Thursday, December 27, 2012

Road Rash

"I believe people powered transportation can contribute to vibrant communities. Bicycles aren't just for kids and hippies. I'm a girl that likes good food, interesting people, and pretty dresses. I ride a bike.

So here I am, up in Canada. Trying to change the way people (women in particular) think about transportation. One bike; train; bus ride; carpool at a time.

These are the stories from the life of a girl who loves to bike."
I have included this introduction to Miss Sarah's blog because in there you will find a rather interesting paper titled: Road Rash.  I find it interesting because it summarizes quite well what I am trying to accomplish with this blog myself.
I will even give you the address so you can go and look at it and come back and tell me pros and cons and what else you think. I personally agree with every part of it and wish this town was now to cold and snowy. If you lower 49ers think you have it bad in the winter, think about this: us here in Anchorage are still waiting for the temperature to get up above 30 degrees. Click on girls and bicycles to access the full paper. Enjoy the ride.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Friday, November 2, 2012

Biking Politics

It's nice to see our two presidential candidates here riding their bikes. We know though that this was done more for the picture than because they really bike either for commuting or for sports.
Very few people nowadays don't know how to ride a bike. Even though very few of us really bike only for transportation.  My boss makes a gigantic operation out of biking. I mean, she mounts the bikes on the car, all the gear, water bottle, map, and who know what else as if going on a space expedition.  To begin with, a bicycle is a method of transportation.  That means you shouldn't have to put in inside a car (another method of transportation) to then take it to a second place, dismount the bike from the car, mount the bike, go a few miles, come back, etc.  You get the picture.  Biking should rather be a quite simple activity.  Just get on the darn thing and pedal. 
Perhaps the first mistake I see people making when acquiring a bicycle; when they see the weather changing every year as the summer approaches, is that they get the one bike with the fattest tires and the most gears.  Some how that gives them the impression that the wheels will do the pedaling and that the wider the tire, the faster they'll go.  Granted, fat cross tires will allow you to get into many more places such as grass, dirt, on and off sidewalks, but the thicker the tire, the more drag it creates,  the more vibration and the heavier the bike it will get.

Many people quit bicycling because they start out with the wrong bike. One that is uncomfortable or one that makes them look silly. The one bike that makes them also waste a bunch of money on Lycra, carbon, fleece, shoes, etc - just to look official.

My personal opinion is that as beginners, we should get a bike, new or used, that is comfortable. A bike that is not expensive.  That way, if we don't bike again, if we fall and don't like it anymore, we can just store it in the garage or leave it outside all winter and never lose much money or sleep over how much money we spent on the bicycle that we are no longer using.  It could be a comfortable city bike so that we can just jump on it without having to change clothes or shoes.  Upright/cruiser/beach/city/comfort bikes allow us to do that. They are not designed for performance. Just to go easy around the park and enjoy ourselves.  We shouldn't expect to go fast, nor should we expect them to be light.  That is not the point.   They should be comfortable and easy to use. If we then feel that biking is our thing and we see that we spend more and more time doing it, we can go and spend the money on an upgrade.

The pictures that we have here exemplify exactly that.  These two presidential candidates are clearly not the type of commuter/biker that they pretend to be.  Mitt Romney in a suit and on a road bike to which he was not used to.  It does not even look like he ever rode it on the weekends.  A city commuter would not choose that combination of bike and clothing.  Good for the picture perhaps.
And Obama, riding a bike that's too small for him. His daughter wearing helmet down her neck. 
When you bike periodically, you get to know your gear because almost every time you wear it, you make small adjustments to it until it fits good.  None of these bikers seem to have a clue.

I'd say you don't have to be good at everything.  Stick to the politics and may best one be the winner.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Biking through Disaster

Bowers Beach - DE - Source
Every time we experience disaster or at least during the last 200 years, there is a constant that keeps showing up as a prevailing survivor, and perhaps more as a survivor's companion. A tool to emerge from debris and despair.  It's our two wheel hero, the bicycle.
As you can see in our  May 17, Biking the Way out of Disaster post, the bicycle is the one companion that prevails, that is not dependent on electricity, not restricted by satellite connectivity. The bicycle is blackout proof. Not constrained by fuel shortages and for that matter not affected by any of the other casualties and consequences of a disaster. 
In the aftermath of the Japan Earthquake/tsunami/nuclear meltdown, all the shortages that followed could not stop this metal steed because the bicycle only requires you and your willingness to survive either by escaping or by staying to recover and rebound.

East River, NY - Hurricane Irene
Yet after you have used it and abused it and taken yourself to safety, you can leave your bike outside in the rain, in the wind, in the snow and whenever you decide to come back to it, it sure will be in the same place waiting for you.  What an unconditional friend. Only a dog would do that for you. The problem though is that your dog might need to be rescued also.  It's only fair. The bike however, is made for one thing and that is to take you places without requiring much from you.

Bay Shore NY  - Source -  NY Times

We have seen time and again during Hurricane Katrina, Irene, Sandy, Pedro, Maria, etc.  The one element that survives with the survivors along the damage is the bike. I have selected a few pictures that exemplify precisely that.   Having said that, I will also say that not always is a good idea to face nature with simply a bike.  Hurricane Sandy and most tropical storms will bring torrencial rains with high velocity winds.  Remember that a bicycle, as heroic as I might make it seem, only has the lineal support of two wheels.  As opossed to a car, which stands on a four-point support plus it has an iron cabin. Of course cars seem to be the first victims  of hurricanes.  If all else fails... RUUUUUNNNN!!!

Crawford, NJ - Source -
   Thanks to: The New York Times
                 Keith Bedford - Reuters
                 Karl Merton

Monday, October 29, 2012

Cycling While Pregnant

Since my wife is now pregnant I have stated to wonder if she could still bike with and what would be the potential risks, so here are the results of my modest research.

Bike riding can help maintain your well-being during pregnancy. Is it safe to ride a bike with a baby in your belly? Cycling education guru and mother Nicola Dunnicliff-Wells investigates. It's widely accepted that regular physical activity is highly beneficial for mums-to-be.
According to Active & pregnant, a guide produced by VICFIT and the Royal Women's Hospital, a sensible pattern of exercise can help maintain wellbeing during the pregnancy, help prepare the body for labour and help in recovery from the birth. Glenys Janssen, midwife at the Royal Women's Hospital Childbirth Education and Training Department, encourages exercise, citing multiple benefits. "It also helps you feel good about yourself, and it might help control weight." The rate of diabetes in pregnancy is increasing dramatically, she says, largely because more women are overweight."You're much less likely to get diabetes, and you're more able to control it if you're exercising regularly."
Glenys says that while some people worry that exercise could cause a miscarriage or damage to the baby, no studies have shown any negative effects of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise in a normal, healthy pregnancy.
"If you have complications, such as a multiple birth, or high blood pressure, you wouldn't do exercise," she says. "Or you would only to do it in consultation with a doctor and physiotherapist."
For women with normal pregnancies, moderate-intensity is key. Fiona Cooper, health educator and former midwife recommends cycling to help women build up their endurance for labour, but cautions against riding too strenuously. Staying cool and maintaining the body's water balance is important. "It's the same as the SunSmart message - take a water bottle and ride at times where you're not out in the heat," Fiona says.
Glenys Janssen says that nausea can be quite debilitating. "If you're feeling tired or you don't feel like exercising on a particular day, give it a rest. It's very physically demanding being pregnant."

The Active & pregnant guide stresses that every pregnancy is different: "The pattern of exercise which works well for someone you know may not be the right one for you. Choose exercise to suit your own level of fitness [and] your lifestyle. If you decide not to exercise, this is a perfectly reasonable decision. Give yourself permission to slow down or not to exercise at any time."

Precautions during pregnancy
  • Avoid getting too hot 
  • Drink more water than usual 
  • Don't push yourself (pulse shouldn't exceed 140 bpm) 
  • Don't get fatigued 
  • Avoid falls 
  • Don't exercise if you feel ill 
  • Stop if you get dizzy, pain, headaches or short of breath. 
After the birth of her son Lucas, Kathy Brunning decided she wanted to be fitter. "I wasn't particularly fit the first time around, and I wanted to get myself really fit for baby number two." When Lucas was two, she took on the challenge of riding Around the Bay in a Day.  Some time afterwards, she became pregnant with Callum. This time, she says, she felt much fitter and kept riding until the last few weeks of the pregnancy. Riding felt good, and helped to relieve the queasiness in her tummy and, later in the pregnancy, helped her aching legs.  Kathy Brunning also believes her recovery was much quicker because she was fitter. "I was also smaller [the second time] because I didn't put on excess weight."

