Posted: April 9th, 2012 | Author: JenniferSRoberts | Filed under: Cycling, Cycling Flair | 2 Comments »
There are numerous articles on the types of clothing you can ride to make a spin more comfortable. Wicking or blended fabric, wool or synthetic, lycra or cotton, the discussion about performance materials rages unabated. I know I was a dyed-in-the-wool lycra proponent when I first began riding Boulder roads. Living in Texas, I had never really considered changing attire to ride, I just hopped on my bike and cruised around San Antonio and Austin. But after moving to Boulder and catching the cycling bug, my closet soon bulged with all manner of brightly colored, spandexy shorts and tops. I wore all of it, a lot, every weekend I was out on a long ride somewhere appropriately attired and clicked in for a ride of miles of miles.
I guess my cycling attired reflected how I had organized my life. When I was out riding, I was out: right gear, power bars, and some barely palatable sports drink. I rode into town but not very often so when I wasn’t riding long distances, I wasn’t riding. Commuting rarely figured into my life, let alone every day so I never considered that having separate clothes for cycling might be a bit redundant.
It wasn’t until I got my first single-speed that my ‘cycling wardrobe’ really expanded. It was an old steel-framed, single-speed Trek and I loved it. Loved it and rode it as often as I could in all sorts of clothing: jeans, pants, skirts (if I was able to position the bike to get my leg over the top tube), sweaters, t-shirts – you get the idea. And I began to ride more often, to more places, my wardrobe limited only by my ability to swing my leg over the top tube and not get chain oil on my leg. I fell in love with commuting and all of a sudden didn’t feel the urge to put in long mileage for the sake of putting in long mileage. It became about fun, and meeting up for dinner, dropping into the library.
I won’t mention what happened to that much loved single-speed, suffice it to say that even steel crumples when it is jammed into a garage door.
Today, I want to ride in clothes that I can wear when I arrive at my final destination. Granted for longer rides out amongst the hills of Boulder, I’m probably not going to get clicked in wearing a pair of heals (although..). But most of my time spent in the saddle is cycling to work, to the grocery store, or out for dinner. So, I decided I’m going to check out some of the cycling-inspired attire companies have been making.
If you have any suggestion on where I might look, drop me a line.
Posted: April 6th, 2012 | Author: JenniferSRoberts | Filed under: Cycling, Cycling Events | No Comments »
The Dairy in Boulder had an exhibition devoted to bike art, including a showing of Bicycle Dreams. Some of the art work was pretty conventional but there were a number of pieces that were really inspirational and obviously took a lot of creativity and hard work to create. I was mightily impressed and would have happily purchased and walked out with several pieces. As it was I walked out with some pretty intense memories from a movie that made me rethink adventure, extremes and hardship. I don’t want to give away any of the key moments of the movie but I think explaining the overall message I left with won’t betray too much of the story.
I can’t imagine sleeping as little as these cyclists did in order to finish in the allotted time. There’s the whole physical and mental stress of riding long miles but add to it a lack of sleep and I’m not sure how the people who finished held onto their sanity. I don’t think I can ever fully appreciate the depths and breadths their psyche traveled during this event. What they experienced must have been transcendent and hellish.
Staggeringly beauty of the natural of the world. I think most countries can boast of dramatic scenery and breathtaking vistas. I also think the US as large as it is provides tremendous a rich and varied landscape. But can you imagine being exposed to them all so nakedly and so intensely?
Riding outside your comfort zone. I wonder what’s it like to keep riding. I go out for a ride and know that my final destination is really my back patio with a glass of beer at the end of a day on the bike. These guys/gals mounted up each day to take them farther and farther into their journey and their ultimate destination was measured in miles not location. How do you prepare mentally and physically for ongoing discomfort and an end that is more of a concept that an actuality?
This is a great movie to see. It doesn’t romanticize adventure; it very much exposes the toll it takes both on the participants and supporters. It does a good job of honestly conveying both the extreme risks and delights of doing something extraordinary.
Even if you don’t ride, if the idea of walking out your door and stepping out for a great experience excites you, you’ll get something out of this movie.
Posted: April 4th, 2012 | Author: JenniferSRoberts | Filed under: Cycling, Rides | No Comments »
From David Byrne's Journal
I’m just kicking off the season’s riding. Looking for the sweet, warm calm between wind storms and biting Spring cold temps/rain. And on those days where the needle falls comfortably in the middle temps, I head out to the false flats and flats that run parallel to the Foothills (it’s too early in the year to kick off the big climbs). Most of the time, I take 36 out of Boulder, following the ribbon of other cyclists in their brightly-colored spandex. The slow incline out of Boulder gives me a chance to warm my legs and stretch out. Once past the Gateway Park, round the concrete works, I begin the big descent. This is my least favorite part of the entire journey. I would rather take my chances and ride over broken glass than take this swift bend out of Boulder.
