Balloon Quest

Ride Log 090712

It was Ike’s second day of school. After attending my step-writing group, I was hoping to have some to write or, at least, clean the house a little for the impending arrival of the in-laws. But, the beautiful weather was calling and I needed balloons for a papier-mâché project I wanted to do with Ike. We came up with a great idea for family Halloween costumes and I am having a difficult time locating a bull mask for a child that doesn’t look too much like a cutesy cow.

In a previous life (my mid-twenties), I did a lot of papier-mâché. I was living in San Francisco in a typical San Francisco 3-story row house apartment with two flats per floor.  My housemates and I lived in one flat the top floor and some friends lived in the other. We would have big parties opening up both apartments, one for dancing and one for chatting (or slurring as the case may be). We would decorate with papier-mâché fish or sperm and egg piñatas that we would make during the prior weeks tweaking on starch and newspaper and drinking beer.

So, I decided to try my hand at a papier-mâché bull head. First, I needed balloons. I was going to hit the store after picking Ike up from school (I still do this by car due to a big hill and the need to cross the main highway), but the sun was shining and I wanted to move. I pulled out my trusty silver steed and bike helmet. While doing so, I was delayed my an old man who stopped to inquire about the trailer on the side of the house. He asked if was for sale, which it is, so I gave him Josh’s number. He wanted to chat, but time was a-ticking so I kindly said good-bye and off I rode. I thought I would try the hardware store first as it is a little closer and it doesn’t have a crazy parking lot to negotiate. They used to have a ton of party supplies but now they are limited to multi-colored paper plates and cutlery. By the cashier’s response to my asking about balloons, you would think I was looking for them to fill with heroin. She informed me they only sell balloons already filled with helium, not in bags.

Then I tried our trusty supermarket. There, on a bottom hook near the greeting cards, I located a $1.99 bag of assorted balloons. I saw a sheriff walk down an aisle on my way to pay and another on my ride home and I wondered if the hardware store lady called in about a suspicious women trying to buy balloons to fill with drugs.

Just as I arrived home, the duck quacked on my phone alerting me that it was time to pick-up Ike (I set this up in case I am on a roll writing or elbows deep in cat-litter). The search took me over an hour. No time for lunch or cleaning the bathroom…darn that little old man and useless hardware store.

Postscript: The project was a bust. Ike gagged at the site of the wheat paste so he didn’t even want to try it, it was extremely messy (starch is way neater, too), and the paper towel tube horns were unwieldy taped to the balloon so it kept tipping over. And, I forgot to take a picture and it is gone due to wind or fire. In the end, we decided on plastic horns and face paint for the costume.


Since I forgot to take a picture of the paper-mache head,
I give you the model.


Lights, Camera, Action

After a week of no biking, a staccato of short trips. I am going to break with format and enter them all in one post.

Ride Log 082212, Wednesday
We had a brief period of time after lunch and before swim lessons to make our way to the library. Ike was very excited to try out his new bike helmet that had arrived the previous day. His old helmet was obviously way too small and I wanted to be sure he had one that fit correctly before our trip to the Oregon Coast. After looking at Bell, Nutcase, and Giro, he picked the Giro Kid’s Rascal Bike Helmet in black with red flames. I think the flashing LEDs was the big selling factor, though Ike does like to stop and fiddle with them a little more than I would like.

The ride to the library is barely is ride is we are going straight there and back and especially when I ride behind the boy. It is slow going and barely pedaling, but we are out enjoying the neighborhood and get to stop for blackberries along the way.

Ride Log 082312, Thursday

I had to do some work in the morning, but I promised Ike that we would go out later and have some fun. He chose a bike ride, new helmet again being the motivating factor, and that made me very pleased. After not riding for a week, it was good to get out two days in a row. We circuited our favorite loop and then took a longer route home to stop at a favorite blackberry bush. They were much riper than our last visit and tasted like pie. I put a few handfuls in my basket to enjoy later while Ike stained his face and hands purple.

