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Category Archives: Around Town

Bike Commute Diaries: After the Cock Crows

A rooster no longer crows in downtown San Jose. The chickens have been evicted and their home demolished. A run-down house at the dead end of Old West Julian Street is gone and so is my simple pleasure of rolling past country life in a hard-times corner of the city. So long, my feathered friends. It’s been good to know you.

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Yesterday morning they were tearing down the shed in the back and by evening the house in front was gone. This morning they were hauling away the remains. The Autumn Street road extension is being built two doors down and this light industrial area is slated to become an “innovation district” in San Jose’s plan.

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

 
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Posted by on August 19, 2014 in Commute Diaries

 

Bike Commute Diaries: Keep On Keeping On

It’s Monday and I’m off to an earlier-than-usual start to a busier-than-usual week for me: product deadlines at work, advocacy meetings after work, a ladies tea to prepare for, and writing projects to complete. Sometimes you need a little inspiration to soldier on and push through. Then it appears, right there on the trail before you.

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

 
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Posted by on August 11, 2014 in Commute Diaries

 

You’re Invited: 2nd Annual Ladies Tea & Bike Social

You are cordially invited to our second annual Ladies Tea & Bike Social on Saturday the sixteenth of August, twenty-fourteen at eleven o’clock in the morning at the Elizabeth Gamble Garden in Palo Alto, California.

It’s back! Our garden party was such a success last year, we’re repeating it this year. What can you expect at a ladies tea and bike social? Twenty or so bicycle-loving ladies, gathered to share “laughter, stories, advice and new friends. Cucumber sandwiches, macaroons, cookies and fruit. Nicely hot tea poured from real tea pots into tea cups of all shapes, sizes and styles, just like the women.” That’s what I wrote after last year’s party.

Ladies Tea Table
We’ll host our garden party once again at the Elizabeth Gamble Gardens, where you can stroll the historic estate of the heir to the Proctor & Gamble fortune. Bequeathed to the city of Palo Alto with Elizabeth’s death in 1981, the impeccably maintained grounds include a cut flower garden, vegetable plots, fruit trees and a shade garden between the main house and the carriage and tea houses. Our ladies tea is timed to catch the dahlias and zinnias in bloom, apples ripening in the orchard and pumpkins in the vegetable garden. The weather will likely be warm in the sun, but comfortable under the old oak trees where we’ll have our tea.

We’ll bring the tea, we ask you to bring your favorite tea cup and cookies or a tea time snack to share. Hats and gloves are encouraged, but not required. What’s important is bringing a desire to meet other women who ride in our area to share stories, to swap advice and to relax with other women who have a passion for bikes.

Gamble Garden Gazebo

For those riding up from the south or arriving by Caltrain, I’ll also be leading a pre-party ride starting at Caltrain’s San Antonio Station in Mountain View at 10:25, timed for the arrivals of the #427 train from San Jose & #424 train from San Francisco. The route is about four flat miles one-way along low traffic, mostly shady residential streets. I’ll be pulling a trailer full of tea, teapots and tablecloths, so the pace will be city cruise easy.

Will you join us? Please RSVP here so we’ll know to bring enough tea for everyone, and don’t forget your tea cup or mug. I’d love to meet some of you ladies that I only know in the virtual world.

Ride to Palo Alto

Ladies Tea & Bike Social at the Elizabeth Gamble Garden
1431 Waverly Street, Palo Alto, California
Saturday, August 16, 2014, 11:00 am – 1:00 pm.
Space is limited, so RSVP is required.
Questions? Contact ladyfleur500 at gmail.com

 
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Posted by on August 4, 2014 in Around Town, Women & Bikes

 

Bike Commute Diaries: Midsummer Morning Rain

Take off the cardigan or leave it on? If you don’t live in the San Francisco Bay Area, you may not realize that we don’t get measurable rain for months every summer. So when a freak July rain blew in this morning and I was wearing super-absorbent cotton, I had to decide. Pull over to stow the sweater and be cold on the ride, or wear it and risk sitting for hours in a wet sweater over a wet dress in an air-conditioned office?

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I tucked the cardigan in my pannier and rode off, shivering just a bit as the rain speckles darkened my dress. This being California, though, the rain stopped in five minutes. By the time I pulled up to my office building the breeze had blown my dress dry, and left this Louisiana girl warmly nostalgic for a warm summer rain.

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

 
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Posted by on July 22, 2014 in Commute Diaries

 

Bike Commute Diaries: Getting the Creeps

In almost four years of daily bike commuting I’ve had my share of men try to chat me up on my ride. When you’re a solo female it’s bound to happen, especially when your choice in footwear is eye-catching. But when the “Nice shoes!” is preceded by a sense of being followed strong enough to make you look back; and it’s followed by a “Do you ride here every day?,” a simple compliment takes on a whole new creepy meaning.

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

 
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Posted by on July 17, 2014 in Commute Diaries

 

Bike Commute Diaries: Riding the Bike Train

“Is that your kit?” the new guy asked. “No, it’s at home,” I replied. Fitting in on the bike isn’t how you look, it’s how you ride. And on the San Jose Bike Train, I’m quite comfortable taking the front and letting my cardigan fly.

