Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Biking from A to Z

On my most recent adventure, I headed to Phoenix, AZ with 28,000 others for the Greenbuild Conference and Expo. As soon I arrived, I was greeted by a plethora of public transporation options. I hopped onto an airport shuttle and caught the light rail, which was easier than I expected. With ticket in hand (unecessary I later realized), I settled in with my pack and watched as the warm golden and brassy colors of the desert blurred past, with metal roofs, and cactii providing breaks in the dusty landscape. Soon I found myself in the heart of Phoenix, a city that has blossumed in the sun and slowly crept further out into the hills, sprawling like a weed.

The conference was a blur of classes, workshops, and a variety of green building products. I learned a few new things and met new people, but I have to admit, the conference was not the best part of the trip. I had chosen to stay at the local hostel instead of one of the hotels next to the convention center. It was a cute house nestled on the outskirts of the city in a mixed use neighborhood that had been taken over by young couples and artists. On my walk home one night I noticed a sign for vegan donuts that caught my eye and I before I knew it, I was standing on the front porch of Derrick Pancheco talking about his biking store/shop/co-op called Hood Ride. Located inside of a house, surrounded by a bike wheel fence, the space came complete with a bike shop and ramps out back. Check out the pics below:

When I returned home that night, I settled in and told some of my new hostel mates about my discovery. As it turns out, I was not the only avid biker present. Also crashing at the hostel was Jason Williams originally from Baltimore. He was on a cross country ride from Atlanta to San Diego on his single speed road bike. The idea for the trip had been one he had considered before, but when he realized his lease was ending on September 30th and he had no intentions of going back the life of an accountant to pay bills, he hit the road. After a bike wreck, discovering the mysterious hills of Alabama, and earning a serious tan he managed to get in the grove. He spends his days thinking about his friends, missing the coffee from San Francisco Coffee Roasters in Atlanta, and eating fluff & nutter sandwiches. When I asked him for some advice for other bikers he said "Don't do this" and laughed and then told me that you have to be able to handle it physically but more important is the mental aspect of being in your own head everyday. He obviously is able to handle the physical part with his peak days coming in at 134 miles. I just checked his blog and it sounds like he has made it the whole way! Right on :-)And finally, on the last night, I ended up at a street festival that included a shopping cart float parade, a drum line, a night bike ride, and street wide dance party. Needless to say, I had a good time.

No comments: