RSS

Fashion Friday: Deep Purple Evening Delights

The invitation specified “business casual, no jeans” but that doesn’t mean I can’t step in up a notch with a pretty cotton dress in deep purple, vintage jewelry, and snakeskin heels. It is a fundraising dinner for the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition at a hotel after all, not a crab feed at the church hall or chili cook-off in the park.

Purple Dress Portrait

I’m sure I won’t be the only one dressed up for the occasion. With luck, I’ll snap a few red-carpet shots of partygoers so you can see that yes, even hardcore cyclists can shed their lycra and clean up good.

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.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 13, 2014 in Cycle Fashions

 

Cowgirls & LadyCats: A New Face for Bike Couriers

If you’ve you ever hopped on a bike after a rough work day and had your bad mood roll away, you’ve probably wondered: “If only I could get paid to ride my bike.” The good news is that you don’t have to be a pro racer to make a living on two wheels. You can coach or instruct like my friend Lorri. You can write about bicycling like my friend Elly. You can work in bike advocacy like my friends at SVBC and CalBike. Or you can work in the bike industry, either at a manufacturer or at your local bike shop like my dear husband did when I met him.

But the purest way to get paid to ride a bike is as a messenger, something I could never see myself doing. Bike messengers are thrill-seeking guys careening around the city on brakeless fixies, hopping curbs and running red lights. You know, like in Premium Rush. But now I have a friend Cain who has launched a new kind of bike delivery service earlier this month called Cowgirl Bike Couriers. They’re not your typical messengers.

Cowgirls 2Photo courtesy of Cowgirl Bike Couriers.

Like other bike courier services, the Cowgirls specialize in delivering legal documents, but that doesn’t stop them from delivering packages, flowers, groceries, and even medical supplies. But what makes Cowgirls stand out is their focus on recruiting women as couriers to help bridge the gender gap in American cycling.

I love their mission and the name Cowgirl, which reminds me of the strong women of Old West who had the daring and strength to ride hard and get sweaty in what’s seen as a man’s job. Cowgirls are ready for anything, and I think their new service is too. Ten women and men have been recruited, some key accounts have been signed, and the Cowgirls are riding from Milpitas to Los Gatos, from Santa Clara to East and South San Jose.

Cowgirls 1cropPhoto courtesy of Cowgirl Bike Couriers.

I’m not in the market to become a courier, but it’s fun to pretend. So when my friend Lorri asked me to race with her in an alley cat the Cowgirls hosted last month, I went for it. I wanted to support Cowgirls in their launch, and their LadyCat race was a fund-raiser for the Silicon Valley Roller Girls who lost their home rink at the last remaining roller skating rink in the South Bay. Besides, how could LadyFleur not race the LadyCat?

Lorri and I made a good team. I arrived early, giving me time to study the manifest and map out a route using my iPhone. Lorri rushed over from another event so she didn’t know the route, but she could read the map without pulling out reading glasses. That led to a couple of “who’s on first” conversations and an overshot checkpoint on Hamilton Ave that gave us the (dis)pleasure of crossing the Hwy 17 freeway interchange twice.

LadyCat Map

We survived, though, and 24 miles and two hours later we had hit all nine checkpoints and were sharing drinks and stories with the other racers. We were far from the first to come in, but not the last either. Best of all, we got to pretend to be bike couriers for a day, something I’ll surely never do in real life.

Have you ever been paid for riding a bike or working in a bike-affiliated job? If not, what job would you want?

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 
3 Comments

Posted by on October 9, 2014 in Around Town, Women & Bikes

 

Bike Commute Diaries: Taxi to the Rescue

When asked what I’d do if I had a problem with my bike I couldn’t fix, I’ve always said if desperate I’d call a taxi. In four years, I’ve walked home once and taken light rail twice for flats, and called Dick for a ride once when my headlight was stolen. Last night on our bike date, I locked both our bikes to the rack without having the key. Four miles from home, in a city with no nighttime transit, and I had locked up my rescuer too. Taxi time!

