01 October 2007

Bicycle, Bicycle, BICYCLE!

"I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride my bike. I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride it where I like." - Freddie Mercury

Is this week passing slowly or what? Uff-da. All of the grey and dreary weather definitely isn't making the time pass quickly.

Last week, however, was a great week for riding around! I'm now able to haul more junk (groceries, work things, etc) on my bike now too! Last week I decided I really needed to figure out a way to put my work bag on my bike, rather than having it strapped to my back, because it just isn't comfortable. That, and being female it looks weird to have a bag strap smashed between the girls.

That said, on Thursday I took some time to really sit down and figure out how to take the flat rack I had from a previous bike, and attach it to Lucky. Luckily enough, I realized the flat rack already had extenders on it. Woohoo! Mackenzie: 1 Bad Karma: 0. After some bending and tweaking I managed to get the flat rack put on, and it's pretty level too. Hurray!

Next I took the collapsible wire pannier style basket I bought and attached it to the flat rack. This wasn't too difficult. Though, in hindsight, it probably would have been easier to attach the flat rack and basket to one another before attaching them to the bike. Oh well. Live and learn.

Now, with all of those updates the only things I have left to purchase are:
1 - pair of Planet Bike Freddy Fenders
1 - new bracket to re-attach my six-pack rack
1 - and potentially another collapsible basket, for the other side
(this one can probably wait until spring)

The only issue I have with the basket is that when it's expanded, and I pedal, the heal of my foot hits the basket. This is assembly error on my part...oops. I think I'll just have to slide it back a bit, and that should take care of the issue. Too bad I didn't think of this before I went off on my jaunt to Girls' Night. My Achilles was fearing harm the whole ride. I was forced to place the pedal under the arch and heal of my foot, rather than the ball. Can we say awkward?

And the only other complaint I have about that evening is how paranoid I was to be biking home at 11:00 pm on a Thursday night from The North Loop/Warehouse District, up past the Quarry, and onto the top of the hill. I did take the opportunity to use the new Minneapolis Diagonal trail from Stinson and E Hennepin and up to New Brighton and Stinson by The Quarry. All of the people driving erratically downtown freaked me out a little. It being "Thirsty Thursday" and everything. I thought it best to take that bit of well lit off street path. It was lovely.

I should really update more often, rather than writing these ridiculously long posts...I'll learn soon enough.

04 September 2007

CORN, corn, corn, corncorncorn, corncorn!

I have just returned from Nebraska, and I really liked it! Omaha seems like a decent city, and the rural out state areas were pretty much par for the course in the Midwest. It was a really fun and pleasant experience! Speaking of par for the course...Jon and I went golfing with his dad. His dad works at this particular golf course. I don't know who the architect for this course was, but if I ever meet them, they will receive a firm talking to! OK, not really. If you're a good golfer it's not THAT difficult I'm sure, but for me?

The course was the most difficult I've ever experienced. BIG HUGE SPIKED YUCCA INFESTED WEED BUNKERS EVERYWHERE! And my ball landed(well ball after ball, since I lost so many)in the sand traps. A lot. I haven't golfed 18 holes since high school playoffs. That was a LONG time ago. It was exhausting just being out in the sun that long. Yeah, wow, I'm getting old.

Overall though I had a really great time in Nebraska with Jon's family. We relaxed, played a lot of games, and rocked out on guitar hero! New favorite game, for sure. It's a good thing I'm not one to indulge in video gaming systems...something tells me I would rarely leave the house with guitar hero sitting there, calling my name.

Highlight of the weekend: Jon sporting some fake kiddie blue tooth earpieces with bright red twinkling lights, that were pulled out of a cereal box. His cute elderly grandmother says to him as she's walking out of the room "I always knew you'd sparkle!" Hilarious.

Today was my first full day of work since last Wednesday...it is so hard to come back from an extended weekend. Does anyone else hate Sunday nights (in this case it was a Monday, but you know what I mean) as much as I do? I dread having to go back to a full day of work the next day. I feel like it's always been this way, be it school or work, but I'm not certain if it's just me, or the jobs I've had in recent years...Hmmmm...interesting.

