Thursday, March 31, 2011

Springish--sort of?

Hi guys! How are you digging this weather?

Kinda sucks, right? Seriously, it has me down in the dumps. I am so tired of being cold. Last week was such a tease! I was so elated that I could walk outside without a coat, scarf, gloves & hat. I was running & biking up a storm...and then this week hit. Bah! Humbug! Back to hibernation mode.

I was really looking forward to checking out the Cherry Blossoms at the Tidal Basin this weekend too. The whole "cherry blossom festival" thing is something that I've never really gotten into while I've lived in DC. Cherry Blossoms are everywhere in this city, and I don't see the point in getting cramped in with a bunch of (very lovely, I'm sure) idiot tourists when I can see them from my window without being accosted by (well-meaning, I'm sure) idiot tourists asking for directions "To The Museums". Since the Tidal Basin becomes Idiot Tourist Central this time of year, and I have very little patience for it, I tend to avoid that area like the plague. But then I heard that WABA was going to be doing a bike valet service for it, and I have to check it out!

(P.S. I head that WABA is offering tickets to the Nats game on Sunday if you help staff their valet service on Saturday! I would totally jump on that, but I have to work. Poo. You better jump on it quick though-its only being offered to the first two people that volunteer!)

Some other spring events you might want to check out:

-30 Days of Biking! I first heard about this last year while I was on vacation in NC. The concept is very simple. Bike everyday for 30 days starting April 1st. Document it, share it, photograph it, whatever. Just get out and ride!

-Bike DC. This is by far my favorite bike event in DC. It was the very first biking event I ever signed up for. Now that it's been moved to the spring time, it usually falls somewhere around my birthday, so it becomes a present to myself. If there is one bike event that you should definitely do in the DC area, this is it. You get to bike around DC, sans traffic, including the GW Parkway & part of 395. It is a really awesome experience. I'm hoping to get as many friends involved as possible.

-Bike to Work Day! May 20th. There's a bunch of events going on around this day, so be sure to check it out.

Be sure to check out WABA's events page for even more bike events in the spring.

It has come to my attention that I failed to mention that the new running shoes I purchased last weekend were a result of a Christmas gift card for Pacers from the Boy. By far, its been the best & most useful gift I received.  I've been able to buy a bunch of stuff that I really wanted. So, thank you Boy!

Speaking of gift cards, I want to thank each and every one of you that entered my giveaway by offering a cycling memory on my last post. And congrats to Will. I really hope that gift card gets put to good use! To the rest of you (all 3 of you), I wish I had a gift card for all of you!

Nothing really major to report about my last week of biking. Pretty standard. Ride to work. Ride at work. Ride home from work. Sometimes ride to the bar, and then back. I already mentioned my little problem with Betty's chain and the random awesome guys that fixed it for her. Other than that, its been pretty chill.

Do any of you guys have any questions? I was contemplating putting together a FAQ, but then I realized probably no one really has an questions, let alone frequently asked ones...

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Bike Karma!

First, I would like to Congratulate Will for winning the $50 Revolution Cycles gift card giveaway! Congrats!

Also, thank you to Capital Bikeshare & Revolution Cycles for the opportunity to give something back!

Second, for those of you that left a comment with your favorite cycling memory (even you, Erik, even though you deleted yours out of fairness!) I really enjoyed reading about all of them. Seriously. Bicycling is awesome!

The last few days, Betty has been having some issues. I rode home the other night and I hit a bump. All of a sudden, I couldn't pedal anymore! Not only could I not pedal, but I couldn't brake! Yikes! Betty's chain had slipped off. Not good! Luckily I was on level ground, and I was able to stop and fix it without crashing. I figured it was all good once I got home, since the chain managed to slip back on while I was walking her home.

Then yesterday, I was on my way to the Roller Derby match at the DC Armory when Betty threw her chain again! Oh no!!! I didn't have time to fiddle around with her this time, and I almost crashed because I lost my braking ability again. arrrrrgh! I locked her up in front of Duffy's and prayed that I would have time to fix her another time. I really had to get to Derby! Luckily a friend was driving, so I hitched a ride with him.

