Friday, January 30, 2009

Friday Article

While at Bike!bike, I met a ton of awesome, smart people. One such person was Dan, from Charleston and the Holy City Bike Co.op.

Today I was on the facebook and I spotted this article he has posted. It is authored by someone named Dan, so I have no idea if he or someone else named Dan wrote it.

This article takes an intelligent look at traffic rules and cyclists. I often find myself wondering where bikes fit into a traffic law structure made for cars. Stop signs, triggered stop lights...these are all issues I deal with daily.

When people first hear I don't always stop completely at stop signs and run (after a long pause) a red light, they are often indignant. They don't realize that stopping competely at a clear intersection is a) dangerous at times. b) completely inefficient c) necessary, unless I want to sit at this light until a car happens upon it.
I will let you read the article and am curious as to what you think.

Do you believe cyclists should obey all traffic laws, regardless?

We can save the helmet arguement for another day...

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Mother's Little Helper

Meet Mick Jagger. The love of my life.

He is a LeMond etape, 2006 (I think). I love him. Sometimes I am embarrassed of how fancy he is, but then I get on and remember why I love him so. I aqcuired Mick when I was just starting to love riding and had to upgrade from my cruiser (too many hills!). I went to the local 'bike guy' and told him what I was looking for. We decided on a 1970's Blue Raleigh, which I was to pick up in about a week. Well, he called me the next day and said he had the perfect bike for me. Needless to say, I went and looked at it immediately. After asking all sorts of super intelligent questions like "where is the kickstand?" and "How do all these gears work", not to mention "can you please spell De-Rail-er for me?", he told me to take it for a test ride.

I. was. sold.

We agreed on a price, I put down a deposit and went to work selling Kevin Bacon, my cruiser. A day later, I called Joel and said "Get it ready, I am coming by tonight". We have been in love ever since.

Picking a name was hard. *side note: how on earth do you have a bike with no name? I don't understand this...*. I went for an hour long naming ride and had it down to Mick Jagger and Marla Singer. For 2 days I debated. Then a friend pointed out that I couldn't possibly ride a woman, so Mick it was. And I can't ever imagine another name.

Mick and I are partners. We know the city and the best ways to get around. He tells me when he is sick and when he needs to be cleaned (which seems to be often!). I used to be afraid of my bike, then one day I wasn't.

I may get new bikes and I may even one day (gasp!) replace Mick. But he will always be my first love.

Mick, meet the internets. Internets, meet Mick Jagger. Tell him hello next time you see us riding around!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

But it felt so right

Here's what I wore to ride today (new skirt!).  The weather was amazing!  I ended up riding sans tights later because it was so warm, and it was strange to think that I was bare legged in the middle of January.  But that's how we play here in the south folks.
Also, this is my other bike, a LeMond Tourmalet.

A final note: I didn't get asked to my prom either.  Damn you high school.


Since I never went to prom (can you believe that no one even asked me?!), this is going to make up for lost time! I am thinking about screenprinting the Bici logo onto an old formal.

Come out and dance your socks off. All while benefitting a great cause! Want to know more about the Bici Co-op? Click the link to the left and read all about it.

See you on Valentines Day!

(feel free to repost this...we want to get the word out!)

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Happiness is a warm bike day

Wanted to share a bit of my day today.

A crew of about 25-30 bikes rode to the Atlanta Library for a workshop on Grant acquisition. It was about 55 degrees and the sun decided to show up to help us along the way. We passed through a tunnel full of graffiti (one of my favorite things about urban living is graffiti...I love it all) and I thought 'this can't get any better'. THEN the red and yellow tandem fellow (who, I should add, is B.E.A.utiful) pulled out a harmonica and started playing. I was humming along and bobbing my head, a huge smile on my face. A mile or so up I started paying attention to the girls riding behind me, who were having a discussion about how to effectively collect and harness rainwater at their apartments and bike shops.

If that is not a wonderful way to spend a Saturday afternoon, I don't know what is.

oh, and I was telling someone about BikeSkirt and she said "oh, my husband and I just saw your site yesterday! We love it".

I love my life right now. Bikes and skirts and friends and sunny days with harmonicas.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Bike! bike!...and new skirts

Sitting in a friend's apartment in ATL, exhausted after a day of riding the mean streets. Not too much to report so far, except that we got a little lost and ended up taking the 'scenic route' from Sopo back to John's.

I bought some skirts and 2 dresses from AA.