This morning I thought that maybe it would help my mood to bike to work. As sweaty as it was, it really did cheer me up. There's something about pedaling along down the street for 4 miles or so through the neighborhoods, and into downtown. Maybe it's that I have to sit so upright on this particular bike, but I feel like even purposeful rides/commuting rides are leisurely. It's quite nice. Now I just have to pedal back up that darn hill once I trek back to Northeast. I just realized that it will most likely be dark by the time I head home tonight. I'm not too excited about the quickly shortening days, but oh well. That's just part of fall. Good thing I remembered my bike lights! YEEHAW!

27 August 2007

Stevie Wonder

"Isn't she lovely? Isn't she wonderful?"
That's my bike, well more like my bikes identical cousin, but you get the drift. And my bike's name is Lucky...not Stevie Wonder.
In exciting personal news, I'm going to Seattle! YAY! My friend Heidi is getting married out there in October, AND my friend Devon is moving back to Seattle just before my visit. I get to stay with Devon, then she and I will drive 2 hours north to the wedding location. Turns out this place is only an hour south of Vancouver...So after the wedding we'll go visit Mary! HURRAY! What a successful tour of the Pacific Northwest. Vancouver is said to have one of the best bicycling systems anywhere, so I'm pretty excited to check it out. :)

My aunt sent me this article from The New York Times. http://www.transalt.org/press/media/2006/559.html
The article is from September 2006, but the issues addressed still exist, and don't appear to be vastly improving anytime soon. Though, if I'm not mistaken I believe New York has made some progress in moving forward with implementing a congestion pricing model? Nonetheless, the article is still interesting, and makes the important point that there isn't just one solution (ahem, more lanes alone is not the answer. period.).

It's a matter of improving infrastructure, safety, environment, as well as education and enforcement efforts for all modes simultaneously, that will lead to improving congestion and a better quality of life. Yes, by enforcement I mean ticketing cars for moving violations regarding pedestrians (the line BEFORE the crosswalk is there for a reason) AND ticketing cyclists who run red-lights, and operate their bicycles in an unpredictable endangering manner. There are laws and rules, and I am of the opinion that nobody (cars, semis, trucks, buses, cyclists, pedestrians) is above them. Anywho, all of this stuff GREATLY interests me, but bores most to tears.

23 August 2007

Rain, rain, go away


When did Minneapolis become Seattle, London, or *insert name of drizzly, grey foggy city here* ? Now would be a good time for me to invest in some fenders for my bicycle, I suppose. Though that would require payment of some form, and presently I am, how do you say...Broke as Joke?

Before fenders, however, I need to repair Lucky's six-pack rack. I do believe I may have put too much weight on that little rack, causing excessive stress to the small lode bearing bracket, thus snapping it in two. Super. I can repair it, but just haven't had the time to pick up the JB Weld and have at 'er. Until I get that fixed I either do not ride, or ride while listening to the clanking and clattering of metal on metal with every tiny rock, bump, and hole I hit as I pedal along. Bummer.

I guess that will be all for my rant about the weather. :) How dull.

16 August 2007

The First Step to Recovery...

is acceptance and admittance, that I am powerless.

Hello, my name is Mackenzie, and I am a Potter-head. No, not weed, bud, Mary Jane, grass, cannabis, or marijuana. Sorry to disappoint, but it's not nearly that exciting, or relaxed/absent minded, as it were... On a side note check out this map regarding the legality of cannabis. Interesting...

I am addicted to a dark haired, mischievous English bloke, with far-too-round-for-post-John-Lennon-era wire rimmed glasses, and a curiously shaped lighting bolt scar on his forehead.

That's right, I'm addicted to Harry Potter. Rather, I WAS addicted to Harry Potter.
Which is why I have:
A.) Not been riding my bicycle nearly as much as I should/would like to be!
Turns out it's pretty difficult to ride your bike and read a book at the same time. Well, at least I'm not that coordinated, but that's not saying a whole helluva lot either...
Needless to say, the bus provides me a much better situation to lose myself in a book for 20-30 minutes at a time.
B.) Neglected this blog for so very long. Poor Lucky the bike, locked up to my back porch post. *tear* Like anyone reads this anyway, right?

