Monday, March 30, 2009

bike commuting is sexy

Here are a few things I learned on my commute this morning:

1. The Trek Soho travel mug doesn't keep anything hot (or even warm) for a 10 mile ride. wtf?!
2. There seems to have been some sort of squirrel massacre in Mountain Brook this weekend...they were dead all over the place
3. Lightweight Wool shirts (like this one) ROCK. keeps you warm when you need to be warm, cool when you need to be cool and wicks like crazy!
4. If you haven't tried on a dress since last season, make sure it still fits before you pack it. I have been working today in a dress that is about 2 inches shorter than is acceptable (the newly formed backside cycling has given me seems to have raised the dress up a bit!). oops.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The 2 week test

Well folks, I have decided to try going car less for 2 weeks. Tomorrow I drop my car off at the shop to have the brakes done and plan to park it again Tuesday morning and try my hardest not to get back in until April 13. Actually, I would like to not have to get back into it at all...but baby steps.

It is a trial run before I put my car up for sale. I am a little scared, but also excited. My sister and nephew came into town Friday, so I parked the car and we drove theirs around all weekend (a car seat is a tight fit in a mini anyway). Tonight I have friends going to Target so I asked to tag along. Mick is outfitted with a crate for hauling things (which I used for the bike cleaning tools, rags, shoes, cleaning supplies AND a floor pump in there!). I don't have fenders yet, but am hoping I can get a ride with a co-worker if it rains, which is predicted for Tuesday.

I will keep you posted on how it goes. I have yet to figure out a good, safe way to take public transport to work, but will be working on that this week as well. I am scared of becoming a pain in the ass to friends, so that will be tested during this time. Let's hope not having a car isn't a relationship killer...

This is daunting but a challenge I look forward to undertaking.

Wish me luck. goodbye Mini...see you in 2 weeks!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

This is a blog by girls

Dear cramps, 
I have two words: FUCK YOU
I can and did still ride over that frickfrackin flipflappin mountain!

Papa's got a brand new bag!

Check Mick out with his snazzy new crate.

he isn't afraid to wear a little pink!

(and I have a little nibble on my car, someone is interested)

Raindrops keep falling on my head

I have been searching the internet and am coming up with nothing. How is this possible?!

I am looking into rain gear for riding. I have found tons of info about fenders and rain safety, but not much on rain clothing. What on earth do you wear to ride in the rain? I am thinking of selling my car and need some good rain gear. I have a rain jacket, but what on earth do you do for pants? Every pair I have seen have had an inseam of only 30-32...I wear have a 34 inch inseam (I know!!). Are there any cute rain knickers? or not even cute...just some that work?

And for shoes...I don't have the slightest clue. Headwear?

help a sister out!

bike love

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Wednesday Haiku

Azalea blooms,
Cherry blossoms, dogwood trees
Ride slow and breathe deep

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

C'mon baby drive my car...because I don't want to

I. hate. driving.

Ever since I started riding my bike, I have hated driving my car. It feels...wrong somehow. Today I was driving home and wanted to run every red light, punch the butthead behind me who rode my ass and honked, and was nervous that I would be pulled over (more on that later)

I am also a crappy car owner. A few examples of this are as follows: I don't wash my car, I constantly let my tag expire, I wait too long to get an oil change and I hardly ever check my tire pressure. That doesn't even talk about paying my car note on time, carrying my current insurance card and my intense hate of pumping gas. This weekend I got 2 (!) tickets, one for an expired tag, and one for having a suspended license. How do you have a suspended license when you haven't had a ticket in over a year and you paid it? WTF?!

So, why do I have a car? Well, I thought I had to have one. I still think that my life will be more difficult if I don't...rainy days, cold winters, Hwy 280 (if you live in Bham, you know what I mean by that), travel to visit my nephew...the list goes on. Birmingham is a city that is NOT pedestrian friendly. However, I have a friend who did not have a car for a year and did fine. She then got a Vespa for another year (maybe 2) and also survived. It can be done.

What am I saying (what AM I saying...)? I don't want my car anymore. I found it after a car accident, which was not my fault, and I got much too nice of a car for what I need (I am such a typical American). Oh, did I mention that it has a Salvaged title? Yep, an ex-boyfriend convinced me this would be an ok idea. At the time, I assumed I would drive it until it died and the title wouldn't be an issue, and so far it has not. However, I am considering selling it and don't know what the market is for a 2004 Mini Cooper in fine shape, but with a Salvaged title.

