Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Appeal of the Velo Orange Camargue

There's something distinctive and familiar about the Camargue bicycle, especially the build used in Velo Orange's advertising in publications. Time and again, I turn a magazine page and the Camargue stops me. I must stare at the sage green color scheme, the gum wall mountain bike tires, the thin steel tubing, curved front forks, rear rack, low gearing, cantilever brakes, and from the vantage in the advertisement, the handle bars resemble flat bars with bar ends. I'm drawn to the Camargue because it appears this particular model has come full circle. Even with 29" wheels, the look is classic 1980s, early mountain bike. Bravo, Velo Orange, for re-introducing this beautiful species!

Is there a particular bicycle that you find yourself repeatedly drawn to?

Monday, October 5, 2015

Coffeeneuring 2015 - First Cup Atop a Tower!

What could be better than brilliant sunshine on weekends? Why, taking advantage of the Coffee Shop Without Walls category of the Coffeeneuring Challenge!

Up front and personal parking along the fence.
We are fortunate to have many beautiful Burlington Parks within a few miles of our home, a perfect venue for multiple brew ups on a camp stove if the current weather patterns remain stable.

My husband tries out his Whisper-lite stove for the first time.
Ethan Allen Tower is open to all and holds a surprising wide angle view of Lake Champlain and the Green Mountains. It's the perfect spot to enjoy sunshine, a cup of coffee and/or tea, plus chat with a folks who've also climbed the metal staircase for the incredible view.

My husband brews coffee while I steep tea. I like to use a table cloth for civilized picnicking.

I am inspired to consider challenging myself to complete all seven Coffeeneuring adventures in the great outdoors. Who else will join me?

The Place: Atop Ethan Allen Park Tower
Date: Sunday, October 4
Drink: Ginger Tea
Observation, Bike Friendliness: I'd forgotten that the views on top of the tower are the best in Burlington. There is primo bike parking wherever you like along the chain link fence. 
Total Miles: 12

Monday, September 28, 2015

Open Streets Burlington

In this second Open Streets event, a pop up demonstration by Local Motion shows how riders feel safer with a barrier as buffer between themselves and traffic. In this instance an existing bike lane only needs some kind of movable impediment, like a cement curb-like structure, similar to those used on Montreal bike lanes.

Another example: swap curbside automobile parking with bike lane to allow cyclists safer navigation.

A youngster plays red light, green light bean bag toss.
3 miles of public roads were closed to allow walkers and cyclists a chance to experience car-free streets. There were several exhibitors: schools, Red Cross, bike shops offering free wrenching service, produce stands, a park full of giant checkers and Junga blocks to play. There was free coffee, pop corn, slalom courses set up to have fun testing bike handling skills.

Do you know your bicycle hand signals? 
Under threat of stormy-looking skies, families still mobilized and took advantage of what several booths had to offer for games free apples, and swag. The Red Cross handed out popular stuffed dogs.

Cyclists of all ages enjoyed the event.

Stylish young riders followed parents.

Young couples towed children in trailers.

I was mesmerized with spray chalk. What bright colors!

Some hardy folks tested their metal on Gold Sprints.

I'm glad the weather held so everyone could enjoy Open Streets BTV!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Girls Ride Out

A Facebook event. Getting girls (and wee ones too) together. Plus one dog, a cargo bike, and a tandem.

To chat. Stop at stop signs. Giving each other space.

Ringing all our bells - what a glorious sound.

Laughing. Sharing tales. 30+ riders strong.

We are girls. We are riders. We are safe. We have a good time, riding into a spectacular sunset.

When do we do it again?

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Burlington Streets Challenge - ONE Complete

Another installment in the series to ride every public road within Burlington's city limits in 2015.

With 228 streets behind me, I have completed the Old North End district, otherwise known as ONE, Burlington's up and coming part of town. Once a low income neighborhood, full of derelict houses, there's a move to unite new immigrants, artsy young people and elderly folks through shifting regional identity. Enter historic signs, community meeting spaces, multinational groceries and restaurants, a marriage of Old Spokes Home and Bike Recycle, ONE events, and the second year of Open Streets, closing 3 miles of roads to host and celebrate pedestrian and cycling activities. It's a veritable whirlwind of change!

A building with lots of character.
I've especially enjoyed pedaling through this part of town because I stumble upon pop-up libraries, sweet little gardens in public green spaces, and the most interesting houses. On dead end Crowley Street I find the Champlain Club. I've discovered it's a venue for Vermont Swings, a dancing club that utilizes space from regular members-only clientele that play poker and shoot pool on Friday nights. Originally called the Goethe Lodge or German Club, it's only one of many private clubs in Burlington. For some reason these organizations tend to reside in quiet neighborhoods. 

Close up of the Champlain Club's early roots as the German Club. Look at that spectacular window!

ONE developers and builders take care to blend new construction (like the metal siding shown above, trimmed in yellow) with existing wood clapboard structures (see green building). 

Some streets are filled with colorfully painted Victorian structures, giving new life and vibrancy to dense neighborhoods. 

There are as many as 50 houses all dolled up in striking color schemes. No longer viewed as garish, they have become an accepted, defining feature of the ONE district.

The map is upfront and center as I make sure to ride particular streets.
Now that it's September, I'm concentrating on completing certain city areas, For example, I designate two parallel streets that bisect one region, then set my goal to ride all streets in between that are not yet checked off my map. This may include riding dead end streets, or pedaling one block—whatever it takes to fill in quadrants on my map. 

And where else but the ONE would I encounter a food truck on it's way to some event!

As I exit the region, I pedal by a favorite bike rack, marveling at the size of thealbeit fixednumerical lock.

Completed Streets to date:
  1. Red Oak Lane
  2. Valade Park
  3. Blondin Circle
  4. Venus Avenue
  5. Sky Drive
  6. Sunset Drive
  7. Meridian Street
  8. Sandy Lane
  9. Lopes Avenue
  10. Rosade Parkway
  11. Lakewood Parkway
  12. Tallwood Street
  13. Birchwood Street
  14. Leonard Street
  15. Kimball Avenue
  16. South Williams Street
  17. North Williams Street
  18. Booth Street
  19. Crowley Street
  20. Myrtle Street
  21. Summer Street
  22. Green Street
  23. Buell Street
  24. Cherry Street
  25. Main Street
  26. North Champlain Street
  27. Monroe Street
  28. Johnson Street
  29. Murray Street
  30. Allen Street
  31. Elmwood Avenue
  32. George Street
  33. Clark Street
  34. North Winooski Avenue
  35. Lafayette Street
  36. Converse Court
  37. North Willard Street
  38. Adsit Court
  39. Weston Street
  40. High Grove Court
  41. South Prospect Street
  42. King Street