Category Archives: Around Town

You’re Invited: Bike to Shop ‘Til You Drop Tour

A day late and a dollar short. Sometimes that’s just how it is and all you can do is fess up. This invitation should have gone out at least a week ago. I guess it’s poor form to send it now, but I am anyway. My proper French-Creole great-aunts would not have approved, but I’m a Californian now and that’s how I roll.

It’s late because I’ve been busy organizing Silicon Valley’s 2nd annual Bike to Shop Day, which has grown to over 130 businesses in 15 Silicon Valley cities, plus a whole slew more in San Francisco and Portland where thankfully, other people are taking up the charge. In March, I had the opportunity to speak at the National Summit of the League of American Bicyclists. In an pre-event interview, they asked how I saw it spreading. All I could say was I hoped others would join in if we got the word out, and they did. I am beyond pleased.

Bike to Shop Day 2015 web site2
So, everyone, please hop on your bike on Saturday, May 23 and shop. If you live in Silicon Valley or San Francisco, please stop at the businesses who are participating by making special offers to bike shoppers. And if you want some company while you shop in the Mountain View and Palo Alto area, this invitation is for you.

You are invited to join a Shop ‘Til You Drop tour in Mountain View and Palo Alto on Saturday, May 23, 2015.
Tour starts with coffee at 10 am and finishes with a pizza dinner at 5:30 pm.
You are welcome to drop-in or drop-out as you please according to the schedule below.

My dear husband and I are going long with an all-day shop & ride tour of Mountain View and Palo Alto that you can customize to suit your interest and schedule. Drop in on the tour where you like, drop out when you’re done. Take Caltrain to skip ahead or get back quick; you’re never more than three miles away from the train. The whole tour is 15 miles, but with all the shopping it’s a grueling shop-a-thon. Are you trained for it?

10-11:30 am Downtown Mountain View. Begin the morning with coffee and books at Dana Street Roasting, Books Inc, and BookBuyers. Meet back at 11am at Dana Street Roasting to ride to Mountain View library for the start of the Courier Challenge with Cowgirl Bike Couriers.

12 noon-1:15 pm California Ave, Palo Alto. Dine at Izzy’s Bagels, Mediterranean Wraps, Starbucks or shop at Leaf & Petal, Gray Matters, The Cobblery. Meet at Starbucks at 1:15 pm to ride to Town & Country.

1:30-2:30 pm Town & Country Village, Palo Alto. Shop at A Street Bike Named Desire, Athleta, Bel Campo. Meet at Street Bike at 2:30 to ride to University Ave.

2:45-4 pm Downtown Palo Alto. Shop at Patagonia, Title 9, Keen. Meet at Patagonia at 4 pm to ride back non-stop back to Mountain View, or take the 4:15 Caltrain.

4:45-6:30 pm Downtown Mountain View. Last chance for shopping! Meet at at Amici’s East Coast Pizza at 5:30 pm for dinner.

If you want to do it all (or pick and choose) this shop & ride tour is for you! RSVP HERE or given how late this is, look for me on the big red Dutch bike with the Bike to Shop Day sign on it.

Happy Bike to Shop Day! Where will you be shopping by bike today?


Posted by on May 23, 2015 in Around Town, Events


Bike Commute Diaries: Catching a Bike Skirt Garter

When it comes to city bike gear, I’m a minimalist. Other than the bike, all I usually bring along is a roomy pannier and a helmet. When I wear a dress without tights on warm days, I’ll slip on lacey bike shorts for extra modesty. Then last weekend, I decided to get crafty and make my own bike skirt garters. So far, so good. They’re cooler than bike shorts, more dignified than putting a penny in my pants, and just in time for summer.


How to Make Skirt Garters. I bought the garters for $4 at a costume store, then sewed on clasps recycled from a conference name badge lanyard (see close-up). Clasp the skirt hem as shown, or for a less visible look, clasp the skirt from inside a few inches above the hem. Allow space between clasps for pedaling motion.

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 about bicycling for transportation.


Posted by on April 30, 2015 in Bike Crafts, Commute Diaries


Bike Commute Diaries: Easy Trailside Repairs

When it comes to bicycle repair I know the basics: fixing a flat, replacing a dropped chain, swapping pedals, adjusting brakes. But knowing how to fix something doesn’t mean I want to mess around on the trail doing it in my work clothes. So when I rolled past a pop-up repair station on the trail today, I pulled right over. After a few tweaks and a test ride, Travis had my Brompton’s internal gear hub down-shifting with ease.


Many thanks to Calmar Bicycles who will be hosting this bike repair and fit station every first Tuesday of the month in the morning [updated dates] on the Guadalupe River Trail between St John and Julian Streets in downtown San Jose. Stop by to say hello and they’ll even buy you a cup of coffee at Bel Bacio, Little Italy’s finest coffee shop.

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 about bicycling for transportation.

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Posted by on March 3, 2015 in Commute Diaries


Breaking Away in Baton Rouge

When I was a little girl, my father taught me to ride a bike. He bolted training wheels on a bike passed down from one or more of my four older sisters and set me loose to ride circles in the driveway. When he decided it was time, he took off the training wheels, then held the back of my saddle while I climbed aboard. I pedaled, he ran, he let go, I fell. We tried again and again until I pedaled down the street into freedom.

