Saturday, May 30, 2009

I need a little place in the sun sometimes or I think I will die

Hello friends,
so sorry it has been so long since I last posted. Life has been completely kicking my ass and this little blog has taken a backseat. which sucks, because writing is one of the things that calms me the most.

Lately, I have been thinking about how it was only a little over a year ago that I bought my first bike. Since then I have been through 4 bikes and am more in love with riding my bike than I am with my...well, pretty much anything.

Some of you may have followed the blog that Bike Skirt was spun from, Triathablog. I was re-reading some of my posts from that time and came across this one. It is still true and yet I think of how far I have come since that time. I have been pretty stressed and down yesterday and find that if I don't ride, I feel significantly worse. Just as I said in that post, when I was a new rider, so excited and new to the sport and the life. I had just gotten Mick Jagger and was so in love. (sad)

So...I thought I would share it. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Mother's Little Helper
I know that lately I haven't really been getting too personal. I have been waxing poetically about my wonderful commute and extolling the wonders of bike websites. Well, tonight I change that.

I have depression and OCD. Take a moment to register your shock or laugh at the obviousness of that statement. Ok, done? I am also coming on the anniversary of a pretty tragic event in my life, and my job is so stressful that I leave with a tension headache every other day. I would expect to be a complete wreck, crying all the time or numbing out completely.

Strangely that has not been the case. At first, I thought I was not dealing, or must be avoiding issues. Then I realized that nothing lately has really thrown me for a loop. It stopped about 2 months ago. Right about the time I started riding pretty seriously. Coincidence? I doubt it. I feel great and so hopeful. My insomnia has all but disappeared and I find myself with more energy than I have ever had. I have never had such a great body image. I simply feel great.

THAT is the best part of cycling for me. It has been a scary thing, throwing myself into a sport and an established (male-dominated) community. A year ago this would have thrown me into paralyzing fear and insecurity. Instead, I am so excited and full of hope. I look forward to my next ride and find myself hoping that I can ride to wherever my destination may be (concert, party, grocery store, church...).

Is this from the support I have found in friends and fellow riders, or the actual riding? I think it is a bit of both. Either way, I am so grateful. Yes, life is hard and some things are hard to accept, but everything feels a little bit easier on my bike.

On another note, Mick Jaggar is so sexy right now. New blue tires and white bar tape. If my bike were a person, I would have a mad crush on it. Picture to come.
end

Looking back is so fun. it also shows me that this is no passing phase...my two wheeled life is here to stay.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

@*$&^#%^!

I now present for you: Bike Wreck #2!


After a meeting I decided to run to the Jones Valley Urban Farm after work farm stand to get veggies for a stir fry.  I was riding down First Avenue South and turned right onto 24th St.  Right after the turn I see a BROOM STICK IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD.  Before my body caught up with my brain I had run over the stick, my bike wobbled out of control, and I slammed into the ground.  The fall was actually very similar to last time, so similar that the hole in my leg has been unceremoniously ripped open and my chin and shoulder have gotten scraped in exactly the same place.  Alas, this time it looks a lot worse.  

(taken by Kevin)
Things to celebrate in the face of adversity:
1. There was not a car right behind me.  Otherwise, I would not be writing this right now.
2. Wes Frazer saw it happen and turned around to save me.  My hero!
3. All the other dudes that were like "Do you need a paramedic?"  "Someone needs to keep you off that bike", etc. etc.
4. Good photos
5. An even more killer scar on my leg

Things to hope for:
1. No fucked up teeth
2. Swelling to go down quickly
3. Lots of sympathy (I've already gotten some Jack from Dani! Thanks hun!)

(Post Shower, taken by Dani)

This is where we live

Ok I obviously suck at blogging - but at least it's here now!  As the last post discussed, Elisa and I went to the Free the Hops meeting at Birmingham Beverage last Wednesday.  That little bike trip provides this week's photo of where we live.  Riding in these areas was a harrowing experience.



Ok gotta run!  Hope everyone is enjoying summer thus far.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Brewfest on a Bike? It's on!

