Category: WTF

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Hey there Bike Lovelies. It’s fall/autumn/friggin’-awesome season for commuting again! Has everyone sufficiently converted an office-mate to stick with bike commuting since the ye ole days of Bike To Work Week back in May? I hope none of you have decided that Spring and Summer are over, and fenders and rain slicks are just not your jam… But even if you are a fair-weather commuter, high five, my friends. High Frickin Five. I’m personally a big fan of the autumn season, as there are some days when you can ride up a big hill and still miraculously arrive at your destination sweat free and rain gear free. Gone are the hot hot days of summer. Bring on the apple cider themed drinks and galoshes.

Yellow Boots #cambridge #street #bikeride #bikes #ground #wet #rain #feet #boots #lowangle #2012 #downpour

photo: courtesy of David Bunting on flickr

So, enough of the rambling. And on to the musing. It’s been awhile since we’ve come up with a Friday Musings posts, but I decided to bring it back, because, well – there’s just no other explanation for why the hell this topic would be on the blog!

It all started with a recent realization that I may be a paranoid bike commuter. What the eff does that mean, you ask? I mean the kind of commuter that thinks that every living, breathing, opposable-thumb having soul is OUT TO GET YOUR RIDE. A group of visiting clients from Honolulu asked me, “So, is Seattle the type of place where people get their bikes stolen? Or no, because so many people ride bikes that no one would steal one?” I responded that I assume everyone ever wants to steal my bike from everywhere. But, honestly, I had no idea! (You can have a better idea, if you want to click on this link for, where people report thefts and crashes and they populate to a google map).

Then, I looked around at all the bikes parked at my office indoors, with keycard access only, at the bike lounge/loading dock area and realized that my bike had a very high lock-to-bike-value ratio compared to some of the other pickins’ in the corral. Take a looksies below…

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One cable lock, with helmet, panniers, and lights all up for the taking!

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Cannondale road bike tied up with a garden hose, lights, bike computer, saddle bag AND helmet – open season!

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Completely UNLOCKED Marin Hybrid. The equivalent of free-ballin. Just letting it all hang out there.

This was a huge leap of faith in my fellow office companions today, as I decided to leave my planet bike blinkie and front lights on the mount, instead of grabbing them and stowing away in a Golom/my precious, LOTR, creepy fashion. Trust in humanity was confirmed, when I returned 11 hours later, and my lights were still there. I’ve got to say, however, that I was still skeptical and kept a backup set of lights in my bag in case someone decided to get frisky.

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Cantaloupe, a clunker bike that’s no good for hills, U-lock on the back tire and frame, cable through the helmet straps and front wheel, and debating if someone might want my blinkie lights.

So, since I forkin’ love lists, I thought I’d write one for you.

5 Signs you may be a PARANOID Bike Commuter:

  1. No Accessories Left Behind
  2. U-Lock + Cable, Even Indoors
  3. You Lock Up for a Coffee Run/Mail Box Drop, Etc.
  4. You Think About Stealing Unlocked Bikes, Always
  5. You Get PTSD When You Think About That One Time  A Homeless Dude Stole Your Seat Post/Wheel/Etc.

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Lucky for me, there’s only been one time an unlocked (non quick release) wheel was stolen from my bike while at the movies. And I don’t act on my evil intentions of stealing unlocked bikes. And my crazy paranoid precautions have kept my bikes within my possession, regardless of how unnecessary they may seem. Any other Bike Commuters readers out there partake in other paranoid lock-up behavior? Or do you have more faith in humanity and the greater bike population? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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Dear Backup Bike,

Not everyone is lucky enough to have stables full of two-wheeled steeds, fleets with a ride for every need, and extra backup bikes to lend out to friends. But for those of us who do (exclude me, but include my friends) an official round of applause for the Backup Bike on lend from a friend.

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Columbia City Bike Works – origins of the Backup Bike on loan from the Bike Doctor… Dr. Roberts… this is how you build a fleet of bikes for every need.