Ride Log 082512, Saturday
Just a quick ride to a meeting. We discussed the allergy of addiction and spiritual, emotional, and physical recovery. I feel so in action today. It was a great start to a busy day of packing. Tomorrow, we are off to stay in a yurt on the Oregon Coast for a week. Josh made a great bike rack to carry three bikes plus the tagalong. Lists need to be made and food and supplies all need to be gathered and loaded. So much to do, so this will be kept short. Catch you on the flip-side.

A-Tisket, A-Tasket

A basket was the first accessory I wanted to add to my bike. My husband originally scoffed at the idea. He sees baskets as silly, frivolous, girly. It must come from his BMX background or it’s just that masculine-american road bike mentality. I see baskets as completely utilitarian. Yes they can add style, but primary serve the function of casually carrying stuff. In just the first few days I had my bike, there were about a dozen times I wished I had a basket.

I originally envisioned a wicker basket like those you see in those romantic images on Pinterest filled with flowers. But, due to the northwest drizzle, I realized that might not be the most practical choice. I looked at lots of images on the Internet to compare how baskets looked with a silver bicycle and black or silver metal seemed to be the way to go. I love the vintage look of open weave wire baskets (lots of images of them on old Raleigh roadsters), but I could just see leaving a trail of escaped items in my wake as I traveled down the road. So I settled on a mesh basket, but which one?

In my research, I was able to trace one image of a basket I fancied to a post on the blog, Imaginary Bicycle (I must add a Blog Roll soon). Emma J has a much cooler bike than I (a WorkCycles Oma), but we share similar taste in our attraction to bicycle baskets. She, or possibly the Oma, chose Basil ‘Bern’ wire-mesh basket. For a moment, I thought I had found the one. Then, I went to my LBS and Bob pointed out that you wanted to make sure the brake and gear cables weren’t smashed by the basket mount. I needed to take another look at the Basil and realized, though there seemed to be enough clearance for the cables, I didn’t really like the all-in-one design with the hooks attached to the basket. Having already dismissed the Topeak, I went back to Wald for another look. I kept coming back to a black mesh quick release basket, but it looked like the model (933) was discontinued. Luckily there were some available via Amazon though I would have liked to order through my LBS.

I installed myself today and it was easy-peasy. Love the quick release and peace if mind that nothing is going to fall out. See Ride Log 062112 for the first time out with the basket.

Happy Summer!


Raleigh Detour with Wald 933

The Right Pair of Shoes

Ride Log 061912
Ike and I took a quick ride to the library to pick up books I had on hold. We had to get into town for my Coumidan appointment (a quick finger prick) and Ike’s Theater Camp. We only had about 40 minutes to complete the errand and Ike handled the rush better than a Los Angeles freeway. Unfortunately, I didn’t think about how poorly his rain boots would perform for pedaling until we were making our way up our first slight slope. They were a bit slippery and cumbersome. Even so, he did great. We made it home just in time and it was so much nicer than just stopping in the car on the way to town.
I am definitely dressing better since I started trying to bike every day. Well, at least I am getting dressed. There have been too many stay-at-home days where I just stayed in the yoga pants and T-shirt I slept in. And now, I am choosing my outfits with the focus of what I can ride in. The baggy drawstrings don’t cut it (nice for walking, but not riding unless I tame the excess around my ankles), but cute skirts and my favorite pair of skinny jeans do. So odd to say I wear skinny jeans since I am leagues away from skinny, but I’m not gonna mess with the nomenclature. I am also reverting to some styles from my past. I have always loved menswear and men’s shoes. When I was fourteen, I sported white button-downs and narrow ties, and mens’ flannel pants have always graced my closet. I recently picked up a pair of brown wing tips from the Goodwill. The are about a half-size took large, but I am probably going to add some insoles. I have tried some of the oxfords out there made for women including styles from Frye, Bass, and Born, but they were all kind of narrow and made my feet look too small. Yeah, I was down with the chunky shoe trend. I love how my wingtips look with my jeans and the beloved boyfriend sweater makes the outfit. And the price was about 5% of the price of the cheapest pair of those girlie shoes.