Sunday, November 8, 2009

Have not blogged but still biking

So my schedule has been kicking my arse since I've moved up to Santa Barbara/Goleta. My new job has been totally awesome, I am learning so much in the field of Ophthalmology. School has been good, a little overwhelming but good, we are spending a lot of time with cadavers in Anatomy class, I'm learning a lot about the human body, so much that when I watch horror movies I can point out the inaccuracies. I originallly planned on taking three classes, English Comp, Anatomy and Math, but had to drop English because I just did not have the time for all three classes (and I didn't like the format for the online English class). I don't have much time to blog, I actually should be studying right this minute.

I haven't been able to ride my Flying Pigeon much because it's quite hilly up here and there would be no way I would ride to school from work in an hour on the FP, and I only have an hour to get to school from work. I have been using my boyfriend's 27 speed Trek. I only use about 8 speeds on it, I am a bit spoiled with those speeds, I fly down hills and can climb up hills easily. I broke down and bought a Batavus Mixte 10 speed off ebay. The guy I bought it from did not disclose the condition it was in, he only said it was vintage, so I am dissappointed with how much work it will be to make it serviceable. I need to replace the wheels (I'm afraid they will break, they are so old), replace the chain and fix the breaks (one of the wires came off). Any advice any readers can give will be appreciated. Here's a pic of the Batavus beauty:

I figure I'll buy a better seat, put a rack and basket on her and she'll be good to go.

I do ride my Pigeon every now and then, when I don't have school at night (Fridays and weekends). She is doing ok, I rode her quite a bit yesterday, rode through UCSB, got lost, rode her to the beach, made some distance on the Obern Trail, rode past work and shopped at Trader Joes. It was quite the trip.

Got some great pics of the FP at the beach...

look at this scary pelican!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

dude, seriously

So I got a new job. They called and asked to interview me while I was working at my old job and just days before I moved up to Santa Barbara. I interviewed just days after I moved up, it was a great interview, I tweeted all about it. And a couple of days later, that Friday, EXACTLY a week after I moved up, I was offered the job.

It's a great job, I get to wear scrubs, the Dr is awesome, the coworkers are pretty cool, I seem to be catching up pretty quick and the patients are just the most charming (well most of them).

The commute to work is only 4.5 miles, all downhill. The commute home is the same distance, all uphill and oh boy, are there hills. Those damn hills kick my ass.

I really need to convert my single speed bike to a three speed or something, seriously. I've spoken to the guys at Wheelhouse bikes (link to the side) and they will see what they can do about my bike. I don't want to have them work on it until I go to school, as my schedule will not allow me time to bike from work to school.

So, couple the hills with the first time having a job that does not allow me to sit on my bum all day and I am just one exhausted broad. I'll get used to this.

One of these days, when I am not so busy and/or dead on my feet, I'll ride my bike down to Goleta Beach again. The last time I went, I didn't bring my camera. But I did take this pic from the bus:

I don't see views like that on the bus where I come from (San Fernando Valley/Los Angeles).

I also treated myself to the black and white Basil pannier bag from the previous post and this Nutcase Helmet:

It's so comfortable and cute. As you can see, I have a black and white thing going on, you should see my Doc Martens (b/w). I've gotten a lot of compliments on the Basil Bag, people seem to think it's a purse. LMAO

Dude, but seriously, I'm so tired, trying to finish a glass of Curtis Viognier without passing out (I deserve this glass of wine).


Saturday, June 27, 2009

After the coffeehouse

So I mentioned in yesterday's blog that I was probably going to check out Wheelhouse Bikes. I had enough time before meeting up with friends and found it easily enough.

Oh man, I had no idea I was going to find the bike shop of my dreams. They stock Batavus and other European style city bikes including Omafiets (or "damecykler" for ladies) and Opafiets (or "herrecykler" for gentlemen). They also do custom builds/modifications turning beach cruisers into surf cruisers. I'm so not into beach cruisers but the surf cruiser I saw looked pretty awesome. They stock both classic/retro bikes and street/mountain/modern bikes but I'm always intrigued by the "sit-up-and-beg" bikes.

