Earlier this year, Trisha and I opened a Formspring account and welcomed you all to ask us questions. We’ve been answering the questions on Formspring individually as they come in. Now we’re putting the answers together as a cohesive FAQ section, although some of the questions are not so frequent. :) This is the first half. We’ll post the second half soon.
How and when did Dottie and Trisha meet?
Trisha and I met through our mutual friend, Erin, at a group happy hour. The first meeting I really remember was at a Russian dinner party I threw at my apartment. Trisha showed up with a shirt that said, in Russian, “I love Russian.” Awesomeness. Soon after, we went to a midnight showing of Gremlins and I drank too much beer and had to leave before the movie ended (beer buzz + crowded theater + gremlins driving Barbie cars = overwhelming). From then on, we were fast friends. :) That was, I think, about 4 years ago when I lived in Nashville for law school.
What saddles do you use on your bikes?
I (Dottie) have Brooks saddles, which I love. On Oma it’s the B67 with springs – the most comfortable saddle ever. On Betty it’s the B17S – no springs and took longer to break in, but still great. Trisha’s Batavus came with a Selle Royale and her Peug has a vintage saddle.
In the spirit of the LGRAB Summer Games, last week Le Peug and I rode downtown to go to a party celebrating the release of a new bourbon from Maker’s Mark.
Le Peug in front of the Country Music Hall of Fame
Riding downtown isn’t completely new for me, but I’ve only done it a handful of times—and this was the first time I rode from the office to downtown and then to the Gulch. The picture below shows the new Pinnacle building on the left. It blended into the sky better before they branded it, but such is modern life.
Pinnacle building and Encore condos
The place, the bourbon.
When I left The Palm, it was about 7:45 and the sun was setting. Apparently every bird in Nashville wants to be roosting on the roof of the Hilton at dusk, and the sky was full of them.
AT&T building peeking out from behind the Hilton; bird-filled sky
I rode down Demonbruen and over the viaduct to the Gulch, admiring the sunset along the way.
Union station, sunset
The Gulch, sunset
Most of my bike trips lately have been from home to work and back again, and to other familiar places (grocery store, pub, etc.). Exploring a new part of town was just what I needed to recapture the sense of adventure I felt when I got on the bike for the first time. Here’s hoping the rest of you who did this task for the Summer Games had the same experience!
What a rollercoaster day for fans of sports played with two feet. Fellow World Cup addicts, can I get a “Go USA”? (International readers, you are excused unless you’re feeling particularly generous.) Despite not being a sports fan in general, I get excited for this event. The global scope paired with a focused competition is unique–and it only happens once every four years!
After screaming ourselves hoarse during the USA/Slovenia game (the comeback! that ref!), my friend C and I blew off some steam by pedaling to Dan McGuinness to watch England and Algeria play. C doesn’t usually ride much but she was a champ as she pedaled the Flik down Music Row. It probably would have been nice of me remind her not to wear flip flops (sorry C!), but she managed, and her lovely white skirt was the perfect choice.
Today the Bat’s blue was looking very patriotic. I didn’t get any grief for my France t-shirt despite their appalling display yesterday; everyone was focused on today’s game. It was boiling hot and brutally humid, so we only took a couple of pictures.
England’s scoreless game was a surprise, but a welcome one. Now we just have to beat Algeria. Or tie Algeria and hope England doesn’t win against Slovenia. Or tie Algeria and hope England and Slovenia have a draw but don’t score too many goals. Ack. I feel my blood pressure rising already.
Who says you need to live in the country to spot animals along your commute? Every day I see exotic wildlife:
pink flamingos are classic lawn decor: It's 5 o'clock in Margaritaville
these lions are fierce
Duck in the foreground, steer at the back
What curiosities have you found along your commute?
p.s. if you’ve noticed a change in the quality of my pictures in recent days, it’s all thanks to my Canon PowerShot S90, the new love of my life. Dottie, Greg and several of my other friends went in together to get it for my birthday—best surprise ever! I highly recommend it for dabblers like me who value portability and will never learn quite enough about photography to justify springing for a DSLR.
Some of you probably know that Nashville just endured a record rainfall–a 500 year flood, by some accounts. In 48 hours, we got nearly 14 inches of rain–25% of our annual rainfall.
Poor Dottie & Greg were here to experience it all. A weekend with them with no bike rides just didn’t seem right, but we did get some Scrabble in at E & S’s house on Sunday, where we sought refuge from my power-less condo.
Obviously, we were extremely lucky to have only a 12-hour power outage and rained out bike rides to complain about. Between games, we watched the rain and worried over news reports showing images like this one (from the Nashville Flood 2010 Flickr pool.)