Yes, I am exaggerating, of course, but this one section of road with its fast turn and close proximity to cars gaining their top speeds reveals to me all the vulnerabilities of wearing flimsy clothing and riding skinny tires. I don’t know what it is that turns my stomach quivering as I am not generally either a timid nor a scared cyclist. If I was, I certainly would not have continued to ride as often or for as long. And it’s not as if Boulder hasn’t done a superb job on the shoulder, which is wide; or with their signs, which say “Share the ‘effin’ road with nice, groovy cyclists” (or something like that). I just feel unusually exposed on this one section of road. To get through it, I point my wheel straight and close my eyes. Ha. In reality, I get into my drops so I have quick access to my brakes, sit back on the saddle and pedal. I stay far to the right so that the speedsters can overtake me on the left and keep my eyes open and alert. The section is fast so the moment of fear passes pretty quickly and then I’m climbing again.
Are there road sections that scare you? If so, where are they and how do you ride through with confidence?
Posted: April 2nd, 2012 | Author: JenniferSRoberts | Filed under: Rides | No Comments »
The weekend before last a friend of mine and I headed out from Boulder with the aim of stopping in Hygiene at the Crane cafe for a little brunch time feed. Hygiene is about 12 miles north of Boulder so it’s not an epic event but it’s a great first ride of the season to get the legs moving. The ride out was lovely and unique in that we met up with all sorts of people along the way.
We met up at Amante. I arrived a little early, disturbing a very professional looking group of mtn bikers. A couple of them looked at me with concern as I rode up on my pink, DeRosa roadie. I assured them I was not joining them, which got a laugh from one out of the eight. Tough crowd.
We headed out towards Hwy36 on Broadway and were just about to make the turn out of town when we ran (or cycled) into Alan Lim of Skratch labs. He was handing out samples of his energy drink and rice cakes, especially designed for athletes. Check out his Web site where he describes the thought and care that has gone into the recipes for his energy foods. I know that I am eventually became grossed out by the sugary, sticky mess that I was eating on long rides and I have to say I really enjoyed the samples he handed out. I was pleasantly surprised by the flavor of the rice cakes as I was not expecting a savory flavor at all. Funnily enough as we pulled away, Alan said “don’t starve”; I shouted back “we are going for breakfast”, which was met with a bit of confusion. I guess I was already wolfing down samples and now was going to go eat more.
Heading out onto Hwy36, we eventually took a right onto Neva. You can actually ride further along 36 and take any number of rights (going south)and eventually run into a road going north that takes you into Hygiene, but we were eager to get off the busy highway. As it turned out, we may have been better off going a little further along because our northbound left turn onto 63 was cut short by road work. The whole road was closed. We noticed another cyclist trying to negotiate a route around but with little luck and not much conviction as he had described a sheriff handing out tickets to cyclist doing the exact same thing the day before.
So we headed back out and eventually turned left onto 75th, which worked out perfectly because we came across yet another cyclist looking for a little photography help, as you would. She wanted a picture of herself standing in front of the Hygiene Feed sign that read “We have chicks”. Of course, as she was only a singular chick, my friend was co-opted into the pic to provide a plural presence.
Finally, we pulled into the Crane Cafe. I don’t think I had ever had such a social, chatty ride. Cycling can sometimes look quite lonely and singular so it was great to chat with other two-wheeled peeps on Boulder roads.
Posted: March 29th, 2012 | Author: JenniferSRoberts | Filed under: Sustainability | No Comments »
My professional Development
How often does a person get to include the Rolling Stones and Texas Live Oaks in a blog post. But I think the two themes fairly represent my approach to trying new things.
I wanted to help. I wanted to change how we all view the environment. Transform it from a concept that is separate from our daily lives, and our pocket books to one that is an enriching and valuable part of who we are. I took classes on green building, ultimately earning my LEED AP; I took classes, earning a vague Sustainable Practices certification and the more substantial GRI; I interned at a Green Consulting company and I networked. I was excited and eager to get involved to show that maybe we didn’t need to make a choice between clean water and making a living.
But somewhere along the way, I began to hear ‘so, you’re a wannabe” sustainability person. And I heard it more than once. As if all my aspirations, money and time had merely earned me a grudging glance from some more well-established peers. Yes, I was a ‘wannabe’ – an enthusiastic, reading everything, going to conference person, who wanted to be involved. I read tons, visited Web sites and tried to understand how assigning a real value to our environmental resources could be accounted for in how we paid for things.
It was a little over a year ago, when I decide to get off the treadmill of conferencing going and course taking. I failed. I just couldn’t break through and no amount of education and enthusiasm was going to transform me into a sustainability professional.The blame lies with me: maybe I should have gone and gotten my MBA in Sustainability, maybe I didn’t want to make the tough choices to make a career transition, like move to another location.
