bridge today.  A lot of new faces and faces that we haven't seen since last year.  This is Will, who walks to his job as a courier everyday.  He lost an amazing amount of weight when he started his transportation walking and has kept it off for 8 years.

Zac of the Main Street Bike Co-op came by today

Breakfast regular, Holly. Cool hat, Holly!

It was Chris's first time. He did a quick u-turn with his bike at the offer of coffee.

And the bike he was riding?

Gas powered.  He found the bike in the trash, rescued it and outfitted it with a conversion kit. A little noisy for my taste, but very effective.  He uses it to pull a trailor of kids through these Chattanooga hills.

This was a pretty little bike.  It is a Sears bike, like I had as a kid. Ha, it brings back my earliest biking memories!

An extenda bike

Over all, we had an interesting mix of people and bikes this morning.
Hoping your morning was as nice as morning on the bridge!


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Wayback Treat

Although I don't often actually attend Riverbend, during the week it is going on,  it still dominates on the horizon.  There is no escaping from it.  But that is not a bad thing, especially when Riverbend comes to me.  As part of Riverbend Eat and Greet program, the band Waybacks from San Francisco came to do a few numbers at Greenlife.  I made sure my weekly shopping trip coincided with the miniconcert.  It was as hot as blazes, but that didn't stop the crowd from enjoying themselves. 

  Here are a few pictures of the event:

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Riverbend Parking

  For the last few years, there has been bike valet parking at Riverbend.  I volunteered on Saturday but I did go by and visit on Friday.  Since going by the parking site is on my way home, I guess I will be going by it every night of Riverbend, unless I am actually doing more volunteering at it.

Sydney, Chase and Jennifer are waiting for the bikes.  It is still early, so only a few bikes have come, but they will be coming.  Saturday we were filled to capacity with almost 125 bikes coming in to be parked.

The bikes are coming!

Sunset over the aquarium

Q taking in bikes
The littlest biker (don't worry, he does have a helmet)

   It was good seeing all the people riding their bikes to the festival.  Why wouldn't they?  They got the best parking of all and the use of a clean port-a-potty without a line.  Riding the bike is truly the easiest way of getting in and out of Riverbend-except for fireworks night.  That night the Walnut Street Bridge will be closed, so I don't even plan on coming to the south side of the river.  But until then,  I will be coming around.  Maybe I will actually go into Riverbend.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Birthday Visitor

Chattanooga seems to be attracting more visitors who get out on their bikes lately.  Sometimes, by living here and being aware of all our warts and blemishes, it is hard to appreciate how bike friendly our downtown area appears to out-of-towners.  But bike friendly it must appear because I keep meeting people from other places on their bikes.

  Last weekend, as I was coming down Frazier towards my turn on Tremont, I saw up ahead a trio of cyclists making the same turn.  They grabbed my attention.  Its hard to say why-could it be the balloon attached to the back of one bike?  Maybe, but I sensed they weren't from around these parts.  I don't know why, because I don't claim to know or even be familiar with everyone that rides bikes in these parts.

   I tried to catch up with them but couldn't and I was thinking my curiosity would not be fed.  But then I saw them get off their bikes to push them up Tremont.  That hill must have caught them unawares.  Another sign they weren't from around here.

  When I crested that hill, I saw them on the other side of the intersection inspecting a piece of paper.  Ah ha!  A map!  I was not mistaken on that "Where are we?" air about them.  As I was interested in meeting them, this was an excuse to start the conversation going. So I asked if I could help them find something.

    It turns out they were looking for Riverview Park.  Oh, no, they climbed that hill for nothing! And it was very hot and humid.  Welcome to Tennesee!

    Riverview Park is down the hill on the other side of Hixson Pike.  They were visiting from Virginia to see friends.  The balloon bike?  It was her birthday and her bike had been decorated in celebration.  If she was competing in the Summer Games of LGRAB, this would certainly qualify in decorate the bike event.  My picture does not do justice to the full effect of the bike.  Trust me, it was quite festive.

  I neglected to get their names (sometimes I forget to ask the most basic questions) I hope they found Riverview Park, had a wonderful visit, and the birthday girl had a marvelous special day!

