take me (my trailer) seriously

A while back... before she was a married woman, our friend Alison Faulkner had a caption beneath her profile picture that stuck in my head. It read, "take me seriously." For some reason, that caption really made me laugh and I've thought about the expressed sentiment (wanting to be taken seriously) for a while now.

A couple of weeks ago I made a purchase that with it, comes my proclamation of wanting to be taken very seriously :)

I purchased a BOB bicycle trailer.

I had been reading up on all of the different types of trailers, and their pros & cons. When it finally came down to it, I decided that the BOB was the best way to go. The next big decision, how soon did I want it?

The dilemma was, how much was I wiling to pay so I could get my grubby little mitts on it. For $24.35, I could've had it in three days. The temptation was almost unbearable. However - because I didn't need the trailer for almost three weeks (we'll get to that later), I decided I could go for the "free" shipping Amazon offers, if you are willing to wait 5-9 days. Of course it was 9.

So you can imagine my excitement when I came up the stairs of our apartment and saw the beautiful box sitting at our door (above). I then moved it inside to get a better look before I started assembling it.

a sight for sore eyes

The construction was pretty easy, but the instruction booklet was so fascinating (with so many pictures) I wanted to make sure I was doing everything just right. I think you'll agree with me that she's a beauty.

Why on earth do you need a trailer... some of you are asking? Well - for one, Ashley, our dear friends the Nelsons, and I are going on a two-day bike trip to San Diego in a couple of weeks. We'll stop at San Onofre state beach and camp one night, then ride the next morning into San Diego. Rather than investing in a touring bike that I can load up with racks and panniers - I decided to get a trailer. This allows me to haul all of our stuff (clothes, food, sleeping bags, etc) on the bike I already have.

Additionally, with a trailer I can vastly increase my capacity to do utility trips with a trailer. Before, I was limited to what I could fit in my very large messenger bag. Now, we can make trips to the grocery store, Target, and other places - all on bike.

Sorry folks, no hop-ons allowed. It states specifically in the directions that the weight limit is 70lbs and I'm not allowed to carry humans or pets.

As you can see, it has a pretty bitchin' flag on the back so everybody can make way for me and my trailer. I'm really excited about the new avenues my trailer is opening for me. One look at me and my trailer and I think you'll agree, you need to take me seriously.


bold advertising

I've been riding my bike on the same street for almost a year and a half. During that time, I've become quite familiar with the friendly faces and signs along the way.

One of my absolute favorite is a large mural for Kim's Driving School. Los Angeles has tons of murals, and I think this is one of the rare ones that combines artistry with a very unique message.

If you look closely (go ahead, click on the picture) you notice a gentleman riding shotgun, who I can only assume is Kim.

Kim is giving one of his famous lessons... to a man in a red convertible. Upon closer inspection of the man driving... we notice that he is in a robe, and that there is something angelic, maybe even divine about this person?

I'm not trying to be irreverent, or sacrilegious... but I think that the mural is trying to depict Kim giving a driver's lesson to Jesus.

On one hand... it could be a proclamation of faith in a footprints sort of way. If so... then I think it is a nice message and good for Mr. Kim.

On the other hand... it could also be interpreted that "I'm so good at teaching driving lessons..." you fill in the rest. Am I reading too much into this mural. What do you guys think?

Do you guys see any funny things while you are out and about? If so, please share them.


mr. 3000

You may have have seen the original, instant family classic, Mr. 3000 portrayed by the lovable Bernie Mac.

Well, I've got news for you all. I'm the new Mr. 3000.

I've been keeping track of all the miles I've covered on my bike since New Year's Day, 2008. Trips to school, work, the store, and recreational miles. It's an estimate - because I don't have a computer on my bike - I usually calculate my mileage on gmaps pedometer.

Today on my ride home from work, I passed the 3000 mile mark. My goal for the year is to hit 6,000, so I'm a little behind schedule. I'm hoping to make up some of those miles when I start commuting downtown, full time in August.

How does one successfully meet mileage goals? I have a couple of tips that are helpful, and coincidentally, are things that Ashley likes to give me a hard time about.

My first tool - an excel spreadsheet. It's where I keep track of all my daily totals. In grad school I had to mess around with excel spreadsheets for all kinds of financing and statistics. The spreadsheet I've constructed for tracking my miles allows me to see daily totals, monthly totals/ averages, and of course total miles. Ashley laughs at me everytime I come home (right after a ride) and plug the numbers in. She accuses me of cooking up errands to accomplish by bike, just so I can pad my numbers.

Which leads me to my second tip. It's really helpful to have a goal that will push you. It makes you want to go out and squeeze in a few extra miles. Whether its walking, running, biking, swimming - keeping track of your distance is a really rewarding way record what you've accomplished over the course of the year.

I also think I've saved around $600 bucks on gas (assuming I made those trips by car). It's a conservative estimate, considering gas mileage fluctuates greatly when you are driving within the city. Not to mention, the cost of parking is quite substantial out here - so that could be an easy extra $200.

Riding a bike isn't just about saving money (although it's really really nice) for me, it's also about expanding my choices. I can go more places, park more places, and have more fun when I'm on a bike.

I'm very close to purchasing a bicycle trailer, which will allow Ashley and I to do a little touring, as well as make more of our big grocery trips by bike. I can't wait.

I'll keep you guys posted as the year ends and my goal gets closer. I might have to pull a couple of crazy 100-mile Saturdays to get it, so we'll see.

Have gas prices got you guys down? Any of you considering alternative forms of transportation?


4th of july antics

This year for the 4th of July we took a bike ride with a hundred or so of our best friends. Critical mass is a monthly bike ride that takes place on the first Friday of the month, and this year it happened to fall on the 4th of July. How fortuitous! Critical mass gets a lot of bad press, and that's kind of it's function. To get people to think about how we use the streets, and who gets to use streets. Below are some pictures that we took, as well as a few that our friend Steve Mattson took.

The ride starts off at the Santa Monica Pier around seven, and then it meanders wherever the head of the pack feel inclined to go. Lately, the ride has sort of made a b-line out of the City of Santa Monica because we've been getting harassed by the fuzz. This years route was kind of whimsical, but a lot of fun.

Can you spot Ashley and I?

A little easier to find us in this one. In the course of our route the entire of mass of riders had to switch directions. Kind of comical.

Ashley and our good friend Kimber. I think they were sharing a quiet moment along the ride.

I like this picture Ashley took. It totally looks like a bad photoshop job and I have a completely asinine look on my face to boot.

A typical Critical Mass pit stop. Conveniently next to an establishment that sells spirits.

Kimber is halfway through PA school. She has also become our personal health counselor. Ashley and Kimber were talking about one of Ashley's maladies.

After our ride we were quite peckish. We got pizza and salad at Wildflour Pizza on Main Street in Santa Monica. The outdoor dining area in the back is perfect for pleasant conversations and libations on a warm summer's eve.

During the ride there was a pleasant fellow wearing only a speedo, and Kimber & Ashley had a knack for seeing him. It was kind of like staring at their sun. It was painful, but they couldn't help themselves.

The ride started to thin out as it came time to watch the fireworks. We broke with the crowd and headed down to the beach in Venice to catch the fireworks. After the fireworks we got dinner, ran into a few fellow critical mass participants, and then made our way home. It was a delightful 4th of July.

What did you guys do to celebrate Independence Day?