Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Biking to Manage Weight

Everyone's talking about the Harvard School of Public Health study which concludes bicycling and brisk walking for exercise may help women control their weight during their 30s and 40s.

From the Harvard Press Release: The researchers found that among women who did not originally bicycle in 1989 but bicycled in 2005, even a small increase in bicycling time – as little as five minutes each day – helped to control weight. Among the walkers who had increased their daily activity by an average of 30 min/day over the years, only those who walked briskly (≥3 mph) were able to control their weight. Walking slowly (<3 mph) had no effect.
My own experience has been that I've had to alter my exercise routine over the years to keep fit.  In 1989 I was a bike commuter and just getting into distance riding.  Then, somewhere along the way I started running more than biking.  In my 30's I mixed it up a lot - running, yoga, kick boxing, etc.  It wasn't until my late 30's that I got back on a bike after a many year absence.  It's good to be back for sure.  I don't enjoy running much anymore.  I typically work in a weekend run or two but aside from that my main form of daily exercise is biking.  I also do weights, core and abs workouts each night to keep toned.  I definitely see and feel a difference as I ride into my 40's.  I have to work a whole lot harder to keep fit than I had to even five years ago.  If I wasn't active I would have to give up things like this.

And I don't want to give up things like this! How on earth would my colleagues bribe me if I gave up chocolate and cream cheese? (I'm trying to save it for after lunch but my finger keeps reaching over and trying to tidy up the edges.)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Vintage Bags Repurposed

This lovely Samsonite train case from my mom's first luggage set which she took on her European adventure in the late 50's. Unfortunately this bag isn't monogrammed like the larger bags.

Trunk bag!!

I also have this little vintage Samsonite gem...

Monday, June 28, 2010

Summer Games - Round Three!!

Round two is complete and its now time for round three! June 28-July 18: New Territory

  • Ride a greenway - Denver has an excellent bike path system and you can get to all corners of the metro area via greenway.
  • Have a bicycle picnic - Next week I'm traveling to the Heartland again.  One of the things I'm bringing home is a picnic basket which was a wedding present to my parents in 1961.  I've been thinking how to attach it to a back rack as it's incredibly well built.
  • If you don’t normally ride to work, commute by bike, or by bike/train or bike/bus - done! :-)
  • If you do commute, take the long way home: add distance to your usual ride - I try to do this but haven't for quite a while.  Will start again!!
  • Explore a new part of town by bike - The next Lovely Sunday Ride will be in Highlands or Berkley Park.  While I've definitely spent lots of time in both these neighborhoods, I've never biked there!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Decorate Your Bike x 2 - Lovely Sunday Ride

Today was the second Lovely Sunday Ride (pics at the link.)  And as I waited for one of the lovely riders to get to my house I decided to decorate Mrs. Gale with some treats from my flower garden. 

Read about the Lovely Sunday Ride here!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

A Few Tidbits from the Heartland

My mom's chiffon formal from 1956 or 57.  It's in absolutely perfect condition.  I couldn't believe I got it on since she was such a tiny little thing.  The shoes are from her wedding in 1961.  I'll post a pic of her wedding gown soon. It is hands down, the most elegant gown I've ever seen.  I wore it when I got married the first time. (HA!).....

Friday, June 25, 2010

Microburst Anyone?

A powerful microburst ran through on my commute home today. I wasn't even half way home and the wind was picking up just a tad.  It was cloudy but still very hot so initially it just felt good.  Then, to the east about five blocks all I could see was a wall of dust.  As I moved closer the force of the wind along with the debris flying around made it impossible to continue pedaling.  It was clear it was localized but I wasn't sure just how big it was.  I was definitely in the middle of the thing.  I rounded a corner to try and seek shelter and a medium sized tree fell in front of me, onto the sidewalk and someone's yard rather than the street thankfully!  At nearly the same time, large branches from several other trees fell.  It was gone almost as quickly as it came.  The rest of the way home was littered with branches and twigs and bewildered neighborhood folks.

From one of our local 9-News:
DENVER - An apparent microburst caused damage and some close calls across the metro area on Friday afternoon, bringing down trees and power lines in a sudden gust of high winds.

Bike Flair

I had these grand plans for flowers and ribbon and bows and all things lovely for Mrs. Gale but alas, life is getting in the way. So my entry for LGRAB 2's Decorate Your Bike challenge is Vivian's bag.  I'm not a big pin or sticker person but occassionally I run across something I like or someone special gives me a little token which speaks to me.  Nothing deep, it is only a pin or sticker afterall, just has to make me smile.

