Monthly Archives: March 2013

Bike Date Good Friday, Bike Date Easter Sunday

In my parent’s generation, Catholics ate fish on Fridays to observe the day that Jesus died. Back home in South Louisiana, where seafood is fresh and abundant, eating fish hardly seemed like a sacrifice. My dad’s town even had a fish man who came to town every Friday, ringing a bell for the housewives to come out and buy.

But it wasn’t always sac-a-lait and crawfish for me. I ate my fair share of tuna casserole and fish sticks during Lent and was happy to do it. So it just seemed right that Dick and I are more modestly on Good Friday than on our usual Bike Date Fridays. Our choice: counter-service fish and chips at Cook’s Seafood in Menlo Park.

Fish & Chips at Cooks

It was nothing like the frozen fish sticks I ate as a kid. Nice firm, flaky halibut with a crispy, non-greasy batter. But don’t take my word for it, fish & chips is a favorite of Dick’s and he declared them top-tier.

If we were back home for Easter, we’d be having a big meal with my big family, perhaps even a crawfish boil. I usually plan a special dinner for just us two, but this year we rode up to the Gamble Garden for a impromptu bike picnic. Who cares that the weather report said rain by 3 o’clock?

Front Basket

Unlike our last bike picnic at the Gamble Garden, we kept it simple, packing a few things from home and grabbing sushi from Whole Foods on the way. There were a few sprinkles, but the rain didn’t come. The garden was busy with visitors, but we got a quiet picnic table under a big oak tree. It was a refreshing change from the usual holiday meal. And we got to see the glorious tulips and daffodils blooming in the garden.

Tulips & Daffodills

Do you celebrate Easter or another Spring holiday with a special meal? Where do you go? What do you eat? Do you like to mix it up from year to year or are you a traditionalist?

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About Bike Date Friday: Since September 2010, my husband and I have had a standing date every Friday night. We eat at a different place every week and arrive by bike. There’s no better way to end the work week.

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Posted by on March 31, 2013 in Bike Date


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Fashion Friday: The Power of Red

When facing a tough negotiation, businessmen will turn to red power ties to show strength, authority and dominance. For more casual settings, bold and dynamic red accents can give you a extra boost of confidence to help you make a statement and stand out from the rest of the crowd. There are no red shrinking violets.

Red for Rights

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.


Posted by on March 29, 2013 in Cycle Fashions


Free, Untrammeled Womanhood in San Francisco

Did you know that Susan B. Anthony, a fearless leader in the American suffrage movement, believed in the power of bicycles, especially for women? Her famous bicycle quote begins: “Let me tell you what I think of bicycling. I think it has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world.” That’s a strong endorsement from someone who fought for 40 years to earn women the fundamental citizen’s right to vote.

To honor women like Susan B. Anthony during Women’s History Month, the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition hosted a Women’s History Bike Ride around the city. Margaret, the new volunteer coordinator at SFBC, was our enthusiastic host. Her passion for the women who broke tradition to give us the rights we take for granted today shone through at every stop in our leisurely two hour tour.

Stop #2

At our first stop Margaret told us how Susan B Anthony bullied poll officials and dropped her ballot in the election box in 1872 (nearly 50 years before it was legal) and how she successfully fought her case in court. Despite being denied the chance to testify and being convicted of voter fraud, she never paid a dime of her fine.

The second stop focused on fashion and how the need for less constrictive clothing in general dovetailed with the need for sportier bicycling clothing, an effort spearheaded by Amelia Bloomer. Every woman who wears pants today should tip their hats to Amelia for paving the way to split-legged efficiency and comfort.

Next was a stop at a corner in Japantown where suffrage supporters held a victory party after women were finally granted the right to vote in 1920. All it took was a mother’s letter to her Senator son imploring him to be a good boy and vote for ratification. Sadly, Susan B. Anthony died before she could legally cast a vote.

At our final stop Margaret told the story of Annie Londonderry, a petite young woman from Boston who left her three children with her husband and rode her bike around the world. Why? Who knows Annie’s true motivation, but I’d like to think that she’s not that different than we women today who challenge ourselves with daring rides. Then again, how many of us have the chance to win $10,000 in prize money?

We ended the tour with cupcakes, but not before Margaret read us the rest of Susan B. Anthony’s bicycle quote, which rings true over 100 years later: “[Bicycling] gives women a feeling of freedom and self-reliance. I stand and rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a wheel…the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood.”

What does bicycling do for you? Are bikes freedom, self-reliance or something other than that?

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Posted by on March 29, 2013 in Around Town, Local History, Women & Bikes


The Lazy Woman Triumphs at the Chili Cook-Off

My trusty little bike trailer can haul more than groceries. With careful packing I was able to transport my prized Chili Verde to the Silicon Valley Bike Coalition’s Volunteer Party and Chili Cook-Off last week. The trick was not filling the slow cooker too full, nestling it amongst other party supplies, and dodging potholes and riding very carefully over bumps. I made the short trip without spilling a drop (but I put it in a plastic tub just in case).

Chili Trailer

I got to the party early to help set up and entered my Lazy Woman’s Chili Verde in the #1 spot for the cook-off (call me superstitious, but I think that helps). We mingled, we ate, we laughed. I was so busy having fun I forgot to take photos. I won the spicy category by a single vote and I promise I didn’t stuff the ballot box.

Slow Cookers of Chili

My recipe is no family secret nor something I learned in culinary school. It’s all about recreating a classic dish in as few steps as possible. Because when you’re rushing to cook dinner after a long workday, there’s no time for tradition, just time for tasty good. Here’s the recipe, dedicated to everyone who loves to cook the easy way.

