Happy 2015! I can't believe we've gone back to the future already. At this time of year, we often reflect upon where we are, how far we've come and where we're going next. KT on that famous bridge in Copenhagen, November 2014. As you know, I've been taking a break from blogging on Vélo Vogue. This blog was an exciting project for me when I began in 2008. Because of this blog, over the years, I've met so many inspiring bike people around the globe. With Renata Falzoni, cicloactivista in São Paulo, Brazil Participation in this group has opened doors for me and shown me so many new paths. En route to bike camping in Calistoga I'm truly blessed to belong to the bike community. I've also enjoyed blending my calling in life (filmmaking) with one of my greatest passions (biking) through my feminist bicycle horror film, The Spinster. Making films by bicycle inspires me as a person, and pushes my creative limits. It's helped me learn how to capture the thrill of riding a bike and conveying that to the world in a fun and exciting way. It's allowed me to share with the world that we bike people are real people too, not just helmet/lycra clad weekend warriors, but real humans with emotions and feelings. Which brings me to January of 2015. I have begun a new bike-film project called Velo Visionaries, a series of interviews with great thinkers of today's global bicycle culture from the point of view of the person behind the handlebars. You don't need me to tell you that traveling by bicycle provides a unique perspective on your surroundings, often inspiring moments of insight and creating a profound connection to your community. Have a look at the first episode, and subscribe to the Velo Visionaries YouTube Channel, and let these visionaries tell you what thoughts swirl around in their minds while they're on the streets and in the saddle. I will be publishing more of these interviews/rides from here on out. Please enjoy, let me know your thoughts, and most importantly, RIDE ON!
And I rode the SNAKE!
Hope you all enjoyed the World Cup this time around. Win or lose, it's always good times to watch some world class footie. My team was eliminated in the Quarter Finals, by Germany no less, so I don't feel too bad. We watched the match surrounded by all the Frenchies at Belden Place, the tiny Financial District alley which is home to SF's French Quarter. Germany has an incredible team and, I'll admit - it was cool to witness Thomas Müller's sick moves on the dance floor as he celebrated their ridiculous win over Brazil. Nice shorts, dude. Hope y'all had a great time watching all those hotties on the pitch, like I did! Bring on 2018! Et ALLEZ LES BLEUS!
How much do I LOVE Portland? It's the only city that can proudly claim bragging rights to both the Unipiper AND the world's only Pedal Powered Talk Show! Not to mention Phil and his rad Metrofiets! So put them all into one cute and short video that also includes goats! Yes, GOATS! Can't go wrong with a man in a kilt on a uni. Especially one that blows flames. You win, Portland!
Name: Caz Nicklin Occupation: Founder of Cyclechic.co.uk and author of The Girls' Bicycle Handbook Raison d'etre: Promoting cycling as a desirable, accessible lifestyle choice. Hometown: Yorkshire, England Current city: London, England Favorite city to ride a bike in in the world: Has to be London but San Francisco comes a close second. Type of bike: I currently ride a Bisou from Tokyobike Describe what you like best about your bike: It's light and streamlined and feels great to ride and it’s also easy to carry and store inside. It has a steel frame so is strong enough to take my 5 year-old daughter on the back and all our stuff in a basket on the front. It also has swept back handlebars which gives it both a traditional feel and more relaxed riding position. It’s the ideal bike for me at the moment – nippy but strong. Describe your personal style: Come summer I’m all about floaty floral dresses - they look and feel so good to cycle in. Spring and Autumn my Harris tweed riding jacket comes out teamed with skinny jeans and brogues for a more vintage look. Helmet or no helmet: Helmet. I don’t believe a helmet is a magic weapon against all injury but, personally, wearing one make me feel more confident when cycling