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With biking on my mind, I’ve been having some fun reading up on the sport the last few days. Came across this little gem of a list – Don’ts for Women Bike Riders circa 1895. Now, I have my favorites from the list (numbers 7, 11, 34, 41 and 42). I don’t even know what “a bike face” means, but I am going to work on cultivating one. Also, cows can be scary so it’s okay to scream if you come across one. Have you ever been in a herd of cows that for no apparent reason decide to run? That is scary stuff my friend. Also, after reading this, I really want a pair of bloomers and will have to contact Jennifer at Under the Root for some soon.

And if you need inspiration to overcome these rules, then check out this story on Annie “Londonderry” Cohen Kopchovsky, who ignored every bit of this advice and in 1895 became the first women to bike around the world. What an amazing story!

So beware New Yorkers, I’ll be the lady with her legs thrown over her handlebars and coasting down hills.

Don’ts for Women Bike Riders circa 1895

  1. Don’t be a fright.
  2. Don’t faint on the road.
  3. Don’t wear a man’s cap.
  4. Don’t wear tight garters.
  5. Don’t forget your toolbag
  6. Don’t attempt a “century.”
  7. Don’t coast. It is dangerous.
  8. Don’t boast of your long rides.
  9. Don’t criticise people’s “legs.”
  10. Don’t wear loud hued leggings.
  11. Don’t cultivate a “bicycle face.”
  12. Don’t refuse assistance up a hill.
  13. Don’t wear clothes that don’t fit.
  14. Don’t neglect a “light’s out” cry.
  15. Don’t wear jewelry while on a tour.
  16. Don’t race. Leave that to the scorchers.
  17. Don’t imagine everybody is looking at you.
  18. Don’t go to church in your bicycle costume.
  19. Don’t wear laced boots. They are tiresome.
  20. Don’t keep your mouth open on dirty roads.
  21. Don’t converse while in a scorching position
  22. Don’t go out after dark without a male escort.
  23. Don’t contest the right of way with cable cars.
  24. Don’t wear a garden party hat with bloomers.
  25. Don’t wear white kid gloves. Silk is the thing.
  26. Don’t chew gum. Exercise your jaws in private.
  27. Don’t tempt fate by riding too near the curbstone.
  28. Don’t ask, “What do you think of my bloomers?”
  29. Don’t use bicycle slang. Leave that to the boys.
  30. Don’t discuss bloomers with every man you know.
  31. Don’t think you look as pretty as every fashion plate.
  32. Don’t go out without a needle, thread and thimble.
  33. Don’t allow dear little Fido to accompany you.
  34. Don’t scratch a match on the seat of your bloomers.
  35. Don’t try to have every article of your attire “match.”
  36. Don’t let your golden hair be hanging down your back.
  37. Don’t appear in public until you have learned to ride well.
  38. Don’t try to ride in your brother’s clothes “to see how it feels.”
  39. Don’t overdo things. Let cycling be a recreation, not a labor.
  40. Don’t ignore the laws of the road because you are a woman.
  41. Don’t throw your legs over the handle bar and coast down hill.
  42. Don’t scream if you meet a cow. If she sees you first, she will run.
  43. Don’t cultivate everything that is up to date because yon ride a wheel.
  44. Don’t emulate your brother’s attitude if he rides parallel with the ground.
  45. Don’t undertake a long ride if you are not confident of performing it easily.
  46. Don’t appear to be up on “records” and “record smashing.” That is sporty.


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Well, the good times just keep rolling in for this bike riding girl. Yesterday was the 8th Annual Bicycle Fetish Day in the neighborhood and I had a great time with a group of local bike enthusiasts. Modified bikes, hand-built bikes, pimped out bikes, commuting bikes, hauling a ton of shit bikes – every kind of bike you can imagine was there to celebrate the fetish-ness that often comes from some of us who sink our souls into biking. It’s a day to embrace the distinct subcultures that exist within the larger bike culture.