Taxi Rescue

Getting a taxi at night in the suburbs isn’t easy. I called five companies that came up in an internet search, but they were set up for airport shuttle runs, not cross-town trips. So I went back into the restaurant and asked the hostess. She called and a taxi arrived in 10 minutes. The driver was a madman behind the wheel, but since he said he specifically works in Mountain View, his number is now saved in my phone contacts.

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.

 
6 Comments

Posted by on October 4, 2014 in Commute Diaries

 

Fashion Weekend Edition: Sunday in the Park

Back in the good old days, people worked hard six days a week while Sunday was a sacred day of rest: worship in the morning, and socializing and relaxation in the afternoon. City parks were a favorite destination to see and be seen while on a stroll, a picnic or at a concert. That meant Sunday-best dresses, pearls and gloves for the ladies, ties and coats for the gents, and straw hats all around to protect delicate faces from the sun.

Sunday in the Park Portrait

On Sunday, September 21, we will be hosting a Sunday Soirée in San José with a city cruise and tea in St James Park, laid out in 1868 by Frederick Law Olmsted, America’s pioneer landscape architect. Come join us!

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.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 20, 2014 in Cycle Fashions

 

Who You Callin’ Scofflaw? Sidewalk Cyclist

“Get on the sidewalk!” I don’t think there’s anyone who has ridden a bike on a city street or country road that hasn’t heard this one before. Most of the time the harasser is out of earshot if you yell back, “I have a right to the road.” And in all states in the US you do have the right to ride in the roadway just like vehicles with few exceptions, namely controlled-access highways, also known as freeways, interstates or motorways.

Of course, if you ride on the sidewalk, you’re just as likely get scolded with “Get OFF the sidewalk!” by people walking there, feeding yet again into the scofflaw cyclist image. You can’t win.

Claim: Scofflaw cyclists ride on sidewalks!

Whether it’s legal to ride on the sidewalk is not so clear. Most states, including California, Texas and New York, leave the decision to local jurisdictions. In San Francisco, it’s illegal for adults everywhere with a few notable exceptions. In my home city of Mountain View, it’s illegal for adults only in business districts. And in San Jose, it’s legal everywhere for all ages. So this man riding on the sidewalk in downtown San Jose is riding legally.

IMG_3527.JPG

To those who are ready to scroll down to the comment section and give me a keyboardful about the dangers of sidewalk cycling: please wait. Yes, bicycling on the sidewalk can be dangerous, both for the person on the bike and for people walking or standing on the sidewalk. But much of the danger comes with speed.

Drivers are looking for people moving at walking speed, not faster than running speeds. (That’s one reason why young children are usually allowed to bike on sidewalks) Ditto for people walking along the sidewalk or stepping out of buildings. Let’s hope our sidewalk-cycling guy only rides this close to storefronts that are boarded up.

Why do people ride on the sidewalk? Sometimes it’s for convenience or out of habit, but much of the time it’s because the sidewalk feels safer than the roadway. This man was riding along Santa Clara Street, which has four lanes of car traffic and parked cars on either side. I ride it occasionally, but it’s very stressful. There’s a bike lane on a parallel street 1/0 of a mile away, but the one-way streets leading there don’t have bike lanes either.

Assessment: The sidewalk-biking guy is not a scofflaw; he’s riding legally even if arguably unsafely.

As someone who has the choice to ride a bike or drive a car, I’m not going to judge people who may not have that choice. He was riding slowly and I saw him give a woman ample room when he passed. Besides, there are several places I ride on the sidewalk in San Jose. With roads like the one below, can you really blame me?

Have you been called a scofflaw for riding on a sidewalk? Were you riding legally? Are you sure?

riding-on-sidewalk

The City of San Jose is hosting a public meeting on Wednesday, September 17, 2014 at 6pm at City Hall that includes discussion of a ban on sidewalk riding. If you live or work in San Jose, I encourage you to attend. All I ask is that you consider the needs of everyone who rides a bicycle, not just those with the skill, speed and courage to ride comfortably on any road, or the option to hop in the car where the roads are unforgiving.