Deb Chambers rode competitively before she became pregnant, typically riding 400km a week. During pregnancy she eased back on the intensity. "I used a heart rate monitor to make sure I didn't go above 140 beats per minute. "I stopped going up hills, or I just took it slowly."  At six months, Deb rode shorter distances, and raised the handlebars to ride in a more upright position. "At the end it was easier to ride than walk, because the bike supports your weight," she says. "But the best thing was I think it really helped my labour and recovery."
Not everyone has such an easy time. Megan McDonald, who was very active before pregnancy, had bad nausea. "I rode to work for the first few weeks, but when the nausea started, I'd be doubled over dry retching in the sink when I arrived. I don't know if riding actually made it worse, but it was one more thing to worry about, so I stopped." Megan believes it's important not to have big expectations. "You might plan to keep riding right through pregnancy," she says, "but things don't always go to plan. You have to listen to your body and do what's right for you."

Bike the way out of disaster

I thought about writing my views about the novelty of the bicycle. Once I heard or read that the bicycle was noblest invention and even though I knew that it was quite an understatement, I had not stopped to think of the reasons for it. I suppose you can come up with them the more you use a bike and study the subject. This next post and the pictures that you will see will show you what I am talking about.
The novelty of the bicycle comes from: 
  • The inexpensive way in which it can take you places
  • being the most personal vehicle
  • the fact that, like a book, only takes you as far as you want to go
  • its environmental impact or respect for it
  • its efficiency - energy per mile yield
  • last but not least: it is one of the only vehicles that when it cannot longer carry you, will  allow you to return the favor.
  • it will always wait for you
  • its comparative extremely low need for maintenance
  • the fact that you are its fuel
All these images of the Tsunami in Japan are clear examples of what I just described.   When all else fails, a bicycle will deliver. It will deliver you and your cargo, but if it takes you to a place where its access is denied, then you can carry it  across and keep going. 
Very few times has it been said that the success of a bicycle lays on the the fact that its only fabricated with the most minimum  components needed to take you from point A to point B. No windows, no motor, no extras. Only you and a few tubes and cables. That's all it takes for a bike to carry a person.
No matter how many bicycles you ride or if the entire population of this planet decides to ride a bike each. You will not be able to count a single CO2 molecule in the air from its emissions.

 Of course, it can be argued that to produce all those bikes it will take electricity and gas and coal and whatever else you use to power the machines that weld and shape the bike. I say though that it does not matter. With that minimal energy used you are producing a vehicle that does not suffer the cultural effects of age.
A bike is always a bike. You could have given Michael J Fox a bike to go back to the future and he would have had less problems for the bike would have fit right in. That gives you an idea of the agelessness (if that's a word) of the bicycle.  An instrument unaffected by radiation, immune to gas shortages, and invisible to ambiguity. No other country better than Japan can attest to the disaster and radiation combined effort to bring a country to a halt. Yet after every one of Japan's disaster aftermaths such as the atomic bomb and the Fukushima tragedies, the bicycle remains to provide unconditional support.

Photo by Reuters

Photo by Associated Press

Photo by Associated Pres
Photo by Reuters
Photo by AFP
Photo by Christian Science Monitor
Thanks to: Associated Press - Japan, The Chicago Tribune, AFP, Corbis, Reuters, The Christian Science Monitor

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A Day in the Life of a Folding Bike :)

And if bikes could talk, the number of stories they would tell us.
My bike , for example would tell of all the people that stop by to look at its internal gears, all the people that stop by to drop off other people, how little I use it, etc.  What I like the most about this short film is the simplicity of its cast, including the bike.  A simple old folding white bike :0        GENIOUS!!!

Monday, October 15, 2012


Izhar cardboard bike project from Giora Kariv on Vimeo.

You all probably saw it on Yahoo and other content agregators. The big news for us entusiasts of the bicycle is that there is someone out there working on a light and  inexpensive bicycle that breaks all the parameters.
Lets see if it goes into mass production one of these days.


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Why do Women Ride a Bike?

Why do women ride a bike is a question along the lines of our first question: How to get more people to walk/bike?

This short video gives us some answers from a group of young girls in Britain. I decided to share it with you. Enjoy :)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


According to the League of American Bicyclist:

2012 State Rankings Released

Adding more excitement to National Bike Month, the League has released its latest Bicycle Friendly States ranking. For the fifth year in a row, Washington continues to lead the nation, with outstanding performance in all categories. Riding the wave of significant bicycle improvements, other states like Colorado and Delaware charged into the Top 10.

