Friday, August 27, 2010
Thursday, August 19, 2010
|One simple, excellent purse. Skirt also from tart.|
I really needed a new purse, so I popped into tart, one of my favorite local shops. Looky what I found! From a distance, it appears to be an elegant modern pieced leather cross-body bag with wonderful orange accent stitching and zipper.
Look again. This clever, affordable number is actually made of recycled bike tubes.
These bags and a line of bike tube wallets are the brainchild of Donovan Peterson from Missoula, Montana. He was on a quest for a simple wallet, and after trying and discarding several models, happened upon one made of used bike tubes. Without any sewing experience, he made an improved version and also designed a bifold.
Now Donovan is cranking out purses, wallets, messenger bags and dreaming up more through his company Retread, which is dedicated to sustainable goods. Some items are made from bike tire tubes, but others use billboard material and thrift store finds, so 95% of the materials are recycled. The lining of my bag is lovely striped fabric that used to be bedsheets.
I've been using my bag for about three weeks now, and I have to say that I love it. It's the perfect size for my wallet, checkbook and cell phone, plus there's a neat little pocket to hold my lip balm or lipstick. As a busy, distracted mom of three boys, I'm hard on things, but this good-looking purse seems up to the task. And for $30, the price was definitely right.
If you want your own, hop on over to Retread or tart.
Cycle, recycle . . . I'm there.
|interior -- recycled fabrics will vary|
|Broadway messenger bag|
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Back to Supergirl status
Yeah, yeah. I know some people are so disciplined and driven that it's unthinkable for them to not do what they "should" do, but that's not me. From the number of anti-procrastination books out there, I'm guessing it might be you, too.
I lost almost 20 pounds in 2009, which was a major accomplishment for me. Let's just say I'm impulsive and tend to pick the chocolate over the workout. That character flaw aside, I did get the job done and was doing fairly well at keeping the weight off until early this summer. In early July, I was feeling mushy around the middle and schlumpy. My biking had dropped off since my bike-a-day experiment and I had totally dropped my core workouts.
A quick visit to the scale confirmed by suspicion. I'd gone beyond that number on the scale that I said I wanted to avoid.
I didn't want to lose ground, so I scheduled a couple of bike rides with Elle, a few hikes with my family and asked my husband if I could sneak in a workout before he went to work in the morning.
After about two weeks of this, I noticed an interesting change. In those moments before I opened by eyes in the morning, I had the impulse to go for a bike ride. Or a short run. Yeah, that sounded perfect! Please note that these thoughts were coming from by head. The same head that was deliberately keeping my eyes shut at 6 a.m. a few weeks earlier with the hopes of catching an additional 15 minutes of snoozing.
It hit me. I wasn't forcing myself every day to get out of bed or get on my bike. There was no internal trash-talking thinly veiled as motivation. The exercise was just happening.
Lord knows, this switch wasn't due to discipline; it was about habit. I'd created a habit of getting out and moving, and now that habit was doing the driving, not its couch-sitting, sugar-eating, why-bother alter ego. I could easily switch back to my lay-in-bed habit, but the bottom line (no pun intended) was that it didn't feel good. Getting out and moving felt far better.
As the weeks ticked by, this positive voice was consistently louder than the slacker voice, so I've gotten in a 100-mile workout week (mostly biking), I ran a 5k that I didn't train for with my fastest time yet, and I'm hovering close to my target weight.
No miracles or magic willpower here. Just a little habit that could.
Take that, willpower.
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
One lovely bike featured on Mixte Gallery. Be still my heart.
Oh, the drama of bike lust!
As I've written before, I'm in the market for a good commuter bike. Not any commuter bike, but an upright model that has lovely lines, eight or more gears and doesn't cost a fortune. What's a girl to do?
Short tutorial if you need it: a mixte is a road bike frame that has downward sloping top tube(s) rather than one that is parallel to the ground, which is what you see on most bikes (those are diamond frames). The advantage to a mixte is good looks and ease of getting on the bike. No swinging your leg up and over, so it's one version of a step-through frame.
