Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Hey! Come eat and drink at my house!

I just made an "invite" on my facebook page. I hate to be redundant, but here goes:
Nancy and I host a potluck dinner once a month. This is that dinner, only bigger. I am also celebrating my trip to Croatia, my new Grrrlz Rule! Bike gang, spring, and a weekend off of work! Come! Party!
Bring something edible, if you need a theme, think Mediteranean. Bring beverage, especially wine (Croatia apparently makes their own tasty grape brews so I need to develop my palette!).

Critical Massers, come by after your ride! Coworkers, come by after your shift! Bike Polo boys, come meet future lady polo players! Friends, neighbors, lets have a merry time outside, away from the bar for a night!

Here's where I will be the first of May:

Come to my party, wish me "bon voyage"!

Maureen Mo Grady
Email me if you have interest in attending! I really want everyone to come, I just don't want to write my address on my blog.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Weekend Wrap-up

Well ladies, I lied about the Friday ride being rained out. I assumed it was, I understand the lack of desire one feels when thinking about getting soaked, being cold, and being in danger on the roads while riding in less than ideal weather. I went to the bridge just to make sure I wasn't standing anyone up who was planning to ride and to my happy surprise I met a crew of babes waiting for me! There were a handful of ladies who, frankly my dear, just didn't give a damn about the rain!

Our maiden GRRRLZ Rule! ride included Anne D, Lace, Jessica S., Jasmine, Sarah, and me!I fretted over a route earlier in the day, but we decided to nix it due to the weather and thought a quick little cruise to grab a bite and a beer somewhere would be divine. We rode to north Lamar and 35th where we checked out the new P. Terry's Burger Stand restaurant. Very swanky natural fast food joint- definitely a restaurant, not a stand at all like their South Lamar locale. Then we chose to keep truckin' so we headed over to Shoal Creek Rd. and rode north to Anderson and then back down Shoal Creek, to 35th, east over to Guadalupe (where I got a flat at about 24th and had to use a spoon for a tire lever, Doh!), then we made our way back to the Ped Bridge to watch the boys compete in Brian's latest Cyclocross Club race. Many familiar faces, under layers of mud, sweat and tears! Andrew from ATXfixed, James from Cyclebum and Daniel from ThyNeighborsBike. I also ran into long lost Patchen, met Brooks who is a photographer and a part of the Austin Bike Social Events (hosts Thursday night bike social rides that meet on the bridge), and I met some cool new bike riding babes. I had a great time on the ride- my first real ride since my accident, some tall boys on the bridge, met some wonderful new acquaintances, and had a swell night. I trust and hope everyone else did too!

Sorry ladies if I made it seem like the ride was off. All in all, canceling it was a very safe and wise sentiment. However, many cyclists do not have the option of sitting out their daily commute to work or school on rainy days.
It can be very good practice to ride in the rain. Let some air out of your tires, get equipped with a nice rain jacket, avoid puddles, take turns slow, wide, and easy, and develop a heightened sense of awareness and communication with all other vehicles on the road. Next rainy day go out and get wet and muddy. Have fun and experience a different riding condition!

Lovely Ladies, lets talk turkey about our next ride! What days/times work for people this week?
Is anyone interested in volunteering at the Pink a [Love] Courier Service interactive art installation this upcoming weekend? It is downtown at City Hall as part of "Art City Austin" and runs Saturday(10am-11pm) and Sunday(11am-6pm). Email michael81686@yahoo.com with your name and contact info and title the subject line "volunteer cyclist" or "volunteer factory" depending on whether you wish to deliver notes or write them up, respectively. What a great concept and it's sure to be a blast! I plan on participating, you should too (lads and ladies alike!)!!

Also, any ladies interested in participating in the bike polo games they always read about on Jason's blog, ATXBS.com, or Daniel's over at ThyNeighborsBike.com need to just come out and play! I have wanted to soooooo so bad since the first post I read on Jason's blog. I have been super intimidated about it though because I've never played and don't know any of the people involved. I went today for the first time with super awesome bike babe, Jasmine, and had a great time meeting new folks and watching a really fun game! I still pulled the "Yella" card and stayed on the bench, even though many folks insisted I go out and give it a try. It can be a slightly aggressive and physical game, but only to the point where I was worried about my still mending shoulder socket and rotator cuff. I will absolutely get out there and give it a go next Sunday, for sure! Everyone there was so super friendly, and they love the game! Come! Join! Woohoo! They meet between 4 and 6pm every Thursday and Sunday at Eastwoods Park, just north of campus near JPs Java. Let's get enough gals out there (we need at least six if not more!) for a women's league! Woohoo!

Email me (mo.grady@gmail.com)so you can be added to the GRRRLZ Rule! Bike Gang email list. Tell your gal pals to email me too! Ladies unite, ride, play polo, race, session, DIY projects, bike, potlucks, anything, everything!! Yeah!

I sure hope everyone enjoyed their weekend as much as I did!
love to all,
Maureen Mo Grady

Friday, April 17, 2009

Ride Off!

It's rainy, doesn't look like it's going to let up....
We definitely do not need anyone getting injured on our maiden voyage!
Stay tuned/ holla as soon as the weather clears and everyone is free for a ride!

