Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Find bikeMAMAdelphia at the Women's Forum

Busy week here! I am currently finishing up my presentation for the Women's Forum at the National Bike Summit. If you will be there for the forum or the media training on Sunday I hope we can meet. 

I am speaking about family biking and specifically Kidical Mass Philadelphia. I get to present with other great female leaders and Kidical Mass Arlington! Yeah family biking. 

Here is my profile from Women Bike:

PS: We are transitioning J very soon to the Yepp with a custome bracket for Urban Arrow and then the regular holder on Halsted. Helmet advice and the next stage of baby on a bike coming over next couple of week. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

An Ode To Wiping Out on the Urban Arrow

I had to attend a meeting without kids in South Philly yesterday. After a week of snow and cold, it was now "thunder ice/raining" out. Early in the day my whole house had shook from the weather, that nicely sums up life.  I checked on the Women Bike PHL Facebook group for info on path and determined the Manayunk to Midvale section was unrideable still covered in unplowed snow #thanksphiladelphia.

My plan of action was to take Ridge (treated by cars as highway) to East Falls bridge and hop back onto path. I get back to path but because of snow at curb cuts I could not safely make left on to path and pulled a "3 point turn" on my bike.  It was hard but finally pointing the right way I headed off. 
The path was slushy/icey disaster at points if I was on unsure of wether it was slush or ice,  I would un-mount walk, re-mount, ride again and repeat all over. Finally I hit a god stride and was seeing mostly slush. Near the regatta viewing stands there is a small downhill. It was covered in slush or I thought slush but the moment I hit it I realized it was ice and I was screwed. I held on pretty well at first but with no weight in the front I lost control and fell off. 

It sucked. But I got up, called my husband and kept riding. 

I rode my bike to Firth&Wilson and actually asked then to keep it until Friday as I wasn't sure if my knee that I went down on would be okay and the path sucked and the rain wasn't letting up and my ball of nerves was done.  They agreed to keep my bike because best bike shop ever. But, after the intial adrenaline wore off my knee was okayish and after my meeting the sun came out. After consulting with husband and Marni (both awesome to talk to about bike help!!) I walked back and just got my bike. I figured I could just ride/walk it the 8 miles back if I had to.

And that's what I did. By the time I hit East falls there were NO clear curb cuts to get across Kelly Drive to Ridge safely. I called my husband so he knew what the what was. So I knew I have to walk it on path. A very thickly snow covered path. It was hard pushing the bike on mounds of snow that were also melting. It sucked actually. [Why wasn't this section plowed?!] Look at the crystal clear road next to it. A jogger used it to run on in one picture. Not an option for me. 

Finally I get to my tricky intersection which is hell on a good day but today it was inner ring. The curb cut to cross to the other side and ride up Ridge in front of bus station was not shoveled. I kept walking. Then 5000-5004 Ridge seem to think they are excused from shoveling since no tenets are in their buildings. So the sidewalks at 2-3 feet deep are not passable. I keep going. PGW is working with man hole cover up blocking the crossing at the also un-shoveled curb cut. But the one I needed of course. So oh well. I'm now on Main Street. I then ride past my home area down Main to Shurs and back up the hills back to my home. An almost mile out of my way all up hill (on a normal day just an annoyance today it was wearing me down). Finally almost two hours later (35 mins regularly) I am home. 

My body has some bruises and my knee is swollen. But luckily no kids were on bike, no cars near me or other people. I went down very gracefully in my opinion. 

The bike itself took it well, I tore the rain canopy and the kickstand is not staying up. So the bike will likely make it's way back to F&W for that. 

Overall winter can go away now. 

AND the GoPro of me falling:

bikeMAMAdelphia: Wipe out on Ice w/ Urban Arrow from bikeMAMAdelphia on Vimeo.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Kidical Mass Philly: Ride to IKEA 2/15 & Women's Forum at NBS

Kidical Mass Philly is still moving along even in these cold and snowy days. Marni & I have worked on a general calendar of rides for the first quarter. Including our ride this Saturday from Race Street Pier to IKEA along the Delaware Waterfront (all the meatballs!!). If we do have bad mid-week snow or bad road conditions the ride will be cancelled. But let's hope for midweek rain and a sunny Saturday. Check FB and website for up to the minute updates. 

