Saturday, May 30, 2009

Ramona Wheels Right

We met Ramona Wheelright during the Ride of Silence, San Francisco 2009. It was a nice quiet ride to honor those who have been injured or killed while cycling on public roadways. The ride brought together a small sized-but good group of riders to pay the respect. Amongst them, we were happy to meet the organizer of the San Francisco ride, Ramona Wheelright. At the end of the ride, we chatted with her about bikes, the city and many things that SF riders can chat about for hours. She had a beautiful bicycle with her the day of the ride, has a wonderful smile and her mellow solid energy is contagious. We're looking into more rides with her in the near future. Ride on Ramona!! It was a pleasure to meet you.

Ramona by Busbozo

The found fish looks good by warbin k

Ramona writes in SFGate for SFenvironment:
Approaching an age that could fairly be considered mid-life, I often wonder if I will ever stop riding a bicycle. I figure that it's not age that will determine whether I ride, but rather the ride-ability of the terrain or the town in which I live. In San Francisco, bicycling just makes sense. Whatever the destination, biking is mobility; and mobility can equate to freedom. For me, bicycling means increased quality of life. I venture that bicycling might mean the same for you. /Read more [here]

See a few of her pictures as well as Adrienne's from the ride:
✖ BATC Ride of Silence, San Francisco

Your Space Or My Life?

I am sick of the words "parking" and "bike lanes". They have lead me to drink!

Today was one of the last public meetings before San Francisco's long overdue bike plan is put up for a final vote. When I say "long overdue", I mean it. San Francisco has been under an injunction for several years that has left us legally incapable of changing anything about bicycle infrastructure anywhere in the City. The injunction is about to be lifted, and there are now 56 bicycle lane projects being proposed.

Of course, there must be hearings. And hearings. And hearings. From these hearings we find that there is really very little opposition to new bike lanes in SF. There are no hoards of car wielding zealots out to destroy the two wheeled freaks. After all the yelling and all the hearings it comes down to one stupid word- parking.

Parking. The world has become so unbalanced and blind, the ability to warehouse vehicles for free on our limited street space is more important than the lives of people. We have become so confused by carbon monoxide ingested in traffic jams that the word "parking" has changed its definition- it is no longer a place one can keep one's car, it is now the battle zone in the war of "fuck you, this is mine and you can't have it".

So, today I lift my glass to those who feel that parking in front of their destination is the height of American Freedom, because, tomorrow... it is back to the battlefield. There is no way that I will leave my children a world where 18 feet of space parallel to the sidewalk is more valued than their lives.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Bike To School Day

Trail-A-Bike. The New School Bus!

As the title suggests, today was Bike To School Day in San Francisco. Despite the fact that we live just two blocks from school, we left home early to meet others from the neighborhood at Sunnyside playground to ride together. I had wanted to lead a group to school, myself, but the one route not covered by others was way too steep for children who do not ride daily.

Training Wheel Arrivals

A number of the kids arrived on training wheels. It surprised me. Because I ride with Declan on the back of my bike when we are going on the streets, it never occurred to me that people would bring kids on training wheels. We had to split into two groups, those for the road, and those for the sidewalk. Most of the kids in the sidewalk group were Kindergarteners. Get 'em young!

The Smile Says It All !

We had a couple of very young boys who were ready for the road. Look at that face! This is what you get when you let kids experience independence and they can see what they are capable of. Imagine what that can lead to over a lifetime. Now, we just have to work on getting more girls out there!

The Golden Princess Is A Future Bike Commuter

Today Is A Good Day To Ride

Learning The Rules Of The Road

It is my fondest hope to see more children out on their bikes. The time has come to reclaim this world for our children. We need to stop trading their future for our convenience or some ill conceived idea of danger that has been fed to us by people who can profit off of it.

Ride on, kids!!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Carol Rides Alone

Carol, here is one of our Flickr group folks. When she posted her shots and I saw the story that went with them, I was so impressed- Carol decided to prove to herself that she could travel alone by taking a month to bike from Helsinki, Finland to Berlin, Germany!

