Archive of ‘events’ category

Nashville spring biking

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You guys, it is spring in Nashville–finally. I’ve been going on rides and walks and making spring-y cupcakes.

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And sunday, April 13, we’re having a bike brunch! Meet at Yeast Nashville at 11:15 for food–then at around noon, we’ll head out for a ride through Shelby Bottoms. More details here.

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Hope to see you there!

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Nashville Tweed Ride draws a dapper crowd

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We had such a great turnout for the Tweed Ride last month! Despite the very British chill in the air, a lively group of dapper ladies and gents met at Sevier Park. Three pubs and five hours later, we all biked home. Here are some pictures from the day.

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(photo by Austin of Green Fleet)

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The group at Yazoo (+photobomber!)

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So many bikes outside of Yazoo

Two Gitanes outside Yazoo!

Two Gitanes!

Emily and Derek (from Memphis!) and Emily's mom Charlene

Emily and Derek (from Memphis!) and Emily’s mom Charlene

Amanda sets the pace on Patty.

Amanda sets the pace on Patty.

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Car factory taken over by bikes.

Paula and Sten outside Marathon

Paula and Sten outside Marathon

Jessica at Corsair Taproom (photo by Sten)

Jessica at Corsair Taproom (photo by Sten)

Anna, Dan and Paula, so ladylike in white gloves! (Photo by Sten)

Anna, Dan and Paula, so ladylike in white gloves! (Photo by Sten)

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Sonny explains it all (photo by Sten)

John and his cigar: the ultimate tweed ride accessory! (Photo by Sten)

Jack and his cigar: the ultimate tweed ride accessory! (Photo by Sten)

I should mention that I cross-posted this event on the Slow Ride Nashville meetup page. If you’re looking for more ways to get out and about on a bike in Nashville, check it out!

Taking your 10-speed on a metric century ride

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So, you already know that Le Peug and I survived the metric century—now I’m going to talk a little more about HOW we did it.

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First, here are some things I thought I might need for a ride like this that I did not, in fact, need:

  • clipless pedals
  • toe cages/straps
  • drop bars
  • gloves
  • 100 energy bars (I went a little crazy at Target!)

Here are some things I added to my bike that I was actually quite grateful for:

  • Ergon grips (discovered through Simply Bike)
  • water bottle cage
  • Brooks saddle (I was so happy to have an excuse to buy this!)

I wore an Adidas clima-cool shirt that I got on clearance at TJ Maxx a few years back, Merrell shoes (also TJ Maxx clearance), and my Terry cycling skort, which was very cool and definitely delivered on the moisture-wicking. I’m not sure the padding helped all that much for my upright riding position—it was placed more for someone riding a road bike—but I figure it didn’t hurt.

blessedly normal pedals

blessedly normal pedals

The night before the ride, we carbo-loaded with pizza at Black Horse Pub (somehow, I managed to restrict myself to sharing a beer sampler rather than ordering a full beer). I was in bed and asleep by 10:30. The morning of the ride, I got up a little before six and went down to breakfast right away. I drank a couple of cups of coffee, ate an English muffin as well as some fruit and a little bit of oatmeal before taking a shower and getting dressed. We left for the site at about 7:15, and got there a good 30 minutes before the 8 am start.

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I was definitely the only person on a 10-speed, and one of very few people not to use clipless pedals. I got passed a lot, but the other riders almost always made friendly comments about my bike or style—and we got a few questions about our Po Campo bags.

Le Peug got hit on hard at the second rest stop by the bike mechanic, who was very nice but rather hilariously started telling me about my own bike. (Guy: “This is a 70s or 80s French bike.” Me: “Yes, it’s a U-18 from the early 1970s.” Guy, not appearing to hear me: “The grips are new, the fenders are original; that saddle is new.” Me: “Actually, I put those fenders on; they’re from Velo-Orange.” Etc.)

As I mentioned in my earlier post, my strategy was to keep a steady, reasonable pace. I didn’t always stick to that, as the 14-15 mph at the beginning attested. But my average pace was about 10.5 mph—since that was calculated including the time spent at rest stops, I’d say it ended up being more like a 11-12 mph average.

We stopped at every rest stop. During the ride, I refilled my 16-oz water bottle twice, drank most of a large coconut water (before it got hot and became totally disgusting—do not recommend!) and a small bottle of gatorade. I ate a peanut butter sandwich and three energy bars, plus a spaghetti lunch after the ride.

