Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Going through some old pictures...

Remember this?

Hard to imagine lately, right?


Monday, December 27, 2010

Are you a Winter Weather Warrior?

Or, more importantly, am I?

I knew that Capital Bikeshare was planning some sort of contest, but I didn't know what it would be. I was hoping for an "Around the Capitol in 1 day" where you had to hit every Capital Bikeshare station in DC in one day kinda contest.

But, I guess this is just as good ;)

The rules (and sign-up) are here.

In a nutshell, Capital Bikeshare annual & monthly members are eligible to opt into this 2-month long contest. What do you need to do? Well, ride! Specifically, ride Capital Bikeshare. The rider that takes the most trips during January and February gets crowned the Winter Weather Warrior! (and wins some pretty neat prizes, if you like that sort of thing).

There are some other categories to win: Most Saddle Time (rider with the most time spent on bikeshare), and Long Haul Rider (rider with most trips over 3 miles). There will be a winner in each of these categories in January AND February (the slate is wiped clean at the end of January and begins again February).

There are also some minor categories to win, including perfect attendance (riding bikeshare every single day of the contest) as well as some random drawings.

Also, did I mention that "bad weather" days count as double? You'll have to check the website to see what is considered "bad weather". I like that they don't count days where the system is shut down due to bad weather against the perfect attendance score (like yesterday, *ahem* *cough* *premature panic* *cough*), however I see that they also mention that if you DO take a ride on a day where the system had been shut down, but then re-opened it will count for the winter weather warrior/saddle time/long-haul rider categories. Not sure what I think about that...

I want to do this. I doubt I'll win the crown of Winter Weather Warrior, but I can shoot for perfect attendance, right?

My problem is, how? I only currently use bikeshare for emergencies. I use my own bikes for getting around.

I will definitely have to put Betty up for the season (I probably should do that anyway, but I love riding her).

I'll have to start commuting by bikeshare. The drawback to this is that it will actually *increase* my commute time (since I'll have to walk to the closest bikeshare stations rather than simply ride directly from home to work), and those extra minutes walking add up. And I'll have to figure out a way to haul my stuff around. The bikeshare "basket" is nice, but hardly adequate. Hello, messenger bag....

My commute to and from work is 1.5 miles each way. So that won't be enough to qualify me for the long haul rider. I can't use bikeshare at work itself, because I'm required to use my work's bike. So that's out.

I'll have to figure out some errands that I can on the weekends via bikeshare so I can keep up the perfect attendance.

This should be interesting. As alway, I will document my efforts throughout the duration of the contest.

I hope your holidays were well-spent! I'm looking forward to the end of them, myself. I've never been a big New Year's party kind of person. By the time I get through Christmas, I feel worn out.

I do have a bunch of New Year's Resolutions for 2011. As it gets closer, I'll share most of them with you. Do you guys have any resolutions for this year? How did last year's go?

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Happy Holidays!

I hope you are having a lovely holiday season!

Mine has been filled with:


Roller Derby!


And lots of food, friends & gifts.

(A girl couldn't ask for more).

Stay safe everyone!

Have you checked out Capital Bikeshare and GoDCGo's Winter Warrior contest yet?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Product Review: Basil MIRTE shopping pannier

Hi guys! How do you like this cold snap? And did you see the SNOW? YAY!

I managed to make it to and from my appointment Tuesday morning without freezing to death or blowing away. In fact it was quite pleasant. (And I spent 8 hours at work biking around in the freezing cold and loving it). I get to do it again tomorrow morning, but at least this time it should be slightly easier without the blustery wind. I'll post more about it after tomorrow (so I can get more pics in!).

Have you checked out the Capital Bikeshare and goDCgo Winter Weather Warrior contest? I've gone ahead and entered, but I'm not sure yet how I'm going to work out how I'm going to participate. I'll post more about that later too....

Speaking of being a Winter Weather Warrior, my boss issued a directive that there aren't supposed to be any people out on bikes or foot at work while the weather is below freezing. Something about not wanting to be liable for injury (slipping on ice) or illness (hypothermia), blah blah blah. YEAH RIGHT. I wait all year long to be able to bike in the cold! Thankfully, we're still given the choice (for now). It just can't be mandated that we be out on bike or on foot. I can understand the policy, but as long as the roads are clear of snow & ice, its really not more dangerous than being out when the temperature is 104 degrees. The trick is simply to ride safely and sanely.

On to some fun stuff!

*Note: No one has asked me to do this review, and I am not being compensated in anyway for this review. I just figured some people would like to know about this product.

The insane heat wave of last summer led me to my breaking point with messenger bags. I loved my messenger bag, but I was tired of having a sweaty back all the time, and a permanent red mark on my shoulder. Plus sometimes I needed to carry heavy, bulky things which made it very uncomfortable to carry.

I looked around for a stylish pannier-type bag that I wouldn't mind being seen with. I knew I didn't want boring black saddle-bags. I wanted something with a little flair. I saw a photo of an awesome bag on Ms. Bitch Cake's Hello Kitty cruiser bike, and I asked her where she got it. She led me to a great company called Basil. They are a Dutch company that makes all kinds of stylish bags, panniers, baskets & accessories (want fake grass for your bike? They got it.)

