Friday, April 30, 2010


...on the ride to work today, another girl wearing heels on a regular bike. Nice, light-beige, heeled boots. Skinny jeans, her purse worn messenger style, on a regular hybrid bike like mine.

I'm sure there are more of us out there in Vancouver. My eyes are just paying attention to it now!

Monday, April 26, 2010

rain, rain, go away

I just rode home in the pouring rain. As pouring as it gets here. The 15-minute length of the ride and the fact that I was going home from work, not from home to work, made it not much of an issue. Dry upper half (wool coat) and soaked bottom half (but I change into jeans when I get home anyway). The worst was the visibility.

No, I take that back, because that's what this post is about. The worst part is getting into the parking garage and thinking: what am I going to do with my bike?

Usually I store it in my apartment, which is an ... inconvenience ... at the best of times. On rainy days, it's a load of work, a mess, and a frustrating end to the work day that I just don't need.

I've been toying, for a while, of investigating what improvements could be made to the bicycle storage in my building and putting together a proposal of sorts for the management. See what they're open to. You're guaranteed to fail if you don't even try, right? Frustrating days like this are what give me reason to try.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

ready for a new bike

Although I'm of the mind that the most important part of cycling and building a cycling culture is just getting out there and riding, it's also true that riding the right bicycle is still a big part of it.

Last Spring I bought a bike. An acceptable bike at an acceptable price that rolled, braked, changed gears, and carried my junk. Most of all, it served one supremely important purpose: it made me fall in love with cycling. It changed my world.

Alas, after a year of riding, its limitations became clear. In addition to not being step-through (enough), the cables run down the top of the top tube and I, with my short and inflexible legs, are constantly hitting them as I try to step over the bike. (The basket on the rack makes swinging my leg over the back not an option.) There's no chain guard so I have to wrap up the ankles of my work pants with those velcro things (but black ones, thank goodness). Lastly, the posture is too hunched over and I find myself riding leisurely through the park with barely my fingertips on the grips, just to be able to sit up a bit more.

You know it's time for a change when...

Admittedly, the handlebar-shape and -height may be able to be modified for a more upright ride, but with the other cons -- not to mention the fact that it's halfway between boring and ugly -- I'm ready to move on to something different. Besides, I don't own a car or any real estate or even fancy stereo systems or buy a monthly bus pass, so this is no place to be pinching pennies. My bike has become, for 8 months of the year, my primary transporation.

Up next: the bike(s) I have my eye on.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

new route to the cinema

The middle of downtown is a hill. All sides slope down towards water or at least sea level. Living partway down one side of this hill and working on the opposite side, I've always circumvented the centre in order to ride at a fairly flat plane. I've avoided riding into locations in the middle, presuming that I'd need to ride up or down enough to make it inconvenient. That area of the downtown core is also more trafficed and I haven't been confidant enough yet to brave it.

Tonight I found out: not a problem at all.

I went to see Alice in Wonderland (loved it!) at a theatre right in the middle of that area and discovered that the increase in elevation takes place over about half a block in a residential area. The rest is almost perfectly flat. There's also a pedestrian-controlled light at the place where I need to cross a major street, then a bike lane along the 1-way street almost as far as the theatre.

For the second day in a row .... easy peasy!

Oh, and the bike racks out front of the theatre were packed with a whole variety of bicycles. I love to see it that way. If I'd had my camera with me I would have taken a photo. I think I need a new cell phone.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

3 little rules to grease the system

What do you do when you wake up on a Saturday morning, all ready for an April weekend of bicycle riding, and find that it's steadily raining? Sigh, then tuck in with a cup of coffee to catch up on writing blog posts. Perhaps it will dry up later.

Last Saturday, despite a busy weekend at Lindy Bout, I did get a ride around Stanley Park, albeit early afternoon, which is not my preferred timeslot on a sunny day. Why? I like to say... "The hordes are out." The seawall, and Stanley Park in particular, are a magnet for tourists on rented bikes and roller blades. This in itself is not a problem; I personally recommend to visitors I know that they rent a bike and go for a ride here. The problem here is that these folks probably don't ride too often so aren't used to the conventions that make riding in crowds a not-too-unpleasant experience. It seems to boil down to 3 main things. They seem common sense to me, but apparently not to all. Could the rental services do a better job of reminding their customers of these easy guidelines that would keep us all (including pedestrians) happier?

1. Keep right except to pass.

2. Don't stop on the path.

3. If the sign says "dismount" and it's a busy day, dismount.


all in black

On Monday I was waiting to cross Beach Drive and saw a girl wearing all black with a black Electra (I think) cruiser and small puffy dog in the basket. She was talking to someone else waiting at the light and I overhead that she'd cycled over from Yaletown. She looked kind of Yaletown.

Today I rode across the Cambie bridge after work, a route I don't usually take on weekdays, and was passed by a girl on a black Biria Easy Boarder. She was wearing a black helmet, black jacket (looked wool), black skirt, and black wedge heels.

Oh, and it hailed.