Some other stuff on our calendar includes family bike camping this year and riding to the honey festival this September at Bartram's Garden. If you have a great starting or ending location or program/shop/business that wants to work with KMPHL please feel free to contact us.

In one last bit of KMPHL news I will be speaking about our group in DC this March at The League of American Bicyclists annual advocacy and lobbying event The National Bike Summit and Women's Forum. I will be speaking at the forum with a group of really fantastic women who are leaders of various cycling organizations. (There are a number of women from Philly talking at the forum!!!!)This is only the second time family riding will even be discussed as a topic so great news to spread our love. Although I already wrote my pecha kucha style speech I'm still compiling pictures from our rides, if you have some you want to contribute send an email my way. 

PS if you will be at the summit I hope we get to meet! 

Saturday, February 8, 2014

My GoPro Impressions +Tons of Sped up Riding Videos

Just to recount we got the GoPro as an exchange for an electronic we got as a gift this Christmas. We bought two accessories for it, a 32gb memory card (takes up to 64gb) and a vented helmet strap tripod. I have been riding with it for the past six weeks or so. I have taken a lot of video. Some of it saved, others edited and posted here or on vimeo or some just deleted. Here is my impressions of it and a little bit more of my uses. 

Fisheye View of Life

There are three current models of GoPro, we have the middle of the line Hero3+ Sliver, as it was an even exchange and I didn't want to complicate the return process. The baseline model is the White and the top model is the Black. Here is a whole comparison chart for those trying to figure out what is best for them. I honestly feel that all three are probably really cool and have good video quality.

The camera arrived in it's water proof case. I removed the tiny camera from the case and rested in my palm I was pretty sure I'd break it within a week. According to the GoPro website it is 15% smaller then the previous model, it is about the length of a kid's army man. I have dropped it in the case and so far so good. The step up wad easy I charged the camera and connected to my MacBook. The only thing I had to connect was the wifi. 

The Hero 3+ series all have wifi automatically built in, previous models had a special wifi back pack add on. The wifi tethers to your iPhone with use of a free app. Since there is no display on the camera as it is so tiny you can use the app to view the video you just shot, delete or use it as a viewfinder. The setup was user friendly enough that I didn't smash my computer or camera in anger. 

Jawn Looks Dorky 
I really like the wifi as I have been using my video to capture any issues I might run into with any sort of street setup, harassment or altercations with drivers. I feel like it is a "black box" recording of sorts and if I have to I could instantly play it back to a police officer.  People have taken notice of the camera and I often get asked if I use it for that reason, so people do take note. 

The second part of having it is to capture memories for our family. I can't wait until Spring when the cover comes off the bike and I can strap it to the kid's helmets to watch each other and us. I really look forward to it. I hope bikes are always part of our lives but understand that having these early memories is special.

Finally, I feel the possibilities are endless of how we can use the camera for other outdoors stuff we do with our family, I would love to get a couple more mounts for the camera for other exploring. I mean we can't wear our helmets 24/7. Bottomline if you are thinking about getting one, I say go for it. 

So I will continue to share glimpses of the video I am capturing :) Here is a couple below. I have been  wearing the camera mostly as I usually bike alone but one video is shot by my husband too. All videos have been sped up to play faster and I am still working on a good setting for that, all audio has been dropped too. 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Along the River to Art Class

In the next couple of weeks as the weather becomes increasingly nicer. I will begin to whine over and over about the Kelly Drive path. It will likely be congested full of runners, walkers, bikers and rowers but for now during the twice a week trips I take to M (&J) to art class it is rather peaceful. 

I can artfully handle the Urban Arrow blindfolded I know the route so well. The places I slow down for as to not startle my often sleeping kids and inclines downward that feel good to coast. The way the river turns and the headwind turns to a tail win. Pointing out animals and trains along the waterway hasn't gotten old yet either. 

The Urban Arrow is certainly dirty from riding this winter but it feels good for all of us, and these peaceful snow filled river rides will always hold a special place in my memories of biking with my kids.