I had a great time at the Roller Derby (only 2 more games this season, people!) and ended up having to leave Betty locked up overnight at Duffy's.

I came back today to get her, and figured I would just walk her to the nearest Bike Shop for a fix. I was walking along V St, when a bunch of guys that were standing in front of a row house noticed my wonky chain :-( They stopped me and asked if I needed a fix--I said sure! (What did I have to lose?)

Those guys had my chain back on and tightened in 10 minutes flat. How awesome?! I offered to pay them money, but they refused.  They saved me a good 30 minute walk, and who knows in labor fees. Seriously, how awesome? I believe some beer might magically appear on their doorstep in the near future.

That is a true example of bike karma :-)

So, who's excited about Spring? I know it still feels like Winter, but Spring is here. It really is! So many cool events coming up.

Who's with me?

What's your favorite Spring event?

Total Bike Karma. I have no doubt there will come a time when I can pay this favor back!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Win a gift card. And, oh yeah! Spring!

Hi guys! How was your first day of spring? Mine was fabulous. I bought myself a new pair of running shoes, and enjoyed a nice, warm spring day out on the bike. I plan on doing a nice, long ride tomorrow to celebrate!

I'm sure you all remember me whining about winter....about how cold, miserable annoying it was becoming.  In fact, I even signed up for some silly contest to prove that I was better than winter.

I was so tired of the shivering, the bundling, the multiple layers....just done with winter.

Yet, you all stuck with me. I rode everyday during this horrible season. And you all supported me.

Because of that support, I managed to snag a nifty gift card to Revolution Cycles. (A gift card that I could sorely use to purchase a new road bike, mind you...)

Yes, because of my Perfect Attendance during that contest, I won a prize. Because of you.

A prize that I want to pass on to you. Because quite honestly, I wouldn't have done it without you folks. I would have simply given up on the first "too cold, too snowy" day. You guys kept me accountable.


If you would like to receive this gift card (for $50.00 worth of merchandise at Revolution Cycles), please respond to this post with your favorite cycling memory. Whether its from your childhood or last week, it doesn't matter...just post it.

Mine? My first bike was purple. I think I was about 8 years old. I did everything on it! Trick mounts/dismounts, jumping over ditches, riding down super-hills, I was definitely a dare-devil! I loved it. I didn't ride it to too many places, because there weren't many places to ride it to (there weren't many places to ride to where I grew up ;-)

So, leave me a comment. You have one week! On 3/28/11 I will use a random generator (to be fair) on this post to determine the winner. Please note: you can comment as much as you want, however, only one comment will be counted for the contest (to be fair).

Again, thank you so much for all of your support!

P.P.S: Stay tuned for some awesome Spring events!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Spring is so close...

I can feel that spring is right around the corner. The warmer days are outnumbering the colder days. We've set our clocks forward. And I've started to see buds & flower blooms.

Last weekend I picked up Betty from the shop after her tune-up. I couldn't wait for a nice, long ride with her. Luckily my friends had hit me up to do a loop around the Capital Crescent Trail & Rock Creek Park. It was glorious. 30 miles of meandering through beautiful scenery. I couldn't think of a better way to start off a weekend day, even if I had just lost an hour of sleep thanks to DST ;-)

Unfortunately my camera had a little accident on my way to meet my friends. Somehow it came unscrewed from my mount and went flying off my bike while I was on the CCT. I was able to retrieve it, but it took a bit of effort before I could get it in working condition again. Unfortunately, I don't really have any pics from the first part of my ride. I did get a few though:

Betty in Rock Creek Park. That's my Banana Saver on my saddle, btw.

On the Capital Crescent Trail.

Blurry Beach Drive. It's shut down to vehicular traffic on the weekends.

What a gorgeous sunny day.

Can you imagine what this looks like when the trees are in bloom?

If you squint, you can see the blooming daffodils on the hill.

Heading towards the Watergate & the Kennedy Center

 More nature.

Lincoln Memorial

A view from the driver's seat.

