commuting chronicles: think outside the pannier

commuting chronicles, metro

the crankery

 

Check out collinsrocks media’s latest contribution at The Crankery: Everybody’s Bike Shop!

 

metro: smith rock ascent

commuting chronicles, events, gear review, outdoor

Having not participated in anything resembling an athletic competition since high school, it was exhilarating to have an opportunity to join in the energy of a race! When Danielle Lancelot Watson (D) first asked me to assist her on the ride, I was stoked because Smith is my old stomping grounds (I spent many a weekend break from the University of Oregon scaling the runout chicken heads of that massive welded ash tuft). It didn’t hurt to have Jeff Boggess cheering us on and slinging Trail Butter our way. I especially enjoyed the espresso mix during the home stretch. In addition, Todd Janssen the race promoter from Go Beyond Racing was very supportive and accommodating!

Our race was a half marathon, 13 miles. Apparently D competes in these types of races all the time, having just completed the Portland Half Marathon, and looking ahead to some in Seattle. I felt really blessed that she wanted me to join her. Although I was largely little help to her during the competition because she is totally independent, when we reached tight turn around points, I was glad I could be there to lift her bike around as her turning radius is that of Austin Powers golf cart. At least I made myself useful in some capacity.

The most epic part of the race was when when a couple wiener dogs started chasing us. Their bark was pretty ferocious and the way D was angled, she couldn’t see what they looked like. I was glad to be there to tell her they sounded way worse than they looked, and everything would definitely be alright, just keep pedaling. Competition or not, in the end that’s what friends are for right? We all need our pit crew supporting us, telling us to keep pedaling because everything is going to be alright. I am so proud of D and hope to join her on a future race.

commuting chronicles: music review, taken by canadians

commuting chronicles, music
Taken by Canadians and Danielle Watson

Taken by Canadians and Danielle Watson

Check out collinsrocks media’s latest contribution on The Crankery- everyone’s bike shop!

commuting chronicles: why should we wear helmets

commuting chronicles
Wear your helmet!

Wear your helmet!

Check out collinsrocks media’s latest contribution on Bike around Bend!

commuting chronicles: maria island, no cars allowed

australia, commuting chronicles, outdoor, photo essay, travel
The illusive Wombat, Care Bears with claws

The illusive Wombat, Care Bears with claws

Check out Collinsrocks Media’s latest contribution on The Crankery- Everybody’s Bike Shop blog!

commuting chronicles: the ultimate commuter, mary moynihan

commuting chronicles, metro, patagonia
Mary Moynihan shows off her bike before a cycle out to her camp site

Mary Moynihan shows off her bike before a cycle out to her camp site

Check out collinsrocks media’s latest contribution on Bike around Bend!

river report: elk lake

commuting chronicles, oregon, outdoor, photo essay, sup touring

After a gorgeous paddling weekend at Little Fawn, I am amped for The 2nd Hand Soldiers to  play at Elk Lodge at the beginning of June. For me, staying on the far south side of the lake and then paddling to the lodge for music or a coke is the essence of poor woman’s paradise. Best of all is the hidden in let at Little Fawn. At first, when we looked at the water, we thought it was an isolated pond previously connected to Elk Lake, but it was the vantage that made it look singular. Walking the perimeter we realized it did indeed connect to the larger water way. I could imagine this protected cove would be a fantastic place to bring novice water enthusiasts as the wind is negligible and the water calm. Mossies (mosquitoes) were out in full force and I am hoping the gun shot spattering of red dots across my back will soon fade.

commuting chronicles: handcycling takes the lead

a&e, commuting chronicles, metro, oregon, outdoor

Danielle-Lancelot-Watson_sized

Check out collinsrocks media’s latest contribution on Bike around Bend!

field reports: a lesson on inspiration from ninja-macgyveress, danielle watson

commuting chronicles

Danielle Lancelot Watson I can’t quite recall if Danielle or I had the idea first, but once it was put on the table, I was stoked. To have an opportunity to use a wheel chair for the eventing and be guided by a pro, how could I say no? I was incredibly curious, but mostly, I wanted my best friend to know I cared about her experience and wanted to be a part of it. Danielle first started using a wheel chair 3 years ago, when she moved from New York to the West Coast. From what I understand, she took the most massive fall anyone has ever survived, like Guinness Book of World Record status. I’ll let her share that story with you via her own words on her blog:Danielle Lancelot Watson. In any event, Danielle obtained a second top of the line chair (this is no small feet) and I was in.