Click on the map above to explore the state ranking
“We are encouraged to see significant progress in top states like Washington, Minnesota, Colorado and Massachusetts,” said Andy Clarke, president of the League of American Bicyclists. “But, as the scores clearly highlight, there’s much work to be done in critical areas like infrastructure and funding. Overall, we see states — and especially state Departments of Transportation and state legislatures — lagging behind cities and the expectations of local cyclists, despite the many well-documented benefits of a more active lifestyle.”
The 2012 rankings mark the launch of an updated and improved evaluation process. Throughout 2011, the League held Bicycle Friendly America listening sessions across the country to understand the successes and shortcomings of the program.  Based on public input, the Bicycle Friendly State survey was revised to give a clearer picture of a state’s accomplishments and next steps towards becoming more bike-friendly.
Click here (or the image below) to see the rankings and how each state scored in the five evaluation categories.

Even with the revised survey, Washington once again set a high bar in 2012. With support from the highest levels of government, the state leads the nation in creating new bicycle infrastructure and using federal funds for bicycle and pedestrian projects. In 2011, the state passed a safe passing / vulnerable user law, due in no small part to the efforts of the Cascade Bicycle Club and Bicycle Alliance of Washington, which have some of the highest advocacy capacity in the country.
“People in the Pacific Northwest embrace bicycling as part of a lifestyle that honors the environment, healthier living and transportation choices,” said Washington Governor Christine Gregoire. “This title once again confirms that we’re on the right track, supporting bicycling as a transportation option in our communities.”
Also on the right track, Colorado and Delaware rose to #4 and #10 respectively in the 2012 rankings. Colorado exemplifies many of the qualities the League looks for in a bicycle friendly state, including a bicycle commuter mode share that’s more than double the national average, a bike-friendly department of transportation, and a top-notch statewide advocacy group.
Delaware also jumped to #10 thanks to visionary support from top government officials. With dedicated state funding for bicycling projects, Governor Jack Markell and the state departments of Transportation (DelDOT) and Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) are leading the way to create a multi-modal transportation system. And the partnership between state leaders and Bike Delaware, the statewide advocacy group, is a model for other states seeking to become more bike-friendly.
“We welcome our rise in the ranking as recognition of what we are doing to make walkable, bikeable communities a priority in Delaware,” said Governor Jack Markell, who is himself an avid cyclist. ”Trails and bike routes are a part of a vision for a state with interconnected communities. We will continue working to make Delaware an attractive place not only to bike, but to live and work.”
But the BFS program is more than an annual assessment. Throughout the year, League staff work actively with state officials and advocacy leaders to help states identify and implement the programs, policies and campaigns that will improve conditions for bicyclists. While Mississippi placed #38 in this year’s rankings, Melody Moody, executive director of Bike Walk Mississippi, is confident her state won’t be in the bottom tier for long.
“Mississippi is a state typically ranked low in bicycle friendliness, but bicycle advocates across the state are working hard to make these changes, and fast,” Moody said. “Bike Walk Mississippi is working one-on-one with local communities to provide on the ground assistance to connect leaders to tools and resources that can be used to create better and safer infrastructure, policies, plans, and programs.”
Learn more about the BFS program at and stay tuned to the blog for more analysis in coming days.

My Signature

Carolyn Szczepanski
Communications Director

Szczepanski joined the League in March 2012, after two years at the Alliance for Biking & Walking. Before she crossed over to advocacy, she was a professional journalist for nearly 10 years.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Bike to Work: Anatomy of an Outfit

To continue with our topic from other posts regarding how to bike to work without the post-ride shine and what to wear, I can post some material about me and how I dress or what kind of bike I take to work, but this blog is also for women, therefore I have obtained permission from one of my hero riders to post one of her interesting reads and here you have it:

