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December 6, 2011

Minneapolis Has It

By Anna | 2 Comments »

I was back in Minneapolis recently for work, and was lucky enough to hook up with Erik Noren of Peacock Groove again to ride one of his handmade bikes. On my last visit I saw a preview of a killer bike he was taking up to NHABS – the “Country Mile”. It was sparkly gold, built of some of the best components out there, and looked like a hell of a good time for any type of riding you wanted to do. According to Erik, he built the bike to go wherever the rider lead – hauling, road riding, touring, cyclocross, trails, you get the idea. Well, color me shocked when I walked in and he said I could borrow that one if I wanted. After much squeeing, I grabbed the beauty and rode away quickly before he could change his mind (but after he showed my how to use Campy).

I had so much fun riding that bike around the city. When I left his place I didn’t have much of a goal or direction other than to make it over to the Grease Rag that evening for their 2nd Tuesday night meet up. Last visit we ended up in a BLIZZARD and I bailed on most riding. This time it was chilly, but I was totally thrilled to ride on the trail and appreciate the city, the other riders, and how awesome it is to be in a bike friendly area. After stopping for a bite at a little cafe, I found the route over to Recovery Bikes, the Grease Rag host for the evening, to have a bike hang out with some chickies.

This is one of their newest meet ups, so there weren’t a lot of new visitors that needed help that evening. This allowed the regulars to do some of their own work, and it was so great to sit back and watch the ladies fix up their stuff like total pros. Low was performing some TLC on her winter bike, which had been stored up during the summer months. The other girls were doing things like truing wheels, changing to winter tires, and changing chain rings. Afterward we went out for a drink at a local bar and talked about all sorts of things while listening to the sultry sounds of karaoke singers.

Kat and I met up the next day for a ride and some lunch. We did a circuit around the city and it felt so so good. It had been a while since I just went on a ride just for the heck of it (cyclocross is taking over!). We stalked the above Peace Coffee guy for a little while so I could try and get a photo, and I think he got a little annoyed. Sorry dude! But, transporting coffee by bike? SO COOL!

I had so much fun on this trip hanging out and riding with some great women who ride in a great city. Whenever I leave bike friendly places like this, I leave knowing that the reason these cities are so great is because of the PEOPLE. People who stand up for what they want and, wonder of wonders, can actually get it! Go Minneapolis Go!

December 5, 2011

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

By Elisa | 5 Comments »

And the winner of last week’s contest is….

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DAN!

Congrats Dan, who said , ”I’m thankful for the friends I’ve made through riding, the fitness it has helped me achieve, and the positive mindset that I now have because of bicycling.”

Dan, we totally agree. Send an email to elisa(at)bikeskirt(dot)com with your address and we will get your T shirts out to you.

To everyone who participated, thank you so much for sharing why you are thankful for your bike. I read and re-read all the posts all felt my heart swell with bike love.

I am thankful that I can post a photo like the one above and not feel judged. Yikes!

November 29, 2011

Give Thanks (a giveaway!)

By Elisa | 28 Comments »

Everyday (well, nearly every day) I give thanks for my bicycle(s). I am thankful for the freedom they allow, the calories they burn so I can eat more pizza and beer, the way my legs look, the feel of the wind on my face and the freedom from parking tickets.

I also give thanks to you, dear readers and friends, for your support and participation in this little blog of ours. We started 3 years ago assuming we would be the only ones reading it. We had no idea that we would be so challenged, celebrated, supported and loved!

Speaking of amazing readers, one of our most loyal readers, who requests to remain anonymous, would like to make someones day a bit more exciting. He/she will be sending one of our readers this package of 3 t-shirts (sized womens medium)!! When he/she asked, we were blown away…just wanting to do something nice, with no recognition…sounds like a cyclist, doesn’t it?!

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To win, just comment with why you are thankful for your bike, or for bikes and cyclists in general. On Friday we will pick a random winner using one of those fancy internet contest winner machines.

(we know that sometimes our comments do not show up so I (elisa) promise to check our spam comments every day to make sure that all comments are counted. We are working on fixing this issue)

Give thanks!

November 23, 2011

Is pizza a vegetable? Depends on the pizza.

By Anna | 4 Comments »

Well since I had so much success with my last rant, I thought I would add another to this week’s posting.

I get regular emails from the Center for Science in the Public Interest. I have no idea how I got on this list, but this week’s notice was about how pizza (tomato paste actually) is considered a vegetable in school lunch. You might have heard this news from other sources; I also heard commentary on it via Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! (WBHM represent! I listen to a lot of NPR, because I’m a communist).

