Monthly Archives: July 2013

On naming your bike

You know when you start thinking about something and then it manages to crop up everywhere else in your life, too?

That’s happening for me right now with the idea of naming your bicycle. I’ve had my bike for almost 9 years and have never felt particularly compelled to give it a name, but recently I realized I’ve been referring to it on this blog as “bikey.” Not exactly a name, but not exactly the totally impersonal “my bike” or “my Trek” either. It’s a term of endearment, perhaps–but I haven’t really thought about it as a name. My bike is, after all, a bicycle, however much I love it. I don’t feel the need to personify it any more than that.

But just last week, when I was telling someone about how my bike was halfway stolen, he asked me if my bike had a name. No, I said, though I told him about how when I was teaching Bike Club and trying to get my kiddos to name their own bikes (sometimes a prudent time filler:), I often said as a means of example that my bike was called Blue Lightning. Which is my idea of a hilarious joke, since I would never call anything I own something so presumptuous.

But since then, the idea of naming bicycles is coming up everywhere. First I saw it on the Community Cycling Center’s website (speaking of Bike Club…), an article about Marinueasa, a woman who earned a bike through the Create-A-Commuter Program (basically the adult version of Bike Club). Apparently, she immediately named the bike she earned “Black Beauty.”

Then, earlier today I cruised over to Chasing Mailboxes, a rad D.C.-based bike blog, and saw a post (and a whole host of comments) entirely devoted to naming one’s bicycle. Actually, I just realized now as I went back to link to it that that post is also subtitled “On naming your bike,” so even though I thought I was coming up with an original title for my post, I probably inadvertently stole it simply because it was in my consciousness from my earlier reading. Sorry, MG!

Anyway. I guess there’s no real point to this post except to say that from an entirely stasia-centric perspective, I seem to be creating my own reality in which my thoughts about bike naming have expanded exponentially to comprise much of the bike-blog world I frequent right now. And that though I appreciate that other people name their bicycles, I find it a little ridiculous for myself. Perhaps if I had a fleet of bicycles I might feel the need to distinguish them by giving them fun little names. Though probably not, actually. And I can’t really imagine owning a whole fleet of bicycles anyway.

But enough. I’ve got some more bike blogs to cruise, all of which are probably related to giving bikes some form of name:)

Happy birthday!

I just realized that BikePortland and I have the same birthday! Although it’s significantly younger than I am:)

Happy birthday to one of my favorite bike resources in Portland!

Why not get married by bike?

As you know, I’m a big fan of doing whatever it is you need to do via human-powered transportation. I was super excited this weekend, then, when my friends Collin and Diana got married via bicycle.

No, they weren’t actually on their bikes for the ceremony. But they did borrow a bunch of bicycles for all their friends and family who came from out of town, then encouraged everyone to bike to the ceremony at the top of Mt Tabor Park. Then, after the ceremony, everyone hopped back on their rides and made one giant bike parade to their reception at Laurelhurst Park, about 3.5 chill bike-boulevard-miles away.

bike parade(wedding bike parade! Stretching down SE 33rd Ave for many blocks)

It was pretty awesome to be part of a wedding bike parade. Let’s just say there was much bell-ringing, cheering, and, if you look at the tandem on the left in that picture above, you can somewhat see the sound system that rocked us all the way there. Many onlookers wondered what the heck was going on; those we passed who realized it was wedding-related offered their congratulations. It felt like a full-on community effort to get everyone over to Laurelhurst to celebrate.

 Collin and Diana(Aww. Super cute newlyweds:)

Like many things done by bike, it was lovely because of how little separation there was between the festivities and the rest of the world. A wedding bike parade immediately becomes a larger affair–when you’re biking through the community, at human speed, and you can hear the people around you ask what’s going on or yell congratulations, it’s impossible to pretend like you’re the only people in the world, just as it’s impossible for the people around you to pretend like you don’t exist. It forces closeness, in the best possible way.

I’m psyched. If I ever get married, which I won’t, but still, I’ll definitely incorporate a bike parade:) Maybe next year I’ll have a birthday bike parade. Who knows. But I’m pretty into it. Who can argue with a whole bunch of people in a great mood moving through the world together on their bicycles?

And congratulations to Collin and Diana! May your future be full of excellent (and maybe bikey) adventures. :)

Guest Post: Triple-Treat Tour of the San Juan Islands (Part two: San Juan Island)

Part two of a guest series by Dieter Loibner (Check out Part 1 if you missed it before!)

After a jaunt up the lovely Mt Constitution on Orcas Island…

…the next inter-island ship to San Juan leaves Orcas at 10:40. There should be enough time to refuel at the supermarket right at the dock. I eat and re-stretch when on deck as the ferry negotiates Wasp Passage, a lovely stretch of water between Shaw and Orcas, dotted with cute, pocketsized islands. Disembarking at Friday Harbor around 11:20, you’ll notice the city vibe of this little island-burg. It’s the county seat, with all the good and the bad that comes with it. During tourist season you’ll spot the silly three-wheeled sightseeing mopeds that fan out all over the islands and should be avoided at all cost. One can opt for northern or southern loops, but should consider traffic during the summer months. Many cyclists slog up to Roche Harbor, formerly a rather unsustainable lime and cement factory, but now a posh yachting resort with too many people and too much traffic. And $$$ prices.

2wheels_vs_three©Dieter Loibner(one wheel too many and way too ridiculous:)

The scheduled departure for the interisland ferry back to Lopez is 2:15, which leaves enough time for a good spin and a cup of coffee at the end. My favorite ronde heads west on Spring Street, which turns into San Juan Valley Road. Take that for a few miles before making a right on Boyce followed after another mile by a left onto West Valley. Take a left on Mitchell Bay Rd, which you follow to Snug Harbor where you turn left on West Side Rd. You’re heading due south now, riding the rollers along that steep and picturesque coast line.

american_camp©Dieter Loibner(American Camp)

The vistas are worth a stop or two to look out over Haro Strait and Vancouver Island and scanning the water for steam spouts that indicate the presence of killer whales. Further to the south you’ll see the Juan de Fuca Strait, the waterway that separates the US from Canada and the snowcapped Olympic Mountains. You’ll pass San Juan County Park’s campground right by the water, which accommodates bicyclists and kayakers and Lime Kiln Point State Park that was set up for whale watching from land. Following the road further south it bends eastward as it becomes Bailer Hill, which terminates at Douglas.

lime_kiln_point©Dieter Loibner(Lime Kiln Point. And Dieter, being a badass:)

Now there is a decision to make, depending on time left and ambition. Go left to return to Friday Harbor for some delish organic grub at the Market Chef near the ferry terminal on A street or a latte at The Bean Cafe, down the road one block. If you’ve got time in the bank and feel fast, turn south on Cattle Point Road to see the remnants of the US encampment during the Pig War of 1859. The standoff with those Brits was about a territorial dispute in the islands, but the casualties were light: One English pig.

Keep reading! Part 3 is here!