Posted by UR on January 1, 2008
Folding bikes lead to greener pastures
The Speed TR’s 24 speeds get you to the summit (click to view photos of this trip).
“Hey!” bellowed a voice across the Jasper train platform, “Is that one of those collapsible bikes?” Michelle and I had just gotten off VIA Rail’s westbound line and while she and her Dahon MU XL lounged at Freewheel Cycle, I was left to unfold my Dahon Speed TR surrounded by panniers, helmets and curious tourists in the shadow of the station.
“Yes, it is,” I said patiently over my shoulder. We were halfway through our four-week rail-and-bike exploration of western Canada, and our pair of tour-ready folding bikes never ceased to draw stares and questions.
“What’s something like that cost?” the American asked, stepping closer.
“Folding bikes range in price from $200 to $2000,” I replied. “Do you want to see me fold it?”
“Oh yeah!” he gushed.
“Great!” I straightened up, “That’ll be ten bucks!”
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in cycling, stories, travel + tourism | Tagged: Adventures of Mitey Miss, bus, column, culture, cycling, dahon, folding bike, Momentum Magazine, reviews, sustainability, train, travel + tourism, Western Canada | Leave a Comment »
Posted by UR on February 23, 2013
Cycling and career change in Globe and Mail Business
What do you want to do when you grow up? If you’re like me, maybe you want to to get paid to read, write, and talk about the fun of cycling all day.
After an unconventional job search by bicycle, I recently started a new job with Live to Play Sports and Norco Bicycles. Journalist Gail Johnson thought my career trajectory was so intriguing, she interviewed me for a profile story in the business section of Canada’s national daily newspaper, the Globe and Mail.
You can read the entire article below, or read it at globeandmail.com.
Avid cyclist, 51, gears up for new career
GAIL JOHNSON, Published Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013 02:23PM EST
Former graphic designer Ulrike Rodrigues landed a job in her dream industry: she is now the integrated Web-content co-ordinator at Live to Play Sports. The Port Coquitlam-based company distributes premium bicycles, parts and accessories. Photo: Benoit Bohly.
Ulrike Rodrigues looks back on the two decades she spent working as a graphic designer in the print publishing field with fondness. But she was in her late 40s when she found herself with an outdated skill set in an industry that was evolving because of the digital revolution.
The avid cyclist took an unconventional approach when it came time to contemplate her next career move. She rented her condo on Vancouver’s east side and headed to India for a six-month solo bike trip.
“One of the best things I’ve ever done in my life for my career, for my learning, and for my spiritual growth is travel,” Ms. Rodrigues says. “When you travel and you see and experience what other people live with, it puts things into perspective. I came back feeling so blessed with what I have.”
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in business, cycling, In the news, What's New, women | Tagged: cycling, Globe and Mail, people, profiles, retirement, RRSP | Leave a Comment »
Posted by UR on February 12, 2013
Can I cycle across the new Port Mann bridge to get to Vancouver?
Yes and no. Yes, you will be able to cycle across the Port Mann bridge in the year 2015. But no, you cannot cycle across it now. That’s because—even though the bridge is open to car traffic—it is still under construction and it’s a mess.
Facts on the bridge crossing are hard to find, so I set out from Vancouver with my bike on a rainy holiday Monday to see for myself:
Coming out of Vancouver, you can trim 20km off your trip by rolling your bike onto the Skytrain public transit and getting off at Braid Station. There’s no extra charge for the bike.
Heading east out of Braid Station, the Braid bridge was closed to cars but passable with a bike. You can partially avoid the narrow United Boulevard by riding south of the bike box stores on this quieter road.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in cycling, stories, What's New | Tagged: travel + tourism, Vancouver | Leave a Comment »
Posted by UR on January 27, 2013
Cycling and real estate in Westcoast Homes magazine
Earlier this month, media reported that Vancouver is the world’s second least-affordable city to live in. It reminded me that Steven Threndyle of Westcoast Homes and Design Magazine interviewed me on a related topic in August 2012: on how a cycling habit can help towards owning a home in Vancouver.
You can read the entire article, Cycles in the City, or the except below:
With improvements in rapid transit, bike lanes and pedestrian-oriented developments, Vancouver homeowners are becoming the new transportation trailblazers.
