Sunday, September 28, 2014

A Week in Photos

The day is getting shorter and my shadow is getting longer. The bright side is that traffic approaching on cross streets will see my shadow pass by first!
shadow of a cyclist, bicycle commuter, shadow of bicycle commuter
No, I don't have big balls, the shadows are from my pannier bags!
With the dwindling daylight, I am always concerned about my visibility. So I picked up these cyclelogical spoke reflectors. They're these small, super-light cylindrical sticks with 3M coating that snap onto the bicycle spokes and reflect like lit up L.E.D. lights! Gear Junkie wrote a great review.
reflective spokes, cyclelogical spoke reflectors
cyclelogical chopspokes in action via GearJunkie.com
I had several bicycling advocacy meetings to attend. Three throughout the week. And here I am at the Reno Bike Project.
The shop is not far from where I work. That's the beauty of a bicycle is that it's easy to get out and about during the middle of the day. I just hop on my bike and go! No need to walk to the parking structure, drive there and back, then try to find parking in the structure and walk back to the office. With my bike I literally go from door to door!
Instead of carrying my panniers, I use an over-the-shoulder bag to carry my lock, flat tire kit and essentials so I can get on and off the bike quickly.

The morning air has been clear and on those days I ride in to work. So matter how many times I pass these old-timey motel signs, I can't help but look at them in awe.
But when the air quality has been rated unhealthy by the afternoon, John would pick me up from work.

When it is not smoky it is cloudy and now it has been raining for the past couple of days. Our summer season has been so dry, I know we need it but I can't help but yearn to go somewhere warm.

The Truckee River water level is still very low.
I never really noticed this monument before. "The sun shines not on us but in us. The rivers flow not past but through us." --John Champion
Some days before I am home I stop to look at the view. Mother nature always paints us a beautiful picture!

Looking back down the hill I ride up.
In downtown Reno, Virginia Street is closed for a huge annual motorcycle rally called Street Vibrations.
On another day, while riding in to the office I ended up behind someone I know! She was also riding in to the office on a cute bike wearing slacks, a hot pink blouse with matching trouser straps to keep them from getting soiled with chain grease or caught in the chain rings.
Instead of carpooling I rode my scooter one day so that at least I wouldn't have to exert myself in the smoky air. I met a friend who was in town for lunch and after work I met our Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee group offline at Pigeon Head Brewery.
When Friday came, the smoke appeared to be gone. But there was certainly some dark clouds looming in the sky.
 But I don't care. As long as it is not pouring when I start my ride, I am getting on my bike darnit!!
And so I rode to work and spotted this rainbow while on Keitzke Lane near the DMV. Riding a bike means I can pull over and take a photo. Often times when we're driving, moments like these pass by way too fast for us to enjoy as long as we would have liked to.

Then I got on the Truckee River Trail. There's an interesting sign about the Truckee River. You might be able to read it if you click on the image for a larger size.
 It started to sprinkle during my ride. I don't mind. It is refreshing and keeps me cool which is nice.
For the most part, I like riding on the Truckee River Trail. It is quiet. Free from cars and free from exhaust fumes. The sound of the water rushing ... uh, trickling over the smooth rocks in the river is soothing.
On my way home, I decided to bypass getting off the trail at Fisherman's Park to Kietzke Lane and Victorian Avenue which is my usual route. Instead I continued along the Truckee River Trail.
 There was hardly a soul in sight. It felt like I was the only person in this town, LOL!
 I love this barn across the river.
So from about 1.25 mile to mile 10, I rode along paved bike/ped path towards home. It was SO nice!! Even though it was Friday and I wanted to get home, I am glad that I decided to keep riding on the trail for as long as I could. It was a nice end to my week!
Then John and I went out for Mexican food.
That being said, I am bummed that today is raining. The forecast is not looking good for the Women's Bike to Linner at Mayberry Landing is CANCELLED.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Come Ride for R.A.V.E. October 18, 2014

Northern Nevada RAVE Family Foundation logo
http://www.nnrff.org/
The 4th Annual Ride for R.A.V.E. is Saturday, October 18, 2014. You get to choose your method of participation: a 5K fun run, 10-mile bike ride, 50-mile bike ride or lunch only. Registration benefits the Northern Nevada R.A.V.E Family Foundation and includes an event t-shirt, swag bag, buffet lunch, beer and wine bar (for 21 years or older).

Visit this link for registration and information about the 4th Annual Ride 4 RAVE. Hope to see you there!!

You can still join the Women's Bike to Linner at Mayberry Landing tomorrow afternoon at 4PM! We'll be taking a casual group ride from Wingfield Park to eat, drink and chat at Mayberry Landing. Come join us!!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Just Do It .. Later.