I checked Amazon, and they do sell Basil products. I knew I didn't want a full set of saddle-bags (YET), but rather something smaller that I could take on & off easily, and carry around with me.

Enter the Basil MIRTE:

This bag has everything I could ask for. First, it can carry a lot. Don't be fooled by its smallish size. You probably wouldn't be able to carry your weekly grocery shopping, but you could certainly pick up supplies at the grocery store for a hefty feast and still have room leftover for the wine.

Secondly, it's water-resistant. I do wish it was water-proof, but even so it does a really good job of keeping your stuff dry.  I've used it on rides in drizzles & rain, and the contents stayed quite dry. I haven't tried it in a downpour however. There are "tabs" near the top that could allow water in, but as long as you keep the tabs tucked in, its not really a problem.

can you see the "tab"? 
Third, it is super easy to take on & off the bike, and stays secure while its on your bike. The bag is attached by hooks that simply slide on & off your rear rack. It takes 3 seconds to put on or take off.  I ride with this bag nearly everyday, and I have yet to see it come loose. Plus, the hooks can be hidden by a zippered flap so they won't be seen while you carry the bag around.

Hooks that slide onto your rack.
It takes a licking and keeps on ticking. Despite being out in the elements nearly everyday, the bag still looks almost brand-new. It hasn't gotten grungy & dirty at all, and cleans really well with a damp cloth. It's also stylish. This particular bag comes in a variety of colors. I can take this bag off the bike and carry it around like a handbag or big purse, and no one is the wiser. My favorite way to shop is by bike now. I simply lock up my bike, take the basket & bag off, and use them to shop. I use the basket as my "grocery basket", and the Basil bag as my resusable shopping bag. I don't have to worry about not having a basket available (HELLO HARRIS TEETER), or forgetting to bring my reusable bag to the store.

Here's a few more pictures:

Yes, that's my dirty floor.

There are reflective tape strips along the side for better visibility

Easy zipper closure.

On the bike.
View from the back.

I think I might go ahead and order a full set of saddle-bag panniers from Basil too. There are times when I need to carry bulky equipment to & from work, and they would be perfect! 

So there ya have it: I highly recommend this particular product.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Getting cold out there...

Hi folks! Hope you guys are doing better than I am. Somebody's nasty cold germ managed to sneak past my awesome immune defenses and I've been feeling a little under the weather.


Friends and coworkers insist that I got sick because I like riding in the cold. I'm not a doctor (although I do like to play doctor...), but I'm fairly sure that colds & flu are caused by germs and viruses (virii?), not  by the temperature. In fact, I think I'm better off getting 8 hours of fresh air everyday, instead of being cooped up in an office breathing re-circulated air. Don't even get me started on the germ-o-copia that is The Metro!

Anyway, despite sounding like Darth Vader's kid sister, I managed to get some rides in. I just took it easy and stopped to get warm more often.

Coffee, anyone?

The temperature hasn't been too bad yet, and we've only seen the briefest glimpses of snow. 

Perfect weather!

This week is supposed to be MUCH colder with the wind chill bringing it into the single digits at times. Yikes! I'm not a fan of when it gets so cold, my breath is literally taken away. Still, I keep moving, put on my layers and drink lots of hot tea! Tomorrow I have an early morning appointment downtown that I need to dress up for. This should be interesting. I've never tried to be "dressy" and stay warm on a bike. This may take some creative layering. I will let you know how it turns out. 

As for work, I pretty much have it down to a science:

Under Armour Coldgear top & leggings. Socks (sometimes two layers). Pants. Shirt. Fleece Liner. Windproof jacket. (Sometimes the pants are windproof too). Thermal headwarmer or balaclava. Scarf. Thermal gloves. Boots. This is usually enough to keep me warm for hours at a time. Usually.

I really need to get new pairs of Under Armour though. I never have enough!

I also keep meaning to write a review on my Basil handbag pannier (in short: AWESOME).  Soon, I promise.

Some shots from the bike:

I have so many thoughts about this, but not sure if this is the blog for it..

Mayor of Wonky!

Parked at work. Look, Betty's snuggling with the other cruiser to stay warm!

Lunch on the go!

Another Stella sighting!!!!

Also, countless dead smooshed rats. I'm not sure if it was the temperature drop, but I saw more dead rats than usual in my meanderings. Ick. I was also almost surrounded by alley cats at one point. It was a little creepy. They kept coming out from under fences and garages, more and more of them, sitting in the alley and staring at me. I slowly backed out...


(I've been trying to figure out the best mobile-blogging option, since I'm constantly thinking "I should blog this" while I'm out, but then forget about it when I get home. I haven't found a solution that I like yet. None of them lets me upload more than one photo per post. Poo. Any suggestions, especially for an iPhone?)

Friday, December 3, 2010

Gone ridin'

Been a while since my last post. Life has been busy, but good! Loving this new cold weather setting in.

What have I been up to?

Poor cannibalized bike :(

Riding around....

Roller Derby!

I forgot to take pictures of my Thanksgiving feast. 

I promise an actual blog post soon. I've just been busy having fun. I hope your holidays are humming along nicely...