Traveling alone can be daunting. How ballsy do you have to be to ride through 6 countries on a bike by yourself?

Carol has a blog (don't we all : ) ,"How Did I Get Here?", where she has chronicled her travels.

So now, I am inspired! I don't have a month to ride around on my own, but I could take a couple of days to ride down to Big Sur (a trip I think I am incapable of). All I need is the right bike...

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Oh, To Be Young, Again!

photo by kinamari

photo by kinamari

photo by Marc van Woudenberg/ Amsterdamize

photo by Chiara n'Kael

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Calitexican Is A Bikey Girl For Life

In San Francisco, if you are on a bicycle and on flickr, there's a pretty good chance that eventually our paths will cross. Our city is very small and full of wonderful beautiful riders on bicycles enthusiastic and willing to be a part of the change, with their freedom machines. Melyssa is a great example of this, and we are very happy that interwebs has allowed us to connect. Here is her story! Thanks for sharing with us all, Melyssa!! Be sure to visit Melyssa's blog, too.

i guess it's official by calitexican

i want to ride my bicycle by calitexican

i started my love affair with bikes about 20ish years ago after i learned how to ride my two wheel bike in a matter of hours. no training wheels for me! i would then ride my bike to the park with a book every day after school and read until dusk. then i would ride home. funny how some things never change! this nerd still loves bikes and books in parks. this was about second grade, so i guess i was about 7 or 8 years old.

fast forward to 2000. i had never been to the west coast before. my friend and i traveled up and down the left coast from SF to seattle on our bikes. that was lots of fun, and my bike, anita, came with me back to texas and then up to brooklyn then back to berkeley when i moved to go to law school. she was named anita after little orphan annie since we moved around a lot (and she was red).

anita was stolen in berkeley. sad face, but i was ready for an upgrade. then i got bici, my first road bike (a specialized dolce sport). bici was always around, but i didn't really start riding her daily until after law school. a lot happened in and right after law school, including coming down with a particularly bad case of major depression. i was prescribed pills to help me out, and they did make me sleep (something i had a lot of problems doing), but they didn't really make me feel much of anything.

i started riding bici one day after i got one job last year where it didn't really make sense to travel by public transportation. i knew i needed the exercise, "so why not?" i thought to myself. after a couple of weeks i noticed a marked improvement in my mood. this is saying a lot since i had been living with major depression 2 years at this point. i felt better, the pounds started shedding, and i felt stronger. i told/tell my friends riding bici is the best anti-depressant ever. i honestly attribute the change in my mood to riding my bike, and for this i will forever be grateful.

bici and i were riding around so much that i realized that she might be a tad too small for me. my knees hurt a lot, so i took a break from riding her during the short rainy winter we just had. i was torn with the idea of selling bici to get another bike. i started looking at mixtes so i could have more of a range to choose from since i'm pretty short and i wasn't sure what was going on with my knees.

one day i was riding around with a new partner in bike-riding-crime, and we saw a mixte outside a bike shop. she was pretty beat up, but she had a front basket and a back rack. i wanted a bike that was more of a grocery getter, and she fit the bill. i've had her for a couple of months now. best of all, i don't worry about her getting stolen AND i'm now a convert to steel frames. they feel like heaven in the city.

bici #2 has helped me out tremendously with my knee problems. i've also made some minor adjustments to bici #1 so my knees don't hurt as much when we ride around town. yay!

with bici #2, i'm also learning how to fix bikes. she's a centurion le mans mixte, and she's approximately as old as i am. she is starting to show her age, but i plan on making her turquoise and that should be a fun project.

so yeah, i'm a rider por vida man. it keeps me mentally & physically healthier than i was a few years ago. so yay for bikes! my lil pink bike with streamers and no training wheels, anita, bici #1 and bici #2 have all helped to show me the way.

change yr life! ride a bike!!

hola! by meligrosa

Friday, May 22, 2009

Philip And His Mule

Another contribution!! How brilliant is this? People sharing experiences!! In this post, Philip shares how bicycling became his passion and how it has directed his life to date. While his profile states that he is a "balding,overweight, middle aged man whose mid-life crisis is like 'Groundhog day", we feel a bit more kindly to this lovely gentleman who donates great amounts of time to causes he believes in and who writes his stories down for all of us to enjoy and learn from!

Late Beginnings

As a youngster I was never really interested in cycling. In fact I can’t even recall having a bicycle.

It was never through lack of interest, but I guess lack of opportunity or influence.

Being at boarding school cycles were not permitted, so I guess my parents never thought about buying me one.

The reason I say It was never through lack of interest, is because I do remember some adolescent emotions.

Like envy and isolation.

When I returned home on my school holidays, my friends would visit on their shiny bikes.

They would talk of adventures on distant streets, led by their two wheeled conveyances.

Bright colours, washed and polished chrome, levers, brakes, and spinning wheels.

Maybe I can now blame all the negative aspects of my life on 'Cycle deprivation.

I could just shake my head ruefully and say: 'You know, I never had a bicycle when I was a boy'

Surely people would understand?

I came into cycling much later in life by default really.

I used to play rugby, and after snapping my Achilles tendon I sought cycling as a recuperative form of exercise.

I was instantly struck by the diverse and multiple opportunities that cycling brings to your life.

Living in a beautiful rural area I loved the new perspective. I was able to appreciate everything at a pace that allowed all my senses to take part.

To see the purple moor tops, smell the heather and feel the cool onshore breeze as I was thrilled by steep descent into hidden valleys.

I was able to see over the other side of the hedge, both literally and metaphorically.

I could get fit in natures own Gym, breathing air that would not give me a cold the next day.

Getting closer to nature opened my eyes to environmental issues, to human intolerance (Car drivers), and to the unique camaraderie held by other cyclists.

I now have three bikes and I cycle 6,000 to 8,000 a year.

My low emission car is rarely used, less than 1,000 miles a year.

I use Cycling as a vehicle for charity fund raising and a thread for my other passion, writing.

It is amazing to find so many cyclists who have sublime writing talents and operate blogs from all over the world.

This blog is a perfect example of the warmth and generosity that comes from the cycling family.

My own blog is called

It attempts to follow my cycling adventures and create interesting and light-hearted articles.

Happy Cycling

Thursday, May 21, 2009

In The News, Again

photo by Adrienne

This has been a busy month for Meli and myself! The blog (which seems to be growing and showing great potential), new jobs, new friends, and for both of us, SF Chronicle articles! We covered Meli's Bike To Work Day fabulousness. Today, an article I was interviewed for came out in the 96 Hours section. It is an article on biking with kids (of course!) here is San Francisco. Read it here!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Christa Bikes By The Sea

We received this lovely email from Christa, who runs the sunny happy blog in Southern California: Bike by The Sea. Thanks for sharing with us Christa!!

- - -
My love for cycling simmered over several years. The bicycle was my main mode of transportation while studying at UC Davis. Cycling became natural. It was practical, social, and fun. I experimented with cycling in the winter, carrying bulk, and cycling for the sake of exploring the city.

-Cycling Around Davis-

Every time I visited my native Southern California though, I saw it lacked bicycle infrastructure and the bike-culture. Still, I would hop on my bike. It was a new view of my home. Seeing the disparities between Davis and Southern California, I decided not to take cycling for granted!

In a final class, I studied sustainable cities in Northern Europe. After studying Copenhagen, Freiburg, and Stockholm with the class, I researched other bicycle-friendly cities including Vienna and Zurich. It was easy to rent a bike, investigate the area, and socialize with others (even if we spoke different languages).

-Cycling Around Davis-

Upon my return to Davis, I compiled a video of innovative bike infrustructure: A Bicycle Story. I entered the video into the Fit-City Competition and it later won along with four other entries. The prize was a trip to Sydney, Australia and an opportunity to participate in the 2008 Oxford Health Alliance Summit. It was wonderful! I learned about global public health issues, met great friends, and toured Sydney for two weeks. Also, I was thrilled to meet an associate from Gehl Architects, an urban design firm from Copenhagen.