In order to sell it, I need to clean it, replace the brakes (another thing I hardly ever do), change the oil, etc. Despite this, I am seriously considering giving it a shot. Maybe throwing a For Sale sign on it and waiting to see what happens. If nothing happens, I will keep it and life will go on. If I sell it, maybe I buy a cheaper car for emergencies or maybe I invest in rain gear and rent a car when I need it. For the money I am paying each month for insurance, car note and gas, I could have one sweet 2 wheeled ride AND afford to pay for a rental every now and again.

So, stay tuned. I haven't made any decisions yet, but the wheels are turning, so to speak

Oh, and if you or anyone you know, want to buy a red Mini Cooper, let me know. Less than 50K miles, leather, sunroof, all the good shit.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Extreme Makeover: Bike Edition

Mick Jagger and I have had quite a week together. Here is the scoop on how Mick's makeover went down.

When I first got Mick, my friend (and bike mechanic) Heath fixed him up and told me that I would need to replace my cables soon. The first few months it was fine, just needed the occasional tightening and adjusting. Since then I have gotten a new chain, new pedals, new tires and new bar tape. Just the beginning...

Then I started commuting an extra 4 miles and over a mountain (photos to come, for those of you who have asked!). That was the straw that broke the cables back...literally. A week ago, I was having problems shifting gears. It got to where I couldn't change to the largest ring, so I tried to adjust it myself. Oops, I messed that up! I ended up adjusting the hi-low screws on the derailleur...much too much. Then I couldn't shift up OR down. Nothing like riding a Singlespeed over Red Mountain each day!

So, I called Heath again for some help, and brought Mick over for some TLC. Up in the stand he went and we tried to change gears...POP...the cable housing popped and the cable was a bent mess. He taught me how to check for the problem and I learned a TON. It was the best part of the entire situation, learning how to identify the issue and fix it. I learned how to tell if my problem was in the derailleur or the shifters and how to fix both.

The next day I learned how to change my cables and housing, but not without some drama...including realizing my wire cutters were shit. A trip to the store to cut some wires later, and we were good to go. I learned how to adjust the cables to make sure everything runs correctly. I can't believe the difference! My bike has never ridden as well as it does now. We also installed the new rear rack I bought and adjusted the headset so it was tighter.

It is so empowering to learn how to fix my own bike. At this point, I feel like I could change cables and housing myself and adjusting them, along with changing a tire, cleaning, checking brakes...the list goes on and on. Which is good, since I am trying to open a community bike shop!! We hope to do this exact thing, teach people how to fix their own bike and empower them. No more simply paying someone to fix Mick anymore. I sort of feel like a child "I do it myself!".

Oh, and I got a new saddle and I have one happy ass! My old seat was so uncomfortable and I tried shorts, tilting the seat, chamois butter (too much info?), and I am riding happy these days. I got a Bontrager inForm. I think it deserves it's own post, so stay tuned for that. I won't even tell you what my old seat was called at the bike shop, but it was not good...

This is a really long post to say that I HEART MY BIKE. I can't believe how awesome it is.

In other news, I rode to church tonight and discovered another bike in my usual parking spot (inside the doors)! We have nowhere to lock our bikes, so I think it is time to ask for a bike rack. I have been waiting for this day. Oh, and I had someone come up to me and tell me my legs looked great! Woot woot, it is working!!

Bike love

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Ug! Ew! Arg! Gross!

I certainly do love spring, but with spring comes unruly bugs.  I spent a fair bit of time during my ride home's uphill climb trying to fish a blasted gnat out of my eye.  Unpleasant on so many levels.

Friday, March 20, 2009

UPDATED: Assface WJOX DJ threatens cyclists on air.

UPDATE: from Bici Co-op

Thanks to Jon for passing this link on.


My name is Lance Taylor, I am one of the co-host of the Roundtable on WJOX. My partner and I made some borderline ridiculous comments about cycling on Thursday and as you know there has been some obvious fallout. I do want to let you know, not that it matters, that what was blogged were not my direct comments. It really doesn't matter because my comments were uneducated. I would like to tell you that the past 48 hours have been a little strange and to be honest unproductive for all parties.