“When Ulrike Rodrigues purchased a condominium in East Vancouver 16 years ago, she didn’t exactly see herself as a lifestyle trailblazer. She was simply a renter who realized that the money she had saved by not owning a vehicle could be put towards a down payment in the emerging Mount Pleasant area. The 51-year-old technical writer doesn’t make a huge deal about it. “I wasn’t trying to be environmental. And I wasn’t even trying to be a homeowner. It just made sense to pay towards my own mortgage instead of someone else’s. Naturally, I chose a building that was close to transit and the side streets I cycled on every day.”
As the former Adventures of Mitey Miss columnist in Vancouver’s Momentum – a publication that actively promotes urban cycling – Rodrigues is glad other people are seeing the logic and benefits of driving less. Combined with major improvements in rapid transit – no less than three light rail transit lines now fan out from downtown stations into the suburbs – the general goal of elected officials and city staff has been to reduce the number of auto trips into the downtown peninsula…” Read more
Posted in business, cycling, In the news, What's New | Tagged: cycling, Momentum Magazine, Mount Pleasant, real estate, Vancouver, women | Leave a Comment »
Posted by UR on October 29, 2012
Bring a folding bicycle to Spain’s Mediterranean islands
Near Mahon, port city of the Spanish island of Menorca on the Mediterranean Sea.
I’ve just returned from a one-month, bike-accompanied trip to Spain and Portugal. Originally I intended to leave my bike behind and use the Barcelona Bicing bike share but research revealed that it’s not available to tourists! I couldn’t bear the thought of going that long without two-wheeled transportation.
But a full-sized bike can cost up to $300 USD to bring aboard a plane…each way.
The solution is to bring a folding bike, of course. I borrowed a 16-inch wheeled Dahon Piccolo folding bicycle that fell within airline weight and size restrictions when fully collapsed.
From Barcelona, I rolled the folding bike aboard the Accione Trasmediterranea ferry to cycle Mallorca and then smaller Menorca island. Both islands are part of Spain’s Balearic Islands group and stunning to ride.
- Traffic-separated, 20-kilometre bike path along the water’s edge from the Mallorca town port of Palma to the beach region of S’Arenal.
- Excellent cycle-tourism advice and maps at Ciclo Quintana pro bike shop.
- Flat, rural, laneway routes to the village of Llucmajor, then passing the black cliffs of Cap Blanc.
- Water’s-edge cafes in the port of Mahon (or Maó—the birthplace of mayonnaise).
- Easy-to-follow ciclo-tourism signs, maps, and routes.
- The Cami de Cavalls—an ancient horse trail that still circles the entire island of Menorca.
- Winding laneways that connect tiny, isolated beaches between Cala de Binidali and Punta Prima (Menorca’s south-eastern coastline).
View photos of cycling the Balearic Islands (70 photos on flickr.com).
Posted in photos, places | Tagged: adventure, culture, cycling, Mallorca, Menorca, photography, solo, Spain, travel + tourism | Leave a Comment »
Posted by UR on October 26, 2012
Riding a bike to work in Chatelaine magazine
This spring Sarah Boesveld of Chatelaine Magazine and chatelaine.com interviewed me to hear why I like to ride a bike. You can read her entire article, Bike your way to a fitter, happier you or read the except below.
Photo by Thomas Grass in Chatelaine.com.
Look ma, no flab!
“…Across the country, Ulrike Rodrigues, a 51-year-old Vancouverite who writes about cycling in Vancouver, also loves her bike. “I don’t have to worry about rush hour, I don’t have to worry about parking, I don’t even have to worry about gas,” she says.
Cycling to the office has made her fitter, too. “Why pay money to go to a gym when you can just wheel your bike out the front door and start pedalling?” she says. “You get exercise, meditation and transportation — it’s more bang for your buck.”
Read entire article, Bike your way to a fitter, happier you.
Posted in In the news | Tagged: cycling, women | Leave a Comment »
Posted by UR on August 26, 2012
100 laps, 50-year-old bikes: Vancouver’s annual vintage cruiser cycle race
Rod “Pappy” Kirkham of Rod’s Famous Cruiser Bike Rides
Bike culture in Vancouver continues to thrive and grow. I’ve been involved with the vintage cruiser scene for almost 15 years, led by the indomitable Rod “Pappy” Kirkham. Rod has run a few bike shops — Mountain and Beach, 6th Avenue Cycles– but he’s best known for two things: his passionate past in supporting mountain biking in Vancouver’s early days; and his enduring love of finding, restoring, riding and partying on 1950s-era fat tire Schwinns.
Fellow enthusiast Jack (of vancruisers.ca) organizes an annual bike race of the one-speed clunkers. This year marked the tenth year of the summer race, with 12 teams competing.
2012 “Little 100″ vintage cruiser bike race photos
What is a “Little 100″ bike race?
Vancouver’s Little 100 is based on the Little 500 in the film Breaking Away. In that 1979 cycling cult classic, a team of local guys, the “Cutters”, take on the high technology and big attitudes of the campus cycling team. The relay race requires a team of four to circle the oval track 500–or in our case, 100–times.
Posted in culture, cycling, photos | Tagged: bicycle, culture, cycling, people, photography, Vancouver, Western Canada | Leave a Comment »
Posted by UR on August 23, 2012
A sampler of British Columbia bicycle trips
What do you want from a BC bike trip? Rolling island hills, century-old forests, abandoned mining towns, sun-warmed wineries? I’ve cycled all these routes and they are the first ones that popped into my head when Westender asked me for a real locals’ knowledge recommendation.
To help you out I’ve linked to the official tourism site for most towns. Some links will take you to official Tourism BC pages, including driving instructions. Just ignore the driving part and plan your own trip from their maps.
Tunnels on the Kettle Valley Railway, above Penticton. Photo: Jack Christie.
The Kettle Valley Railway is a fairly flat, rail-to-trail that spans almost 1000 km of BC’s interior. You can ride any section of the trail, which extends between Hope and Castlegar. Cycling tour company Great Explorations out of Vancouver (for whom I used to guide) divides the route into 3 manageable stages:
- Castlegar to Beaverdell
- Beaverdell to Princeton
- Coalmont to Hope
Tip: ride the trail east-to-west to take advantage of its two percent downhill grade.
For a two-coast, three-ferry circle adventure, head for the Island. To start, catch a BC Ferry from West Vancouver to Nanaimo on Vancouver Island. Stock up in Nanaimo then ride up the east coast of the island on the old Island highway to the town of Comox. Cross by sea (aboard another BC ferry) eastwards to Powell River–you may want to make a northern detour to funky little Lund and Savary Island– then pedal down the Sunshine Coast (coastal, mainland BC) and back into West Vancouver.
Tip: If you feel lazy, you can throw your bike on public transit at Sechelt on the Sunshine Coast.
Ride, drive or bus to Terrace in northern BC, then pedal the paved, wide-shouldered Cassair Highway (Hwy 37) northwards into Dease Lake and beyond. This stunning, smooth highway is not as famous as the Alaska Highway, but sightings of grizzlies and cougars on the Spatzizi Plateau could spice things up.
Tip: Pack plenty of bug and bear repellant.
Posted in cycling, stories, travel + tourism, What's New | Tagged: adventure, bicycle, cycling, travel + tourism, Western Canada | Leave a Comment »
Posted by UR on July 19, 2012
5 things you didn’t know about our cycling community
Joye of Joye Designs on a Vancouver Velo Vixens Ride.
Is there a doctrine, a standard, a secret handshake? Is there a place where all cyclists meet, or a holiday that all cyclists observe?
1. There is no cycling community.
Sex columnist Dan Savage once said, “Just because we all do the same thing doesn’t make us a community.” You can join a bike-related group, scene, club, team, collective, coalition, association, ensemble, or tribe in Vancouver; but the only thing that connects you to other cyclists is that equipment between your legs.
2. The “typical cyclist” does not exist.
Individuals who ride bikes in Vancouver do not hold themselves to a central doctrine, and every person you see riding a bike does it for their own particular reason. To become a Vancouver cyclist, simply ride a cycle in Vancouver.
3. There are a lot of ways to connect with other bike riders.
You can make eye contact at a red light, chat at a bike shop, read a poster, like a Facebook group, show up at a meet-up, join a team, ask a co-worker; or the next time you see an interesting-looking group of people riding by, catch up and say hi.
