A Cat Co-pilot

Here’s one to put smiles on your faces and ease you back into the workweek after a long Memorial Day weekend:

For bicyclist Rudi Saldia, you could say a cat is his co-pilot.

Saldia often buzzes around Philadelphia with his year-old feline Mary Jane perched on his shoulder. Their urban adventures have turned heads on the street and garnered big hits on YouTube.

The 26-year-old bike courier didn’t intend to become Internet-famous. He originally shot footage of the outings only to prove to his mom that he was taking Mary Jane – nicknamed MJ – for a spin.

Read the full article by visiting the AP Mobile page here. And, take a look at this video — MJ seems to be really enjoying herself!

I took my cats to the vet via Xtracycle…once — and they HATED it. This MJ is a pretty special animal, indeed.

Bike Share Breakup & Biking Buenos Aires

Happy Belated Saint Valentine’s Day, Bike Commuters! After a successful start, a short-lived love affair, and a predictable break-up with the Mejor en Bici bike share program, Mir.I.Am searches for new bike love with a tour of Argentina’s Capital City through Biking Buenos Aires.

Someecards Breakup

Dear Mejor en Bici…

Sometimes commuting around the city on a free yellow bike just isn’t enough. I know, I know, did I just say that life as a Bike Commuter falls short of the fulfilling my two-wheeled bikey dreams?! Talk about first-world-problems. Wait, wait, cycle people – before you bring me to the masses and start sharpening your guillotines, let me clarify my heretic claims: as lovely as I wish the Mejor en Bici system would be, our relationship has been disappointing, stale, and uneventful. Let me make a list (list lust, yessss, lists!) of why I think the free Buenos Aires bike share and I just didn’t click.

  1. It’s not you, it’s me: Mejor en Bici, you’re free, so I have no complaints about the extent of your network.  Twenty-something stations is a good sized network. But it’s just not big enough for me. I’m just not right for you – I live in Palermo at Plaza Italia, and you have no drop off stations within 20 blocks of my internship in Villa Crespo. I might as well take the (blech) bus (barf).
  2. You never like to go out anymore: Mejor en Bici, what happened to that spark, that flare, the chemistry we shared the first time I straddled your public saddle, and you cured me of my Bikeless Butt Envy? Let’s be honest, you close at 8pm, so we never go out past sunset time. I’m looking for bike access beyond the Argentine equivalent of 9-5.
  3. I’ve met someone else: Mejor en Bici, since you’re closed on Sundays and government holidays, I’ve started looking for other ways to get my bike on. I just have so much fun on those cruiser tours from Biking Buenos Aires, that I don’t think you and I will be seeing much of each other anymore. Can we still be facebook friends?
tiny bike mercadolibre

I knew it was getting bad when I was started stalking bikes online at night.

Although it’s not a permanent solution to the recurring Bikeless Butt Envy – Biking Buenos Aires was just the kind of pick-me-up I needed this Valentine’s season.  My boyfriend, photographer friend, and I set off on a “Heart of the City” tour for 4-5 hours on one of our days off.  We enjoyed a sunny day, with easy to no traffic routes, and mostly protected bike lanes on our cruisers snapping shots of cityscapes in Buenos Aires.  Here’s a description of the tour we took from their website:

Heart of the City Tour (South City)
$60 USD per person
Available: Tue, Thur, Sat @ 9am & 3pm
Difficulty: Easy / Medium – 12mi or 19.3km
Languages: English & Spanish
~5 hours
Discover the birthplace of Argentina standing beside the oldest national monument found directly in the center of May Plaza (Plaza de Mayo).  The center stage for any demonstration, it’s no wonder why most historical events happened right here in this very spot.  Along the way we visit colorful La Boca, historical San Telmo and rich Puerto Madero.  Bondiola (pork) sandwich and yerba mate are included! Group tours leave every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 9am & 3pm.


