Saturday, September 02, 2006

Back in the saddle again

I'm back! I got to Missoula safely from way far away, Joe packed up the whole house into a Budget rental truck, and we drove to Portland. After finding an apartment and moving in, we gave back the rental truck and had. . .only bicycles for transportation!

After ten weeks of driving everywhere, for everything and getting very comfortable with it, I was a little nervous about going cold turkey when we moved to Portland. I wasn't sure if my slowly atrophying muscles could handle the workout, or if my reprogrammed brain could understand cycling distances and times again.
The earliest responses from various body parts indicate that I've missed cycling very much and can't wait to ride more! Hooray for muscle memory!
A week and a half after I started this post, I feel stronger than ever, if a little saddle-sore. On Sunday, Joe and I rode a huge (to me) loop around Portland--27 miles round trip--and decided that we didn't really want to move to St. John's. Ever. Nothing against it, of course; I just don't appreciate bridges that give me panic attacks. That being said, it was a lovely ride, and we've decided to take an extended ride every weekend.
Portland exploring here we come!

Sunday, June 18, 2006

After these messages...

Rachel's blog is on hold while she travels the midwest with Missoula Children's Theater. It is a grand adventure for her, but the change of pace is shocking from bicycling everywhere to driving a little red truck 6,000 miles. She'll resume her blog in September, but not from Missoula...[continue at Cycler's Life]

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Addressing my title

I was thinking today on my ride home from work that I have ridden almost every day for a few weeks now. I feel wonderful, too. Riding against the wind I can feel an almost sensual strength from my legs. Bicycling makes me feel more womanly because I become powerful. I think this is becoming one of the most important reasons I ride. The only other thing that has made me feel so powerful and womanly at the same time is West African dancing.

The other reason I ride is because it gets me where I need to go. So simple, really. I am, in some ways, a utilitarian person. Thinking in shoe terms (because I work at a shoe store and naturally relate everything to shoes), I would only buy a beautiful shoe if it didn't make my feet hurt. I consider objects in relation to their usefulness. The great thing about riding is that it is not only useful in getting me places but it is also in keeping me healthy.

I would not call myself an athlete. I was never interested in or skilled at sports. I don't particularly enjoy exercising, so I have to trick myself into it. When I first started cycling about 3 years ago, I remember being amazed that it felt so natural. I was actually good at something people do for a sport! Now that I ride so often, I don't really think about the exercise I'm getting. I do not understand the motivation of some cyclists who ride their bicycles to "train" or lose weight. These don't fit into my understanding of cycling. I ride because I have to be at work or buy groceries or go dancing downtown or meet a friend for coffee. While I am on my bike, I revel in and wonder at the wind rushing past me or the mountains with snow caps or the rising, swollen river or the feeling of my legs propelling my body and my bicycle 2 miles away.

So simply put, I ride because I can.


Friday, March 17, 2006

A new route

I recently got a new job. I was going to get all creative and post both Mapquest "driving directions" maps, but let's just say--for simplicity's sake--that my commute just got 1.2 miles longer. For the past six months I have been working at a shoe store in downtown Missoula. With clear, dry roads it takes me about 7 minutes to ride downtown if I'm riding at what I call my "flying" pace. When I'm riding at my "cruising" pace, it takes about 12 minutes.

I just started working at a dance studio/dance shop on the northwest side of town. I'm not sure why, but I had mentally prepared myself for a much longer commute to work. The first day I biked in I gave myself one whole hour. This is amazing, considering I normally give myself 5 minutes for a 10-minute ride to my old job. I ended up riding at a comfortable pace, arriving happy, unrushed, not sweaty. . .30 minutes early for my new job.

This brings me to my epiphany of the week. I am a far happier cyclista when I allow myself plenty of time to get where I need to be. I have time to admire the beautiful sky, snowy mountains, squirrel scurrying up a tree, etc. I am not as agitated by rude/inattentive drivers and every red light that I know is conspiring against my timely arrival to work. I'm sure many other cyclers have already figured this out, but it's new to me! I think no matter where I'm riding, I'll give myself 30 minutes more than I'll think I'll need.

Ah, life on a bicycle (when lived properly) slows life down enough for me to enjoy it as much as I should!


(btw, cyclista is joe/rachel spanglish for "female bicycle rider")

Thursday, March 16, 2006

first post

I have defected from the ranks of Livejournal to those of Blogspot. This blog will primarily contain thoughts, comments, questions, and advice about commuting by bicycle. Very few women I know bicycle, either for transportation or for fun, and I think that could change if more women knew how to be comfortable, safe, and stylish on a bike. This blog will, I hope, further that aim.

-rachel, who is a cycler's wife

Incidentally, if you would like to read about the life of the cycler whose wife I am, head over to