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Photo by Richard Masoner of Cyclelicious, used with his permission.

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

 
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Posted by on June 18, 2014 in Commute Diaries

 

Bike Spotting: Madeleine’s Raleigh Twenty Folder

Before there were Brompton or Dahon or Bike Friday folding bikes, there was the Raleigh Twenty, manufactured from the late 1960s to the early 1980s in the UK. Like its modern counterparts, the Twenty was a hit with bike tourists and commuters combining a bike trip with a train, bus or airplane ride. Like vintage cars, there are active fan sites for the Raleigh Twenty. Sheldon Brown even owned one. That’s how bike geek cool they are.

But that’s not why Madeleine bought her Raleigh Twenty. It was simply a good deal on a basic bike to ride around San Francisco, and it came with the luxury of traveling under the radar of bike thieves. When her other bike was snatched cruelly from a bike rack, the thief left her Raleigh Twenty beside it resting in peace.

Madeline

Heavier than its modern counterparts with larger 20″ wheels, and sporting just three gears in its Sturmey Archer hub, you’d think it wouldn’t be the best choice for hilly San Francisco. But Madeleine loves climbing and her little coffee-brown Raleigh Twenty powers her up the steep grades just fine.

Location: Ferry Building Plaza, San Francisco, California, USA.

 
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Posted by on June 11, 2014 in Bike Spotting, Cycle Fashions

 

Bike Commute Diaries: Losing My Nerve

It’s only one mile from the Caltrain station to my home but the first tenth of a mile has never been easy. At first I “took the lane” on Moffett Blvd, then I found some lower-stress alternatives that have their own issues. Tonight I headed down Moffett, but as soon as I heard the cars roaring up behind me, I pulled over. I can’t do it anymore.

Moffet Madness

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

 
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Posted by on June 9, 2014 in Commute Diaries

 

Bike Commute Diaries: Stopping to Smell the Roses

Every morning on my way to work I roll past the beautiful San Jose Heritage Rose Garden. This spring I’ve been too busy with Bike to Shop Day, fighting for bikes in the El Camino corridor and launching new products at work to stop once (and I’m not done yet). Today I stopped anyway. The hybrid tea roses and the grandifloras are spent, but the floribundas are still going strong. I smelled the floribundas, then rolled on to get back to work.

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

 
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Posted by on May 19, 2014 in Commute Diaries

 

You’re Invited: Shopping Tours for Bike to Shop Day

For the past few months, I’ve put my heart and soul into Bike to Shop Day. With an amazing team of volunteers and staff at the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition we’ve built a web site, recruited local businesses, printed, translated and delivered posters and written press releases promoting this one-day event.

We’re down to the home stretch now. All we need is people like you to hop on your bikes to shop, dine and do errands on Saturday, May 17. If you’re in Silicon Valley, we’d love it if you stopped in at our participating businesses or joined one of our shopping tours described below. If not, just knowing that you’re shopping by bike, wherever you are, will put a smile on my face. And that smile will be even bigger if you send me photos.

Want to try shopping by bike in a new neighborhood? Or just want to meet other bike shoppers in your area? Join one of our three Bike to Shop Day tours in two Silicon Valley cities. Each ride has its own distance, style and shopping districts visited, but all are designed to let you ride a little, shop a little, ride a little, eat a little. Stops will be oriented to allow you to visit businesses offering special Bike to Shop Day incentives.

Shopping Tour

San Jose Tour #1, Caltrain Station. Starts 10 am at the San Jose Diridon Caltrain Station and cruises 10 miles with stops in three shopping districts: shorter shopping stops in Willow Glen and Japantown, plus a longer lunch stop on the Paseo de San Antonio in downtown San Jose. Moderate to low-stress route includes off-street bike trails and bike lanes where possible, with some shared lanes on city streets. Returns to Caltrain Station for 2pm train. Tour leader: Janet Lafleur (moi!)

San Jose Tour #2, Naglee Park. Starts 10:30 am at House of Bagels in Naglee Park and cruises 5 miles with stops in two shopping districts: a shopping and coffee stop in Japantown, plus a lunch stop on the Paseo de San Antonio in downtown San Jose that meets up with San Jose Tour #1. Low-stress route includes off-street bike trails, bike lanes and quietest streets possible. Tour leader: Candice Stein.

Mountain View Kid-Friendly Tour. Starts 10 am at the Mountain View Public Library and cruises 2.5-3 miles. At the library, pump up your tires at the new bike repair station and pick up your goody bag, then cruise over to Diddams for special kid-friendly offers. Then roll downtown to finish with an ice cream stop at Ava’s Market and shopping on Castro Street. Family-oriented route chosen by and tour led by a League of American Bicyclists Certified Instructor. Tour leader: Winona Hubbard.

All rides are free and open to all ages. Please RSVP through the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition so we can plan to have enough ride leaders to keep the tour safe and pleasant for everyone.

 
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Posted by on May 11, 2014 in Around Town

 
 
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