Monday, June 30, 2014

Women's Bike to Linner at SoDoRestaurant Report

Each month I organize a women's social gathering at a different restaurant in Reno. All women and those who identify with being a women are welcome and they can also invite their friends and daughters. Most women ride their bikes to the venue and if we have time, we ride together afterwards.

This time we met at the SoDo restaurant located in south downtown Reno. The Women's Bike to Linner (Lunch and Dinner) was another success!! Since the series began in April, we had the largest turnout yesterday with 9 in attendance including me.


The staff of the restaurant kindly joined several tables together on the patio. They even provided stands at the ends of the tables on which to hang our purses and helmets!
Sarah locks up her bike.
One by one the women pedaled in including another customer who rode to the restaurant on her bike but she wasn't with our group. You should have seen the bike racks! It was completely FULL and so some of the women had to secure their bikes wherever they could.
There were several women who were attending for the first time. Some I have met briefly and others I have never met:
  • Megan - my colleague who does not currently ride a bike but I am so glad she joined in and so this was her first Bike to Linner. She is interested in bicycling but concerned because of affordability (she already has an expensive hobby in dancing), location (she lives farther north in Sparks than I do) and health issues (allergies and relies on insulin). All reasons and concerns I can certainly understand and I have ideas for addressing them. When she's ready, we'll find her an affordable bike, perhaps refurbished or an electric bike. Carrying proper nutrition such as gels or in her fluid can help keep her blood sugar from running low. We'll start with short distances for as long as she needs to feel comfortable and grow from there!
  • Abbie - is a professor at the university where I work. This was her first time joining the group. She currently rides leisurely but not for transportation due to the hills and her job requires that she hauls A LOT of stuff. I have ideas to address these problems too! An electric bike can be helpful in getting up hills and keeping sweat to a minimum. With the extra power assist she can truck all the stuff she needs in pannier bags or a trailer!
  • Crystal - is a digital media art student at the university where I work. This is her first time joining the group. She rides her bike everywhere and always looks cute!
  • Sarah E. - is my colleague who has an awesome custom electric-assist bicycle her dad built for her. She has attended all three of the bike to brunch gatherings and has ridden to work a few times this year! I am proud of her for making the effort to ride her bike to work when she can.
  • Ilsa - is new to the area and is from Minnesota. Ilsa attended the last social and she rides her bike regularly. Because she works from home, she doesn't have to bike to work but she does need to take her son to daycare. She is not yet comfortable riding on the urban roads and is interested in joining a group or following someone on her bike to take her son to daycare and back. I am looking into making this happen for her and if you are reading and have ANY ideas - please chime in!!
  • Kim - is very new to the area and was invited by Ilsa so this was Kim's first attendance. She is very new to riding her bike in the city and I must applaud her for being so brave to ride her bike with Ilsa to join the Linner!! Kim would like to learn more about and have practical experience in defensive bike riding and so we will incorporate some skill sharing in our next meeting!
  • Sarah T. - rides her bike everywhere and is not afraid of any hills or riding conditions!! She has attended the brunch all but once (due to work obligations) and is such an inspiration to all of us. She is strong and feminine. Sarah arrived with a red skirt with white polka dots coordinated with a white blouse and accessories. Her hair in a classic bun! That is NOT to say the other women weren't cute. Our group of women wear WHATEVER we want to ride our bikes!
  • Karen - drove all the way from Carson City with her bike and pedaled to the restaurant. This was her first attendance and she was so brave to find her way and join a group of women she has never met!! I am really proud of her (because it would be something that would be VERY hard for me to do because I am in introvert.) I am so glad she was able to join us and contribute to the conversation.
The food was great. I have been to SoDo on numerous occasions but for some of the ladies in our group, it was their first time. I hoped that they also found the food and experience top-notch and that they would return again in the future (perhaps with their spouse or family) and bring more business to the restaurant.
There was so many excellent discussions around the table. We shared information about upcoming cycling events including Edible Pedal 100® century road bike ride and fundraiser, the month-long Reno Artown Festival in July and new clothing lines such as Eddie Bauer's Travex (travel and trek) gear and apparel

We talked about our next meeting and ideas for our next gathering. Perhaps a Bike to Boogie (beer at Great Basin Brewery and then a lesson in West Coast Swing Dance), Pedal to a Potluck Picnic at the Park!! Boy, say that 10 times!!
 As always it was tough to part but I look forward to the next time we get together!
 Ilsa and Kim pedal off...
 Then Karen and I rode to her car...
 And then I biked all the way home!


Photos from the 2016-06-29_Bike to Linner at SoDo album.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Who You Gonna Call?

The brake cable snapped during my bike ride home yesterday. This time I lost control of the front brakes. If the same thing didn't just happen a month ago (to the rear brakes), I probably would have slightly panicked and stopped to call my husband.

