Friday, February 11, 2011

Flower Arranging

I decided last week that I really like riding with flowers in my bicycle basket. It's kind of like riding with groceries in your basket, which is fun too, but prettier. Yesterday I decided I might try taking up a new hobby: flower arranging. So, I set off today, dressed in my favorite pink coat for New Seasons where the flowers by the stem options and varied and not too pricey. Peter was on his way to the record store, so after snapping my picture he rode with me for a few blocks until he turned north and I turned south.

At New Seasons I thought of a theme for my first flower arrangement. Well, Valentines is just around the corner, so why not pink and white? The florists were busily churning out bouquets for the holiday, but I wanted to do it myself. Hmmm...these mums are pretty and I like these snapdragons. That's a nice pretty pink filler flower and a few bits of greenery. Add in a few white snapdragons and I was ready. I got my ticket while the florist wrapped up the flowers for me and went in (grabbing some miso that I forgot at the store yesterday) and paid my bill.

Outside, I picked up my flowers, strapped them to my basket with my oh so useful bungee cord and I was on my way. It's such a pink day today, I decided. Pink coat, pink mums, pink butterflies on my helmet.

When I got home I laid out all my flowers, filled my vase with water and added just a tiny splash of bleach to keep them fresh longer. Then I took my time arranging them one by one. It was a lot of fun. And when I was done I had my first bouquet:
What a fun little outing and my first steps into what could become a lifelong hobby.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Dressed in Fog

You know I'm feeling excited about cycling when I look at my busy schedule for the next day and decide to wake up early to ride. I'm definitely a dinner after sunset, late to bed, late to rise kinda gal but if I wanted to get in a ride today it had to be early. So, at 6:20 I was up, ate breakfast, walked Dexter and by 7:30 I was on my way to Tabor.

It was cold! Very, very cold. People were scraping the frost off their cars and my fingers, which were exposed because I just had my cycling gloves on, were freezing. The combination of the 32 degree air and the wind from cycling had me stuffing one hand at a time under my jacket to warm on my belly as I rode to Tabor.

As soon as I started climbing, my hands felt toasty warm. High heart rate, no wind...if I had gloves on I would have been stripping them off. The park is closed to cars on Wednesdays which meant that for the first time since before RAGBRAI, I listened to my MP3 player. I decided to just listen to my songs starting with A and pedaled up the mountain.

The whole top half of the mountain was like riding in a cloud. I couldn't see a view at was all just dressed in fog. There is a special kind of quiet that comes when there is that much fog and it was a peaceful thing to ride in the cloud, listening to Bjork and thinking about my very close trip to Iceland.

There was hardly anyone else out this morning, just some walkers and one other cyclist that I saw. I pedaled happy through my three climbs, took out my earbuds, and then descended down for the cold (oh so cold!) ride home.

As soon as I got home I iced my back for 10 minutes which was hard to do because I was freezing then jumped into a HOT shower to defrost and get ready for my day.

Monday, February 7, 2011


I think it is good to have an off season. At least it is good for me. I've spent this winter working on fitness and keeping a tight clean diet. Since my highest weight on RAGBRAI I've lost nearly 30 pounds. Which is good because in 2009 and 2010 I put on 38 pounds. By the time November arrived I was a little burnt out of riding for fitness and needed a change. I think my body had become too adapted to it too so it was good to mix things up with the elliptical and cardio dance.

Today, however, I did my first real Tabor ride of the year and it was so much fun! My legs were strong and fast. Cardiovascularly I did very well. Most importantly, mentally I was focused and having a ball. Four times up Tabor which is 40 minutes of what I call hard cardio plus 30 minutes to get there and back. In my mind, I was imagining summer rides to the river or on the Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway. I was picturing a new pair of Louis Garneau riding shorts and how funny I'm going to look in a bikini at my brother's beach wedding in late summer with my cycling tan. I still have two-toned legs from last summer. I was making plans to find the cutest sleeveless cycling jerseys and promising myself that this year the Neutrogena Sport sunblock is going on every time. I was looking forward to Cycle Oregon's weekend ride and wondering, "Can I get my RAGBRAI jersey taken in?" I told my husband when I got home, "I'm so excited for cycling season!" He said back, "You go, bike girl!"

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Riding with Flowers

I rode off today dressed in my new puffy coat for a packed afternoon of errands and a massage with my friend Taya. As I'm riding away from home I think about her and how excited I am to see her for the first time in months. I decide to stop at Fred Meyer for a bouquet a flowers. A little bit of spring in winter.

Once the flowers are firmly attached to my bicycle basket I ride briskly over to the pharmacy to pick up a prescription. Bringing in my flowers and my bag (you have to bring everything in when you do errands by bike), it's hard to jostle everything while I sign my receipt. The clerk was nice enough, though, to use a Sharpie to scribble off the price on the flowers.

Taya's house is on Mt. Tabor so I decide to ride up the steep side, go around the top, and then down to her house. I haven't been doing much fitness riding on my bike and I'm on Reilly, the 46-pounder, so when I see Mt. Tabor looming up ahead I feel a touch of anxiety. Come on legs!

As I get closer I see my friend Leslie barreling her way home from her fitness ride all decked out from head to toe in roadie gear. She looked great. "Leslie, hey!" I said. "How are you?" "Hi Sara! Have a nice ride!" she says as we zoom past each other.

Soon I'm at Mt. Tabor and my legs remember all those hill repeats I did last year. Even on my heavy bike it's no big deal, although I have to unzip my puffy coat all the way. Too hot!

When I get to the top I take a picture of the city just to prove I was up there and then scoot on over to Taya's for my massage. She opens the door as she sees me approaching on my bike and asks, "Do you want me to throw your clothes in the dryer? It's no problem." "Thanks!" I replied, "that would be great!"

My massage was lovely and now I have one more errand. When we went to Whole Foods on Thursday we got blueberries, blackberries and raspberries, but Peter was sick so he couldn't eat them. I decided to go back to Whole Foods to pick up fresh berries for him (and for me too) since he is all better now and ready for some flavor!

It's amazing that with all this riding I am on neighborhood streets the whole time. There's one little tricky part where you have to take a pedestrian bridge with a twisty ramp to get across the freeway, but otherwise it's easy low-traffic streets. They mostly have signals for bikes to cross and painted all over the roads are sharrows. What a pleasure it is to ride a bike in Portland.

Berry shopping done, I hop back on my bike and wind my way through the bike streets and home. 2 hours of errands by bike and a one hour massage (complete with dry clothes at the end) sure makes for a fun afternoon.