Lazy Woman’s Chili Verde

The traditional recipe for this classic Mexican stew starts with slowly stewing fresh tomatillos, but I cut corners by using salsa verde from a jar. You can keep it super simple with just salsa verde and meat or you can get fancy and add sauteed onions, peppers and garlic and use broth instead of water.

Ingredients: 2 lbs pork or chicken, 1/2 Tablespoon Creole seasoning, 1 onion, 1 red pepper, 1 green pepper, 1 large clove garlic, 12 oz jar of salsa verde, 12 oz water or chicken broth. All measures are approximate.


Posted by on March 28, 2013 in Around Town


Bike Path Revisited: The Little Trailer That Could

Remember those chicane fences on the Stevens Creek trail I wrote about a few months ago? I got a comment from Andrew who didn’t agree with my assessment that the fences were wide enough apart: “Try getting through these easily on a cargo bike,” he said. He has a point. I don’t have a cargo bike so I can’t say it works.

But I DO have a bike trailer, so I decided to test the trailhead fences on the way home from a Costco trip.

Ready to roll.

It was my first cargo grocery trip and I didn’t hold back at Costco, buying big and heavy items like toilet paper, dishwashing soap and bulk food items. Everything I would never dream of buying with just panniers.

I learned a lot more than whether the trailer could navigate the chicanes. I learned that an empty trailer is an unstable beast, that typical bike parking doesn’t work for trailers, that the angle of a curb cut can make or break you, and how hard it is to accelerate when you’re dragging 70 pounds of cargo. It was eight miles of hard work.

Did the trailer work on the chicane fences? Yes, much better than much of the ride.

The chicane fences on Shoreline Creek Trail: no problem!

To all you parents out there who haul kids and gear like this every day: you are truly amazing! Those eight short miles and four overpasses were more tiring than 40 miles of rolling terrain on my road bike.

Have you ever ridden a cargo bike or a bike with a trailer? What did you notice that was different?

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Posted by on March 25, 2013 in Around Town, Bike Lane FAIL


Fashion Friday: Straw Hats On for Spring

As the Northern Hemisphere rolls past the Spring Equinox and Americans roll our clocks forward for Daylight Saving Time, the annual debate continues. When can we wear warm-weather fashions: white shoes, searsucker suits and straw hats? Yankees insist on Memorial Day, in the Deep South it’s Easter, and in California anything goes. So it’s hat’s on for Spring for me, but no white shoes until Easter.

Kimono Dress

Popular in the early 20th century, the close-fitting cloche hat is usually made with felt. But it works in straw too.

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 22, 2013 in Cycle Fashions


Bike Commute Diaries: Time for Plan B

Given my office is surrounded by freeways, airports, rivers and railroad tracks, I’m lucky to have found an easy, bike-friendly route. And today, when a train stopped cold on rarely-used tracks I was glad I had a Plan B.


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


Posted by on March 18, 2013 in Commute Diaries


Fashion Weekend: Gold Rush Tough Classics

The only things tougher than the 49ers of the California Gold Rush were the leather boots, heavyweight denim jeans and other natural fibers they wore. What worked then works today for those headed to the hills, albeit at higher speeds on a Harley Davidson motorcycle, another tough American classic.

Dick on Harley

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.


Posted by on March 17, 2013 in Cycle Fashions


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Bike Commute Diaries: Lighter Than Air

When you trade the sturdy city bike you ride to work every day for a road bike you ride after work, you feel like you’re soaring into flight, right from that first pedal stroke. And maybe you are. Happy Daylight Saving Time!

Altamont Descent

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


Posted by on March 14, 2013 in Backroads, Commute Diaries


A Closer Look: 2008 Lemond Poprad Cyclocross Bike

Way back in 2007 I was a triathlete, century rider and mountain biker who heard about this thing called cyclocross and was intrigued. Cyclocross is the steeplechase of bike racing, with barricades where you dismount and run, steep run-ups where you shoulder your bike, and loose corners, sand pits, and soul-sucking grass to keep you on the ragged edge. And in our local scene, doing all this in costume for bragging rights.

I had both skinny tire and basic dirt skills, I could run (not fast) and loved costumes and the irreverent attitude that comes with it. Races are 30-45 minutes of all-out effort I felt I could manage since the pain may be intense, but it’s mercifully short. So I bought a steel Lemond Poprad cyclocross bike and raced it. It was a blast.

The Poprad was replaced by a lighter steed who stole her drivetrain and her place at the starting line. Retired from racing and outfitted with low gears, she has been reborn as Liberty, the ultimate all-terrain touring machine.

Poprad on the Trail
Faster than my mountain bike but hardier than my road bike, Liberty is made for the dirt trails and gravel roads that criss-cross the hills around San Francisco Bay. She’s no stranger to off-road rides and has hauled overnight gear, but I have yet to fully test her strength. Where should we go? How deep into the wild can she take me?

Lemond Poprad 2008 b

Configuring the gearing on this bike was no easy task since I wanted low mountain bike gears with road levers. So I took it to Charles at Passion Trail Bikes. He and his staff found the right front derailer (Tiagra, no less) that would shift properly for this unconventional setup. Thanks, Charles, for doing what Sheldon said was impossible!

Location: Enid Pearson Arastradero Preserve, Palo Alto, California, USA


Posted by on March 11, 2013 in Bike Gallery

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