Fortunately I didn't have any serious downhills for the rest of my trip towards home. Still, not having the full use of both front and rear brakes is a safety issue. But instead of calling my husband to come pick me up, I just rode cautiously (slowing down way ahead of time) and at a pace where I knew I could stop in time.

What about people who do not have someone to call? Or what if I was far away from home on a personal bike tour? And so I was somewhat relieved to hear about this NPR article that More Cyclists Can Now Call AAA For Help.

There was a point where these people walking stepped onto the crosswalk at the last minute but luckily they waited until I passed. A person driving the other direction did stop and I couldn't help but think
the look on his face was of disapproval. He was probably thinking that I was another rude, law-breaking cyclist who didn't care about yielding to pedestrians. I should've let to the pedestrians know OUT LOUD that my brake levers had stopped working.
So I did not bike to work today. Instead I carpooled with John even though I had two other bikes I could have ridden; they're just not set up like this bike. I love my daily commuter!

On the bright side, my bike is in the shop getting a wash and detail so it will be shiny and like-new for a spin tomorrow!!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Participate in National Dump the Pump Day and Win Prizes

Thursday, June 19th is National Dump the Pump Day! What does this mean to you? It means that you can ride RTC RIDE, RAPID, and INTERCITY FREE all day on June 19th.

Don't want to ride the bus? You can still you can still Dump the Pump by trading a car trip alone for a trip walking, bicycling, or carpooling. I say choose bicycling ;-P, especially if you have a longer distance commute than 2 or 3 miles.
Bicycling means you can ride on the multi-use Truckee River Trail
Even better - record your green trip(s) between National Dump the Pump Day (June 19) through July 31, 2014, will be sent a small reward and be entered into a prize drawing for a more valuable gift and you can win more than one prize such as:

  • A Toshiba – Excite 7c-8GB Tablet (for riding the bus) 
  • A Fitbit One activity tracker (for walking)
  • Two Mini Monkey Lights by Monkey Electric LLC along with an RTC RIDE Adult 10-Ride transit pass (for bicycling)
  • JBL Flip Portable Stereo Speaker (for carpooling)
Don't worry about getting stranded if you carpool or vanpool. The Guaranteed Ride Home Program will help you if you meet the criteria.
See you out the roads and trails!
  1. Register here: http://www.rtcwashoe.greenride.com 
  2. Prize rules and more details can be found here: http://www.rtcwashoe.greenride.com/Pages/DumpthePump
With gas prices creeping up for summer - why not DUMP THE PUMP!!!

Monday, June 16, 2014

A Look at Phase 1 of the Sparks-Reno Southeast Connector Project

On our way home from Positively 4th Street in downtown Reno, my husband and I rode on the Truckee River Bike-Ped path all the way to Greg Street and Sparks Boulevard to look at the progress of the SouthEast Connector project. The construction of Phase 1 (where these photos were taken) and is scheduled to complete this August.

Source: http://www.southeastconnector.com/project-status/
Source: http://www.southeastconnector.com/

We did notice a multi-use path was installed on the west southbound side of Sparks Boulevard at Greg Street. Still, I wonder how this path will be connected with the path that currently exists on Sparks Boulevard. Navigating the freeway overpass with motor vehicles trying to get on the I-80W freeway to get to this point is scary enough as it is, even for experienced riders.

View of the SouthEast Connector heading south.
But any improvement is better than riding on the shoulder with the hustling and bustling of mostly commercial vehicles that frequent the street.
Once the multi-use path is complete and open to foot and bicycle traffic, my husband will be able to ride on the multi-use path to south Reno where he works.
View of Greg Street (running east and west) at the Sparks Boulevard intersection.
 The bike path that has been closed down appeared to be pretty much connected. I hope it will re-open soon because I would prefer to take the path all the way home from downtown Reno and get off the trail at Vista Boulevard.
Going under the SouthEast Connector overpass.

Looking westward towards Reno on the multi-use path.

I have not been on this stretch of the path since a running relay two years ago.
I think the RTC is doing a fabulous job with the multi-use path. It is great to see the landscaping come together for the path, as a priority and not as an afterthought. I cannot wait until it is open to bike commute to work on it!!

Positively a GREAT Weekend!

I am so glad my husband and I were able to attend Positively 4th Street this weekend!

We rode our bikes on Saturday morning from Sparks to 4th Street where the event was held. It was nice to see green lanes, shrubs and trees line the street as part of the Better Block project.
Our first order was to have brunch in the Cuddleworks pop-up restaurant with renowned Chef, Mark Estee.
John ordered the Black pepper Biscuits with Tasso Ham and Hadji Paul Eggs and I had the The Cure: Potatoes, Bacon, Tomatoes, Confit Chicken, Holcomb Ranch Duck Egg and Spicy Ass (to who??) Hollandaise. Both were absolutely delicious good quality food!
Brunch at Cuddleworks pop-up restaurant with Mark Estee.
After brunch we checked out the activities behind the Reno Bike Project. There was a bike swap where folks can sell or buy bikes, activities for the kids, a dunk tank, petting zoo and lots of fun for all ages!