This could be the start of a budding new romance… until the Mejor en Bici program gets their shiz together, looks like I’ll have to find alternative routes for overcoming my Bikeless Butt Envy. And, it’s not like I’m comparing the two, but let’s make another list of why Biking Buenos Aires rocks my bike socks:
  1. You treat your turistas right: Biking Buenos Aires, what a better way to discover a new city than by bike? Like slow jams on a Saturday night, you keep the pace perfect for everyone in the group. With three guides, one in front, one in back, and one in the middle, you took care of us at every turn like a true caballero.
  2. I can be myself around you: Biking Buenos Aires, I was comfortable on your sparkly blue old-school cruisers, with a sweet helmet, water bottle, and front basket… with the saddle adjusted just right – I’m not gonna lie, I wanted to take you home with me and lock you to my balcony. A perfect balance, you let me wander off and explore with my camera whenever I wanted, and reigned me back in when it was time to roll.
  3. You’ve got a great personality: Biking Buenos Aies, you’re funny, you’re friendly, and you’re smart – your guides kick butt with local history tips. With a warm welcome, we all enjoyed the genuine conversation and the buena onda along the ride. It’s not just about looks, it’s the inner beauty that counts – and you’ve got it!
Here are a couple of pics to share from the tour that won me over.


Graffiti san telmo

La boca

Biking buenos aires mir

Biking la boca




Rest assured, dear readers, it’s not just a Bike Share rebound, I’ll be back for more birthday bike tours this week! Biking Buenos Aires is highly recommended for anyone looking to catch the sites and get some fresh air. Don’t worry if you forget the sunscreen, water, cookies, mate, or patch kit, because the Biking BA guides will have it all.  Catch you later, cycle gators!

Friday Musings: My Bikeless Butt in Buenos Aires

Happy Friday, Bike Commuters! A short, but wonderful WTF weirdness update from the world of Mir.I.Am: live from Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Rental Bikes - Buenos Aires - Argentina

Bike Envy: my bikeless butt covets the yellow bikes of Buenos Aires. By pepsiline on flickr.

It’s perpetual travel time nowadays, which means I am bikeless in Buenos Aires. The last bike standing – my orange vintage ride – woefully collects dust in the faraway land of San Francisco, at my sister’s apartment. After a shameful three months of hoofing it through Costa Rica and Dramamine-induced bus rides… I think I’ve come down with a case of Bikeless Butt Envy! Everywhere I look, I see happy Argentines riding yellow cruisers, and my butt gets jealous like too-short teenagers in a roller coaster park. These fits of jealousy spark an inner dialogue between my butt and me that goes like this:

Bikeless Butt Post-It

“Get your limp body up on a saddle!” – my butt taunts as Cycle Ladies breeze by in summer dresses and platform sandals in Buenos Aires. I must be losing it – my butt is talking to me. Did my butt just leave me a post-it on the front door?

“I’m sick of this shiz, smother me into some strange-ass public bike share saddle, Mejor en Bici style,” chirps my bum.

“Quit your nagging, Flatness Everdeen, I’m on a tight travel budgie since Costa Rica… And, let’s be honest, you weren’t ready to crank me up Volcano Mountain in humid rainstorms without clips and some spandoise!” I retort.

“Get over it, Chinita Loca… There are ZERO hills in this city. Booty-up and do your paperwork so we can see the city via two wheels!” The butt makes a good point, and I’m out of excuses.

Time to muster up my Castellano courage and dive into some paper bureaucracy – the only thing I need is proof of address in Buenos Aires and identification. Check out those baskets and clown horns, amigos!

And so, the excursion begins this week – I’m on this like tweens on Twilight. It’s time to listen to my butt and get back on a bike. With 28 Mejor en Bici stations, the bike share possibilities are as prolific as puddled potholes in the sidewalk around this town. And there is a large network of car-free lanes (marked in yellow in the map below) where bikes can avoid the notoriously heinous driving of the local Porteños… Drool in awe:

Cross your fingers, Bike Commuters, for a successful sign-up to get my butt back on a bike. It’s been far too long, and I’ve gone off the deep end. I’ll think of all the velomonsters out there this weekend, as I live vicariously through your bike commutes.

Bike Pin Up Girl

Bike Envy! From my butt, to yours.