It all started on a lovely June day. My boyfriend, Jon (or manfriend? At what age does a boyfriend become a manfriend? I'm thinking maybe that's not until you hit 40, or maybe 50? I digress...) Anyway, Jon and I were talking about Harry Potter, as the fifth movie was soon to be released, and the seventh and final book shortly thereafter.

I mentioned I hadn't read any of the books, but had seen the first three films. The third being my favorite so far. This is, apparently, blasphemous. I also mentioned that I had yet to see the fourth film. This is when Jon laid the smack down. I was now given the task of reading books 1-4, before I would be allowed, yes, allowed to see the fourth film, and subsequently was not allowed to see the fifth film, until I had read that book as well. And so it goes...

I started in on Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone the week of June 11th, and so it began. I ravenously pillaged through Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire in just over a month. I've never been a book worm. Ever. These sucked me right in, and there was no turning back. I had now earned my right to see the fourth film. It wasn't my favorite. I was now one of THOSE people. You know "well the movie just didn't portray the book properly, the book is SOOO much better, that was awful they missed xyz key points of the story, etc." Yep, one of those. What had I become?!

I continued on through the books, I was now on the mission to read book 5, Harry Potter and the Order of The Phoenix, before anyone could spill the beans to me. SO GOOD! I finished up the book, and a week later Jon (the moyfriend?) and I had Harry Potter Movie Date Night. So much fun, and what a great movie! I loved it, very exciting.

I tore through the sixth book, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and then finally to the seventh and final book Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Sweet, sweet victory! I had made it to the seventh book unscathed, and still in complete darkness as to the goings on of the book. I managed to read the entire Harry Potter series in just over two months. That's a pretty big deal for me, but now I'm sad. What am I supposed to do with my free time if not reading Harry Potter? I blame you, J.K. Rowling! Luring all of us unsuspecting fans, only to quash our dreams forever. You can end the series, but you can't take my imagination or my memories! I also blame Jon, but mostly thank him :), for managing to get me excited about books again. Yay reading!

OK, so I'm mostly kidding about the addiction. Thank you J.K. Rowling for a lovely two months of non-stop Harry Potter. Life will go on, if not a little more productively, now unable to feed that addiction.

Back into Kurt Vonnegut's arms, I run. So it goes.


(And a heartfelt "Well done!" to anyone that bothered wading through that lengthy bit of blathering...)

12 July 2007


I'm still in love with my bike. Hurray, and big surprise, eh? Still don't have a picture with Lucky to post, but soon enough, soon enough. (Right, who am I kidding, I'm the biggest procrastinating putter-offer I know...)

I've been conciously putting more miles on the bike lately. I signed up for the Lazyman's Triathalon, a 5 week promotion through the YMCA. It's called the Lazyman's Triathalon because the goal is to complete a full Ironman's Triathalon in those 5 weeks. Their mantra is Swim. Run. Bike. Rest. It's pretty cute, if I do say so myself. This whole ordeal kicked off on July 1st. True to my usual style, I'll probably end up packing most of the distance in the last two weeks. Oh, well, at least I'm aware of how I operate, right? So here I go, determined to Swim 2.5 miles, Run 26.2 miles, and Bike 112 miles all in a 5 weeks. I will do this. There are people who do this in a 24 hour period. I can certainly polish it off in 5 weeks. Fingers crossed that I don't slack-off too much. :)

Distances completed as of Thursday, July 12, 2007:
Swim: 0 miles
Run: 10.6 miles
Bike: 24.77 miles

Not too shabby, all things considered!

03 July 2007

Wish List, Ball Game, and Bus-tration

I've been riding around A LOT in the last couple of weeks. Riding to work, running errands, for fun, and to get to fun summer events, and where I need to go generally. In doing all of these things there are a few pieces of bicycle gear that I believe would be helpful:

1. Fenders
- I've already checked these out. Planet bike has a nice set to fit 700CCs that would suit the bike pretty well. They only cost around $20 for the pair.

2. Flat rack
- I need one of these, in black as well (have to coordinated with the six-pack rack on front, duh). This will allow me to attach...

3. Grocery bag baskets/panniers
- These will be black as well. :) I hope. This would make running errands and transporting groceries MUCH easier than it was the other day...Just lucky I didn't tip over and break everything open that I was trying to get home. Not too smart.