Now I am living in Southern California again. Determined to share my love for cycling and inspire others, I created a blog on SoCal Cycle Chic, Bike by the Sea.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Ride of Silence, San Francisco

Tomorrow, Wednesday May. 20th
7pm Meet @Justin Herman Plaza at 6:30; Ride begins at 7pm
On May 20, 2009, at 7:00 PM, the Ride of Silence will begin in North America and roll across the globe. Cyclists will take to the roads in a silent procession to honor cyclists who have been killed or injured while cycling on public roadways. Although cyclists have a legal right to share the road with motorists, the motoring public often isn't aware of these rights, and sometimes not aware of the cyclists themselves.

**Change Your Life, Ride a Bike! and Bikes and The City will be present**
We will be dressed in white to honor and raise awareness. /Photo by busbozo

Tuesday Injection of Fun: Gary Fisher

Adrienne, Gary Fisher and Bspoke tailor :D
Bike Away from Work Party 2009. The Rickshaw Stop /♥San Francisco

Monday, May 18, 2009

Stories From You

We have started to get some truly wonderful stories from people who have joined the Flickr Group. We are honored to have these images and words brought to the table. The conversations that are starting through these images are beautiful as they are the beginning of the conversation that creates community, and that is why we are here!

photo by fiddles with bikes

"I ride my bike to school every day with my son pictured here. It has been a way to stay connected with him, learn about birds (me from him that is!), and establish lifelong healthy bicycling habits in him. Lately we've played a vocabulary game where I try to think of words he might not know and I teach them to him. 14 minutes a day, every school day. This particular bike has been especially good for our bonding experiences as he has picked up on the fun of being creative (I built it), and we ride together with our heads so close together that it's very easy to talk over wind noise. Oh, and it's been great for bike parades that we've done together. "

photo by rocketdog uk

"this is why i ride
UK spring time and bluebells "

What's your story? Email it to us-

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Brotherly Love

photo by busbozo

How much do you want to bet these boys will remember days like this their whole lives?

photo by busbozo

Friday, May 15, 2009

Bike to Work Orange Portrait

Photo By Orange Photography
I spotted this portrait this morning. It almost seems weird now when I see Adrienne gliding around town without Declan riding in the back of her bike. He is such a fun sidekick.
Notice the super cool shirts with the ultimate city comfortable bike! Change your Life, and even get your photo professionally taken :D
For all moms on wheels, you rock ♥Ride on!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

This Old Bike

Thom is the creator of the "Old Bike Blog". Thom shares tips for buying and fixing vintage bikes, the successes and the challenges. Reading through his posts, it is obvious that Thom has a deep love of bikes and the life that comes with them. More importantly, Thom shows us, through humor and thoughtfulness, how empowering it is to take charge of a machine and fix it with your own two hands. Thom kindly accepted my request to tell us about how this all came about and sent this post, along with pictures. Enjoy!

Thom the Man!
Three years ago, my old mountain bike was stolen. At that point, I'd had the bike for about ten years. It was fancy when I bought it in high school, and I logged a lot of miles, both on and off-road with that thing. I didn't know a thing about bicycles besides how to ride them like a maniac, and the mechanical aspects seemed beyond me. Especially with the seemingly-complicated setup on the mountain bike, I never was particularly interested in messing with it.

So anyway, the mountain bike gets stolen, and I still need a bike, so I figure since I'm teaching college now, I should have a nice, gentlemanly, scholarly bicycle. I found a three-speed 1971 Columbia Sports III for cheap on Craigslist, and started riding the short commute to work. The paint was faded and the gears didn't seem to work, but it suited my needs. I tinkered around with it a bit for about a year, then we moved it to Southern California with us. I was no longer working, so I figured I would use a bit of my spare time and really figure this thing out. I decided that if I was going to use it for transportation, I should probably know how it worked, and know how to fix it, which is something I now believe very strongly.

