Bicycle Love Story: Rediscovering the Joy of a Two-Wheeled Life

Bicycle Love Story: Rediscovering the Joy of a Two-Wheeled Life

This is another popular post from last year submitted by a reader. I heard from a lot of people who really loved the story of Matt riding with his kids. Do you have a similar story? Send it to moregardenslesscars@gmail.com. More details here.

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My wife and I have two-year-old twins. We refer to the first 14 months of their lives as “The Time.”

I loved biking around Erie when I was in high school. As soon as the weather turned each spring, I’d be out riding and exploring, doing 20, 30, 40 miles each trip. I loved it; hopping on my bicycle and just riding until the sun went down was the best way to spend those long summer days.

I went away to college in ’96 and promptly forgot about bicycling. My old bike was stolen from my mother’s garage sometime during my sophomore year and I didn’t really care.

A few years later, after I’d moved to Pittsburgh, a good friend bought a shiny new mountain bike. I asked him what he planned to do with his old one and got a blank stare, so I offered a new wireless keyboard/mouse combo as a trade. The bike was immediately relegated to the basement where it sat completely unused, but never forgotten, for years.

I needed to replace the brakes and rotors on our car last June (right during the hardest part of “The Time”). It’s an easy, simple job, and one I’ve done many times. I planned it to coincide with naptime to minimize the time my wife was on her own with the little people.

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Bicycle Love Story Redux: Bessie, My First Real Relationship

Bicycle Love Story Redux: Bessie, My First Real Relationship

This is the first in a series of Bicycle Love Stories that have been submitted by readers and riders. To find out how to submit your own Bicycle Love Story, click here.

We met on Craigslist. I had looked at so many other shiny faces, with various reasons why they were newly single. Their past sig-o just didn’t have time, found out s/he had gotten someone pregnant and had to set “priorities”, found out they were moving to Burma. I got a little sad looking for you. So many people had tried to find love here and, in the end, just wanted to try to re-coup some of their “losses.” You were so blue in your picture, shiny and shared my interests in soul music and b-movies. Wait, that was someone else.

First Date

I called your ex-boyfriend’s wife about you. I didn’t have a car, so I asked if she could bring you over for our first date. She said yes, but only if I paid for the gas money. You showed up, with your original seat cover, disintegrating bar tape, and water bottle–all from 1987, the year you were born. Most people lose something of themselves over the course of two decades. I was in grad school at the time, and had trouble keeping track of my feet let alone my water bottle.

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Bike Parking and Plants: Everywhere For Everyone

Bike Parking and Plants: Everywhere For Everyone

I just found a new website tonight called Materialicious. It’s about architecture and design. Apparently you can post anything from their site on your blog so I will thank them (THANKS!) for that and allow some of their collected work show you some of my dreams for the present and future (as soon as the next five seconds!).

So I want this, everywhere. Just perfect:

I love plants and I love bikes and I like when more plants mean more bikes and more bikes mean more plants as they do with this clever invention that was nominated for the The Design Museum’s ‘Design of the Year 2010’.

PlantLock – “provides attractive & secure bicycle parking in the home garden, at work and in public places.”

Great! I need bike parking everywhere I go and I want plants everywhere I am.

These could line city streets all over. The could also be on residential streets where bicycle parking is most often absent. Clean up the air with more plants and provide parking everywhere so biking anywhere will be an option for everyone.

Go to Philly: Go Directly to Philly

Go to Philly: Go Directly to Philly

Yes! Go to this if you’re anywhere near Philly on Halloween weekend! The Philly Bike Expo Fashion Show is going to make your fall exquisite!

I’m sharing this by way of my dashing and talented roommate, the proprietress of the cycling fashion line Spokepunchers.

This is where you’ll want to be if you suddenly come into some surprise money and want to step up your bicycle ride and gear with some handmade and hand-crafted goods.

