Month: October 2014

B-cycling in KC: A ride through Kansas City parks

This post originally appeared on the VisitKC website, by our spokespeople blogger Ellen Schwartze.


bike_share1Downtown KC: another American concrete jungle, right? Not so! Downtown has several beautiful green spaces tucked between the busy streets and tall buildings. The next time you’re looking for a picnic spot, scenic view or downtown oasis, look no further than these parks, found on the BikeShare B-Outside parks tour.
I started at one of the most popular bikeshare stations, 3rd & Grand in the River Market. Since this is a choose-your-own-adventure tour, I’ll give you some options to get to the first stop, Berkley Riverfront Park. Option 1: bike across the Grand St. Viaduct (5 minutes) — be prepared to share the road! Option 2: bike a couple blocks up 2nd Street to the Town of bike_share4Kansas pedestrian bridge (10 minutes), walk the bike down the bridge and stairs to the path. (Pro tip: there is an elevator but it isn’t always on.) The park is decked out with paths, picnic tables and excellent views of the Missouri River and its bridges, including the Hannibal train bridge and the Broadway, Heart of America and Kit Bond bridges.

After frolicking — and frolicking is a must — head back the way you came and point your trusty steed westward to Case Park. Again, you have a couple options: Option 1: ride to the 8th & Broadway bike share station then walk up the stairs at 8th & Washington, or Option 2: go straight to the park by conquering the hill on 7th Street. Case Park views stretch to the horizons: to the north, the downtown airport (sit for a moment during the week and you’ll catch a few take-offs), and to the west, the river, West Bottoms and Kansas City, Kansas. The park also has a playground for the kiddos and tables and grills for weekend cook-outs.

Next, pick up a bike from 10th and Washington and turn into the downtown business district for two more parks. Oppenstein Brothers Park at 12th & Walnut (5 minutes) offers a shaded break from the weekday grind. Be sure to investigate the Star Disk, which displays seasonal constellations when you line up the month and day.

Four bbike_share6locks away is one of my favorite parks in KC, Ilus W. Davis Park (3 minutes). It stretches two city blocks between the courthouse and City Hall, with a beautiful water feature and reflecting pool in the southern block. It’s great for people watching in during the week, too. Plop down on the grass and consider all the fun you’re having and all the hard work people are doing in the high rises around you.

For your final leg, head due south to one of the most famous views of the KC skyline from Penn Valley Park, home of the Liberty Memorial. Drop off the bike at the Union Station kiosk (15 minutes) and then spend an afternoon exploring the park grounds — it’s huge! If you brought Fido, keep walking south to the off-leash dog park. If you’re a history buff, the WWI National Museum is not to be missed.

And, since you’ve reached the end of your journey, be sure to treat yourself at Parisi Coffee, Pierpont’s or Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory in Union Station!

Learning the art of framebuilding

By Julie Pedalinojpedalino, framebuilder and bike mechanic


It’s early morning and I’m alone in a quiet bike shop. The rasping sound of a file against metal is my companion, shavings of brass fall gently to the floor as I shape a fillet that forms a joint between two steel tubes.  I can pass hours this way, coaxing the simple raw materials of steel and brazing rod to come together into something magical:  a bicycle frame.

That’s no hyperbole by the way, I truly believe that bicycles have magic stitched up in them.  I know this from personal experience – a direct revelation from my bike that has completely transformed my life in the most astounding ways.  The simple act of riding has brought me community, health, confidence, and uncovered within me a wellspring of passion for the art and science of creating, building, and maintaining bikes.

jpedalinoLast fall, my bike lead me on adventure to become acquainted with the generous and gifted folks at Velo+ in Lenexa, KS.  The more I rode my bike, the more I wanted to know, and what began an occasional stop at the shop for service or parts (not to mention some of the best fresh roasted coffee in town!) grew into a wrenching apprenticeship with the shop mechanics, David and Tim.  As I learned, the veils of mystery surrounding all things bike began to part and I discovered how satisfying and empowering it is to understand, fix, and assemble.

I also began to realize how much opportunity there is for self expression through bikes.  I was fascinated by the ever expanding array of components – all made with different styles, materials, colors and offering unlimited potential to customize a bike for any riding style.  It was only a matter of time until my obsession progressed to the ultimate customization – a handmade bicycle frame.  The fates were on my side, because not only does Velo+ staff mechanics with encyclopedic knowledge and skill, but the owner, Vincent Rodriguez, is a custom steel framebuilder.

Vincent kindly agreed to share the trade with me and now I find myself in an unbelievably fortunate position as an apprentice of steel framebuilding, as well as continuing with my mechanic training.  I am still very much a novice to be sure, but as I work on my frames I’m convinced that I have found my true calling in life as a framebuilder; the most exciting aspect of which is to have the ability to create and share a thing of magic… a bicycle.

Although handmade frames are certainly rising in popularity, there are only a handful of  women builders working in the field.  Gender equality is a complex issue to be sure, but perhaps I have access to a bit more bike magic than my male counterparts. It would be a great joy to serve as source of inspiration for other lady makers, riders, and dreamers out there. And maybe, just maybe, that inspiration will be the gentle push that starts another person on her own bicycle adventure of transformation.


http://www.velopluskc.com
http://www.juliepedalino.com/
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http://instagram.com/pedalinobikes