You know what...I am WAY to tired to make any sense on this blog tonight. Will report more tomorrow. also check (follow the link at the side) for a Bike!Bike! post.

I will say that I think I made up for my sick day of no riding by riding tonight. a LOT of riding.

-later dudes

Hooray for community!

Ok, enough with the wallowing and on with the biking!!!

Today I rode to school (yeh big deal) and I had my first random bike commuter interaction.  There I was, riding vigilantly, and ahead of me in the distance was a fellow commuter. When the next stoplight turned red I pulled up next to her and said, "Hello!!".  I was so thrilled.  We chatted for a couple of blocks (she rides 30 more blocks than me! intense), and I had a chance to tell her about the BiCi Coop; she seemed really interested.
Just a few months ago I rarely saw anyone biking, and now I see folks around all the time.  It's great to have this connection with people who you don't know just because we're all commuting by bike.  Our own little community.

And that's what it's all about.

Now on to the shallow stuff.  I got THE BEST skirts for biking the other day from Urban Outfitters.  WooHoo!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

No good

I am obviously a less dedicated blogger than Elisa. Strike 1.
I did not jump on the bike to work 3 days this week challenge. Strike 2.

What will my next strike be? Will I be kicked out of the cool club?? Will I hate myself forever more???

Now, to further wallow in my own self-hate, I will list all the excuses I used today for not riding to work:
1. too cold
2. too tired
3. takes too much time (1 hr vs. 15 minutes)
4. too much effort

At least I'm still riding to school, but since it's only about a mile and a half one way on a flat stretch of road, that's not saying too much.

And I'm not even going to Bike!Bike!. How much lower can I go?

Day Three: DOA

Last night I bailed on my ride. I was feeling crappy and my hip hurt from my little fall. Mainly I was exhausted. So I debated and listened to my body, getting a ride home with a friend. I felt like a complete LOSER.

As the night wore on I started to get a sore throat and feel a bit achy. By bedtime I had a fever and a headache.

I am now sitting at home, too sick to work. It turns out my body was trying to tell me something yesterday and I am sure glad I listened. I still think I can do the 3 day Pact, as I am going to Bike!bike! in Atlanta this weekend and will be riding everywhere.

Moral of the story: Follow your instincts and listen to what your body is telling you.

I am hopeful a day of sleeping and meds will heal me enough for my weekend trip. I have been looking forward to it for months and would hate to be sidelined with a cold!

Will try to blog from Atl... if I am not able, see you Monday!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Day Two: commuting sucks

I was so looking forward to my commute today. It was supposed to be sunny and COLD (windchill of 12) and I was ready...or so I thought. Packed my lunch, decided to try out my X-Lg messenger bag, put Vaseline on my face to combat windburn and my new wool socks. I was anticipating a cold, but easy ride in the sunshine.

What I got instead was a fall (jeans seam caught in chain ring), a flat (damn glass on the road) and a REALLY cold walk the rest of the way. I arrived cold and dejected. and pretty pissy.

Of course, the reponse was "Are you CRAZY?!" and "It is too cold, that will teach you!". Yes, a flat tire and a small spill is definitely a lesson I learned from riding in the cold. Oh wait...all of that could have happened in 65 degree weather and the cold wasn't cold until I had to walk.

Maybe I am still a bit on the pissy side! On the bright side, I get to try my hand and changing my tube, something I learned to do months ago but have not had to do. It is on the rear wheel (back with the scary derailleur) so this could be interesting...

do I regret my ride? maybe. Will I be out on the road again tomorrow? YES.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Day One

UPDATE: It is now snowing outside. If it continues for the next 45 min, I will have my first ride in snow. With no proper rain/snow gear...and in a skirt!

ok-back to our regularly scheduled post:

Today was day one of the Pact to ride at least 3 days this week. Luckily for me, the roads were pretty empty, with most of the world having today off. Not I. It was a lovely ride, albeit a bit on the warm side (45 degrees). I spent a lot of time this weekend on Mick Jagger (my bike, who I plan to introduce you to later this week), and my legs were more tired than I expected. The ride was lovely despite all of this.

Last night I was getting ready to head to church and I had an internal struggle about how to get there. It is literally 7-10 blocks away and I normally ride, rain or shine. Yesterday, however, I was exhausted and feeling pretty crappy. I stood in my apartment, debating about what to do. Standing there I realized that I am never going to make strides in becoming car free if I continue to freely give myself the choice to drive. So, I grabbed my gloves and hauled Mick down the stairs.