With all of that said I think that there is an opportunity for not only WJOX, but our listeners to learn a little bit more about what your community has to deal with on a daily basis.
As I have stated, I made a mistake, but why not use positive energy and let others like myself become informed of the dangers of motorists and cyclists.

If you have a moment please email me and let me know if you or someone would like to be a guest on our show this week to discuss.

Thanks and I hope to hear from you soon.

Personally, I think this is the best outcome we could have hoped for in this situation and hope that this does become the opportunity that Mr. Taylor has outlined. Thanks to everyone for writing and calling and letting them know how you felt.



Today (Thursday )on WJOX 94.5 Birmingham (around 11:50 AM) one of the DJ's advocated hitting cyclists with cars. He said "I wish people would hit them, just clip them and send them flying over their handlebars." The context was he was angry with cyclists riding in the road. I have called the station and have been put thru to voice mail with nobody responding. Maybe with added voices an apology and clarification will be achieved.........................................


JOX 94.5 FM
244 Goodwin Crest Drive
Suite 300
Birmingham, Alabama 35209
Business Office: 205.945.4646
Studio: 741-9450 or 800-239-WJOX (9569)
Fax: 205.945.3999
Program Director
Ryan Haney

Sales Manager
Lenny Frisaro

Promotions Director
Jennifer Dickson

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Dirrty, Dirrty

We know your bike must be dirty dirty, so bring it on down to Bici's HQ and we'll have the tools you need to clean your love and make it look as good as new!
A great way to get out into the nice spring weather, hang with your homies, and donate to a good cause.
$5 suggested donation.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Here comes the Sun

Spring has Sprung here in Birmingham and I am so glad for it! Riding to work every day is like playing on the playground before the bell fun! I find myself laughing and smiling to myself as I race down the many hills on my commute and not minding sweating it out on the climbs up. Everything is so fresh and peaceful in the morning.

In the evening, I have time to relax and put work behind me before getting home. I get some of my best thinking done and feel like I have put the day away by the time I reach my front door.

I have been riding the entire way (as opposed to driving partway then riding) for about 3 weeks now. I love it. There is something wonderful about leaving your door then arriving at work with absolutely no gas burned and only having used your own power to get yourself there.

I was riding home yesterday and the sunset was beautiful. I normally get home a little too early to actually see it set, but I stopped off for beers with coworkers at a local pub so it was just in time. It was like the sky was painted red and orange just for my ride. You can enjoy a sunset from a car, but yesterday it was amazing. No windshield will ever be big enough to encompass it all.

Tonight I have to head to my LBS because Mick Jagger is sick. So sick that his cable popped and broke the housing. I also realized that in my trying to fix him last week I in fact made it worse. live and learn!

good thing I have a friend who is a great mechanic and teacher. Community is awesome.

I hope your week is spring like and that you are seeing many sunrises and sunsets on your journeys.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Need your advice

I have gotten a rear rack put on my bike and am going to start strapping my pack to it or am putting a crate on top. Maybe I can even bring my handbag instead of the backpack on riding days!
also decided to get an old bike and convert to a SS. have a few that I am looking at from Joel "The Bike Guy" here in Birmingham. Thanks for your help everyone!
I am considering spending some of my hard earned Hamiltons on a few bikey things. However, because my budget is small, I want to make sure I am getting worthwhile investments. So far I have not been led astray by the online bike community, so I come to you again for some advice.

1. Republic bikes
. they make inexpensive ($344...on sale from $499) track bikes that you custom design. I want a singlespeed/fixed (they are flippable) for riding downtown and on weekends. Just a simple, pretty bike. Republic bikes are both simply AND pretty. and for the price, It seems like a great deal. Comes nearly fully assembled and ready to ride. Has anyone heard anything good or bad? I just plan to use it to tricks (besides the occasional trackstand or skid), and I will probably add a front brake.

2. Commuter bag by Cyclelogical.

I can't use a messenger bag due to back issues. I had 2 of them, and once I switched to a 2 strap and had a seat adjustment I am feeling great. I know it is the bag because if I ever try to use my smaller one I get a backache immediately. BUT my 2 strap is my old LLBean that I got in 8th grade...even has my initials on it. Old Skool baby! Trying to put a water bottle, makeup, laptop, shoes and a snack is a challenge. Then I saw this great bag! It has (according to the website description): front stash pocket with opening thru flap for larger items (yoga mat, any tube like object or quick stash), computer compartment, shoe area, secured clothing area, laundry compartment, elastic stash compartment for computer cords or bulky items and a clear pocket for viewing items on the fun.

