A BikeChik Goes to Interbike

This is the BIG HONKIN’ Post-INTERBIKE blog POST. Bikes, bike clothes, bike food, bike art, bike peeps, parties, races, bike dot.orgs ‘n’ bike stuff. So pull up a very fancy beer, maybe a bowl of pasta, and have a read – this could take awhile…

View from the Voodoo Lounge atop the Rio Hotel

The last time I had been to Las Vegas I was not yet old enough to drink in a bar. My memories of the place are dominated mostly by being gently scooted off the casino floor and back across the invisible line into cafe or restaurant territory. It seemed a cacophonous environment even then and even as a child I knew all those colors did not belong together in the same place at the same time. I remembered that spine melting heat too, standing on the sidewalk thinking any passing breeze could blow me into a pile of dust. I felt then that Las Vegas had an eerie quality of not seeming to be connected to the rest of the world, as if once you got past the mountains you would simply step off into the void. Back then the place was decidedly adult and looked like a place adults went to disappear and forget what day it was. Now it looks like a mutant, make believe play city abandoned by a gi-normous 1500 ft kindergartner under the tree on Christmas morning. Only on this particular week the tree also had a hustling, bustling, very real, mutant dream bike shop under it chock full of shiny new toys!

(nice curls too, kid)

Found this little guy cavorting amongst the bikes and around his dad, absolutely giddy with bike joy. I think I can safely speak for everyone I know, we all felt pretty much like him walking onto that show floor. [Read more…]

Bike Scribbles at Interbike!

I am attending Interbike, the huge cycling trade show, in Las Vegas. I’m test-riding demo bikes, sampling products, meeting tons of people I only know from Twitter and connecting with dear friends. There is a big Tweetup tonight at Lavo in the Venetian at 7 p.m. where, amongst a ton of wonderful raffle prizes, I will be donating a Bike Scribble shirt for the Tweetup charities Aids Life Cycle and the National MS Society. The Bike Scribble paintings including this will be on display at the Urban Legend Art and Fashion Show on the main Interbike show floor at the Sands, Thursday, September 24th 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Hope to see you there!

The Secret (Food) Garden

Stepping out my front door in Goleta I pointed myself west and started walking knowing I would come upon a path that led to the beach. The chaparral around the sleepy, windswept dune beaches of Goleta are a maze of dirt paths – and single track for mtbs! So if you keep your eye on the sun they will lead, one way or another, to the shore. As the paved options gave way to the brush I came upon this:

Rather unassuming invitation into the dry grass right?

Wrong. Atop the hill I found paradise.

Food glorious food! Glorious people growing their own food!

Where baby Chinese eggplants come from

Someone is doing something right.
It turned out to be the community garden for the families living in grad student housing at UCSB

A nice place to stop and ponder

Fuzzy squashes

I don’t know what these are but they are fantastic. They look like plastic space flowers but they are very real!


Some are just getting started, thank you

While others are beautifully organized

Gorgeous in every respect

“If I hold very still you won’t see me plotting to thieve upon the lovely lettuces.”

Hiding in the cool of the Kale

Hallowe’en around the corner!

Sweet peas anyone?

Hummingbirds abound

A seat in the shade of the vines. There are little grapes in there too.

Soaking up the sun

It was hard for me to not steal these – boysenberries, my favorite all time fruit and impossible to find in stores because they are too fragile to ship very far.

Again, don’t know what it is besides pretty

Fried green tomatoes?
We too can do this – yes we can!

This is the dream and The Solution…

…To the problem (all in the same shot – look closely above)

The path home. Another day, another blessing.
It gives one hope.
I’ll go to the beach tomorrow.

120 lbs. of Stardust

Mesa Verde – no, it’s not a painting
I rode until I found a cool breeze. At last. At last one of the heavy gray clouds had wrestled the sun’s grip off the McElmo Valley and bathed the hills and mesas in a gentle cloak of shade. The landscape softened revealing different colors and curves. The air was still warm as breath and dry but the brutal heat had broken. When the sun re-emerged it was as a golden lover with rays that glowed rather than burned. We had earned our right to stay in this valley another day. Paid for with sweat and salt stained skin, siestas, fans and spray bottles, pink foreheads and hiding our cars in the shade. Now the cliffs of Mesa Verde reflected a palette of rose and pink in a lavender sky.

