Friday, December 31, 2010

The Messenger

I've told you all before about my short stint as a bike messenger on the medieval streets of London town, which left me with just a hint of devil-may-care attitude towards traffic rules and speed. The other events that have cultivated my love for the humble bicycle, lay deeper in the past. My mother is and has always been a cyclist extraordinaire; riding her bike through the ice and snow of Finland in midwinter, with little old me in tow.

In addition to hauling me, her groceries, her set-models and skates and skies and god-knows-what-else, we use to ride ten miles each week to get all our drinking water from a natural spring. Crazy hippie moms. She still rides year-around, though. That's 'cos my mom is pretty hardcore.

I like terry cloth
Anyway, I seem to have inherited this cycle gene and am happy to tell you that I too bike trough, sleet, rain, snow and impenetrable darkness (bike lights seem to be more about letting others see you than letting you see s***.).

I wear it all the time
I got my first bike when I could barely walk. It didn't have pedals though, so I don't know if it was technically a cycle. The next one, with training wheels, a big girl bike, was called something like "Foothills Pony". It was bright red. (I have a weakness for bright red bicycles. My last one was a brand of Monark called PM Champion. I christened it The Pre-Menstrual Champion. Classy, I know.)

All through my childhood mom and I would bike literally anywhere, because she didn't get a car until I had already moved out. Even now she bikes 5-10 miles a day running errands. Biking is basically a way of life for her.
The are pants!
I too like to bike most everywhere I can get to. It's very wonderful for me to live in a place where its a viable mode of transportation. In the winter it's a little challenging for sure (the afore-mentioned rain, sleet, icy roads, darkness and suicidal/homicidal deer), but whenever I actually get my act together and do it, it feels so amazing.
The Horse and I
Whenever I feel blue or overwhelmed, or just plain tired, a bike ride usually helps. Moving through the changing scenery gives you space to think and clear your head. Alternatively you can pedal 'till you're out of breath and don't care anymore. It's like a good cry that way. But more fun.
Elephant head
Like any other sport, cycling is all about gear, of course. As in you want to be wearing a helmet, so that when that deer jumps at you from the dark, your brain won't spill all over the pavement.
Sticker-doodle from Nicole
Plus you can adorn them any way you like. Mine has a sticker from Nicole and lots of crazy scribbles. (The other side says "Like hell it's yours yuppie!" in honor of a cowboy hat a friend of ours has. His said "Like hell it's yours commie!", but I like commies, actually.)
Peas on earth
Other than being good for the mind and body, cycling is obviously good for the environment, or rather, it's not detrimental to it. I try to think about that whenever I feel tempted to forgo the rain gear and the cold and all the other inconveniences. In spite the fact that it's actually the opposite, I like to think that I'm saving up some of my carbon emissions for something cool, but carbon-y I want to do. (Like say driving some 1600 miles to hang out with some people I like...) It's little more motivating than feeling like I'm chipping at the colossal carbon debt I've already accrued. Sweet, sweet self-delusion.
Hello to you too!
You're seeing some of my favorite Dump finds here, by the way. The Buffalo plaid 70s coat that C. found for me (good as new) and a green velvet blazer that reminds me of Heather, for some reason. Why is that, Heather? Do you have one, or was that a strange dream I had...

I don't generally wear blazers, but given that I am pictured here wearing terry-cloth outfits and starting the leggings-as-pants trend, I think it's safe to say that I'm a wild card.
Elusive pin
Up up!
Travels with Raleigh
Well I must be off, but do tell your cycle stories.

Ps. Thanks everyone for the recommendations on good Gypsy movies. If you're interested on some others besides the ones I mentioned check out the comments on that post.


  1. Hey, when we finally get that time machine of ours up and running, I'm gonna have to go back and pinch those adorable cheeks of yours, sorry. You are the CUTEST lil' cyclist both then and now!

    I've got an old lemon yellow Schwinn cruiser awaiting new tires that looks very similar to your blue bike. They would be so cute together!

    Happy New Year sister friend!

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  2. i love winter biking posts, so inspiring to get out on your bike despite the weather! we're so wimpy about winter biking here in the states, europe puts us to shame. happy cycling!

  3. oh man your biking stories of your mom and you make me want to set a new goal for the year. i have a cute turquoise bike i hardly ever use in our hilly town, especially not in the drizzly dark winter days! i would so wonderfully surprise myself if i ever mounted it and started off on errands. and i do like your logic, as a road trip kinda gal!

    your baby pics are absolutely slaying me! your mom must have been so proud of her sturdy and beautiful tot!

    as for the jacket, you might be referring to my scarlet red velvet blazer i wore here:
    it does make me feel dapper! your green one is perfect for your foresty life all piney and soft.

    happy new year to the sweet island folk. i know you two will do something amazing to ring it in!

  4. I've been wanting to get on my bike for a couple weeks now. I need to dig it out of the garage and hop on for a ride. I want to try riding it to the grocery store again - I did that once a few years ago, and felt like I took my life into my own hands - that route is not bike friendly. But I want to try it again!

  5. You are the loveliest little cyclist. I loved seeing your kid pics, your Mom dressed you very cute- you look lik ea well loved babe.
    Happy New Year!

  6. the color of your blazer is perfection! velvet everything, please! :) we got the little one a new, larger bike for christmas, and then my bf went and broke his kneecap so we won't be taking those family rides for a few months, but man, i love em!

  7. Brave girl! Well, I definitely grew up in a car culture and the first few times I did ride my rainbow bright bike as a kid, it ended up in disaster. I wish I could muster the courage to do it as an adult but I'm quite scared! Maybe in this new year- summer, I'll give it a go : )

  8. I wish I was brave enough to risk my life on the streets of San Francisco, but with a boyfriend who works as a bike messenger, I've heard way too many horror stories. I think every single one of his friends has been injured. It doesn't help that I took a tumble off my bike as a kid and had to get stitches. Any words of advice on getting over my fear?
    PS I wish I looked as cute as you on a bike too!