Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Biking is

Today one of my awesome blog followers sent me a link to the following:
In this week’s edition of the JOURNAL, Bill Moyers asked poet Nikki Giovanni why she chose to title her new collection BICYCLES. Giovanni said:

“I just thought 'I've got to rethink it, and then I've got to find an object'... Well, tragedy and trauma are wheels. And they're always with us, aren't they? They're always spinning around. That’s the parameters of life, these tragedies. They just spin around and spin around. And so what you're trying to do is bring them together. And when you bring them together you've got the bar, so you have a vehicle, right? When I grew up you learned to ride a bicycle by getting on a bicycle, which means you're gonna fall off. And love and life and bicycles are about trust and balance. It's about riding it and believing that this thing, that doesn't make sense for you to be on, can move... We do that in our relationships. It's the same bike. We are continuing relationships through trust and balance.”

If you get the chance, check out the link because the site is pretty great:

So, yeah, this got me thinking about how biking is a metaphor for my own life... the first thing I thought about was the fact that when you are biking, like in life, you have to just keep going, pushing through the bad weather, rude people, and long days to get to your destination. And just like life, it is up to you how you perceive the challenges that come up and it is what you do with them that determines whether or not you enjoy the journey. For me, I try to always try and see things as an adventure, part of a good story, or the punchline to a funny joke. Plus, if life was all butterflies and rainbows it wouldn't be half as interesting, funny, or intense and we would take it all for granted. The metaphor of biking AS life is all too appropriate for me, because right now, biking IS life.

On a random note... my friends Cedric and Andrea that started the Holy City Bike Co-op are leaving town and heading to Spain, which is exciting for them and a little bittersweet for us...
Here are two pics from the going away potluck brunch (snagged from Natalie Moore's facebook album). They will be missed!!
Cedric and Andrea

Myself, Art, and JJ

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Missed Connection

So for those of you that did not see this, a biker recently posted the following story on the Charleston Craigslist "Missed Connections":

Dear elderly gentleman in the burgundy car who nearly killed me this morning at the intersection of King and Queen Streets,

I wish we had a missed connection, but the front of your car and my leg and bike had a quite strong connection this morning. I'm still feeling that connection.

Judging by your age (mid-60s?) and the large glasses you wore, I'm guessing you don't see as well as you did in your younger years. That's fine. It happens to all of us. Hell, I'm 23, and I have pretty poor vision already. But, maybe you should considered heeding with a little more caution while driving? Here are my observations on where you could improve:

1) King Street is one way. You probably should go the right way.

2) Just because you don't see a traffic light at an intersection, this doesn't mean you can roll right thru over the speed limit. There was no light for people coming from your direction, because the city felt no need to include a light for those of you who choose to go do the wrong way down a one-way street. If you had gone the right way, you might have noticed the light was red for you on King and green for those of us going down Queen Street.

3) Since a keen sense of vision does appear to allude you, I'm not sure if you noticed the traffic cones, heavy traffic barrier, the multiple brightly-colored signs with the words "Road Closed" on them, 15+ construction workers, and 5 or so multi-ton construction equipment, but you somehow also managed to drive (in the wrong direction no less!) through a construction zone with half of the street missing in your quest to make this the worst Thursday of my life. Maybe I am selling your vision short, as this is quite a feat. I was too busy trying to brake and not fall under your car to notice the construction workers' faces, but I bet they were equally impressed with your brazen confidence in your driving ability.

4) When you hit a person on a bike after you go the wrong direction down a one-way street, speed through a red light, and violate all the laws of common sense by driving on a street closed for construction, you probably should stop and at least ask if the biker is ok. Throwing your arms up and like it was my fault you nearly make me road kill was not your best moment. Neither was immediately driving away and leaving me in a sobbing, shaking heap in the road. If you had stopped, I might have considered you a kind-hearted, older gentleman who just got confused. Now I think you're a jackass.

I was in too much shock to look at your plates or ask anyone if they had gotten them. I'm afraid I won't be able to follow up on our connection. If you happen to read this, you owe me a serious apology, a new bike, and a promise you will never drive near the mile stretch between my house or work again.

Hugs, The girl you left crying and limping at Queen and King Streets

Here is the digitel story covering the post:

Thursday, February 12, 2009


Somedays I LOVE biking.... and well... somedays I HATE it. So here is my list of the things that make me feel this way.
I LOVE feeling so close to nature and capturing moments like the one above and below.

I HATE when it starts to rain and I don't have my gear with me.

