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Showing posts from 2014

Bike Commuting in the Rain

What is it like to ride in a torrential downpour of rain? It feels like soggy feet when you step in a creek, and like drowning a little every time you breathe in your nose. It's a whole lot of wondering if your hands can squeeze the brakes any tighter, and having to change into your contacts because your glasses have become blinded by raindrops. Then it feels being poked in the eyes by droplets of rain, skidding a little in some places, and getting drenched by puddles in others. It's like waterlogging a book you borrowed from the library, finding out your backpack isn't as waterproof as you thought. But you know what it's really like? It's taking a rain bath in one of the first heavy downpours of the season, and tasting fresh rain on your tongue. Getting a chance to experience rain--really experience it--and feeling it kiss your face and drip drop into your boots. It's finding that a street near your home is flooded after accidentally riding into

Local as can be at the Live Oak Farmers' Market

What do you pass on your way to the farmers' market? I pass houses in my neighborhood, a local coffee shop, a harbor, a railroad track, and the beach! I'd say it's well worth the legwork up a few hills to get there to be able to experience all of that in one Sunday afternoon ride to get some fresh and local produce. On Sunday, I made my way by bike to the farmers' market, opting to take advantage of local produce from real people instead of a produce aisle at the Safeway down the street. Farmers' markets also bring communities together in an outdoor setting, and this one definitely brought the community out! There was live music being performed by The Pep Boys, and people were seated at tables in the center of the market, enjoying food and each others' company. I had planned out beforehand what some essential foods were that I needed for the week. Bread, onion, and some kind of vegetable was the list I had come up with, and I figured I'd select whiche

Service Saturday: World Surfing Reserve Beach Clean-up July 19

Yesterday morning, I picked up tiny pieces of plastic, cigarette butts, and other trash carelessly left by beachgoers during a two-hour beach cleanup at Seabright Beach in Santa Cruz. It began at 11 AM, so after a quick breakfast, I biked from my new place to the shore of Monterey Bay, looking forward to my first beach cleanup. I had been struck by a desire to participate in a beach cleanup on Tuesday of last week after stopping by West Cliff Drive on my way home from work. Sitting on a bench overlooking the Bay, I realized that I had never done a beach cleanup, although I've helped with cleanups of other kinds before on campus at UC Santa Cruz. I committed to myself that I'd do one soon, and then pedaled on home. That same afternoon, I checked my email and saw a message from Surfrider Foundation, announcing a World Surfing Reserve beach cleanup on Saturday, July 19. Wow, talk about the universe really aligning things for you! I immediately joined the Facebook event page a

Green Gal's Life After College, Featuring Monterey Bay, Organic Strawberries, and Bikes!

Today on the way home from work, I took the scenic route along the coast of the Monterey Bay. Yesterday on the way home from work, I stopped by a local and organic farm stand for some kale and strawberries. On my way to work each day by bike or bus, I can look below me and see the bay or look toward my destination and see redwood trees, fog, and deer. I couldn't ask to live and work in a better place than this. Since I last posted, I've graduated from college with a degree in English Language Literatures, acquired two part-time jobs, visited the Bahamas for the first time, and gotten back on my road bike. I've ridden up the hill to work four times in the past two and a half weeks of working, and my goal is to bike to work 2-3 times a week. It's 45 minutes uphill, and the hardest part is the last leg of it. I love the energy it gives me when I arrive at work, especially since my job is mostly sitting in front of a computer emailing people, posting on social me

Memories of bicycling for bacon

On a recent bike ride with my younger sister Jeune Gal , she and I were reflecting on our memories of biking to our hometown's Main Street every morning for a few summers in a row to get coffee, bagels, bacon, and to simply enjoy the weather without any responsibility. Those were the days! As we talked more about how much we missed those summers, we discussed how our bicycles really were our modes for freedom from home those days since neither she nor I had our licenses at that time. I was probably old enough to have one during those summers, but I didn't get my license until after going away to college. I believe I was 19 and had had two learners permits by then... I've still never owned a car, and I'm hoping I can continue to say that for many years to come. By biking in those days, we were able to learn the contours of our hometown's streets, find the quiet streets with less traffic, visit little stores we came across, and enjoy the weather by being out in it

Spring Break has begun... with lots of bikes!

My Spring Break began last Thursday, and I have until Sunday to enjoy time at home. I am studying and preparing for the class on Friedrich Nietzsche that I'm teaching through the Literature Department at UC Santa Cruz next quarter, but in between reading, I've been biking around with Green Guy and my sister. Take a look!  Friday night, I bicycled around town with Green Guy and Jeune Gal for the second night of my Spring Break from college--my last spring break of my undergraduate career!   While visiting Sonoma State with Jeune Gal yesterday, we saw her exact same bike parked in a rack, only a larger size. It was like a sign from the Bicycling Gods that she is meant to go there--and to bring a bike! She did decide to go there after visiting--I'm so proud of her and excited for this new chapter in her life. Go Seawolves! Jeune Gal showed her bicycling style on Sunday night before a party around the block in back jeans, black boots, and a lacy black top. H

Ditching Class to Ride Bikes... Kinda.

Yesterday, my Bicycle Transit Planning Team (BTPT) partner Aly and I left IDEASS class early to bike down the rollercoaster ride that is the UCSC Bike Path. No, we weren't ditching class just to ride bikes. Though I guess we kind of were... We did have permission from our instructors, though! We were on our way to our first People Power Bike Commuting Workshop that we're helping design and facilitate. They happen every third Monday at the People Power Office at 703 Pacific Avenue in downtown Santa Cruz. I'll post more about the workshop once finals are over. I will say that eight community members showed up for the first one last night. The conversation and sharing of stories and tips was awesome. I hope to see you at a future community workshop, or if you work for a business in Santa Cruz County and want us to bring the workshop to your business for a free lunch hour workshop, send me an email !   Learn more about the BTPT here .

Biking down Hagar Drive at UCSC on a day that thinks it's springtime

Santa Cruz Pi(e) Day Pajama Ride Bike Party

Pi(e) Day Pajama Ride  Bike Party required pajamas, of course! We picked up some pie at New Leaf on the way. Santa Cruz Bike Party happens every second Friday of the month around 7 PM. Learn more here . Yes, that's a couch, specifically The Happening Couch  (you can become friends with it on Facebook ). I rode a tandem bike with my friend Greg (of Moved By Bikes ). He owns this couch, which is equipped with speakers and attached to a trailer attached to the bike. Random folks jumped on it during the ride, and we had two riders get flats and ride the couch so they wouldn't get left behind. We pulled Green Guy up Walnut Avenue (a pretty steep road) after he got a flat... Serious bike party awesomeness right there. What's a bike party without a dance party? Green Gal and Green Guy! We rode up the hill to campus after the evening's festivities, having our own bike party along the way.