Archive for the ‘Bicycles’ Category

Searching for Patti’s bike

Sunday, October 13th, 2013

IMG_20131012_114053Patti’s bike got stolen. The familiar story—locked with a flimsy cable lock outside the café and, snip! Gone.

Patti is PattiPow: choir leader, local hero, my loyal chum and my steadfast companion. And Patti’s bike is Patti’s bike: her wheels, her ride, her well-tuned Brodie that fit her so well, and her own steadfast companion.

Patti’s bike had already been heisted once before, and turned up in a flea market in Maple Ridge. But by now it was already three days gone since the theft and I figured that probably by this point the bike would have been spray-painted and chopped into a dozen pieces. But you can’t really let go until you’ve exhausted all the reasonable possibilities, so this morning Patti and I set out for a wander in the Downtown Eastside with slim hopes.

Patti borrowed an old bike from her roommate and we rambled through Strathcona, stopping for her to get coffee and for me to peruse ninja gear in a martial arts store. (more…)

Bike crazy Cumberland

Friday, September 6th, 2013

1I’m at the library in bike crazy Cumberland BC.

I had not been off-island (Cortes, that is) for months. So in defiance of the Weather Forecast (pooh i say!) i leapt abike and pedaled off and away, cross island and through Campbell River and beyond. After 30 flat but boring kms on the old Island Highway I coasted through Courtney where every lamp post on Main St. plays happy ’60’s tunes (creepy as hell), then detoured along rural Headquarters Road where i stopped to fill my belly with blue plums and apples, and put my feet up the plum tree for a rest. Arrived in Cumberland after 75 or so km to check myself in to the Riding Fool Hostel for a couple of days of luxury vacation. When I pulled up at the Fool a crowd of women on mountain bikes was amassed outside the door. I asked someone if they were checking in and she said, no, just going for a ride. That was my first clue. (more…)

Beauty and the bus

Monday, June 17th, 2013

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAShe is like a big muscular lover, hulking but gentle. She weighs in at 14,000 lbs. I tiptoe around her, still shy to peer under her belly. Big metal springs, pistons, shafts, and tanks full of toxic fluids lurk below. There is black dirt and rust. Massive rubber tires as high as my shoulder. She is so lovely, and yet, so ugly.

I try to deny her automotive identity. I toss a rug over the massive steering wheel and put a pot of chives on the hood. I tell myself she is not so much a bus as a landlocked ship on wheels, but really, it is ridiculous not to recognize her for what she is. She’s a 1979 Chevy schoolbus. She’s my vessel. (more…)

What you find has everything to do with how you get there

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOnce in New Mexico I decided to go for an adventure to Albuquerque, and I asked if anyone had recommendations for what to do there. “You want to go to Albuquerque? Albuquerque is an armpit! Just move on through,” replied one car-dependent resident. Undiscouraged, I put my bike on the train in Santa Fe and rolled off into downtown ABQ. I threaded my way through the hidden neighbourhoods of Nob Hill, and over a magnificent pedestrian bridge across the Rio Grande. I paused at a Mexican bakery and a funky old theatre, and a hidden downtown alley where street folk sang soul tunes in the sun. An ancient black man in a straw hat offered me a hotdog and invited me to sit for a while, and I did. Had I driven through Albuquerque I probably would have found yet another crumbling American metropolis; just another armpit between the Interstates.

I find pockets of paradise in every place I explore by bike. (more…)

My life as a pedal pusher

Saturday, May 18th, 2013

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA year ago I went to work at The Bike Doctor as a humble pedlar of pedals.

I had never worked in the retail end of bikes, and The Bike Doctor is a big store. I was shaky and a little intimidated. There are hundreds of models of bikes and thousands of products I was supposed to know about, and although I’ve done tons of bikey stuff through the years the fact is I didn’t know jack about parts or accessories, or bikes. My abilities as a mechanic didn’t (and still don’t) extend beyond fixing a flat, and half the time I could not even get the damn tire off the rim. I was the only woman on a staff of 26 men. And since I hadn’t worked in a store since I was a teenager, the workings of the modern cash register (remember cash?) were utterly strange to me. I made a lot of mistakes.

The job called for an immediate ego smackdown. Working basic retail isn’t exactly high on the social prestige scale, and a woman my age with a resumé isn’t ‘supposed’ to be mopping greasy floors and making change for inner tubes. The pay barely cleared minimum wage, and my ‘supervisor’ was half my age. My bigass ex-clients would come in and raise amused eyebrows as I tightened their saddle or scrambled to find them a tire, but there I was—humble shop clerk and pedal pusher. Clocking in and clocking out. (more…)

A bike ride to Bellingham

Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOne day last week I took the notion to ride to Bellingham, Washington. I’d never been there, and hey, it is a place I had never been. What better reason?

Well actually the other reason was that I wanted to test my passport, to see if Homeland Security would give me the evil eye. And biking over the border just seemed like such a cool thing to do that it had to be done.

I did not get an early start, but as per Tony’s First Precept of Zycling, I was not in a hurry. By the time I got my snacks and maps together it was 10am and spitting lightly but the sky was bright to the south-west, from whence weather usually flows, so I headed out. (more…)

Eight precepts of Zycling

Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

meThis is a Guest Post by Anthony Golding, a bicycle buddha who sits zazen, blogs, and leads zycling expeditions in the U.K.

His website is Zycling: Zen cycling and how to wheel freely


How to buy a bike

Monday, April 1st, 2013

Critical_MassJust about every day I get an email saying, hey, I want to get a bike! I want to ride around town, do some shopping, maybe ride to work. I’m a little scared. I haven’t had a bike for a long time and I want to be comfortable. What should I do?

First, the brief affirmation: YES you DO! You do want a new bike! A bike that makes you want to ride, vs just good enough to get you there. A bike that will save you money and time, keep you healthy, and make you  beautiful (this is not marketing hype: I personally have never seen an unattractive person on a bike). You’re not looking for a product—you are looking for a relationship. A good bike will be your partner, and it is something you cannot afford to not afford. Find the right bike and the world will open up for you in ways you might never have imagined.

SO: about that bike. In an ocean of bikes, how to you find your true love? (more…)

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