Once I arrived I was so glad that I had ridden. The switch from a driver to a car-lite rider is not going to be easy, but I am determined. And last night was one tiny victory in the battle I wage with myself.

On a side note, my outfit for today is: pink tights, black knee socks, black boots, black skirt. Pink thermal shirt, grey sweater. I wore gloves, helmet (yuck) and a scarf. Was toasty the whole way.

Will report in tomorrow. Enjoy your ride.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

BiCi day

Saturday was a day chock full of biking fun!  Elisa and I met Trisha from letsgorideabike fame at Birmingham's greatest coffee shop - Urban Standard, and had a fabulous time hanging out and chatting.  We vowed to take an all girl ride on Silver Comet bike trail, which goes from Anniston to Atlanta, sometime in April.  It's going to be amazing!

Elisa and I were then joined by Mr. Alan Barton for a ride over to Non Stop Art & Tattoo, and decided that we are going to get matching BiCi glow-in-the-dark tattoos on the inside of our lower lip.  Sweet.

Afterward it was over to my humble abode to do some Gocco screen printing for business cards.  When those we done we went wild on other various objects, including t-shirts, hats, bags, and a skirt (of course!).

We haven't spoken too much about BiCi, but we are working hard to get it up and running, and are super excited about it!  Our first fund raiser, bike race and after party at Green Cup Books featuring the band Andy's Tea Party and DJ Nastique, is coming up on Febuary 14th.  If you'd like to get involved then let us know, and make sure to visit often!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Link of the, lifetime!

So, I was checking my usual cycling fashion blogs and came across this.

Be sure to check out Bike Skirt - Girls, Bikes, Their City and lots of skirts. Funky little blog.

O.M.G...we are mentioned on COPENHAGEN CYCLING CHIC!!!!

The biggest, best and foremost cycling fashion site EVER.

I am a little bit excited about this. as you can tell.

This is just getting crazy! Thanks, internets, for all the love!

ok-have a nice day.

tomorrow Anna and I get to meet Trisha from Lets Go Ride a Bike for coffee. Got to love the intercity cycling community/support system. I hope Birmingham is ready for the abundance of bike skirts tomorrow!

Local Shout Out

This isn't bike related, but here at Bikeskirt, we do not discriminate (much). A friend and supporter of ours, Carla Jean has a new music blog, that I thought I would share with you.

A bit of background: I have about 4-5 people with whom I am constantly talking about music. CJ is one of them. She and I bonded over lyrics to a song that described boys and breakups that we felt were written just for us (no, I am not telling which one). We email back and forth daily about playlists, songs, lyrics and bands that we are discovering.

ANYWAY, check out her new blog Birmingham Box Set. Chock full of interviews, lists, reviews and fun music information.

And tell her that she needs to come to the Valentines Day event! :)

In other local news, come out to support our Brocycle brothers Sonday Knight Sprints this Sunday. The Bikeskirt girls will be there cheering them on (maybe Anna will compete!)

Haiku of the day

lips. hands chapped, eyes dry.
pass the petrolium cream;
winter cuts me deep.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Excuses, excuses

I was readying myself to write a post about the excuses we tell ourselves to get out of riding, and then I read Ms. dotties post over on Let's Go Ride A Bike on exactly the same thing!

(I have to made me feel better!)

This week I have been on the news and in the newspaper for my bike commute...and I haven't ridden at all! eek. I lost my gloves the day that the newspaper came out and borrowed a pair for a day or two. Unfortunately I had to return those and haven't gone out to by anymore (those things are not cheap!). I have plenty of knit gloves at home, but seem convinced I will die of hypothermia if I attempt to ride in them. this. is. ridiculous. I realized that when a) Anna rode with knit gloves and b) I could easily later my knit gloves.

some of my other excuses: I have to go straight to a fancy dinner after work. I will probably need to work late. It is only supposed to be 15 degrees. I am stopping by a friend's house after work, blah, blah, blah. You get the picture.

I joined Triathablog in order to form a habit. That was much easier when the highs were in the 40's, not the 20's. It was also easier when I had people keeping up with me and a little competition to push me. Tonight we have a hard freeze warning and a windchill danger warning, but I am riding to a bici planning meeting. I hope to ride tomorrow too.

I told the Let's go ride a bike ladies that we should make a pact to ride at least 3 days next week. I am vowing to do that. Trish said she is in. Which means that I have to ride everyday until Thursday as I am headed to Bike!bike! Thursday (which will be a lot of riding!).