My dear friend Sara gave me the I heart Nerds pin along with some mix CD's that I love.  There's truly nothing like a mix tape!  I made the goofy guy pin while waiting for a haircut at my super cool salon, Big Hairy Monster. I love getting my hair cut because I never really tell Suzanne what to do and for nearly seven years I've been walking out happy.  That and she's super cool and her husband (who is awesome and looks like a shorter version of Lemmy) owns a super cool bike shop (The Track Shack) and we love to talk music and all things bikey.   They had a button maker in the waiting area for awhile.  And the penny farthing pin is from my mom's costume jewelry box.

Since I'm talking about Suzanne I should probably post some pics of her bike and the groovy carved leather seat.  Pictures really don't do it any justice at all.  It's a crazy unicorn!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

A Five Star (bike to work and other stuff) Day!

Yesterday was a good day all around!  It began with Bike to Work Day.  I've been absolutely exhausted since returning from Iowa but decided if I had it in me to get up an hour or so early, I'd go downtown before work, hang with the Bike Depot folks and check out the action.  My office is pretty much exactly half way between my house and downtown so it was a nice little extension to my morning commute....

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Bikey Finds

I did have some luck finding a few bikey things in the great purge!  I've mentioned the RAGBRAI banners (which I didn't take a picture of) and I also found some cute bike jewelry and a nice print of a painting of the Tour de France.  I'm thinking I might frame the print for a gift for my brother (I'm 99% certain he never reads my blog - HA!)  On the back of the print there's a nice explanation of how the artist positioned himself to capture the scene....

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Dinner Tonight? Abalone!

My brother is a fish doctor and all around fan of things that live in the water.  So when he's not making decisions to help salmon survive and continue to thrive in this world dominated by humans, he's diving.... and running and biking and anything else he can manage to do outside. When he arrived in Denver last week he came with a small cooler of abalone which he'd gathered (legally and properly tagged, of course.)

After doing a little research the Baker set out to create a dinner from this mysterious mollusk.....

Dinner and a Good Book - LGRAB 2

I finally got to sit down and start my bike book, which I'm reading as a part of the Lets Go Ride a Bike Summer Games, round two activities.  I chose "Miles from Nowhere:  A Round the World Bicycle Adventure" by Barbara Savage.  I gave this book to a former coworker/one-time boss/friend/cyclist as a retirement gift a few years ago and she reported that it was a  great read.  It's been on my own to-read list ever since.  The book tells the story of Barbara and Larry Savage and their 23,000 mile treck around the world - two years, 25 countries.  It's an older book but one that many of my friends have read and loved.  Self supported long distance touring has long been one of my dreams.  I've done supported tours but I'd really love to just set out someday and see the some of the world by bike.

While devouring the first few pages of my book I also devoured my first ever kohlrabi.  I've never eaten this unique veggie (that I know of) but we planted a ton of it this year just out of curiosity.....

Monday, June 21, 2010

What I Take to Work on a Monday - LGRAB 2

Monday's are typically my heaviest load for the week and today was no different.  I carried with me:
  • Lunch fixin's for the week.
  • Laptop
  • Work purse - stuffed to the brim this week with a change of clothes, since it was rather humid this morning, and a new package of baby wipes - a bike commuter's best summer friend.
  • Shoes
I generally ride Vivian anytime I have a bigger load to carry.  I super puffy fluffy heart my Wald folding baskets for carrying things!

This is by no means a big load for Vivian but it's a good example of my day to day. I do use Vivian for regular grocery runs but haven't thus far in this round of the Summer Games.  If I'm able to fit one of those in, I'll definitely post because it can be rather impressive to get a weeks worth of groceries for a family of four on my little gal!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The things! Oh my, the things!

I've been running across some very cool stuff in this process of sorting and purging, including a few bikey things.  Like the all the welcome banners from when my mother chaired the RAGBRAI overnight town committees for my home town and some fun bike jewelry.  We spread the banners all out on the lawn for one last look.   But alas, my phone won't communicate with the interwebs (we're kind of in the boonies) and my camera and the computer aren't speaking at the moment, so no pictures unfortunately.