The guys working at the shop were totally nice and imformative. I mentioned that I owned a Flying Pigeon and was told by my Los Angeles bike guy, Josef, that he sold another to a guy who works on bikes in SB. I was worried that when I did move up that I would not be able to find someone who could work on my bike. My Flying Pigeon is doing fine, I've had minimal problems on it since I got it and most were from flats on the rear tire and I wasn't able to work around the enclosed chain case (and that one time my extra long cardigan got caught in the chain case while I was speeding home). I do remember Josef telling me that some of the FPs are just faulty because of the chinese workmanship but after replacing a few things on my bike, it's pretty smooth.

Well, I didn't have to search hard enough to find the one Flying Pigeon owner in Santa Barbara because the Wheelhouse is his shop. He wasn't in so I'll have to come back and see him, that will not be a problem because I'm sure this shop will be my new bike shop hang out once I move up here. And it's relatively close, I don't have to walk a few miles, take a bus, then the subway, then the light rail train to get to it :)

I got a tour of the shop, they stock Basil accessories , Alchemy Goods and Nutcase helmets. I love all these brands, Basil because they are so stylish, Alchemy because the products are made with recycled tires and tubes (I need a new wallet) and Nutcase because I don't like the helmet I have (it's old and so not my style). (EW)

They let me take pictures, so now, on to the bike pr0n!!

These Bakfiets are perfect for hauling along your significant other, children, friends or goodies from Costco.

Look at this crazy cargo bike!

OMG another view of this crazy cargo bike!

some Batavus bikes

An Oma bike and some Xtracycles

that brown thing in the back is a surf cruiser, if it's still there the next time I visit, I'll get a better picture.

Basil (pannier) bags and Nutcase helmets <3

DUDE! This is a conference bike, 7 people can ride it.

I've never seen these in person, only on youtube:

Friday, June 26, 2009

Project: Escape From L.A.

yeah, I've been pretty quiet lately, neglecting my blog. But for good reason! I've been stressed out of my mind with my latest project which I dubbed: Escape from L.A.

See a few months ago, I decided that I cannot be in a cubicle, stuck in front of a computer for the rest of my life. Tendonitis (repetitive motion injury) helped in my decision making. And the fact that I'm not getting paid much. And the fact that biking in LA/SFV is a nightmare (see my previous post about industrial van vs bicycle stalking incident, FYI, LAPD never got back to me about whether or not the City Attorney is going to let me press charges).

My boyfriend also factors in on my reason for moving. He lives up north of Santa Barbara and ever since we started going out last October I've fallen in love with Santa Barbara (and Santa Ynez, Solvang, Los Olivos, etc). I come up whenever I can. Santa Barbara is a small town of a little over 400,000 people. Well, not exactly a small town but I come from Los Angeles, so it's small to me. :) It's got a great bicycling infrastructure, I've only seen one small road in all of my explorations in this town that did not have a bike lane. It's a college town so there are a lot of bicyclists of all ages and types riding about. I'll be starting school at SBCC this autumn, want to work on my prerequisites and get on the waiting list for the nursing program (I was serious about getting out of the frakking cubicle).

I brought up my Flying Pigeon on Amtrak a while back and biked around, got a few compliments on my bike. I usually see a lot of road bikes or beach cruisers up here, but Josef from Flying Pigeon L.A. assured me that he sold a FP to someone who fixes bikes up here so I gotta find this guy.

I move in a week. I had a job lined up but due to the recent budget cuts in California (by our esteemed Governator) the job I was a shoe-in for is not available due to a hiring freeze. Too bad jobs in public service/medicine are the first to suffer when your state is facing bancruptcy. So, at this time, I am job hunting like crazy and making sure all my little items are packed. Got a u-haul reserved for next friday for a room a friend is going to rent to me that's a 20 minute walk to the beach :D and easy biking distance to, um, EVERYWHERE (YES!).