Want to join our pact? It is a small step toward making a lasting habit and telling my excuses to shove it. Everytime I pass Mick (the bike) in the hallway, I can barely look at him out of guilt and shame of his abandonment. I imagine him everyday, looking out the window and crying a little. sniffle, sniffle.

on a completely different note, I saw this on Copenhagen Cycling Chic and freaked out! Now that is some riding style.

The cape, the boots, the bike, the lack of a style sucking is almost too much. almost

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

True nuff

so much to share with you all today...sorry for the post abundance. (or AM i?)

loved this.

from Yehuda Moon & Kickstand Cyclery

We. Are. Awesome

Check us out in the Birmingham News. A photo ran in the paper as a skirt of course!

I think my favorite part is the last line. Our own Anna let them know the real reason we ride to work: "And I hope to have really nice legs"

couldn't have said it better myself.

Federally-funded program pays cyclists for pedaling to workCyclists
get cash to pedal to the office instead of driving

Wednesday, January 14, 2009
News staff writer
What started out as a good-natured competition among her friends has turned into more of a way of life for Elisa Munoz.
Vowing to exercise more, Munoz pulled out her bicycle and began to research safe biking routes around Birmingham. Then she got the idea to commute to her office in Irondale - a seven-mile drive - from her home in Highland Park.
"In my car, it takes about 25 minutes to drive seven miles because of the traffic and driving through a lot of neighborhoods," she said. "It's exactly the same amount of time by bike, but I get to work feeling a lot better and not feeling like I just wasted 25 minutes of my life."

Originally, Munoz and two friends decided to get fit and keep a blog for three months to record their improvement. One chose running, the other swimming and Munoz biking.
She enjoyed bicycling so much that she set a goal to make biking her primary form of commuting by March 1. She does it about twice a week now.
"I am so much healthier and have so much more energy now," she said. "I do have to say, though, that drivers here are not biker-friendly at all. It's definitely not for the faint of heart."
Munoz actually gets paid to commute to work via bicycle through CommuteSmart Birmingham, a federally funded program that used to be known primarily for its vanpools and carpools.
Sean Saffle, project manager for CommuteSmart Birmingham, said not many people know about the biking aspect of the program.
"Only about 4 percent of the people in this program are commuting by bicycle," he said. "This city is not exactly conducive to bicycling with all the hills, but we are trying to promote it."
As part of its GetGreen program, CommuteSmart offers cash incentives of $2 per day, up to $120 over a three-month period, to those who live or work in Jefferson and Shelby counties and change their commutes from driving alone to such alternatives as a carpool, vanpool, bus or bicycle.
Anna Carrigan, who also lives in Highland Park, commuted to work via bicycle for the first time last month. She is not yet part of CommuteSmart, instead trying it for the health benefit.
It's only a three-mile ride to her work, but the hills make it a good workout, Carrigan said.
"I feel like I've accomplished something when I get to work," she said. "And I hope to have really nice legs." On the Net
CommuteSmart Birmingham:

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Let me introduce you to my little friend...

I rode my pal "geot" (pronounced like joe but with a g, duh) today, which is my new fixie (thanks Jarrod & Stacy!).  I haven't ridden it in Birmingham during regular traffic times yet, and it was a little bit frightening.  But not too frightening.  And kind of exhilarating.
Frightening in the sense that I gave squinty-eyed stares to every passing car, and said "Listen. I have even less control over myself, so if you pull out in front of me there is a good chance that we will collide, and I very seriously doubt that you will get the image of me splattered on the road out of your head any time soon, so just slow on down there buddy". Exhilarating in the sense of "Yes. I am a badass."

I also wore a skirt that was short enough so that, when I dismounted, I flashed a few passerbys. That was also a little exhilarating. For posterity's sake, I will also note that I wore a coat, hat, gloves, and leg warmers.  It was chilly folks!

Want to spend Valentines Day with the Bikeskirt Ladies??

Hey kids,
Want to register early for the Valentines Heartbrakes Prom alleycat and save the hassle of late registation? Shoot an email to info{at}bicicoop{dot}com and we will get you all signed up. Details to come, but trust want in. Alan has been working his ass off to get some SICK prizes.

We also need volunteers. What better way to spend your Valentines Day than hanging out with a bunch of awesome folks, listening to good music and helping get the Bici Co-op started? Let us know if you can volunteer by sending us an email or commenting here. we need you!

Remember, this is a team event. Sign up with your Prom 'date'. No date, no problem...there will be a stag category where we will set you up.

