A Look at My Life This Week

October 13, 2013 at 4:38 am (In So Many Words) (, , , , , , , , , )

I’m almost always cycling in my spare time these days. That sounds like I do it way more than I actually do.  I’m a mom, so I live in a limbo of down time that’s not down time.  When I am child free, however, I ride my bike.

And here’s a visual update on how that’s going…

Woodles Family

Photo taken by Elizabeth. Click to see her blog.

I look forward to Thursdays every week. Taking a load off life on my bicycle with friends is so freeing.

Not that life is so hard… I work with books, which really doesn’t seem like work at all.  For instance: today, I met a really cool author named Wayne Basta.

Jason of Grey Gecko Press with Author Wayne Basta.

Jason of Grey Gecko Press with Author Wayne Basta.

But of course, while doing all this, I’m still a reader at heart.  So, during the signing today between photos and customers and whatnot – I read a book.

Totally unrelated to the really cool science fiction that was happening around me, I read a little book called Going Native: Biodiversity in Our Own Backyard.  I’ve been foraging for produce lately, and I found this book really interesting as it featured a section on wild gardens in Texas (Dallas to be more specific) with American BeautyBerry plants.

going native  All about maintaining more natural landscapes with plants native to your area, Going Native encourages the act of relaxing in your garden rather than working in it all the time.  Easier said than done, you say… well, there’s also lists of plants for various regions that are recommended with blueprints of how to set it up on certain properties. It’s a neat little book and I enjoyed reading it for the few hours I was hanging out at Half Price Books today.

I found reading this book especially amusing today, because – allow me to come full circle here – my bike club people in that fabulous photo at the top were giving me all sorts of grief Thursday night about being a hippie.  Playful grief, of course, as I nibbled – you guessed it – BeautyBerries out of a median we were stranded in while a fellow repaired a flat tire.

Welcome to my life… this week anyway.

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When I’m Not Reading – Riders of the North

July 12, 2013 at 7:35 pm (Events) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

Riders of the North

Riders of the North is a Social Bike Ride in the northern suburbs of Houston in an attempt to get a Critical Mass going.  Our first run was last night (Thursday) from 7:45 pm until… well… much later.

First Riders of the NorthWe had our first ride last night and at any given point in time had between 15-20 people.  Not bad for a first run.  We met in Old Town Spring and traveled to The Woodlands, hung out in Market Square at Bar Louis, and headed back to OTS again.  Depending on where you were coming from, whether you rode your bike or drove your car to OTS, the ride was between 20-25 miles.  My legs feel AWESOME, aka this is one of the best work outs ever.

We’re going to be doing this weekly until we get enough people interested in doing a formal Critical Mass at the end of every month.  We’d love to have more riders join us, just hit up our facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/610444132308669/

We stopped to eat at Bar Louies where I downed a Chicken Caesar Salad, a crap ton of water, and Angry Orchard Beer.  That beer was phenomenal and extremely refreshing after cranking out ten miles on my bike.

So while I’m not reading, come join me for a bike ride.  Even in the Texas heat, after dark with the wind in your face, the world feels great.  There are some great peeps on the ride and despite a few kinks along the way (people riding at WAY different speeds, two flat tires, and a spill), I think we all had a blast.  I certainly did.

If you know of any great bike books, leave me a comment.  I’ll read them.

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When We’re Not Reading – Critical Mass (1.25.13)

January 27, 2013 at 1:51 am (Events) (, , , , , , , , , )

CMJan2013photo2

Photo uploaded to Facebook by Jeremy M. Caballero

I finally made it to another one! Critical Mass Houston is amazing and I’m working on making it happen every month.  Having a two year old can put a damper in these kinds of plans, but once it’s worked out, it’s worth it.

Last night was the first time we went without a “chaperone.”  My bestie’s brother, Desmond, is a bicycle extraordinaire and we rode in a little pack with him last time.  This time it was just me and the bestie… and a crowd of cyclists en masse.

The first ride I ever did was the Halloween 2012 ride… see here: https://anakalianwhims.wordpress.com/2012/10/28/when-were-not-reading-critical-mass/. There’s links and info about CM.  After that ride, I purchased lights for my bike, both out of necessity and a reward system for myself.  This time, I only did 15 miles of the ride because we had to go home early, but I think I’ve earned myself a bell.

CriticalMass ArtWhat do I love about CM? Well, what don’t I love? I love the large group of people who seemingly have nothing in common except their desire to be on wheels.  I love when one thing can bring an entire community together like that.  It’s beautiful and exciting.  This will sound cheesy, but I totally love the wind in my hair and against my face.  Even if it’s cold, I think it’s heavenly to have a bit of a breeze that you’re creating yourself through motion.  (But it wasn’t cold last night, last night the weather was perfect.)  I love my sore legs the next day, reminding me that I did something fun, productive, and good for me.  I love my  bike.  I love other peoples’ bikes.  I love the road.  I love the city at night.