Some parts of being in a wheel chair felt very natural to me, the seated position, mobilizing myself on wheels and through my own exertion. I had also just spent a ten hour day working retail at Patagonia, I’m not ashamed to say being off my feet for the duration of our evenings’ outing was a relief. Steering was a lot like paddling, if you wanted to go a certain direction, usually you grabbed the opposite wheel. As an admirer of precision, I was fascinated by Danielle’s ability to turn on a dime, back into a tinny space, and, on the up hills, there was no contest, she left me in the dust.

Some parts felt very unnatural, operating two wheels side by side with my hands as the crank set, feeling my abs and thighs engage when I would reach for something or open a door. I know that because of Danielle’s injury, she isn’t able to activate these muscle groups, knowing this made me feel a bit fraudulent. I couldn’t believe how well she had mastered using the chair with all these barriers. Taking the challenges into consideration, a new image of Danielle was forming in my head… She was like some sort of ninja-macgyveress who had this sweet superhero strength I never new about. Being in the chair is like having a constant obstacle course around you and she could improvised these awesome solutions and keep a great attitude the whole time.

But I digress… At our first stop Dojo, we ordered some sushi rolls and waited for them outside with Danielle’s dog Chai. I had noticed, previous to this evenings experiment, that people loved to stop Danielle and ask her about her dog. Was he Pomeranian, how old was he, what was his name, was he a puppy, the list goes on. But today, outside Dojo, two thirty-year old females in wheel chairs with a cute dog, it was like Boo from face book, the dog with a million followers. You would think that we were in another universe and Chai was a miniature elephant or bear or other animal that people were in love with. Eventually we got the rolls, met up with a few more standing chicks, and then headed to check out the newest bar downtown, The Dogwood.

The most interesting moments of the evening where when folks talked to me that regularly wouldn’t have. In a crowd, I tend to blend in well, I wear plain clothes and don’t typically to go out in the evenings much, so when I do, often it is quite uneventful. This particular eventing, I attribute it to being in the chair, many people wanted to visit with me. I could begin to understand what it might be like for Danielle. She is constantly surrounded by people When we go for dinner or a walk, someone is always stopping her to say hello, ask about her dog, and often remark at how inspirational she is. I like to refer to this as, The Danielle Effect. Later in the evening, breaking out dancing to the old school hip hop tunes at The Dogwood, the phenomena was in full swing. Once Danielle was up cutting a rug in her chair, with each passing song more and more people filled the dance floor. The Danielle Effect never fails.

While I don’t think she would agree with me about this, it has happened so many times when we go out. Being a scientist, I have looked at the data, and have a hypothesis. I think that Danielle has a unique way of creating community. Something about her friendly air, authenticity, and her athletic accomplishments collide to impress even the most stand-offish of citizens. And people want to be around her, even for just one song, on a dance floor. Towards the end of the evening, a woman approached Danielle, hugged her, held her hand, wanted to converse with her. Eventually the woman moved on, Danielle told me that the woman had told her how inspirational she was and also, that the woman was ‘hurting for friends’ and could Danielle be her friend. Now this could happen to anyone, sure, but when you see that it happens to Danielle every time we go out, one has to stop and wonder. I can’t explain it other than saying it was the Danielle Effect and I feel lucky to have had an opportunity, small window, into what it might be like to be Danielle. One word: inspirational.

commuting chronicles: spring’s ritual, changing more flats

commuting chronicles, oregon

Commuting Chronicles

Check out Collinsrocks Media’s latest contribution on Bike around Bend!

commuting chronicles: not to young to be a bike commuter, nora rowcroft

commuting chronicles, metro, outdoor, rethink waste

bike around bend

See Collinsrocks Media’s latest post on Bike Around Bend!

metro: della moves to the neighborhood

commuting chronicles, metro, oregon, outdoor

If the epic wheelie Della was spotted rocking late Saturday night at the intersection of Greenwood and Bond is a preview of whats to come during this weekends 24 hour Spokane based mountain bike race, then the Dirt Diva Ambassador team is going to crush the competition. The wheelie was amazing but I will never forget the hang-loose she flashed the honking farm truck that cheered her on.

 

commuting chronicles: twin bridges over tumalo creek

commuting chronicles, metro, patagonia

Recyclops

See Collinsrocks Media’s latest post on Bike Around Bend!

commuting chronicles: commuting can be a zoo!

commuting chronicles, oregon

See Collinsrocks Media’s latest post on Bike Around Bend!

commuting chronicles: advantages to buying second hand

commuting chronicles, oregon

See Collinsrocks Media’s latest post on Bike Around Bend!