Elisa and I are both as passionate about food as we are about cycling. Pizza is probably one of our most favorite foods -it’s got all the items that make up a “balanced meal” and it’s downright delicious. We were both members of a local Birmingham CSA last year, and I cannot count the number of times our vegetables ended up as pizza.

However, when I dream about pizza, it usually looks something like this:

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This is my favorite pizza to make, from Bon Appetit – Asparagus, Fingerling Potato, and Goat Cheese. It is amazing. AMAZING. You should stop what you’re doing, get to the store, rush home, and make this delicacy. I’ll wait.

Anyway, I would certainly consider the asparagus pizza a vegetable straight from heaven. This, however:

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This is pizza straight from hell, as documented on Fed Up with Lunch – The School Lunch Project. Should the tomato sauce on this pizza be considered a vegetable? I don’t know, maybe. Should it be served to any living being? Most definitely not.

So…why is this post on Bikeskirt? Well like I said we love pizza, and it’s a great cycling fuel. It should be at the destination of rides to be worshiped as the perfect combination of carbohydrate goodness, melty calcium and protein wonderfulness, and vitaminy fibery deliciousness. Pizza should not be demonized!

Processed foods that don’t even resemble whatever they’re supposed to be is the problem. No one should be putting that food in their bodies, particularly if they are persons working to live intentionally healthy lives. I understand processed foods cheaper, more convenient, and stimulate those happy receptors in your brain sure, but for gods sake lets just say no to this mess. We live life in the admittedly slow but enjoyable bicycle lane, so we should also take time to allow our food to join us on that journey.

November 21, 2011

What a mess

By Anna | 19 Comments »

Bikeskirt is primarily a story proving that women in the south can and do in fact commute by bike fairly successfully. I personally haven’t delved too much into the philosophical/political because I feel that

  1. I’d be preaching to the choir
  2. Bikes are fun, and  drama clouds that fact
  3. I’m a judgmental asshole and try to keep that at bay as much as possible
  4. I am actually not a good writer and have a hard time making coherent points

But that doesn’t mean I don’t stew about all of the things out there in the social sphere that impact why we and others do or don’t ride.

Friday morning while I prepared to hop on my bike and ride to work, I heard on the local NPR station (WBHM represent!) about a wreck on our most nightmarish road to town, 280. The wreck had resulted in one death and major traffic delays. It was upsetting to hear that someone had passed away (which later turned into multiple deaths), but I felt that the reason they were reporting on the wreck was primarily because it was blocking all lanes of traffic into and out of the city.

When I arrived to work I heard my co-workers speaking about how terrible the traffic was on said road from hell. I didn’t hear details of the conversation, but I’m sure it revolved around how inconvenient the incident was for them as they tried to make it into the office. I restrained myself from jumping into the conversation with unwelcome comments such as “it took me the usual 10 minutes to get to work today” or a more general “I had a great time riding my bike this morning”.

This all got me thinking about how people’s priorities are completely backwards (how did traffic become worse than death?), question for the umpteenth time why everyone wants to live in the horrible suburbs and spend an exorbitant amount of time in boxes, and contemplate why we as a society have lost our ability to discern how we want to live and to run our government for the good of all society. For example, many people I know move out of the city because they want the perceived safety and the good school system, but why can’t they take a stand and create that in the city? Why do they want to commute in a car for an hour on a good traffic day when it is completely unnecessary and unhealthy? Why are we all sheep who do what society tells us to? Questions for the ages.


While this is not specifically bike related, it does speak to a main reason why I ride. I ride because I want to live a meaningful life of integrity, and no one is going to tell me otherwise. The cars that buzz me, the friends and family that think I have a death wish, the strangers who make snide remarks, the city planners that continue to ignore that I even exist – they might upset me, but they don’t stop me for doing what I love and believe in. I wonder how many people who live the suburban life can say this.

I have hope for change; the city seems to be recognizing the great things that downtown Birmingham has to offer and new businesses and opportunities for development are popping up. We have new apartment buildings being built too, which is very exciting. I love my city, and I just wish the people around me who do nothing but gripe and complain and thus accept the status quo did as well. Take a stand! Live for the city IN the city! Don’t accept these social ills!

See what I mean about not making coherent points? Maybe what I’m saying is that everyone else’s life is shitty and mine is awesome so be more like me…which is not a very good argument for anything. Whatever, I’ll just ride on my wide open streets and appreciate what I have anyway.

 

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