Two words: Prom Pictures.

Have I told you about The Bici coop? If not, check it out by clicking the sweet logo to the left. Tell 'em I sent you (oh wait...they are me...and the Brocycler).

Monday, January 12, 2009

Skirts, other uses besides showing off our legs...

"I will use my beauty for good, not evil."

Admirable sentiments friends.  Elisa and I are certainly smoking hot in our fabulous biking wardrobes, but it is important to remember that we do this only because we are working toward a better tomorrow.

Backwards logic on Capitol Hill

Read this today and could only shake my head at the how ludicrous the logic is.

“I think there’s a place for infrastructure, but what kind of infrastructure? Infrastructure to widen highways, to ease congestion for American families? Is it to build some buildings that are necessary?” He stated. “But if we’re talking about beautification projects, or we’re talking about bike paths, Americans are not going to look very kindly on that"-House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio)

It is clear he has not read the numberous studies showing that wider highways and increased roads actually increase congestion, while bike paths show a decrease in congestion to adjoining/nearby roads.

Who are these Americans he knows so much about?

I emailed him at and think you should do the same. I, for one, don't look too kindly on officials who speak without thinking about something as major as spending my tax dollars.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Almost famous

This morning CBS 42 came to do a story on me and my commute. It was a fun (if tiring!) experience that I hope will help make people aware of us cyclists on the road.

You can catch it tonight (Sunday) at 10 on CBS 42.

Thanks to Mike McClanahan for making it a fun experience. Also to CommuteSmart for setting it up.

crossing my fingers it looks good!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Sucky Suckerson

I am a terrible bike commuter this week. so far, I have not ridden at all. Granted, it rained M-W, but yesterday and today were lovely days to ride. did i? NO. For various (and sucky) reasons: woke up late, no breakfast, couldn't find gloves, blah, blah, blah.

next week I am going to try to be back on the wagon (saddle?). Today we have an end of the year party and I plan to ride there, since it is only a mile from my house.

Does this happen to you? Hit a commuting wall?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

check it out

UPDATE: Got the paper today and the article is not there. Guess it was cancelled or pushed back. oh well.

In other news:

tomorrow (Wed) there will be a profile on me in the local living section of The Birmingham News on bike commuting. I haven't seen it yet, but hopefully it will be good!

Monday, January 5, 2009

The moment

It happened yesterday. The moment when it all clicked. I felt totally comfortable riding and felt like my bike was an extension of myself. I knew I could handle the road and was completely confident. Not cocky, but confident.

I was headed to church at dusk last night. It was a bit windy and the roads were a little slick from the all day rain. It was balmy and nice. About halfway there the rain started. As I got closer the rain got harder. A few weeks ago, I would have definitely freaked out and possibly turned back. Yesterday I simply put my head down a bit, hunched over and rode. It felt great. I knew that I could handle the curves and turns. Slippery roads are dangerous, but I knew that I was pretty capable of handling them. I arrived at church soaking wet and grinning from ear to ear. It had happened and clicked. Mick Jagger (my bike) was no longer a strange machine that I tried to control. We were partners and we were having a great time.

I have figured out how to ride in work clothes (dress, coat, boots, etc), how to ride in jeans and flats, how to ride to bars and to work. To ride with groceries or books. I know that mick will get me there in good shape and looking fabulous.

I was talking to a friend tonight, telling him about it and he said that he remembers the day it all clicked for him as well.

Is this a phenomenon that most riders feel? Do you remember the day this happened? Did the feeling last?

perfect for riding on those hot southern days?

and I think I get weird looks riding in a skirt?!

photo from Urban Cycling Chic

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Skirtin' around

Tonights outfit to ride to Bottletree. Super comfortable. Tights, knee socks and a cotton skirt = better cycling clothes than jeans!

Friday, January 2, 2009

New Years Bikeskirt Resolution

To have enough lady riders to have an All Girls Alleycat in 2009. That would be awesome. Do we make skirts a requirement? hmmm

Those boys will have to throw us one hell of a party!

Haven't had my first bike commute of 2009 yet, but next week is looking good for riding. New Years Eve saw my last commute of 2008 and I couldn't have picked a better day. Sunny and 40 degrees, I felt great riding in my dress and tights. Drivers are especially nice when you have on blue tights!

Anyone else out there in the abyss ride to work? Birmingham has been named the Unhealthiest Commute with the lowest % of female bike commuters...I am out to change that.

Who will go with me? (said like Jerry Maguire)