At one of the tents selling cycling goods, John found a Kinetic bicycle trainer for $30 and so we hauled it away on his bike, LOL.
Then we headed back to enjoy Positively 4th Street for the rest of the afternoon. The beer guzzling goats were a riot! I don't blame them for eating the paper bowls that held the brew since it was crafted by Reno's very own Under the Rose Brewing Company a couple of doors down from the Reno Bike Project on 4th Street.


I wonder what flavor the goats tasted? I have tried the Blonde Beer (an American Kolsch-style ale) at another event a few weeks back and the Saison Beer (a French-style Farmhouse ale). So far the latter is my favorite.

We finished off our afternoon on a sweet note with handmade ice cream from a new local creamery, IceCycle. Yum-yum!

What a fun day!!  But it wasn't complete until we rode down the green lane on our bicycles.

A taste of riding a green bicycle lane on 4th Street.
Thanks to all, their time and hard work, who made this event possible for the community to enjoy. For one day, we got a glimpse of what 4th Street could look like if it was a complete street. It could possibly become the hub for bicycling!!

Photos from Cuter Commuter's Picasa Web Album: 2014-06-16_Positively 4th Street

Friday, June 13, 2014

10 Reasons to Attend Postively 4th Street

Aack...sorry for the last minute post! This week has been hectic BUT I cannot sign off until I tell you WHY you should go to Positively 4th Street. I am DEFINITELY going to be there tomorrow and it is going to be FABULOUS!!! I don't need any more reasons other than FOOD, FRIENDS and FUN...right? Nod your head with me. GOOD!! And I hope to see your smiley face too!!



The schedule and more details can be found here and it is MUCH more persuasive than my little graphic (but hey, I gotta try right?):
http://aroundthearch.com/blog/2014/06/09/positively-4th-street/
http://drinkablereno.com/positively-4th-street-beer-ice-cream-reno/
http://reno-rambler.blogspot.com/2014/06/renothe-biggest-little-bike-city.html
http://ridinginreno.blogspot.com/2014/06/the-weekend-is-comingwhat-are-your-plans.html

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

No Shower? No Problem! Tips for How NOT to Sweat While Biking to Work.

Audrey Hepburn staying cool and dry.
You don't want to get sweaty biking to work or to get around during the day. I get it. Especially if there's not a shower facility at work or if it is not practical to shower in the middle of the day. If you shower then you would have to do your hair. Perhaps even do your makeup. Again. As if there is enough time in the work day to do all that, right?

On the other hand, if you don't shower then you might feel sticky and uncomfortable. A part of you might be concerned about giving off an offensive odor all day. Or the worst--arriving at the office looking like a cat who just had a bath. Yeah. Not professional at all.

Sweaty Cat

While breaking a sweat while biking is a legitimate concern, especially as the weather starts to warm up for summer, there are many ways to reduce sweating:

1) Drive
2) Take the public transit

JUST KIDDING!! Here are some (serious) tips to keep sweat at bay.
  1. Lady Fleur (who is one of THE QUEENS for riding pretty) suggests dressing in layers so you can peel off as you get warmer. I do that. She also has many great tips in her post, The No Sweat Way to Bike to Work.
  2. Ride at easy pace to stay cool and dry. Rider slower as you get closer to your destination; slow down and cool down. Even if it takes you more time to get where you need to be. Not having to change out of sweaty clothes will save you time because you can just get off the bike and walk to where you need to be. 
  3. Change a piece of clothing. If I do sweat, it is noticeably in my upper body. So sometimes I will carry my blouse or button up shirt in my pannier and an extra base layer (camisole or tank top). After I arrive at the office, I change out of the sweaty base layer and slip a fresh one on before my blouse or button up.
  4. That said, it REALLY helps to wear base layers designed for performance such as Craft, Castelli, Under Armour because the special fabric wicks away moisture to help keep you dry and neutralize odor that can surface. I am going to try Uniqlo's base layer line called AIRism. Base layers aren't just for the summer. I also wear long sleeve base layers during the winter. They're not handy just for bicycling but other outdoor sports such as skiing.
  5. Carry (or keep at the office) a small towel or handkerchief and/or wet wipes.
  6. Consider a bike (such as a Ride Scoozy) with electric assist. Use the power to help you push up that hill or to get to work faster or when you start to break a sweat in the heat.
  7. When you have a lot of miles to bike, eventually you will work up a sweat so perhaps try a combo of riding your bike and taking public transit.
Mental power: how I stay dry during my 10-mile bike commute to office.


