Archive for July 2009
I don’t exactly know what happened, but I feel really happy these days. Undeniably, smile-on-my-silly-face happy. I would have to say that riding my bike to work has really helped with the happiness factor. I ride to the station in the brisk California summer mornings with a big smile. I don’t even mind the random catcalls from guys who are happy to see a skirt on a bike. When I get off the train, I hop on my bike to see how far I can get before the train catches up with me along that long stretch of road that runs along the tracks. And sometimes I wave at the train when it passes me, thundering by with its horn blasting.
Yes. Bike commuting has changed my life. The bike gets to go outside everyday, and I get to be the one to take him out. My legs feel energised in the mornings and I feel so happy to be out riding around when the sun is still waking up and the café across the street has a few people stumbling in looking for a wake-me-up.
Do you know what I think about when I’m not riding my bike? I’m usually busy planning the next place I’m going on my bike. I still don’t quite get biking as exercise with the spandex and speed and everything. I am more of a cruiser type girl who uses it to get around instead of her car. I’m usually not in a huge rush, and people are constantly passing me in the bike lane, which I think is really hilarious. I always think to myself, “Well, might as well pass me, speedfreak. Me and my single gear are already at top speed!” Haha… yeah, the spandex and speed crew totally make me giggle.
I have to head up to town tomorrow to meet with some friends, and I am totally trying to figure out how to do it all by bike. I know that it means a 1h40 train ride and figuring out how to get all the way to the Sunset from 4th and King and probably getting lost and complaining about going up and down hills, but I’m going to try to make it happen. I also plan to hit up the Sunday Streets in the Mission, just to see what I can see. It looks like a lot of fun, so why not!
Ok, so I keep thinking that I’m going to stop blogging about my newfound love for All Things Bikey, but it’s not going to happen, and if you have a problem with that then you can go ahead and not read this Yet Another Bikey Blog Entry.
This weekend, I had so much fun it’s unbelievable. After another lovely week of bike commuting to work, I got it in my pretty little head to bring Dennis up to town on the CalTrain so I could fulfill my dream of acting like one of those silly bike-renting tourists who ride around on Embarcadero. Yeah. I don’t know why I wanted to do it, but I did!
So early on Sunday morning, Darren came down to SJ with his bike, and we went over to Diridon and got on a train that took almost 2 hours to get us up to 4th and King. We rode over to the REI on Brannan so I could exchange my U-lock, then we hit up Patisserie Philippe for some tasty macarons.
It turned out that they were shut, but they let us in anyway to sell us a couple boxes of macarons. The kind man even gave us each one to nibble on while he was packing up the boxes, and then slipped us a crinkly cellophane bag of beautiful meringues for Bastille Day. So very nice of him!
After we slipped our precious boxes of macarons into out messenger bags, we hopped back on our bikes to head to the Embarcardero and I finally got to ride along the water on my bike! I was in heaven. It was so gorgeous and wonderful out too, and I had this big silly smile slapped on my face the entire time.
Yeah. One more wish fulfilled.
And on the way home, we found some beautiful shadows and light at the train station. So gorgeous.
Bikey life makes me pretty happy. I love seeing people riding them around and I love checking them out at the bike racks. So pretty. Round, and straight, and round all over again. So nice.
Yes, this is another bikey post. Sorry. It’s somewhat consumed my life to the point of thinking about using my Caltrain pass (I get free pass on all zones on the weekends) to go up to SF with my bike so I can be like one of those crazy tourists biking on Embarcadero. Yeah.
The nice thing about a bike is that somehow it makes you more approachable by strangers. I think it also helps that I’m not a spandex-clad biker, so I look like a normal person out riding their bike from A to B. (Not that spandex makes you less approachable, but maybe you would look more like a “real” biker who might not want to be bothered and you might be training for something really cool too.)
I was leaving my building on the way home from work. I usually stop right outside the building to fix my garter (it keeps my skirt down while I’m riding), so I stopped as usual and clipped the edge of my dress to the garter. A lady who came out of the building right behind me exclaimed, “Oh, how nice that you ride your bike!” and we had a short little conversation about how she used to bike to work too, but now she has to drop off her son and has to drive. As we parted, she said, “Have a good weekend and a nice ride home!” Yeah. It was really nice.
Plus, I’m getting to have all kinds of random conversations with the other bikey regulars on my train. I take the same trains everyday, so you get to see the same people over and over. I feel like I’m even more conspicuous now, compared to the regular rider, simply because I am one of the few people who bring their bikes. Well, it’s not really a “few” people who bring their bikes; there are actually a decent number of us, but still a small percentag compared to non-bikey riders.
I also ran into Fritz again and we had a random little conversation about the skirt clip thing with another female biker who was wearing a skirt. She mentioned it looked like a good idea and a nice alternative to flashing most of downtown San Jose.
Oh, and then there’s the whole secret bikey subculture… This is getting interesting.
I named my bike Dennis. His frame says “Rock Hopper” so of course the first thing I thought of was Dennis Hopper, and hence Dennis. I’m even thinking of taking a piece of paper and taping over the “Rock” bit and writing “Dennis” on it. Yeah. That’s how much I love my bike. I will brave incredulous stares to do something funny.
Yesterday I did not bike to work. I was meeting a friend and the Mister was going to pick me up and take me to dinner. I would have ridden, but Dennis does not fit easily into the car. What can I say, he doesn’t want to be a drive-around-in-a-car bike. He wants to be an on-the-road-being-ridden bike, and he does not fit well in my puny car.