It’s put on and hosted by The City Reliquary who manages getting the block party in place and opens their backyard for a BBQ as part of the day’s activities. I had a lovely time walking around and talking with fellow bike lovers. It was a nice tie in to my week on the Climate Ride and I was able to share with people my recent experiences and encourage them to go online and read about the ride.

And there were supporters and artists alike in booths, providing biking information and biking art for the participants. Here’s a list of some who were there: BIKENY, Transportation Alternatives, Times UP!, Taliah Lempert Bicycle Paintings, Outlier Tailored Performance, Neighbors Allied for Good Growth, Coast Cycles, Horse Cycles, Velo Brooklyn Bushwick Bike Shop, Nona Varnado, and Vaya Bike Products.

As a biker, I’ve thought about joining my friends on the Climate Ride for the last couple of years but the timing never worked out. Now that I have the time (seeking full-time employment here!), I was asked to join the social media team and do a bit of blogging and photojournalism.

How could I say no?

Five days of being around fellow bike riders who are devoted to the cause of bike advocacy and organizations working toward a sustainable future riding through rolling hills of the eastern coast and gorgeous days of sunshine.

Damn. I wish I were on a bike.

So I as I sit here, picking up this paragraph after being on the road, through those rolling hills, and meeting so many wonderful, wonderful people, I’ve got to say that this has been one of those “life changing experiences”; one you will never forget.

I admit that the days blurred one into the other as we raced along to get ahead of the riders to capture video and photos. It somehow seems weird when you keep referring to Tuesday as Day Four, when during your whole work life Tuesday has always been the second day of the week. And time became an arbitrary measure of shooting off to the next water stop or lunch stop or well, water stop.

But really, the champions for me are the people who set out to raise money so that they can do this ride with 200 people. That’s right, 200 people doing 300 miles in 5 days. I met so many incredible people who ranged in age, gender and location of origin that it blew my mind. From France to Argentina, everyone had come to ride together and raise awareness of global climate change. As Marian Westley from NOAA stated at our first night of speakers in Princeton, “Climate change is very real. Make no doubt about it. Humans are having a negative impact on our environment.” Okay, maybe those weren’t her exact words but I got the gist of it. And she backed it up with research that is being done by NOAA’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL).

And during our second night Daniel Mira Salama from the Sustainable Development Network at the World Bank showed some very eye opening photos of glaciers that have completely disappeared in the last few years. The glaciers we need to feed our oceans, rivers and streams. The glaciers we need to survive.

And as I walked around, talked with folks and made some awesome videos of people who shared why they ride the Climate Ride trip, I saw my world in whole new light. Not that I’ve been blind to global warming and climate change, but these were brilliant people working in the field, doing research and connecting the dots as they each brought in their unique perspectives. And I just sat, listened and absorbed as much as possible.

It may be that my neural pathways have completely and forever changed because of this.

As we traveled along we spent most of our nights at places like the YMCA or church camps that provided lodging and food for the group. Vegans and vegetarians alike were addressed in the menu planning as well as ways to be carbon neutral with a large group (real dishes that we washed, composting, and corn-based silverware and cups when they were necessary). Most everyone had reusable water bottles and travel mugs for coffee. We recycled whenever we could. We cleaned up after ourselves and respected the environments we were guests in (prayers and keeping kosher when asked).

I met a rocket scientist from NASA who was studying climate change by launching satellites into the atmosphere that will use a laser ranging instrument to measure changes in ice sheet and sea ice thickness, as well as help quantify vegetation carbon sinks around the world. I met a woman who work at Food & Water Watch, an organization that works to ensure the food, water and fish we consume is safe, accessible and sustainably produced. That means fighting companies like Monsanto who is the biggest player in genetically modified seeds. I met the founder and Executive Director of Windustry, a non-profit that promotes progressive renewable energy solutions and empowers communities to develop and own wind energy as an environmentally sustainable asset.