So, if any of my readers know anyone in the Santa Barbara area who knows how to work on european style city bikes, or at least any bike with an enclosed chain like mine, let me know. If anyone wants to get together for a slow ride to explore the area with me, send me a message :) I'm currently blogging from NorthStar Cafe on State St and got the caffiene jitters. May swing by WheelHouse Bikes, they look like my kind of bike shop, even though my boyfriend is loyal to Bicycle Bob's. He doesn't have to know... :P

now for bike porn!

This is my Pigeon at the Santa Barbara Amtrak station, the train cargo lady said I needed a lighter bike. LOL! Even the train station is lovely up here.

ZOMG look at this bitching bike!

I want to find the owner and tell him/her that this bike is so freaking sweet. I love the box. (taken at the beach, in Santa Barbara, near State St)

Sunday, May 3, 2009

I just realized something...

Today marks a year since I got rid of my Honda Passport and got my Raleigh Comfort bike. I quit driving in early April of 2008 but I was taking the bus and riding my old target bought bike (bad bike, too small for me). But I didn't make the commitment until May 3rd 2008.

Of course my Raleigh bike broke just 6 months after purchase. I love my Flying Pigeon but I still kind of miss that Raleigh.

My body has changed a bit, I got muscles. I used to get a bronchitis flare up at least once a year. Two weeks ago I got a really bad cold, I thought I got bronchitis again, because I was coughing so bad. The doctor told me my lungs were strong and that I should keep biking. No bronchitis flare up since I started riding. I've met some great cycling peeps in LA and spend quiet some time getting reacquainted with elements of the city that I wouldn't have noticed had I been stuck in my apartment, at work or in a car.

It's been a pretty good year. :)

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Been quiet, but must write about an incident...

Been busy lately. I got repetitive motion injuries in both arms from work so I go to occupational therapy twice a week. After spending a whole 8 hours in front of the computer at work, I hardy want to get on the computer after I get home. Thank goodness the handlebars on my Flying Pigeon are ergonomically safe. They don't stress my arms one bit. :)

But I've been thinking a lot about this blog lately and how neglected it has been, so I am remedying the situation right now. Something happened to me while I was biking to work on March 12, 2008. It was very upsetting but now I am at the point where I feel like I have to blog about it. Especially since the Hummer incident in Downtown Los Angeles on April 24th and the death of bicyclist Jesus Castillo in East LA just a week before that. I can no longer keep silent about my own experience with drivers who treat cyclists badly.

On the morning on March 12, I woke up a little late and decided to take the more direct route to work as I didn't want to spend the time to take the safer (longer) way to work. I was riding north on Saticoy, in the right lane, as close to the right that was safe yet out of the door zone. Most cars gave me enough room to feel safe as they passed me. I didn't really have any problems until a white industrial van passed me. The van did not have any company logos and the windows were tinted. I could not see much through them, what I did see was a wire gate, separating the driver's area from the back of the van. This van came VERY close to me, just a few inches from my bike and leaned against his horn. I tried my best to ride in a straight line but I was shaken up, he was too close to me. I figured he was just an asshole and I was happy to be rid of him when he sped off and made a right at the corner.
A block later another white industrial van speeds past me, coming inches from my bike while leaning on his horn. I swerve out of his way, nearly crashing into the parked cars to my right, my heart racing. I look and find it is THE SAME FUCKING VAN. I try to read his license plate but he speeds off and makes a right at the end of the block. At this point I am beyond livid and terrified but I keep riding, I figure if I see him again I will try to be as calm as I can and concentrate on catching his license plate number.
I didn't have to wait long for him to come back for a third go. The white van did the same thing, coming within inches of me while honking his horn. It was the same van and I read and instantly memorized his license plate number. I got my phone out and keyed the number into my phone to store it and immediately called my buddy, Sargent Arshambault, in the LAPD Valley Traffic Division. At this point, I was still shaken up and trying not to cry. I had no idea whether or not this guy was going to come around again. I made a right turn onto Topanga Canyon and hoped he didn't follow me. I talked to the Sargent and he took the description of the van, the license plate number and the details of the incident and tried his best to calm me down.