4. Bike riders love other bike riders.
Hardcore cyclists may ooze nonchalance, but most are psyched that you want to ride, talk, use, create, advocate, or race a bike too. Don’t be intimidated by them.
5. It’s not about the bike.
As one bike shop staffer put it, “I don’t care what kind of bike you ride, so long as you ride it.” You’ve got to start somewhere, so pick a bike you like and get rolling.
More stories about cycling culture in Vancouver:
Posted in culture, cycling, stories, What's New | Tagged: bicycle, culture, cycling, society, sustainability, Vancouver | Leave a Comment »
Posted by UR on June 28, 2012
Tips, tricks, facts, and jabs from Vancouver’s cycling community
Cool things you can do with your bike: light up.
by Ulrike Rodrigues
Vancouver cyclists are everywhere. If you’re in traffic, we swirl around you. If you’re on the seawall, we glide past you. If you’re on the sidewalk, we steer around you. If you’re on a bike— well, we’re behind you.
According to the City of Vancouver Web site, cycling is the fastest growing method of travel, and almost 16 percent of Vancouver residents cycle or walk to work—including a full 41 percent of the residents in the downtown and West End neighbourhoods.
And if you’ve noticed more bikes than usual this spring, it’s because 2012 is a champagne year: in the conference hall, 1500 delegates of the international Velo-City Global 2012 conference are rolling up their trousers to talk cycling planning. In the streets, thousands of participants of the third annual Velopalooza bicycle festival are rolling out their bikes for two weeks of themed rides, parties, talks and water fights.
Cycling is not just for weekends anymore, and it’s no longer rumpled. Like a lively golden thread, city cycling has sewn itself into the fabric of Vancouver’s dashing new look. It’s fresh-faced, light-hearted, practical-minded and easy on the eyes. It’s easy to try, too. With its mild weather, separated pathways, and cycle-themed hangouts, Vancouver dares you to not try a day on a bike.
But about those sidewalks. It’s super that everyone’s so keen, but did you know that not only is it not legal to ride on the sidewalk, but it’s totally not cool in the cycling community. And that “cycling community” is actually a misnomer?
Read my cycling tips, tricks, facts, and jabs in the June 28, 2012 issue of Westender (WE) Vancouver, including:
- 5 things you didn’t know about the Vancouver cycling community
- Connecting with cycling in Vancouver
- 5 cool things you can do on a bike
- 10 ways to cycle in everyday clothes
- Where to find affordable gear
- 5 accessories to make your bike more useful
- 3 easy ways to maintain your bike
- How to deal with tough situations on a bike
- Theft-proofing your bicycle
- Vancouver’s best places to get your bike stolen
- 5 top cycling routes in Vancouver
- The most interesting bike route you’ve never ridden
- 3 cycling adventures in BC
Posted in culture, cycling, editorial, stories, What's New | Tagged: bicycle, culture, cycling, Vancouver, Westender, Western Canada | Leave a Comment »
Posted by UR on June 13, 2012
Dahon folding bikes on the Bow Valley Parkway in the Canadian Rockies
In autumn 2007, I did a one-month train and bike journey around British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba with fellow bike adventurer, Michelle Eisele. I was on assignment for Momentum Magazine to test-ride a Dahon Speed TR and Dahon MU XL. I wrote 35 stories for my Adventures of Mitey Miss cycling column. I’ve republished those stories in this new blog.
Read “Is that a FOLDING bike?”
Posted in cycling, stories, travel + tourism | Tagged: adventure, Adventures of Mitey Miss, bicycle, culture, cycling, hostels, Momentum Magazine, train, travel + tourism, Vancouver, Western Canada, women | Leave a Comment »
Posted by UR on July 7, 2011
A cyclist’s checklist for pounding the pavement
I’m looking for work—a place where I can be smart, passionate, persuasive, and unapologetically car-free. But as I freshen up my career website and surf the job boards I wonder: can this cyclist pass for “Normal?“
Normal wears brisk suits, looks polished and drives to work. Normal also works tirelessly, is paid handsomely, and receives dental benefits. I want all that and am willing to do all that — except for the “drive” part. I won’t drive to work, and I feel so strongly about it that I’ve developed this Cyclist’s Job Search Checklist to keep my career and cycling in balance:
1. Set your parameters
Before I even start looking, I establish how far I’d be willing to ride, in what direction, and for how many seasons. Is transit available nearby? Which bike would I ride and will it be secure?