And so many more amazing people that I could fill page after page of stories. But I’ll stop here because I want to share some photos and links to videos we took along the way. I’ll let the people share their stories with you. And I hope that you will take the time to listen because there are some beautiful and inspiring ideas coming out of this group.

Be patient with this page loading, lots of great videos, but it takes time to load the page!

Why I Ride: Cyclists Share Their Stories

However for me, two great moments will stand out. The first for me was hopping off a platform to do a zipline, something I had never done before. I admit I was scared; it’s so hard to take that first step! But taking it bit by bit (Oh okay, I’ll put the harness on. Oh, so that’s how the harness hooks to the line!) and with a lot of encouragement from the two guys setting it up, I jumped. What a rush!

And second, as we finished up the ride, we grabbed a couple of bike share bikes that DC has installed and biked the final three miles with the group though DC and to the Reflecting Pool in front of the Capitol. It felt great! Especially with my kid’s pirate helmet on! There were a lot of cheers as we rode through and the rally was energizing. The ride ended on a high note of possibility for a brighter, more sustainable future.

And as I sat that final night in the lounge of my hotel, I had a wonderful conversation with a woman from Ireland who enjoyed my impassioned state and urged me to “find what makes you feel your skin”, and old saying her grandmother once shared with her. And I liked it. What makes me feel my skin? Biking, fighting for the environment and most of all remaining open hearted to positive change for the future.

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Yesterday I was up bright and early to volunteer for the 5 Boro Bike Tour which I was quite excited to do. As an enthusiastic bike rider I had considered biking in the event but this being my first year in NYC, I thought I'd volunteer so I could see how it all works from a ground level. And whoa, did I ever get the ground view of this amazing event.

Here's a little bit of info about the ride from the Bike New York website:
The Tour is co-produced by Bike New York and the New York City Department of Transportation. The event provides participants the unique and fun experience to bike through all five boroughs – a 40 mile, traffic-free ride for 32,000 cyclists. Starting just north of Battery Park, the tour runs up Manhattan, through Central Park, around a brief loop in the Bronx and down to the Queensboro Bridge passing countless New York City icons on the way. After a ride over the Pulaski bridge passing through Brooklyn, riders enjoy an incredible view from the lower deck of the Verrazano Bridge. The tour lands on Staten Island for a lively outdoor Festival, including bike demos, giveaways, games, food, product samples, stretching, massage, photo booths, and official Bike New York merchandise on sale.

Arriving at 6:30am, our group was stationed at Pier 3 along the East River and a short distance from the Brooklyn Bridge. We started our day by setting tables full of energy bars, apples, bananas, pretzels and water to replenish the riders as our rest area was the final rest area before they’d hit Staten Island.

I walked around the area to check out the food tables and watch the band setting up the stage for the day. I was pretty excited at the thought of live music in our area. As word spread through the volunteers, I heard that the first wave of riders would be in our area in about 15 minutes, around 9:30. I walked out to Furman street so that I could snap photos as the riders came in and then I’d return to the rest area to hand out food. But as I stood there with camera in hand, someone asked me if I could stay stationed there and help direct the riders as they came through our area.

So what I ended up doing was standing front and center as wave after wave of bikers passed by and directing them to the right for rest or to keep moving on the left. I’ve got to say that I think this was far better than standing at the pretzel table handing out bags of Utz’s pretzels. This spot was such a great place to be for the day. I was able to cheer the riders on, help them find a place to rest and in general be the first smiling face they saw at our stop.

At the end of the day, hoarse and hitting precarious levels of low blood sugar, I was exhausted and a bit cranky. But you know what made it worth it? The riders. All of those folks who brightened up at my encouraging words of “only 13 miles left!”; those who got off their bikes with wobbly legs, fell, and that I helped up off the ground; and those who grinned widely as they slapped my hand passing. Thank you riders! I felt the shared spirit of the joy biking gives me.