The next morning, I get a call back from the Sarg. He traced the license info to a company located in the Valley, not far from where I was stalked the day before. He invites me to go to the police department in Van Nuys to file a report. When I get there, the Sarg takes me into the office of the Chief of Police. They tell me they've been wanting to meet me in person for quite a while now. The Chief tells me how he heard about me (from the Wall St Journal article) and they both explain how the LAPD Valley division has been trying to make the streets a little safer for pedestrians and cyclists, such as the conducting crosswalk stings at deadly intersections as well as their plans to have plain clothed bicycle officers hit the streets. I've got to say, I was really excited and honored that they brought me into their office and made me feel welcome.

After the meeting, I go to a young officer in the front lobby and give him my report. I wanted him to put either "stalking" or "vehicular harrassment/intimidation" but he ended up filing the report under "disturbing the peace".

I guess he would have put a harsher description of the incident had I been really hurt. I was more than a little disappointed, but I decided to let it go. I was informed that they would transfer the report to the Devonshire police department since the incident happened in their jurisdiction. They would have a detective go to the company that owns this vehicle (and employs the driver) and inform the person in charge.

I don't hear back until last Thursday, 4/30/09. I get a call from an officer early in the morning. I didn't catch his name but he told me that he was on his way to speak to two men at the company that owned the van. He wanted to know if I was willing to take them to court over the incident. I thought about it for a second and said yes. I explained that even though I wasn't hurt, I needed all the parties involved to understand the seriousness of the situation. I don't know what the driver was thinking when he was stalking me. He may have just been trying to be cute. But these people have to understand that if you pit a car (truck, van, etc.) against a bicycle, the bicycle will NEVER win. I could have gotten seriously hurt, or even killed.

Just thinking about it is so upsetting. I'm crying as I type this. I wasn't hurt, but what about next time? Bicyclists being hit by autos happens way too often. It's time for the law to favor people, not cars.

Friday, April 10, 2009

From CopenhagenCycleChic

I do this at a lot of stoplights, but I don't have to take off my gloves. Gotta love the fingerless gloves. :D

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

My new panniers

let me show you them...

shopping at Trader Joes

out riding...

I ordered them from DutchBikeSeattle. I rediscovered this site after reading the Let's Go Ride A Bike blog (link to the left). It is a FastRider brand that was imported from Holland. Great price, really great service and great freaking panniers that fit my wider European style rack.

yay! Another view (on the bike path waiting at a green light)

I got a new seat, new Schwalb heavy duty tires and new pannier bags. All I need now is a new basket and The Broad will be perfect.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

I made a little girl happy today.

I posted an ad on craigslist immediately after assembling the pink beach cruiser I got. I figured I would post it for $200 but thought better of it, considering the size and the fact that it was missing some parts so I could not get the fenders on (those will go into the recycle bin). I thought posting $80 "OBO" would be reasonable.

I got a reply from a father interested in the bike for his 11 year old girl. He offered $70 for the bike. I was ok with that. We talked for a bit and the family immediately came over to look at it. We met at the drug store outside my apartment. His daughter went for a test ride and was hooked. She LOVED the bike. She paid me $70 out of her own pocket, her mother told me she's been saving her allowance for a long time to get a bike.

Seeing that little girl having so much fun riding the bike was totally worth giving it away for only $70.

Ah pink beachy, it was never meant to be...

Besides, some little part of me felt that my Flying Pigeon, The Broad, was getting jealous with all the time I spent with the little pink beachy.

there, there, I felt nothing for little pink beachy, YOU'RE the one I love...

Thursday, February 12, 2009

I got my new bike today!

And it's really cute.


Even though it's a really cute beach cruiser, I just don't think I really want it. After much thought, I have decided to assemble it this weekend and sell it on craigslist. I figure I'll use the money from that to buy some bitchin accessories for my Flying Pigeon. I need a new basket, my bike guy is gonna hook me up with better tires and I believe I may have found some pannier bags that may fit my more wider, european style pannier rack.

And I am just not sure how I feel about the fact that the bike has coaster breaks. And the fact that it's a beach cruiser. And the fact that it's pink and white.

It's a nice little project...

out riding

out riding
riding my flying pigeon