What more could I need? However, it is $125. I don't mind spending that on something that will get the job done, but... I am wondering if everything fits nicely or is squished in there? Also, how does it handle on your shoulders and back? Is the pack waterproof, or at least water resistant?

oh, it also has a velcro strip for a reflective strip OR a velcroable solar panel!!

Any help anyone can give me on these items would be great. If not...maybe I will bite the bullet, order them and do a review myself! (if anyone wants to send me one to review, that is also an option!!) :)

bike love

Back to the grindstone

I have returned from Telluride, and am only marginally battered and bruised.  It was so beautiful and fun!  I was told by the homeboys at this used bike shop that each resident owns at least two bikes, and we saw an eye boggling number of bikes chained around town and people riding around. Amazing.

There was also a really fabulous brew pup there, so we took a really terrible picture of us drinking delicious beer.

Yesterday Elisa and I went on a lovely afternoon ride, first to V. Richards for a little snacky and then around Forrest Park, which is the neighborhood next to ours.  They have some amazing houses over there, lots of trees and other foliage, along with some pretty hellacious hills.  Near the end my arse really started to protest; I haven't quite recovered from the one hundred falls that I experienced whilst on the mountain (I really suck at snowboarding).

Our bikes, buddy locked in harmony outside of V. Richards. So sweet!

Now it's back to real life, and a thesis that needs to get written. Hizzah!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Action Wipes discount for Bike Skirt readers

Action Wipes has generously offered Bike Skirt readers a 15% discount!

Bike Skirt readers - get 15% off at enter code: SKIRT

Now you have no excuse not to go and try some. And your cubical mate will no longer have to deal with your post bike...scent. Read my review here.

I think i may need to try the spray that you can use to reuse your action wipes OR spray alone.

Spreading the fresh smelling bike love.

If you live in Birmingham, please go and get yours at Homewood cycles. It is the only way to ensure they continue to stock them. Live Locally.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I am in love

So, this being a blog about girls who ride, I would be remiss not to mention boys.

* I should mention that I am the only single contributor to Bike Skirt, so this post in no way reflects Anna's feelings, as she goes home to a stud every night. David, we should all be so lucky!*

ANYWAY, Alan over at Brocycle recently posted about Rapha Continental. Well friends, I am in love. With a team of riders. They are so dreamy! Cute boys (men, really) who ride bikes, have tattoos, and write beautifully (seriously, awesome writing), and did I mention ride bikes? and have tattoos?

I have never met any of these guys, but upon reading their bios, I have decided that they are all also hella cool.

Rapha Continental is (according to the website): The Rapha Continental is a collection of photography, ride data such as elevation charts, cue sheets and maps, and descriptive, if not entertaining ride reports. This is a two year project during which time we will explore, document and connect the routes and people unique to Continental riding. A style of riding as much about elements, environments and experiences, as competition and speed. Our long term goal is to create and publish a library of the most epic and favorite routes, rides and riders in the country, by region.


Oh, did I mention that they rode the Tour of California? Yep, they did. Read their journal of the ride. Stunning photos and beautiful writing. I inhaled every portion of it, wishing I was riding alongside them.

Of course, this wouldn't be complete without some photos of the hotties (I mean, guys) of Rapha. Enjoy!

From Jeremy's bio: Someday soon Jeremy would like to ride in the South, The Deep South. He loves everything about that part of the world, the food, the people, all of it.

Well Jeremy...come on down.

In the meantime, visit their site, and check out the bikes section esp. Beautiful rides. Bikeskirt supports all riders, but especially hot guys who ride!

*BTW-I hope to update soon with more serious posts about commuting and life in Birmingham...but life has been busy. for a taste of what I have been up to, check out Bici's blog. We are hard at work trying to make that dream a reality.*

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Review: Action Wipes

Living in Alabama, the weather is…unpredictable. In December, we often have 65 degree days, followed by 12 degree nights. As Anna mentioned, this week we had 4 inches snow and then 74 degree days!