Elisa and I had a meeting with the folks at Free the Hops about doing some Bici bike valet at the Magic City Brewfest, an annual beer festival coming up on June 5th and 6th at Sloss Furnaces.  It took Elisa less than one second to convince them that it was a good idea, and they gave us a primo location (right by the entrance) to set up shop.  Everyone seemed totally stoked on the idea, and we're hoping to get good press as well!  Birmingham, as we constantly harp on, is not exactly known for being "green" so something like bike valet (our may be the first of it's kind in the Magic City) is sadly newsworthy.  Hey, we'll take it, and we'll say thank you very much! 

We're also planning some bike bus meet ups and different locations throughout the city so that people can ride together to Brewfest.  It's going to be great fun!

Also, we need volunteers to help with the bike valet so if  you're interested you can email me at anna@bicicoop.org

BEER! Oh, and in case you were wondering what this Free the Hops thing is all about - Alabama has a stupid law that limits beer sold to be 6% alcohol by volume or below, which prevents us from getting delicious "craft" or "gourmet" beers.  Free the Hops has been lobbying to change the law for a number of years.  We're on pins and needles right now because the bill has passed the senate, but we're waiting on the Governors signature for the law to be changed.  He has until Monday night I think so fingers crossed!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Warning: Girl-centric post ahead

****UPDATE: I have decided to give it a shot. Hoping my local health food/crunchy granola store carries it. Will let you know my progress...eventually. Oh, and if you see me around, PLEASE don't ask how it is going...posting this is embarrassing enough! :) ******

I have always said that this blog would be about what it is like riding as a girl in a cycling unfriendly and unhealthy (esp for women) city. So, it was inevitable to write about womenly things. That day has come...

Ok, ladies this one is for you. Has anyone ever tried The Diva Cup? I am curious about it and want to know what you think. Any cyclists out there tried it? Riding during that week is worrisome and uncomfortable so I would love anything that could help.

Let's just put it out there: you can't really wear a pad when on a ride. And tampons are fine, if you are ok with bleached cotton and chemicals and possible leaks (which, honestly, I have been up to this point). So, this seems to be a good alternative. unless it doesn't work, or the position cycling puts you in screws it up.

So, I ask you...anyone tried it?

if you are uncomfortable saying so here, email me at elisa@bicicoop.org

Thanks! And to our male readers...sorry and thanks for your understanding

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

This is where we live

David and I went to a meeting tonight put on by the Regional Planning Commission to hear a proposal for changing some one-way streets to two-way streets. I was very excited to hear that they were planning space for bike lanes (which the city will have to decided whether to stripe or not) and also the number of comments from attenders aimed at making the bike lanes a reality. 

This is a photo of one of the streets that would be changed.





And heeeeeeeeere's puggles!  After betraying me a few weeks ago I had to put ol' puggles in time out, but I have finally forgiven and we rode tonight to the meeting.  All went well.


Spring riding weekend: FAIL

This weekend was a wet one. A very, very wet one. Today the sun is shining, the weather is cooler and I am stuck inside sick. I blame this weekend's rainy weather (I always seem to get sinus infections after a particularly wet weekend).

Saturday started out nice, although a bit cloudy. Carrie and I decided to go to Pepper Place market together early in the day. She on her Vespa and I on my new bike (details to come), riding the downtown streets looking...well, just adorable. Did some shopping and ignored the drizzle. Until that drizzle turned into a full on thunderstorm. The kind that you know will not subside and it is useless to try to wait out. So we parted ways and ran to our 2 wheeled steeds.

That ride was hell. Pouring rain, temperatures dropping and streets quickly flooding. I rode through many spots where the water was up to my knees. I can say one thing: it is a good way to break in a new bike! I got home cold, soaked and exhausted.

The rest of the day turned out lovely and we enjoyed Do Dah Day at the shop, amid the puppies and babies and heat and humidity. I got home just in time to miss the night thunderstorm.

Sunday was our planned Chief Ladiga ride: Part deux. We had already been bailed on by 1/2 the group, but we remaining 3 were determined. I cooked food the night before, got the bike ready to go and we set out at 8 am, knowing that we were probably going to get wet, but deciding to take a faster pace and hopefully be done before the storms rolled in.

After getting lost (my bad), we get to the trail...and it is raining already. Not pouring, but not sprinkling either. We laughed about it, questioned our sanity and took off. The temperature was slowly but steadily dropping and the rain was getting harder. After about 6 miles, my seat starting shifting (I can fix things but have trouble tightening them enough!), causing us to stop and thereby cooling our body temperature. Damn. Another 2.5 miles in water in my eye caused a stop, when we decided to just turn around. The rain was now a steady pour, with howling wind and cold temps plaguing us. 3 miles back, there was a slight bump...and my handlebars fell (seriously, not going anywhere until someone retightens things for me anymore!). That was scary. Rainy, slippery and suddenly unable to reach my brakes! eek

Made it back to the van, got in and decided to eat the yummy food I had brought...to discover that I did not bring enough, had we gone the whole way. We ate all of it and could have eaten more. After only 17 miles. oops.

What. A. Mess.

Rode back shivering and soaked, heat turned full blast, but able to laugh about it. The day wasn't a success per say, but it was definitely an adventure. Thanks Heath and Shaun...even though I led you astray and didn't feed you enough AND made us stop way too many times, you guys were awesome!

Hoping to try it again soon. But not too soon...I have spent today on the couch with a killer sinus infection and cold.

How was your weekend?

Monday, May 18, 2009

Sickness - A good excuse?

I hope everyone had a great bike to work day; mine was pretty...interesting. I'll tell you about it, shall I?

I had come down with a cold on Wednesday, so I was off work Wednesday and Thursday. Friday I was ready to go back, and also felt the pressure to ride, although I had been laid up for the past two days. Everyone met at the Fivepoints Fountain at 7 am for a pre- bike to work ride around town. I've never ridden in a group before so I was both entertained and frustrated as we negotiated traffic, got separated at stoplights, and wondered where the hell we were going (it was a very out of the way route). We ended up in a parking lot in the business district, which is about two miles and another hill down from my house.
After some snacks, I was debating whether I could make the trek up and over, then up and over again, to work and was sorely tempted by the bus station across the street. The temperature was also rising rapidly into the 80s. However, Bikeskirt's dear pal Heath offered to ride with me most of the way, so I figured I needed to do it. BIG MISTAKE (stupid pride). I had to stop like 5 times and was disturbingly close to puking all over Heath more than once. I arrived to work completely soaked in sweat and sat for about 30 minutes before I was able to get up and do what I'm paid to do (which is, admittedly, not too much).
But, you know, at least I did it, and the ride back was pretty easy. The thing I regret the most is how much of a tool I looked in front of Heath, especially since he was told by someone (thanks, Elisa) that I am a surprisingly strong rider. Sigh.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Bike to Work Day

We're hoping to see some familiar faces at Bike to Work Day on Friday; it's going to be great fun! for more info on what is going on in the morning, check out CommuteSmart. I will be at the fountain at 7 sharp!
After work, we hope you'll ride over to the J. Clyde tavern on Cobb Lane to hang and get your drink on. We're going to try and get there by 7 at the latest, but show up whenever you get off work or at whatever time is convenient - this is going to be a very relaxed form with no official start or end.


UPDATE! Specials from the Clyde:
$2 Leinenkugal Classic Amber
$3 SweetWater Georgia Brown
$3 Fuller's ESB
$3 Fordham Helles
We will also tap a Terrapin Rye Cask Condition Ale $8 Imperial pint (20 oz.) or $5 1/2 Imperial pint (10 oz.). When you purchase a cask order Fried Green Tomatoes for $3.
YUM!



get on your bike and ride to work!

bike love

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

This is where we live

This would be my street.  It's really hard to document the steepness of this road, but I'll admit that I have yet to ride up it; I go a more round-about direction.  It's something that I would like to conquer one day though!


Monday, May 11, 2009

Halycon Bike Shop


I spent last weekend in Nashville with my sister and her good friend. They had freedom from kids and husbands, I was taking a break from life.

Besides seeing Dave Matthews Band (who was INCREDIBLE!), I wanted to check out a bike shop or two. Obviously!

I only had time to see one, so I chose the only used bike shop in Nashville, that happened to be near our accommodations (which were kindly given to us by Trisha from Let's Go Ride a Bike...what a cute place she has!), Halycon bikes.




It was lovely. Local artisan hip and saddle bags, beautiful used bikes and cool staff working. I highly recommend you go in there and say hello. They have only been open 5 months and seem to be doing very well. In addition to the shop, they are running a Youth bike program in the back with the Oasis Center. Getting folks on bikes and supporting the youth of the community; we at Bike Skirt approve!