 
13 Comments

Posted by on September 16, 2014 in Who You Callin' Scofflaw?

 

You’re Invited: A Sunday Soirée in Historic San José

You are cordially invited to a city cruise and garden tea on Sunday, September 21, 2014.
Bike tour rolls out from the Old Main Post Office on 105 N 1st Street, San José at 12:30 pm.
Tea at Two directly follows at 2:00 pm across 1st Street in St James Park.

Slip on your Sunday best and grab your most stylish bike for a slow cruise through some of San José’s most bikeable historic neighborhoods followed by tea in the park. We’ll begin with a spin in the Victorian Hensley District, roll through Japantown, then head off to turn-of-century Naglee Park, and finish with highlights in the heart of downtown. Along the way we’ll share San José’s largely untold, fascinating, and sometimes sordid history as we cruise along for 6-8 miles on lower-traffic city streets and new buffered and green bike lanes.

Straw Hat Selfie

We’ll end our tour with tea and cookies under the trees in St James Park, 19th-century San José’s central plaza. Whether you prefer hearty Irish Breakfast, delicate Chamomile, healthful Green, or exotic Chrysanthemum Pu-erh blend tea, we’ll have something for you. You’re also welcome to bring a blanket and a picnic lunch too.

The Sunday Soirée is just a small part of a bigger Bike Life Festival in St James Park where you’ll find all kinds of bike fun: unique bikes, workshops, skills demonstrations and a gear swap, plus music and bike-inspired art. For your bike’s safety, bike valet parking is available at the festival free of charge.

When: Sunday, September 21, 2014. Ride begins at 12:30 pm, Tea at 2:00 pm in St James Park
Where: Ride meets on steps of the US Post Office on 105 N 1st Street in downtown San José
Who: Anyone who is comfortable riding city streets at a cruising pace.

Please RSVP so we’ll bring enough tea and cookies for all. Many thanks to the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition for sponsoring this social event, and for working to make San José a better, more pleasant city for bicycling.

Tea at Two SJ Bike Life

 
8 Comments

Posted by on September 12, 2014 in Events

 

Fashion Holiday Edition: Hard-Working Labor Day

During World War II in the Bay Area, they built Liberty ships. In Southern California, they built bomber aircraft. And where I’m from in Louisiana, they built the nimble landing craft that brought troops ashore on D-Day. Life isn’t always about pretty things. More often than not, it’s grit and grime that gets the job done.

Rosie the Riveter Portrait

In the United States, we honor the people who do the heavy lifting for hourly wages on Labor Day, the first Monday in September. The prosperity and well-being of our country relies on the strength of our workers.

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.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 1, 2014 in Cycle Fashions

 
 
jimandsharonsbigadventure

Living the bicycle life

South Bay Streetscape

Exploring Santa Clara County's urban limits

I'm Jame :)

what's on my mind: food, fashion, marketing, cities, tech & more

Let's Go Ride a Bike

Adventures in city cycling

The Backpack Objective

Excursions of a biking and hiking homeschool family

Shop by Bike

How and where to shop by bike in Silicon Valley, California

The Empowerment of the Silent Sisterhood

The blog of the Beautiful You MRKH Foundation www.beautifulyoumrkh.org

Fix The Toaster

Nearly 32,000 Americans die in car crashes annually. 80% of car crashes are PREVENTABLE. If the TOASTER was killing that many people we'd think it was ridiculous. We'd un-plug it and say, let's Fix The Toaster.

Urban Adventure League

Exploring the urban environment through fun human-powered adventures, riding bicycles, and gawking at bicycles in and around Portland, Oregon, Cascadia

CARDBOARD BOX OFFICE

A world of film, a house of stuff.

Wanderlust

Exploring Europe by water

Ride On

Australia's most widely-read bike magazine

articulate discontent

a look at societal and economic influences on human systems.

Pedal All Day

Endurance Cycle for Macular Disease

sistersthatbeenthere

Just another WordPress.com site

Gas station without pumps

musings on life as a university professor

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,109 other followers

%d bloggers like this: