Category Archives: Biking

Friendship, Adventure and Wishes in Bend, OR

My friend Jules and I just returned from a long-weekend trip to Bend, OR.

Bend is going on my list of favorite places. It reminds me so much of Boulder, CO where I grew up, I felt very homesick while visiting. It’s ecology is considered high desert so I took comfort in the dry mountain air and the familiar flora. The surrounding mountains and buttes give ample opportunity to explore the great outdoors and the fresh mountain springs provide excellent conditions for brewing beer.

Photo Credit – Julianna Large

Here are a few things I learned throughout our visit:

  1. If the wine selection is limited to “the red one” and “the white one,” it’s not gonna be very good. 
  2. Beer can only be improved upon when brewed with pumpkin and served in a caramel sugar-rimmed glass.
  3. Ten 3-ounce samples of beer for $10 may sound like a good deal, but it’s still 30 ounces, no matter how you look at it.
  4. A hot beverage and a game of shuffleboard, even when you don’t know the rules, is the perfect way to spend your night when the wind and freezing air keep you indoors.
  5. Always check the map before heading out on a hike. It’s surprisingly easy to get lost on 100% of trails tested, even the one that only has one trail.
  6. There is no problem that can’t be fixed by a long soak in a hot pool. We all just want to be soup.
  7. Wishes can come true if you just ask.
  8. If you try to be cultured and take the round-about art tour, you should probably just pass. Get a cup of coffee, talk about life and love, read National Geographic and crochet a pair of bunny slippers instead.
  9. Take time to enjoy yourself. Go with the flow, balance some rocks, don’t plan every minute and hope that adventure finds you.
  10. And lastly, sometimes your soulmate might actually be your friend. There are thoughts you can only share with friends, there are things you can only do with friends and there are times that the only people you can count on are your friends. 
Photo Credit – Julianna Large / the rock the camera sat on

This Thankful Thursday, I am thankful for Jules. We’re new friends, and I’m a shy person, so it was really nice to have the opportunity to get to know her better in a one-on-one setting. 40-year friendships don’t just materialize, you have to invest in them. So Jules, here’s to a long and healthy friendship!

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Getting Around

My first semester of college I took a microeconomics course. I learned a lot from this class but one of the biggest things I took away was the following.

“When traffic is congested, each driver is imposing a cost on all other drivers on the road –he is literally getting in their way (and they are getting in his way.) This cost can be substantial: in major metropolitan areas, each time someone drives to work, as opposed to taking public transportation or working at home, he can easily impose $15 or more in hidden costs on other drivers.” – Microeconomics by Paul Krugman and Robin Wells

In that class I also learned that “You don’t need to know this,” means, “You need to know this,” in professor speak, and that you should never enter a jungle alone (I don’t remember why, but I wrote it down in my notes).

The point is, I had never really thought about the negative economical factors involved with automobiles. The environmental impact is something I’ve always known is terrible. Automobile driving is a major cause of:

  1. Global Warming: Carbon dioxide emissions from autos are the largest contributor to global warming.
  2. Air Pollution: Automobiles produce nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, and particulate matter that contribute to smog and respiratory illnesses.
  3. Water Pollution: Automobile manufacturing, gas and oil production, road runoff of fuel, oil and antifreeze, underground gasoline storage tanks and marine oil spills all pollute our water.
  4. Habitat Destruction: Oil drilling, metals mining and road construction all damage wildlife habitat.
  5. International Conflict: Nations compete over oil reserves. The US currently imports 48% of its oil — the highest levels ever. Many analysts ties this oil dependency to the hundreds of billions we have spent on Persian Gulf wars.
Americans drive an average of 231 miles per week, which comes out to about 12,000 miles per year. For a car with average miles per gallon (21), this is 571 gallows of gasoline annually. Given that every gallon of gasoline used emits 20 pounds of CO2, that means our cars are emitting 11,420 pounds of CO2 each year. The Union of Concerned Scientists stated, “personal use of cars and light trucks (including pickups and SUVs) is the single most damaging consumer behavior.” In fact, the most significant change an individual could make toward reducing their carbon footprint is to cut down on how much they drive. Here’s how:
Lastly, be a considerate and cautious driver. Fast accelerates and decelerations are damaging to your vehicle and the environment. Moral of the story: Be the tortoise, not the hare. In this classic children’s tale, the tortoise proved that slow and steady won the race. The arrogant hare who burst from the gates and slams on his breaks for a rest proves that being a jerk never got anyone anywhere. Or at least that’s what I got out of it.
How do you cut back on your car time?

Tour de Fat does bad things to good people

This title is a quote thanks to Jessica and her Facebook status. Tour de Fat is a magical bicycle parade, which occurs but once every year. It is an event created by New Belgium Brewing Company in order to celebrate bike culture in cities across the U.S. There is music and other forms of entertainment, food from local restaurants and, of course, beer. It is one of those affairs in which pictures speak much louder than words.

Maggie's Mind Mumbles//: Tour de Fat doe bad things to good people


The parade started at 10am on September 1, here in Fort Collins, CO.


This is me with a store-brand Otter Pop (and yes that is a small child’s Disney’s Cinderella dress)


We biked and I took pictures (sorry for the blurriness/hair/angles, like I said I was taking pictures and biking at the same time)



We then encountered THE MOB! (Run! Don’t walk! From the mob…)


And this puppy in a backpack…


And this really awesome bike…


And Spongebob Squarepants, Patrick Star and Sheldon Plankton blowing bubbles…


And The Addams Family


And this sign: “$3-$5 to pee in the trees on Hitler/Stalin“…


Really it was a pretty awesome collection of people.

*Begin Part 2* The cast of characters switches at this point as I changed friends, (except that guy on the end with the pink boa… he is a photo bomber and definitely not my friend).


This is Jenna, she wins best costume of the century…


We went to Ben & Jerry’s


Then we sat in the shade and people watched


We met Tinky Winky


Listened to the port-a-potty karaoke


And my man thong quota for my whole life was filled (I am deeply sorry for having to expose you to this)…


And that my friends, is what Tour de Fat is all about (well not the directly above ^^^ but the collection of ALL of the above).

And after all this fun guess what I got to do?! If you said, “You went to Old Chicago, ate awesome pizza, and watched CSU beat CU in football,” then you are correct. The prize is I will remove the man thong image from your view. You’re welcome.

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Have you ever participated in Tour de Fat?

Summer Lovin’

I was riding my bike over to CSU campus. My mission was to deliver my boyfriends Kindle Fire to him at work. It’s about a 15-minute bike ride from our house along a bike path. I was suddenly struck by inspiration on this ride, like lightening… it was electrifying. My discovery was that I love summer. I mean I already knew that I love summer but I never knew exactly what it was about summer that I love.

 

I love riding my bike. There is nothing as freeing as riding a bike. The wind in my hair, my own two legs propelling me forward, a quick smile or a wave to those I pass along the way. Summer is the best time for bike rides, no ice, no rain, no gloves, no coat; only warm temperatures and sun on skin.

 


I love riding my bike close to the edge of the grass, where the sprinklers miss their target and droplets land on the sidewalk. It’s a refreshing burst in the heat of the afternoon when those droplets hit bare legs and arms. There’s nothing quite like that feeling.

I love the smell of a black as night, freshly re-paved parking lot baking in the sun. To me it smells slightly minty; I can’t describe it in any other way. Not the mint you smell in chewing gum or tea leaves, but it’s own unique kind of minty. And it’s so black you can almost see your reflection shining in it. The heat waves rise up from the tar, making everything look hazy. Some might say it’s so hot you could cook an egg on it. The air temperature above the pavement is noticeably warmer than anywhere else around you, and you let it embrace you as you race across.


I love the greenness of the environment. Everything seems to be pulsing with life, growing and changing. I stretch out over grass in the shade of a big elm tree staring up through the leaves at the patches of a blue sky. Fluffy white clouds pass overhead creating shapes and telling stories.

I love having an open schedule with full days I can devote to reading a book. Not a book required for my college education but one I choose to read for a different kind of education.

 
Pinterest (original source lost)


I love the heat bouncing off the sidewalk, the sweat running down my back, the tank tops and shorts, the sandals, the nighttime bonfires, the chilly showers after lunch, the pool days, my garden, picnics in the mountains, the smell of sunscreen, the frappuccinos, the flowers, the swim suits, etc. etc. etc.

Ah, the joys of summer. What’s your favorite season?

What in the world are bike lanes for?

With the nice weather and the onset of spring I have been enjoying riding my bike around town rather than driving. It has been lovely to fill my lungs with the sweet smell of blooming flowers and listen to the bird songs, while exercising my body on my way to and from class and running errands.

Unfortunately, today a woman in an SUV yelled at me.

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For some reason I really hate these stickers, and SUV lady had one.

The following is my artistic rendition of the encounter:

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Stopped at a stoplight next to SUV lady on Howes St. heading north.
(don’t worry mom; I was actually wearing a helmet, It just looked funny in the drawing)
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Lady leaning over to the passenger seat and totally not looking at the road to yell at me.
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Lady leaning over to the passenger seat and totally not looking at the road to yell at me.

I have compiled a list of possible uses for that bit of road bordered by two white lines found between the car lane and the sidewalk.

  1. Extra space for driving while texting. (Saw that happen once: young girl was texting and nearly hit a biker. But that’s a story for another day.)
  2. Parked vehicle door opening space.
  3. Alien spaceship landing zones.
  4. Area for delivery trucks to stop in order to not block car traffic.
  5. Saved road in case of future lane expansion.


But enough of that. I know SUV lady probably doesn’t read my blog. For other readers I have including the list of basic rules for bicycles according to the Fort Collins Government website:

  • In the state of Colorado a bicycle is a vehicle, you have the same rules and responsibilities as a motor vehicle
  • Ride in a designated bike lane if one is present, otherwise ride as far to the right hand side of the road as practicable
  • Don’t weave in and out of parked vehicles – hold a straight line of travel
  • Ride with traffic
  • Ride single file
  • Don’t cling to other vehicles
  • Obey all traffic signs and signals
  • Use a light at night
  • Yield to Pedestrians and give an audible signal when passing
Further information and reading:
  • You can find a complete list of laws for Fort Collins bicyclists here.
  • For bicycle laws in the state of Colorado, click here.
  • And a link to the Complete Colorado Cycling Manual.

For your state these laws may be different. I believe everyone should read up on their biking laws before they go around yelling at bicyclists who are indeed following the rules.

Thanks for reading, leave a comment about your encounters with people not following traffic laws.