It's been vintage clothing heaven.  A few things fit me (like a spectacular chiffon tea-length gown from the late 50's - totally Betty) and a few things don't fit so they'll be Etsy'ed eventually.  I had to throw away a very Joan navy and kelly green dress because it was too moth eaten.  I did take a couple of photos first though.  Several amazing hats!  I'm totally going to start wearing them just. because! All my prom dresses and other formal occassion dresses were there.  It was the 80's - ugh.  Several of my sewing projects over the years.  I kept one dress that was particularly complicated - inset lace, lots of buttons, a cummerbund, etc. which I'd made in junior high.  If I'm not mistaken that dress won me a blue ribbon at the Iowa State Fair.

There were also all my mom's photo albums from the 50's - college, world travel, teaching, etc.  She was so full of style!  And there were things like my kindergarten art projects and worksheets (I'm 40!!)  Yep, she saves everything.

And today there was buttermilk pie.  Oh, buttermilk pie,  I promise to make you often and I'll never, ever leave you!

It's been in the 90's, the humidity is hovering around 943% and my depression era-raised mother thinks air conditioning is for the old and weak.  Ha!  So last night I had to break down and have a nice cold Bud.  There's something about going home which demands cheap beer.

Friday, June 18, 2010

One More Cyclist

My colleague in bike stuff, Dr. Eric France, is leaving today on a two month sabbatical to look at ways in which communities can increase bike ridership.   From his new blog One More Cyclist:

 My name is Dr. Eric France and I am the Chief of Population & Prevention Services for Kaiser Permanente in Denver, Colorado.  I leave tomorrow, June 17, 2010 to spend two months in Portland, Oregon where I will learn what this city has done to make it easy to ride your bike.  I will be meeting with many of the leaders in bike transportation while there and will blog on my learnings.  My goal for this sabbatical is to identify the key steps a community can take to increase bike ridership.  I hope to come back to Denver with a clearer picture of what local bike enthusiasts should be working on in order to have a meaningful impact on ridership.  (read more...)

I encourage you all to follow along.  Eric is a passionate cyclist and bicycle advocate.

I want to take a two month sabbatical to study bike stuff!!!!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Oven, Again

The chimney is in!

Vintage Heaven

My mother saves everything, including many of her best clothes from her college and career girl days in the 50's and early 60's.  I can't wait to post pics.  There are some absolutely exquisite items....and some even fit!

In the Heartland

I'm in the Heartland to begin the daunting process of sorting, purging, packing and moving fifty years of stuff from my childhood home.  This is the first of many trips over the next couple of months. All our old bikes are long gone, but being bike riders all our lives there are bike things to be discovered.  Additionally, word is out that I'm on the search for old two-wheeled things taking up room in folks' garages.  We'll see if I'm successful.

But   I forgot to bring my coffee.  This could be rough.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

It's OK, Mommy will take you out for a ride and make it all better!

I slept until 8:30 yesterday morning - 8:30!!  We are totally and completely morning people in this house and anything later than 7am makes me feel like the day is wasted.  I spent the vast majority of the morning wondering why I felt so tired and lazy and at about 12:30 I laid down for nap.  I never take naps!  About an hour into the snooze a mystery loud noise shook me awake, awake with a revelation.  With the constant pouring rain all weekend long, I'd not been on my bike since Friday night!  Since I needed to make it to the bank before closing I decided to take a ride. And since I'd not been on a bike since Friday, I decided to go to the downtown branch instead of the one closest to the house. 

As I was getting Vivian out for the trip downtown I saw the Lowrider hanging there, looking so neglected and lonely.  I'd not been on her for several months, she was covered with dust, she needed some lube and both tires were flat. 

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Two Upcoming Lovely Rides

Check out the latest at A Lovely Sunday Ride.

Monday, June 14, 2010

That's One Fine Glass of Wine Baby!

The Baker has had one of the worst trips on record. He went to Eugene for his daughter's high school graduation. After the driver's license incident and headaches which resulted far into the night from that - the inn had no rooms x's 262 - it was a weekend full of ridiculous inconveniences topped off by what transpired today. He caught the train to Portland and thanks to a drawbridge on "up" and the MAX stopping at every. single. stop between downtown and the airport he missed his flight. That sucks but oh well, there's another flight via Seattle in an hour.
The Baker heads to new gate where a flight is boarding. "That flight will board after this one, sir." Baker sits down at gate. New flight boarding and the Baker checks in. "I'm sorry sir, that flight just left." The Baker heads to the bar.....

