Tag Archives: bicycling in Nashville

Bikes + beer = FUN

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.

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

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.

bikecorrall

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.

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. }

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Just Glide

So I realized after posting about tips to beat the summer heat that  there was one thing I hadn’t mentioned: Coast when you can! This is probably because I often forget to do this myself. You know those small dogs who, when held above the water, automatically start paddling?

funny gifs

That’s me when my feet are placed above bike pedals.

But here in Nashville, the upside of all the hills are all the downhills! (Well, I guess technically the downhills are the downside, not the upside, but you know what I mean.) And when it’s hot, I try to remind myself to take a break from pedaling and glide down them.

The joys of having a step-through: resting your feet on the top tube!

Are you a phantom pedaler too? Make me feel less alone here. :)

 

{ gif pulled from gifbin.com }

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Sweat-free summer? Strategies for cycling

As the height of summer approaches, it seemed like time to amass some tips for cycling in the heat into one post. Here they are: my tips and tricks for riding in the heat over four summers in Nashville. None are rocket science, all have helped me at one time or another.

Something else that's good for keeping cool: Ice cream!

  • Get baby wipes, or, better yet, ActionWipes, to keep at your office and wipe down once you arrive.
  • If your feet sweat, put baby powder or cornstarch in your shoes before leaving the house, and after you arrive at work.
  • Use dry shampoo (did you know you can make it yourself? True fact!) to absorb odor from sweaty hair. Also: braids braids BRAIDS.
  • Ride slowly! It’s surprising how much of a difference this can make. Dottie talks about that here.
  • Wear loose clothing—dresses, loose linen shirts, etc. The more air can hit your core, the cooler you will be.
  • Consider a dark color or a fabric with a print, the better to hide any sweat stains (tip of the hat to Lovely Bicycle for the print idea).
  • Pick a route with minimal stoplights and traffic. There’s nothing worse than sitting at a red light, with heat radiating off cars and the blacktop. Side streets also tend to be shadier.
  • Don’t apply lotion (including body lotion) or foundation before leaving the house. It blocks your pores and will make you sweat more. (If anyone has found a body lotion that does not do this—please let me know what it is!)
  • Keep your back clear! Put up your hair, use a pannier, not a backpack, etc.

All that said, working up a light “glisten” on summer bike rides is usually unavoidable. If you have to smell like a human for a few minutes once you get to your destination, give yourself a break. Just think of all the toxins you are unloading!

Do you have a favorite trick for keeping cool while biking in the summer? Tell us in the comments!

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An afternoon with Grant Petersen

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.

 

most bikes greenhills has ever seen

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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Nighttime novelty ride

It really says something about how mild this winter has been that tonight, when I had the chance to ride in the rain in the dark, I was actually sort of excited about it. After all, I haven’t had to walk home or catch a ride home because of the snow even once!

Made me think of all those poor people who live in Hawaii or California and never have to pull out sweaters and barely open umbrellas.

They’ve gotta get bored. Change is good!

 

p.s. hi everyone. It’s been a while! [Insert boring computer story and other lame excuses here.] Short version: I’m back. And there’s a lot going on in Nashville that I can’t wait to tell you about.

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Podcast: What we talk about when we talk about bikes

Our latest podcast is the first one to feature Dottie and me together. It was recorded during my November Chicago visit over what might have been one Manhattan too many. The original idea was for Dottie to interview me, but what it turned into was a long, wide-ranging and extremely informal discussion about our cycling stories and preferences. It’s not available in the iTunes store yet, but you can stream it here or right-click to download it to your computer. Enjoy!

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