Thursday, September 30, 2010

A San Diego velo wedding.

Thanks to our bikey friend down in sunny Southern California, Esteban, for this link.
I have attached a screenshot of one of the wedding photos, but check it out +a video, so beautiful.

link: Bike shop wedding: Jay and Katie get married at Velo Cult!

Also make sure to visit Esteban's blog, classic bikes, beautiful pictures and great doses of writing: vélo flâneur

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Meet the bike nerd

Last month we received an email from the "bike nerd" aka Seth Werkheiser. I think it's pretty adventurous and cool when people are able to pack and go. Just go. Go.
My name is Seth Werkheiser and I'm nomadic bike nerd without a zip code to call home, traveling from city to city with a laptop and toothbrush.
I left Brooklyn on July 31 and now I'm biking across Pennsylvania before heading South for the winter.

how to bike 30 miles with all your posessions
As told by Seth:
My story: I've been biking since I was like, 10 years old or something. I'm 34 now. Lived in NYC for almost six years. Lots of biking in the city. Then my hours got cut at work (I'm a freelance / contractor web-editor for AOL Music). Instead of trying to squeeze every penny and eat ramen noodles I decided to get rid of all my possessions and bike across the US with my laptop and clothes. I'm in NJ now. I'll be in PA this weekend for a few stops (Stroudsburg, Bethlehem, Philadelphia, Hershey, Everett, Pittsburgh) then onto Ohio and south from there.

Soooo I work M-F, 9-5pm. I log off, then ride and hang out with friends.

It's funny - when I got my hours cut I didn't now what to do! Like, I ALWAYS worked from 9am to 7 or 8pm. I was always checking email, even until midnight. I couldn't go out to dinner without looking at my iPhone every five minutes. Now? Now life starts at 5pm, and I've been biking more than ever! Losing weight and feeling good.

Check out my blog:

•• thanks bike nerd!! ••

Monday, September 27, 2010

Close Encounters

It would seem that I am a police magnet, which is kind of strange as I left my wild days behind a while ago. The only other explanation would be that upright bicycles ridden by women in skirts are some kind of threat that needs to be addressed in the penal code.

San Jose Shadows

This is a picture of San Jose Ave, the section known as the Bernal Cut. It is to friendly, usable roadway what Wild Irish Rose is to a fine Bordeaux- both will get you there, but one will make you hurt way more than the other. The problem is that despite the fact that the entrance to this bicycle lane forces riders to tangle with 50 MPH traffic exiting a freeway while trying to turn right, it is the only topographically reasonable way to get from my home to any part of the Mission or Downtown. The entrance to this street looks a lot like a freeway on-ramp, and is, in fact, right next to one. At the beginning of the ramp is a large "Bicyclists Allowed Use Of Full Lane" sign, complete with the California code number that makes this law.

Once I got used to using this route it wasn't a big deal to go this way. It requires being very alert and assertive, but over time drivers have become accustomed to seeing cyclists in this area and know to look out for us. There is also quite a lot of space to move around in before hitting the marked bicycle lane so it is not hard to find your spot to get through. I ride this route many, many times a week and, sometimes, several times a day. It is not unusual for me to have one or more kids with me.

Today, as with most days, I jumped on the Bat with Declan on the back, and headed to San Jose Ave. on my way to a meeting at City Hall (ironically, a meeting about traffic reduction and calming in this area). As soon as I hit the overpass, just after passing the big yellow advisory sign giving me the lane (one of two lanes, BTW), I found myself being shadowed by an SFPD cruiser with an officer yelling at me through the passenger window (as I was doing 20 MPH down a rather steep hill). The "conversation" went like this-

Officer- (in incredulous and annoyed voice) Hey! Do you know where you are going?

Me- Yes. I do.

O- You can't be here!

Me- Yes I can.

O- This is a highway! You can't be here!

Me- No it isn't. This is San Jose Ave. and I can ride here whenever I want.

O- Pull over!

I pull over, right at the busiest and most dangerous part of the avenue, before the bicycle lane begins and right where the worst speeders drive by. Not by choice. This is where I am forced to pull over. I say nothing about this because it is pointless and I know I am going to be fine.

O- You can't be here. This is considered a highway.

Me- No. It is San Jose Ave. and I can be here. The sign at the entrance lets you know that I get the full lane while I am here.

O- You can't ride here.

Me- Yes I can, and I do everyday along with a couple of hundred other people who use this official bicycle route.