Bicicletas in Costa Rica

COSTA RICA-993.jpg

Bike Commuting in Limon, CR by tomac1978 via flickr

Buenos dias, mis Bike Commuters… I’m writing from Turrialba, Costa Rica to give you the skinny on the bike sitch in my favorite country – read: the only country I’ve visited – in Central America.  A popular destination for honeymooners, North American retirees, Australians on walk-abouts, or anyone who wants to experience the plentiful flora and fauna stretching from Pacific to Atlantic, Costa Rica is more than just Pura Vida and Rice & Beans.  Here’s my two-colones on the Tico transportation scene peppered with a fun collection of photos of bicicletas. (Author’s sidebar:  all of my observations are speculation-based and hold no real statistical value*, whatsoever.  What I see through my half-blind eyes by day, I transcribe to you for your entertainment value by night!)

costa rica jmam RINCON DE LA VIEJA bici

DIY heavy loads in Costa Rica, image courtesy of jmam flickr

All throughout Costa Rica, if I’m riding in a car longer than 15 minutes, I pop Dramamine like Smarties out of a Halloween pillowcase.  Why? You ask?  Because I like the taste, want an excuse to sleep, or heard that it gives you powers of telepathy?!!!  Nope.  After ditching my sedan in Seattle back in 2008, my motion sickness tolerance has dwindled down to zero.  It’s front seat/windows down for me, or puke party for everyone else.  To put icing on the cake of said party, many of the roads in CR seem as if they recently hosted a parade for the Olympic Jackhammer Riding Team (sponsored by Trits).  Potholes, gravel, streams, small ponds, and unpaved dirt-rock is where it’s at, peeps.  The lack of a functioning railroad system pushes trucking as the #1 means of transporting goods about the country, damaging the any newly-paved asphalt along the way.

Rastabici - I snapped this one in Puerto Viejo by the beach. Breakfast in the basket!

Another interesting fact I picked up from my Tico hosts, is that cars cost DOUBLE* the price they do in the USA; apparently the import taxes are enormous.  So, as I mentioned before – not driving is not a lifestyle choice, most residents take the bus, walk, or ride bikes because.  Insurance will put a hole in your pocket like the potholes put a hole in your tires.  And gas isn’t cheap either – at least 60 USD to fill the tank on our loaner Toyota Rav4.  The bus is a steal, about 50 cents a ride in town, and for about two US dollars you can take the express bus all the way to the capital of San Jose… But what about the bicicletas in Costa Rica?

Woman on a bike in Quepos, CR - image courtesy of Boston Gringo flickr.

Survey says that bike commuters clearly comprise at least 27.934%* of the 70,000+ people here in Turrialba!  Regarding advocacy, in the capital of San Jose, cyclists have rallied for more bike friendly infrastructure mirroring the movements in Mexico and Guatemala.  The local advocacy group called ChepeCletas sought the help of the Embassy of the Netherlands (the two-wheeled riders of the North) to organize a friendly event of 400 cyclists around the capital in April 2012.  Overall, Costa Rica is home to several species of Cyclesauruses:  ladies on bikes with umbrellas, serious Orbea-riding roadies, old abuelitos riding equally old junkers, rastas on cruisers at the beach, kids bouncing on BMX bikes with pegs, and MTBs galore.  Here, the endangered specimen is the skinny-jeaned hipster skidding tributes to the Costa Rican equivalent of Joseph Gordon Levitt.  Behavioral patterns differ by region, but general preferences include front baskets, unlocked bikes for short stays, lights and reflective suspenders, and the occasional helmet around your wrist (strange, I know – but let’s not get into that debate again).  The lock of preference is a piece of heavy-duty chain and a keyed padlock.  Just more proof that any bike can be a great commuter.

ale y sofi en bici

Beach cruisers 'n' baskets - no helmets, no locks - in Puerto Viejo, image courtesy of Jem Kuhn flickr.

As bikeless we may be for the time being, boyfriend and I have been getting around by foot until I can get my paws on my friend’s cousin’s neighbor’s sister’s banana seat bike (if my Spanish translation is correct, I think that’s who I’m waiting on).  We are staying up a pretty steep hill, about a 25 minute walk from town.  Oooh, my legs would be in killer shape with this daily climb!  Our “hill” is known as Volcan Turrialba – apparently she’s legit – since today we saw MTB riders barreling down the hill during “the world’s toughest mountain bike race” – La Ruta de Los Conquistadores.  I should’ve entered the race and brought a folder in my checked bags (hint, hint!)  Well, there’s always next year!

CR 2012 sand postcard

Hasta Luego, Cycle Ladies and Gents!

Commuter Profile: Sarah Eberhardt

Oooh Cycle Ladies and Gents – please give a round of applause for our latest Commuter Profile starlette – hot, strong, and ready to bike down the red carpet… SARAH EBERHARDT hailing from Los Angeles, California!


Sarah Eberhardt commutes in downtown L.A.


