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Tag Archive: travel

Weirdest things you see on your commute, a Bikey Roundup

Hey everyone. Mir.I.Am here, wrapping up a solid summer season in Buenos Aires… The leaves have begun to change color just as platform birkenstock sandals are changing into platform oxfords.

I may have missed this trend elsewhere in the world, but this was the summer shoe of choice in Buenos Aires… pedal power?

As boyfriend and I count down the days until our departure, I thought I’d share one last WTF travel-themed post about our time here and the weirdo things I see during my bike commute.

But first! Why don’t we take a look at some of the bikey highlights of this last couple months of free bike love in Buenos Aires, Colonia del Sacramento, and Mexico City, huh? The Mejor en Bici program turned out to be a little better than I thought… I ended up using it about 1-2X per month for errands and coffee dates. Check out the pics:

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Mejor en Bici free bikes – better than nothing, but only used them once every 2 weeks.

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Bikes in Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay – locked up to windows.

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Tourists sight-seeing on bamboo bikes in Buenos Aires.

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Knife sharpening skills – A bike turned into a grinding stone!

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Heavy-duty delivery trikes, complete with safety flag in Mexico City.

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The best Colombian cortado in Buenos Aires, and the only reason I’ll incur a penalty for taking a free yellow bike out longer than the allotted 1-hour at Full City Coffee House.

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Mejor in Bici, hanging out in the garden courtyard in Full City Coffee, with a flat-tired purple friend.

Ahh yes, the seasons are all reversed on the other side of the equator… as the bike commuters of Buenos Aires gear up for fall with long sleeves and scarves, Boyfriend and I will soon return back to the states for swimsuits and sandals.

So, let’s wrap up this bikey roundup with the real  reason I’m writing today: weird things I’ve seen on my commutes. Let’s sum it up with a list, shall we? (Note to readers, Mir is a terrible smartphone user, and cannot take photos while actually bike commuting, so all images of weird things seen while bike commuting have been hastily “curated” from the Google machine).

Weirdest Sightings while Bike Commuting in BA:

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This custom paint-job is one of a kind. What are they chances I’d see it in real life!?

  1. A woman riding the bike-crush of my dreams (the Rainbow folder I was drooling over on Mercado Libre a few months back) riding in Retiro.
  2. A 20-foot length of green painted bike lane + a can of spray paint + a dirty mind = Bike Lane Male Genitalia in Palermo Hollywood.
  3. A guy drinking a mate while riding a bike slightly uphill and weaving back and forth in the bike lane in Recoleta.

    Yerba Mate: sometimes you just can’t get enough, even if you’re biking.

  4. Monsato demonstration with people dressed in Haz-mat suits and Corn near Plaza de Mayo.
  5. A dude riding a sweet pink cruiser who was totally covered in tattoos (including his face and bald head) in Barrio Norte.
  6. Batman touching the hand of God Joker in Palermo.
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Insert “Arrested Development” quote here.

I know we’ve all seen our fare share of parked cars, dumpsters, and piles of fruit crates in the bike lane, but sometimes you just can’t beat Batman touching the hand of the Joker while you’re biking on your way to work. If only I had the smart phone skills to snap a photo of the obscene bike-lane-turned-male-genitals… Enjoy the weirdness, Bike Commuters!

Crossing the Delaware and enjoying new bikes

Over the years I’ve taken vacations, but never with my bike. Last weekend I attended a family wedding in Pennsylvania and all of my family told me the biking out there would be awesome. I contemplated packing up the car with my bike and driving from Chicago to Pennsylvania OR packing my bike for the plane ride. In the end, I opted for a vacation even from my own bike(s) and decided simply to take my chances renting bikes. The weather predicted for the weekend was iffy (at best) but the weekend weather turned out wonderfully — picture perfect for the wedding and a couple of bike rides on terrain that I normally wouldn’t experience if I’d been riding my own bicycle.

Typically I ride a road bike with narrower tires and a more forward position. For bike commuting and recreational riding around Chicago and the Midwest, my bikes suit me well. I do have a project bike in the works that would position me in a more upright position, but I rarely take any bike off-road.

But my weekend getaway introduced me to a few new bikes and to riding along crushed stone trails.
Meet my hybrid rental:
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New Hope Cyclery rents these Trek hybrids from their store for hourly, 1/2 day and daily rental periods and suggested riding the Delaware and Raritan Canal Trail, which is mostly crushed stone
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I took their advice and crossed over to the New Jersey side of the Delaware River, rode down to Washington Crossing State Park and crossed the Delaware River again to ride back up the tow path on the Pennsylvania side – to complete the roundtrip loop.

No bike riding across the bridge!
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Paying tribute to Washington at Washington Crossing State Park
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Having fun on the bike rentals (no- that’s not me poppin’ that wheelie!)
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The next day I ventured upstream to Frenchtown, NJ, to rent a tandem bike from Cycle Corner (advertised on the local area visitor map).
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Upon entering Frenchtown, I felt like I was in bicycle heaven. Everyone seemed to be out on bikes – whether they be visitors or locals. Bikes and bicycle riders decorated the town.

The shop guy happily showed off and adjusted the Electra Tandem Bike – cruising in smokin’ red style!
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Riding along the trail on a bicycle built for two:
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I did ride in the rear for this outing, but took a turn in the captain’s seat. Getting going was a bit wobbly at first but was fun once I got going… then I had to stop again (not the easiest especially with the rider in back).
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The end result of this vacation getaway? SMILES all the way.
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For me it’s always fun to get away and enjoy new adventures. I’m grateful for the vacation from my own bikes and even more so for the opportunity to ride different bikes! (For this bike trip I did take my own helmet and gloves so that I knew I’d be comfortable riding with my own gear; I just had to sign a waiver to turn down the shop’s helmet.) A while back Miriam visited Chicago and explored the bike rentals from Bike and Roll.

What bike travel adventures do you have to share?

Green Tuesday: Well, almost

If I can finish this post in 45 minutes or less, then technically it will still meet the deadline to legitimately be “Tuesday,” well at least here in Arizona.

I went to Nashville, Tenn., this past weekend and just got back home this evening. And while there is nothing “green” about flying across the country, allow me to share part of the weekend festivities.

My best bud and old college roommate, Will, met me in Nashville since I haven’t seen him since last September. I wanted to show him around Nashville, particularly downtown, so we decided to cruise the streets on our bikes. It was a great way to see the city at our own pace, enjoy the cold Tennessee air, and not have to set foot in a car.

Downtown Nashville is not a particularly large area, but there are tons of venues for live music. Nashville is proclaimed to be the country music capitol of the World, after all. The city is steeped in music culture, especially country and bluegrass. We stopped at the Gruhn guitar shop, which serves as THE go-to place for many of country music’s and Nashville’s finest musicians. The next time you are in need of a $15,000 Gibson banjo, check out Gruhn.

The city has lots of these guitars placed all over, but this is the only one we were able to find.

We climbed the steps of the State Capitol building and got a pretty sweet view of the downtown area.

The Ryman Auditorium is one of the top music venues in the country, especially for country music. The Temptations and the Four Tops are playing there soon apparently…

I love bluegrass music, which is popular in Nashville, but have never been a big fan of country. However, the feel of a downtown environment that is rich with the community of music is a really cool thing – you can hang out downtown any day of the week and hear free music from some really talented people just playing on the street.

For the observant ones amongst you, you might notice that Will was riding a Specialized Langster London. These bikes have been quite rejected by the cycling community because of their big-brand capitalization of a more independent style. In my eyes, if it gets someone on a bike and out of their car, then that is green enough for me.

So just because you are traveling doesn’t mean you have to stay out of the saddle. I was fortunate enough to stay with someone that had a bike I could ride – but many Local Bike Shops will rent out bikes for your touring pleasures. In larger cities, you can also find bike touring companies that will rent bikes for your touring pleasures. The car is not the only way…