One thing is never unpredictable…Summers. They are always hot. Without fail. Spring seems to come quickly, bringing 75 degree days with it. Lovely, right? Not if you are a bike commuter who has to work in a building with no showers. Like myself, for instance, who has a 10 mile commute over a mountain and through a neighborhood of rolling hills. In the winter I would arrive hot, but nothing a quick swipe with a baby wipe and a paper towel couldn’t take of.

This week I got a glimpse of riding in the sun and heat and it wasn’t pretty. Baby wipes are wonderful, but they don’t do much if you are really gross, plus they leave you a little greasy feeling and smelling like a changing table.

Enter Action Wipes. I had read about these and wondered what they were like. I bugged (ok-asked once) my Local Bike Shop and they ordered some. Score! Even funnier is that after they ordered them, I won some online. Sweet!!

Let me tell you, I love them. L-O-V-E. They are large enough to use everywhere (tip: top to bottom, starting with your face), don’t leave you greasy and smell great. They have Tea Tree oil, Frankincense and Eucalyptus in them and you leave smelling fresh, not cloyingly sweet or annoyingly perfumed.

Another great thing: you can rinse them and reuse them. I wash them and use them to wipe off the grunge on my bike after a muddy ride. I also have one that I use as a dishrag. You simply wash them and reuse.

They are a little bit more expensive than baby wipes ($9.50 for 15 pack, $3.50 for 5 pack), but worth every single penny. If you live in Birmingham, you can pick these up at Homewood Cycles (thanks Kenny!). Anywhere else, ask your local bike shop or get them online.

As the weather heats up, don’t be the guy or girl who rides her bike to work, but is stinky and gross all day. that is no way to spread the commuting love!

More warm weather tips to come. Stay Tuned!!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Urban Velo

Thanks UV for the shout out today! I heart Urban Velo and so should you!

If Urban Velo was a person, I would shamelessly hit on it.

is that bad?

Friday, March 6, 2009

Hey Fella, want to buddy lock?

If Reese won't ride with Jake, maybe he should call me.

Just sayin'.

Strange Weather

As I rode today in the 74 degree weather, it was all but impossible to believe that we had four inches of snow here five days ago.  I wore a short sleeveless dress that flowed all around as the wind blew with and against me.

It's equally difficult to believe that tomorrow I will once again be immersed in snow.  I'm hanging up my bike and hopping on a snowboard for the next week in Telluride.  I've never been to Colorado (or any western states for that matter), so I'm totally stoked.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Sunday Ride

Bikeskirt Group ride! Mark your calendars (or your iCals on the phone). This Sunday. 2pm. Meet in front of Rojo.

Weather is supposed to be lovely, so let's get out in it! I am planning on a fun, leisurely ride, so if any of you people who love to ride fast (Alan, I am talking to you!)come, be prepared. Oh, who am I kidding...everyone just come and we will see what the pace ends up being.

see you then.

*if anyone wants to brunch at Rojo beforehand, let me know. I love a good brunch!*

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Wednesday Haiku

cold night, but we ride
southern pecan, coffee stout
beer is good. and friends

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Ride to the Clyde

reposted from Brocycle

homies over at are having a weekly 'ride to the clyde'. from their blog:

Ride your bike to J Clyde tonight to hang out and get half-off drafts. Nothing official, just beers, bikes and buds.

there is no official meet up to ride their just be there around 8 on your bike. bring a lock...

Bikeskirters will be there. See you then!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Snow Day!

This morning, I awoke to this lovely sight...SNOW!!!

obviously I had to ride in it. So I got dressed (skirt, boots, raincoat) and headed to a friend's for brunch. It was snowing hard. Let me tell you, it is not easy climbing a (albeit small) mountain on unplowed, undriven roads. I was sliding all over the place. In a curve of the mountain I heard a whistle and "Lady, you MUST be crazy!". Looked up and it was a policeman, standing next to a flipped over car, with a firetruck and ambulance nearby. I yelled back "Too late to turn around now" and he responded with "Hope you are ready to fall, because you are gonna!". Thanks for the encouragement.

needless to say, I did not fall (ha!), but did enjoy the sights. We don't get snow here often, so it is a very big deal. As I was riding, the park was filling up with families bringing sleds and cardboard to slide down the sides of the park and people building snowmen all along the road. It was lovely and so much better than being in a car (although perhaps a bit scarier...). Mick Jagger loves the snow.

The ride home was sunny and you heard water dripping as the snow melted. It was nice while it lasted.

sad car