I didn’t know what our airport run on Monday morning would be like, but it was eerily calm and clear. Only the hint of fog over the ground, and the wet streets, recalled what had happened over the weekend.
Though there were other signs, if you paid attention, like uprooted trees.
And the flood-damaged items your neighbors put on the curb for Metro to pick up.
I can’t decide if these three last, sunny days are Mother Nature’s apology or just further proof of her fickleness. The river crested on Monday; the waters are receding. But power is still out downtown, and many people lost their (non flood-insured) homes–from suburban Bellevue families to stars like Kenny Chesney (though he at least has more than one home). We are rationing water, since we only have one functioning water treatment plant (we would have had zero, if it weren’t for some heroic efforts by state prison inmates). We may soon be rationing beer since local distributors are underwater. Total damage to the city is estimated at $1.1 BILLION. Damage to the Opryland Hotel and the Grand Ole Opry, along with some of downtown’s most beloved landmarks is going to be devastating for the local economy. Tennessee has only a sales tax, no state income tax, so tourist dollars are especially important.
Left: our new symphony center. Right: the Country Music Hall of Fame, taken May 4.
Sorry for the long, non-bikey post, but with the Gulf spill and the NYC attempted bombing, the Weather Channel seems to have done most of the national coverage of this disaster. Local blogs, TV stations and Twitter feeds have been incredible, and I wanted to do my part. If you want to help, you can text ‘REDCROSS’ to 90999 to donate $10 to disaster relief in Nashville. If you live in town, consider signing up with Hands on Nashville and volunteering to help with cleanup efforts — there will be plenty to do all summer long. (And if you see me on one of the projects, say hi!)
Thanks to all of you who checked in on me in the comments or on Twitter; your concern is appreciated!
For the last few weeks you may have noticed me riding Le Peug more often.
But I like to be fair (I was the kind of child who worried about stuffed animals being lonely if they didn’t sleep with me every night, which is why I only ever had one), so for the past couple of weeks it’s been the Bat’s turn.
The minute my butt hit the seat, I thought, no wonder I brought this bike back from the UK. Smooth, stylish, sturdy, easy to shift, built-in lights and zero maintenance. Why would I want to ride something else? Why have two bikes, again?
Funny thing is, I know I’ll feel the same way the next time I get back on Le Peug. Light, nimble, sporty and fast. Why would I want to ride something else? Why have two bikes, again?
The bike made it to U.S. shores in early May of 2009, courtesy of my lovely parents (story here). Since then, we’ve enjoyed all four seasons together, as shown in the photos below.
Dottie and The Bat on our Garden Party Ride
The autumn leaves . . .
And back to spring!
I really need to take more scenic photos of my bike this year
One year in, I still think the Bat was the best bicycle bargain ever. My fellow Americans, the pound is pretty low again these days. It might be time to start trolling the clearance sections of your favorite British bicycle shops and contemplating a summer vacation.
Sometimes I wish I lived in a city with more of a cycling community. In other cities, there are more bike lanes. In other cities, at least in the spring and summer, I might not be the only person riding a Dutch bike in heels.
But mostly, I appreciate Nashville — and my commute. While we might not have the infrastructure and density to allow me to bike everywhere, we do have lovely, quiet neighborhoods; considerate drivers; the occasional bike lane and a slowly growing cycling community.
I remember that I don’t like traffic, be it cyclists or cars. And there’s something to be said for a commute on city streets that is still quiet enough to let you stop and smell the flowers.
Is there anything more beautiful than spring in the Southeast?
Over the past few days, spring has tipped over into full bloom.
Blossoms at Belmont
On Monday’s ride, I had to stop and take a picture when I realized that I was dressed to match the blooming redbud.
This picture taken courtesy of a 1960s Ford pickup, whose hood was kind enough to hold my camera. Obviously self-timed snaps are something I take very seriously (or maybe it’s just that it was Monday morning?).
Today it’s lovely and sunny, cool…it’s time to give the Bat a spin.
Like Dottie, I had my share of invisibility yesterday morning: a pedestrian—probably a Belmont student late for class—darted out in front of me, in the bike lane.
All I could do was make inarticulate noises. Luckily that was enough to make him look my way and hustle as I applied the brake. No collision!
Me and Le Peug and the springtime
But then, on the way home, I had the opposite experience: pedaling down Portland, I saw a cyclist riding toward me. As we drew closer to one another, he veered toward me. Is he trying to hit me? Nope—apparently he just wanted to give me a high five. In more than a year of bicycle commuting, that’s the first time I’ve had that experience. So needless to say, we missed actually slapping hands due to my poor aim and late reaction. Still, it was a nice gesture of solidarity. Any other cyclists who can tell me if this was a common way of saying hello?