Month: October 2013

Tweed: “The most stylish Metropolitan group bike ride around.”

The participants of Tweed 2013, an annual group bicycle ride that celebrates "the golden age of bicycles" at the turn of the 20th century.

The participants of Tweed 2013, an annual group bicycle ride that celebrates “the golden age of bicycles” at the turn of the 20th century, pose together at the Kansas City Museum.

Last Saturday, something magical happened in Kansas City, and I actually almost missed it because I didn’t feel like getting out of bed that morning. I swear I actually tried talking myself into sleeping in! *smacking forehead*
Fortunately though, I talked myself out of bed. And I’m glad too, because it was one of  the best Saturdays in Kansas City’s cycling history. And really, that’s what Kansas City’s 4th Annual Tweed ride was all about that day anyways: history.
“Tweed Ride” is a stylish group bicycle ride that originated in London in 2009, and has since been held annually in over 50 cities worldwide (including Tokyo, Paris, & São Paulo).  The ride celebrates “the golden age of bicycles” at the turn of the 20th century. In memory of this bygone era, cyclists (of all ages) come dressed in their best vintage attire (NO SPANDEX ALLOWED) ready to ride. Many brought an antique bicycle to show off at the leisurely Saturday afternoon ride and picnic. BikeWalkKC hosted this smashing event, and the generous organization emphasized that ”[Tweed] is about style not speed, elegance not exertion.”
But really, I had no idea Kansas City had this much style. And tweed. And facial hair.

A dapper gent' with a very rare oak wooden bow tie!

A dapper gent’ with a very rare oak wooden bow tie! (& sweet ‘stache…& tandem!)

This perfect 50-degree-mostly-sunny-October-morning started at Cliff Drive in the colonnade . Here, the participants enjoyed hot coffee (compliments of Velo +) and live accordion music before the ride commenced.

A sweet 'stache and accordion serenade.

Another stellar ‘stache accompanied with an accordion serenade.

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And then, the ride! A short and sweet 5 miles. The weather couldn’t’ve been more perfect.

All smiles this morning!

All smiles this morning! Founder of the Velo Vixens KC, Arminda Apgar, pictured left.

Have you ever in your life seen anything like this? I had not.
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A man clad in Italian military officer riding pants. The buttons on his boots were 1850s-era British half-pennies.

A man clad in Italian military officer riding pants. The buttons on his boots were 1850s-era British half-pennies.

We stopped briefly for a picnic at the Kansas City Museum. Besides the ride, the picnic was my favorite part of the day’s adventure. Cyclists unfolded their sheets, unloaded their backpacks (snackpacks) to share, inviting others to join them for lunch. Additionally, BikeWalkKC offered the riders mini bagels and grapes. The Velo Vixens (a noncompetitive all-girls cycling club) surprised the Tweed participants with an assortment of festive mustache cookies.

A Tweed Picnic!

A Tweed Picnic!

Are those sprinkles on your mustache, Sir?

Are those sprinkles on your mustache, Sir?

A Tweed Picnic!

A Tweed Picnic!

And the day made a full circle, literally ending where it began. After the picnic everyone cruised back to the colannade and congregated in hopes of winning some of Tweed’s contests and raffled prizes. The contestants lined up to be judged to win a prize for the best facial hair, best dressed man, best dressed woman, and best bike. The winner of each category was determined by the volume of the crowds’ cheering for the individual contestants.

The contestants of the Best Facial Hair" contest. (I spy an imposter!)

The contestants of the “Best Facial Hair” contest. (I spy an imposter!)

Raffle tickets were sold prior to the ride. BikeWalkKC had a fantastic spread of biking paraphernalia to win! Additionally, Velo + donated the grand prize (a restored ’74 Schwinn Sprint). I’m not a gambling woman, but regardless, I purchased 7 raffles tickets. I was happy to learn that all the proceeds support BikeWalkKC’s advocacy and educational programs.
I should consider testing my luck more often because…I WON THE GRAND PRIZE!

Thanks for the slick ride Velo +!

Special thanks to Velo + for donating the grand prize, this  ’74 Schwinn Sprint!

A truly epic day in Kansas City’s cycling history, and now a day I very much look forward to repeating in the future. And you must[ache] attend next year!

-Tika-

Click here to read The Kansas City Star’s article about Tweed 2013 in Kansas City!
Click here to see stunning professional photography and to read an additional article about this spectacular day.

It doesn’t hurt to know the law. . .

Click here to watch this amazing video I personally would like to entitle “The Martyr”. (My hero.)

If you haven’t seen this video yet, you MUST. A man on two wheels makes a [painful] point, after being unjustly ticketed on his bicycle for not using the bike lane in New York City at all times.

"So I got a ticket for not riding in the bike lane, but often there are obstructions that keep your from riding in the bike lane." This New York cyclist intentionally crashes into obstructions to demonstrate that the bike lanes are not always the safest path, after being unjustly ticketed for riding elsewhere.

“I got a ticket for not riding in the bike lane, but often there are obstructions that keep your from riding in the bike lane,” states the New York cyclist just before he intentionally crashes into an obstruction to demonstrate that the bike lanes are not always the safest path, after being unjustly ticketed for riding elsewhere.

Meanwhile in Kansas City, cyclists are doing the happy dance because there’s a lot of new paint out there, and it’s all for them. 

Southwest Boulevard's stretch of path that extends all the way to State Line!

Southwest Boulevard’s stretch of bike path that extends all the way to State Line! August 2013.

So do we have to stay in the path at all times, no matter what? No. Can cars legally park on the bike path? No. What are the laws? Since this is the show-me-state, allow me:

Missouri Bicyclists Law states: “A designated bicycle lane shall not be obstructed by a parked or standing motor vehicle or other stationary object. A motor vehicle may be driven in a designated bicycle lane only for the purpose of a lawful maneuver to cross the lane or to provide for safe travel. In making an otherwise lawful maneuver that requires traveling in or crossing a designated bicycle lane, the driver of a motor vehicle shall yield to any bicycle in the lane. As used in this section, the term ‘designated bicycle lane’ shall mean a portion of the roadway or highway that has been designated by the governing body having jurisdiction over such roadway or highway by striping with signing or striping with pavement markings for the preferential or exclusive use of bicycles.”

Also Missouri’s Law for Bicycles states that, “…the road often has hazards like ditches, gutters, sand, gravel shoulders, and so on. Leave space between yourself and these hazards as needed for safety.”

It’s an exciting time to bicycle in Kansas City as there is a lot of momentum in the cycling community and a lot of positive changes occurring. With cycling on the rise, it doesn’t hurt to know the law. Just ask that guy from New York— that hurt.

-Tika-

Me posing in front of an awesome wall advocating for bicycles in Denver, CO. Not an uncommon site in this extremely cycling-friendly city.

Me posing in front of an awesome wall advocating for bicycles (Denver, CO).  And the message isn’t a lie: they LOVE bikes! There are several billboards throughout Denver advocating for cyclists.

Rediscovering the joy of riding a bicycle

IMG_3670Kim Jensen had not ridden a bike for 35 years before trying B-cycle this May. Now, the Kansas City B-Cycle B A Winner Contest winner is riding B-cycle multiple times a day. Jensen clocked in a very impressive 95 rides in September.

Jensen, who lives in Liberty and works at the Sheraton at Crown Center, started to ride to get some exercise in after work. “My first ride was a little wobbly but I peddled on,” Jensen says. “I rode around Crown Center and Washington Park as my legs got in shape.”

Jensen, who is 61, purchased an annual membership and took advantage of the senior discount. One of the things he likes about B-cycle is not having to worry about maintenance. “I also don’t live in a place very conducive to riding a bike,”Jensen says. “It’s nice not having to worry about lugging my own bike around.”

Since beginning to use B-cycle, he has noticed an improvement in his health and riding ability. “I’m tackling a few more hills, that’s for sure,” Jensen says.

As part of winning the B A Winner contest, Jensen wins a free annual membership. To sign up for a Kansas City B-cycle membership visit KansasCity.Bcycle.com/join

Errands are Less Annoying by Bike!

Shortly after living in midtown, I noticed a personal trend. Commuting from one area of midtown to the next seemed like a chore. There was something about getting in a car and driving five miles or less that seemed unfulfilling. After securing the seatbelt and driving that big hunk of a metal around, it seemed like too much work for going such a small distance. Adding five or ten minutes onto the commute seemed silly and challenging if I was able to find something closer to home. This admittedly kept me from exploring areas of the city other than my own neighborhood. 

Recently I tried biking to 39th Street/KU Med Area to run errands involving the distribution of flyers for some upcoming zine events.  The drive to that area usually seems annoying due to traffic lights and narrow streets. On bike, however, I was surprised to find that the ride seemed quicker, more at ease, and even fun. My friend Jess and I commuted from westport to the 39th street/ KU Med area to hang flyers, and I was shocked at how short the ride was. Going by bike not only seemed faster than car, it also seemed less stressful and annoying. 

Doing errands by bike is now a preference! I just need to figure out how to outfit my bike so it can hold more luggage. (Hint Hint to all the biking engineers). 

Now I am inspired to explore other areas of the city by bike that I normally write-off as being annoyingly out of the way! Because on the bike, things don’t seem out of the way… they seem like refreshing adventures.