My Beautiful New Bicycle’s Internet Debut

My Beautiful New Bicycle’s Internet Debut

Now my bicycle is just over a month old and ready for her internet debut! Photos by the inimitable Elly Blue.

What Kind of Bike is That!

People ask me all the time, usually with an exclamation instead of a question mark. It’s the “Live 2” by Globe which is a new brand made by Specialized and tailored to people who ride for transportation.

This bike is not for racing, but it is perfect for life. That’s what I need anyway. I need to go to work, to the grocery store, to outreach events for my job, and I need to carry a bunch of stuff with me because I don’t drive Ever and this is my way to get around.

Hauling Supplies to Bikestravaganza!

See the giant silver circle in the middle of the back wheel? That’s my fancy 8-speed internal hub. That means that all of gears and everything I need to keep moving is contained INSIDE! Maybe, like me at first, you’d think, who cares about that?

I am telling you that it might be one of the greatest inventions since the bicycle

This means that you don’t have any messy greasy gears on the outside and your gears won’t get mucked up in the rain or snow. So if you depend on your bicycle to get you places even when the weather is undesirable, this is the ticket. (Not the only ticket, but the only one for me!)

The other incredibly wonderful part is that you can shift anytime. You don’t have to be moving! If you’re stopped at a stop light in a hard gear, you can switch back to a much easier gear for starting again when the light turns green.

I’m not kidding, friends, this has revolutionized my bicycle riding experience.

The fenders and the rack are integrated into the bicycle frame and so it’s possible to ride in the rain without getting muddy and while easily carrying tons of stuff.

This is my favorite of the five bikes I’ve owned since I made the bicycle my main form of transportation in 2006.

PS: Before bicycles I used public transportation and my feet because I lived in DC and Chicago and made my home in places with stellar public transit so I would never have to own a car. It was a great time and having the resources of public transit is essential to any city that wants to thrive and not be choked by motor vehicle traffic, air, and noise pollution.

But now I’m happy to make my own schedule and get there as fast or slow as I like.

Usually it’s pretty slow because I’m a meandering kind of gal and I like to take my time. Doesn’t mean that my time is less important than motor vehicle users, I just make my plans accordingly. And since I like my transportation, I don’t mind spending time riding slowly through the city getting where I need or want to go.

I love you bicycle!

Classing Up Your Bicycle: The U-lock Cozy

Classing Up Your Bicycle: The U-lock Cozy

When I decided that I was going to get a chocolate brown Globe bicycle (photos forthcoming), I immediately contacted my lovely old roommate Guy and commissioned him to knit me a U-lock cozy to protect my beautiful bicycle from scratches.

U-lock by Guy, Photo by Elly Blue.

Hopefully he’ll get his etsy site going soon, through the fog of grad school applications, because people are asking me where to get them nearly every day. Also, if you know how to knit, this is an excellent and fast DIY project and makes a great gift for the special bicyclist(s) in your life.

I Don’t Know How You Could Have Missed This: Bikestravaganza

I Don’t Know How You Could Have Missed This: Bikestravaganza

Just in case you haven’t found out about Bikestravaganza somehow, you have one last chance to see this bike advocacy tour.

Presented by bicycle advocates from Portland, Elly Blue and Joe Biel will be in Pittsburgh tonight discussing how Portland got to the bicycle mecca-ish place it is today.

What is this “Bikestravaganza”, you might be asking?

The Bikestravaganza Tour is an interactive, multimedia, DIY bike summit roadshow!

You can find out more details on the Bike Pittsburgh blog, and also on the official site for Bikestravaganza: Off the Chainring Tour.

This awesome event is sponsored by Bike Pittsburgh — a non-profit membership organization working to make Pittsburgh a safer place to ride bicycles; by the Carnegie Library — a free book and media lending organization; and the Over the Bar (OTB) Cafe.

The show starts around 6:15 in Classroom A of the Carnegie Library in Oakland and then we’ll ride our bicycles together to OTB to continue the discussion in a more relaxed atmosphere with food and drink specials.

Come on out!