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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!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

SORBA's Ale for Trails

  This past Friday was SORBA's (southern off road bicycle association) fundraiser to raise money to complete the Raccoon Mountain trail system.  As awesome as the system is right now, in its completed state, it will be beyond awesome.  So this was difinately something I wanted to support.  And of course, it promised to be a great party.

     I took the short ride to Outdoor Chattanooga in Coolidge Park to practice my panda shots. 

I can't figure out how to aim but I was able to get a couple of acceptable shots.

  At the party, I was greeted by the music of Strung Like a Horse.  Seems like they are showing up everywhere.  Delicious wings by Keller's barbecue with plenty of pasta for tomorrow's tri athletes, the food was great.  Meeting, mingling, munching.  Great fun.

Now to hit those trails!

Blackberry Picking (a Ride in the Country)

I as invited by my friend Ashlee to come pick blackberries at Ashland Farms.  It was a hot day-as everyday is.  The farm is down in Flintstone, GA, about an hour bike ride from my house.  I didn't race it-it was too hot for that.  Going down into Georgia is one of my favorite places to ride-going through St. Elmo and down across the state line is a good distance to go without any hills to speak of.  Though the distance is a far bit, because it is such easy riding, much of it in country, it doesn't seem far at all.

At the Gate

Riding in
The Garden

After taking a tour of the garden, it was time for blackberry picking.  Into the brambles we went.  It was scatchy, sweaty, buggy and possibly snakey.  But my toil was rewarded!
It was cooler as I rode back.  My rough, bloody self met Q for dinner and then I rode the rest of the way home, with my treasure.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Spontaneous Bike Fest!

Last Thursday I went to Speed Work.  I haven't been training for anything this season, having decided I wasn't going to be doing Triathlons this year.  But as the season goes on, I find myself picking up my training schedule in spite of myself. .  The cold weather last winter, while it didn't keep me off the bike for commuting,  discouraged me from going outside for any other aerobic activity and my training never really took off.  When I saw that I wasn't going to be able to get it together of the Waterfront Triathlon (coming up this weekend), I just went into full lazy mode.

  How nice that felt! 

   But being around active people means I really don't get that far away from it.  My daughter is training for a half-marathon and asked me to do it with her.  So that has gotten me into the running.  Friends have taken to regular river swims and that just sounded like too much to pass up. And while I have not gotten my road bike out once this year, I have regular long commute rides that could double as training rides. So it seems like I am in training mode, whether I meant to or not.

  So with that in mind, I went to speed work.  Every Thursday runners gather at Fast Break, jog over to GPS track and do what ever torture Joey inflicts on on and then job back.  It is suppose to be good for you-if you survive!

    It was a pleasant note to see the number of runners who rode their bikes to Fast Break. There is a severe need for bike racks at the running store!I don't know if I am right in my observation, but it seems that runners in training are more likely to use bikes to get around with then bikers in training.

  After speed work, most of the biking runners adjourned to the North Cat Chatt for supper, beer, and hanging out.  As we were exiting the north CAt Chatt, there was Bike Director Phil and wife Donna.  They had been passing by when they saw the large group of bikes with some known bikes in the crowd and though they would come by to say hi and see what was going on.  We met them on the side walk and stopped to talk.  Then other bikers riding by saw people they knew and stopped to say hi.  Soon, the sidewalk was so full of people on their bikes that we started over flowing into the  streets.

  What fun!  It wasn't so long ago, for me to even see another biker was a rare event.  Now, just standing on the street corner, suddenly there is a bike party!  Wow!  After sometime, there was a reshuffling of the groups.  Some of the newcomers joined some of those that were at the North Cat Chatt and went back in for more socializing, while others just got on our bikes to go home.

    So, it is looking like bike riders can always find others to spend a little time with.  Biking used to be a very lonely thing to do, but no more!


Sunday, July 4, 2010

Phil and Deborah Gates

  IN the previous post in the Hands Over Sands, I mentioned there was one other bike rider.  His bike drew me not just because it was the lone other bike but because it was an awesome commuter with wooden rack and Brooks leather saddle.  I unfortunately had forgotten my camera and didn't take a picture with my cell phone that I knew wouldn't do it justice.

   I had to identify who owned such a bike and soon found myself talking to Phil Gates.  His wife, Deborah, was also there having walked over from their Northshore condo.  This friendly couple was soon telling me (after gentle prodding from me) their Chattanooga story. Like many people, they moved from Atlanta to get away from-well, Atlanta-the size, traffic and whatever else that Atlantans seem to find objectionable.  They bought a house and fixed it up and lived in it for several years until they decided the house was too big and too much upkeep, so they sold it.

   As they have an internet based business, Phil and Deborah had the freedom of moving anywhere they wanted to.  They had lived in different parts of the country over the years so had  much experience to detemine what makes a great place to live.

  After giving it some thought, they decided that no place else could beat what they could get right here in Chattanooga-the livability, walkability, bikeability and just the plain friendliness of the people.  They bought a condo on the NorthShore and have been living the Chattanooga downtown life ever since.

   I always find it interesting to hear how Chattanooga is viewed by those who come from other places.  I have always lived here so it is hard for me to be objective about it all.  Really, since I have never lived any place else, I have nothing else to compare to.  So when people who do have something to compare it to say how wonderful Chattanooga is, I am grandly pleased.

    Phil and Deborah, you certainly add to the friendliness of Chattanooga.  I enjoyed coming the Mercatino's for breakfast for your World Cup gathering. I am sure our paths will be crossing often!

Hands Over Sands Report

  Last week I joined in with the local Hands over Sand demonstration, joining hands over the Tennesse River that flows eventually into the Gulf of Mexico.  This was a show of support of the cleanup effort of the oil spill and alternative energy.  I stand behind that and was there to lend my hands.

   But I don't go so far as to demand a ban on drilling.  I am very suspect on easy solutions.  I have heard it argued if we are going to use the oil, it is hypocritical to ban oil wells on our shores because of the risk.  Do we foist that risk on other countries? Other shores?  This oil spill is a reminder of one of the ugly aspect of oil use.  Do we hide it away from our view as we continue our pace of use?

  Obviously before we decide where our oil should come from, we need to seek out ways of using it less.  Alternative energies is a place to start looking.  Again, I am all for that.

   But it seems there was a lack of talk of what should be coming before the alternative energy talk-just using less.  Cutting back on an individual level and asking for more infrastructure that would support using less. To me this is the first item of the agenda.  Then alternative energy, and then finally  how do we get the oil that I know we will continue to use until every drop is sucked out.

  So with that in mind, I was expecting more people to show up on bicycles.  Even if people had driven to the North Shore and then rode their bikes the last yards, the presence of bikes would have been a strong statement.  But there were only 2 bikes to show up-mine and one other. That is is.  Out of more then 80 people. 

  No one else thought to ride a bike to underscore the statement being made.  Nobody else thought that avoiding their car for this demonstration would have been a powerful statement unto itself. (there were some walkers that I commend, except there are no visuals for the walkers)

  Hmm...I am sensing a bit of disconnect here.  Could that be our problem?