Monthly Archives: November 2011

La Cuisine Gastronomique à Paris

After two full days of meetings and two full nights of social activities, our annual sales kickoff was over! Now my co-workers and I could explore Paris at our own pace. Stéphane, our customer support manager, knew just the place for a “gastonomic” dinner: Neva Cuisine. The chef at Neva was trained by Stéphane’s brother-in-law, who in turn trained Stéphane’s wife Sofie. With such connections we got the best table in the house, the same table that Metallica shared just last week. Maybe that’s what inspired Yannick to cut loose un peau.


The dinner was indeed a gastronomic experience of carefully chosen ingredients, prepared carefully for maximum flavor. The was no ordinary dinner of foie gras and roast duck. The foie gras, embellished with gold flecks in the aspic top, melted smoothly across my tongue, and the Colvert Rôti was roasted to perfection.

But the pièce de résistance was la sphère déstructurée chocolat, an ice cream filled chocolate sphere glazed with silver and doused with hot chocolate sauce at the table. Magnifique!

After dinner we walked up to the 18th arrondissement passing the famous Moulin Rouge in search of a dance club. We considered and rejected more than one, then switched our search to finding a taxi, which proved just as difficult. We almost rented Velib bikes, but they didn’t take our chipless American credit cards. In the end, half of us caught a taxi and the others simply took a long walk back to the hotel.

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Posted by on November 18, 2011 in Travel


Fashion Fridays: Prêt à Vélo

Armed with a city map and one day bikeshare passes, Janet and Michelle are ready to brave the busy streets of Paris on their Vélib bicycles. Skinny jeans and a full scarf on Janet and a classic pea coat on Michelle mean they do it in style.




Posted by on November 18, 2011 in Cycle Fashions, Travel


Pedal Savvy Fashions at SF Bike Expo

Look, a blog post with bike fashion photos and not a single one of me! The cool gear at the SF Bike Expo was worth the trip to the city and cost of admission alone, but it was the Pedal Savvy fashion show that made the expo for me. The stylish fashions and cool bikes in last year’s show were brilliantly eye-popping, a definite inspiration for me to up my game. You know where that led.

This year’s show once again featured both made-for-the-bike and standard street apparel, with some vintage items thrown in. There definitely seemed to be more technical bike wear disguised as standard street apparel this year. I guess the mainstrean bike industry is catching on to what the boutique manufacturers figured out years ago–not everyone wants to look like they stepped off a bike, even if they just did. I like this trend because it gives you the best of both worlds on those days you’ll be putting in more miles, like the 35 miles we did to get home from the show.

Here are the Pedal Savvy models as they rolled around the bike runway. Click the thumbnails for a large photo slideshow.

Oh, look a video too. And still no me. This is the final promenade of the models and their bike. At the very end you’ll see Ms. Pedal Savvy, the stylist who made it all possible.


Posted by on November 14, 2011 in Cycle Fashions


SF Bike Expo in 150 Words and 15 Photos

It’s not Interbike or the North American Handmade Bike Show, but for the average Joe or Jane Biker the SF Bike Expo is the next best thing. A chance to see new products from smaller, often local, manufacturers, ogle bikes from custom builders and score some good deals on gear, as well as gently and not so gently used bikes and components. Oh, and a bike fashion show from Pedal Savvy. What’s not to love?

Dick and I hooked our biggest panniers on our touring bikes and headed up to the show on Caltrain, checked out the goods, bought a few things and rode a flat 35 miles home through the industrial spine of the San Francisco Peninsula. After pushing the pace to beat the sunset, we arrived home just as the last light faded from the horizon. If only we had bought those cool mini lights from Bookman we wouldn’t have had to hurry.

What’s your favorite new bike product? Bonus points if it’s from a small-scale manufacturer.

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Posted by on November 13, 2011 in Gear Talk


Bring It On, Rain!

Ain’t no way we’ll let you stop us from causin’ mayhem. I’m not afraid in my raincoat, wool cap and leather boots, with fenders and waterproof panniers on Zella. We’ll ride this road together, through the storm.