I’ve recently received several questions regarding cycling to work and what to wear. One reader also asked about the use of helmets: “I worry about having crazy lines on my head, hair out of shape… any tips or ideas on how to bike to work and not look like it once you walk in the building?”.
Since it’s back to school time (which, for us academics, is the same as back to work time), I thought it would be most appropriate to address these questions now. So here are some tips and suggestions based on my experience of biking to work in my professional clothes and while wearing a helmet. This is mostly geared towards my female readers out there since I’m speaking from my experience, which is rather limited and gender biased. I’d love to hear from the male readers out there who bike to work in their professional clothes… what are your go-to pieces or well-perfected strategies?
(Note: Whether you wear a helmet or not is your decision and should be influenced by the context of the situation. I wear one on all my commutes in my current town because of the lack of bike infrastructure and the often careless interactions between drivers and cyclists on the road. I’m neither advocating for or against helmet use, it is and should be a matter of personal choice.)
Cycling to work - anatomy of an outfit
Warm Weather Bike To Work Outfits:
1. Pattern – In hot weather, I opt for patterned garments that do a nice job of masking sweat stains.
2. Pencil skirts – I wear a lot of skirts and dresses for my professional get-ups and pencil skirts make for surprisingly good bike garments. However, they have to be made of a giving and slightly elasticized material so that there is a slight stretch to the fabric (otherwise they may be a no-go). I prefer these over fuller skirts because they stay in place better and do not blow ‘open’ while pedaling.
3. Heels – the beauty of cycling is that I can wear all of my shoes no matter how impractical for walking because it’s usually pretty easy to bike in them. The only ones I tend to avoid are ones with a very smooth and slippery sole which can sometimes slip off the pedal while cycling.
4. Low bun – a simple and chic ‘professional’ hairdo is the low bun at the nape of your neck. I love this look because it’s easy and quick and works well with a helmet. The helmet stays above the bun and even helps keep the top of your hair smooth and frizz-free (if you’re me, frizz is a constant enemy!) on your ride to work.
5. Bike basket – it really helps to have some kind of bike carrying system to allow you to cart your work bags not on your body. Nothing gives you major back sweat stain like a backpack on a hot day. A front basket, a rear rack, panniers…all of these will ensure that you arrive a little less sweaty and a little less wrinkly at your destination.
bike to work - anatomy of an outfit
6. Dark colors – if you’re not wearing pattern, look for darker colors to hide sweat stains on warm weather days. I also sometimes layer a wicking tank top underneath my blouse or button-down to help absorb sweat before it stains my top layer.
7. Knee length skirts or dresses - because none of my bikes have skirt guards on them, I save my longer skirts or dresses for non-cycling occasions. With fuller skirts, I love ones that are made of heavier material as they tend to blow ‘open’ less as well. This particular skirt’s hemline is trimmed with beading, which functions as a perfect weight for keeping the hem down while cycling. (With time, you come to realize what makes a great cycling item and start unintentionally filling your closet with them.)
8. Flats – as stated above, almost any shoe will do!
9. Braid – Another helmet friendly hairdo option.

perfect helmet hairdos helmet hairdo
On Helmets and Hair:
1. Braids – by far my favorite ‘helmet’ hairdo. The low braid, the ‘Dutch’ braid that wraps around, ‘Heidi’ braids that are bobby pinned in place… all of these take my messy bedhead hair and tame it into a manageable and helmet friendly hairdo. I’ve perused the Internet for inspiration and instructions and taught myself a few quick braid styles that are easy to reconcile with wearing a helmet to work.
2. Helmet - I have a Nutcase helmet (pictured above) that worked well enough but was always a little loose. I recently purchased a Giro helmet that I love because it adjusts to become tighter or looser as needed. I prefer it to the Nutcase because it allows me to adjust it for whatever hairstyle I’m sporting (‘Heidi’ braids need more room than a low ponytail) and it also allows for hat wearing in the colder months.

Winter Cycling - Anantomy of an outfit
Cold Weather Bike To Work Outfits:
1. Layers – my cold weather ‘bike to work’ outfits only differ from my warm weather ones in that I add layers. Layers are great because they allow you to adjust your temperature as your cycling or as the weather changes.
2. Boots – again, any shoes will do. In the colder months, I live in boots. In the dead of winter, I wore these faux fur lined boots along with wool socks (Smartwool are my favorite!) to keep my toes warm even in below freezing temperatures.
3. Skirts – even in the winter, I prefer skirts over pants for work outfits and will opt for tights as a way to keep warm. Sweater tights, insulated tights, or two pairs worn layered have kept me much warmer than a pair of pants might.
4. Bike Basket – although sweating is less of an issue on colder days, I still prefer to carry my work tote in a basket rather than on my back because of all the bulk that comes with winter layers. This way, it’s one less thing that I’ve got on.
5. Braids – fit nicely under a hat and equally nicely under a helmet.

