Public service announcement: Make sure your belt is fully secured before you start biking. Mine (a loop through style, worn on pants without belt loops) fell off halfway to work this morning and started clanking against the frame. Luckily it caught on the rear rack rather than in the spokes, but I had to pause and put it in my purse.
Other than that, it was a beautiful morning for a bike commute here in Nashville. About 40 degrees, with sunshine and blue skies. I took it slow and had a sip of coffee every so often, just because I could.
I can tell I’m a little out of condition after biking infrequently for the past few weeks, but in some ways it’s fun to have my commute be a little bit of a challenge for a change.
I was even happier that I had biked to work when I got to the office and found someone had brought us some Valentine’s Day treats!
Well, it’s no adorable chihuahua, but never say you can’t use a bicycle for schlepping! I did try to avoid blogger stereotypes by not posting pictures of my lunch tethered to the rear rack. What have you carried on your bike lately?
Last Friday, I went to the jam-packed “pre-opening” party of Nashville’s newest biking establishment: The Hub. It’s a truly unique entry to the Nashville biking scene: in addition to being the home of the Green Fleet Messenger service, The Hub will sell bike accessories and provide bike rentals. Starting this spring they’ll also offer bike tours around Nashville.
Your friendly Hub owners and operators Thomas Solinsky and Austin Bauman
The shop feels warm and welcoming, with its old brick walls partly whitewashed and partly left original—and completely decked out with bikes, baskets, bells, jerseys and T-shirts.
I’m pretty psyched that visiting friends and family will no longer have an excuse not to participate in my bike obsession. Judging from the bikes in the shop during the party, there’ll be a wide range of models available (alas, I didn’t photograph them all).
The Hub is located in Edgehill Village and open for business. Find them on Facebook for info on special holiday deals.
Green Fleet Hub
1579 Edgehill Ave., Nashville, TN
M-F 11-6; Sat. 10-2
p.s. speaking of riding in Nashville, our next bike brunch is TOMORROW at 11 am at Tavern in Midtown. Email me if you can make it.
Living in a city that makes only the barest of nods to public transportation, I’d always assumed that being without a car would be a terrible hardship, even though I already rely on my bicycle for most neighborhood trips. Some of my fears turned out to be true and others, not as much. Here’s how a few of my preconceptions ended up playing out in reality.
I’d be limited on what I could do and where I could go.
True, but not to the extent that I had feared. I was able to bum a ride to events that were really important, or take a bus. I also tried out the bike/bus combo for the first time—overcoming my fear that my bike would fall off the rack at the front—and was amazed at how easy it was. That said, with an increased awareness of the energy and time expenditures to get somewhere, I found myself choosing to spend time (and money) in my own neighborhood more often.
My social life would suffer.
The past month has been quieter for me—but having to get most everywhere by bike has made me respect my human limitations and not push myself to do things when I feel sick or tired like I usually do. Surprisingly, being forced to slow down has been more relaxing than frustrating.
I’d be unable to see out-of-town family and friends.
Sadly, true—I missed out on seeing some good friends of mine a couple of weekends ago. (The Greyhound to my hometown takes about 7 hours, vs. 4 hours in the car, which means that taking it for a weekend is impractical. Rental cars are pretty pricey for a weekend.) This continues to be one of the biggest reasons for me to keep a car.
I won’t be able to do everyday things—shop for groceries, etc.
Again, sort of true. My local grocery is close but has crap (aka zero) bike parking, so it’s kind of a pain. I have tagged along with friends to the store a couple of times, which was nice when it came to buying milk, etc. I also found myself buying things at odd places that were for whatever reason more convenient (I’ve never bought milk at Walgreens before! Or butter from the Dollar General.). Random shopping trips just didn’t happen. I would say that was a good thing since I saved some money, but I’m pretty sure I made up for it by buying stuff online. There were some errands I put off while I didn’t have a car, like going to the bank, but then again I do that anyway.
More to come on the response from others, and my own feelings about the experience, but this post is getting pretty long. I know there are others in mid-sized cities, and others here in Nashville, who don’t drive. What has your experience been like? What were your fears about being without a car and how did you deal with them?
Last Sunday I went with my friend Whitney to take a look at a vintage bike.
After a few saddle and stem adjustments, this 1972 Raleigh 3-speed was a perfect fit—a lighter, sportier complement to Whitney’s Jamis that should be able to cope with Nashville’s hills. This was my first time seeing/riding a Raleigh and I was amazed at how light and quick it was.
Whitney and her Raleigh
We celebrated with a brief vintage bike ride — brief because of intermittent rain and looming evening plans. Raleigh and Le Peug were a good match! Probably because they’re about the same age.
Vintage bike buddies
In other vintage bike news, I’ve suddenly become obsessed with getting an Ideale saddle for Le Peug. They seem to be very hard to come by—anyone have any tips?
Last night I was going to a business meeting. It was nearby, but the sky was dropping spittle that seemed likely to turn into rain, and I had to transport a manuscript. As I considered the pros and cons of bike and car, I was met with this sight:
Clearly a sign from the universe, right? (The Mustang is my car.)
Scolding myself for even thinking of driving the short distance, I grabbed Le Peug and set off. We got to the meeting only minimally damp and right on time.
But apres, le deluge. Which I and my vintage suede suit jacket were not ready for. It has been months since I’ve ridden in the rain—have I mentioned it has been a dry fall?—and I had totally forgotten how hard it is to see when rain is flying in your eyes. That was bad enough, but then I tried to stop at a stop sign and realized that Le Peug’s slightly weak rear brake, which I have been meaning to fix for a couple of months, doesn’t work at all when the rims are wet. Worst scare I’ve ever had on my bike—I almost threw myself off because I was sure I was going to end up in front of an oncoming car (until I thought of just turning right instead of going straight as I had intended).