I did take off my lights, just to clear the cockpit a little bit and make sure they didn’t accidentally fall off along the way, but I didn’t bother removing anything else. My rack and fenders are so light that I don’t think taking them off would have helped me significantly—and I would have had to carry my bag cross-body, which would have been a total drag.

The one thing I did sort of wish for, especially in the last few miles, was a different handlebar position. But I was actually able to lean forward and hold onto the handlebars right near the stem at a few points when I really needed to change position, so I’m on the fence about whether I would change this in the future. Whitney added bar ends to her bike’s straight handlebars and was very pleased with them, so maybe if I do another ride I’ll give that a shot.

So the moral of the story is, if you train for a ride on your 10-speed, you can complete a ride on your 10-speed—without making any real sporty modifications. So if you’ve been thinking about doing a long ride but are worried about not having the “right” bicycle—just do it. And choose the Clarksville Century ride because the route is super easy. :) As long as you have a high heat tolerance, that is!

A lot of people, online and off, have asked me whether I intend to keep riding centuries. The answer is that I’m not really sure! I did enjoy the sense of accomplishment I got from this ride. If I continue to take long rides on weekends (which I might; most of the time I enjoyed that too) and am able to maintain the increased endurance I developed during this training, I could be talked into doing another one. It might take a while to get me convinced to jump up to 100 miles, though.

 

 

 

 

Metric century: Complete!

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Readers, you are lucky that I waited two days to compose this post. Had I been writing on Saturday evening, it probably would have been composed mostly of euphoric emoticons, with a liberal use of all caps and VERY EXUBERANT punctuation marks. Because we did it!! (I guess I have a few more exclamation points in me.)

Despite it being a special weather statement sort of day.

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We snapped the photo below just before lining up with the couple hundred other metric century riders for the 8 am start. In case it needs to be said, I was the only one on a 10-speed, and the only one on a vintage bike—although I did see a couple of recumbents.

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After a lengthy prayer, a warbling rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” (during which I belatedly remembered to take off my helmet) and a reminder to share the road, there was the sound of a hundred clipless shoes meeting pedals…which Whitney and I weren’t able to join. And we were off!

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The Sunrise Century route loops up into Kentucky and back, passing through the charming small town of Guthrie as well as loads of corn and tobacco fields.

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From the first, it was evident that the ride was well planned: The route was clearly marked, rest stops were fully stocked and there were volunteers directing or stopping traffic at all the major intersections. Most of the roads were very lightly trafficked, and we were often able to ride abreast.

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The course was so flat that I found myself on my big chain ring most of the time, mashing to build speed. My strategy was to maintain as steady a pace as possible, so I wouldn’t tire myself out. Adrenaline and fresh legs carried us through the first 29 miles in just over two hours, so there were some big grins at the second rest stop. Could we really finish the ride in 4 hours?

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Second rest stop photo.

Answer: No. Though the course remained relatively flat, the temperature started climbing and we lost our cloud cover. Those fresh legs were also long gone.

But we pushed on.

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As I pedaled, I spent a lot of time monitoring my body and planning what I would do at the next rest stop to make it as happy as possible. What body parts needed stretching? Was I hungry? Too thirsty? I was terrified of doing the wrong thing and hitting a wall before I realized it was coming.

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Thankfully, it didn’t happen. I felt astonishingly good for about the first 40 miles, and pretty decent through 50. But the last 12 required increasing amounts of willpower. The sun was high in the sky, making shade increasingly rare (and treasured!). I was exhausted: Salt from sweat was crusted on my arms and legs, I was slightly sunburned despite repeated applications of sunscreen, and a weird heat rash was popping up on one of my thighs. Every little incline started making itself known, and the only significant one was, of course, right near the end! As I slowly chugged up it, a guy who’d been leap-frogging us several times during the ride passed me and said bracingly, “Almost there!” Then he promptly got tangled up in his clipless pedals and fell over. Luckily, when I asked he told me he was fine, because if I had stopped at that moment it would have been very hard to get back on the bike. I’m not sure I’ve ever been as grateful to see anything as I was to see the Rossview High School sign and know that I only had a few more yards to go.

Whitney had finished a few minutes ahead of me, and was sprawled on a bench in the shade near her car and bike. The euphoria I felt from being finished with the ride gave me the energy for a limp cheerleader stance and an exclamation of “We did it!” before I collapsed on a neighboring bench. We sat in exhausted silence for a few minutes before I thought to check the time: 1:45. We’d finished in under 6 hours! I had estimated that we would take at least 6 hours, so knowing we’d done better than our target gave me an even greater sense of accomplishment.