Or maybe not. To borrow a phrase from the most hedonistic people I can think of The Rolling Stones - “you don’t always get what you want, you get what you need”. It’s a line that I find particularly galling coming from them but it does seem to hold some validity. I didn’t make the transition, didn’t cross the bridge but I did meet some extraordinary people and the experience set me up to be more willing to get involved in other movements and events, like TEDxBoulder.
I feel like my professional composite of experiences more closely resembles one of those Texas Live Oaks, with branches shooting off in different direction in pursuit of knowledge. Some of the attempts ended up grounded, others continue up and out but the resulting effect is pretty unique, at least in my eyes.
And despite all the twisting and skewed growth, the core of what I believe is maintained. I still firmly believe that understanding technology, writing and communicating and gaining a better understanding of how businesses can thrive is all useful in helping to build a better, more environmentally-valued future.
So, yes, I did fail to make the career transition. But I still wannabe learning, growing and working and maybe that’s what I need. Damn, the Stones.
Posted: March 20th, 2012 | Author: JenniferSRoberts | Filed under: Cycling Events | No Comments »
Sarai Snyder of Girl Bike Love is a veritable firebrand for supporting women cycling. Whatever type of cycling that may be: road, mountain bike, cycle cross, commuting, she’s got creative ideas for helping to spread the word about the benefits of cycling, especially for women. Recently, working with a team from LanguageDept, Sarai launched CycloFemme, which is a day devoted to getting women, and all this who love women, out on their bikes. May 13th is the day and there are lots of ways to get involved:
Planned group rides have been registered from as far away as Australia and as close to home as Boulder. Check out the Ride List and join one or set one up. It’s a great chance to get back into the swing of riding or cycle some well-worn trails with some good friends.
Posted: March 5th, 2012 | Author: JenniferSRoberts | Filed under: Cycling | No Comments »
I admit it. I was taken in by the promise of warmer weather and sunshine. I saw the forecast for this past weekend and thought that Sunday had all the ingredients for a perfect ride. Buddy, warmer temps and sunshine; once you are used to 30 degree weather, 50 degrees sounds downright balmy. I emailed a friend and we excitedly planned for a ride to Hygiene for breakfast.
I checked the forecast a couple of times during the week and actually recommended a reschedule to Sunday to take advantage of the 2 degree warmer temp. By Friday, we we had a plan, a start time of 9:30 and Amante as the meeting place selected. In a word, we were a ‘go’.
Saturday it was windy. Very. But I was optimistic that the wind would lose some of its huff and puff by Sunday morning. I was wrong. Very. The morning dawned bright, clear and gusty. I looked out the window, at the swaying tree tops, and tried to put a spin on the scene outside.
I wasn’t willing to crawl back into bed; the gorgeous sunlight just looked too inviting. I also didn’t want to disappoint my friend and I was excited to try breakfast at the Crane in Hygiene.
I dressed in my gear and noticed I was all in black, which was unintentional and made me look like I was in mourning. I guess in retrospect it was perfectly suitable attire for drinking espresso in a cafe. Hubby had very kindly gotten pinky some new shoes and so she was riding smooth and fast as I headed up our street. I was full of lively expectations: I had my camera, a full water bottle and was excited to be headed out on what I was certain would be a fun ride. This lasted about 300 yards when I had to turn north and rode right into a blast of wind that was powered by and emerged from a time when the earth was young and full of fire.
I lurched, swayed, and battled my way up to Amante on Broadway, which is about 2 miles from my house and is where all the skinny roadies scarf their scones before their rides. I met my friend, we discussed our options and decided that we would not be so easily swayed; we would take it to the road. Our fervor lasted about 5 minutes on Hwy 36 when we made the decision to make a big-U and head to Spruce Confections.
The ride was cut short but I still had a great time and a story to tell of being out on a bike with friends.
Posted: February 22nd, 2012 | Author: JenniferSRoberts | Filed under: Cycling | No Comments »
Make It & Sell It Here
There are a few groovy things that are going on in town that I think are worth mentioning. First up is the grand opening of Factory Made, which is a shop dedicated to the production and sale of locally-made, hand-made items. They had an open-house this past Saturday that was filled to the brim with great looking wares and Boulder’s well-heeled crowd of designers and those that wished they could design (that would be me).
I checked out the lab area, where a a full suite of sewing machines was on display. There was also a huge back room, which seemed to intentionally designed to throw clay and paint around.
Despite my best intentions, I did not walk out with anything. I was too busy people watching, admiring all the great objects and trying to narrow down what I would buy first, that I didn’t buy anything. I have filed the memory of a couple of pieces that if they stay at the foreground of my thinking, I’ll saunter back in and get. It’s hard being a minimalist when you keep finding well-made, local stuff you love.