2. Scrutinize the company’s job posting and the website
Some companies are bike-friendly and they don’t even know it. I recently applied for an editorial position with an online publishing service I’ll call “Writing Is Us.” They used words like “sustainable,” “friendly,” “fun,” “creative” and “forward-thinking” on their Careers page. And a peek at their Contact page confirmed that their address was a pleasant 30-minute ride away.
3. Drop the word “cycling” into your cover letter or resume
Don’t proselytize the Word Of Wheel, but don’t hide your faith, either. I try to sneak it into the cover letter somewhere (“able to blog about modes of sustainable transportation, e.g. cycling”) or bury it in the “hobbies” section of the CV (“volunteer bike guide for school groups”). You never know—someone on the hiring team may be into cycling too, and you could set off their bikey radar. Another tip is to describe yourself as “forward-thinking.” Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in culture, cycling, stories | Tagged: Adventures of Mitey Miss, bicycle, column, culture, cycling, Momentum Magazine, society, Vancouver, writers, writing | Leave a Comment »
Posted by UR on March 14, 2011
Mitey Miss suggestions from An Introduction to Adventure Lite
Thanks for coming in out of the rain and sharing the world of Adventure Lite with me this past weekend at Seattle Bike Expo! Thank you Peter Verbrugge and the rest of the amazing, 14,000-strong membership of the Cascade Bicycle Club for inviting and hosting me. And a special thanks to the brave and curious bike riders who joined me and asked questions at the Raleigh Stage.
Reassuring truths to reduce your travel fears and excuses:
- That could happen at home
- We all share the same basic needs
- You have a Home tribe and a Travel tribe
- It’s okay to ask for help
- It’s just a bike
- It’s adventure LITE!
Suggested Mitey Miss posts:
Adventure Lite photos (Flickr):
Books and music:
by Susan Jeffers
by Lance Armstrong
by Thalia Zepatos
"Run Away" by Deee-Lite
"Amanece El Nuevo Ano" by Polo Montanez
"El Jaguar" by Strunz and Farah
"Mann Ki Lagan" by Raha Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan
Posted in culture, cycling, stories | Tagged: adventure, Adventure Lite, Adventures of Mitey Miss, culture, cycling | Leave a Comment »
Posted by UR on January 22, 2011
Vancouver bike shop owner and activist puts fun first
Paul Bogaert of Vancouver's Bike Doctor store.
By Ulrike Rodrigues
Larry Ruble is considered a bike industry guru who knows a good thing when he sees it. In 1982, the Mountain Bike Hall of Famer spotted a future in Paul Bogaert.
Recounts Ruble, “I was waiting for a young man at the Purdy’s Chocolates outlet in the lobby of the Empress Hotel to finish serving a very fussy woman … I found her requests and manner very exasperating.” Ruble turned his attention to the sales person serving her and noticed he had “the patience of Job.”
“He had the skills all retail clerks need, but seldom have,” said Ruble. “Being quite impressed, I asked him if he liked bicycles. My wife was pulling on my arm to get our chocolate order in, but I persisted with my questions and finally asked him if he would like to work for me at Russ Hay’s Bicycle Shop.”
Bogaert worked at Russ Hay’s through the summer, traveled, worked with his brother and then figured it wouldn’t be too hard to run his own small business. He opened a second-hand sporting goods store in Victoria, Canada in 1984: the first “Bike Doctor.”
Shaping Vancouver’s cycling advocacy
By 1989, Bogaert had traveled and worked in Mexico, Ottawa and Whistler, and opened Broadway Station Bikes. The East Vancouver shop attracted the city’s emerging cycle-activists, including Marilyn Pollard, Grant Watson, Allison Davis, Gavin Davidson, Andy Telfer, Richard Campbell and Jeff Hohner. With Bogaert’s encouragement and support combined with the strengths each of these leaders brought, they formed groups that shaped Vancouver cycling advocacy.
“The small group of people I was connected with in the early 1990s were doing all the work to promote cycling and to foster groups like BEST (Better Environmentally Sound Transportation) and OCB (Our Community Bikes),” said Bogaert.
Stickers just for bikes at Bike Doctor in Vancouver, BC
As interest in trail cycling grew, so did Bogaert’s store. Bike Doctor moved to the Boundary area of East Hastings, then near its current location on West Broadway.
Community support and good fortune
Unlike many of his bicycle retail colleagues, Bogaert’s emphasis has always been on transportation biking. He thinks it’s “good fortune” that consumer interest has shifted toward the kind of cycling he promotes.
“It’s not that I knew this was coming, but it’s super-needed. It’s something that I’ve been wanting, working at and trying to support, and it’s now becoming popular.”
Bogaert has also always been a reliable supporter of the bike community. When he closed his Hastings Street location, he donated thousands of dollars’ worth of product to BEST’s fledgling Main Station Bikes store. When Momentum Magazine started, Bike Doctor was one of its first advertisers. When Bike Summer, Bike Shorts and Velopalooza arrived in Vancouver, Bogaert provided funding, prizes and elbow grease to the events.
The community has supported him in turn. Bike Doctor still regularly rates as one of the top bike stores in city polls.
Says Bogaert, “But my greatest satisfaction is seeing people who came in and said ‘I really don’t plan to ride to work much’, and six months later they’re like, ‘I can’t believe how much I’m riding!’ That great connection that happens with a person and the right bike and – suddenly they become a cyclist. They realize that they can do it, and it’s fun, and it’s really not that hard.”
To Bike Doctor’s Paul Bogaert, having fun on a bike just makes sense. Maybe it’s even better than chocolate.
Bike Doctor, 137 West Broadway, Vancouver, BC, (across from MEC), 604-873-2453, thebikedr.com
Posted in business, cycling, stories | Tagged: cycling, Momentum Magazine, people, profiles, Vancouver | Leave a Comment »
Posted by UR on November 6, 2010
Can we share an Oprah moment?
Now that I'm back from my trip, there are a few things I know for sure
I ask because a hefty issue of O Magazine kept me company on a recent bike trip in September and one of its topics kept bouncing around in my head.
Someone once asked Oprah, “What do you know for sure?” Oprah thought the question was such a good one, she made it a regular feature.
Now that I’m back from my tour of the Pacific Northwest’s islands by folding bike, bus, ferry, train and automobile; I can tell you there are a few things I know for sure.
Bicycles are precious
Elsewhere in the world, you can toss a bicycle into a bus, train or ox cart without much fuss or cost. But here in North America, Greyhound considers a bike so precious that they require it be boxed, labelled and charged passage. While my own fare added up to about $30 at the ticket counter my bagged, folded bicycle commanded $33.
The whole idea of travelling with a folder was to avoid this backwards-thinking ridiculousness. I was choked and told my driver so. “You shouldn’ta told them it was a bicycle,” he countered.
Pedaling is meditation
Cortes–like the other Gulf Islands in British Columbia–is very hilly. It is also home to a spiritual wellness center called Hollyhock. I suggest that–rather than chant mantras or punch cushions–its visitors spend a couple of days contemplatively pedaling Cortes’s steep inclines in the granny gear of a 20″ wheel bike. It’s easy: focus on the pavement at your front wheel, empty your mind, and and don’t forget to breathe.
Prepare for spontaneity
VIA Rail runs a historic rail journey up and down Vancouver Island. The Victoria-to-Courtenay train service is run by the Government of Canada but isn’t well-publicized and–despite the scenic region’s growing popularity as a cycling destination–doesn’t allow bicycles.
Burned by my Greyhound experience, I bought a ticket online without mentioning the folding bike. On departure day I took a stand on the platform with my bicycle bagged in a clear VIA Rail bicycle bag. Four panniers and a drybag of camping gear leaned against it for support.
I waited for the other passengers to load, then passed the conductor my folded Dahon. He carefully placed it at the front of the rail car, positioned the bags around it, and actually thanked me for preparing my bike so thoroughly.
Cycling slows you down
The Pacific Northwest has a powerful cycling voice in the Cascade Bicycle Club and this became apparent when I stood in line to board the Black Ball ferry from Victoria, BC to Port Angeles, WA. Suddenly my lonesome folding bike was joined by a tie-dye tandem, a family of BMXs, and a couple of recumbents.