DSC02437And despite my efforts last night to find out where we were headed in advance, I usually love the mystery and adventure of it all.  After all, I’m a reader, so mystery and adventure and not knowing what comes next absolutely thrills me.

Last night, though, I had an old school mate trying to meet up with us part way in.  So before the ride began, I was asking people who I thought looked like they might be in the know… “you know where we might end up tonight?” Of course, I got a wide variety of answers:

“Wherever our legs and wheels carry us.”  I know, I know, how very zen of you.  But tonight I’m actually trying to find out a real answer.  Just tonight.  I’ll never ask again, I promise.

“My house!”…. Ok I totally opened myself up for that one, come on man, really?  Really.  It turned out, the guy was supposedly actually planning an after party.  Something I would have gone to in college before I was married and had a baby!

DSC02457Later, at first break when I was trying to determine where exactly Foodarama and Speedee Mart (the buildings I was standing in between) were located, I started asking around.  Sorry, people, it’s not that I’m helpless, it’s just that I don’t have one of those fancy phones with all the map apps.  Frankly, I was too lazy to walk out in the middle of the street and hunt down a street sign.  So I tried to convince my bestie that sometimes it’s ok to talk to strangers.  At which point the guy telling me we were at Ella and West 18th grinned and offered me candy.  He dug out a cough drop from the bottom of his pack.  Funny.  Very funny.  Also, kiddo, when you’re old enough to read, if you stumble across this blog post your mama wrote – DON’T talk to strangers.  Although I thought Candy Man was kinda adorable for being a smart ass.

If you were at CM last night – or any night for that matter – leave me a story in the comment section.  I’d like to compile them sometime.

DSC02456

P.S. Thanks again to everyone who complimented my bike.  It makes my night every time.  See you next month!

CMJan2013AWESOME

Photo by Heather Vidrine

 

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When We’re Not Reading – Critical Mass

October 28, 2012 at 12:54 am (Events) (, , , , , )

As much as I love to read and review books, I’ve really been enjoying finding things to add to my When We’re Not Reading segments.  It has forced me to be bold and adventurous in the Houston area, re-visit my attitude from my college years.  Which went something like this: It could be fun, Its free, Why not?

This month my best friend invited me to a not-so-little shin dig called Critical Mass.  Cyclists all over the world get together in their home cities and take to the streets on the last Friday of the month every month.  Hundreds, easily nearly a thousand, people on bikes trekking through downtown together for 20+ miles.  It was nothing short of amazing.

I’m not the biggest fan of getting info from Wikipedia, but they do have some interesting tidbits on what Critical Mass is all about: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Critical_Mass.

For some people this event is an agenda to gain respect on the road for cyclists, make a statement, and more.  From my bike seat, it was a fantastic rolling party.  It was a blast that still managed to create a new appreciation for the world of cyclists, and for my need for headlights, tail-lights, and a helmet.  I would also like a bell and basket.

One of the guys taking lots of pictures got one of me!

Last night’s ride was a Halloween ride.  There were costumes and all sorts of excitement.  In advance, my friend and I had agreed that if we lost each other to simply look for “the hat and the tutu” (two costumed people that were easy to spot and part of our collective mini-group).  This is a good plan.  If you ride a Critical Mass, whatever you do, don’t stop to look for someone… just keep on rolling and catch up to each other when you catch up to each other.

Many motorists cheered, took pictures, and had a general blast right along with us.  However, there were the occasional drivers that got really pissed off that 600 people were holding up traffic as we had to roll through the red lights.  I understand that this is technically illegal, and with an individual or a crowd of 2-30, very ill-advised.  But with 600 riders, stopping at the red light is far more dangerous than holding up traffic.  You wouldn’t ask the Macy’s Day parade to stop at all the red lights, and it is obvious that an event is happening.  So if you happen across this group on a Friday night, please be patient and don’t hate; 99% of the people involved in this ride are trying to be as safe and friendly as possible.

Check out this awesome crowd:

Photo taken by of one of the members of the Facebook group for Houston’s Critical Mass during the October 2012 ride as well.

Initially, I was under the impression that it was a 10 mile ride. My husband was convinced that I wouldn’t be able to do it, as owning a bike is something that has only been a part of my recent adult life. I’d never taken the thing farther than around the block a few times (most likely about a mile, 3 miles at best but that could be stretching the truth of reality). Come to find out, it is actually about a 20 mile ride. Someone gps-ed it as we went and came up with this map after the fact: http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/149370997. Include our ride to the event and back to the house when we were done and I can safely say without exaggeration that I rode 22 miles.

Needless to say, I’m quite proud of myself. Here we are at the first break… 10.2 miles into the evening:

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