Archive for October, 2010

Bike Driver of the Day

Terri Meadows is very active on her bicycle.  She rides to the farmers market, to the LODA artwalk, and around town to get various errands done.  What a role model!  We need more citizens like Terri in Mobile!  Here is a photo of Terri at the latest farmers market…

Utility bicyclist



Farmers Market Bike of the Day

Nice urban errand vehicle here!

Quick entry here as we are getting ready for a local move in a couple of weeks.  It’s not easy to get things done with two little ones and no grandparents within 500 miles!  Saturday morning we had a nice group ride down to the farmers market.  We picked up some new riders that joined us as well.  The weather can’t be beat and the atmosphere was very pleasant at the market.  A woman from Europe, I’m assuming a Germanic country from the accent, rode in with her son on the bike in the picture below.  Looks like a great farmers market bike to me.  I love seeing parents exposing their little ones to an active lifestyle!

A Little Extra Add-On to That Commute

The weather has been so great here on the Gulf Coast for the last month.  Virtually no rain, mild temps and not-to-bad humidity.  Today I decided to take a little bit longer to get home.  I just went around a couple extra city blocks, enjoyed the breeze, waved to some folks on their porch, and took the extra time to daydream a little.  What is it about a nice bike ride that is so relaxing and pleasant.  I wonder if it is some kind of perfect balance between being active, being outside, and feeling like a kid.  While my body is working at a very nice pace, my mind is able to concentrate on the physical aspects and I have enough brainpower left for musing about my wife, kids, work, the day’s happenings, etc.  Maybe there is balance not only physically, but also mentally when taking a casual bike ride.  That has got to be good for you!

Saturday Riding

We started out the day on Saturday like most days in the fall by going to the farmers market.  First we meet up with friends at the local coffee shop Cream and Sugar.  There were some new riders and several of them were kids.  It’s always nice to see kids out riding on bikes.  Now we just need to work with the city about making the conditions safer for children to bike around.  The weather was super pleasant and the market was entertaining.  I think we ended up buying some muffins and flowers.


Kids bikes at the farmers market



Nice Electra Townie outfitted for the farmers market



Alex bought flowers for his mom. So nice!


Later that day I had to go into the office.  On the way back I was pleasantly surprised to find a choral group singing Motown and contemporary favorites.  They even did some Journey.  Nice!


Faulkner State Chorus



I wasn't the only one riding. Nice Schwinn.


Yes, You Can Ride a Diamond Frame Bike in a Skirt

I’m doing it today. Just drop the bicycle to one side and step over it.

Step over the frame.

Raise the bike and you’re ready to go.

When Things Go Wrong — Epic Rides

Over the weekend, one of our riders had a blowout. Actually, two of our riders — it was a tandem bike. Anything that goes wrong automatically moves your ride into the EPIC category. It reminded me that a bicycle ride does not always go as planned and just a few extra items can go a long way toward keeping unplanned incidents from spoiling your fun.

What Do You Need To Get Started Cycling?

  1. A bicycle in good working order.
  2. An errand, event or job to get to.

OK, it can be that simple, but a little more thought and a few extras will increase your comfort and safety level.

3. Helmet

Helmets are controversial. In Europe, where there is much more bicycle use than in the US, many people don’t wear helmets. Most of them are only riding a few miles. Alabama only requires them for people 16 and under. I prefer to wear a helmet.

4. Lights

When I started riding, I noticed how much easier it was for me to see the cars with headlights on and that I was a lot harder to see than a car. Everyone recommends just buying quality lights and not wasting money trying to save money on cheap lights. I recommend that, too, because I did not heed that advice. Get a taillight with a flashing mode and a headlight (also preferably with a flashing mode for daytime). The ones I like, in the budget category:

  • Planet Bike Superflash taillight. Don’t bother with anything else. It’s BRIGHT.
  • Planet Bike Blaze 1 watt or 2 watt headlight.
  • 2 AA battery Maglite LED flashlight, mounted with 2 hose clamps.

    The above headlight solutions will get you home at night, but you won’t be entirely comfortable. A better headlight:

    • Magicshine. Around $90, delivered. This one is so bright that my husband said “I could do with a couple of those on the Miata.” For the price, it can’t be beat. My advice is: don’t try to save money with cheaper lights. You’ll wind up buying one of these anyway, after you’ve spent more money on lights that don’t light up the road well enough at night. Like I said, I did not heed that advice either.

      A hub generator is the most convenient setup. No batteries, and you always have light. Make sure they have a standing feature that allows them to stay on when you are stopped.

      I ride several bikes, one with a hub generator. Whatever bike I am on, I never ride without backup lights. Hitting a bump in the road at night with a bike loaded with eggs and milk is no fun!

      5. Mobile Phone

      You don’t NEED a mobile phone to use a bicycle. But a phone and someone to call to help you out when something goes wrong can really increase your peace of mind. After lights and a helmet (if you choose to wear one), this is the handiest thing you can have on a bicycle when something goes wrong. But leave it in a pocket while you ride! I know, I know, Europeans text and cycle, too. I’m writing for a North American audience.

      6. Repair Tools and a Little Skill

      Beyond the above five items, a spare tube, patch kit, multi-tool, tire levers and a little skill will go a very long way to making sure all your rides are low stress. I bought a bike in 2003 and didn’t ride a mile before I ran over a nail. Ian said “Awesome! You get to practice a roadside repair!”

      Practice removing your wheels and replacing the tube at home. Watch online videos. Ask a friend who is knowledgeable to help you. Check out library books. You can do the simple stuff, trust me.

      Farmers Market

      The second farmers market for fall was this morning and we rode down to check out the activity.  There was more produce than last week and we picked up some persimmons, sweet potatoes, and kumquats.  I can’t remember if I’ve ever had a kumquat before but they were good.  They seem to be a great snack food because they’d travel well.  The live music was good, very soulful.  The weather was warm and sunny.  My wife and I really need to get front racks to carry more items on our bikes.  When we take the kids out our rear racks are taken up by the child seats.  Right now I’m wearing a backpack backwards which is not that comfortable.   I just need to do the research and budget for the racks.

      Another reason I like the farmers market, besides the arts, crafts, and food, is the variety of people and their bikes that they show up on.  There always seems to be someone interesting on a bike.   Here are some pictures of the market and some of the people there…


      Classy Electra bike, perfect for the market






      This must be someone’s utility vehicle


      Two ladies riding cycle chic to the farmers market