I overhead the two recumbent guys tell the tandem couple that their goal was to cycle to the Mexican border.
“You guys are lightweights,” I joked as I surveyed their pannier-free bikes and shifted the weight of my own laden Dahon.
“Yeah,” they joked back, “We’re packing credit cards. We want to make it to San Diego in twenty days and we don’t want anything to slow us down.”
“You mean, like, scenery?” I asked.
What I know for sure is that I am not myself unless I can explore. The most authentic, efficient and balanced way to do that is with a bicycle. Cycling lets me move, meditate and mingle at the same time. And it’s fun as hell.
Published in the November/December 2010 issue of Momentum: the magazine for self-propelled people.
I wonder if Oprah has given it a try?
Posted in culture, cycling, stories, travel + tourism | Tagged: Adventures of Mitey Miss, bicycle, bus, column, culture, cycling, Momentum Magazine, rail, society, train, travel + tourism, women | Leave a Comment »
Posted by UR on July 27, 2010
Patios for people-watching in East Vancouver
by Ulrike Rodrigues
Turk’s Coffee on Commercial Drive, Vancouver’s grooviest people-watching street.
Commercial Drive is a eclectic neighborhood not far from downtown Vancouver, undiscovered by package tourists. Dozens of European coffee shops hint at its Italian past. Nowadays you can munch on a vegan samosa, bite into an elk sausage, or sip on an apricot ale. Plus, more than twenty-five locally-owned cafés offer sidewalk seating to relax and people watch.
Finally, a guide to the best sidewalk cafes!
Each listing includes:
- The cafe’s name and web site link
- A snapshot of what the patio seating looks like
- Gossipy and opinionated commentary
- The cafe’s address with cross street (list starts at the south end, where Commerical meets Broadway)
Plus, print out your own copy of a Google map of patio cafes on Commercial Drive. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in culture, stories, travel + tourism | Tagged: culture, travel + tourism, Vancouver, Western Canada | Leave a Comment »
Posted by UR on July 17, 2010
A typical cyclist muses on a typical day
"Tea is good on a rainy night. I know you cyclists like tea.”
“You cyclists,” spat a driver as I caught up to his beat-up hatchback at a red light, “You ride around like you own the streets, you break all the rules, you bang on my car – “
“But that’s not me,” I huffed, “I’m not like that–”
“It doesn’t matter,” he roared as he furiously rolled up his window, “you cyclists are all the same!”
Sometimes when someone like him sees someone like me on a bike, he sees all cyclists and I become a typical cyclist
For example, when I savor a steak, arrive at a gala or call myself lazy, a non-cyclist will look at me incredulously.
“You eat meat? But I thought you were vegetarian! Why? Well, you’re a cyclist – you know – the environment and all that.” “You rode a bike here? But you look so – dressed up! Usually bikers wear those loud yellow rain jackets!” “You? Lazy and out of shape?! But you ride your bike every day! You’re an athlete!”
Apparently, because I ride a bike, I am a superbly-conditioned, badly-dressed, soy-sucking environmentalist. Don’t you hate when people generalize? Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in culture, cycling | Tagged: Adventures of Mitey Miss, bicycle, column, cycling, Momentum Magazine, society, Vancouver | Leave a Comment »
Posted by UR on July 16, 2010
A gal’s guide to packing panniers for a cycling trip
Cycling Playa La Ventana (south of La Paz) in Baja Mexico
People fuss over bike travelers and how brave, adventurous and fit they are. But really, a bike traveler is just someone who wonders, “What if I rode my bike somewhere else…?” and does.
If you get around by bike at home, why not take it with you the next time you go “somewhere else?” It’s easy: pack your bike, pack some stuff, start pedaling and ta-da! You’re an Adventure Cyclist!
I credit my first foreign bike adventure – a winter getaway to Mexico’s Yucatan – to the fact that I’m too stubborn to break my daily cycling habit; too lazy to haul a heavy knapsack on and off buses; and too curious to just sit on a resort bar stool.
I aim for destinations that are warm, flat and mildly touristy. Why? Lighter gear, fewer hills and more places to enjoy a cheap, chilled, sociable beer at the end of the day.
Novice bike travelers agonize for months over what to bring on a trip, so I’ll share my own highly-biased, female-friendly, low-tech cyclist’s packing list. You may notice the absence of a cell phone, GPS and laptop, and the presence of mini-pads, brassieres and hair ties.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in culture, cycling, travel + tourism, women | Tagged: adventure, Adventures of Mitey Miss, bicycle, column, culture, cycling, Momentum Magazine, solo, travel, travel + tourism, women | Leave a Comment »
Posted by UR on February 10, 2010
Historic hotel stays calm during the Olympics
Harrison offers spa treatments, curative cocktails and gentle humour
“You know what the trouble with getting old is?” Laurence bends to pour a coffee, then straightens to let a younger server squeeze by in the hotel’s busy breakfast restaurant. “Once you’ve figured everything out, no one wants to hear it!”
Laurence’s customers chuckle and he glides to another table to share more wry wisdom and coffee refills. Like a number of staff at the Harrison Hot Springs Resort and Spa, Laurence counts his time here in decades, not seasons.
While boisterous Whistler Blackcomb Ski Resort publicizes itself as an official venue for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, its “older sister” resort at Harrison will be quietly offering spa treatments, curative cocktails and gentle humour—as it has for over a hundred years.
Western Canada’s “hottest” hot spring
Like Whistler, the village of Harrison and its landmark Harrison Hot Springs Resort and Spa are nestled in a secluded mountain valley surrounded by glacial lakes and towering cedars. But rather than develop its slopes as a ski resort, Harrison decided to promote its unique hot springs. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in accommodation, stories, travel + tourism | Tagged: hot spring, spa, travel + tourism, Vancouver, Western Canada | Comments Off
Posted by UR on January 1, 2010
Published in the January/February 2010 issue of Momentum: the magazine for self-propelled people.
Life on the edge (of traffic) has its pros and cons
Last spring I shared My Dirty Little Secret that sometimes I hate riding a bike. This winter I wonder if cycling hates me.
I’ve been bike commuting all my life and for many of those years, I’ve had a chronic cough. It’s a deep, seal-like bark that starts with a tickle in my throat and erupts into chest-wracking spasms. Minutes after stepping inside after a ride, the hacking starts and my friends wonder how I’ve managed to hide a two-pack-a-day habit.
The thing is: I don’t smoke. I’ve never smoked, and the only vice I’m guilty of is my addiction to tasty beer and tearing through town on a bike. I ride my bike to my chiropractor, who lauds my healthy lifestyle as she adjusts my spinal subluxation; and I ride my bike to my massage therapist, who pinches my seized trapezius muscles into submission.
“Do you ever see those photos of road racers at the podium?” asked Francois one time as he squeezed a rock-like cord of muscle in my neck. “They stand up there and they’re all round-shouldered from years of bending over their handlebars—like you!”
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Posted in culture, cycling, health, stories | Tagged: Adventures of Mitey Miss, bicycle, column, culture, cycling, environment, health, Momentum Magazine, people, society, sustainability, Vancouver, Western Canada, writers, writing | Leave a Comment »
Posted by UR on November 8, 2009
Published in the November/December 2009 issue of Momentum: the magazine for self-propelled people.
Do bicycles change the way we communicate?
With no windshields to mute it, this traffic talks to itself.
I was really looking forward to my dental appointment – the adjustment to my night-guard would be pain-free; but more importantly, I would enjoy a long ride across town on one of Vancouver’s traffic-calmed commuter bike routes to get there. I hadn’t done a good spin on it since before I’d left to live and cycle in India a year ago. When I returned I worked from home and – you’ll only hear this from a cyclist – I no longer commuted as much as I wished. I was curious: had traffic changed while I was away?
I set out in golden autumn air that shimmered off storefronts selling felt hats and pumpkin spice lattes. One foot on the road, one foot on my pedal, I waited for a green light at a busy intersection. A coal-gray Pathfinder pulled up along side me at the white line.
“Hey, hello,” called the burly driver across his girlfriend in the passenger seat. I peered into the open window of the SUV, not quite sure what to expect.
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Posted in culture, cycling, stories | Tagged: Adventures of Mitey Miss, bicycle, column, culture, cycling, environment, Momentum Magazine, pedestrian, people, society, sustainability, urban, Vancouver, walking, Western Canada, writers, writing | Leave a Comment »