Last week, I test drove a vintage three-speed step-through that a nice guy in town fixed up. It was lovely and ran smoothly, but three gears just ain't enough for Bozeman hills and my old knees. I immediately test drove a women's Trek Allant. I fell in love with the comfort and the smooth shifting, but for me, the looks are just one small step away from the stodgy-looking comfort bikes that my parents (God bless 'em) are riding these days. I want to be Audrey Hepburn, not . . . well . . . I was going to say Elmira Gulch, Dorothy's witchy neighbor in the Wizard of Oz, but check out her ride. Loop frame, front and rear baskets. It's actually very cool, even though she wasn't.
After spending waaaay too much time looking and drooling over bikes on the internet, I've once again decided that I want to turn a mixte frame into a commuter bike. I checked Craigslist, and found this old Motobecane, which shows promise. The owner just emailed me to let me know she still has it, but she lives 90 minutes away. I found another one on eBay in a beautiful color and in excellent shape, but I don't know if I'm courageous enough to buy a bike I haven't ridden.
The next step in this socially networked world, naturally, was to tweet my longing. A few minutes later, I heard that the Bike Kitchen right here in town might have a couple of mixte frames. Is it possible? Could it be? Stay tuned.
Other mixtes that make me swoon:
The color alone does me in. From Mixte Gallery.
Velouria's beautiful makeover of an 80s Motobecane. From Lovely Bicycle!
Monday, August 2, 2010
Me and the older dudes
The obvious answer is the fun. My boys have gone from wobbly, weaving kids who don't know if they can make the two miles to Main Street to power pedalers who don't bat an eye about biking to the library. Watching the transformation has been inspiring as I try new activities in my 40s.
But it's not always a party. There are trips that require me to be more psychologist than mother, and I usually am very grateful for a cold brew after the fact. I'm pretty determined to keep them biking, though.
The biggest reason is for their own safety. Back in the day, kids learned how to drive the old family clunker on back roads or steered the tractor in a straight line during planting season. My dad taught my sister how to drive on the old yellow and brown pickup (column shift) at the camp and conference center where we lived. By the time she hit driver's ed, she had driving miles and experience under her belt, which probably made her a better driver.
These days, what do we have? Video driving simulators like MarioKart? How reassuring.
I figure that getting my boys out in traffic will help prepare them for the day when they finally get behind the wheel and have to navigate a 1-ton hunk of metal on the street. They'll understand how traffic lights, a 4-way stop, and a left-hand turn work.
I ran this theory by Marc of the fabulous blog Amsterdamize, where you can see amazing pictures of Dutch folks doing their everyday biking thing in regular clothes, every season of the year. My question to him was essentially, "Do kids who grow up cycling like those chic and hardy Dutch folks become safer drivers?"
His answer: perhaps.
Marc said that in the Netherlands, children receive bicycle training instruction in school, which teaches them things like bicycle safety and how to read traffic signals. "It is part of the curriculum, since it's in everybody's interest that kids ride to school and know what to do in all circumstances," he said.
Many children, especially in cities like Amsterdam and Utrecht, are on a bike from an early age. How young? Check out this photo of an Amsterdam dad ready to bike with his two tykes. Marc says that most children are biking independently by age 7 or 8.
But does all the biking and training help?
"Yes, (it makes them) safer drivers, absolutely," he said. "You can see how that makes a difference on a daily basis. Car drivers are aware and mindful of people on bikes because they bike themselves too. And getting your driver's license ain't no walk in the park. It's expensive and rules regarding bikes on the road are very strict."
He went on to say that in the case of an auto vs. bike accident in the Netherlands, the car's driver is always assumed to be at fault unless otherwise proven in court. That's a far cry from American rules of the road, where it's quietly assumed that the cyclist must made the wrong decision at the wrong place at the wrong time. After all, roads are for cars first, right?
I'll admit that it's other drivers, not my children's abilities, that make me most concerned when I'm on the roads with them. But I'll keep trying. I'd rather have them gain real-life experience than live in a bubble.
How it's done in Amsterdam. Photo by Amsterdamize