Friday, June 19, 2009

Bikes, Books, and Musings

Meet my bike.

My husband gave me the best birthday gift last year: bike panniers. My best friend had helped me fix up my bike earlier in the summer but I wasn't riding much because of the sweaty backpack situation that made commuting to work...well...gross. With my bike panniers, I can easily commute to my summer teaching gig with my laptop, binders, and packed lunch; from the bookstore loaded with books; to the library with books to return (are you detecting a theme)? I have no interest in mountain biking (my brother was a nearly-pro-class racer) or in going on meandering bike rides for fun. For me, it's about having a destination and slowly shaving off the time it takes to get there while maintaining an only slightly-sweaty exterior. I consider myself strictly a bike commuter, albeit a dedicated one with a slight competitive edge. I estimated that since May, I have clocked almost 200 miles with my 2-wheeled friend and plan to rack up many more. (I only know my mileage because I bought myself a $15 odometer as a reward for so much biking.)

In the spirit of bike commuting, the City of Fort Collins is sponsoring Bike Week from June 22 - 28. If you need extra inspiration, local businesses are sponsoring FREE BREAKFAST! at 29 different locations throughout Fort Collins. There are 3 locations convenient to my biking route - and yes, I have considered stopping at all 3. Please check out the link below for specific locations:

If you're not sure how to get somewhere, please follow this link to a wonderful bike map of Fort Collins:

Now to the books! We have a couple of notable books in the store related to biking.

Boneshaker: A Bicycling Almanac is a small tome put out by Wolverine Farms Publishing ( and claims to be the Practical Bicyclist's Handbook. I found the "Basic Evasive Maneuvers" (sudden stop, rock dodge, and quick turn) chapter particularly helpful. It details some methods to practice for situations requiring quick thinking (car pulling out, squirrel, errant merger) to save being hit or thrown off the bike.

For those of you unlike myself who want to pursue mountain biking, we also have Mountain Bike America: Colorado (we even have a used copy!). It contains descriptions of short and long bike rides, directions to the trailhead, multi-day trips, and local restaurants and accomodations. If I were interested in such debauchery, this is the book I would get.

I will leave you with the eternal words of Queen: Get on your bike and ride!

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