I LOVE days when the air is warm and the breeze is to my back.

I HATE when I get out of class at night and have to bike home in the cold.

I LOVE how biking makes me feel so alive, unlike being stuck in a car.

I HATE the bruises that I always have up and down my legs.

I LOVE warm nights when I have the road to myself.

I HATE coming to meetings covered in sweat.

I LOVE when I pass other bikers and we have brief, friendly exchanges.

I HATE when cars run me off the road.

I LOVE riding on the handle bars of other peoples bikes.

I HATE having to justify riding on the sidewalk on Savannah Hwy...No bikelane+60mph=death.

I LOVE that I am starting to actually get into shape.

I HATE asking for rides places that I can't bike to.

I LOVE the biking community.

I HATE when something on my bike breaks that I don't know how to fix.

I LOVE when something on my bike breaks and a stranger helps me fix it.

I HATE not being able to take my doggle to the pup park.

I LOVE how not having a car often reveals people's generosity towards you.

I HATE having to bike when sick.

I LOVE not having to buy gas.

I HATE when my shoes get wet and my back gets mud splatters from the tires.

I LOVE ringing my bell.

I HATE missing out on stuff because I can't get there without a car.

I LOVE the peacefulness of biking at night, especially when I bike past the marsh.

I HATE breathing in all the fumes from the cars driving by.

I LOVE the knowing that I am one-less-car.

You can see where I have circled/arrowed a small egret that was spearing fish as they got pushed out of the overflow pipe during low tide. I have also caught a hawk taking a bath in a puddle about two feet away, saved a turtle from crossing the street, and had a blue heron casually walk in front of me.

At the end of the day, I LOVE biking and all of the friends and adventures it has brought my way :-)

Thursday, February 5, 2009


So I know I have not been posting a lot lately... but that is because A.) My life is insanely busy B.)I have been sick and C.) It is too fricking cold to bike. I know, I know. I need to suck it up and bike anyway, but I've been trying to get over bronchitis and a sinus infection for weeks now and my doctor told me that it would continue to get worse unless I took a break from biking.

So, that being said, I have been catching the bus lately. I have to say, the bus is growing on me. Im slowly getting to know the bus drivers and some of the passengers and it is really a community all on its own. There are a few seedy characters that I try to avoid, mainly because they just stare at me and its awkward but they are few and far between. Overall, I think the 30 route has a good vibe to it. I've got four main drivers on my route- an older black man, a middle aged white dude and women, and a younger black woman. The white lady LOVES to small talk, the white guy will always ask to see my college ID in addition to my bus pass (annoying), the younger black lady is obviously not thrilled about her job, and the older black man is my favorite because he always responds when I ask him how he is doing. As for the passengers... well there is a very unique blend... The base of this group are hourly workers getting from one job to the next with a few college students sprinkled in. Women with children are the next most predominant group... but my favorite is the DUI rider... I can't really explain why, but they just stick out and it makes me laugh. Its usually pretty obvious why people are riding because they are in uniform, wearing a backpack, or carrying something like groceries.

When people get on and off there are usually some "Whats up man" or "How ya'll doing" comments, unless its a college kid or DUI rider. As for me, well its hit or miss. Some days I talk to my neighbors but others I keep to myself, with my i-pod on and my head in a book. Last week I had a one-of-a-kind ride that resulted in me having three new friends and my karma bank full. It all started because the woman across from me had a huge birthday cake, party favors and balloons. I was talking to the guy next to me about how I missed old school birthday parties, when the birthday girl started to get off the bus. She had so much going on that she didn't realize her balloons were loose and tangled... so as she was getting off they started to escape and I leapt across the front of the bus and wrangled them in before they went sky high. This of course earned me a small round of applause from the people waiting to get on. Then, the next guy that gets on is short a dime and only has a five, so I toss one in for him...and when he is getting off, the five falls out of his pocket and I had to yell for him to stop and get it. Just when I think I can go back to staring into space, the older woman next to me gets off at the Mary St. stop in a hurry and leaves her purse. I made the bus driver stop and I ran back and gave it to her while he waited. When I got back on the bus the driver said "What are you, some kind of angel?", to which, of course, I had to laugh really hard about... and I just joked that it was "All in a days work". I got off at the next stop with a huge smile across my face and an extra bounce in my step... all from just riding the bus.

On a slightly related note, I have mastered the art of the front bike rack on the bus, but for those of you that haven't or just want to watch an ridiculously awesome video, check this out: