Friday, July 25, 2014

Did you know that people drive their cars into canals--by accident??

When I was a little girl I saw a Ripley's Believe it Or Not?! where they showed people in some ass backwards town in Holland driving into canals, literally. It's like they missed the "Canal in 1 mile" sign and the road ended so they just drove right into it???  Water pressure, not escaping the car, people drowning.. the memory of this episode was horrific.  It has been cemented into my mind that at any moment, the road could end, and you too could drive into a canal. Now, Ohio does not have many canals and Lake Erie is pretty stinkin' big. It would be very hard to drive into Lake Erie with all those "watercraft" signs and "Lakeshore" drive signs. Never-the-less I was petrified to be in a car over a bridge ever since. I would cry, sob, hyperventilate and create all sorts of dramatic panic moments. My family dreaded getting in a car with me where there was a body of water within 50 miles of our destination.  Fast forward to the year 2000 when I moved to San Diego. When I first saw that bridge the Coronado Bridge, I was petrified. It's skinny, and curvy, and high in the air. It goes straight over the bay and into the ocean. Check this thing out:
I've combed the intrawebs and found this to be one of the best bike over the bridge moments. It's too long to watch the whole thing, start at 3:5

Monday, July 21, 2014

Bike The Bay--30 miles, no probs!

My dear friends Sandy and Andy Hanshaw run an amazing ride in San Diego called Bike The Bay. Every year I volunteer and every year I don't ride. My usual volunteer hub is the beer garden. My beer wenches and I arrive at 6 am, set up the beer garden, ice it down, sell it and celebrate. The view is amazing cuz it's on the Embarcadero, right on the San Diego bay with the curious buildings just observing us from across the bay. We also stare straight at the Coronado bridge.

It's nice to welcome riders back after their 30 mile jaunt but after 7 years of volunteering, I am finally going to ride this one. I've turned over the beer garden reigns to my trusty gal pal Tansy Woods and am doing the ride. 30 miles, spanning 5 San Diego neighborhoods, all on the water. I've done this ride before NOT including the Coronado bridge which is appx 24 miiles. It's called the Bayshore Bikeway.   My husband and I will typically ride from the San Diego Convention Center, around the path, land in Coronado, have a beer and a meal at McP's which has a rad outdoor deck and live music most weekends. We then hop on the ferry with our bikes and circle back home. Adding on the Coronado bridge is going to be amazing. San Diego only closes the bridge down twice a year and this is one of them. The view from that bridge is astounding and it always reminds me of why I live in San Diego. The water, the boats, the city skyline, it brings me peace every time I ride over it. So, I am gonna ride it. I have not been on my bike consistently for quite some time so I have between now and August 24th to train for it. Wish me luck, here we go, back on the bike brigade.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Hail to Chicago. I recently went to Chicago for a trade show and client meetings. One full week in the windy city in the middle of spring was a sheer delight. The traffic was not a delight, therefore, I rented a bike. Much to my happiness it was Chicago Bike Week. Everyone was biking to work, so, I followed suit and marched down to the Bike and Roll, fetched  a bike and rode away. The streets are super bike-able and the drivers are really nice. My fav ride was from McCormick Place Convention Center, 28 minute on the Lakeshore Bike Way to the Gold Coast. Gorgeous ride, passing many museums and monuments. There are bike locks everywhere and it was super affordable. I highly recommend renting a bike in Chicago next time you were there, and guess what??? All those fools that took cabs everywhere spent more than I did in cab fare, got stuck in traffic and didn't burn off the booze from the networking events the night before. I burned 800 extra calories a day, had a great conversation piece and was raring to go for each appointment. Such an awesome experience.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Nature's Make Up-My Happy Place