Can't wait to do it again.

Yesterday I had a couple of quick errands to run. Which took me near this place:

I figured it would be the perfect opportunity to try a little cupcake experiment of my own! I decided to roll with the Red Velvet cupcakes. It was a really difficult choice, but I wasn't sure which flavor The Boy would prefer, so I decided to play it safe. Everyone loves Red Velvet. They packed them in wax paper & a to-go box:

A cupcake is merely a frosting transportation device. And Betty is a cupcake transportation device.

The box was then taped shut & placed in my front basket for the ride:

Yum Yum.

Some notes: The temperature was in the mid-50's. I had less than half a mile to travel on paved city streets. The box was the only item in the front basket.

When I got home, I resisted the urge to open the box right away. I had some chores to do, and decided to wait until they were done before rewarding myself.

A clean apartment later, and it was time....

And I don't have a photo. Want to know why? Myself and The Boy DEVOURED them before I could remember to get a photo. Whoops.

You will just have to take my word for it that they survived the trip just fine. I think the smooth paved road and the quick travel time with mild temps helped tremendously. The two cupcakes were just enough to sit snugly in their box without sliding around.

And that is the first of my cupcake experiments.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Winter Weather Warrior Results & Vasa Ride Review

So the results are in for the Winter Weather Warrior contest and......I did it! I made Perfect Attendance! Woohoo!

As I posted when I first began, it wasn't easy. There were quite a few days I just wanted to throw in the towel and stay inside where it was warm. I even had the flu on the very first day of the contest. But I stuck with it and eventually CaBi became a part of my daily life. So much so that when the contest ended and I went back to commuting on my own bike, it felt strange. I'm glad I participated, but I'm glad its over too. Maybe there will be a spring contest?

Last Sunday I woke up at an ungodly hour and headed over in the rain to the Swedish Embassy to participate in WABA's Vasa Ride. It's a 58 mile course that ends back at the Embassy with some warm blueberry soup.  When I checked the website the night before, it said that registration was full and that 600 people had registered! Unfortunately, the number of people who actually showed up fell FAR short of that number! What the heck, people? Are you all made of sugar or something? So it was a teensy bit wet out--at least it wasn't cold! WABA said there was about 70 people that showed up. I think I counted MAYBE 40 by the time I started the course.

Registration tent

Swedish Embassy

Remembering the difficult time I had with my last long ride around DC (The 50 States Ride), I think I overcompensated this time and packed everything but the kitchen sink in my bag...oops. My pack was a little heavy.

-First, I'm really glad I opted not to use Betty this time. It was simply to wet out, and the course was fairly hilly--not extremely so, but enough that a 50lbs 3 speed cruiser wouldn't have been practical or fun at all. I used Jamie, my Jamis Coda Sport instead. He's much lighter and better suited for basic hills. I really wish he had fenders & a rear rack though.

-I'm really glad I had a group of friends to do this ride with. Because of the small amount of riders doing this ride, I would have gotten separated at a bunch of points on the course and become hopelessly lost in Blair Witch country. I had no idea where I was most of the time, and was glad I had people to watch out for me.

-I really wish Jamie had a rack. I used my messenger bag to carry everything with me, and ever since I started using a pannier on Betty, I cannot stand wearing messenger bags/backpacks anymore. My neck & back were killing me throughout the ride. I managed to ignore it most of the time, but I know I had to stop more often to stand up straight and stretch my back than I otherwise would have.

-I packed too much. I really didn't want another dehydration/starvation episode so I packed a ton of water, gatorade & snacks. I really didn't need all that.

-I think I dressed fairly well. The only items that I had a problem with were my shoes & gloves. Everything else got damp, but not soaking wet. Unfortunately my feet & hands were drenched. I'm really glad that it wasn't cold out. I was wet, but never cold. If it had been cold out as well as rainy, I don't think I would have shown up either.