amongst traffic. I always wear my trusty Bern Lenox in Cranberry - Bern helmets were the first product I ever sold when I started my business and we now have the Lenox helmet in Cranberry colour made exclusively for Cyclechic and it is our best-selling product! Favorite accessory when riding: Second to my helmet I would have to say my pannier. I am currently sporting a summery Basil Bloom Shopper. It either goes on my rack or in my basket and is great for both work and shopping. I also love my Michaux Lightening rucksack, made here in London by a local designer, Rachel Bonney – it’s so elegant. Favorite time and/or place to ride: First thing in the morning (after a cup of tea, of course) getting up and out on the bike is a great way to start the day and puts me in an optimistic frame of mind. My fave place has to be the backstreets of West London. Tell me about your new book The Girl's Bicycle Handbook: The Girls Bicycle Handbook is a practical guide for women who want to incorporate cycling into their lives but have questions about how to do it? Advice ranges from; buying a bike, bike maintenance, road safety, accessories, cycling to work and of course cycling in style. The book also celebrates the cycling community with profiles on inspirational bloggers, businesswomen and wonderful female figures from cycling’s past. What inspired you to write the book? When I first came to cycling as an adult I had tonnes of enthusiasm but no experience so was hungry for advice and info. However most of the advice seemed either sport related or totally outdated and was more of a turn off than encouragement. I wanted to changes that and write a book that would was both pretty to look at but also packed full of useful, relevant advice to really help modern women start cycling and stay cycling. What will women learn from reading your book? Everything from how to fix an puncture to how to combat helmet hair to what to wear and what to eat for breakfast... Where can women buy your book? From our website but cheapest and fastest option for US customers is Amazon How does the book further your vision for Cyclechic.co.uk? My vision for Cyclechic - both the shop and the blog - is to promote cycling as a desirable lifestyle choice to encourage more women to take to two wheels so the book is perfect extension of this mantra. I hope the book will invite women into cycling and give them advice that will make their life by bike easier and more fulfilling. Vélo Vogue tip of the day: Go for loose fitting dresses that come to around the knee when the hot weather kicks in. They are the comfiest and coolest cycling attire as they let the air circulate and you will look fabulously feminine as you cycle by. Photos provided by Caz Nicklin
I ran into Jenise of the new SF bike blog, SF Cycle Style, in the Panhandle on my commute home from work last week. I took her picture... And she took mine! Photo by Jenise Breaker She also wrote this very nice post about Vélo Vogue. Welcome to the bike blogosphere, Jenise, and I'll see ya in the bike lane! ;-)
Please don't yell at me from your car window and tell me to wear a helmet, get off the road, be careful, get a headlight, etc. You're not offering "advice." In fact, you're being rude, annoying and you're not paying attention to the road. Actually, you're being a dangerous driver. Keep your eyes on the road and keep your opinions to yourself. We know what we're doing, ok?
I've been working exclusively from home since last August, when suddenly last week I was called to edit on site during regular business hours! So what did I do? I bike commuted! HOORAY! I was excited to join the ranks once again! [Note to self: Need new leggings.] And witness the all the gorgeous SF landmarks on my way to work... while checking out the San Francisco style. It's been a while since I've weathered the shit storm of the morning commute, so it took a little getting used to again. Even with all the positive changes to our bike infrastructure in the last few years - I'll admit it: I found the experience to be nervewracking and potentially dangerous. You still have to have thick skin to be confident enough to bike to work in San Francisco in 2014. Still, I made it to my place of work, practicing safety in the form of Style Over Speed.
