Ziggys – You Rock!

I put my hands together for Ziggys!  By all accounts this project has been a great success and I for one am loving my Bella Blue Bicycle!  John has done a great job in coordinating the project – thanks to all the contributors.

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Bicycling rants

The bicycle is a curious vehicle. Its passenger is its engine. ~John Howard

I was just out walking with a collegue who embarked upon a rant about those “idiots” who ride on the sidewalks.  She is dead set again anyone at any time riding on the sidewalk.  I have noted that she is not alone in her opinion and of course, there is the fact that this practice is against the law.   But have you riden down King Street lately? It can be a hair raising experience with large trucks passing way too close for comfortable.  Then of course you have the drivers ranting at you for riding on “their” road and taking space in “their” lane. 

I sure hope that the city planners are thinking of bike lanes when they are busy organizing and designing all the work that’s happening in our cities!

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Cycling – Getting back into it!

Getting back into cycling to work has been fun, but requires not only leg power, but brain power.  The first day, totally jet lagged after a long day at work, I found myself at the parking lot looking for my car instead of the bike cage – oooppps!  I was really hoping noone spotted me, bike helmet on looking bewildered. I have also found since I riding Bella Blue Bike that cycling to work is pretty quick and easy- it’s the organization that requires some forethought and diligence.  For instance,  most days I take a water bottle and lunch, laptop computer and sometimes clothing (that isn’t suitable for bicycling) to work, not to mention other incidentials.  All this takes loads of space and can make things a little awkward, especially when one doesn’t have the best balance in the world.

Being a solution drived person I’ve decided to decrease the days that that haul the laptop home (which is probably a good thing!).  I’m also thinking about dropping off a large supply of water and lunch goodies that will last the week to avoid the transport back and forth of all these items.  I’m getting a new little basket at the front of my bike to store more stuff too!  With any luck I should have the whole process perfected by when the snow flies.

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Cycling Inspiration

There are many reasons we ride our bikes; for exercise, to be more environmentally friendly or even  to save money on gas.   My collegue has been cycling for a different reason!  She has been diligently training for the past several months to enter the Ride to Conquer Cancer.  It was a 288km ride – 143 day one and 145 (with hills!) day two.  She rode with a team and all 7 of them completed the ride in her husband’s name (he recently has won his battle with Cancer).  The ride took every ounce of energy and determination she had, but she finished!  The team raised $25,000 itself and the whole even raised 6.5 million.  How is that for inspiration?

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Cycling in Turkey

Cycling is alive and well in Turkey! There are a bunch of cycling tours that leave from the town in which we are staying however most of the bicycling that we have seen has been functional in nature. Most bikes have carriers of various descriptions used to carry everything from groceries to fish to lumber.  Returning from our trip to the bazaar, I happened upon this fellow taking a break from the 40 plus heat that we’ve been experiencing.

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Singing on my bicycle

Do you ever find yourself singing while riding along on your bicycle?  One morning while pondering the next blog, I started to sing the famous Queen song (I want to ride my bicycle).  Singing the tune actually helps me pedal more vigorously, which gives me the added advantage of getting to work a few minutes early. Of course, all day long this song was playing in my head tempting me to belt it out in the most inappropriate times. So here it is – click on the link below and maybe you too will be singing it while you ride on your bicycle!

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The wonderful world of bike accessories!

“Life is like a ten speed bicycle. Most of us have gears we never use”.

Charles M. Schulz

Of course, now days that would be a 24 speed bicycle, but who am I to aruge with Charles Schulz? The other day while waiting at Ziggy’s I started exploring the plethora of bike accessories.  Man, this could give my family gift ideas for the next two years!  I have to say that hands down my favourite accessory is the biking shorts (although the widened gel seats look pretty great too). The funny thing is that I’ve had the shorts for a few years, but never put them to good use until recently.

Most appealing to me is the accessory which is a wee mirror that attaches to the handle bar or helmet.  Since I’m a bit of a klutz, I  wonder if turning my head back to view traffic behind me could cause me to run into something in front of me. This mirror would eliminate such problems, so I’m thinking this is the best new accessory for me. That wide gel seat is a close second though.