Winter cycling- anatomy of an outfit
6. Helmet – this is my ‘sporty’ Giro helmet that I wore before getting my ‘stylish‘ Giro helmet. I wore this all winter rather than my Nutcase because the adjuster knob in the back allowed me to loosen it to fit over my hat.
7. Down coat – nothing beats a knee-length down coat as a top layer if you bike commute in a cold climate. I biked around town in below freezing temperatures this way.
8. Gloves – I layered two pairs on really cold days.
9. Boots – these leather boots weren’t the warmest option so I’d layer two pairs of wool socks or cashmere socks inside of them. That usually kept my toes nice and toasty enough.
10. Hat – A must under your helmet on colder days. Works well with low braids, low ponytails, or any hairdo you’re willing to redo or touch up at your destination.
There are many bike bloggers out there who commute to work in all seasons and temperatures. I’ve picked up many tricks from them and am grateful for the advice they impart on their sites. They can be found at Girls and Bicycles, Portlandize (for a male perspective!), Let’s Go Ride a BikeLovely Bicycle, and The Julie Blog, just to name a few. These bloggers have inspired me in particular because none lives in a predominantly warm or favorable climate and they continue cycling despite snow or rain year round.
Do you bike to work in your professional clothes? If so, what are some your tried and tested go-to items? How do you make your work wear cycling friendly?

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Head Over Heels

Could any of you give an answer to this comment below?
I am a female. A beautiful pair of heels makes me feel just as sexy as the next girl. But, unfortunately, I was born with the type of feet that end up in excruciating pain if I am standing or walking in them for anymore than 15 minutes. Alas, heels are reserved for work, any instances where I know that I’ll be able to sit for a bit, and special occasions that include my birthday, making an ex-boyfriend jealous, and a night at the club where I know I’ll be in VIP.
Hence the reason why I am mystified when I see New York women walking briskly down the sidewalk in their business suits and work outfits, strutting by me in their heels while I walk in my flats, heels tucked away in my purse until I get to work. I’ve always been bewildered at how they can look so comfortable after walking block after block, munching their morning bagel or typing away on their Blackberries. I mean, am I the only woman subject to aching feet and blisters?
Whatever the case may be, what is even more bewildering to me than New York women walking to work in their heels is…
Photo courtesy of
New York women BIKING to work in heels.
This phenomenon raises two bewildering questions for me. If anyone out there is one of these New York (or any city, for that matter) heel-wearing, bike-riding women, feel free to give me some insight to the following:
1) Why the dire need to don your heels while you bike? Why not put on some sneakers or at least cute flats and stash the heels in your bag?
2) Why are you biking to work in the first place? I mean…I get the whole added exercise bit, but…can that bike ride not wait until after work or the weekend? Or is this to save money on that monthly metro card pass…
3) This question might be due to a lack of personal coordination, but how on Earth do you even pedal without getting your heels stuck, missing the pedal all together, or losing a shoe?
No, really, inquiring minds would like to know…
Taken from

Monday, August 27, 2012

A Fish without a Bicycle?

I had the suspicion that biking solved many of our problems as a society. What a vast reach. Even fish benefit from bicycling.

I came across this bumper sticker that proves my point - or does it?

I thought about asking the owner of the sticker what she meant by it, but then thought it could be quite confontational. Perhaps it is a better idea to ask a fish about the magnitude of its loss.
What is your opinion?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Nelly's Women's Shelter Bike Sharing Project

I came across this amazing project in Toronto.  The Nelly's Women's Shelter devised a program to provide its residents with donated bicycles.  here is their story and below I have posted some of their client's comments

“In all my life I have never had a bike.  I’m 45 now and I finally have one.  This program has changed my life!
“I feel so proud to have a bike that’s all mine!
“I can put my things in the basket and then I go.  To work, to shopping…it’s good!

 Nellie's Women's Shelter is looking for a few generous people to help get the women and children it serves moving - on two wheels.  This summer, the east-end shelter put out a call for the donation of gently used bicycles as well as helmets, locks, bells and lights to help its clients get around town easier. Meghan Hogg, a counsellor and advocate at the shelter, serves as the new program's coordinator. "Transportation is always a huge issue for the women (and children at Nellie's). The TTC is so expensive now," said the avid cyclist, adding the lack of affordable, reliable and efficient transportation is a major hindrance for those needing to attend job interviews and other appointments. It can also be very isolating, she added. Earlier this year, Hogg started talking to her friends and contacts about the initiative. Before long, donations began rolling in as people gifted extra bikes and gear they no longer wanted or needed to the Riverdale-area organization. Hogg also posted about the initiative on various social media websites, which brought in some donations. With that success, Nellie's officially launched its new bike program this summer. "I think it's a good way for women to be able to get out of the house and the physical activity is always good," she said, adding Nellie's is looking to get a bike rack donated to the shelter as it would take far too long to get the city to pay for it.
This summer, Nellie's hopes to collect five women's bikes, 15 children's bikes and 35 locks, helmets, bells and lights.  Cash donations are also appreciated and tax receipts are available.
Also, Nellie's is currently working on forming partnerships with local bike repair businesses to help mitigate the cost to repair donated bikes and equipment in "rough shape."  Hogg, who said bikes in good working order are especially appreciated, hinted it would be extra helpful if the city stepped up to the plate and donated some memberships to its new Bixi bike rental program. The donated bikes and gear will be used by women and children at the shelter as well as by the kids in the shelter's summer camp program. Those who move out or those who don't live at the shelter, but seek assistance from Nellie's will be given the bikes and equipment.
To make a donation, or for more information about the program, email or call 416-461-0769.
Taken from the