Over Memorial Day weekend, I went bike camping for the first time. Voici my trusty steed Seabiscuit all loaded up and ready to go! Inside the panniers were: a lightweight one-person tent, a sleeping bag, a thermarest mat, a change of clothes (which doubled as a pillow), a couple snacks, a headlamp, travel sized toiletries and a few more camping doo dads. I also used this list on Bicycle Touring Pro to help me pack. You can also glimpse a corner of my po campo purse that I hooked onto my rear rack which carried my wallet, sunblock, lip balm, camera, phone and keys. Luckily I was not alone on this adventure. I joined a group of 20+ bikey friends and so we had plenty of seasoned campers along on the ride who also brought essential camping gear to share. As you can imagine, we made quite an entrance wherever we rolled through! To slice a few miles off, we took the ferry from San Francisco to Vallejo. The rest of the ride was fairly flat and, as always on a bicycle, I got to see corners of the Bay Area I've never witnessed before in an up close and personal way. The most beautiful part of the trip was when we arrived on the Silverado Trail which meandered through vineyards. I decided to wear a helmet for this ride because I was carrying a heavy load and our route has a tendency to be windy with occasional gravel, so I wanted additional safety measures in case I lost my balance. I knew it was going to be hot, but spending hours pedaling with a heavy load in 90+ degree temperatures is grueling. I would recommend a shorter ride in cooler temps for other bike camping newbies. Also, fit some extra water in your panniers. I'll do that next time. So it was joyous and momentous when we finally reached Velo Vino, the wine tasting café owned by Clif Family. It's an excellent pitstop for bikey people. The staff was welcoming and accommodating to our large and rowdy group. And their wines are tasty! Very refreshing on a hot, sunny afternoon. One of the reasons I picked Seabiscuit was to have a suitable bike for touring and camping. I found I was not alone! Surly bikes were the majority in our large group. A group shot of all the Surly riders: When we finally arrived at Bothe State Park, I set up camp ASAP before it got dark. One of my campmates noticed that my bike, tent and beer can were color-coordinated. But of course, I'm Vélo Vogue! One of the best parts about camping is the chance to meet and spend quality time with kindred spirits. I made lots of new connections with inspiring people who are open to challenging themselves with new bike adventures, who also know that getting there is all the fun. Thanks for the bikey memories, Napa! I'll be back soon! For more bike camping tips, watch my friend's how-to video for beginners here.
KQED did a great job covering the ride. We had 14 police escorts from SFPD blocking intersections so we could safely pass through.
August 2010, German student, Yannick Linke, 22, was killed by a DUI, hit and run driver, Josh Calder, in San Francisco at Masonic and Turk Streets. Two years later, July 2012, Calder plead guilty to felony vehicular manslaughter and received a reduced sentence of one year in jail and five years probation to include alcohol rehabilitation and a suspended license during the term.
Last night was the 11th annual Ride of Silence in San Francisco and cities all over the world. For the San Francisco event Yannick's mother, Petra, wrote this open letter to the riders. Her words resonate with poignant truth.
Dear Silent Bikers,
Thank you for your invitation to join you. Sorry I can’t be with you. Yet I would like to share a few thoughts with you.
I am the mom of the young German student Nils Yannick Linke who got run over riding a bike by a drunk and doped driver on Friday, August 13, 2010.
A young man was killed by a driver in an old car. Kurt Vonnegut’s laconic comment would have been “so it goes”.Yes, this world is full of coincidences. But the moment a driver drinks, smokes pot, is on the phone, or speeds, the coincidence turns into purpose. The driver actively decides to run the risk to injure or kill someone.
Also, I remember the driver talking to me in court, that he would do everything to make things good. Are you here, Mr. C.? Are you trying to make good by supporting the biking community? Are you here to help make this city safer? Are you touring the bars talking to people about the effect of alcohol on driving?
Is anybody here that has hurt a person? You all should help to make the streets safer. Get engaged!
Here is my message to the SFPD and all DA’s involved: look at Germany. According to the law, the driver is always at fault, simply because he is the stronger one. Don’t put the blame on the victims.
I am thankful that the death of my beloved son also lead to bring the dangerous stretch of Masonic into redesign and with construction to begin in 2015.
I hope the city of San Francisco will get safer and safer for everyone in the street.
Thank you to everybody that was by my side in difficult times and the court case: Michael, Dale, Helen, Molly, Aaron. My heart goes out to all the friends and relatives that have lost a loved one in a bike accident. I know how you feel. I feel the loss ever so often, all of the family does. The agony will stay. Would he have finished college? Would he have married? Would I have become a grandmother?
Greetings from Berlin, Germany. I am thinking of you today.