The blue tutu rides again

On a hot humid Saturday night, this happened again.  If you look for it, you can see a glimpse of blue tutu in one of the photos there.*

While my outfit was more or less the same as last year (I’m thinking about mixing it up a bit for future rides), I did make some signs for the bikes this year.

Don’t let the paint think for you

0726141851-00 - CopyThis year’s temps were quite a contrast to last year, when it was chilly even before the sun went down.  Turns out ninety degrees and humid isn’t too bad when you’re biking [mostly] naked, and after wondering all day if the ride would be rained out, I wasn’t complaining.

We had a few new friends join us for the ride this year (including Rebecca over at Fiets of STyLe), and it was fun to experience the ride with them.  The route provided a really wonderful look at a number of St. Louis neighborhoods, and the 12 miles seemed to fly by (though we weren’t going all that fast, of course).

While passing by some hotels in downtown St. Louis, one of my fellow riders shouted [to some tourists], “Welcome to St. Louis.  We just do this spontaneously every Saturday night,” and I rather wish that were the case.

I was sad when I realized we were almost back to The Grove (the ride’s start/end point), especially because, similar to last year, the ride itself was definitely the high point.   We did hang out for a bit afterward, and ran into some other friends, but we made it a pretty early night (maybe the after party was more exciting after 10pm?).

On Sunday, G made a strong case for participating in next year’s festivities by running around the apartment wearing a cape and a mask . . .


. . . and not much else.  There were a couple of other little ones there last night, and I’m very tempted to bring him next year, at least for some of the pre-ride festivities.  Pretty sure he’d steal the show, riding around on his balance bike in that cape!

*Now that I look closely, the blue tutu glimpse on the KSDK website is me, but it’s a photo from the 2013 ride.  I’m wearing my [old] yellow helmet (helmet now is white), and there are no signs on my bike.  Guess they didn’t send anyone to cover this year’s ride?

House hunting by bike

Well, we’re back on (or still on? — not sure we ever really fell off) the house hunting horse, though conditions are questionable: inventory is really low right now, good properties are moving fast, it’s a seller’s market, etc., etc.  Not to mention that interest rates (on loans) are rising.  (What really gets me is that interest rates on borrowed money are going up, while rates on savings, like C.D.s and money market accounts, are still pitiful –grr!)

Anyhow, a new property of interest (let’s call is a POI) popped up on Monday.  What with properties moving fast, I was more than a little anxious, and we got in to see it by Wednesday afternoon.

I planned to meet Matthew there after work, and since I’d been a bit under the weather, my initial plan was to take the car.  However, Wednesday was rather nice, weather-wise, the destination was just over 3 miles away, and biking worked, timing-wise.  In fact, in making my plans to bike, I rather forgot that I was feeling sick.  I readied my bike, picked Sir up from childcare early, and we headed over.


The Good

  • Almost a third of an acre (12200 sq ft lot) with good sun for gardening
  • A decent kitchen rehab
  • A crazy master suite that took up the entire 2nd floor, and included a wall of windows looking out onto the huge front yard (i.e., the garden)
  • Decent location for bikeability
  • Closet space

The Bad/Weird

  • The 100+ year-old house had some additions over the years, which seemed rather random/haphazard
  • There was a small basement under part of the house; the rest was some weird combination of crawl-space, subbasement, and slab
  • In one of the crawl-spaces, they were using jacks and bricks to support part of the house.
  • The entrance to the basement was through one of the first floor bedrooms
  • The kitchen, living, and dining areas had been refinished with laminate flooring, which is known for off-gassing some nasty stuff
  • The paint (or other?) fumes — both my lungs and head were unhappy; I had to keep stepping outside to get fresh air
  • Potential plumbing issues

The “Eh”

  • Pretty dismal for public transit
  • Not particularly walkable
  • On the very edge of StL city limits, meaning we would have to deal with “the school” question

The basement issues made it a no-go, a decision we arrived at rather quickly.  As our realtor pointed out, lifting a house and adding a basement is neither an easy nor a cheap fix.

We biked home together, and on the way, I pointed out a house with a huge lot (assuming that it was, in fact, a single property) that I’d noticed earlier.  After dinner, a bit of house-stalking turned up that it was, in fact, a house on half an acre.


A-freaking-mazing.  And, distinctly NOT for sale.  Bummer.

Due to various timing and logistical issues, we’ve driven to most of the properties we’ve looked at over the past few years, which always feels wrong, since bikeability is one of our big criteria.  I have to admit that part of my motive in biking to this house on Wednesday was hoping to create some good house hunting karma.  Despite it not being “the one,” I really enjoyed seeing the house, and I think biking there helped my mood and improved the whole experience.

**Satellite images of POIs courtesy of Google maps.**



World Naked Bike Ride!

Well, I did it!  Despite serious fatigue on Saturday evening (following a morning of gardening and an afternoon of toddler wrangling), I resisted the urge to just spend the night curled up on the couch and miss out on yet another World Naked Bike Ride (WNBR).

I loved experiencing the positive energy and camaraderie of the Tour de Fat ride in D.C., and that, combined with the fact that we’ve been talking about doing this forever, provided the necessary motivation.

We returned from the garden (sans toddler) and ate a quick dinner, after which I donned my blue tutu and hopped on Baby Jake.  We rode to the rendezvous point/pre-party on South Grand, where we made some final outfit adjustments.

The ride is part protest against dependency on oil and other nonrenewable resources, part celebration of bodies and positive body image, and part really fun group bicycle ride, summed up nicely in this quote:

It’s time to put a stop to the indecent exposure of people and the planet to cars and the pollution they create.

Clothing ran the spectrum from nothing (except footwear — I didn’t see anyone barefoot, though I wouldn’t count it out) to totally PG, family-friendly beach wear, which we’d already discerned from previous years’ pictures.

In this age of digital media, where everyone has a camera and can post to the internet in seconds, we opted for a middle road.  You know, just so there’s nothing scandalous that would mar my future run for president.


We fed off the energy of the crowds that lined many portions of the thirteen mile route through the streets of St. Louis, and, while our ride certainly caused delay for some motorists, they didn’t seem to mind, given the free entertainment.

With over 1500 participants, this was the largest WNBR in St. Louis to date, pretty impressive for an all volunteer-run event.

My only complaint about the ride itself (and the pre-party), was the smoking.  I would love to see the ride become a smoke-free event.  I’m not sure where that would leave the men who stuffed their cigarette packs in their underwear, hoping to compensate  for certain, um, shortages, shall we say, but my lungs would really appreciate it.

Barring the ride going smoke-free, we’re planning to bring water guns next year, so we can help put out fires (guy who puffed a cigar for half of the ride, I am looking at you!  Actually, I was this close to walking up and pulling it out of your hand and smashing it under my running shoe).

Other complaint about the event?  The after-party.

The route ended in The Grove, at an outdoor event sponsored by HandleBar and Atomic Cowboy.  By that point, I seriously needed a restroom (having not relieved myself in alleyways along the route, the toilet of choice for numerous other riders).  After looking in vain for port-a-potties, we headed to HandleBar, hoping for a restroom and the chance to purchase some food.

Instead of welcoming the riders, as one would expect given their sponsorship of the event, HandleBar was charging a five dollar cover for the evening.  Seriously lame, guys!  I was planning to buy food, but you just lost some business.

We crossed the street to Atomic Cowboy (no cover) and joined the growing bathroom queues.  Afterward we grabbed a table and waited in vain for someone to take our food order.  We even resorted to eating our own snacks, sure that that would attract attention, but no.

I finally hopped up and approached a waitress who had just delivered an order to a table across the room, only to have her completely and blatantly ignore me.  (Was it the petals?  Would less clothing help?)

We finished our own snack and headed to the outside “party” area, where I hoped to find an awesome dance party in progress.  Not so.

In addition to being lame in general, there were far too many “spectators” at the after-party, people who were creepily milling around, not following the [un]dress code at ALL.  A private event just for riders (and perhaps appropriately clad friends) would be much better.

Final verdict on my first WNBR: the ride itself was great — I’m very glad we did it, and I’m looking forward to next year!

The after-party?  Seriously anticlimactic! It needed restrooms, food, less fully-clothed people, and more dancing.

Barring those changes, we agreed it would have been fun to have a group of friends to hang out with at the end.  So, who’s joining us next year???

Bike date at Five Bistro

This is one of those “it’s been so long ago, is it even worth writing about now” posts, but the answer is yes, because, long ago, on the last Friday in June, we had a really lovely dinner — one worth sharing and remembering, even if, or perhaps especially because, the events of the next few days were so crazy.

As I’ve mentioned before, Matthew’s been selling some produce, including winter squash and fennel, to Five Bistro, a very high caliber, local farm-t0-table restaurant.  It always feels kind-of odd, because while we cook amazing food with that very same garden produce ourselves, Five is not a restaurant that’s in our regular budget.

Until that Friday night, we had been there exactly once, and that so long ago that they were at their old location in The Grove (they are now on The Hill, for you StL readers).  To be completely honest, it may have been even longer until we returned if not for a generous birthday gift certificate from Matthew’s dad.

We realized as the dinner proceeded that a meal at Five is both dinner AND entertainment.  Not in the sense that the wait staff is dancing on the bar, but, if you go in planning to spend two to three hours on a relaxed meal, they truly live up to their promise of a “dining experience that evokes all five of your senses.”

I must also say that they really do value their farmers — we definitely felt like VIPs while we were there — not in a flashy, overblown way, but I felt they were going to extra lengths to take good care of us, and that meant a lot.

Chef Devoti and his kitchen staff prepared delicious, beautifully presented dishes from start to finish of our four course prix-fixe meal (our fennel was on the menu!), making vegetarian adaptations as necessary.

We shared starters of taglietelle and gnocchi, followed by sweet potato soup and a dandelion green salad.  Both the gnocchi and salad included ramps, a new and delicious food for us.  Chef Devoti created a special vegetarian entree, featuring a variety of vegetables roasted to perfection, including our fennel and some produce from their own garden.

I opted to not photograph the food, instead fully focusing on enjoying the dining experience and the company.

To start and end the experience, we biked to and from dinner.  The timing was a little crazy, with Matthew getting home from work, showered, changed, and heading right back out on the bikes, but it was worth it.  I thoroughly enjoyed riding in a black strappy dress and heels (more comfortable to bike in heels than to actually walk in them when you reach your destination).

Much more to share about the week-and-a-half that followed the dinner, but I’m currently experiencing very limited internet access, so you may have to wait a bit.  Until then!

Green blogging at Green Drinks

If you’re in the St. Louis area, come on out to Green Drinks tomorrow night for a chance to network and learn.  The topic this month is “Green Blogging,” and I’ll be part of the informal panel of local green bloggers (see website for location and time).

In case you need any extra incentive, Little Dude will be making an appearance at the event, unless he’s feeling shy 😉