With my tendency toward heat prostration anytime the mercury rises past 85 F I was sure this land would fry my brain like so much albumen on blacktop. But I loved every minute of it. I rode every day near sundown and instead of dying, the dry air seemed to sweat out every drop of venom that the unseen demons of stress had deposited in my blood stream. With each ride I grew lighter. And while the sun did test and menacingly remind me of my mortality (oops, my water bottle is almost empty…!) the colors of the valley walls, the souls of ancient Puebloans whispered healing prayers to me, songs of welcome. I had packed my troubles in my carry-on bag and smiled, but when I came back from my first ride here that bag was empty.

The eldest llama

When I left Cortez the rains were just beginning. The warm air held the sweet, dusky aroma of wet hay – a scent familiar from a handful of childhood summers a lifetime ago. I had been taken to wildflower-lined bike trails high in the hills, hiked through ancient ruins, dined on home cooked cuisine made from vegetables from my friend’s garden, watched stars shooting across the milky way every night, and delighted at the sight of every lizard, bird, prairie dog and insect. Sat, breathed in and out and listened to the wind blow.

Happy Trails

The energy of this majestic place would sparkle on my skin all the way home. Thank you Fiona and Steve, Joyce, Carol, Mark, Karen, Dan and Alan. Thank Mr. McElmo whoever you are!

Welcome storm

Fiona contemplating the wisdom of the Anasazi

Me feeling incredibly lucky
Lucy the Border Collie mix puppy

Jimbo from Kokopelli’s bike shop who loaned me the mtb

As seen in the yard

The Rock House built into the cliff face

Russian Sage

Hope I can come back one day.

Permission to Pass in Peace

I don’t think they mean bicyclists

A girl really should hop on the back of a motorcycle more than once every five years but every five years is better than nothin’! Today, when I got a chance to ride to Durango with my friend’s boyfriend on the back of his Suzuki Vstrom it broke the 5 year drought.

Born to be Wild.
Skimming along the surface of the earth as a passenger exposed to the elements gives a better perspective than as someone at the handlebars or the wheel. In the sparsely populated southwest you can easily see the upheavals of the eons and with much more clarity. One gets the sense that we were indeed strangers here once upon a time, deposited on the surface many thousands of years ago. Perhaps as explorers, perhaps as refugees. We learned to adapt and then to dominate – to our own detriment. It’s the prerogative of the Earth whether to embrace us or not, not the other way around. Gliding along at 75 mph, protected merely by some clothing and a helmet one becomes aware of one’s own fragility in the landscape. The forest and the cliffs couldn’t care less if I go splat. Our lesson, I believe is to learn how to respect Her and live harmoniously with the landscape and each other. We are obliged to behave as guests of our gracious host who has endured us these many thousands of years.

Of course, we are free to build more fiery chariots and bug the hell off to harass any other blue planet we are fortunate enough to find. However, if we try Her patience too long, she will simply rid herself of us by becoming inhospitable.

As I pass Lookout Point on Mesa Verde, renown site of vast Native American ruins, it’s easy to imagine the Anasazi performing ceremonies on it’s cliff tops. It makes me wonder how many generations it took for us to forget where we came from. Did our ancestors genetically engineer their offspring with whatever Cro-Magnon or Neanderthal species Earth’s evolution had produced at the time? Earth’s elements are now what make up my existence and all human kind, but the Earth is not a birthright, it is a gift that appeared as a jewel in the blackness of space millenia ago and innocently welcomed weary travelers. Along with the memory of my extra-terrestrial origins I have also lost the ability to imagine any home more beautiful than this.
Ramblings from the lunatic fringe to be sure. Many others have expressed these theories before and far better than I. But these are the things you think about on your first vacation in years while going 75 mph on the back of a motorcycle down hwy 160 in southwestern Colorado.