If you feel like getting wet and muddy, Brian is hosting a Cross Club Race tonight! Meet at the Lamar Ped Bridge at 8:30pm tonight, the ride happens on the Shoal Creek and Hike and Bike Trails- pretty intense, but seem pretty damn fun. (Especially since this will be the first race with proper cyclocross conditions!)

Ladies, don't lose momentum! Stay in touch via the email list (mo.grady@gmail.com) and lets make a ride happen as soon as the weather permits!

x's and o's,

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Lovely Ladies

We ride!

This Friday evening! Show up to the Lamar Pedestrian Bridge at 6:30pm for a quick meet and greet then we cruise. Bring lights!, water, ID, beer/food/whatever money for post ride extravaganza! Rock your helmet if you got it!

A gal on the email list mentioned a party happening on East Riverside, Nancy and I entertained ideas of Rio Rita post- ride (I know I said "no booze focus", but thought a social stop would be nice to get to know each other for the first session.). Feel free to shout out ideas and we can decide as a group! I am also always down for ending at free swim at Barton Spring Pool, that will especially rock during the middle of summer!

Call me, email me so you can be added to the list. Create a facebook.com account and find me (Maureen Grady) and Annie Gunkle and "friend" us. Join the "Babes on Bikes" group and keep checking me out for up to date ride/social info.



Sunday, April 12, 2009

R-e-s-p-e-c-t , R.I. P.

I love this town. I love cycling. I love the cycling community here. There are many different cliques within the throng of self-proclaimed cyclists here. That is really my favorite part of the Cyclocross events and the Annual Harvest Moon Ride, and the many other bike-related goings-on. So many different kinds of riders, from different backgrounds come together and unite. We can have fun and revel in the fact that we do have one very important commonality: a love and appreciation for all things two-wheeled. A love for the road, and riding, and the people, and breathing fresh air, admiring and enjoying the great outdoors, healthy competition, and general goodwill towards our fellow humans and our lovely planet.

This recent story I read on NPR about a car involved in a hit and run, killing three of the four passengers, got me riled up and thinking, "what about all of the injustices cyclists, especially the daily commuters, have to face and deal with on these treacherous roads?". Every death is a tragedy, but it truly seems like the newsworthy stories are only ever about drivers. Before I continue,allow me to state that I was deeply saddened by the loss of this young man and I ache for his parents. Just as I feel grief for the loss of two of my family members who died in and at the mercy of motor vehicles. I am in no way discounting this tragedy because it is about car drivers. This story simply re-opened my own car vs. bike wounds and I just need to rant a minute. That being said...

There seems to be a bias against cyclists involved in motor vehicle collisions. One rarely hears about accidents involving car vs. bike. Yet, you can't throw a rock in this town without hitting a cyclist who has been hit by a car. Usually from behind or T-boned, and usually in a hit-and-run situation. From what I gathered today, searching stories and opinion forums online, most people, cops included, are completely IGNORANT about the rights of cyclists on the road, and they feel that cyclists hit were probably impeding traffic (and the unsaid sentiment is that they deserved to get hit!). There needs to be more press about car vs. bike encounters. Harvey Milk style! Put a name, face, and life story on each and every cyclist on the road if that's what it takes to make drivers finally see us and respect us as peers and fellow human beings.

I understand that drivers have to deal with misfortune and "accidents" and danger as well, but at least they are surrounded by steel framing and aluminum, plastic, and air bags. We are flesh and bones, blood and tears. No extra padding other than hopefully a helmet on our heads. Nothing to take the impact of the car's inertia. Just our spinal cord, muscles, cells, nervous system, and maybe our back wheel. We [hopefully] have families and friends who love us and want us to come home safe and in one piece every day from our commute from work or school. For some reason though, the standards of law don't seem to be in the little guy's corner. Procedure when assessing the scene is not the same when ticketing a Car vs. Car collision and a Car vs. Bike collision. Majority of the time, the driver of the motor vehicle gets off with minor tickets, citations, a slap on the wrist. The drivers involved in Car vs Bike fatalities barely seem to rack up "Negligence" citations let alone "Involuntary Manslaughter". I am stumped, baffled, and utterly amazed at that FACT (check these stories from a few years ago). It seems so cut and dry in my mind, if you hit a biker with your car, you should suffer some consequence so you won't do it ever again. Pay a hefty fine, do bike related community service, apologise to the victim and their family in person, something that will have lasting affect on them so they will tell their acquaintances about their recent burden and why it's so important not to hit bikes and the humans riding them. That sounds good right? It seems like a no- brainer to determine that if a human driving a motorized vehicle strikes and kills a bicyclist (or pedestrian, or another driver), that person must suffer the consequence. Period. They just stole a life from someone and that some one's family. That is not ever acceptable. That doesn't go away. That act can't be erased. You can't call that a simple, innocent accident. That was negligence on their behalf. They were not present in that moment, not aware of all of their surroundings. They did not have the foresight to consider the fact that they are in a lethal weapon and the cyclist in front of them in traffic is a human too, just on a different set of wheels. I don't care who you are. I don't care what you drive or ride. We all need to be safe and responsible on the road. We all need to own our actions and all repercussions. We all need to take a different perspective and put ourselves in other people's shoes. And we all need to agree that to take a life is the ultimate offense against humanity. It is wrong. No apology or prayers or legal jargon will be able to turn back time.