My fella and I kibitzed about our "happy place" the other day. Mine involved starting at the top of Island Street in Golden Hill and riding as fast as I can down the hill, without stop signs, oncoming traffic or the danger of being "doored" by some unsuspecting car owner. It ended with me laying on my back on a patch of grass in the park. Well, today, he inspired me to make my happy place a reality--at least a part of it. I had 2 meetings today, 1 in Southpark and 1 downtown. So---before going to bed I did my morning duties so I would have time to ride to the meetings. First meeting, 9 am, Grant's Market. I connected with an old colleague and it was awesome. 12 minutes via bike from my house to the coffee shop. One hour meeting, quick change into my tennis shoes and headed for Island Street. Got to the top and cruised all the way down. Wind in my hair, only a few pigeons in the way, and all the cars behaved unusually well. It made me wonder, "What ever happened with that Island Street project?" A local reporter said he has an update for me from SanDag so I will email later today to see the scoop. Hit the bank, grabbed a bowl of fruit and cup of coffee at COFFEE ART on F and 6th. This place is cool. Free wireless for patrons. The bathrooms are big....big enough for me to do wonder woman change, quick spritz and get some emails done for a couple clients before my next meeting. "Right Now" by Van Halen is playing in the background and I totally forgot how inspiring this song is. Remember what a rad video this was? I got a bowl of berries here, and it's delicious. Peaches, berries, bananas, plain yogurt and honey----nummalicious. For a cup of coffee and a huge bowl of berries, free wireless and a big wonder woman change bathroom--$8.00---pretty kewl deal. Kewl as in Miley Cyrus speak. Try it

Something I learned over the last couple weeks is the power of Nature's Make Up. My helmet serves as a flat iron and the wind serves as glowey rouge. I blow dry my hair just enough so the top is dry, I keep the bottom wet. By the time I get to my destination and take my helmet off, the wind and helmet work as a flat iron. When I take the helmet off, the ends of my hair are flipped so it looks like I styled it. After I go to the bathroom for wonder woman change, wash hands, splash water on face and apply lip gloss--the wind has created a special light red glow to my cheeks--looks like make up--but it's nature's make up. Thank you bike ride bliss.....

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Bike to Work Day....

It was 7:45 AM and I had 75 minutes to hit as many pit stops as possible on my way to the first appointment. I woke up Friday morning and it was like Christmas. So excited to hit the road, meet some people and ask some questions... With my back pack ready to rock with lap top, working girl attire, assorted vanity products--perfume, mascara, deodorant--etc... off I went. The route was Texas to University to 6th to Island to 4th, circle back to Little Italy for meeting.

I came upon surprise pit stop on the corner of Normal Street and University. This one was sponsored by KTUA. They are a planning and landscape architecture company in San Diego. I met a great guy names John. He said their company does a lot of the landscaping/planning for bike paths in San Diego and for master planned communities. I asked him if he's involved with any of the plans on Texas street, he said YES. But....only from University to Madison. We chatted a bit about the overgrown trees and debris on Texas. He said his wife experienced the same thing over on Aldine in Talmadge. She took some of his sheers and cut the trees. I think I will do the same for Texas Street. I took an iCommute sponsored flashing bike light and away i went...Whole Foods bound. Bike count after this stop: 8.