I took some photos. enjoy!


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Thursday, May 7, 2009

Rapha Continental 2009


I am sure you are all aware of my obsession...er, admiration of the hotties...er, fellas of Rapha. Well, it gets better. This summer they are doing a 25 ride tour of the country that includes a big chunk of the southeastern USA. Continental Calling. I couldn't be happier, as the South has beautiful landscape that is often overlooked. Ok, I take that back; I would be happier if they were coming my way.

May has been busy so I spent this evening getting caught up on their travels. I find myself indescribably jealous and wanting to get on my bike Rightthehecknow and join them. The photos are stunning, the stories vivid and the rides incredible.

I encourage you to follow them along their intrepid journey. They are being hosted by some pretty cool people and getting to see the US of A in a way that most of us can only dream of. Check them out here. If they are in your area, maybe you can ride along for a bit?!

*I am also trying to get a little post ride interview with Jeremy, who is meeting up with the guys for the Tennessee ride! fingers crossed*

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

New kids on the block



I am coming to terms with the fact that Mick Jagger is probably not coming back. This has been hard, and I am still hopeful. However, it was time to move on and get rolling again.

One perk of running a Non-Profit Bike Shop is that I have access to loads of frames and bikes. A good thing in times of need...like this! Sunday morning, a mere 10 hours after discovering Mick's disappearance, we were hard at work getting me on the road again. One of my good friends (and bike mechanic) Heath and I went to Bici and took a look around. We found a great Specialized mountain bike that would work and made plans to work on it. However, we stopped by my house (where Bici is storing extra bikes) and discovered a beautiful blue Schwinn that looked just about right. Oh how excited I was. A mountain bike would be fine, but I am a roadie at heart.

Plans changed and we got to work on it. Spent a day and a half in the shop working feverishly. Runs to the Local Bike Shop and pulling parts from other bikes (wheels) happened. Then...voile! A new bike for Elisa! Isn't she pretty?


I have spent the past 3 days trying to figure out a name for her and today finally it hit me: Bettie. As in, Bettie Page, Bette Davis...heck, Betty Boop! I have never met a Betty I didn't like.

So, internets, meet Bettie. She and I are becoming fast friends.



Oh, and the week before the tragedy, I went and bought an old Schwinn Speedster from Joel, the bike guy. Her name is Kat Von D. She and Bettie are going to be buddies, I can tell. Kat still needs some love, but I will keep you updated on her progress.



Both bikes have beautiful features, such as Schwinn nameplates (is that what it is called?), pretty lugs, original parts and stickers. Nothing like a pretty steel bike.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

This is where we live - numero uno

In celebration of Cinco de Mayo, we here at bikeskirt give you a new weekly segment that will introduce you all to Birmingham, Alabama and the lives that we are carving out for ourselves here. For the inaugural post, I have here a photo of the one bike lane in town. It is nine blocks long and takes riders from Lakeview, which is about a block of bars, to UAB world (hospitals, etc). It is conveniently located to there area that Elisa and I reside in, and has been very useful for my school commutes.



Speaking of school, I am graduating on Thursday. YAY!

And finally, some updates: I am recovering well from my fall, and although I suffered some bruising and road rash, as well as that nasty chunk missing from my leg, I am overall only mildly injured. I've ridden a few times over the last couple of days, although not for any significant distance.

Elisa is still heartsick about Mick and has had no report regarding his whereabouts. However, she has been lucky to procure herself a perfectly lovely schwinn that has been fixed up for her riding pleasure. We continue to hope for Mick's speedy return.

Thanks everyone for your sympathy and condolences; bikeskirt has had an eventful week!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Mick Jaggar STOLEN! Help



My bike was stolen last night. It was in my backyard (unlocked) from 8pm-1am and when I came home it was gone. I am just sick over this. Today Heath is coming to help me figure out another bike (thank goodness for Bici!). If you are in the Birmingham area and see him around, PLEASE call me. 205-706-7034.

since this photo I have added a 'This is Public Health' sticker and it says Mick Jagger on the drive side (Thanks Diana!). Pretty unmistakable.

Thanks everyone.