Happy cycling!

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Riding in the Dog Days of Summer

When I go biking, I repeat a mantra of the day’s sensations:  bright sun, blue sky, warm breeze, blue jay’s call, ice melting and so on.  This helps me transcend the traffic, ignore the clamorings of work, leave all the mind theaters behind and focus on nature instead.  I still must abide by the rules of the road, of biking, of gravity.  But I am mentally far away from civilization.  The world is breaking someone else’s heart.

~Diane Ackerman

I hope that the recent heatwave  hasn’t deterred anyone from riding their beloved bikes!  Normally I simply ride to work in my good work clothing, but not this week.  Despite the fact that it’s not a really long bike ride, I donned a workout shirt and headed off to work.  Actually the ride their is wonderful as the breeze kept me pretty cool (yes, even with the humidex), but the way home is mostly uphill and is significantly hotter.  It makes getting home at the end of the day all that much sweeter.

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10 FUN BICYCLE FACTS

  1. In 1817, Karl von Drais, a German baron, invented a horseless carriage that would help him get around faster. The two-wheeled, pedal-less device was propelled by pushing your feet against the ground, The machine became known as the “draisine,” and led to the creation of the modern-day bicycle

  2. The term “bicycle” was not introduced until the 1860s, when it was coined in France to describe a new kind of two-wheeler with a mechanical drive.

  3. Orville and Wilbur Wright, the brothers who built the first flying airplane, operated a small bike repair shop in Dayton, Ohio. They used their workshop to build the 1903 Wright Flyer.

  4. Fred A. Birchmore, 25, circled the globe by bicycle in 1935. The entire trip, through Europe, Asia, and the United States, covered forty thousand miles. He pedaled about 25,000 miles. The rest was traveled by boat. He wore out seven sets of tires.

  5. There are over a half billion bicycles in China. Bikes were first brought to China in the late 1800s.

  6. About 100 million bicycles are manufactured worldwide each year.

  7. Over the past 30 years, bicycle delivery services have developed into an important industry, especially in cities, where the couriers have earned a reputation for their high speed and traffic-weaving skills.

  8. Americans use their bicycles for less than one percent of all urban trips. Europeans bike in cities a lot more often—in Italy 5 percent of all trips are on bicycle, 30 percent in the Netherlands, and seven out of eight Dutch people over age 15 have a bike.

  9. The Tour de France is one of the most famous bicycle races in the world. Established in 1903, it is considered to be the biggest test of endurance out of all sports. Lance Armstrong, an American cyclist, is the only rider to have won seven titles (1999–2005) after surviving cancer.

  10. Bicycle Moto Cross (BMX), an extreme style of bicycle track racing, became a sport in the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, China. Maris Strombergs, of Latvia, received the gold medal for Men’s BMX, and Anne-Caroline Chausson, from France, took home the gold in the first Women’s BMX Olympic event.

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Greening Up

What did one bicycle wheel say to the other? Was it you who spoke to me?

Earlier this spring a friend lent me the book Sleeping Naked is Green, by Vanessa Farquharson.  Not only was it a good and funny read, it was very inspiring as well. The book is written by a journalist who decided to make one new environmentally friendly change each day for an entire year (not an easy task!).  Reading this book was probably what lead me to enter the Freewheels project (in my own quest to make new environmental choices). I figured that if by some chance I won,  it would give me the boot in the butt that I needed to start being more green.

My efforts to be friendly to the environment date back to the days before people brought their own grocery bags to the supermarket or composted regulary. These practices used to be viewed as somewhat strange before being green became a global issue.   There have been times when I’ve been called “The Garbage Police” by a few disgruntled collegues.  I’m glad that there is a growing awareness of the need to protect our environment. Since fuel emissions are one of the huge sources of pollution eating away our ozone, bike riding is one of the most environmentally friendly (and healthy) things a person can do. Carpooling or taking the bus are also great ways to reduce the amount of fuel emissions that you are expending.  Riding Bella Blue Bike is just one more way I am reducing my carbon footprint, and that feels good to me.

Happy Greening Up!

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