When the weather is such that you wouldn’t want to venture out in any vehicle, there’s always bicycle themed crafts. This $5 ikea mat has tons of potential for personalizing. I penciled in a design and filled it in using wool yarn and a metal yarn needle over the course of an afternoon. The needle went through the mat easily, but if you try it I would recommend wearing long sleeves to protect your arms from rubbing the mat as it’s something of a wrestling action to cross stitch something this large.
This video about a woman’s bamboo bike company in Ghana just restored my faith in humanity.
Here’s the company website if you’d like to learn more.
This article on the relative fitness of bike commuters got me thinking.. I spend 40 minutes a day on my bike during the week. Including road riding on weekends that comes to on average 250 minutes/week of exercise in the great outdoors.
For someone who’s been a complete couch potato her whole life, I can say with confidence that never in my life have I spent 4+ hours in a gym per week before. If that sounds like a lot, I challenge you to add up the number of hours you spend per week in a car. Not too long ago, my total was at least 10/week driving to different part time jobs.
It’s taken me about 5 years since that realization, and it served as a pivotal moment and catalyst for changing the course of my life. I got a folding bike and put it in the trunk of my car for running errands in different parts of Charleston. Then I moved closer to my job where I could also ride on bike-friendly suburb streets and wide bike-friendly sidewalks. I started going several weeks at a time without getting in my car. I moved to Greenville, got a 7-speed city bike, and gradually eased into road riding on a touring bike before selling my car to commute full time on two wheels.
On a recent road ride someone told me that they would “love to commute to work, but there’s no way I would make it up those hills”. I tried to convince her that if I could go from single speed beach cruiser with zero elevation gain to doing rides with thousands of feet in elevation gain, she could take her road bike out just one day a week and do that commute. This rider was concerned about packing a change of clothes and a lunch; to me that’s an evening routine I hardly have to think about anymore. But looking back I realize it was a gradual process of learning as I went, and as transformative as this journey has been, it certainly did not happen overnight.
So don’t discount the baby steps. Any time on a bike is time well spent, and you may be surprised where those small changes will lead you.
After a chilly but wonderful road ride yesterday, I came home and got down to business on this project I’ve been mulling over for a little while. I decided against hanging my commuter since I it’s constantly in and out with bags and panniers attached, and I was going for something that would designate a space for my bike and hold some accessories; and most of all, I was tired of painting over the scuff marks that kept collecting on the wall.
I borrowed a friend’s car to pick up a pallet I’d seen nearby, and the rest of the project only took about an hour or so to get done. Best of all, it didn’t cost me anything! I simply sanded down the rough edges, balanced the pallet on a low stool to get the right height, and drilled it into the drywall in about 6 places to even out the weight (using anchors I had on hand plus a few screws from a friend who is building a rad new bike shop in town – more on that soon). I’m going to add a cup hook to one side for hanging keys/sunglasses, but that’s pretty much it.
Reading up on this new service called Turo, I’m feeling conflicted. It seems pretty ‘out there’, but so did airbnb and uber. I’m all for transit options that allow for flexibility and saving money, but if your car is ‘collecting dust’ enough that you can rent it out, why not just sell it? We’ll just have to see how this one pans out..
I tried and loved a Cleverhood rain cape last year. Riding in one felt like I was nestled in a cozy cocoon, and there have been a couple times commuting that I’ve arrived at my destination with that not-so-fun soggy pants feeling and have wished for something with more coverage than my rain jacket. I usually have a change of clothes, no big deal, but when I saw this kickstarter page for the Boncho, I decided to go for it. There are 7 days left to order and if you get there early, you can snag yourself a nice discount. I’m very hopeful that it will compare to the Cleverhood, without the hefty price tag!