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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?

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

 

Fashion Friday: My BikeStyle Momentum

What’s your bike style? When Momentum Magazine asked if they could profile me in their BikeStyle feature, that question was easy to answer: Southern girl feminine meets California active. What wasn’t so easy was quelling my anxiety about appearing in the magazine. But here I am. I’m honored they asked and happy I did it.

Portrait

For a special fashion shoot with Momentum, I had to have a new dress. Boutique 4 came through again with a dress inspired by stained glass. Psst: Boutique 4 is participating in Bike to Shop Day again this year.

For the rest of the profile, pick up Momentum’s May/June issue or read it online. So, what’s YOUR BikeStyle?

Momentum Profile

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 May 15, 2015 in Cycle Fashions

 

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.

Garter

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.

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

 

You’re Invited: How to Ride in Heels Workshop

The crazy idea was born while chatting with the ladies at an after-work reception. Like so many times before, it came up that I had arrived by bike, and yes, I had ridden in the heels I was wearing. I got the usual comments: “Really, how do you do that?” and “I could never do that, I would hurt myself”. I offered my usual response: “You just put your foot on the pedal and push. It’s easier than walking in them,” but that didn’t convince them.

“You should teach a class on riding in heels.”

As much as I’ve laughed off that request before, and as much as I’ve rolled my eyes at the advice in articles in Vogue and Bicycling, the time has come for my first-ever how-to workshop. And everyone is invited.

Skirt & Shoes

Riding in Heels: How to do girly things on a bike without breaking a sweat

Would you like to bike about town to work, to the store and out to dinner without looking like you’re headed for a bike race? Dressing for the destination instead of a workout isn’t hard once you learn a few simple tricks.

Join this hands-on workshop to learn:

  • How to ride in heels (we weren’t kidding!)
  • How to stay modest in a dress, even on a windy day
  • Basket or panniers? How to carry anything safely and stylishly
  • How to avoid and recover from the dreaded helmet hair
  • The basic steps in the the delicate dance of stripping as you ride
  • How to accurately estimate how much you can haul on your bike

After the workshop you’ll have the opportunity to decorate your bike Dutch-style, and ride an easy parade lap around the park. Bring your heels or other girly shoes to test out your new-found skills.

The Riding in Heels workshop is just a small part of a bigger Silicon Valley Bikes! Festival in History Park San José where you’ll find all things bike: the valley’s history of bike innovation, show bikes, skills demos and more.

When: Sunday, May 3, 2015. Festival runs from 11am-6pm. Workshop begins at 2 pm in the plaza.
Where: Silicon Valley Bikes! Festival, History Park, 635 Phelan Ave at Senter Rd, San José. (map)
Who: Anyone of any age who wants to learn how to ride in heels and do girly things on a bike!
Cost: Workshop is free with $5 admission to the Silicon Valley Bikes! Festival

Free valet bike parking provided by the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition. Limited vehicle parking is available on site at History Park or adjacent Kelley Park for a fee.

Bonus for blog readers! Workshop attendees who RSVP here by Friday, May 1 will receive a free gift, a handmade button elastic tie-down that’s oh-so versatile, just for pre-registering and attending.

Button Ties

 
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Posted by on April 24, 2015 in Events, Women & Bikes

 

A Bicycle Movement Powered by Wine & Chocolate

It takes a village to raise a child, they say, and a community to build a movement. But is bicycling a movement? I’ve always bristled at the idea. When I think of movements I think of protest rallies and marches with grand speeches that lead to counter-protests and sometimes violence. Like the unrest that came with the Civil Rights, Women’s Suffrage and Antiwar Movements. That’s not what I see for bicycling, nor do I hope to see.

Maybe I’m thinking too narrowly. Social movements spring from a new perspective and people’s desire for change. That’s what I want for bicycling: that we see it differently, that we move bicycling beyond just sport and recreation to integrate it into our daily lives in a way that’s healthier for us, for our cities, and for our planet.

Bike Posse Arrives

If we accept bicycling as a movement, then which communities will build it? Will it be the bike advocates, who push for bike lanes and legal protections? Will it be city staff and elected officials who design and approve the streets and trails we ride? Will it be the bike industry, who manufacture and sell the gear?  Will it be businesses, who know that bicycles can bring in more customers or more employees at a lower cost?

Or will it be people like us, the women who came together at the Wine, Women & Chocolate gathering to share the joy of bicycling: college students making their place in the world, women retired from careers in business or raising children, and women who juggle one or more roles every day. We are women who are just getting comfortable riding on streets, women who bike every day, everywhere, women who unwind with a spin down a trail, and women who push themselves longer, harder or faster. There may have even been a racer or two.

Chatting in the garden

Community goes beyond living in the same place, it’s a feeling of fellowship with others that comes sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals. I saw community at our Wine, Women & Chocolate gathering, and I believe communities are what will build our bicycle movement, along with help from the bike advocates, the city staff and elected offiicials, the bike industry, and local business leaders. It takes a village, after all.

What bicycling communities do you belong to? What kind of movement are you all building?

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It takes a crew to throw a party. Many thanks to Candice and Carmen for opening their home to us, to the half-dozen volunteers who checked us in, parked bikes, poured wine, kept the food table neat, and to the handful of party-goers who took the photos in this slideshow. Finally, thank you to the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition for sponsoring and promoting the event and loaning us the nifty bike racks. If you’re not a member, become one today.

 
 

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.

IMG_7286

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

 

Fashion Friday: A Touch of Sparkle for After 5pm

Another cool winter day, another knit dress with heels and tights, topped by a poplin coat. My work uniform varies less than California weather, but when I have an after-work business event it’s time to sprinkle a little sparkle. A faux-vintage necklace and copper purse make basic brown stand out (but not too much).

Brown Dress Portrait 1

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 February 27, 2015 in Cycle Fashions

 

A Big Easy King Cake for Mardi Gras in California

After my family, what I miss most about Louisiana is the food and the rich traditions behind it. Like making pralines after picking pecans in the fall, or boiling a sack of crawfish for a backyard party in the spring, or making gumbo the day after Thanksgiving with the turkey carcass. For me, these are all family traditions.

But there’s one Louisiana food tradition that I associate with the workplace, not home: the King Cake. In the Louisiana French tradition, Carnival season begins at the Feast of Epiphany (aka Three Kings Day) and runs through Mardi Gras (aka Fat Tuesday, the last day before Lenten fasting begins). During Carnival season, no party was considered complete without a King Cake, a sweet bread sprinkled with sugar with a bean hidden inside. The lucky party-goer who was served the slice of cake with the bean was tasked with throwing the next Carnival party. Are you still with me? I realize this is not a mainstream American tradition.

King Cake

This tradition continues today among circles of friends and in workplaces, although the bean has evolved into a tiny plastic baby. When I was a student working on the LSU campus, our boss brought a King Cake the Friday after Epiphany, then whoever got the baby brought the cake the next Friday and so on until Mardi Gras.

The good news for the person who drew the baby is that King Cakes are easy to buy at bakeries back home. The bad news for me is that I’ve only found one place that sells them in the Bay Area and it’s in San Francisco, and they’re by special order only. A long way to go for a cake plus the challenge of carrying it home on a bike.

For years I’ve toyed with the idea of baking my own, but the traditional recipes sounded like too much work and the easy recipes using place-and-bake cinnamon rolls sounded too sweet. This year I tried again, googling “easy king cake” and behold! An easy recipe with a cream cheese filling and a touch of lemon that passed my discriminating standards. Start to finish, including rising, was about 90 minutes.

Even though I knew my co-workers wouldn’t know what it was, I baked a King Cake and on Mardi Gras last week I brought it to work on my bike. A dish draining rack tied down to my bike’s rear rack made the perfect King Cake basket. All that was missing was the toy baby. For that, there’s always next year.

Do you have traditional holiday foods from back home that aren’t common where you’re living today? Do you cook them yourself or drive far or mail order to get them?

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Posted by on February 22, 2015 in Bike Crafts, Recipes

 

Make It Your Own: Kinn Cascade Flyer by Tim

Good things come to those who wait, and when you have tough requirements that can take a while. Tim knew exactly what he wanted in his family’s newest bike: big and sturdy enough to carry his 3 year old son, small enough to fit on a bus rack, with sizing to fit both his tall frame and his wife’s petite one. And he wanted to buy American. After detailed research he found the perfect bike: a midtail from Kinn Bikes of Portland, Oregon.

Tim Portrait 3

As the name suggests, midtail bicycles fit in the space between a standard bike and the extended-frame cargo bikes made popular by Xtracycle, aka “longtails.” While midtails can’t carry two kids as comfortably or carry as much cargo as longtails, many, like Tim’s Kinn Cascade Flyer, come with a twist: turn the front wheel 180 degrees and the bike length shortens by 4 inches, just enough to slide into a bus or train’s bike rack.

While the Kinn may have been perfect for Tim, his wife wasn’t so keen on its frame color and it was to be her bike too. Tim’s easy fix was having the frame re-painting and while they were at it, using Rhino Lining for a durable finish. Never heard of Rhino Lining? It’s a nubby coating that’s commonly sprayed on truck beds to protect from scrapes. Perfect for a bike that gets some abuse on the mean streets of San Francisco.

Location: Old Del Monte Dried Fruit Plant 51, near Diridon Station, San Jose.

 
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Posted by on February 20, 2015 in Bike Gallery, Make It Your Own

 

Fashion Weekend Edition: Springlike Garden Party

When you host a party in February in Northern California you never know what kind of weather you’ll get. Last year’s Wine, Women & Chocolate barely espcaped a winter rain storm, while this year it was sunny and unseasonably warm. A new knit dress in a spicy coral print was a perfect way to enjoy the springlike day.

Coral Dress Portrait 1

I already have so many dresses, but I loved this one from Boutique 4, a Bike to Shop Day participating shop.

Panorama

I was too busy at the party to take many photos, but here’s a panorama of the group that rode together from the Caltrain station through downtown San Jose to the party in historic Naglee Park. If you have photos from the party, please send them to me at ladyfleur500@gmail.com. For higher resolution of the photo, Click here.

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 February 16, 2015 in Cycle Fashions

 
 
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