Cruised up to Whole Foods and met Ray. He was manning the pit stop here. He was a really nice guy, the marketing director at Whole Foods. He was genuinely interested in talking to all the bike to work pit stoppers. He spoke about "Health Starts Here" which is a Whole Foods company wide healthy eating initiative. He recommended I look up a fella named Rip Esselstyn who wrote "Engine 2 Diet". It's all surrounded around eating more raw and whole foods, and eating to live. Good fuel stuff. At the Whole Foods pit stop I met a cool dude who was obsessed with talking about this movie called Forks Over Knives. He said it was a compelling look at the power of eating plant based foods and whole foods. I just checked out the trailer and it looks good. Action step--go see this thing--it's playing at the Landmark in San Diego. . I started talking about the movie Riding With The Dutch and that there will be a screening of it at the end of June here in San Diego at the Childhood Obesity Conference. Ray asked me how I knew so much about this stuff. I told him I learned about a lot of the active living stuff when I was working for hotels and booked a conference called Active Living Research. Right then, a girl who I had seen at the previous pit stop said, "We work for Active Living Research" We immediately looked at each other, took our helmets off and said, "Amanda is that you?" and "Mandi is that you?" And it was.... A gal I had worked with in contracting the conference a couple years ago was here at the pit stop with me. I hadn't seen her since February 2010 and it was great to reconnect. The organization is headed up by a dude named Dr. Jim Salas, who is chock full of energy, a music buff and a dynamic person to be around. I spent only and hour with Dr. Salas as we toured the hotel and discussed the meeting space but I knew he was someone that changes things. Some people are groupies for rock bands or celebrities, I was a Dr Salas groupie immediately after I met him. In preparing for the site inspection, I needed to learn everything about their business. ALR is very cool and is all about assisting with master planned communities, designing them to provoke an active living. Creating walking paths, bike paths and communities near stores in which you can walk and live healthy. After learning about ALR, it was shortly after I had started the bike commute gig and it was uber inspirational. I asked if Dr. Salas still had the drum sticks I gave him, and Amanda confirmed that he did. ALR does great work--and it was really nice to reconnect. Inspired and motivated, I charged on to pit stop #3, Island and 4th. However, along the way while riding on 6th, I was waved over by another pit stop---this one was sponsored by ReCon. I met a slew of people there, including 1 person dressed as an Owl, and another dressed as a cactus. They were biologists and planners for ReCon. They were dressed in costume to demonstrate the possible endangered species in San Diego. I asked the Owl, "If you were a bike what kind would you be?" She replied: "a road bike. I have a mountain bike, and have road bike envy" It was a suitable reply and I totally understand. My first bike was a mountain bike and was really slow, and heavy. I had road bike envy too, and appreciated her plight. I grabbed a Clif bar and headed to 4th and Island. This one was sponsored by Gaslamp Quarter Historical Association and a Real Estate company that I didn't catch the name. I met a great gal there who had a florescent orange bike pin on. I had pin envy. It was really cute, and she worked for a company called ALTA. She is a planner there and we discussed BIKE STATION. We still need a BIKE STATION in San Diego. 4 pit stops in 75 minutes and I still had an hour before my first appointment so I went to Brickyard for some coffee. I perched up on their patio ready to relax, reflect on the morning and sip upon my coffee... I sat, inhaled, exhaled, took a sip and then a loud, pounding jack hammer started across the street. There is construction on the street over there at G and Front street. Already set up I wasn't going to move so I dealt with the loud construction and carried on. Got to my Anthology gig, and got a text that my 2:30 Appt was cancelled, but added 2 other phone appointments in the meantime. Hopped the bike, headed to InFlux in Little Italy. While there, I solved some contract issues and eaves dropped on the 2 people on either side. From what I gathered, an interview was taking place to my right. 2 girls were grilling one. The candidate seemed polished and that she had a great shot at the job. I was ready to hire her. This came to a screeching halt when they asked her if she had a Facebook page. The girl did not. There was an audible disappointment in her answer. Next question was, "how much do you want to get paid?" she said, "Uh I dunno, about a thousand bucks...but I am really uncomfortable talking about how much you should pay me" I gasped and almost grabbed her by the hand to take her outside for a moment and give her a quick lesson on negotiating for a paycheck. After the facebook and payment issue, it seemed the whole interview went really downhill. Tuned out to the hen house to my right and tuned into the 3 hipsters to my left. From what I gathered they were into websites and fashion and hairstyles. Looks like they were putting on a hair show or a fashion show. One guy was in town from New York. The other hipster kept staring at me. I am not sure if he didn't like the looks of my chai tea or my "I want to ride bikes with you" t-shirt...but he had a starting problem. They spoke about a cool gallery on India street that is perfect for a party. I interrupted them and said, "I am so sorry, I was eaves dropping, but, you just mentioned an interesting venue. I find cool venues for people for a living, where is this thing?" They were oddly not bothered by the interruption and shared all sorts of details about it. This made the staring hipster crack a smile, and now his stares seemed a wee bit more of adoration, instead of angst. Result from this is there is some cool venue in little Italy--somewhere--with a loft space and a floor level and it's all bright white. I think I have to investigate more, they didn't know the name or the streets, and only knew it by walking back there. So, time will tell.

I took my 2 phone appointments sitting on a Little Italy Chair on India street. Slam Dunk--I scored 2 more Sales Coaching gigs. A successful work day and bike to work day down, I decided to head home. On my way, I stopped at my friend Chrissy's brand new sales office. She and her husband started a wine import business called "Quigley Fine Wines".
Since I am a wine club member, a big fan of wine and had a great day, stopping off for a celebration glass of vino and to see my great gal pal was in order. Their office is awesome....and the sales energy is great. All the sales people were on the phones chatting away and selling wine. I had a glass of something involving the word Devil, and it was a real treat. Since it was "free public transport day" My bike and I hopped on the #2 bus and headed home. All and all, Bike to work day was a great success. I learned a lot about a lot, reignited the flame for ALR and Bike Station.....and have more healthy eating and healthy learning homework than ever before.