If I listened to this little guy, I would never get on my bike and ride to work! Sometimes I do listen to him and that's why I continue to bike to work. And if you also ride your bike to work, you'd get the 16 Things Only People Who Ride a bike to Work Will Understand. Seriously funny. Except I don't do #7.

I ride my bike to work so I can procrastinate and have a snack instead. And so I can eat the WHOLE CAKE ...the whole goddamned thing. No. Not really.

That's why you should join to the Women's Bike to Linner this Sunday!! To eat pizza or calzones and drink without feeling not one bit GUILTY!!

Today, the little fat fucker wins. I hope you don't mind my use of profanity so I can make my point. I really do not have a potty mouth in person. My husband says it doesn't look right when I cuss. And so I wonder, what should it look like when people shoot off at the mouth?

Sorry back to my point.

I didn't ride my bike today. Because I have ridden more days than not in this smoky mess. It feels like sucking the tailpipe of a diesel truck. Although Riding in Reno says riding in unhealthy times shouldn't harm active people and I believe him. My throat, on the other hand curses the King Fire and the guy who started it.

Descending into a blanket of smoke.
I rode my scooter so at least I wouldn't be exerting myself in the smoky mess. Note to self: dress to accomodate for the wind chill. THAT, I did not do because I usually get warm a few minutes into my ride but not on my scooter. My teeth was chattering well into an hour after arriving at the office.

Just me and my scooter today!
And for the rest of the day, I'll try to ignore the little guy. Except maybe for the 'take a nap' part.


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

You're Invited to the Women's Bike to Linner at Mayberry Landing, Sunday September 28th at 4PM

Celebrate the end of summer and beginning of autumn by meeting other women for a group bicycle ride from Wingfield Park to Mayberry Landing in Reno, NV. Then we'll enjoy food over casual conversations before riding back to Wingfield Park. More details in this post and on Facebook Events: https://www.facebook.com/events/1537374336494128/ Hope to see you there!!

Due to the smoke from the King Fire, this event may be cancelled if the air quality index forecast on AirNow on Sunday morning is rated unhealthy or worse for Reno.

WHO
All women. Invite a friend or two whether she rides a bike or not! The more the merrier!

WHAT
Meet up with other women and...
*grab a salad, pizza or calzone at Eclipse Pizza with on tap beers or wine!
*eat fresh Mexican food and fish tacos at Buenos Grille with margaritas or bottled beer!
*sip a glass of wine from Whispering Vine Wine Co.
*satisfy your sweet tooth at Yogurt Beach -- OF COURSE you can have dessert for lunch and dinner!


WHEN
Sunday, September 28th at 4PM for the group ride or 4:30PM at the venue (Mayberry Landing)
For those riding with the group, we should be back at Wingfield Park around 6PM

WHERE
Wingfield Park and 1st Street in downtown Reno at 4PM for the group ride to Mayberry Landing


HOW
a) Meet at Wingfield Park with your bike (you can drive with your bike and park on the cross streets of Riverside Drive)
...OR...
b) Meet at Mayberry Landing if you live closer to that area

This is a map of the bicycle route (or check out the turn-by-turn route):

This event is part of a monthly series of Cuter Commuter events. Cuter Commuter is growing community of women with a mission to create lifelong urban cyclists through social activities, advocacy and mentorship by promoting bicycling as a fun and desirable lifestyle choice.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Bicycle Friendly University Events at the University of Nevada Reno

For any student, staff or faculty of the University of Nevada, Reno there are some exciting events this fall hosted by the UNR Campus Cycling Coalition!

The "Ride with Mackay" workshop is tomorrow afternoon from 4PM to 6PM where you will learn the basics of safe riding practices and tips for getting the most out of your ride.

"Bicycling 101" is Friday, September 26th is everything you need to know about riding a bike in an hour from 6PM to 7PM followed by a bike tour through campus into Reno along the picturesque Riverside Drive to explore the Biggest Little City!

For more details on the workshops above and future events, visit http://www.unr.edu/bicycle/calendar and invite your friends!


Monday, September 15, 2014

The Art of Screaming in Terror

Sometimes I think that I should practice the art of screaming in terror. You know, just to use while taking defensive maneuvers to avoid collision with an inattentive driver?

I think a blood curdling scream would be much more effective than shouting "WHOA!!" or "WATCH OUT" Don't you agree?

Because THEN it might convey to the other party that I THOUGHT I WAS GOING TO DIE BY YOUR CAR CRUSHING MY FRAGILE BODY BECAUSE YOU WERE CARELESS.