I thought I would feel really relaxed taking the shuttle to and from the CalTrain station, but you know what? I didn’t like it. Sure, it’s easy and I just have to sit down and do nothing while it takes me from point A to B, but I have to say that I really missed riding my bike!
This morning, with the wind whipping through my skirt, I rode from point A to B and then C to D with a big huge bikey smile plastered on my silly face.
Oh and that friend I met yesterday? Here he is in beautiful Fuji instafilm colour, courtesy of my lovely new camera, Geraldine (a Polaroid 195 Land Camera).
I’ve been really excited about riding my bike to work. Even though I don’t ride very far (1.8 miles in SJ and 2.2 in San Mateo each way, so about 8 miles round trip), I’ve been obsessively reading about All Thing Bikey. One of the things that I really worry about is fixing a flat. I have not had to ever fix a flat bike tire in my life (heck, I’ve never fixed a flat car tire myself either), so it actually scares me to death to think about getting a flat, possibly eating it while riding the bike, and then having to fix it on the side of the road (hopefully it won’t be a a very busy road).
While I was catching up on my internet alone time this morning after a morning run (finally!!), I was reading all about bicycle commuting on the Trek site. I first should tell you a little about my bike. It’s a Frankenstein bike, made by a friend out of parts that were going to be junked. (I’ve named my bike Dennis for no reason, other than I like saying that I went places wiht Dennis.) The frame is a sad looking blue Rock Hopper and all the other parts were taken off other old bikes. They’re good parts, just a bit old. Oh, and Dennis only has one gear, which makes him pretty light to take on and off the train.
As an aside, Dennis doesn’t look like he’s my bike apparently. On the CalTrain, the bike racks stack up to 4 bikes on top of each other. Hopefully, you have a destination tag so that you don’t get shut in behind a bike that’s going a few stops further than you. Dennis was already on the top of the rack, so I didn’t have to move any other bikes, but when I was moving him, a very nice rider asked me if I needed help moving that bike out of the way. (I guess Dennis is kinda ratty looking.) I told the guy that Dennis was my bike, and he looked a little surprised and chuckled. Maybe it doesn’t help that I was wearing my fancypants work clothes, so he thought I had the cruiser stacked under Dennis.
Oh wait, anyway…
The whole point of this post was to share the 1 World 2 Wheels site that I found that has a lot of neat little tips for people who want to start bike commuting. It’s a lot easier than you think and good for your body too. Plus, they have a video about learning how to change a flat, which is what I totally need to do!
Since I work up in beautiful San Mateo, I get to take the Caltrain everyday to the office. And now I have had the joy of adding a bike into the mix and doing a bike-train kinda thing. I keep wanting to shorten it but braining or triking just doesn’t sound right to me. I guess I could brain myself to work. That sounds kinda sci-fi doesn’t it?
Ok so several reasons why I don’t just commandeer the car and drive there:
- We only have one car. Even though we live 5 miles from Frank’s work, he gets to use the car because… well because. I tried getting him to do the bike commute or to take the lightrail, but he’s just NOT THAT KIND OF GUY, so I just face up to it and let him take the car.
- We can’t buy another car. Because my current job is not paying me my usual millionaire engineer salary (because it’s not an engineering job, duh), I just don’t see the point in slapping down the cash for a second car right now. We would have to make all the monthly payments (the current car is already paid off, which is great) and more for insurance and all that.
- I actually don’t WANT to drive to work. San Mateo is freakin’ FAR and I’m sorry, but I’m not going to get in the stupid car and sit in traffic more than halfway up the peninsula just so I can have a car at work.
- Caltrain is a super comfortable ride and I don’t mind it one bit (except I have to wake up early, but I figure my driving commute would probably be the same time anyway).
So this brings me back to the whole train-riding bit. The bad thing about taking the train is that I live about 2 miles from the station here in SJ and I work in a building about 2 miles away from the station in San Mateo. There is actually a shuttle that will take me from downtown SJ right to the SJ station and then there is another shuttle that will take me from the San Mateo station to my building, but it means I’m at the mercy of the shuttle that runs on a specific schedule.
I don’t want to live according to the shuttle schedule! I want to take the baby bullet that gets me back to SJ in 30 minutes!
Solution: RIDE MY FREAKIN’ BIKE.
Yeah. Today was my very first bike-to-work experience, and I have to say it went pretty darned well. I got a bit lost on the way to the station in the morning, but I made it on a train and made it to work right when I wanted to. On the way home, my thighs were really burning with the hilly bridges in San Mateo (I’m a wuss, I know), but back in SJ I discovered the BEST street to ride home, which has a bike lane all the way to my house. Yeah. It’s pretty damned awesome.
Oh and plus?? I’m going to be INTERNET FAMOUS!!
(Or he was just a random stalker.)
When I got off the train at San Jose, this guy asked me if I knew about the Silicon Valley Bike Coalition and that he wanted to take my photo. I’m guessing he asked me because I’m wearing a girl outfit, aka typical Reese outfit, aka skirt with tights. Yeah. Who can resist a girl on a bike wearing a skirt? I know I can’t! Anyway, he took my photo and got my name and said that I would show up on the website somewhere, which probably meant I’ll never see those photos ever again, but whatever. I’m like famous! Hahaha…
EDIT: Dude… boy was FORREALZZZ… Check it!