Bike to Work Day - June 23 - Bike From Work Party

The Bike from Work Bash on June 23. The party takes place in the Cactus parking lot on the corner of 15th and Little Raven at 5pm.
  • Free beer from Breckenridge Brewery 
  • Free burritos from Illegal Pete's 
  • Free slices from Anthony's Pizza
  • Free bike check-up from Salvagetti 
  • Free bike valet from BikeDenver 
  • Live Music
  • Beats by DJ Pictureplane 
  • Don't show up with a dirty ride. 
  • Details at


Sunday, June 13, 2010

Cold, Wet Sunday

I had to cancel the Lovely Sunday Ride today because it was anything but lovely out.  It was cold and constantly raining most of the day and as I look out the back door to the west, it looks like it's not going to let up anytime soon. There was about an hour where the rain stopped and the sun tried to sneak out, rather unsuccessfully.  Nevertheless, we celebrated with chocolate milk shakes.

I've been jonesing for a thrift and tomorrow is my day - 25% everything at my favorite store. Yet I had to thrift today.  Had to!  So we went to an ARC that I hit for the first time a few weeks back but didn't have much time to assess.   I swore I'd only buy items with 50% off color tags...and I did.  Well, all but one item and I had a 50% off coupon for that.  We got:

Lovely Sunday Ride Update

Today's ride is canceled.  Check the Lovely Sunday Ride site to see what's going on in Denver today.

Breakfast ala Hotel Ali - Marrakech

B1 and I have been talking a lot about our trip to Morocco.  While it's many years away the conversations always make the memories of my years traveling the country flood back.  On my first trip to Marrakech we stayed at the Hotel Ali just off the Djma el Fna.  Our travel guide said it was a favorite of backpackers who stopped in Marrakech before heading to trek in the southern Atlas mountains.  While we weren't trekking, we decided it was the place for us. It's no five star hotel, not even close.  It's a humble spot with killer rates - at the time we paid about $10/nt usd for a clean, tidy room with a bath tub.  That tub proved to be one of the best features after tromping around the boiling city all day!  If you preferred, you could rent a sleeping pad on the roof for the night for about $2 usd.  Recent reviews still sing it's praises, well aside from a few folks who really weren't up for the super economy experience.  Those reviewers probably should have just saved up for the Hotel La Mamounia.  I've traveled a fair bit and always on a budget so who knows, if I ever got a taste of uber luxury I might be hooked.  But I really, REALLY love the challenge of finding the best bargains and best secrets that you tend to discover when on a strict budget. 

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Somewhere, Over the Rainbow

It's a cold, rainy afternoon and B2 and I are watching The Wizard of Oz. 
That Elmira Gulch had one nice lookin' ride!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Cyclists! Do you know when your driver's license expires?

The Baker didn't.  He found out upon getting to the rental car counter in a city far, far away. Looks like he's renting a bike for the weekend. This is not exactly setting a very busy weekend off on a good note.  Damn Devil Horse and Death God!

The last time I let mine inadvertently expire was while I was pregnant with B2.  I think pregnancy is a fantastic excuse!  I found out when we realized that a Honda Civic simply won't fit an adult with serious back issues and two kids in big car seats.  We were car shopping and I handed over my license for a test drive.  Nothing like taking a very tiny infant for a long day at the  DMVAck!

A Chilly Evening Ride

We dropped G off at the airport amidst some nasty storms.  No planes were taking off or landing but we expected it to move through fairly quickly.  Every time we go to the airport we have a discussion about our least favorite piece of Denver public art, Blucifer the Evil Horse of Death.  A piece of the thing fell on the artist, killing him, while it was being constructed. It's eyes change color from evil red to...ummm....well, empty.  The dang thing is just scary!

And with tornado's on the horizon, a death horse standing guard over the entrance road and now a giant sculpture of Anubis, the Egyptian God of Death glaring into the main terminal....


Yup!  Uh huh!  Yessireeee!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

And More Oven...

Another day, more progress.  I'm dreaming of hot bubbly pizza and cold beers!

Lovely Sunday Ride

I've moved the Lovely Sunday Ride over to its own site
Check it out for details on this Sunday's ride!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Mmm Dinner!

We had to buy a new gas grill recently. Well, "had to" is a little strong I guess.  We have two BBQ pits which G uses for his special slow smoked BBQ and they work fine for charcoal grilling.  But in the summer months we grill several nights a week and having a gas grill is much more economical when you figure in the cost of charcoal. Heck Denver winters are often mild enough that we really grill year round. (Yes, we get loads of snow, but it melts fast as the sun is ever present throughout the winter.)