Well, as much freedom that living in a subdivision isolated by a busy, shoulderless highway allows.

The subdivision wasn’t small, but it was street after street of ranch style homes with manicured lawns proudly owned by friendly people with lots of kids, and creeks to explore on its fringes. If we asked Mom nicely, she would let us ride down a long gravel road to a 7-11 to buy candy. But that was about it. We couldn’t ride to school or to sports practice or to a friend’s house on the other side of the highway. We were trapped riding in circles, just like my dad does today on his “ride every street” subdivision tour.

Pollard map

I’m sure many kids didn’t mind being cut off from the rest of the city, and I knew others who were willing to sneak through Ford’s pasture. But not a goody-two-shoes like me. I didn’t ride through the pasture until a few years ago, after it was sold to a developer who cut a trail through it where they will eventually build a street.

Pasture Path

This little trail, not even 2/10 of a mile, has become our bike connection to the rest of the city. Now we can ride all the places that we never could before: to the elementary school and church (1.25 miles), to high school (5 miles) and to college (4 miles), plus grocery stores, parks, restaurants and homes of friends and family.

The map tells it all. That small gold shape around my parents’ home was my childhood cruising range. Now, much of the southern half of the city can be reached by bike. What a big difference a tiny connection can make.

BTR Map 4

We haven’t ridden all the way from home to downtown yet, nor to the Mississippi River where a bald eagle nest is. (That would be a bit long for dad) But we did ride to LSU during our last visit, and I did ride to Baton Rouge High a few years ago for a high school reunion party. Next trip I want to ride downtown for a bike date lunch and to my sister’s house to see the latest fabric arts she’s created. So many new places to go and things to do.

How far from your childhood home could you safely ride a bike? What about where you live now?

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Posted by on February 10, 2015 in Around Town, Travel


You’re Invited: Wine, Women & Chocolate Returns!

You are cordially invited to Women, Wine & Chocolate, a gathering for women who love bikes, on Sunday, February 15, 2015 at 1:30 pm at 245 S 12th Street, in the historic Naglee Park district of San Jose, California.

The party that took Silicon Valley by storm last year returns for a second year of fun and friendship just for the ladies! Space is limited and last year was a sell-out, so please RSVP early.

If you’re in the throes of a grand love affair with your bike and want to meet other women with that same fiery passion, pedal over to San Jose’s historic Naglee Park district on Sunday, February 15, 2015. There will be wine, chocolate, cheese and fruit, plus an afternoon of stories, laughter, and tips on gear and secret bike routes. And of course, a chance to show off our two-wheeled babies. You may want to bring your bike family photos.

Bike Statue

If the weather is fine, we’ll be in Candice’s lovely garden. If not, we’ll cozy up around the fireplace and mingle in her turn-of-the-century home. So grab your favorite wine glass and something to share: chocolate, cheese or a bottle of wine or your preferred party drink. We’ll take care of the rest.

Those arriving by bike can join our pre-party ride crossing downtown San Jose on the new green lanes on San Fernando Street followed by a short spin through the historic Naglee Park. Our route will be less than four miles one way along lower-stress streets. Meet in front of San Jose Diridon Station at 1:00 pm. (Train arrivals: Caltrain local 12:51, baby bullet 1:03; VTA 902 NB 12:38, SB 12:59) We’ll roll shortly after the last train arrives.

San Fernando Green Lane

Where: 245 South 12th Street, San Jose. A private home in the historic Naglee Park district. (map)
When: Sunday, February 15, 2015. 1:30-4:00 pm. Note that sunset won’t be until 5:46 pm that day.
Please bring: Your favorite wine glass, plus chocolate, cheese or bottle of wine or other drink to share.
RSVP: Please RSVP and indicate what you’ll be bringing through SVBC, our event sponsor .

Pre-Party Bike Ride: Meet at San Jose Diridon Station at 1:00 PM for a short, flat ride on lower-stress streets.
Transit: Party location is well-served by VTA transit lines (22,23,72). Santa Clara Street is 2.5 blocks away.
Parking: Bike parking will be provided on racks in the backyard (with tarps in case of rain). On-street car parking is available with no weekend restrictions.

Please RSVP so we can make sure we’re ready for what’s sure to be a fun group, and so we send you any last minute details about the party. We hope to see you there!


Posted by on January 29, 2015 in Around Town, Events


Bike Commute Diaries: Tumbling Tumbleweeds

It’s easy to forget that where I live was once the Old West. The cowboys and stagecoaches are gone, and few saloons remain. But there I was on the trail today, drifting along with the tumbling tumbleweeds.


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 about bicycling for transportation.


Posted by on January 27, 2015 in Commute Diaries


Bike Commute Diaries: Surprising Bump in Ridership

It’s January: cold, dark and hardly the peak of the bike commute season. Yet the once-empty Caltrain bike car has been brimming with riders bound for San Jose. New Years resolutions? More jobs in San Jose? Global warming? Your guess is as good as mine. Until I get bumped for lack of rack space, I’m not complaining.


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 about bicycling for transportation.


Posted by on January 15, 2015 in Commute Diaries

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