Posted by on November 11, 2011 in Cycle Fashions


Happy Anniversary to Me! (Now pass the cupcakes)

Diets don’t work, except when they do. This week marks my nine year anniversary of becoming a lifetime member of Weight Watchers. In 2002, I got fed up with being too overweight to enjoy hiking or biking hills anymore. So I joined Weight Watchers, lost 35 pounds and have kept my weight within the “healthy” BMI range since. Given only 6% of Weight Watchers members meet their goal weight and achieve lifetime status, and that only about 20% are within five pounds of their goal weight five years later, I’m pleased.

Why did I succeed where others failed? First, while I was quite capable of packing on the pounds, my parents raised me to eat real food instead of junk and encouraged physical activity. When I gained weight, I was eating far more than I should have for my activity level. Second, and more importantly, I made lifestyle changes afterward that set me up for success. Like joining Team in Training and completing my first triathlon, dating a hard-core cyclist (who I’ve since married) and joining a women’s bicycle racing team.

My everyday and social lives now revolve around physical activity, which frees me from the burden of counting Points Plus all the time. Because you can’t spend the rest of your life counting calories, or eating one meal a day or never eating ordinary food with friends and family. That’s not living.

Unfortunately, it’s not that easy to stay lean. We Americans live in a culture that’s created the perfect storm for obesity: inexpensive, high calorie processed foods, super-sized restaurant meals (not just at fast food places either), and the virtual elimination of ordinary, everyday physical activity, like walking or bicycling to school or work.

You’ve probably heard the statistics about how 30% of Americans are obese, but do you realize that just 20 years ago less than 15% were? That’s a horrifying increase. Watch this video to see how in any given year a significant number of states increase their percentage of obese residents.

For those who are curious about how I looked at my max weight, I did find a photo from that era. Photos are rare since I didn’t like how I looked. Or how it kept me from being active outdoors like I am today.

Has maintaining a weight you’re happy with been hard for you? Do diets work for you?



Posted by on November 10, 2011 in Other Stuff


Helmet Hair Do’s (and a Don’t)

When I tell people that I ride to work in professional clothes I get a lot of questions, starting with “don’t you get sweaty and need to shower at work?” I explain that since I ride at an easy pace for only 25 minutes, I sweat less than I would if I walked. That seems to satisfy most people, except women, who inevitably ask: “What about helmet hair?” This question is harder to answer.

The short answer: helmets don’t mess up my hair. Whether I leave it in its naturally wavy state, pump it up to super curly or iron it straight into submission, I can fluff or brush my hair at my destination and it’s no worse for the wear. Like riding in street clothes, excessive sweating is the problem, not the helmet per se.

Still, it took a professional to convince me I didn’t need to wash my hair every time I got a little exercise. I once had an afternoon hair appointment and at the end my stylist (and fellow mountain biker) gave me a fabulous blow-out. Silky and straight with a flip at the bottom. I loved it. “Too bad”, I said, “I’m riding tonight and will wash it all out later.” “Don’t wash it,” Kelly said, “just brush it out when you get home and put it up in a scrunchie at night. It will still be great in the morning.” She was right.

Now I’m so confident that my hair will recover post-ride that I take my bike to hair appointments, like I did last Saturday. Kelly O’Dea gave me a great layered cut, then styled it curly by adding a hefty amount of product, scrunching it and blowing it dry with a diffuser. The result: super-super curly and so full I wondered if my hair would fit under the helmet.

It did, of course, fit under the helmet. And even after the making a few stops on the way home, my hair was still full and curly. Thank you, Kelly! So, here are my DO’s for keeping your hairdo intact when you ride:

  • DO Take it easy on the bike. It’s not a race or a training ride.
  • DO Pull over and take a layer off if you start to sweat.
  • DO Take your helmet off and remove any elastic headbands or ponytail holders as soon as you arrive.
  • DO Brush, comb or shake your hair out. Fluff and go ahead on with your fabulous self!
  • DON’T Let fear of helmet hair keep you from riding. If my DO’s DON’T work for you, tweak your technique and try again.

What do you do to keep your ‘do from being a don’t after you ride?

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Posted by on November 9, 2011 in Around Town, Cycle Fashions

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