Oh, Backup Bike, you save my asparagus when I’m caught in a pickle. You remember when I borrowed a rear-mounted grocery rack and installed it on my main ride, Cantaloupe? Cantaloupe, she’s great and all, my main steed for sure… But sometimes Ye Olde Reliable has a bit of a breakdown and ends up in the hospital: the hardware failure left me and Cantaloupe in a giant rack/fender/brake mess that merited a trip to the Bike Doctor… Cantaloupe was down for the count. Damn those bumpy hills that can take out a pair of lock nuts like nobody’s business!


More shout-outs to friends… it was my Seattle-local-commuter-hero, Christian Kittelson who lent me the rear-mounted grocery rack for utilitarian hauling purposes.

But then there was you: Backup Bike.  Oh, Marin comfort cruiser, light as a feather, fenderless and free… I even like that little swatch of duct tape on the smooshy saddle that says “Hey bike thief, choose a different quick release today…” With your triple crank and upright ride, it was a nice change of pace from Cantaloupe’s ten speed stand-up hill climb. You’re the universal perfect bike for a last-minute fix: a one-size-fits most that’s good enough to get the job done, and simple enough for most rides. From your cushy saddle, we had some good times enjoying nice blue skies and picturesque hilltop views of the water.


Oh Montlake, there you are: from the saddle of the Marin comfort cruiser – Backup Bike, you saved the day!

Thanks for saving the day, Backup Bike. It’s always fun to mix it up and ride a new set of wheels. And to the friends out there with bikes on loan, you make commuting a breeze. And, on behalf of all potentially stranded bike commuters out there, a big thank you to the commuter collectors who are always willing to lend an extra set of wheels to a friend in need.

Pedal on, sweet commuters… pedal on!

Yours forever,



Cantaloupe with the Bike Doctor, Dr. Roberts.

Hey Bike Commuters. Do you ever find yourself cruising on your commute to work in the happily-allocated bike lanes, only to end up dodging weird obstacles and moving individuals peppered on scooters, rollerblades, shopping carts, or rolling dumpsters? I know I have… (Honolulu commuters: think Ala Wai canal bike lane towards downtown, knowhadImean?)

Scoot it, or boot it, scooter!

Well, in the flat bike-loving city of Amsterdam, it seems a similar battle has begun to unfold: Crotch-rocket scooter commuters are fighting for space in the bike lanes with, well, bicycles! How DARE they, you say? Check out this article from the perspective of a London-based bike commuter that was just released today on The Telegraph, called Battle in the Bike Lanes of Amsterdam.

The author takes a look from both sides: one day, she and her partner rent a souped-up scooter and the next day a Dutch cruiser. Only to realize that it’s every commuter for themselves, lanes and lines be Amsterdamned!

The downside is that when you’re on a scooter all you can think about is how many cars you’ve already overtaken and when you’re on a bike all you can think when you see a scooter is “don’t be an idiot, don’t be an idiot, dontbeanidiot!”.

IMHO, there should be enough room for everybody on the streets: cars, bikes, scooters, pedestrians, and public transit. Can’t we all just get along?!

Wow. I mean, WOW. Were you guys out on the bike last night? Did you feel the wind cutting through every piece of you that was not covered at least twice in layers as you caught every light on that downhill?

I DID! Cantaloupe is a beast, with her new sweet fenders. How could I resist a cold as ice night commute?

Let’s back up a bit. It’s in the 20’s here in Portland, and this girl has Hawaii body-core temperature still coursing through her veins, so don’t laugh at the pathetic attempt at layering if you are a seasoned winter warrior (you guys should leave tips in the comment box below, instead). I know some of you commuters are out there pedal-pushing in the single digits. Brrrrrmmmmnesota.

