Category: Friday Musings

Molly over Old Delhi

Commuting conditions in Old Delhi, India

Happy Aloha Friday bike commuters.  This Friday’s Musing is dedicated to any commuters out there who move from city to city, state to state, or country to country more frequently than the rest of us.  As I am traveling on and off for the summer, and prepping for a future uprooting once again, I find myself faced with the challenge of parting with my dear bikes or sending ’em packing along with me.  Then I got thinking…(I know, I know, careful with that thinking cap) if I were to up and move to a new city or place, is there anyplace in the world where I wouldn’t feel comfortable bike commuting?!  Maybe you really have to feel each city or town out for yourself before you can make that decision, but I already left the #1 listed state in Bike-Friendliness (Washington) to move to the lowly ranked #41 listed state on the list (Hawaii) and we still choose pedal power as our mode of transit everyday in Honolulu!  I know that for Boyfriend and I, bikeability plays a big part in where we choose to sign a rental agreement.  What about you guys?  Is there a place you’ve visited, lived, or will soon be living where you’d refuse to commute by bike? And WHY?!  Too dangerous, too hot, too cold, bad roads, or “well, a donkey just makes more sense here”  – whatever your reason may be, what’s your “Anywhere But Here” for bike commuting?  Comments box, please!

That’s right!  I said it!  Women on bikes are just plain hot.

From Milwaukee Pedal Pushers via FYGB.

Now, before anyone gets on their feminist high-horse (or double-tall feminist high-bike) please note that this article is mere speculation, meant to entertain and bubble up chittah-chattah, as part of our Friday Musings series.  I was talking with my local Cycle Lady coworkers and amigas about bike dates, bike friends, or just saying “hello” to others during your commute! I remembered an article that RL once posted a while back about meeting singles while bike commuting around town… While we still weren’t too sure about the direct correlation between a girl on a bike pedaling off to work and scoring a date on the way, we all agreed that being a woman on a bike just might be the easiest form of everyday bike advocacy!  Because if you’ve ever seen a Cycle Lady on her way to work, campus, the grocery store, the county prison or the junkyard, you’ll have to admit that women on bikes are just fan-fracking-tastic.

I don't crash my tall bike accidentally

Thanks to Dingo Dizmal's flickr stream

Whether you’re a Cycle Lady donning a bright yellow safety vest or cruising in a workdress, women with pedal power are sexy and exotic like the such-n-such orchid that blooms only once every three years and smells like rotting flesh!  (Hmm, somehow that simile didn’t turn out the way I’d hoped.)

What is it about a woman on a bike that just makes cycling to work that. much. better?!  I’ve seen some Red Hot Ladies around time that are KILLING IT up Tantalus and they just make my day.  And these ladies are hitting their 60s, putting young bucks to shame on a daily basis.

At this year’s national Bike Summit in Wash D.C., the buzz was all about women as the key to growing transportation cycling.  Apparently, the hypothesis is that the number of women on bikes is a measure of success for a city’s cycling culture.

I always tell my single friends in search of a mates or new buddies a surefire way to meet some new people would be to get on a bike!  (And that goes for Cycle Ladies and Gents.)  Trading tips with the other bike commuters at your job, or starting up a convo with the homie locking up their ride at the bike racks… there’s just something about riding bikes that’s so fun it’s contagious!  At least in the cities where I’ve commuted (San Luis Obispo, CA; Seattle, WA; and Honolulu, HI) I’ve felt an automatic sense of belonging when you pass another bike commuter in town… that little nod to the cyclist heading in the opposite direction, checking out each others rides or maguyver rack set ups, and high-fiving at red lights.  You know what I’m sayin’?

Women on Bikes – exotic and beautiful like the rare "corpse flower"

And I’m not just talking about the Mary Poppins Effect – where all girls in skirts on upright dutch bikes get more respect in the road.  No matter what kind of bike you ride, what you’re wearing, or how old you are, I’d like to go on the record to say that all women on bikes are HOT.  Don’t you agree, lovely readers?  So, let’s celebrate this unique group of individuals (the minority’s minority in the world of commuting) with some spicy photos!

From Dmackintosh Flickr stream – Roadie!

From Chicks on Bikes – Summertime BMX and sandals.

Cycling Taiwan - Day 5

Mamachari style bikes are HOT in Taiwan!

Marilyn Monroe – Keepin it real on two wheels!

Too much FUN – cruiser with a surf rack

Amendment! I've received a personal request from friends to post a photo of the RED HOT LADIES of HNL

Hipster pin-up status

And for all you mntbikeRiders – making spandex look GOOD.

Whew! That’s enough hot mamas on bikes for me for one weekend.  Catch you later, cycle gators!

I swear I've got better style

Everyone leaves stuff at home sometimes – their lunch, their wallet, their jacket, etc. Us bike commuters are special though, because – especially if we change at work – we have the option of leaving even more things at home!

For example… yesterday I forgot to pack a pair of work socks, and spent all day wearing bright white/red socks with my dress pants and shoes. I usually keep a spare pair of socks at the office for situations like these… but had already used them on another forgetful day.

I’ve frequently forgotten to bring my bike lock or the keys to my bike lock. A few months ago, I did this in reverse… arrived at work only to discover I had taken both sets of house keys AND the car keys… and my wife needed the car keys! I had a nicely doubled commute that morning… and a workday that started closer to 10:00 than the usual 8:00.