4. Bicycle Odometer
- Also known as a bicycle computer. Really I don't need anything as fancy as a bicycle computer, but I would like something that tells me how far I'm riding.

Last week Jon and I thought it would be fun to hit up a St. Paul Saints game. We decided to bike there. We rode along the U of M transit way for most of our trip, then jumped onto Energy Park Drive over to Midway Stadium. The transit way was nice and quiet, just us and our bikes. Energy Park Drive was busy busy busy, but we managed to stay over on the right shoulder and the conditions were smooth, and not debris filled. It was lovely.

Now, onto the frustration. I no longer have a car. This is not the part that frustrates me. I have an Metropass fully subsidized by work, this allows me to get where I need to go, when I am unable to bike there. Metro Transit has bike racks on the front of their buses. I've used them many, many times before. They are wonderful. I just have one problem, and haven't yet decided if I should blame my bike or the bus bike racks. MY BIKE DOES NOT FIT IN THE RACK! Sad. :(

There are ways around this, and it's not the end of the world, but I was pretty bummed out, just the same. The wheels on my bike are 29ers, with 700cc tires. Apparently this combined with the length of my frame has resulted in a bicycle that's a little too long for the wheels to properly set in the bus bike racks. Looks like I'll be parking and locking it up, when I need to take the bus. Maybe Metro Transit's next line of bus bike racks will be large enough to accommodate my mutant bike...though I won't hold my breath.

I will still ride the bus, and I still love my bike to death. That's all for now. Down to the BP I go for the holiday, with my bike in tow! WHEEE!

20 June 2007

My First Ride

The first trip I took was from the Lake Harriet bandshell to the Midtown Exchange at Chicago and Lake in south Minneapolis. I wasn't sure which route to take, but decided upon the parkway trail that was headed north. My instincts were telling me that I would hit Lake Calhoun eventually, and sure enough, I did. From there I traveled along the parkway lane that moves around Calhoun up to 36th.

36th is a busy street. Wow. It does hook up with 35W, so the traffic volume is understandable, but it's a lot different on a bicycle. For whatever reason, I had a feeling (hoped for my sweet little life) that most people would notice a girl on a bike in a BRIGHT red shirtdress. Anecdotally, it's been found that drivers often slow and give enough space to bicyclist whom wear their helmets, and even moreso, females. I don't write the rules of behavior, but that observation suits me just fine. Thank you. I rode along 36th from Lake Calhoun, east to Park Avenue, north to Lake St, and east to Chicago Ave.

Total mileage of my first spin out with Lucky: 3.57 miles
Traffic: Moderate

19 June 2007

Gettin' Lucky with BikeTown!

Long story short. I wrote an essay of 50 words or less about how a new bike would set me free. This essay contest was open to residents of Minneapolis. Over 300 essays were submitted, with the 50 best essays, as determined by editors of Bicycling Magazine, selected as the winners for 50 bikes to be given away on Saturday, June 16th.

I came in 51st. Yep, that's right, just missed the cut-off. However, I was notified that I was at the top of the alternates list. (whew) That meant that I would be notified on Thursday, June 14th, after 7 pm as to whether or not there was a bike for me. I got the call. Two days later, I headed down to the Lake Harriet bandshell to the BikeTown giveaway event, where I picked up my brand new, shiny, mint green, Raleigh Coasting! Which I immediately so aptly named "Lucky". (as per a suggestion from my friend Karen)

Meet Lucky. I will post a real picture soon, but this picture works well for now. I didn't just win a bike, I won a bike that knows me better than I know myself!

POP QUIZ: Which feature was I most excited about?
A) Sweep Back Alloy Handlebars
B) Saddle w/ Classic Rear Coil Springs and a Front Loop
C) Shimano Coasting Dynamo and Shimano Coasting Internal 3SPD
D) Six-Pack Rack with Built in Bottle Opener

The correct answer: D) Six-Pack Rack with Built in Bottle Opener
(As if there were any debate...)

Part of the BikeTown program is that the participants are asked to keep a journal, noting how they use the bicycle, how it changes their life, and subsequently if the bicycle leads to weight loss and a happier outlook on life. You can find more information on BikeTown here. Who knows, maybe you'll get lucky too?

Here we go!