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

My Mobile Medicine - Medicine on Wheels


I came across this post on the blog and thought it was quite interesting for several reasons. First because it is about an female entrepreneur, second because it is a biker. Why did she choose a bicycle instead of a motorcycle or a  hybrid car? hmmm..., third because she is a nurse.  One of out earlier posts features an article about Emergency Response Bicycles.  The fact that this is a small business that is part of a trend makes is also interesting, so I will leave you with the post from the and her website address:

Registered nurse Jody Hoppis wanted more time with her patients, and a schedule that would accommodate her life as a working mom of three. So she ditched her job at a family practice clinic and set up her own nursing practice called mymobilemedicine, of medical house calls made exclusively by electric bicycle.
Photo stills courtesy Komo News.
Hoppis bikes in a 15-mile radius around the town of Bellingham, Washington, making house calls to individual patients.
Hoppis carries all of her equipment - a laptop computer and a "diagnostic bag" with stethoscope and blood pressure reader - in a custom-made bright orange bike trailer. It is modeled on a waterproof (and lockable) trailer used by Scottish postal carriers. Her Kalkhoff Pro Connect Sport e-bike provides a bit of extra power for making her rounds.
Hoppis told the Bellingham Herald that her bike-based business cuts out a lot of the overhead of a regular office, and she can not only see patients quickly as they call or e-mail requesting a visit, but spend more time with them than a busy medical office.
She makes nearly all of her patient visits by e-bike, and her Mobile Medicine web site spells out her medical philosophy, which is to treat patient symptoms, rather than just work from diagnostic tests.
It's always great to see people expanding the role of bikes in making viable businesses.

Friday, August 10, 2012



LONDON, Aug 10 (Reuters) - Mariana Pajon, Colombia's flag bearer at the opening ceremony, earned her country their first gold medal of the London Games when she thundered to victory in the women's BMX event on Friday.

Pajon, also the second Colombian to win an Olympic gold after weightlifter Maria Isabel Urrutia prevailed in Sydney in 2000, had dominated her three semi-final runs in awe-inspiring fashion.

She carried the momentum in the final where she led the eight-rider strong field after the first bend and never looked back, something she was happy to do at a news conference later.

"I started gymnastics when I was five, but I started BMX when I was three," she recalled, beaming with joy.

"I was doing gymnastics, BMX and cart racing. However BMX wasn't at the Olympics and I wanted to be here, then BMX was introduced in Beijing and I started training.

"I started racing when I was three and I realised I could do this and do it well. I started winning at four with the boys and won my first world title at eight."

New Zealand's Sarah Walker took silver and Dutchwoman Laura Smulders claimed bronze while local British hopeful Shanaze Reade had to settle for sixth.

She finished just behind Caroline Buchanan of Australia, the BMX time trial world champion.

"I can't believe it," said Pajon, who blew kisses to the capacity crowd. "It's like a dream come true. I've been trying to win this my whole life. I just wanted go out of the gate and win it. It's unbelievable."

On a very tricky course, Pajon once again used her explosive start to take the early lead, which proved unassailable for her rivals.

"I have tried so hard for it and I just did it," she said. "I felt really strong, I had really good gates and that's it. I really had fun on it. I have to wake up tomorrow and realise what I have just won." (Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Mark Meadows and Michael Holden)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Women's Suffrage and the Biking Suffragettes

First of all, what is a suffragette?  Hmmm I wondered, then found out that it comes from the word Suffrage. Well according to Wikipedia:  It is the right to vote gained through the democratic process... among other rights. Well having said that, the suffragettes and their movement came to be towards the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries.