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So what does a girl do upon waking to the first truly warm and sunny spring day in New York City? Why, ride 30 miles after not biking all winter, that’s what you do! I had three, no four, goals for the day. One, see if there was a path along the lower south side of Manhattan that would connect me to the Hudson River Greenway. Two, find the Hudson River Greenway. Three, bike until I found the Little Red Lighthouse under the George Washington Bridge. And four, find my way across Midtown to the 34th Street Ferry and ferry back to Greenpoint.

Manhattan view of Williamsburg Bridge.

The answer to goal one is yes. Yes you can bike along the south end of Manhattan and yes you will eventually find your way to the Hudson River Greenway. Is it easy? No. Is it intuitive? No. Is it fast? No. You will get lost and you will not always know which way to go. But that’s okay. Just keep making your way towards the water and yes eventually (about an extra hour) you will find yourself through the milling tourists and busy bee workers, past Battery Park and finally, finally on the Hudson River Greenway. You will need patience but it is so worth it. Goal two, once you get past Chambers Street your world will irrevocably change for the better.

Battery Park area - Statue to welcome immigrants to New York.

Oh my gosh! This Chicago girl found her bike path! The one that would allow me to go 15-18 miles per hour with little to no fear of being hit by a car. Now, hitting pedestrians is another thing all around. But the Chicago Lake Path has trained me well in the art of avoiding pedestrians, dogs, small children running, women pushing carriages and rollerbladers. Once I hit my stride I didn’t slow down until 60th street or so. Snapped some lovely photos of an outdoor art installation which I thoroughly enjoyed.

art in the park

My snack companions.

It was here at the northernmost part of the little park that I came across an old structure which is the 69th Street Transfer Bridge. Constructed in 1911 by the New York Central Railroad to transfer freight cars between the west side railyards and barges that crossed the Hudson River to and from Weehawken, New Jersey. I love a bit of history mixed into my day.

69th Street Transfer Bridge

At this point I debated turning back and heading home. After all, it has been several months since I have done any biking and nearly a year since I have done a nice long 10-20 mile ride. But as I sat there contemplating, I saw a bridge in the distance. Now which bridge is that?, I asked myself. And gave a snort and a laugh as it was the George Washington Bridge and my goal. It seemed far. It seemed too far. How far was it? Could I do it? The only answer was to hop back on the bike and keep peddling.

I biked until the path ran out. A small dirt trail led off towards the river and in the near distance I could see the Little Red Lighthouse. Ah, at least I can grab a photo here I thought. As I rumbled over the dirt and potholes a man started to yell at me. I couldn’t tell if he was speaking a foreign language, was a stroke victim or shouting in some codified zombie speak, but what I could tell is that he did not want me on the dirt path. I cared, but not enough to stop. Plus I found some mica rocks which are very sparkly and pretty. I took my pictures and went back to the end of the paved path. Ah, there I saw that the bike trail continued on the other side of park where the zombie stroke victim was sitting.

Now I was so close to the Little Red Lighthouse that I could taste it. Yay! I arrived! And it is little. Really quite little. What was constructed in 1889 was rebuilt in 1921 as the Jeffrey’s Hook Light to help guide boats on the Hudson at night. It is the only lighthouse on Manhattan island. It is known for its characteristic of one second of light and two seconds of darkness (and includes a horn to sound a warning when there is fog). It stands only 40 feet high; like I said, little. But I had achieved goal three.

Jeffrey's Hook Light (a.k.a Little Red Lighthouse)

Oh God, I was now at 179th street…on the west side of Manhattan, and Brooklyn seemed a long ways away. There was nothing for it but to turn around and head back. I needed to achieve goal four. As I peddled along I realized that it was maybe every 20 streets that would equal a mile. I wish this path would have some signage to help path users understand where they are at but it is sorely lacking. I made it down to about 80th street and decided a break was needed. I grabbed snack of trail mix and water. My body needed the fuel but I had to overcome the inertia of sitting and find 40th street. I decided 40th street would be my best bet to cross Midtown and then I could head south to 34th street and the ferry. I’ve got to say that this was a good plan.

