13 November 2009


It's been far too long since I've visited Chicago, but here I sit! Arrived early this morning, took the train from O'Hare into the middle of the City, and here I sit near my hotel trying to get motivated to do homework. Graduate school is for the birds. Seriously. Who wants to be researching Housing Segregation and Public Health implications when I have Millennium Park and the Chicago Cycle Center (I refuse to call it the "McDonald's" Cycle Center) a stone's throw away?? UGH!

Perhaps I just solved the issue of motivation. As soon as I get some of these articles knocked out of the way, I'll wander over to the Cycle Center and see what I can find. I'll definitely have to snap some pictures, and be sure to pick up some information. Maybe they have implemented some programs that could be implemented at the University Bike Center? What an excellent adventure. We'll see if I actually have time to rent a bicycle and go for a little cruise.

If anyone out there in the blogosphere has some good recommendations for some fantastic, yet affordable restaurants accessible from Monroe and Wabash, don't hold out! :) Thanks!



21 August 2009

Cyclopath & Breezer Birthday Bike

Every time I discover something new in the world of bicycling, especially things created/invented/manufactured in the Twin Cities, I feel lucky to live in Minneapolis, and want to tell everyone I know. I share my discoveries with others, whether it's new to everyone, or just new to me.

Due to my current place of employment I have been aware of Cyclopath for quite some time, but hadn't been mentioning it to others, because I hadn't yet used it enough to fully understand its capabilities, until this summer. The site is constantly being edited and improved by its users, and the front page got a snazzy make-over, which had led me to start spreading the word far and wide. I love it, and it has helped my take even more trips by bicycle that I would have waffled on before.

This site is everything wonderful in bicycle route-planning for which I had been longing. Those of us in the seven county Twin Cities Metro now have our very own route planning, way finding, point A to B direction giving tool, distance tracking tool, and it even plans the routes according to riding preferences and comfort. I absolutely love it.

Check it out here at: http://cyclopath.org/

Another reason that I have been biking more than ever (save for still being on my never-ending weight-loss mission)...My partner Jon bought me a brand spanking new bicycle for my 27th birthday! I don't have any pictures of mine yet, but here it is; a sibling of my new Breezer Villager. :) (Photo courtesy of the Breezer website)

My Detours recycled juice box pannier, and all of its great colors, goes well with my new bike. I am quite pleased. Not to mention that the Villager FLIES compared to my 40 lb. Schwinn Continental!


03 August 2009

Naughty in Alabama

I saw this NPR story and was forced to read it again, and check the date to be sure it wasn't April 1st.

Really, Alabama? Don't you have more important things to be doing with your time and money? I guess I just don't understand you, Alabama. But, then again, maybe your situation is not mine to understand.

Congratulations, Cycles Gladiator, on a new found niche of novelty. It's like the marketing promo fairy dropped a big golden egg in your lap. Please do good rather than evil with this odd twist of fate.

Favorite line from the article,"So "Fat Bastard" wine is OK but if you think you're going to sell a wine with an artful nude on the label in Alabama, you're just whistling Dixie."

Cycles Gladiator Banned in Alabama



24 July 2009

Pedal Pub - FietsCafe

How else would a bunch of bicycle advocacy dorks celebrate a fellow bicycle advocacy dork's birthday? Really.

Sixteen of us took to the streets of downtown Minneapolis for "Minneapolis Bike Guy"s 32nd birthday. It was some hard work to keep the Pedal Pub rolling, but we were determined, and the beer aboard served as our fuel. The pub carries 17, including driver. 10 passengers pedal, while 5 others relax on the seats over the rear wheels, or the bench at the back of pub, while one more tends bar in the center of the vehicle.

The birthday boy opted for the Downtown Minneapolis route. Little did many of us know that it was the same night as the Minneapolis Aquatennial Torchlight Parade! The parade goers had already set up camp along Hennepin Avenue by 6 pm, when our tour started. It was hilarious to be pedaling this big beast of cycling fun as the crowds waved and yelled in happy exclamation. Not even the most surly of evening commuters, or out-of-towners braving the traffic to get a front row seat for the parade, could help but smile and wave as they passed us during the tail-end of the evening rush hour. There's something about 16 people on a pedal-powered version of a pub-table/bar, complete with beer/wine in hand, that can make anyone stop, smile, and enjoy the moment.

My mom was jealous that I had the chance to experience the Pedal Pub, so I promised her that we would do our best to rent it for her birthday, she'll be 49 this fall. She also reminded me that the Pedal Pub is equipped and tap ready to handle a 16 gallon keg of your favorite beer. Looks like I'll be ordering up a keg of Summit this fall.

Pedal Pub Twin Cities
Photo Courtesy of PedalPub, LLC

Here's some photo-documentation of the event itself, courtesy of the Birthday Boy. If you have the chance to do this, I highly recommend it!



08 July 2009

Be Your Own Engine

This is definitely my new favorite campaign. As far as non-motorized transportation is concerned!

I also think the posters with graphics would make fun t-shirts. Perhaps they've already done that though, and I just missed it on the site?

Check out the posters, I might just have to download/order a few!

Be Your Own Engine



17 June 2009

I'm back in the saddle again...

I've know that I would need a new saddle since I bought the one that's currently on my trusty steed. It's a salvaged fake Schwinn looking saddle that I bought from the depths of the One on One bike junkyard. It was awesome for about a minute.

Almost immediately one of the springs came un-sprung from the frame, and now the rough metal edges of the frame are poking through the saddle's exterior right into my bum. It carries my weight unevenly due to screwy springs, and is causing other issues. I only paid about $3.75 for it, so it's far outlasted my expectations! Perhaps it will become a wall decoration in our new home's "Bicycle Bay"? (Otherwise known as a carport to two+ car households.)

Anyone have any good brand/model suggestions, save for Brooks? I would love a Brooks saddle, but not sure that's in the financial forecast at the moment...


28 May 2009

Holy Cow!

It's been a long time since I've posted. Things got a little crazy around here.

The rundown:
- Tried to buy a house, closing fell through
- Still had to move out of apartment
- Nomadic Northeasters, stayed w/ friends while homeless
- Baked "Recession Hotdish" for Art-A-Whirl
- Studied for and completed three final exams
- Completed first year of grad school
- Worked on and participated in Bike Walk Week
- Tried to buy same house once more, SUCCESS!
- Moved into new house
- A lot of cleaning, unpacking, and fix-its around the house
- Started full time work for the summer
- Celebrated Jon's birthday

Whew. It's been a whirlwind couple of months.

I've been tooling around on my bike. My commute from the new house to the University is just over 5 miles. I've been testing different routes. I noticed a constant seam/expanding crack along the whole length of 2nd St NE the street all the way from the farthest reaches of NE to SE. I decided to look up the old streetcar maps. Yep, just as I suspected, the glint of steel I saw in the crack at one point was a buried rail. Perhaps 2nd street should be given back to the streetcars, because the rails they paved over so long ago just seem to keep on slurping up the asphalt anyway!

Still keeping an eye out for my next fully outfitted commuter bike. Liking the Masi "SoulVille 7", the Kona "Smoke", and Breezer "Uptown 8". Now, if only my credit union would do as they do in Portland...Bicycle Loans.

How else can I finance a bicycle through my local shop I wonder, short of a credit card?


25 February 2009

Gearing up for Spring!

I just found my new favorite spring bike accessory. I'm so excited.

Queen Bee is a company in Portland, OR that creates hand sewn bags and other accessories. Now, they have just introduced a line of bike panniers that are TO DIE FOR! They are made out of high quality, water proof, PVC -free materials, and up the safety factor with reflective side panels. And most importantly? They're cute as all get out!

Here's my personal favorite, but there are 7 designs to choose from.

Queen Bee Bike Panniers


19 January 2009

Talkin' bout the weather

I can't avoid it. I'm a Minnesotan, born and raised, and we can't help but talk about our crazy weather. As though after 15, 26, 35, or 78 years a swing of 40 degrees over 24 hours is something shocking. Those darn Alberta Clippers. One day a frigid -20F, the next 20F. Whew, now that that's out of my system...

This week was a new start for many reasons. New semester and new president being the two topping my list. I enjoyed it. If I remember correctly, I believe that January 21st was scientifically found to be the most depressing day of the year. It's grey, dreary, wintry, cold, the holidays are far gone enough that the mundane routine has likely returned, and many folks are lacking Vitamin D. 

I'm hoping that getting back to the grind will keep me preoccupied enough to power through to spring. The planning for Bike/Walk 2009 has commenced and that certainly helps for a speedy countdown to spring. Here's hoping finals don't interfere with the festivities and fun of what's sure to be the biggest event in Twin Cities Bike/Walk history. The state of the economy is going to make this the year for creativity and resourcefulness. 

Speaking of the crappy economy. This recession has caused our doorstep to have been directly shat upon, like so many others. I won't go into too many details, thankfully we haven't yet "lost" a job, but the ever increasing number of jobs cut down in wages/hours/benefits has now hit home. 

To pay homage to the tough times I brought some good old fashioned, truly Minnesotan "Recession Dip" to the inauguration potluck we attended on Tuesday. I leave you with the recipe. 

Recession Dip:
1 can - Spam or Spam LITE, shredded
1 can - Hormel Chili with Beans or Hormel 99% Fat Free Vegetarian Chili
2 cups - Cheddar Cheese, shredded

1. Remove Spam from can and thoroughly rinse
2. Shred spam with cheese grater
3. Mix all three ingredients in a microwave safe 2 quart casserole with lid
4. Microwave on high for 5 minutes, remove lid, stir, replace lid and microwave 5 more minutes
5. Enjoy. 

Serve with your favorite snack cracker. The cheaper the better. 

*Warning* If you have any issues with taking in too much sodium. Don't come within 5 feet of this dish.

08 January 2009

27 - 54 = 2009

With an equation like that I should have failed my statistics course this past semester, right? Not exactly. That equation isn't really mathematical at all. Instead it will serve as a reminder that I'm turning 27 and will do my damnedest to lose 54 lbs in 2009.

This fall was my first semester back to school in four years. My partner, Jon, and myself had some new household changes and challenges to tackle above and beyond the added adjustment of navigating full-time, nay, double-time grad school and a half-time job. He's been beyond supportive and understanding in every way imaginable, and I am more thankful that words can express to have him by my side constantly encouraging me and helping me down from the ledge when I'm a ginormous ball of stress. He is my rock. The end of 2008 allowed things wind down a bit, everything at this moment is more or less under control, and even thriving, for which I am also very thankful.

The calm of winter break has allowed me to reflect not only on aspects of my life that I can improve upon this upcoming semester and in 2009, but also brought to light the things that I let fall off by the wayside for the worse.

I'm chubby. Chubbier than ever before. When did this happen? I've lost lbs and been healthy weights, I've gained and been overweight. Well, I've always, in my mind, been a girl built with what we'll call a "more to love" physique. Overweight, not obese, but somewhat lucky for me curvy and fairly proportionate, even in my weight gain. The bubble butt is in the genes from ALL sides. I kid you not, even the youngest, thinnest, fittest, and athletic of my family members carry this back-side. Over the course of 26 years I have learned to embrace it. No matter how much I have ever gained or lost, it's always there to remind me to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Thank you, Noble/Morrison/Turner/Stensrud bubble butt, for teaching me such an important life lesson. Maybe I'll start referring to it as my "MacPack" an homage to Kirby Puckett and his "PuckPack"? Or not...

To what do I owe this latest case of "chubby"? I blame grad school, and my complete inability to manage school, work, home, and what my body needed. I think I have the tools I need now to improve that situation.

Things I will make time for in 2009:

1. I will ride my bike to school at least 3 times/week (once spring arrives).
2. I will consciously seek out at least 30 minutes of exercise five days a week.
3. I will eat healthfully and once again faithfully follow my Weight Watchers plan.
4. I will lose 20% of my weight over the course of 2009. I've got 51 weeks.
5. We will buy a house in lovely Nordeast and add to our family.
6. I will try a new sport: Looks like it's going to be broomball, wish me luck.
7. I will go cross country skiing at least 3 times before the snow goes away.
8. I will try a new recipe twice a month.
9. I will diligently use my Blue Sky Guide.
10. I will make a conscious effort to see my closest friends, more often.
11. I will give Jon a straight answer on when we can start trying for babies.*

* Disclaimer: My getting pregnant requires that we purchase a cargo trike for me to carry my sure to be big, poorly balancing, pregnant self, and thereafter: our children and groceries.

This one will do: TrioBike