Monthly Archives: December 2012

Southern Comfort, South Louisiana Style

As someone who left her native state right after college graduation and never considered moving back, going home for Christmas is as much about returning to Louisiana culture as it is visiting family.

Louisiana culture is the way the grocery cashiers smile and chat effortlessly with you, and not because it’s company policy. It’s the respect children give adults that only starts with “yes, m’am” and “no, sir.” It’s the diverse range of southern accents you hear in the capital city, the ones you never hear in the movies.

It’s as comforting as the favorite dishes your momma cooks because you’re coming all the way from California.


I was born and bred in the big city of Baton Rouge, but my cousins live upriver in rural Pointe Coupee parish where our family has lived for almost 300 years. A land of sugar cane and pecan trees, oxbow lakes and heavy-limbed oak trees, sudden oil wealth and chronic poverty. We came for pecans and to visit family. We left with pecans, fresh eggs and a closer connection to cousins and to my heritage. And lots of pictures of course.

What does going home mean to you? What re-connections or new connections did you make this holiday season?

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Posted by on December 31, 2012 in Travel


Fashion Friday: Menswear Extraordinaire

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Posted by on December 21, 2012 in Cycle Fashions


Bike Commute Diaries: Frosty the Californian

OK, kids. It was 34 degrees this morning. That’s about as cold as it gets here along San Francisco Bay. No need for goggles or balaclavas or studded tires. It’s not even freezing. A heavy coat, warm boots, a wool beanie and a fuzzy scarf keep me toasty warm and humming Christmas songs as I roll down the trail to work.


About the Bike Commute Diaries: Launched in May 2012 for National Bike Month, this series explores the unexpected and surprising things I’ve learned about bicycling for transportation.


Posted by on December 19, 2012 in Commute Diaries


Law Enforcement FAIL: Red Light, Green Light

An incident this weekend reminded me of this letter I drafted last year but never sent. I really wish I had.

Dear City of Palo Alto,

I am angry that a Palo Alto police officer did not cite the driver who ran a red light and nearly hit me on my bike. I appreciate that the officer lectured her, but that’s not enough. We need law enforcement to crack down on careless drivers that threaten others, especially vulnerable people who are walking or bicycling.

I was on West Bayshore waiting to cross Oregon Expressway in the left traffic lane. When the signal turned green, I starting crossing. I saw that a driver approaching from my left was rolling through slowly instead of stopping, so I put a foot down and yelled: “What are you doing!! You have a red light!” and pointed at the signal.

She was halfway into the intersection and less than five feet from me when she stopped. As I rolled away, I saw a police car behind her and thought: “For once they’re here to see it.” I smiled when I saw his lights come on.


From the bottom of the bike bridge I saw that the cop had pulled her over. She gave him something, probably her license and registration. He talked to her. I waited and watched for almost 10 minutes. He didn’t write a citation or warning, and she drove away. I shook my head and pedaled to work.

What’s your experience with your local law enforcement as a bicycle rider? Have they been helpful in protecting you from aggressive or careless drivers? Or do they seem to have more sympathy for the drivers?

Location: Oregon Expressway at West Bayshore Road, Palo Alto, California. Streetview from my vantage point.


Posted by on December 17, 2012 in Bike Lane FAIL, Issues & Infrastructure


Fashion Friday: Elf Myself

This wool sweater dress is warm and wintery and as nostalgic as a Norman Rockwell painting. Add heels and it’s VSFW (very suitable for work). Add a fleece beanie and I’m one of Santa’s elves. Fun fun winter fun.

Winter Wool Dress
The dress was cute on the hanger but it was the fit and the deep purple color that sold me.

About Fashion Friday: Inspired by a 2011 Bike to Work Day challenge sponsored by the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, this series highlights the broad range of “dress for the destination” bicycling fashions.

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Posted by on December 14, 2012 in Cycle Fashions


A Closer Look: 1951? Världsmästarcykel Crescent

Hidden away in garages all over the world are beautiful bikes, barely used back in the day and never ridden today. Like my ex’s 1986 Pro Miyata that hung unused in my garage for years. Fortunately, many of these bikes find new lives in new homes with riders that cherish them. Like Erik, who I met one morning on Caltrain.

Erik’s bike caught my eye immediately with its classic lines and svelte steel tubing. It was his great-uncle’s bike from back in Sweden that he brought with him to San Francisco. Now set up for everyday use as a single speed with new handlebars, rear rack and fenders, I had to get a closer look.

Crescent Side View

Erik said this Världsmästarcykel Crescent was a 1951, but it doesn’t quite match the bike in that year’s catalog. Unlike the 1951, Erik’s bike’s fork and rear stays aren’t chrome and his has a nifty wheel lock that’s welded on. I searched the internet in vain for clues to its heritage and failed.

Can you help me solve this mystery? Is it likely to be before or after 1951? Did it originally have drop bars?


Posted by on December 13, 2012 in Bike Gallery


Bike Commute Diaries: Limousine Rail Service

Occasionally, your day-after-day commute will surprise you. This morning, after the usual group of tech workers got off at Lawrence Station, I found myself riding alone for the first time. As the empty car clattered down the track, I settled deeper into my seat, imagining I was in my own private rail car on my 1st class commute.


About the Bike Commute Diaries: Launched in May 2012 for National Bike Month, this series explores the unexpected and surprising things I’ve learned about bicycling for transportation.

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Posted by on December 11, 2012 in Commute Diaries

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