A finished Columbia grocery bike!

I started the Old Bike Blog to chronicle my progress on restoring the Columbia, and within about five months, I was done. I had absolutely zero previous experience, just a few tools, and a healthy dose of concern that I would never be able to get the thing put back together correctly. But in the end, I successfully dismantled, cleaned, sanded, painted, re-greased, and reassembled my bike. Today, it is my grocery bike, and has been joined by several other old bikes, all of which I've restored or refurbished. My learning curve has been (and still is) extraordinarily steep, and I discovered not only a passion for the work of restoration, but also the absolute importance of really *knowing* your bicycle, inside and out, front and back. It's something everyone *can* do, and I believe very passionately in the democratizing potential of do-it-yourself bicycle mechanics.

That's how riding (and working on) bicycles has changed my life, and will continue to do so for many years.


Orange Photography, here in San Francisco, is giving away free portraits to people who bring in their bikes on Bike To Work day! Now that is cool! Sooooo.....

If you are biking to work in San Francisco, head over to 1261 Howard street (2nd floor) between 10 am and 7 pm and get your face in a professional picture with your bike!

If your still feeling like having a fun bike to work experience, head on over to the Rickshaw Shop at 155 Fell street for The Bike Away From Work Party and Fashion Show. You never know who you might see there : )

Bike on , baby!!!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Colorful Changes

Has your view of your city changed because of your bike? Have you discovered new murals or buildings that otherwise you wouldn't see? Here in San Francisco our city is tremendously colorful. You never know what you'll find in any given alley.
Take your bike for a spin. Encounter colors, murals and temporary pieces on the walls smells, people, coffee, and some sunshine or fog. The smells in this specific alley, Linden, are a beautiful weird combination of strong coffee, incense and paint from the auto-shop next to it.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Sunday Streets

Jill and Her Bubble Blowing Bike

San Francisco has 6 days this year when several of our streets are closed to car traffic and opened to the public for whatever we can think to do there! It is amazing to be on a major street and not worry about being doored or right hooked (at least by cars, those zippy 4 year olds need to be watched like a hawk! ). Thousands of people show up to ride bikes, roller skate, jog, stroll, hula hoop.....

You couldn't put that many cars in the same space and get the same results- cooperative use of space between all participants, smiling children playing, parents relaxed and happy, senior citizens mixing in with the crowd....

The next is June 7th through San Francisco's historic Mission District! I can not wait! The Mission is the epicenter of utility bicycling in SF and it will be a party! Music, food, coffee, la raza!! Did I already say I can not wait?

Here is a slide show of the two days we have had so far.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

Greetings, salutations and hola. I am here in body and spirit, my peeps. I could not be more excited about this new blog of ours and it will be AWESOME. &Thanks for visiting. So ♥hello-hello!!
Okay so, for this week theme ‹Something that we will hone down as we go, so stay with us› will be something about your mother. Share a story about you, or your mom and a bicycle. Maybe she gave you that last shove in when you first learned to bike? Recently joined you for a ride? or a wonderful hometown bicycle story from decades ago?
We'd like to hear it!!
A salute to all super moms on and off bicycles around the world. Below, is my favorite local cycling mom. As well as one a new friend, partner in bloggin crime and one of my personal examples on, how riding my bicycle has changed oh-so-many aspects of my life. Happy Mothers Day everybody!!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Meli Helps Make The Point

Our very own Meli is one of the subjects of the SF Chronicle's May 7th "Bike To Work Day" article. Of course, we here at the blog know full well you can bike to work in style (Meli is car free and I am car light, as they say) but it is always good to get a little extra word out.

photo by dustinj

Read the article and then come back here to chime in on how you get to work on your bike. Maybe talk about how to get you on a bike to ride to work for the first time! Send in some pictures of how you look on your ride to work! This is me.