No, I didn't finish the whole thing. However, it wasn't because of inability, it was because we ran out of time! I mentioned that I did this ride with a group of friends. We are all coworkers and every time we stopped for a "quick" break, it turned into a blab fest that lasted a bit longer than we meant, oops! We love to gossip! I think our "lunch" break took almost an hour. Anyway, by the time we were 3/4 of the way through we realized that a) we were never going to make it in time for the blueberry soup and b) one of my friends still had to be at work that day, and if he was going to make it on time, we had to hoof it back ASAP. We took a few short cuts to make it.

Here's the course we did:

It was a very scenic ride. We rode by Glen Echo Park and into some very beautiful communities with gorgeous homes & farms. I've never been to that part of MD before.

Did I mention it was raining that day? I was a soaking, muddy mess when I was done. I wanted nothing more than to take a warm shower and put on dry clothes. Even Jamie got a bath!

Jamie takes a shower.
I would definitely do this ride again. 

I don't really have too many photos taken during the ride itself. It was so wet out, I was afraid of breaking my camera. Even my poor iphone is now having issues from having gotten wet. The sleep button won't work anymore. Oh well. Here's a few shots I took:

My overloaded pack.

New home being built.

Rest Stop. for 45 minutes.

So, I hear the Bike Summit is in town. I really wish I could have registered, but I need to save my money & leave hours. Those of you that are participating, have fun! Take lots of pictures for me.

I dropped Betty off at BicycleSPACE for an annual tune-up. They told me it would take about a week before I could get her, but the next day the mechanic called me and said she was all set! Yay! I'm sure the speedy service is simply because they don't have much room for her (she's a big girl), rather than because she's special ;-) I haven't had a chance to pick her up, but as soon as I can escape work, I will be glad to bring her back home! I want to get her tomorrow morning, but if its going to be all rainy again, I think I might wait until its dry. No sense in getting her muddy & wet when she just got clean!

The next ride I'm looking forward to is Bike DC! It will be my 3rd time doing it. Unfortunately, I heard from WABA that NPS denied them the permits for the GW Parkway. That's the best part! C'mon NPS! Quit being party-poopers. I'm also registered for Bike to Work Day, and 30 Days of Biking. Spring has sprung, people, and I am so happy!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Thank you & Vasa Ride tomorrow

Hi guys! What a gorgeous week it was, right? I'm exhausted. I did a lot of riding at work this past week and I'm tired, but in a good way :)

I rode Betty on my commutes to/from work for the first time since last December. It was awesome! It was weird adjusting to commuting without Capital Bikeshare though. Don't worry, I will be back to using CaBi very soon since Betty is due for a tune-up (thank you Groupon!) and she might be in the shop for awhile.

First off, I want to thank each and everyone that left a comment, tweeted and/or emailed me about my little incident last week. Thank you---for both the positive and negative comments. I really do appreciate getting diverse perspectives. The driver is being prosecuted and when I find out the final outcome, I will be sure to let you all know and post more detail about what happened.

Tomorrow, I'm planning on doing WABA's Vasa Ride. It's supposed to be rainy tomorrow (possibility of flooding, actually) so I'm definitely not gonna take Betty. I will take Jamie (my Jamis CodaSport). He's been feeling a little neglected and lonely lately anyway ;-)

I'm trying to put together a list of what I'll need tomorrow since it is an unsupported ride. I don't need another 50 States Ride experience, ha! My friend Mir will be riding with me, so that will be wonderful. It's much more fun to have a friend with you on a long ride.

-Underarmor leggings & top
-Mocean rain pants
-t-shirt of some sort
-heart rate monitor
-fleece zip up jacket
-rain jacket w/ hood
-helmet (of course)

I will put extra gloves, socks, a scarf & hat in my bag in case I needed them.

In my bag:
-Extra plastic bags
-water bottle
-snack bars (clif, luna & lara bars)
-trail mix
-coconut water
-extra t-shirt & socks for changing into afterwards.
-travel air pump
-extra tubes
-a few tools in case I need them.

Anything I'm missing?

I really wish I had photos for you but I was so busy this past week that I didn't have time to snap very many. Hopefully after tomorrow I will have plenty!

Ride safe, my friends :)