The Immortal Class

Yesterday sure was a dreary day. I got back on my bike for the first time since my shoulder injury an it felt great! (well, until the end of the night when I could feel I definitely went beyond my limit and I think I strained something along the way....but I digress.)
I rode around east for a minute, had some coffee and bagel, rode to campus and checked out the Fritz Henle: In Search of Beauty photography exhibit at the Harry Ransom Center and saw The Black Balloon at Dobie Theatre. I ate a light dinner at Veggie Heaven, then headed south to the Lamar Ped Bridge to watch the start of Brian's regularly hosted cyclocross. Many a man came out to compete, and watch. There were a few ladies in the stands. I saw Les supporting the racers and being friendly and stoked about bikes as usual. The DoubleA Caps Duo, Annie and Andrew showed up and made me smile. PJ shared a Lone Star tall boy with us while discussing his new exciting adventure into bike building! Keep an eye and an ear peeled for Avenue Bikes (I am pretty sure that is his company name!)We also met a chap who was spreading the word about his new product, the raddest wearable light system I've seen! His company name is Flash Back, and it is a battery operated strand of blinking lights the you can clip on to your camel-bak, or messenger bag[back pack] or even onto your shirt. Look for them soon at Bicycle Sport Shop, and hopefully other locations around town. About the race, I will leave the details up to Brian's email re-cap, but I have to shout out to Eardie for taking first place, as usual! Kudos.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Show Tonight

When Cerridwyn and I were riding down the coast, we met lots of new people and had the pleasure of riding with many of them, or reconvening with our camping partners at the next days campsite. One of the duos (well trio if you consider the poodle that was tagging along!) that we met under the majestic Redwoods was an Uncle/Nephew/Poodle duo. The Uncle was riding on a recumbent, pulling a hand-crafted trailer with a tent on top of it where Poodle just chilled out. Uncle was a legally blind man. He could see shapes and some colors, but no details. He had toured the coast once or twice previously, and he rides at home for his commute since he cannot legally get a driver's license.

Speaking of blind piloting bicycles down the Pacific Coast Highway...

The band, Blind Pilot, who toured down the PCH on their bikes- with their instruments in tow, playing impromptu shows in the MANY small towns that dot the coast- are playing a show tonight. They will be at Mohawk at 912 Red River Austin, TX. Show costs $7 in advance, $9 at door, doors at 8pm.

Come out, Cyclists [and drivers alike], and shake their hands! Hear some pretty tunes, see some pretty people.

Love to you all.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Standing on my Soap Box

I recently had a minor crash in which I landed on my frontal bone (that's the forehead in layperson's terms), only to walk away with a cut and a black eye....and other injuries. NO CONCUSSION. No dizziness. No black out, not even for a minute. What dumb fuckin' luck. Talk about having a new lease on life.

You've heard it countless times. You're gonna continue to hear about it. I do not believe that there should be a law demanding this of me but I do believe in protecting myself, and by default, my family and loved ones. What am I talking about? Just read it here folks.

Love to you all.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Cars are coffins, cowards, cut-n-run, chumps.

Originally uploaded by BUH-LAKE

For those of you who don't know, I was involved in a spill on Tuesday at around 6pm. (Thanks Blake for the sweet pics!) This happened on my way home from the Fast Folks Cyclery ladies race team photo shoot. I was cruising on my fixie, and had to avoid getting t-boned by a car, and my reaction was the wrong one. I froze up, and then was flung over the bars (only I brought the bike with me. Stayed strapped onto the pedals, and held onto the bars til i hit the concrete. With my face.)

I have some bumps and bruises and a grade one separated shoulder to mend, so no biking [or working] for me for the time being. Bummer. Ladies who have only responded to the call to arms on this blog, please email me so I can add you to the email list. I definitely encourage the rides to begin ASAP, even if I am not able to participate just yet.

Sunday I am meeting Jenn, a contributor of one les car, and other ladies to discuss her new baby, a campaign to get ladies [and everyone else on bikes] to wear helmets when riding. My motto on the tour was a daily mantra of "brains before beauty", we are going more for the message of "brains equal beauty!". I am excited to meet, and greet, and brainstorm slogans.

Anne Dunckle is hosting a LADIES ONLY RACE on May 8th benefiting Mothers Milk Bank of Austin. Sadly, I will be out of the country, but PLEASE COME OUT and make this a success!!!! Check out the boys at ATX Fixed blog for the flier.

Saturday, April 4th, Clown Dog Bikes is having their anniversary party at Scoot Inn. This is a Yellow Bike Project Benefit, so be prepared with cash for the door donation. Great bands, great people, this party is always a good time; a great representation of many different kinds of cyclists in town. Check out Jason's jem of an all things cycling blog, ATXBS.com for more info.

Peace out for now. And remember kids, "Buckle up those brains for safety!".