Controversially, well, at least for a town where the biggest issues seem to be around the glut of gluten-free products, Factory Made changed the mural on the side of their building. It was completely in their purview to change the mural, as I think they own the building.The original mural was a slightly dated message around domestic violence but, of course, because of the content it did raise some conversation.
Saddle Up & Cycle Fast
On a separate and an unrelated matter, I finally rode into work Monday and Tuesday. I had been fighting a chest cold, 18inches of snow and winter fatigue. Every excuse but the third one had any real validity to it so I fought the urge to snuggle deeper into my bed and rode the 3 miles into work. Actually, to be completely honest the car is the shop, so there was no alternative. But once I was out, it actually felt really good.
It’s amazing how quickly you can get out of the habit of something you enjoy. Like most activities there are some elements that you care for less than others but during a break sometimes the features that most turned you off loom largest in your mind. (or my mind, at least). And it takes a more concentrated effort to reengage and then be reminded why liked to do something.
Having said all that, I DID NOT RIDE TODAY into this wind-storm of badness!
Posted: February 17th, 2012 | Author: JenniferSRoberts | Filed under: Cycling, Sustainability | 1 Comment »
I’ve been reading several posts lately about the expected rise in gas prices in 2012 and the potentially positive influence it might have on the cycling population. I think there maybe some influence but I definitely don’t think there’s much causation.
When people get excited and eager for gas price increases, I think they are exhibiting a lot of misplaced optimism. Maybe they live within walking distance of their office, grocery stores, and great restaurants. Perhaps, they live in temperate climes and in flat regions and don’t have to ride through ice and snow, searing heat, up hill riding a Huffy. No offense to Huffy, of course.
But I would suggest that the average commute for most people isn’t in the 3-5 miles range and may actually be closer to 29-50 miles. I tried to find a national average but was unable to find a definitive number. And because of those distances, I think that the burden of rising fuel costs will be felt disproportionately by the people least likely able to afford it.
I think about this conundrum- the effectiveness of offering alternative forms of transportation – every time I go out to Denver International Airport. It’s about an hour long drive from where I live. But I imagine that for the people that work there making minimum wage their commute can’t be much less. Why do I think that? Because Pena Blvd is 13 miles of prairie, uninhabitable waste land. Yes, there are a few condos out there, but no where to buy groceries, go to school, or out for an evening. In other words, the barista serving you coffee probably drove in from places quite a distance away and just had to spend approximately two hours of their working day just paying for the gas to do it. And it’s not like commuting by bike is an option. Yes, I’ve seen the commuter bus, which drops off and picks up airport employees to take them to DIA, and it’s somewhere out in the middle of cow pasture-ville, which in order to get to they had to drive. There the ones that get hurt, when the price of gas spikes.
I did not take this picture nor can I remember where I saw it
Yes, I believe commuting and other forms of transportation are important but let’s be honest that without investment in other ways to get around, rising gas prices just means many are stuck paying higher fuel prices. That’s it. Rising gas prices doesn’t immediately translate into a cycling-friendly utopia, with everyone riding Dutch bicycles. It more likely means less alternative and more creative ways to get around.
Posted: February 13th, 2012 | Author: JenniferSRoberts | Filed under: Cycling | No Comments »
This weekend was just too darn cold to ride. I know there may have been some die-hards out there on Boulder roads this past Sunday but I was not one of them. Instead, hubby and I drove out to Hygiene to check out the Crane Hollow Cafe, which is something I’ve been wanting to do for years.
(Yes, we drove. But look at that picture to the left. Snow on the roof and icicles hanging from the eaves, it was enough to keep this gal indoors, drinking coffee and eating pie. )
I’ve always cycled right through Hygiene without stopping, in a hurry to get on my way to Carter Lake. Each time, I whiz through town I always think “one day, I’m going to stop and have coffee or breakfast there”. And to be fair, I was never certain what their hours were but now I know they are open til 2pm on the weekends and serve breakfast all day.
Hygiene is also the only place I’ve ever gotten a ticket while riding my bike. A group of us were out for the day, and were probably headed towards Carter Lake or places beyond. Each of us did a roll-stop through the only stop sign in town. No sooner had we passed through that two or three cop cars descended on us and corralled us into the middle school parking lot, where we each got a hefty fine. We were informed that the appropriate way to stop, was to unclick and place our foot on the ground. We were each a bit miffed at the situation but to be fair, cycling clubs in Boulder have a tendency to swell to 30-40 riders and not heed many of the street signs. I guess they had to send a message somehow.
Fortunately, that little incident did little to dampen my enthusiasm for Hygiene. And as soon as the temperature is sitting comfortably about freezing, I’ll be headed back out for biscuits and gravy (or shit on a shingle, if you’re from S. Texas) and a frothy coffee.