I’ve taped this photo to the inside of my front door for inspiration… it keeps me from wein-ing out and opting for a run for the bus:

Okay, so I did get a major flat and had to sprint for the bus the other day, only to find out that I had zero cash on me. Fail! Crap monkey, where did I leave my teleportation device…

My neighbors and I biked home together at about 7pm, or 20-something degrees o’clock here in Portland. And I am proud to say that I somehow survivor-ed the coldest commute of my life. How did my sissy-la-la pants make it happen?

Layers, Cycle Gators… layers! And lots of them. I’m no expert on looking fly riding home in the cold, but here was this night’s order of operations:

  • Step 1: Pull on your skivvies and cover up your underparts… Cycle ladies and gents, I would not recommend anything that’s gonna give your crotch a case of seam anxiety, but that is a very personal choice. Y’all know what works with your saddle, and what doesn’t – immediately!
  • Step 2: Pull on some Darn Tough wool crew socks.
  • Step 3: Next, some super-high waisted fleece-lined leggings. Do Cycle dudes wear leggings? No, but some kind of bike base layer tights might do the trick. Just ask Jack.
  • Step 4: Then your outer layer of pantalones. I chose the Chrome Vanya knicker for it’s stretchiness and crotch action (make sure you follow Step 1, re: crotch anxiety).

Getting warm yet, people? Okay… Keep going to the top layers:

  • Step 5: T shirt/tank/base. I wore a cotton tee tucked into my leggings/tights.
  • Step 6: Long sleeve zip-up running jacket thing. Stretchy, thumb-holey, and a freebie from my stepmom via Costco.
  • Step 7: Oh yeah, ANOTHER long sleeve, with more stretchiness, a super long back to cover my butt, and a high collar from that Lululemon review back in the day.
  • Step 8: Fruffy vest. Marshmallow it and warm up your core! I love puffy vest like my future unborn child.
  • Step 9: Patagonia Torrentshell with pit zips open and hood tucked in.

Seriously, everybody on bikes looks like this today. All color combo Do’s and Don’ts go out the window for this weather, kids. I look like a bag of Skittels had a civil war on my torso.

And on to the peripherals (“I see a ficus tree…”):

  • Step 10: North Face gloves: inadequate – not cycling specific, but it’s all I got right now.
  • Step 11: Ear grips over ponytail.
  • Step 12: Buff over the neck, over the ear grips, ponytail, and up to the top of my head like a wetsuit hood.
  • Step 13: Shoes, helmet, and the obligatory Mir fannypack.

So, yeah. It did the trick. More winter wonderful commuting tips coming your way. In the meantime, hook us up in the comments box with your favorite or newly-discovered layering goodies. Go eat a bag of tiny donuts, cold weather! Props to all the winter pedal peoples out there.

Happy End of Turkey Weekend, Bike Commuters. Is it just me, or is it getting stuffy in here? Of course, by stuffy, I mean I’ve been stuffed full of Auntie T’s chorizo dressing and cranberry-themed meat dishes all weekend. Don’t get me wrong, I love family time and pretending to care about the Raider’s losing to those other guys, but a Cycle Lady can only take so much chips and guac, cooped up in front of the TV with cousins, until she’s ready to bike up Mt. Baker.


After the holiday cray cray, there’s nothing like your Monday morning commute to power up those idle legs, cranky from couching it during a four-day food fest. Sauf your family’s excursion to the LBS to trample other human beings for awesome Black Friday bike goodies, right? Okay, we didn’t do that either… my dad is more the Cyber Monday type.

Ugh, it’s weekends like this that have me planning out my next caffeinated a.m. ride during the five hour train back to Portland. If only these maps had a coffee shop overlay button…

Portland City Bike Routes – Cantaloupe, I can’t wait!

Or it makes me want to stretch out my commute for some scenic easy riding.

Or it’s got me dreaming of buying a sweet folder so that I will never be without bike during any family vacation, ever again!

Anyways, bike commuters… Hope you are looking forward to the start of your week as much as I am: Enjoy the ride, and BURN FAT, NOT OIL!  Welcome back to the grind.