Sarah bikes to LIVE, here she is in San Diego, CA.

Name: Sarah Eberhardt

How long have you been a bike commuter?

Since 2005- the inception of my cycling life as we know it! 1/4 of my life I have been commuting via bike! Yeah! =)

Why did you start riding your bike to work and how long is your commute?

Let’s rephrase the Q – I bike to live and know that 2 miles is my ideal commute. I drew a 2 miles radius around my workplace, and chose where to live that was precisely 2 miles away from work. Any more than that, I’d get lazy some days (come on – who doesn’t find an excuse to drive their car if they have one?); any less, it wouldn’t be enough cardio to jump start my day.


Sarah with the baby blue Fuji Bordeaux, prior to thieving thievery... in Taos, NM.

How does Bike Commuting help you with your lifestyle (economics, health, relationships)?

How does bike commuting NOT help my lifestyle? I could go on for days, but bike commuting was the primary purpose of my move to Los Angeles – where all conditions align for the epitome of bike commuting environments – sunshine 364 days a year, no rain, no flash storms, acute temperature deviations from 70 degrees, mildly conscious drivers – all giving me a daily commute unlike the norm in Los Angeles.


Definitely all smiles in Downtown LA, I love it!

I have a smile on my face every day I am going to work. My commute time is not based on traffic pattern surprises or sudden road closures – it is 12 minutes each way, plus or minus one minute for red lights. I save gas money. I save parking fees. I save parking hunt headache in downtown LA.


Hmmm, this one doesn't look like commuting in Copenhagen... must be mountain biking the Rio Grande in Taos, NM!

What do you do for a living and in what city do you bike commute?

Architect by degree and banquet server by recession, I bike commute daily within downtown Los Angeles. I have owned a bike and commuted while living months at a time in Cleveland, OH; Cincinnati, OH; Copenhagen, Denmark; Berkeley, CA; and Taos, NM.

What kind(s) of bike do you have?

I’m on my 3rd road bike since 2005 and her name is Igriega (because it sounds like “egret” and it is my favorite Spanish word – she makes me fly past the egrets that wade in the LA River along many of my weekend warrior rides). She is a solid carbon fiber Trek Madone and the bike of my dreams. She soars me through the heavy clouds (cough cough *smog*) of LA.


Thugs for Life, Bikes for Life - laying down with her black Bianchi in Cincinnati, OH.

Prior to her, my virgin roadie was an aluminum baby blue Fuji Bordeaux- stolen on Berkeley’s campus (NEVER USE CABLE LOCKS!!). My interim roadie was a steel black and teal Bianchi Imola – the thug bike – I suspect it was a stolen bike (even though I checked it with and again, was stolen off the trunk rack of my car in Koreatown LA. That bike had bad bike karma – it was destined to be passed from thief to rider to thief to rider.


Using the Iron Horse MTB for a leisure MTB ride on Catalina Island off coast of Cali

I also own a less momentous Iron Horse mountain bike for non-road friendly treks.


"What the hell?!" - Mir.I.Am's reaction.

Any funny or interesting commuting story that you may want to share?

While living in New Mexico, I once carried home a 3 foot diameter tumbleweed on my back that I found to use as décor. It is a lot harder to bike one-handed with a large prickly odd-shaped object strewn over your shoulder!


Response from Sarah, "Tumbleweed in Taos, NM!" Obviously.

What do people (coworkers, friends) say when you tell them that you are a bike commuter?

“Oh my, is that safe?” “Do you even bike at night?”

If you’re surrounded in steel, it’s not necessarily safer than riding on top of steel. So yes, it is as safe as driving in a car, and yes I use bike lights.

How about bicycling advocacy? Are you active in any local or regional advocacy groups?


Anything else that you want to share with us?

YES, I’m renowned for a series of jumping photos in epic places — some of these places I was lucky enough to have had my bike along for the journey.


Jump photo time on the LA River trail.


Coronado Island in San Diego, leisure ride with Sarah's man Valentin for weekend warrior adventures.

Sarah, thanks for sharing your fun-fun photogs and awesome sauce profile with us.  You’ve reaffirmed my personal belief that women on bikes are just plain hot!  Want to show us your ride and tell us all about it, lovely Bike Commuters?  Then send an email and we’ll hook you up with a Commuter Profile questionnaire!  Email mir[at]bikecommuters[dot]com for details.