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Been there, done that, got the 100% polyester T-shirt

After a few minutes of rest, we mustered up the energy to put the bikes on the car and head inside to find Amanda and Andy and partake of the spaghetti lunch. (Garlic bread=awesome recovery food.) Despite a few minor aches and pains (and a deep desire to sit on anything that was softer than a bike seat), all of us were thrilled with how normal we felt, despite our exhaustion. It felt just a little bit miraculous, given our somewhat haphazard approach to training (Amanda, to the guy who took our picture at the start: “We’ve been training a whole MONTH for this!”).

Of course, part of that was because of the accessibility of the course. At no point did I feel aerobically challenged—party due to the terrain and partly due to my slow and steady ride strategy—so it was really only my endurance that was tested. Not that that was a small thing. Sure, bicycling is an efficient exercise, but when was the last time you did something for nearly six straight hours?

I realize this post isn’t getting into the nitty gritty of my bike and outfit setup. or what I ate the day of or night before, etc. I’ll geek out on that a little bit more in a future post. This one’s all about proclaiming VICTORY!!! :-) And, you know, getting all the all caps and emoticons out of my system. If anyone has specific questions they want answered, have at it in the comments.

 

 

 

 

Bikes + beer = FUN

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The third annual Nashville Tour de Fat was on Saturday, and it was a blast. It was also a hot and humid 90+—the second day of summer and it totally felt like it. Major kudos to those who wore costumes. The best I could do was deck out the Bat.

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After the parade, the bike valet set up by Walk/Bike Nashville was just a little bit popular…

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After helping park some bikes, I was off to gulp down a squash fritter from Riff’s, and settle down with a beer and some friends to watch the craziness in the bike corral.

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While walking around the festival, I overheard a few different people talk about how they wanted to get a bike and start riding around—one of the many reasons that the Tour de Fat is more than just a fun ride/day in the park.

tourdefatpicstitch Another reason: More than $30,000 was raised for local nonprofits. Is the Tour de Fat coming to your town?

{ Read about Dottie’s and my previous experiences at the Tour de Fat here, here & here. }

National Bike Month rolls on in Nashville

MetroCenter Ride crew

Earlier this week, Dottie mentioned all the awesome events going on in Chicago for National Bike Month. We’ve got lots going on here in Nashville, too! Last Sunday, I led a Bike Brunch + MetroCenter Ride, which miraculously was rain-free. Also a miracle: That another cyclist came by, the first we’d seen all day, just in time to take this photo.

MetroCenter Ride crew

MetroCenter Ride crew

Next week is the biggest week yet: Wednesday is the Ride of Silence, Friday is Bike to Work Day, and Saturday is the Tour de Nash! We just found out that Mike Wolfe from “American Pickers” will be leading the Family Ride. I’m hoping he’ll be on some sort of awesome vintage machine…

Check out the calendar for more details on those and other events.
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What’s happening in your city for bike month?

Chicago’s Tweed Ride

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A fun and friendly group gathered for Chicago’s Tweed Ride on Saturday.  After an unexpected thunderstorm, the weather was sunny and exceptionally warm for November.

After the second pub stop, I broke off the ride with a group of girlfriends for dinner at Bangers and Lace.  I love that going on a Tweed Ride naturally means hanging out with so many of my friends.  Good times.

I know Des Moines had a Tweed Ride on Saturday (looking forward to the pictures!).  Anyone else?

Bonfire Tweed Ride – This Saturday

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This Saturday is the 4th Annual Bonfire Tweed Ride in Chicago, starting at Four Moon Tavern at 1 p.m.  I haven’t made it to a tweed ride in a couple of years, so I’m looking forward to this one.

 

{beautiful Scottish tweed from Brora: outfit 1outfit 2}

If you’re in Chicago, come on out!  Not sure what a tweed ride outfit would be?  Check out this Tweed Time fashion inspiration.  Trisha’s last Fashion Friday outfit would work well, too!

More info on the ride here.

Anyone else tweed riding this fall?

See you in London

The Harp Bar, Covent Garden

So as I mentioned a couple of months ago, Dottie and I will be traveling to London, Paris and Amsterdam together this fall. London readers, would you join us for the Very First LGRAB Overseas Happy Hour at The Harp Bar in Covent Garden* for a pint on Sunday, October 14? We’ll be there between 5pm and 7pm, most likely on some sort of two-wheeled conveyance.
:)

 

We’re so excited to have the chance to meet more of you in person! Let us know in the comments if you can make it! Cheers.

