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Fashions for Fifty: Fifty is Fabulous Fun

“When I am an old woman I shall wear purple with a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t because it suits me.” Grape, berry, eggplant, cherry, tomato, brick. When a woman enters her second half-century of life she can take certain liberties, especially in the realm of fashion. My big 5-0 is this month, and I’ll be celebrating with style.

Newsboy Portrait

Who says you shouldn’t wear trends the second time around? Experience means knowing how to pull it off.

Inspired by the poem by Jenny Joseph that begins “When I am an old woman I shall wear purple with a red hat which doesn’t go,” Fashions for Fifty is a month-long celebration of my fiftieth birthday in March 2014.

 
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Posted by on March 5, 2014 in Cycle Fashions

 

A Closer Look: Phil Wood by Sycip Custom Road Bike

Some people covet them for the precise fit. Some have them built to perform a specialized task. Some seek the status of riding a one-of-a-kind item. For my husband Dick, treating himself to a custom built bike meant choosing exactly what he wanted like a kid in a candy store: frame material, tubing, joining method, geometry, paint scheme and application method, components and more. And of course, to fit him precisely.

I don’t know if Dick caught the custom bike bug at any of the North American Handmade Bike Shows we’ve attended over the years in San Jose, Austin and Sacramento, but it certainly hastened the symptoms. It’s no surprise. Dick has had a soft spot for lugged steel bikes since he bought his 1987 Bianchi Super Corsa with its flashy chrome lugs, and the NAHBS showcases some of the sexiest lugged steel bikes found anywhere.

With a generous offer from a close friend at Phil Wood, weeks of planning and painfully long months of waiting, the reward was sweet: a SyCip road frame built with Richard Sachs lugs, branded as Phil Wood & Co.

Phil Wood Sycip Road Bike

Dick set the bike up originally with a carbon fork, but switched to a custom steel fork made by Steelman Cycles, which he had chromed vintage-style by Superior Chrome in San Jose. That’s a lot of custom work by a lot of master craftsmen. But to Dick, the result is well worth it. It fits like a glove and rides like dream. His dream.

Location: Historic Woodside Store, Woodside, California, USA.

 
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Posted by on March 5, 2014 in Bike Gallery

 

Fashion Holiday Edition: Mardi Gras Masquerade

C’mon take me to the Mardi Gras! I have just the ballgown for a carnival ball: yards of taffeta over a fluffy petticoat and a shawl embellished with Mardi Gras-themed sequin appliques. With long purple opera gloves, bold jewelry and a shimmering feathered mask, my combo’s ready for a Mardi Gras Mambo beat.

Mardi Gras Ball Gown

About Fashion Friday: Inspired by a 2011 Bike to Work Day challenge sponsored by the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, this series highlights the broad range of “dress for the destination” bicycling fashions.

 
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Posted by on March 3, 2014 in Cycle Fashions

 

Where the Paved Road Ends

There’s a place where the paved road ends,
And before the trail begins,
And there the moss grows soft and green,

Dirt Road

And there the sun glints barely seen,
And there the moist air is thick but clean,
Still fresh from the deep canyon rain.

Surveying Stevens Creek

Let us leave this place where the smog weighs black,
And the loud road climbs and bends
Past the pits where the parched creek trickles.

Dry Stevens Creek Reservoir

We shall pedal with a pedal that’s measured and slow.
And watch where the fresh tire tracks will go,
To the place where the paved road ends.

Janet Creek Crossing

Thank you, Shel Silverstein, for the inspiration.

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Posted by on February 16, 2014 in Dirt Trails

 

Nothing Could Rain on Our Wine & Chocolate Parade

After four bone-dry winter months and declarations of the most severe drought in 500 years, a healthy rain storm blew in three days before the party. Before the drops even hit the ground the question came in: “Is the party still on?” “Yes,” I said, “Unless the governor declares a State of Emergency the party is on. And unless the weather service declares a Severe Weather Alert the ride is on too.” Or as Adina quipped, “Apocalypse cancels. Or in case of apocalypse the four horsemen will join our ride.”

The rain was heavy elsewhere around the bay, but in San Jose there was little more than a few sprinkles. No horsemen of the apocalypse joined our pre-party ride, unless they were in the back of the pack riding sweep.

Virginia Bike Share

Fifty women had RSVP’d for the party, but given the 60% chance of rain I only expected a dozen or so to show up at Diridon Station for the pre-ride to the party. I should have known better. After all, women who ride are built tough, whether it’s dealing with hostile traffic on their commutes or soldiering on through wind and fog on century rides. Especially when there are others along for moral support and tasty treats waiting at the end.

Bike Statue

The fortitude of women who ride doesn’t stop when they dismount. The party attracted women who seek change: better bike routes for themselves and their families, better bike parking at workplaces and shopping destinations, better support from law enforcement to keep our streets safe. That doesn’t come easy.

But when you get determined women together, great things happen. Candice and Carmen’s home runneth over with strong women in influential positions like: Sally Lieber, former California House Speaker pro tempore; Kim Walesh, Director of Economic Development for San Jose; Shiloh Ballard, Vice President of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group; and Ellen Barton, the new Alternative Transportation Coordinator for San Mateo County.

At the same time there were inspired leaders of grassroots efforts like Wendee Crofoot, co-founder of Great Streets Mountain View; and Adina Levin, co-founder of Friends of Caltrain and the Drive Less Challenge. Plus a half dozen staff and board members from the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition, our event sponsor.

Garden Party

Who knows where a little networking over wine and chocolate will take us? I’m hoping very far, and by bike.

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Posted by on February 14, 2014 in Around Town, Women & Bikes

 

Bike Commute Diaries: Exile for Susie Q PUBLIC

Poor Susie has been evicted from her private cubicle parking spot. “Bicycles may not enter the building,” says the property manager. All bikes must be parked in the garage on the far side of the complex, a 3 minute walk. Apparently, “As vehicles, bicycles are a safety and liability threat.” I promise I wasn’t riding in the building.

We’ll see how long her exile lasts. The facilities guy at my company is on my side. And I can be stealthy.

20140210-175602.jpg

About the Bike Commute Diaries: Launched in May 2012 for National Bike Month, this series explores the unexpected and surprising things I’ve seen and learned while bicycling for transportation.

 
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Posted by on February 10, 2014 in Commute Diaries

 

Fashion Weekend Edition: Rainy Day Cowboy

Sorry, Dylan. Sorry, Chrysler. Cars didn’t make America any more than ranch hands roped cattle from bicycles. The western classics: cowboy boots, a duster-style coat and a cattleman hat, keep the American man just as dry and comfortable on his bike as on his horse. There’s nothing more American than American style.

Cowboy Bike Portrait

About Fashion Friday: Inspired by a 2011 Bike to Work Day challenge sponsored by the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, this series highlights the broad range of “dress for the destination” bicycling fashions.

 
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Posted by on February 8, 2014 in Cycle Fashions

 
 
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