"OOPS" as an apology isn't going to cut it. AS IF I am sitting behind a steering wheel protected by a metal cage you buffoon!!
Screaming Cat, Yawning cat
Practicing the art of screaming in terror
Don't take me wrong.

I really ENJOY my daily bicycling route to work. It has bike lanes and really nice protected bike paths. And even where there are no bike lanes, I am riding on slow residential streets with posted speed limits between 15 m.p.h. to 25 m.p.h.

My route is relatively safe and stress-free. Most of the time.

Surprisingly, the segment where I use THE MOST CAUTION is while riding on a one-mile protected bike lane.

Yes, you heard that right. The protected path runs along Victorian Avenue to Nichols Boulevard.
Beautiful, protected bike lane in Sparks, NV
Drivers approaching from side streets should stop BEFORE the cross walk and well before the bike lane.  

But they don't always.

Sometimes they run the stop sign, go over the cross-walk and across the bike path to stop IN THE MIDDLE of the bike lane. Anticipating that, I look to the right as far down the street as I can see before I cross there. This is the most common conflict that I encounter every day.

There really needs to be a green bike lane like this but at the point of potential conflict--at each intersection and driveway. Especially in front of driveways where motorists pull up to make a right turn but they're only looking left. I have seen near collisions between motorists and bicyclists. I've had close calls myself because as cautious as I am when I approach the driveway, once in a while a car flies out of the chute like a bat out of hell and there would not have been anything I could have done if I were in its path!

At the same time, I listen for cars passing on the road to my left that might be making a right turn across the bike lane. And I look for oncoming cars that might be making a left turn across the bike lane. Those vehicles have the right of way so I listen, look and yield.
So long story short, I was riding on Victorian Avenue this morning. The posted speed limit is 20 m.p.h. There are no bike lanes but there is very little traffic. Also, traffic calming road bumps makes it a pretty safe street for everyone. So I take the lane until a vehicle approaches from behind and then I ride in the gutter to share the road and let the driver pass.

That was the scenario this morning. In this specific spot. My position is indicated by the purple box. A pickup truck with a trailer was slowly passing me in the blue position. Another vehicle came to a stop in the red position on a cross-street. Line of sight is clear, am I right?
I see the driver that is stopped. I make eye contact. She is looking my way. I have my front lights on and it is BLINKING. Like I always do.

The truck passes slowly to my left. After all I'm going about 15 m.p.h. The lady waiting to turn looks after the truck. Then turns her head and looks back my way. Like a good cautious driver would do.

Here is her perspective. Purple line is me. Blue line is the vehicle passing to my left. Red line is her intended path.

I'm thinking, yes she sees me and she is waiting.

I mean, HOW CAN SHE NOT SEE ME?? I'm side by side with the vehicle she MUST HAVE HAD to look at and yield to.

And then, at the last second, SHE PULLS OUT IN FRONT OF ME just as I was about to cross the intersection. Either she didn't want to wait or she didn't see me. I gave her the benefit of the doubt with the latter since it was morning and the sun was coming up from behind me.

My immediate, panic reaction was to say "WHOA!!!" And then I apologetically said "SORRY".

For what?!?! Why am "I" apologizing? For yelling at HER? So she wouldn't kill me?!? Perhaps apologizing for her? ARGH.

The driver gave me a look like she didn't see me and I think she mouth a simple, "Sorry." and drove off.

Yep, I think next time I am just going to scream BLOODY F*CKING MURDER. It's not cute. But I think it will get my point across much better.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

A Cuter Commuter Time at Interbike 2014

Interbike in Vegas was a lot of fun! There was so much to see and so much to do! Even though I was there all last week, there was not enough time to cover everything. Prior to this year, I had no interest in attending. Not even when we lived in Vegas. Aside from going to watch the criterium or cross-bike races, John had always gone alone to make connections with the 750+ companies there to represent over 1,200 brands in the cycling industry.

