Thursday, September 25, 2008

Intersection of SICK and TIRED

I have to apologize for my lack of posts recently... life has been keeping me even busier than usual. Last week I went to Energy Efficiency conference at the Columbia Zoo and no, I did not ride my bike, I actually rode this turtle all the way up I-26. Okay, so I carpooled. Then when I got home, I had three friends come in town. The funny thing was, before they got here, they all asked if they should bring their bikes. I have to admit, I said no- mostly because I knew that most of the places they wanted to go are not exactly bike friendly trips. So just for the weekend, my trusty steed had two extra cars to canoodle with in the driveway. On Monday, with a friend still in town, I opted to get back on my bike for my night class instead of getting a ride :-) It was a really good weekend with great company and the weather FINALLY cooled off (my friends that came down from the mountains to go to the beach did not share my enthusiasm). Tuesday, the last guest out of the house, after a week and a half of constant activity and extreme weather change, my body finally gave out. I came home that night, took an intense nap, woke up, ate dinner, got sick and then went back to sleep. Wednesday I had to go into work on John's Island so I got up bright and early, biked the Greenway with my pup to wear her out and caught a ride with a co-worker. After draggin my tail feathers all day, I got home, let out the dog, and ran to the bus-stop. As the bus approached I realized I didn't have my pass, cussed a little too loudly (I had my i-pod in) causing everyone to stare at I trudged back to my house. I threw on my biking gear and sped down Savannah Hwy. About half way there I realized that going to class was a bad idea. First of all, the tides were crazy high, so the City was flooded everywhere. I literally had to walk through 6 inches of water, going against traffic on 61, with cars honking and splashing me as they tried to squeeze past the 3 feet of non-flooded street. (Did I mention it was rush-hour?) I love moments like this where you just want to say to the person honking: "Do you think I WANT to be doing this, genius?" The most awkward part was that everyone had to drive really slow through the water and most had their windows down, so they would yell at me, but unlike a passing car, I had time to make eye contact and apologize....which kind of takes the satisfation out of road rage. Needless to say there are about a dozen commuters that feel like the biggest jackasses ever right now. So with wet tennis shoes, I continued onto to class, hitting two more flooded roads on the way. Even though it was cold and windy, I could feel my face burning with a fever, and wanted nothing more than to crawl back in bed. The ride home wasn't much better, my body aching and towards the end I was almost to the point of tears... But just when I started to feel sorry for myself, I saw this lone pedal on the bridge: I mean that is just sad. I had the urge to pick it up and take it home and find some new job for it..something that would liberate it from a life of being stepped on- like a wind chime weight perhaps? Anyway... I think the average person can grasp that the pedal is a pretty essential element to propelling the bike. Just imagine biking on a two foot wide path when you lose one half of your biking power. Heres the way I see it going down: This person was biking across the very narrow bridge side-walk when they realized another person was coming. They tried to keep biking, and get close to the concrete rail and BAM they got caught and that bad boy got ripped the hell off. Hopefully they were able to keep their bike off the road and not pull one of those panicky over-correction moves. So now they are left with one pedal and one nub. They can potentially still try and push the one pedal, however awkwardly, but they've got to figure out where to put their leg/foot so the nub doesn't rock their world. Perhaps they put one foot up on the frame or maybe they were able to use their big toe to push the nub in circles and I sure hope so... but eitherway that sucks. Despite the pity I felt for this pedal-less person...the visual made me laugh really hard. So just know, when you are literally sick and tired, it could always be worse. On a happier note...for those of you that didn't get to see the video of my that was on the check it out on youtube:

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Weekend Warrior

So, thanks to the Charleston Bike Co-op, my weekend was full of adventures. Friday night I went on the Midnight Mystery ride downtown... what an awesome time. We all met up at Vickery's and then headed off on our two wheeled journey in the dark. There were about 20-ish people, all young and outgoing. The ride took us through historic neighborhoods, down hidden cobblestone alleys, and ended overlooking the water by the aquarium. Bloc Party, Minus the Bear, Band of Horses, Portishead, Helio Sequence and others quietly hummed on my i-pod speakers, filling the silence between conversations. We ended the evening overlooking the bridge- sharing drinks, telling stories, and watching shooting stars. And even though I thought I couldn't top that, the next day was just as rockin! For those of you that are not familiar with alleycat races, it is kind of like a scavenger hunt on a bike, and in this case, for girls only. Here is a better description:

If you do read that link, just keep in mind that this race was much more laid back. Our checkpoints included: Finding two cobblestone streets, getting a sweet mustache at the battery (thank you Art for my amazing twisted stache pictured here), completing a pencil rubbing, going through a bike obstacle thingy, getting info off two signs, answering a trivia question about women's history (I sucked at this), having our picture taken (see Ryun's skills below), and doing a lap in a graveyard.

Including the ride home we definitely covered well over 10 miles and I was sweating like a bug at an exterminator convention the whole time.....part of the problem was that my dress-tights combo was like a sauna... if only biking naked wasn't so awkward/illegal. So anyway- we kept motivated by our soundtrack that included Prince, The Hush Sound, Jurassic 5, Cake, Santana, The Beatles, MGMT, and The Cure. Although we definitely did not win, we were also not DFL (Julia-nothing but love here). Afterwards we hit up Santi's for some food, the nectar of life, and some giggles. I was sooooooo tired after my bike-a-palooza weekend (and my 4:30 a.m. bedtime) that I fell asleep at 8:30 Saturday night, sitting up, on the couch, with my computer in my lap and a dog on either side of me. Goodtimes had by all.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Almost Famous

So my little blog is slowly making its way into the Charleston community...the latest was a video created by featuring yours truly. I will embed the video later, but for now, check out the site: . A special thanks to Geoff Marshall for his camera skills, great conversation, and an education on all things British (the top of a car is called the "bonnet" in the UK. hahah. i love it- American English just doesn't seem as classy.) Anyways, Geoff is a fellow blogger- to check out his site, just visit:

I have to say, on a non-bike related note, I am becoming aware of the this whole blog world I am a part of and its truly impressive. People from all over the world are sharing parts or all of their life with friends, family, and often complete strangers... it is amazing the amount of connection it provides and I can't tell you how incredible it is to get comments from people half way around the country. And just so ya know, there are people blogging about bikes that are really getting it right, like: which is just ONE of thousands that are out there.

Well anyway... Something that I have experienced for the first time over the last two weeks has been biking long distances at night (biking to Gene's isn't really that far and the biggest challenge is not drinking too much). You can see the picture above and to the right of the sun setting on my way home from downtown... on that particular night I stopped and hiked into the marsh to score these pics. I saw a bumper sticker today that sums it up: "Pluff Mudd. You will never forget your first time." It was definitely not my first time, but you wouldn't have know it. I almost lost my shoe and camera to the bog of eternal stench (Labyrinth reference here) and I yelped so loud that an entire flock of birds took flight (I'm pretty sure I heard one say "amateur"). Aside from my stealth marsh manuveuring, the ride home was seamless, with a nice breeze carrying me home. Other nights, I have to come home a little later when the sun has long since melted into the horizon. This is when I bust out my night gear- including a head-lamp turned head-light and tail-light. I like to put my lights on the flashing setting, but I am always afraid my insane strobe like head-light is going to give someone a seizure, causing them to veer off the road into me. Obviously, the odds of this are low, but you cannot be too careful. On another note, I saw Mr. Safety himself the other night...he put me to shame with his reflective vest, helmet flashy light, tail/head-light, and reflective shoes. I tried to catch up with him, but damn he was is a picture of him below:
Haha. yeah... just kidding. This is just a pic of cars going past me on the bridge. I really did try and get a picture of reflective-man, but he flew past me. Well anyway... I am not a huge fan of biking home at night unless its really late. The later it gets, the less cars there are on the road and it is so nice. I was biking home from the Tin Roof the other night and it was totally quiet except for the crickets, with a nice breeze, and the stars keeping me company. Friends of mine go on adventures at night downtown when the city cools off and everything gets quiet. There is actually a Midnight Ride this Friday with the bike co-op. Everyone is meeting at Vickery's at 11pm with helmets, lights, and goodies! I am also looking forward to the Lady of the AlleyCat, but I will tell you more about that later this week. Until then- travel safely and always check your mirrors!!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Ode to the Greenway

Nikki's Bike Blog Presents:

Real Men of Genius...
Cue the music for the Budweiser Commercials at this point.
(If you don't know what I am talking about, or just want to laugh at a funny commercial, check out this link. )

Today I salute you, Mr. Greenway-Inventor Man
Mr. Greenway Inventor Man
Because of you, we can travel great distances without a car OR a road.
Noooo mechanized transport, yeeeah.
You saw power line clearings and abandoned train track lines and thought to yourself:
"Damn... people should be walking here. And biking... and jogging ...and running... and dog walking...and doing non-vehicle related things"
Who knew the potential?
Some said that these abandoned grassy trails were for homeless people, but no, you saw the potential to attract yuppies and excercise junkies alike.
I loooove running in $200 shorts, oooh.
So crack open a cold-one Mr. putting-the-green-in-way, thanks to you, I can bike over eight miles and never see a car.
Okay... seriously. I do love the greenway, especially because it runs through my neighborhood. I walk my dog about 2 miles on it almost everyday and if I wanted I could go for over 8 miles (tempting, but after a full day of biking, no). Things I have seen on the greenway: Woodpeckers, herons, racoons, deer, turtles, hawks, belted kingfisher (my favorite bird), wildflowers, geese, crabs, ducks, egrets, berries, robins, snakes, and the very elusive and rare, squirrel. The amazing thing to me is that I will feel totally lost in nature, but on the other side of the woods is Savannah Hwy in all of its strip-mall, traffic nightmare glory. Here is what I am talking about...
This is just a little oasis of marsh and forest in my neighborhood with some dog fennel and a morning glory in front. Not the best picture but here is what part of the path looks like- with my little doggle running ahead (don't worry, I bring doggie bags).

This marsh helps clean the water running off Savannah Hwy...I don't think people realize it is behind all of the ugly buildings and gas stations.

So on a side note- people have been making comments about me not being able to evacute for the hurricanes without a car. Don't worry- you won't see me biking down I-26 with Sadie in my front basket with a storm on my heels. I am not that stubborn... I will leave if necessary and hitch a ride with one of many of my awesome ridesharing friends. :-)