So. Much. Cycling.

I just calculated my bicycle mileage for the past nine days — 126 miles! This was high for me due to two high mileage days while preparing for and teaching CyclingSavvy.  I briefly considered giving myself a break on Monday, but the weather was beautiful, I don’t have to worry about where I’ll park the car when I bike, and it’s just habit.

The first half of October is all about the bicycling, as I signed up to teach not one, but two, CyclingSavvy workshops within a two-week period.  Also in that two week period — attending the American Bicycling Education Association’s “I Am Traffic” conference.

(Someone please remind me that teaching two classes and attending a conference in a two-week time period is not the best for the whole “life balance” thing.  Our house is already a wreck!  Made worse by some recent home improvement projects . . . )

Anyhow, despite the work involved, I’m looking forward to the next teaching opportunity, as well as the chance to connect with fellow bikey peeps from across the country at the I Am Traffic conference.

In other news, my regular commuting is much more pleasant now that things are cooling off a bit.  Those first few weeks of the “fall” semester (which occur in summer, of course) were pretty brutal, as one of my classes has me commuting smack in the middle of the day — full heat, full sun, both directions.

That got old really fast.  I stuck with the biking for the most part, but I was dragging myself to my bike when it was time to leave home. Milder temperatures make such a big difference!



CyclingSavvy firsts

Despite the gloomy forecast heading into this past weekend (and the current, continuing rain), the weather cooperated on Saturday.

Matthew and I co-taught the on-bike portions of CyclingSavvy (Train Your Bike and the Road Tour) for the very first time.  In over three years as instructors, we’ve taught the on-bike portions with other local instructors, but never together.

Thanks to Harold for the picture!
Thanks to Harold for the picture!

Big Blue also participated in CyclingSavvy for the first time (since I still haven’t, ahem, gotten my butt off the fence about a certain decision).


Big Blue proved up to the task, though we knocked over a cone on the cone weave drill (were it not for the loaded bag, we would have cleared it), and Matthew demonstrated most of the more complicated drills on a “regular” bike.

My original plan was for a picnic lunch in Tower Grove Park on a beautiful fall afternoon.  Given that it wasn’t exactly a beautiful fall afternoon (pretty decent really, but chilly and damp, even though it wasn’t raining), we moved the lunch party to Sweet Art.


Six bikes would have completely blocked the sidewalk, so we created our own, impromptu on-street bike parking.  A couple of our students had never been to Sweet Art before; it was fun introducing them to a local business that we enjoy.

After lunch, we finished the day with the Tour of [a small part of] South City.


Nothing quite as satisfying or tiring as a day of on-bike teaching!  We finished at the church parking lot where we did the bike drills in the morning, and, in my head, there was a car waiting to take us the three miles from the church back to our house.  Of course, we had biked to class, and said car was, in reality, already parked at our house.  Matthew and I paused in the park for a quick snack, then tackled those last three miles.

That night, I made it to eight 0’clock, but not much later, before I passed out on the couch.

Super bikey weekend (the best kind)

I kicked the weekend off with a bike shop date on Friday night, followed by a full day of CyclingSavvy on Saturday.  We wrapped things up with a Mother’s Day picnic by bike.

Bike shop date night
Matthew experienced significant knee pain during and after his first real ride on the Roadrunner.  Turns out, we hadn’t really taken time to get fit when we picked her up from the bike shop, and the maximum height on the seat post we started with was a good two inches lower than Matthew needed it.


So on Friday night, we loaded Roadrunner on our trunk rack (drove it there rather than biking, for various logistical reasons).  Getting it on there was definitely a two-person job, but it wasn’t too bad.  As you can see, the bike is quite a bit longer than our car is wide, which made for some nervous driving, but we made it to The Hub and back with no problems.  We spent quite awhile there, but it was a good use of time and a decent way to spend our weekly date night.

There was that awkward moment during the fitting when I realized that I was surrounded by men (the bike shop mechanics, who, I guess, are all road riders) with hairless legs.  If nothing else, my decisions about body hair removal clearly mark me a non-roadie!

Anyhow, we now have an extra long seat post, with each of our positions etched into it, for easy swapping back and forth.  We are probably going to do something different with the handlebars, probably more of a flat bar, perhaps with an adjustable stem so we can quickly and easily customize that aspect for either of us as well.

Saturday morning I was up and on my bike by twenty after seven, headed for a full day of teaching CyclingSavvy.  We had a small class (below our usual minimum of four students required to go ahead with the class), but it was completely worth it!

Photo credit: Karen Karabell
Photo credit: Karen Karabell

Two past CS grads joined us for the Road Tour portion as we trekked through U City, Clayton, and Brentwood.  You can read Rebecca’s wonderful recap of the experience on her blog, Fiets of STyLe, and there are more photos here.  This course is SO rewarding to teach!

By the time I reached home, I’d been out and about on the bike, in the sun and the heat for nine hours.  Not long after G’s bedtime, I was on the couch and it was pass-out-o’clock.

Mother’s Day
I wanted something simple and low-key for Mother’s Day, and a picnic lunch at a local park fit that bill perfectly.  We loaded up the Roadrunner and headed over early, to take advantage of cooler morning temps on what would be an almost 90-degree day.

Gabriel and I are clearly ready for careers as professional bike models, no?

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We wrapped things up by heading to Ted Drewes for some frozen custard, where the longtail got lots of attention.  Gabriel wanted to eat his mini cone in his bike seat.  After our frozen custard, we headed home to rest.

All-in-all, it was a very lovely weekend by bike!


Bike expo and pawpaws

We spent Sunday morning on top of a parking garage at the Mississippi Valley Bicycle Expo and Swap Meet helping at the CyclingSavvy info table.

What’s the best way to get to a bicycle expo?  By bike, of course!

Our route took us past the theoretical pawpaw spot.  We rode slowly, with our eyes peeled, until Matthew said, “That’s a pawpaw tree.”


I never would have found this on my own, as I don’t think the tree is particularly “tropical looking,” and it wasn’t in the spot marked on either of the foraging maps.

Whether it was birds, humans, or just a low-fruit year, there were not many pawpaws to be found.  A few ripe dropped fruits on the ground, and a couple more unripe that Matthew grabbed from a tree — not sure if they’ll ripen or not.

Despite the low harvest, it was a successful mission in my book.  We now know the exact location for future years AND there were some fully-loaded persimmon trees with fruit that should be ready before too long!

After our little detour, we proceeded to the expo.


CyclingSavvy’s littlest fan needs a t-shirt of his own!

We bungeed Sir’s BalanceBike to Matthew’s rear rack, and Gabriel enjoyed riding it around the expo.  Sir needs an advertising contract with the bike company.


We also added one more [small] bike to our fleet, picking up a used tricycle for Sir.  Our cargo capacity was already maxed out, so the trike is awaiting pick-up at a friend’s house.

Want to find out what it’s all about?  There are still a few spots open in this week’s CyclingSavvy workshop: course details and registration.

*Bike expo photos courtesy of our friend and fellow CyclingSavvy instructor, Karen.

Bikey stuff

For my St. Louis area readers, it’s not too late to sign up for Truth & Techniques of Traffic Cycling on August 22nd at 6:3opm, details and registration here.

If you’re into planning ahead, check out the fall schedule, with full workshops, including the on-bike sessions, offered in both September and October.

Be Informed
Check out the plans to make a simple, straightforward road (Manchester Rd. in StL City) that currently works for all users into something messy and complicated for all: “A Tragedy of Good Intentions.”

While the plans mentioned above are not for separated cycle paths, this post, from Off The Beaten Path, addresses what I felt when I read about the proposed plans: “Did you guys ask any people who regularly cycle on that stretch of road for their opinion when considering changes?”

Not-so-hot biking
The weather we’ve had for the last month or so tempts me to forgive St. Louis for the brutal summers of the past two years.

Sure, some days, the temperatures still climb into the mid- to upper-80s, which count as hot in my book, but we’ve had a number of days with highs in the low-80s and even some with upper-70s.

Today’s high is a glorious 76°F, which is lower than the usual overnight lows at this time of year.  Amazing!

The hot weather plants in the garden may not be thrilled with this cooler weather, but I’ll take it over the heat any day, though it’s probably not helping drive traffic to my “biking in the heat” post.

While I am NOT complaining, the cooler temps have actually made for a couple of chilly rides, including the World Naked Bike Ride (turns out that temps in the mid- to low-70s are not ideal for biking while wearing [almost] no clothes) and a ride home from the Muny last week.

Even with the cooler temps, I complete my bike errands in the morning to avoid peak sun times.  This morning found me riding to complete paperwork for my new [very] part-time job, which will officially start in a couple of weeks.

Resuming longtail conversations
Our longtail discussion/decision was relegated to the back burner due to summer travel, health issues, and general life uncertainty and craziness.  Not sure where it will end, but we’re revisiting the topic, and not a moment too soon given Sir’s height, which threatens to overwhelm the IBert any day now.