Bike to the refueling station day

Happy Bike to Work Day!  I don’t work on Fridays (and I don’t bike to work given my current job anyway, ahem), but I didn’t want to miss the fun.  I joined my hubby in biking to the Bike to Work Day refueling station at the History Museum in Forest Park.  Fortunately, the morning commute hours were nice and dry, though the clouds are rolling back in now.

Even if you don’t bike to work, bike somewhere!  I’ll be heading back out this afternoon to swing by the library and the Botanical Garden.  Where will your bike take you?

Bike or bust

Last night’s Green Drinks at the Green Center in U-City was kind-of far away, and there was a chance of rain in the forecast, but I’d made up my mind to bike there.  Then I plotted a route and saw that it was 10 miles, one way.  Twenty miles in one night when I’ve been doing very little riding (other than the sitting on my butt in the car variety)?  Gulp.

I gave myself a choice: bike there or don’t go.  Although I hesitated because of the distance, I was really itching to get on my bike.  (Here it is, Bike to Work Week, and I’m stuck on the sidelines.)

Turns out, it was a gorgeous night for a ride, perfect temps to not be cold and not get sweaty.  We encountered a bit of rain on our return ride, but it wasn’t too bad.  And the 20 miles?  They flew right by, no problem!

Biking with bears

Returning to that whole vacation thing . . . .

If you visit Great Smoky Mountains National Park, I highly recommend biking the Cade’s Cove loop.  We drove out early on Wednesday morning, when they close the 11-mile loop to cars (which they also do on Saturday mornings), and rented bikes in the park.  I considered bringing our bikes with us on this trip, but realistically, this was probably the only time we would have used them, so renting was a better option.

The bikes weren’t amazing, but my pedal, which was making suspicious noises, remained in one piece throughout the ride, so no complaints here.  Toward the end of the ride, we spotted some bicyclists stopped on the road to watch a bear.

When we first met him, he was on the ground.  We stopped on the road and watched, without approaching or crowding him.  He ambled along for a bit, and then found this delectable tree.  He walked over to it, stood up, put his paws around it, and SHOOP — up the tree!  (If you’re ever trying to get away from a black bear, I do not recommend climbing a tree!)  We watched, transfixed, for what felt like forever, as our bear friend chowed down on the young leaves at the top of the tree, snapping off branches with abandon, the entire tree flexing and swaying with his weight.  He finished his morning snack, descended, and mosied off into the woods.  Amazing!

Riding a bike is the ideal way to see bears.  From a car, they seem so distant and removed.  Although I have yet to encounter one on foot, I imagine I would feel rather nervous in that situation, knowing that the bear could easily outrun me (and, like I said, forget climbing a tree).  The bike was perfect.  We were able to stop and enjoy, but if the situation went south, bike speed would have allowed us to make a quick exit.  (At least that’s what I was telling myself — maybe a bear could outrun a bike?)  Fortunately, the group of eight or so people who stopped with us acted very appropriately; no one tried to approach the bear or do anything that would have made the situation dangerous.

So, if you are in the Smoky Mountains, head back to Cade’s Cove and rent a bike.  No guarantees that you will see a bear, but riding along the newly repaved road, out in the wild, makes for a great morning, bears or no.

Open Streets in St. Louis!

Open Streets is coming to St. Louis, with four events from May through October!  The first Open Streets takes place this Saturday, May 1, from 8am to 1pm.  This great event features five miles of city street from Forest Park to Busch Stadium open exclusively for bicycles and pedestrians (i.e., non-motorized traffic), with lots of fun activities along the route.  Click the image above to go to the official website for more details and a route map.

Sadly, I will miss the inaugural event this weekend, but I plan to volunteer at all of the others.  To sign up as a volunteer, visit the St. Louis Regional Bicycle Federation website.  View this Trailnet blog post for more information on volunteering and the event in general.

Carrot rack

Room for one

I stopped in to Local Harvest Grocery yesterday, where I snagged the coveted carrot rack parking spot.  A couple of weeks ago, I discovered that they carry bulk (organic) rolled oats.  I eat oatmeal for breakfast pretty much every day.  I recently switched from quick oats to rolled oats — I now strongly prefer the texture and taste of rolled oats.  As part of the switch, I buy the rolled oats from bulk containers (compared to buying the quick oats in the cardboard canisters), so I reap the added benefit of less waste!