And for the worst thing I’ve left at home… last year, I took out my change of clothes only to discover I’d forgotten to bring underwear! And let me tell you… padded bike shorts under dress pants are not particularly comfortable. Fortunately my wife was coming close by on some errands and (once she stopped laughing at me, which took a lot longer than I’d have liked) she agreed to drop by with the necessary item.

So, fellow bike commuters… am I the only forgetful one here, or have some of you done similar things? What were the consequences?

Utterly Shameless Bike Love Month: May 2012

New Recruits: May is just around the corner, and so the creeper approaches: National Bike to Work Month!  And, like every fun-loving, zero-emissions, two-wheeled, “coffee + eggs = bike fuel”, transportation cyclist, I always wonder if this year’s Bike to Work Month will bring new commuter faces beyond the month of May.  Yes Velodactyls, this is what keeps me up at night (either that or the heaping tablespoons of Nutella I shoved in my face post-dinner).

How can we get more people to commute by bike? May 2012 will be a barrage of Bike to Work Week challenges, workshops, rallies, and bikey SWAG, as local bike organizations shotgun their way through possible Spring recruits.  Our own star staff writer Elizabeth posed the question in 2010: We all know bike commuting is the best thing since the Jammy Shuffle, so why aren’t more people doing it?  I gotta admit, I’m on bike commuting like a woman on smack, so I surely don’t know the answer!

Calf-Envy, this is RL when he commutes sans SPDs.

Minority Report: As the minority, commuter cyclists face the same puzzled looks from co-workers, semi-sweet concerned lectures from loved ones, and blatant stares of calf envy (hello Mr. Officer, I’m up HERE) as we think to ourselves – if only you’d know the glories of the dark side, you’d be out of excuses and on a bike too!  Nevertheless, we’ve had some progress.  Last year, this Atlantic Cities article reported increased bike ridership across the U.S.  (If you like colorful graphs, you should definitely click the link to this article).

Overall, a universal increase U.S. Bike Commuters over the past decade! I'll take it!

Converting to bicycle commuting is all the rage in U.S. cities, if the proliferation of blogs devoted to the topic is any indication. But we wanted to know: Just how big have increases in the percentage of bike commuters been in specific cities? Are there regional differences? Cities where bike commuting isn’t catching on at all? We surveyed 55 major U.S. cities to see if we could find the answer.  While there are stark differences across individual cities, taken as a group these metros saw an average increase in their percentage of regular bicycle commuters of 70 percent between 2000 and 2009.

The chart-laden article concluded that Portland had the highest percentage of trips taken by bike at 5.8% with a 222% increase from 2000 to 2009 (Don’t make me graph battle you, Portland.)  I can say for my office, the percentage of riders has increased since I started three years ago from 1 out of 16 to 6 out of 16!  HUZZAH!

Majority Report! Best Monday of my life: 7 bikes for 10 employees at the office… fist pump.

So, we all agree we need more bike commuters on the road to alleviate traffic congestion, stress, obesity, arthritis, pollution, drugs, guns, high fructose corn syrup, and other bad stuff (we can solve world peace with transportation cycling, right!!?)

My question today is what got you pedaling?  We weren’t all born on fetus-sized bikes so it had to start somewhere!  A lot of bike commuters have shared our first bicycle memories, but what converted you to utility cycling?  Was it a Bike to Work Month challenge, an enthusiastic bike-loving friend, a hand-me-down bike, a car in the shop, or an inspirational blog on bike commuting (hint, hint!)?  Safety in numbers means that bike commuters need more bike commuters!  So, muse along with us and share your thoughts!

~Happy Friday Bike Commuters.

Best parking spot at the beach – that's what's got me pedaling!

Well, well, well… the weekend is just around the corner, just in time for FRIDAY MUSINGS!  Or… just in time for you to get your Fandango tickets to the Hunger Shames.  Before the spring time blooms assault your sinuses with a full-on allergy attack, I wanted to get all sentimental and mushy-gushy over Bike Commuting like the leftover V-day chocos I found in my desk drawer at work.

Bike Commuting in Spring – Bring on the Sunshine!

We have posted a bajillion reviews on Bike Commuters accessories, gear, and products that range from frivolous to frugal over the past many moons.  The “basic needs” of each cycle monster for an enjoyable commute vary according to the rider and the location.  I’m the first to admit I have an emotional (let’s hope it’s not physical) attachment to my bikes – giving them names, identities, and custom makeovers… So that made me wonder, what about accessories?  If you could only take three items with you on your commute each day, what would you choose!?  (And your bike is a given….!  We could go on and on about what makes the perfect commuter bike, but I that’s a whole ‘nother love affair.)

Here’s my top three Must-Have Bike Commuting Accessories to get us started:

RL loves the Whitey Von, but any backpack will do!

1)  Any kind of backpack – I used to be all about the rack, but have switched back to the backpack in the past few years!  I love backpack.


So low-tech, but it WORKS!

2)  Watch face taped to my handlebars – So unimpressive and borderline ghetto, this watch is a must for me because it’s easy to read in the morning to determine how much time I have left to get to the office.  I taped it to the mount where I used to keep my wireless Cateye from the days of trying to be “fast” – clockin’ 12 mph baby!


I love BLINKY LIGHTS more than helmets, pants, or chalupas.

3)  Blinky Lights: One rear and one headlight, these are a must for me, I have several kinds around the house and will grab one red and one white everyday.  A must-have for me as I am a blinky addict.

So cycle ladies and gents, do you have any top three accessories that you can’t commute without?  Share with us, and in the spirit of Effie Trinket, “Happy Bike Commuting! And may the odds be ever in your favor!”

Enjoy your weekend, bike commuters!