B on B Friday

  Another Friday, another Breakfast on the Bridge.  The breakfast seems to attract out-of-towners.  Many of the people crossing the bridge in the mornings are intense.  They are intent on getting to work, intent on their exercise, or just intent on not getting mixed up with that crazy looking bunch on the bridge.

  But people from out of town are more relaxed.  If they are coming over the bridge typically they are in exploration mode and always seem pleasantly surprised to be invited for coffee by complete strangers.

   This is Rob, and oh no, I am forgetting his wife's name. (sorry, if you are reading this, please forgive me; my memory is not what it used to be).  But I do remember they were from Kentucky and were on their way to St. Simon.  Chattanooga was an overnight stop and though they didn"t get in to the city till after midnight, they were up early for an exploratory bike ride. 

  Visitors from Kentucky, I hope you had a pleasant visit in Chattanooga.  Come back soon!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

I Won!

I just got the word from LJ, I was a winner in the first Round of the Lets Go Ride A Bike Summer Games.  Hayy!!  I won a Terry bike skort and halter top.  I love Terry stuff and I will be looking forward to wearing these!  Thank you, Dottie and Trisha of LGRAB.  Now on  to round II!

Comedy Catch Date Night

Yesterday I blogged my entry for the 'Lets Go Ride A Bike" Summer Olympics.  One of the entries was date night.  Since the Lady Jane is also doing this contest, I thought it would be fun doing the date night togetherand with a friend competing in the Comedy Catch Talent Search we had a perfect place to go.
To get to the Comedy Catch, we had to go through the Brainerd Tunnels, which was the first for both the Lady J and her J.  Both Q and I have ridden in the tunnel before but not very often.  Tunnels can be tricky, and the Brainerd Tunnel is long and during working hours can be very busy.  But is has two unidirectinal lanes in each tunnel and for the night, it was clear.  We didn't have any problems, coming or going.
 There were no bike racks or any indications that people ever parked the bikes in the area, so we  found handy poles to lock up to.  By the time we got there, the humidity and the long hill up to the tunnel made us ready for cold drinks.  LJ's frozen margaritas were looking might good.
  We had a great time.  My friend, Barb Neligan, was great.  She started the evening by getting the laughter rolling and we were laughing all night.  I don't go to Comedy Clubs but I think I will have to start.  I don't know when i have laughed so much.
This is me, Barb and my son Matthew, who DID NOT ride.  By refusing to do so, I was not able to pull out a family ride at the last moment for the LGRAB contest.

  To read the Lady Jane's story of the night go here

Monday, June 7, 2010

I only got two entries for this round of Olympic Games.  I  never could get my daughters or son to ride with me.  They kept giving my excuses about their bikes not working or tire rot or something like that.
 But I did get a group ride entry and a date night entry.

   I am counting the Brews Cruise as my group ride entry. For my date night, the lady Jane and I with our J's and Q's rode our bikes to the Comedy Catch.  I will write about it more fully later.

  Now on to the next round!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Soccer Games, Bells, Routes and Meeting People

Meg and Kelly
Originally uploaded by donolmt
Here are Meg and Kelly. I met them Saturday as we were all heading to the soccer game. Chattanooga recently has formed a semi-professional soccer team and tonight was an Exhibition game with Mexico. Chattanooga has joined in the world's game and at a pretty impressive level. Not only were they able to draw a big crowd to the game but they actually beat the Mexican team.

Riding to the game I found myself crossing the bridge all at the same time with other riders. When there was a regroup with a couple of them at the stop light we introduced ourselves. Meg and Kelly were very appreciative of the bellringing I did to get across the bridge.

Which was rather funny, because I don't have a bell on my bike. I was on a loaner while my trusty steed was getting its every three month check up. Since only half of the bridge is open as the finishing work is being done, it gets very crowded trying to ride through. I never felt a big need for a bell, usually a a "bike behind" call does the job, but the density of the crowds on the bridge sure made getting through tough. It was amazing how the bell cleared the way.

So with the help of the bike and the bell, I got to meet two more fellow bikers. Neither one bikes on a regular basis because of where they live/work but they do get out on bikes when they can.

Another person I met this past weekend was my neighbor. Riding through the neighborhood on a daily basis has made many people familiar with me by sight. By the time I actually meet my neighbors, they feel as though they already know me. Its kinda of strange in a way.2010 05 30 001

John has long ridden bikes in the fast, hard, far way but has been doing more and more of the tool around the neighborhood type riding. He is an air controller at the airport and would like to ride his bike to work. I told him of my recent trips that take me by the airport and the difficulties of it. We discussed the different routes-Brainerd Tunnel with Brainerd Rd (medium distance, tunnel with bike light and heavy traffic on multi-laned road) Wilcox Blvd(shortest distance, long tunnel with no bike light) or River Park/access road/Jersey Pike(longest distance, nicest route, no tunnel)

I have been taking the Wilcox Blvd way. A recent talk I had with Bike Director Phil, was strongly advocating the Brainerd Tunnel route. But we all agree the RiverWalk was the most pleasant-if you have the time. I wonder if my neighbor will be inspired by our talk and do a bike ride to work. And which route he will take. And I wonder how much sooner I would have to leave to do the RiverWalk route myself.

Meeting these bikers and hearing them express a desire to ride bikes more to more places tells me there is probably a small army of would-be bikers just waiting for more favorable conditions. Build it and they will come, I know. Bikers are increasing all the time but with more support, even just a tiny bit of support of the magnitude given to cars, I know the roads will be flowing with cyclists. How wonderful that would be!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

..and then the Brews Cruise

Jim at Brews Cruise
Originally uploaded by donolmt
The Brews Cruise was set for the last Friday of the month. Uh,Oh, Conflict. First night of Nightfall. Both great events to ride the bike to. No problem, we would just stop at Night Fall for our first beer of the evening (I am writing this as though I drink beer, but alas, for these events, I don't.)

It had been raining on and off all day and was still trying to continue the wet all evening. But eventually, the weather gave it a rest so the bikers that braved it was grandly rewarded. It had been decided that eating first would be best so we met at River Street Deli, that opened just for us to come in.

Andy trying to blend in with the Harleys

Cortney, Q and me  at the Brewery
Then on to Night Fall. Night Fall is always good    for hearing good music and seeing people that you haven't seen all winter.After mingling in the social scene there, we hopped on our bike to ride to St. Elmo. Chris Hunt of Moccasin Bend had brewed a special beer for us- Pedal Power Porter. All proceeds from that beer would be donated to the Pedal Power Program, a program helping homeless people get bikes. I truly, truly, wanted to be a beer drinker to support that. While the Porter is a little stout for me to develop a taste for beer, I am holding out the notion that maybe the chocolate beer will.
This night the brewery had a band Strung Like A Horse. With a name like that, they better be good, and they were. They were a bluegrass, folk and variety other genre band that had us  dancing and kicking  up our heels. More people on bikes met us there plus the people that came sans bike. It was a rollicking party night.

Tour De Brews

Cortney on Tour De Brews
Originally uploaded by donolmt
We finished out National Bike Month with a Brews Cruise, and wow, what a month! I am still behind on my blogging about all the events. This event, the Brews Cruise was a repeat of the Tour De Brews in March. In the future. If I was to point to one event that seemed to kick off the critical mass coming together to form some sort of Chattanooga scene of urban riding,the Tour De Bruews in March was it. We might not be rivaling the Harley culture in this town but I think we are taking shape.

The first cruise was the idea of Cortney (can we survive when she goes away?) and Rebecca Shearer (fellow fashion model!). We met as a group in Coolidge Park, rode our bikes to Moccasin Bend Brewery which is in St. Elmo, not at Moccasin Bend, in spite of the name. Had a great time, testing the beers, taking the tour of the brewery then riding back to Greenlife for dinner.

It is hard to say how many people joined us, with the coming and going, but it was over 30 riders at least. "When is the next one going to be?" was being asked by the riders, but especially by those that missed it. Everyone wanted to join in the fun

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