The struggle to achieve equal rights for women is often thought to have begun, in the English-speaking world, with the publication of Mary Wollstonecraft's A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792). During the 19th century, as male suffrage was gradually extended in many countries, women became increasingly active in the quest for their own suffrage. Not until 1893, however, in New Zealand, did women achieve suffrage on the national level. Australia followed in 1902, but American, British, and Canadian women did not win the same rights until the end of World War I.
The United States
The demand for the enfranchisement of American women was first seriously formulated at the Seneca Falls Convention (1848). After the Civil War, agitation by women for the ballot became increasingly vociferous. In 1869, however, a rift developed among feminists over the proposed 15th Amendment, which gave the vote to black men. Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and others refused to endorse the amendment because it did not give women the ballot. Other suffragists, however, including Lucy Stone and Julia Ward Howe, argued that once the black man was enfranchised, women would achieve their goal.
As a result of the conflict, two organizations emerged. Stanton and Anthony formed the National Woman Suffrage Association to work for suffrage on the federal level and to press for more extensive institutional changes, such as the granting of property rights to married women.  Stone created the American Woman Suffrage Association, which aimed to secure the ballot through state legislation. In 1890 the two groups united under the name National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA). In the same year Wyoming entered the Union, becoming the first state with general women's suffrage (which it had adopted as a territory in 1869).
As the pioneer suffragists began to withdraw from the movement because of age, younger women assumed leadership roles. One of the most politically astute was Carrie Chapman Catt, who was named president of NAWSA in 1915. Another prominent suffragist was Alice Paul. Forced to resign from NAWSA because of her insistence on the use of militant direct-action tactics, Paul organized the National Woman's Party, which used such strategies as mass marches and hunger strikes. Perseverance on the part of both organizations eventually led to victory. On August 26, 1920, the 19th Amendment granted the ballot to American women.
Great Britain
In Great Britain the cause began to attract attention when the philosopher John Stuart Mill presented a petition in Parliament calling for inclusion of women's suffrage in the Reform Act of 1867. In the same year Lydia Becker (1827 –90) founded the first women's suffrage committee, in Manchester. Other committees were quickly formed, and in 1897 they united as the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies, with Millicent Garret Fawcett (1847 –1929) as president. Like their American counterparts, the British suffragists struggled to overcome traditional values and prejudices. Frustrated by the prevailing social and political stalemate, some women became more militant. Emmeline Pankhurst, assisted by her daughters Christabel and Sylvia, founded the Women's Social and Political Union in 1903.   Her followers, called "suffragettes," heckled politicians, practiced civil disobedience, and were frequently arrested for inciting riots. When World War I started, the proponents of women's suffrage ceased their activities and supported the war effort. In February 1918 women over the age of 30 received the right to vote. Suffrage rights for men and women were equalized in 1928.
Other Countries
European countries such as Finland (1906), Norway (1913), and Denmark and Iceland (1915) granted women the vote early in the 20th century. Other continental powers were quick to accord women the right to vote at the end of World War I. The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the Netherlands granted suffrage in 1917; Austria, Czechoslovakia, Poland, and Sweden in 1918; and Germany and Luxembourg in 1919. Spain extended the ballot to women in 1931, but France waited until 1944 and Belgium, Italy, Romania, and Yugoslavia until 1946. Switzerland finally gave women the vote in 1971, and women remained disenfranchised in Liechtenstein until 1984.
In Canada women won the vote in Alberta, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan in 1916; after federal suffrage was achieved in 1918, the other provinces followed suit, the last being Quebec in 1940. Among the Latin American countries, national women's suffrage was granted in 1929 in Ecuador, 1932 in Brazil, 1939 in El Salvador, 1942 in the Dominican Republic, 1945 in Guatemala, and 1946 in Argentina. In India during the period of British rule, women were enfranchised on the same terms as men under the Government of India Act of 1935; following independence, the Indian Constitution, adopted in 1949 and inaugurated in 1950, established adult suffrage.
In the Philippines women received the vote in 1937, in Japan in 1945, in China in 1947, and in Indonesia in 1955. In African countries men and women have generally received the vote at the same time, as in Liberia (1947), Uganda (1958), and Nigeria (1960). In many Middle Eastern countries universal suffrage was acquired after World War II. In some countries, such as Saudi Arabia, there is no suffrage at all, and in others, such as Kuwait, it is very limited and excludes women completely.

Thanks to:
The bicycle escape,, redstate, goskyderide,