ON THE BRIGHT SIDE, SWEATING IS GOOD FOR YOU!!
  • The light dew on your skin can help keep you cool while you are cycling. Sweating is our body's built-in mechanism for regulating its temperature by getting rid of excess heat.
  • Sweating is like a steam sauna. It can open up your pores and keep your skin clearer of blackheads.
  • It promotes healthy circulation.
  • Sweating helps purge harmful toxins from your body.
  • It can fight infections according to an article on MSN. Sweat contains nitrite, which converts into nitric oxide upon reaching the surface, a potent gas with broad spectrum antibacterial and antifungal properties.
  • Sweating revs up your metabolism to help you heal. Ever wonder why you sweat when running a fever? How about two-time cancer survivor kicks cancer to the curb by sweating on the bike (http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/blogs/fitstop/2014/04/04/fitness/sweat-for-good-how-you-can-kick-cancer-to-the-curb/)?!
Don't believe me? Check out MSN Healthy Living, "How Sweating Is Good for Your Health" and Fitness Magazine "Sweat: 7 Reasons It Does a Body Good".

When I ride my bike home, I LOVE to work up a sweat. I feel my heart thump in my chest and sometimes I gasp for air to fill my lungs and feed my muscles. I sense the dew of sweat on my forearms and nose. It tells me that I got a workout and I AM ALIVE!! And when I get home, I hop in the shower and wash that nasty little sweat away.

Do you have any tips to share for how you keep sweating while biking to work to a minimum? I would like to hear from you!!


Thursday, June 05, 2014

Friday Finds for Father's Day

Have you already decided on a gift for the cycling Dad in your life? If not, here is a list of great gifts for your pedaling pop:
  1. Betabrand's Bike to Work Shorts ($98) in Gray or Khaki. John got a pair for his birthday and what I like about it is the gusseted crotch for in saddle comfort, the back pocket has zippers to keep its contents secure, and the built in reflectors including a deployable reflective flag tucked inside the left back pocket.

  2. Price too steep? Upload a photo on their website to get a 10% discount and if you have a photo of yourself wearing a product, upload a photo as a model citizen for 20% discount.

  3. Dot&Bo Ibu and Bapak Model Bikes - Set of 2 ($89.99). These die cast models of the Ibu and Bapak bikes are designed to scale with treaded tires and rotating pedals and chains. Give him something for his desk when he cannot be outside riding his bike!
  4. Bandbox Ascot Tweed Cap Helmet Cover ($54). Bandbox makes a helmet system with a nice selection of interchangeable helmet covers so your Dad can express his personal style and taste while pedaling around town. He will need the Bandbox bicycle helmet, if he does not already have one.
    Yakkay is another stylish bicycle helmet and cover option. A cover is 40 euros or about $55. Again a compatible helmet that the cover fits over is required.
  5. Not enough time to order your Dad a gift? Remember your local bike shop!!

    That's where I got my urban cycling helmet - the Giro Reverb.

  6. If your Dad likes to hang his helmet on his bike, then you can get him Yakkay's Safe One. With Safe One your pop can lock his helmet to his bike so he don't need to carry it when he is finished biking but will keep his helmet safe and dry. 
Or skip spending cash and take your Dad out for a memorial bike ride around the neighborhood! Be sure to take photos for keepsake of Father's Day.

I would love to hear what you're getting your daddy-o or if you are a cycling father yourself, what product(s) you would like for Father's Day!

Celebrating John's Birthday at the National Automobile Museum

John is not very big into celebrating his birthday but of course, I can never let his special day go by without a celebration. A couple years ago we went sailing on Lake Tahoe.

Last year we went to Cancun.

This year we stayed in town and kept it low-key.

Over the weekend we rode our bikes to brunch at the Stonehouse Cafe in Reno. The outdoor patio is a lush green haven for having a relaxed meal.

Then we went to Grimaldi's Pizzeria for dinner. We like the coal brick oven makes the thin crust pizzas crispy.
I think the highlight of his birthday was our Happy Hour at Brasserie Saint James and boy did we have a spread of really decadent food!

 And I surprised him with a trip to the National Automobile Museum located in downtown Reno right along the beautiful Truckee Meadows River.  We became members so that we could attend the special event showcasing of three unique cars.
 One of them was a 1981 DeLorean plated with 19.5 ounces of 24-karat gold.  I later won a raffle to ride in it!!
 The other was a car previously Frank Sinatra’s 1961 Ghia.
 There was a good truck anda  beer garden. Members were given a FULL glass of beer tasting brewed by Under the Rose. The wheat beer was our favorite. If you live in town, go visit them on 4th street next to the Reno Bike Project.

 And an all original 1927 Lincoln.
After we got home, we had cake and John opened his gift from me--a Bike to Work short. He really enjoyed his birthday. All of the wishes and cards from friends and family and our time together.