Remember, Bike To Work Day is May 14th, but we all know, everyday is bike to work day! Bike on!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Market Day

This shot grabbed me the moment I saw it. I love all the elements in it- the market, the sociable business all around, the child running in the foreground... and of course the gentleman on the bike.

photo from Along The Trail

Somehow, the jacket takes him from hippie to eco Urban in one quick step. At first glance I thought the shot came from San Francisco (doesn't everything? come on!). Nope. Missoula, Montana! Go Missoula! Any community that can support dreads and bikes is OK with me!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Only The Beginning

After just a couple of days, our Flickr group has 27 members! I will admit that is 25 more than I thought we would have (Meli and I are joiners! BTW, Meli is here in spirit but is away in body for a few more days.). That there are people out there who are willing to pay any attention to this endeavor is heartening!

The Flickr group is open to any photographic interpretation that shows how riding has changed and shaped your life. Our first submissions are starting to show some of the breadth of what people experience on two wheels. The group has an optional theme this month of "Beginnings".

photo by Metrofiets

Some are more traditional. I have to say I love the cans on the back!!

photo by phoebemum

Some show the results of that first bicycle inspired date! I wonder if these beautiful girls will meet their life mates on bicycles? Or Kettler tricycles?

photo by RocketdogUK

And some chronicle the end of the road warrior and the beginning of the more relaxed leg of the journey. Besides, there is no such thing as a bicycle conversation that does not end up in a comparison of road scars (maybe that will be a theme one month!)

Thanks to all who have submitted their pictures! Every story has a beginning, and each one will hopefully spur many others.

To see more pictures or to submit one yourself, please visit our Flickr group. You never know, you may see it here!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Eric & Lucas

I would like you to meet Eric and Lucas. I had the pleasure of meeting these two on my way to pick up my youngest son, Declan, from preschool. One of the great things about riding around town, is that I get to stop and see things or meet people I would never even notice or be able to stop for in my car. This usually happens when I take a new route, which is what I decided to do today (this direction added several miles to my trip, but I had the time so what the heck).

Eric stopped here for the same reason I did- there was a fantastic drummer set up at the side of the road, playing his heart out for the love of it. With Lucas on the front, it was an opportunity to share the spontaneous music and enjoy the energy of Golden Gate Park.

It was a really nice moment in my day- listening to someone having fun (drummer) and talking to this great Dad who was taking what could be a terrible situation (unemployment) and turning it into a chance to bond with his son and tour the city together. We agreed that getting out on the bike is a good way to spend time with the kids.

As for the drummer; he was just too cute for words. I love street drummers!! Maybe I will take a few more rides around town and see if I can find some more : ) I bet I could find a couple of them at the Powell street cable car turn around!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Here We Go! Welcome!

Bicycles are transformative objects. They have helped liberate women at the end of the 19th century, provided affordable transportation for millions of people around the world for the last 150 years and opened vistas of exploration and fun for generations
of children. Currently, great efforts are being made to provide bicycles for AIDS workers in Africa, tsunami survivors in Asia and underprivileged children in the U.S.

Those are big changes- a bicycle ambulance in Zimbabwe can be the difference between life and death. But bicycles can bring small changes to any life lived, anywhere in the world. Riding a bike makes us aware of the weather, demands that we pay attention to all our senses, requires co-operation with others on the road, challenges our understanding of our bodies and pushes our self imposed physical limits.

This blog is about these changes and how even small shifts in perspective that can come from bicycle riding can lead to big changes in how we see the world, how we live in it. Changes in our impact on the earth, or even just noticing how nice it is to have the wind in your hair. Sometimes, all it takes to have you change your career or go back to school or meet your neighbor for the first time, is a good bike ride!

We look forward to sharing our stories, and even more, to hearing yours! Please, please, please send us your bike of change and life stories! Why do you ride? Where has riding taken you? How do you tackle the challenges of where you live to keep riding? Did you meet your spouse on a bike? Did you use one to get away after sneaking out of the house at night? Share your adventure with the rest of us.