O- I am just going to have to call this in and see.

Me- You have to call to find out that this is a city street and that I am allowed by law to ride here?

O- I am just concerned about your son's safety.

Me- If you are not used to driving through here I am sure seeing me here is a little unnerving.

O- Yes. It is!

Me- I can understand that, but I ride through here with my children almost everyday. It is the recognized bicycle route through this area as you can see by the bicycle lane and signage at the beginning of the ramp.

O- Just because you do it everyday doesn't make it right.

Me-I can understand why you feel that way, but the fact is I have the right to be here and am no less safe here than most parts of the City. I appreciate your concern, but we are fine as long as people like yourself keep your eyes open and allow us our right of way.

O- (starting to calm down)- OK. I just don't want you to get hurt.

Me- I appreciate that. We will be fine. Thank you for your concern.

With that, he got back in his cruiser and left me to my own devices. Part of me wanted to be annoyed with him. I hate it when police officers make crap up to get you to do something assuming you do not know your rights. I also really hate it when others try to protect my children from me, mostly because they give the most patently ridiculous reasons for doing so. The times that I have complained about the dangerous drivers on this route, I have been told by the SFPD that "you shouldn't be there anyway. It is way too dangerous and there is nothing we can do about it". In spite of these things, this encounter just left me sad.

Why do so many of the encounters that we have with police officers when we are riding have to be like this? Officers who either do not know the law or don't care and make things up. Officers who endanger my safety by driving too close to me while yelling out windows about how dangerous my riding is ( which in its self is pretty funny as I am a Grandma rider). Officers that threaten me and call me names they would never think of if I were not on a bicycle. Do they take a special class in this? When will it ever get better?

We can put in all the lanes and signs we want, but until we get our police departments better training in bicyclists and bicycle law we will all end up having these silly disruptions in our everyday transit. Until these departments are willing to learn the lessons (and there is a fair amount of evidence out there that this is not the case in departments all across the country), we will have to endure pointless lectures, unfair moving violations and discrimination in accidents that injure us .

At least I didn't get a stupid ticket for doing nothing wrong. For that I am grateful.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Continuing Declan Adventures

It occurs to me that we have not had a Declan adventure around here for a bit. I am quite partial to them, myself. This time we were on the way home from the Doctor's office and it was pretty warm. I was afraid Declan would fall asleep so I gave him the camera to keep him alert, which usually works quite well.

I like the way the trees make shade and the colours of the leaves.

We were riding in a lot of traffic.

We stopped to repack our stuff. Mommy's purse kept falling off. We found people to talk to while we did it.

The sky was sooooo blue.

I like the shade. So does the mail truck.

I had to turn around to take a picture of the guy going the other way. Mommy told me to stop wiggling.

I just wanted a picture of the red car. Mom was in the way.

This boy stopped to talk to us. He couldn't stop his push bike and he almost crashed into the tree.

I wanted to have a picnic, too.

This picture was an accident.

Mommy had to stand up to get us going again. We had to go fast because of all the cars.

This man talked to me about taking pictures. He let me take one of him. I want his motorcycle.

The seat is poking Mommy's butt. Hee hee hee.

I like how the flowers make a picture. Once they looked like an alligator.

I just took his picture.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

i heart Q

true story. i do.

so the other day we went to go get a late dinner on clement street. did some research and found out that Q restaurant was open until 11. since this is just what we needed, we got on the bicis and rode over.

when we got there around 10ish, we saw a sign similar to this in the window:

May is the month
foto by meli...not at Q obviously

we sat down and nomnomed, happy to be ingesting Q's delicious comfort food. in doing so (i did at least), forgetting about the sign in the window. then both the host and the server came to us, told us that they saw up "roll up," and let us know they were taking $10 off our meal since we had ordered over $30. so, basically, our wine was free.

now who doesn't like that?

see the list of other i bike sf participating businesses here. the clement street deal is only good until the end of the month. maybe we can squeeze in another visit to Q before then...

next month's participating neighborhood? lower haight. oh boy. i'm gearin' up for that one wiggle-ites.

and don't forget to ride your bike in your own neighborhood. we almost, gasp, walked there. but still would have had our bike lock keys on our keychain. hmmmm.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Happy World Carfree Day!

On this first day of fall, September 22, 2010 is World Carfree Day. If you are reading this blog, chances are riding around on a bike has some how impacted how you live your life and perhaps you have thought about your influence in your immediate community. It seems that there's a similar desire for contemplation regarding the implementation of this day.

Please fill in your own thoughts on World Carfree Day 2010. Do you think we're getting there? Do you think after the oil spill (pick your favorite one!) people will rethink how they use for transportation purposes? For those of you who are car-lite, can this be one of the days you don't use the car? For those of you who are neither car(e)free nor car-lite, is it feasible for you to think about and reexamine how you use your car daily? If you are car free, maybe one can think about how food gets to the table, and ways to describe that to that one person you know who is always drinking soda with a straw out of a plastic bottle.

Let us know in the comments.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


After seeing this every day for a year,


it makes me so much happier to see this

Alternative Transportation

Is it any wonder I want to get rid of my car? I know there are times cars are the best way to get "there", but 95% of the time, for me, this is not so. I rode 45 miles, partly in the rain, over mountains, on a 25 year old mixte on Sunday and it was better than the, uneventful, car ride home after.

One day, I will be car free. It is getting closer.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Are Two Heads Better Than One?

As there are many things to write about our trip to Portland, I will just wimp out on the written word for now and give you this bit of silliness.

(amazing bicycle courtesy of Metrofiets!)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Precious cargo

The other day I had a few minutes to spend and observe the recent changes to Market st. from the view of a muni rider. I decided to step out of the bike lane universe, got off frenchie and walked over to the little Muni island, which stands in the middle of the street. I luckily had my camera within reach because it was a really cool moment to see this happy mom, telling her daughter about some kind of cartoon I am not quite familiar with.
I thought that was nice. A good sign of the times and the good things to come ---- and already happening. Here and now.
Mommy chronicles
Market street at 9th.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

adventures in bike parking, II

seen in a SF garage in the financial district. what i like about this is not the free bike you could get in like 10 seconds, but rather is the fact that bike is super disheveled. i see plenty of mountain bikes parking in those bike rack slots (aka sorry-ass excuse for bike rack parking, but i guess we at least get this...), but never one like this. even if you moved a bike to get it out of the way to unlock your own bike, something i have done before, you would think you should move it back to how you found it. or maybe the owner left it like this in a rush to get to work. both theoretical situations exposed the underbelly of vulnerability of this bike's parking job.

in any case, i was rather fascinated by this bike for some reason. keep them bikes locked up well, mkay?

Adventures in bike parking

Friday, September 17, 2010

A Future Worth Working Toward


The first step is recognizing the signs. Then we have to accept it. Then we have to turn it into art.

addendum- per Todd's request

Ten Seconds On Hawthorne

A group of friends.


Heading somewhere.


A sunny weekend day, fun somewhere down the road.


Four friends, four bicycles, one bike lane.


Ten seconds on Hawthorne. Imagine an hour, a day, a year and all the friends that ride along here on their way to something fun. Make it happen in your town.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

feliz diez y seis

hey guys, today is the 200th anniversary of mexico's independence. have fun out there in texas. i miss those celebrations so much.

in the meantime, maybe you can see me riding around with my flag on a basket later today. say hi.

Hot like Mexico, rejoice

besos desde califas...


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

40 & Green

Today I am 40.

Ade on Brompton
photo by Kristin Tieche (Happy Birthday to her, too!)

Amazing what a cute green Brompton and some red peep toes can do to make it great! So, if like me, you are entering... a certain group of years... grab your bike and do it up!

(Brompton courtesy of Clever Cycles in Portland, Oregon. I wish I had more time to play there!)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Processing Portland

Because it was a swirl, I am only aware of clapboard & bricks & vines & trees & wheels. Which way is south & how far is east?

Portland is a place of lines & the bones of a working class, industrial past that ends a little more everyday.

The stores are full of other people's stories- plaid & nylon & mothballs. Industry is a creaking rocking chair, economy of antique scales. Coffee comes with it all. Beer to follow.

- small thoughts on a late plane back to SFO. More coherent writing to follow.

Unusual postcard, from San Francisco with love.

Let's begin the week with our majestic Golden Gate Bridge. One can never get tired and at its amazing presence, and in this sunny afternoon shot, it is peaking out from a distance.
I took this photo a few weekends ago, in the Sunset district - when there was an actual sunset going on (it is known for one of the foggiest micro-climates within the City).
See, all up and down hills in this town have its rewards. The lovely ladies in this photo are Karen and our Calitexican.
ladies. sunset district. golden gate bridge.
ladies. sunset district. golden gate bridge.
Taken from 20th ave - The sunset district.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The smile maker

smile maker

Ran into this bike the other day and wanted to hug it. That little colourful parrot is just wonderful.
This was taken outside the coffee bar, one of my favorite spots for coffee in the city - which coincidentally, is painted almost entirely red outside.
Red walls attract red bikes.
Happy bikes attract happy energy.

have a great weekend
besos .m

Friday, September 10, 2010

Sing Along

You, who are on the road
Must have a code
That you can live by.
And so, become yourself
Because the past
Is just a goodbye

Best Family On Rentals!

Drive Up

Teach, your children well
Their father's hell
Did slowly go by
And feed them on your dreams
The ones they pick
The one you'll know by.

Tour De Sunday

Don't you ever ask them why
If they told you, you would die
So just look at them and sigh
And know they love you.

The Bikers Are Coming!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

start 'em young

Start 'em young

as seen in a storefront during this year's mass exodus of SF. i guess it helps to have new parents into biking as well.

hopefully this little bib and the trendiness it currently holds will convert itself and become a positive sign for the future of more people using bikes as a daily and viable transportation option.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Cruising around

bike dinner for two
There aren't many cruisers in the city, but enough to make you smile. I spotted these 2 super cute baby blue ones in the Inner Richmond. As I turned, the two friends were giggling because I thought those orange flowers were automatic smile-makers.
My friend and dinner partner for the afternoon just said 'ok, meli - remind me to put orange flowers on my road bike when I get home'
Keep taking notes I said.
Boys, are so silly.

The weather was in the high 80°s and the sunset couldn't be more beautiful. It is September, and it is summer in SF. With mostly foggy skies, so we take full advantage of the 'heat waves'
flower cruiser power
Cruiser twins

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Ride My Bike

Because the Bronze Bombshell is way cooler than the rest of us, I have seen this video. I now want am orange bicycle and a bullhorn.

Seems a good tune to pop in your IPod for the ride home from work. Or school. Or wherever.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Metal Health Will Bike You Mad

I love DIY anything. Some things are just way easier to have mass produced (socks and underwear come to mind). Many things, though, benefit greatly from being smaller and handmade. Bicycle shops are no exception. I love any shop that has a definite sense of ownership to it. One such shop in San Francisco is Heavy Metal.

Locked & Barred

Heavy Metal is funky, cluttered and very down at the heel. If you blink you will miss it. We must have passed it a hundred times before I noticed it there. The guys that run it are no nonsense, like vintage bicycles and keep things very low key (all things I like). There isn't a corporate bone in the body of the shop. It is exactly the place I would have brought my bicycle to be repaired before I met Hubby the Bikeman.

The other day, I noticed a new sign in the shop window.

No Playa Transport Here

I am unsure if this means they ran out of them or just don't have them on principal. Either way, the plate is a good touch. The front door of the shop is pretty funny, too.


So if you find yourself on 29th Street, keep a look out for the bicycle shop placed between the kids fixing their vintage mopeds on the side walk and the loud corner bar with the hand written, neon yellow signs in Spanish. When you see the rusty old franken-tandem locked to a sign post out front, you will know you have arrived.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Surprises From Friends

This is Tony.

Before The Launch

Tony and I met for the first time at a Tweed Ride and then ran into each other as I was watching everyone's bicycles outside Pancho Villa after a Butter Lap. We started talking and I told him about the ride. He has since become a Wednesday night regular and I get to see him all the time.


Tony is irrepressibly friendly and engaging. So when he sent me this email, I was not surprised in the least.

-"Adrienne! I thought you might like these. On the way back from the beach I saw this Papa pedaling his cute kids on the back of their Yuba bike and I asked if I could take their photo. I hope you don't mind but I named dropped you, I told them I have a friend Adrienne who writes a wonderful blog named Ride A Bike Change Your Life and that these photos perhaps will end up there so check it out. After I took the pictures we rode along through the park and sparked a conversation about bikes and he told me how much he loves to go to the park with his Partners In Crime and play all kinds of games, this day was futbol I believe but that I should catch them when they come to the park and shoot their bows and arrows "just imagine this bike loaded with archery gear and two kids on the back" he said. I say awesome!"

According to Tony, these three are Adam, Haven and Ben. How great is it to have friends that willingly go out and find stories for us? Thanks, Tony!