9 hour wait at the airport in Reno
This year we flew to Vegas. I landed on Sunday. John arrived later in the week since he had just gotten home from a 15+ hour round trip drive from Ogden, UT. He had been there the week prior to compete in the USA Cycling Masters Road National Championships and didn't feel like turning around and driving another 7.5 hours to Vegas. I don't blame him!
Beautiful morning in Boulder City, NV
The next morning was beautiful (and unusually humid) in Boulder City. There were plenty of clouds in the sky with 50% chance of precipitation.
But that didn't stop me and my mom-in-law from driving a few miles up the street to Bootleg Canyon for the Interbike Outdoor Demo.
Interbike kicked off with two days of OutDoor Demo (on Monday and Tuesday). You can hit the trail or ride 26-miles of non-motorized paved path which makes up the River Mountains Loop Trail. I used to ride along part of that path all the way to Lake Mead from our home near the I-15 when we used to live in Vegas.
Test ride on the Yuba Boda Boda utility bicycle
Some people wondered why Interbike is held in Vegas but where you could have tents and tents of bike stuff galore and check out all of the latest and greatest?!? And demo e-bikes, road bikes, mountain bikes, cross-bikes (you name it!) in car-free facilities surrounded by beautiful desert? And then be in the mecca of entertainment where you can eat and dine at several of the best restaurants in the world? People who have never lived in Vegas don't realize there's a lot Vegas has to offer on the Strip and off the Strip. And yes, there are great places to ride also. Mt. Charleston, Red Rock, Lake Mead all the way to Valley of Fire to name a few places! Of course you wouldn't ride on the Strip near Mandalay Bay. The Strip is where you party, which is what 90% of the attendees who were predominantly male probably did.

The weather is typically ideal this time of the year. But this year there were storms earlier in the week. It was threatening on Monday at Interbike Outdoor Demo. A few drops started coming down so my mom-in-law decided to head into downtown Boulder City for lunch.
Sipping margaritas with hot wings and salad
Then we laid by the pool with freshly made mojitos until the rain came.

 There were still clouds in the sky by Tuesday morning. I could have ridden the Yuba Boda Boda from Mandalay Bay back to Bootleg Canyon as part of the Ride 2 Recovery event but since I was staying in Boulder City, it was too early and too much to ask my in-laws (who were very willing) to drive me into town.
We drove to the airport to pick up John. I've always liked the Vegas skyline. But when we lived in Vegas, I was usually I'm suffering to pedal up the hill to the left of the freeway to notice. Now I think nothing of the hill. Boy what I would do to fly up it on my commuter to see how fast I am now!
 Anyway, we had lunch with John's parents on the patio of Jack's Cafe in Boulder City.
 It looks like someone was touring on their bike. I was glad to see a bike rack that wasn't there before.
 Then John and I went to Dirt Demo (again) on Tuesday.
I took a Liv Giant cross-bike for a test ride. It was definitely fun to go off-road and onto the trails I had ridden by so many times while on my road bike!!
Later that evening we met up with friends for dinner at Lucille's BBQ at the Green Valley District.
For the next couple of days John and I was at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center visiting exhibitors indoors. The venue was SO LARGE that the aisles had street names and there were way-finding signs to direct retail buyers.
One of my favorite booths is coming out with a super stylish clothing line for bicycle commuters!! I tried on a few pieces and somehow ended up in the group shot. Not only did they have well-made apparel like reversible jackets and zip-up a-line skirts, but they had super cute rompers!! EVERYTHING I would wear to ride my bike to work!
 As you can imagine, there were many, many bikes on display.
I met the uber-cool owner of Lazer Helmets and was thrilled to talk about the new technology integrated into their helmet systems. A time trial helmet that lets you know when your head is not in an aero position! A combination helmet lock for your straps (I think it was called the 'cafe lock') so you can use your helmet as a lock. It currently works with only the Lazer buckle system but it's possible they'll expand.
Trying on the urban line of helmets
Some of the exhibitor booths were amazing!! It looked like something out of a Better Block design. Others brought in real sod to put underneath a camper VW Bug.
Clif Bar booth provided a place for people to sit and collaborate
Met Ben King. He autographed a poster for me. Several times Iron Man Champion Chris Lieto was also there.
Clever water feature!
One of the nights we went to Cross Vegas. Because we drive a Subaru, we feasted on tacos and free beer at the Subara VIP tent while watching the race.




 Forgot my cowbells!! Argh! Next time.
The second day at Interbike, our backs and legs we were pretty tired from walking around so we took a break poolside on a daybed at Palms Place. It is nice that we still have friends in the industry.
Then I royally screwed up John's flight plan home so he ended up staying in Vegas for a couple more days until Sunday. At least it gave him a chance to spend more quality time with his parents.

Meanwhile I hung out at home with our kitties!! Boy did I miss them!
Hush and be still Kitty-son!!
 These two sisters. They just LOVE each other!!
 Havi, the calico usually wins any kind of scuffle that Elgy, the black and white cat instigated.
Help - I've fallen and I can't get up!
And I SO MISSED riding my bike!! Even though I had the car and a scooter sitting in the garage, I still rode my bike to the post office and then later that day to the grocery store and to pick up dinner.
I am looking forward to riding my bike to work again. And wearing cute skirts because that's half the fun!!