Biking across Manhattan can seem intimidating because of the traffic. But I’m here to tell you that the traffic is the least of your worries. The cabs, cars and trucks are pretty much moving slower than you, but the pedestrians…watch for the pedestrians. To a pedestrian you are not an object to be feared so they will simply step in front of you despite the fact that you have the light. I clanged my little bike bell more on that ride than I have in the whole time that I’ve owned this bike. Finally about the time I hit Park Avenue I could see the glitter of water in the distance. I was almost there.

I hit 1st Avenue and went south to 34th street. Yes, I did have to ride against traffic but there was a bike lane and I rode like nobody’s business. Arriving at the ferry dock, I had a 40 minute wait. Busting out my lunch and more water, I sat and enjoyed the sunshine. It was a glorious day! For me, having water in close proximity is really important. I miss the ocean from when I lived in San Francisco. And Chicago has the lake. Here I sat and watched the traffic of a port city and loved it all. There are these rubber posts next to the dock which say “Marine Guard Rubber Donut” and I confess that the whole 40 minutes I really wanted a donut.

Marine Guard Rubber Donut

The ferry finally arrived and we boarded in an orderly fashion. The ride was quick and sweet. Almost too quick. I really wanted to stay on the boat all day. I’ve decided that I am seafaring gal. My heart lifted, my mind cleared and I felt a smile take over my face. We arrived in Greenpoint and I pushed my bike down the rampway to India street. Now I had to finish the last mile or so. If my legs rebelled at the thought of pedaling again, my butt was downright cantankerous, complaining like an old man with arthritis who suddenly realizes that he has to climb 20 flights of stairs to get home. C’mon on butt! C’mon on legs! Take me home.

I stopped by the Busy Bee and grabbed a steak for my dinner. After a day like today, I deserved it.

East River Ferry

I consider myself a fairly experienced biker; nonetheless crossing the Williamsburg Bridge for the first time is a daunting proposition. And really it’s about the fact that my biking experience has been mainly in Chicago – flat, flat, flat land of Chicago. Along the lake bike path without cars or trains zipping by me. So as I’ve found my ‘bike legs’ in NYC, and most specifically Brooklyn, what I’ve learned is that this place is a bit hilly and crossing the bridge is a long hill up with a promising fun coasting ride down.

I’ve gone over twice now and I know the only way to conquer my fear is to do this again and again. The first time, all I could think was ‘holy shit’ I’m really freaking high up. And that thought wouldn’t leave me. Today as I biked I consciously cultivated this thought ‘this is beautiful. this is beautiful.’ over and over and over. And you know what? I almost believed myself. Almost.

I decided that today I’d take some photos to show what it is like to cross. Maybe I’ll figure out a way to put my camera on the bike and make a movie but today I was definitely short some bungee cords to make that happen. So still shots it is. The maximum speed I got going up was around 8mph and coming downhill I let myself get up to 20mph but then had to apply the brakes. I’m a baby and beyond 20mph all I can think about is what will happen if I crash.

Back to the photos. Okay, really this terrified me. I decided I take a picture on the Brooklyn side, one at what I call my first checkpoint (not really sure that there are really checkpoints but there is a nice little zig zag that you can stop and catch your breath), some at the apex of the bridge and then again when I got on the Manhattan side. My legs were totally shaking at the top when I took these shots and I don’t think it was just the trains rumbling beneath me.

After my bridge trip, I biked around Williamsburg doing some errands and grabbed some graffiti shots. I love graffiti and plan on sharing as much as I can find. The first one posted is a little skull wearing a crown. I love skulls and skeletons so he just needed to be photographed. Then I was intrigued by a piece that actually revolved around creating graffiti art (or rather that is my interpretation). Finally I found one of my favorites so far – the Giant Squirrel. I LOVE HIM. He is awesome and takes up the whole building.

Until then, here are the photos from today’s Out and About New York dragonbug style.

Tara’s Art for Sale


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