As always I researched the issue to death. Our last grill was quite fancy, very expensive and only lasted about seven years.  I'm a firm believer that if you spend several hundreds of dollars (or more) on a household item, it should last far longer - although the overall quality of major appliances today repeatedly proves me to be a fool.  Every single article and review I read said to not even bother buying anything other than a Weber.  And so, we did it.  It was way beyond what we wanted to spend even for a very basic model, but I definitely feel good about the purchase.  I'm hopeful the quality will ring true and we'll still be using it in 20 years like my brother-in-law and his beloved Weber.  We did luck out that the floor model had a sizable but harmless dent in it so we bargained and got a decent discount.  We popped out the dent as soon as we got home.

I'm so happy to have my gas grill back!  It's wonderful to keep the indoor stove use to a minimum and still manage to be happy carnivores.  Tonight was one of my absolute favorite meals....

Lunchy Patio Goodness

I met a couple of former coworkers for lunch today.  The ride was perfect with lots of folks out enjoying the park.   A patio of yummy Thai food on a warm spring day just can't be beat!  Vivian was quite content under her little patio-side shade tree.

And I played with Retro Camera for Android a bit.  I like some of the other choices better than this one - the pinhole camera - but it's still fun and kinda cool.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

More on the Oven

The dome is underway! 

A Little Biking, A Little Baking

First, the biking.  I got my Badger on a Penny Farthing shirt today and it is filled with the right on!  Every bike lover needs one of these from Dark Cycle Clothing on Etsy.

And in baking news, the backyard Pompeii oven is progressing along.  G has been hard at work using all salvaged materials, until today.  He had to buy special fire bricks for the cooking surface.  He had to get new bricks for the cooking surface but was able to buy used for the dome.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Well, part one of the Let's Go Ride a Bike Summer Games is complete.  You can read about all my entries here.  It's time to move on to part two which will focus on learning something new about cycling.  I've been thinking about what I want to do for my entries and here's what I've come up with so far:

June 7-June 27: Learning Experiences

Perform a maintenance task — big or small!
*I do much of my own maintenance pretty regularly.

Decorate your bike
*I'm planning to dress up Mrs. Gale's basket.

Read a book about cycling
*So far I'm considering "Miles from Nowhere", "Around the World on Two Wheels",  "Bicycle Diaries" or "Bike Snob..."  I've got to get started.  Once a voracious reader, I now fall asleep far too easily when I read.  My mother tells me it's a phase that I can completely blame on being a fourty-ish career woman and mom of two young kids.

Carry a load on your bike — groceries, etc.
* I do this regularly.  I'm hoping that my new custom made barrel trailer will be complete in time to include an inagural trip to Costco as an entry!

Test ride a different type of bike than you normally ride
*Watch out Cycle Analyst, I'm coming...and I have a list!

City Park Jazz with Family and Friends

Last night was the first City Park Jazz concert of the season.  This Sunday evening event has been a staple in my life for over ten years but last year, we didn't make it to a single one!  I lived just across the street from the park for many years so it was as simple as walking out my back door.  Now we live a tiny bit further away and since the park is no longer our back yard, it's not such an automatic thing.

We biked to some friend's house for bread, wine and cheese then headed to the park.  It's one of those events where you typically do a picnic but our friends had some logistical issues going on so we ate at their place.

It was a bigger crowd than I've ever seen!  There must have been 3-5,000 people there...and I'll bet 50% of them biked!  This post has a load of pics and I could have taken many more.  The Denver Cruisers, a weekly booze and bikes ride that pulls in 500+ people each Weds night set up camp and that pulled in a huge cruiser crowd. 

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Does Mrs. Gale Need Fenders?

If so, she'd get these beautiful Honjo Le Paon fenders from VO:

I'm so conflicted!  I think she'd look amazing with these beauties however, I really like the simple elegance that she has without fenders.  Both Irene and Vivian have fenders so when it's sloppy out I have two bikes I can choose from.  Giving her fenders would be purely for looks.  Thoughts?

Friday, June 4, 2010

Mom and Daughter Commute

Friday is typically the day I work my way through the stack of stuff that has gathered on my desk over the course of a very busy week.  My kids know that Fridays are sometimes a good day for them to come to work for me for a few hours.  Today B2 joined me for my work commute and a little mom and daughter time.