Action steps:
Get some sheers, cut Texas street tree obstacles
Learn more about the plan the city has for Texas Street improvements.
Bike Station--get back on the mission

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Bike to work day--Plan of attack

Tomorrow is bike to work day in San Diego. My first appointment is at 10:30. This gives me plenty of time in the morning to bike to work and stop at the various pit stops. The plan is to hit the Whole Foods on 7th, then cruise downtown to 4th and Island pit stop, circle back to kettner/broadway, columbia/India--Superwoman change at Cafe Italia, blog entry then work. I want to ask several questions along the way of bikers and of volunteers. The entries tomorrow will be video and photo based, so--brace yourself--it will be seen through the eyes of a curious semi bike commuter. If you know of any good pit stops along the way....OR.....have any questions you'd like to submit for a Bike to Work Curiosity Killed the cat your comment here....

Texas Street Hill--Revisited

Well, I had meetings meetings meetings today and so we dart out on the bike to the meetings. With my Puma bag upon my back and my sassy shoes all packed, I took on the Texas street hill--again. I had a meeting at Maria Maria Carlos Santana's lunch spot at Hazard Center. This was motivation to pedal faster. Off I went with tacos on the brain and caution on my mind. Google maps said it would take 27 minutes. said 21 - 27 minutes. The route--Texas--straight down to SD River Bike Path to Hazard Center--really straight shot. Texas is an uber busy street through NorthPark and I know it's illegal and unsafe..but..I need my tunes to ride the bike. Adelle told me to do it, so, I did. As I cruised through Texas, passed University and to the corner of Madison/Texas I was stopped at several lights. The lights take forever. It occurred to me--when Bike Route Google Guy and RideTheCity Road Mapper are creating they take into consideration the time it takes at lights? I mean, how do they pinpoint these times? Who's pace are they using??? I figured I would know how accurate it was when I got there. So....I maneuvered through town, down the hill and proceeded with great caution passed the 8E and 8W merge. I have to admit--I have a dying urge to enter the highway at some point. Mark my words---at some point in my bike life, I will merge onto a freeway on my bike. It's that big big "no no" that just beckons my name every time I cruise past. It's like yelling really loud at church when it's totally silent or screaming "fire" in the airport line. All are illegal--or socially unacceptable--but---it's just so tempting. I made it past both merges without hopping on the freeway, then cruised over to the SD Bike Path--easy peezy. On my way down the Texas Hill I noticed the overgrown trees. They are overgrown more than ever before. At a couple points I had a choice to get hit in the head with a branch, or swerve to the left. So many cars speed down that hill so fast without regard for bike riders that swerving was not an option. However, I was not wearing protective goggles and didn't want to poke my eye out with a tree branch--so--I ducked. Four ducks and sore abs later I made it down the hill. Hopping on the SD River bike path is cool. Birds chirp, trees with a breeze are pretty but, there was an air of creepiness. I felt like at any moment a goblin was going to jump out and attack me on that trail. Note to self: do not ride that trail at night. During the day it is a good link from East to West in Mission Valley---Mission Center to Fashion Valley--perfectamundo! I made it to Maria Maria in record time. I got lucky with another HUGE bathroom at Barnes and Noble at Hazard center. Quick wonderwoman change and a lady spritz or two and away I went. I can never tell if people I meet with think I am crazy or cool when I am all decked out with my lipgloss and business attire but am sporting a grey puma back pack. It's like Trump meets Facebook or something. These are the treasures of running your own business but am still curious what my business cohorts think at first meeting. Post meeting I made my journey back up Texas hill home. I walked the bike most of the hill up, but still was it a good workout! Made it down there in 26 minutes and 59 guy and ride the city were right--I don't know how because everyone's pace is different but they hit the timing on the head. The biggest thing I noticed about this trip was the road rage. On my way there, I think it was mostly due to it being lunch hour, everyone was in a hurry and were mad. I think drivers need to take an educational class on the rights bike riders have. I think that would make them more understanding and inspire less road rage. People get so pissed, and speed up passed you so quick when you are in the slightest way of the road. An old man came up to me as I waited at the light on the corner of Texas and El Cajon and said: "I will try not to punch you". Yes, an old man sans 1 front tooth, with a cane, on a street corner who looked like the wind would blow him over if it blew harder, he hit the walk button on the traffic pole and stared straight at me, with a smile and said, "I will try not to punch you." I smiled and said "Thank you". As I rode off--unpunched by a blue hair--I was stunned. What did I do to this guy? And....he wasn't even one of the road ragers....So crazy....

Anyway--that was the day---Texas hill did me one ran me off the road...I got a great work out and did not get punched by an old man. Tomorrow is Ride your bike to work day---the official day---More details on plans for that--later!