 

{ Related: our post on the NYC reader happy hour last summer at Adeline Adeline. }

* Thanks to reader Liz for the rec! Pint on us if we like the place.

An afternoon with Grant Petersen

photo by Kim Sherman

Nashville was lucky to host Grant Petersen—of Rivendell Bicycle Works, makers of Dot’s beloved Betty Foy, among other bicycles!—on the last stop of his book tour for Just Ride, an opinionated collection of essays on the various reasons for/ways of riding a bike for pleasure. Parnassus Books was packed during the hour-long conversation, as Grant discussed the origins of his book and took questions from the audience—even store co-owner Ann Patchett was among the crowd. As the talk progressed, it became more of a conversation, with audience participation and laughter.

'Just Ride' displayed at Parnassus Books

Turns out that writing a book was his publisher’s idea—they called him up out of the blue in 2008. At the time, Petersen said, he didn’t know much about Workman Publishing, one of the biggest lifestyle book publishers in America. “What to Expect When You’re Expecting is paying for this book tour,” he joked.

photo by Kim Sherman

Like most books, Just Ride has an eventful publication story. Petersen went through three drafts. When he turned in his first draft, his Workman Editor David Skinner said “Somewhere in here, there’s a good book.” So he tried again, narrowing the topic to his opinion about various bikes on the road, and ended up with a book he laughingly called ”Grant Petersen’s big boring book of bicycles.” Petersen didn’t like it, and when he admitted as much, his editor replied “Good. Nobody here likes it either.”

Trisha of LGRAB with Grant Petersen

Getting my book signed

Take three became Just Ride (eventually—settling on a title was equally full of back-and-forths), a book written in an informal but informed style that Petersen aptly described as “a friendly scold.” It’s an ode to “unracing,” the type of riding that most appeals to me and something that Petersen only discovered after spending six-and-a-half years racing bikes and about 20 more still riding like a racer.  As he put it, “Uniforms have an interesting effect on people. . . . When you put on the uniform of a professional racer, without even knowing it, you put on all the swagger that comes with it.” When you’re spending 10 minutes suiting up for a ride, he said, “You don’t want to do fun rides anymore…it feels like a waste, foolish.”

Petersen said that he found himself pushing himself out of the house in the morning and missing leisurely breakfasts with his wife and daughters in order to get his miles in before the heat of the day hit. He was embarking on the type of ride “you’d rather finish than start.” He wasn’t having fun.

 

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The bikes outside Parnassus Books—thanks to Walk/Bike Nashville

Eventually, he realized that this philosophy was costing him and decided to indulge in “the luxury of being able to enjoy your bicycle.” Something just about everyone who reads this site surely believes in, right?

Three ways to unrace yourself, according to Grant Petersen:

1. Dress down. Wear your normal clothes and dress for the weather, not for your bike

2. Ride a different kind of bike. You don’t need 30 gears.

3. Don’t have goals. “You work toward goals, you don’t play toward them,” said Petersen. “Riding a bike should be fun.”

Petersen stressed that everything in the book was his opinion, and his opinion only. “Nowhere in the book does it say ‘in my opinion,’ but all of it is.” Some of his more controversial essays, such as the ones on helmet use (hilariously, Petersen said he has worn his bike helmet in the car: “I’m afraid of driving.”) and Critical Mass have earned him some nasty emails from early readers, but he felt it was worth it to get his thoughts out there. He doesn’t expect everyone to agree with him, and he’s fine with that, saying that if you get something from at least 8 or 9 of the 89 essays in the book, it’s worth the price of admission.

I can say with certainty that readers of this blog will get more than that for sure. If you’re looking for a book to share with friends and family in order to explain why you ride the way you do, Just Ride would be a great choice.

After the talk, we rounded up about 15 of the people who had ridden to the reading despite the sizzling 100-degree temperatures and headed to Green Fleet Hub for a little afterparty.

The group, and Grant

There were a few Rivendells in the crowd.

Me and Le Peug

We ate chips and salsa, drank some Fat Tire and chatted. My new Po Campo bag was duly admired by all. I asked Grant if he had considered making a second women’s bike, and he said no…but then asked me what I would change about the Betty Foy. The sign of a successful businessperson, being willing to consider new ideas.

Bikes outside of Green Fleet Hub

Meeting one of cycling’s legends was definitely the highlight of my weekend. Thanks to everyone who came out as well as to Parnassus Books, Green Fleet Hub and Walk/Bike Nashville for helping to make it happen.

{photos in this post courtesy of Austin, Kim & Whitney, who filled the breach after my camera came down with a fatal lens error. Thanks!}

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