Category: WTF

On my way home one night last summer I saw this spectacle for the first time ever (the spectacle continues this summer) and I just had to pause to capture the moment – more so as proof as to what I was actually seeing!

outdoor spinning class vs bike commuting?

I’ve always wanted to try a spinning class… and I think the winter time — when I’m less likely to log as many miles outside — would be the ideal time. But I’d much rather be outside enjoying an actual bike ride than spinning outside…. Every time I pass one of these classes, I just smile and shake my head. I’m sure it’s a great workout; I just hope those same class attendees aren’t beeping their car horn at me later in their urgency to get home post-workout.

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!

Okay, okay… you caught me!  Daydreaming AGAIN on my way to work.  I wouldn’t consider myself a particularly fast, sneaky, or agile bike commuter (and by fast I mean speedy, Cycle Ladies and Gents), but the commute through shady downtown where bikes are faster than cars is often the best part of my day!  And although I’m not the archetype (I am an archiTECT, does that count?) of the tattooed, pierced, just don’t give a crap, badass hipster with an iphone type, I have a confession to make:  Sometimes I wish I were a BIKE MESSENGER.

Maybe not Third Rock from the Sun status bike messenger, or Robin “Lost Without You”  Thicke stunt messenger status because – let’s be honest – I would be as fast as an old lady crossing the street with a wire wheely cart full of ong choi and daikon radishes.  And who would hire a messenger who gets the package to its destination as-soon-as-I-feel-like-it instead of ASAP?  Plus, obeying traffic signals, using brakes, multiple speeds, and not smashing car mirrors with a gi-huge chain fist could be considered weaknesses in my resume.  Not everybody can rock the aerospoke/turquoise Bianchi look:

My buddy Sau used to bike message. Now he is the coordinator for non-profit KVIBE – building bikes with young'uns in Kalihi!

But you gotta admit, hasn’t the thought crossed your mind when you are pedaling through downtown or the financial district…?  How fun would it be to ride all day/every day!  If only I could get paid to cruise on the Bumblebee from 9-5 instead of sitting in the same position for 8 hours a day like an office cheetah.

Office Cheetah – we're out of staples.

Anyway, who knows – maybe one day I’ll start my own bike messenger freelancing organic raw vegan cooperative called SlowBike!  My slogan could be “It’ll get there, when I feel like it.”  A girl can dream, can’t she?

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?

Do you ever have a commute where you get to work and wonder, Is this real life!?”  I DO.  I don’t know how it happened, but I ended up uber late to work today, rolling in at an embarassing 1:10pm!  Not to say that I arrive at the dark box of drudgery and sadness (a.k.a. office with no windows) any earlier than 9:30am on a regular M-F… but today was different.  Caught between a nightmare of angry drivers and a dream of ukulele bike advocacy, I thought “Dr. Toothenstein must have gone overboard with the Novocaine yesterday.”  Either that, or now I’m biking in my dreams too.

Fruit!

Gramps keeps it real, he's my posture coach.

My dream started out like this: I groggily flopped out of bed late with no time to shower OR shop for vegetables in Chinatown!  Grandpa yelled my name from the streets below as he waited for a ride on my handlebars over to the acupuncture lady.  We’re cruising down the narrow streets of C-town, as I wait in the middle lane to make a left turn.  Gramps and I are chillin’ completely innocent and unoffensive (well, except for maybe some strong B.O. since hygiene is not my forte), and the nightmare begins.  A jerk-bomb in a truck passes by in the far right lane and yells “Get the FAWK outta tha ROAD!” The truck passes by at full 5 mph (bad traffic makes yelling at cyclists then speeding away kinda hard!)  Gramps gets pissed and starts yelling in Cantonese and chasing the truck down.  Guess I don’t need to drop him off to acupuncture after all.

I call these scones "Forget-Me-Nows" – eat one and forget all bad juju from Jerk Bomb in Pick-up Truck!

I’m a bit stunned from the nightmare, but decide to just crank it out.  There’s only one way to repair the damages from a street-fire jerk bomb: Forget-Me-Now blueberry cream cheese scones from Diamonhead Market!  With nothing but scone on the brain, I zone out for the rest of my ride.  On the way there, I detour through Kapiolani Park.  It’s a beautiful day to take the scenic route to scones, and I  hear the voice of the executive director at HBL calling out my name!  I stop and pull over.

A royal shower tree

Kapiolani Park – a dreamy royal shower tree.

I’ve apparently entered into the Bike Advocacy dream sequence with this kinda hot n’ famous ukulele guy, Chad from HBL and a lady cop.  So much for scones, I guess it’s time to film a dreamy PSA with Jake Shimabukuro on how cyclists have the right to take the whole lane in Hawaii!

P1020375

After a couple of video takes, some sweet harmonious tunes, and awkward posing in my HBL tee… I start to think: maybe this isn’t a dream, this is REALITY!  And if it is, am I frackin’ sweaty and smelly.

P1020385

Well, whatever is happening here, I just can’t help but throw up a shaka for the camera!  Deputy lady cop so-n-so says “It’s the law!”

P1020387

How appropriate that my nightmare and dream revolve around the same theme:  cyclists have the right to take the whole lane if it’s too narrow to share with the car!  Seems Mr. Jerk-bomb is the perfect audience for this Public Service Announcement.  Let’s hope jerk-bomb and other drivers out there will listen up and share the road!  Until this PSA is published on the telly, I gotta go back to Chinatown and find Gramps…  Any of you riders out there have bike commuting nightmares to share?  How do you guys get over those nasty comments from drivers on your commutes?

(For the more literal readers out there, Mir.I.Am was intentionally late to work today to film a Public Service Announcement with Hawaii Bicycling League.  Coincidentally, she did get yelled at by a guy in a pick up truck, but no Grandpas were harmed in the writing of this post.  Blueberry cream cheese scones are baked pure deliciousness itself.  Oh god, they’re so good!)