Archive | October, 2010

And I Quote… Week #11

31 Oct

When black cats prowl and pumpkins gleam, May luck be yours on Halloween.

When black cats prowl and pumpkins gleam, May luck be yours on Halloween.


And I Quote… Week #10

24 Oct

No matter what we do, there is always the return to mystery, and for that we need only to notice. -Robert Hall

No matter what we do, there is always the return to mystery, and for that we need only to notice. -Robert Hall

just smile

23 Oct

just smile

just smile

It’s been one of those weeks- the kind that kicks you in the stomach and makes you FEEL alive.

I’m still cycling away on the Marin Bikeways, mapping out distances, taking pictures, and weaving through the network of disjunct lanes, paths, and roads that make up the maddening maze. It’s been fun, but as the end of the month draws near I wonder how on earth am I to sort through all the data and make it presentable. If I had my way, I’d just overlay all the figures onto a physical Marin Bicycle Map, tacking on pictures of intersections and whatnot. Unfortunately, I don’t think my affinity for defacing maps is what the Marin County Bicycle Coalition is aiming for- their loss.

lappy. dead.

lappy. dead.

Despite a complete lappy fail, I was able to continue rolling out digital art and wallpapers. My true color’s cyclery, bikes for all types ūüėÄ was published on Oct 19 just in time for Wear Purple Day. Once I figure out screen printing in December, the design is going on a shirt. Look out fashionistas.

Thankfully, I won’t be needing a laptop when I run through fires on Saturday. Although it might be fun to use as a paddle board to help sludge through the mud or as a shield from the barbed wire… If there is one good thing about my dead lappy, it is that I won’t be able to sign myself up for crazy-go-nuts adventures. All things considered, the NorCal Warrior Dash will be a good way to cap off all the post Bike & Build insanity.

And I Quote… Week #9

17 Oct

Go as far as the eye can see, and when you get there, look farther. -Dag Hammarskjold

Go as far as the eye can see, and when you get there, look farther. -Dag Hammarskjold

It’s not what you look at…

14 Oct

It’s what you see.¬†And I’ve added more wallpapers for your visual sustenance- doing my best to make something beautiful every day. Take a look if you like, and hopefully you’ll see something that’ll brighten your day. (-:

Santa Fe 3200x1600

Santa Fe 3200x1600

she wore a red dress 3200x1600

she wore a red dress 3200x1600








more eye-candy!

claim your own!

Marin County Bike Lanes and Paths Inventory: Day 1

13 Oct

Marin County was one of 4 communities across the United States, selected for the Nonmotorized Transportation Pilot Program in 2006. The program designated $25 million to each community to build a bicycle and pedestrian network that would demonstrate the extent to which bicycling and walking could represent a major portion of the transportation solution. Over the past 4 years, Marin county has made improvements to its existing bicycle and pedestrian network and added new bike lanes and bicycle detectors as well.

My job over the next few weeks is to inventory all of Marin’s bicycle lanes and paths which includes multi-use paths, bicycle lanes, and shared roads which are categorized as class 1, 2, and 3 bikeways, respectively. For better or worse, bike routes will flip flop between classes or have multiple riding options, like a multi-use path beside a bike lane. It is my task to inventory these nuances while making note of the mileage in order to update the Marin County Bicycle Coalition (MCBC) with the county’s current facilities.

I decided to break up the county into its cities and tackle each one, one at a time. I opted to start with Novato and work my way south so that on my last day I’d ride across the Golden Gate Bridge… finally… Spelled out, It’s a daunting task, but no more so than cycling across the countrywho does that anyway?

Day 1!

I cycled north along the Pacheco Hill multi-use path connecting San Rafael and Novato for bicycle and pedestrian traffic and parallels Highway 101. The multi-use path ends at the intersection of Alameda Del Prado and Nave Dr, but the northbound bike lane doesn’t begin until after the intersection and the 101 on-ramp/off-ramps, so cyclists must be aware of merging traffic as they ride on the road.

Once I cleared the highway ramps, the Alameda del Prado bike lane began. This class 2 route continued¬†uninterrupted¬†until the T intersection of Alameda del Prado & Ignacio Blvd. I then decided to follow the bike lane on Ignacio Blvd westward where it ended at the College of Marin Indian Valley Campus. From there I looped back and returned to the Alameda del Prado & Ignacio Blvd intersection. I wanted to cover as much ground as possible without overlapping too much. So I pulled out the MCBC map and after some consideration, I decided it would be best to divide Novato up into at least 2 days- I’d continue Day 1 riding the perimeter bike lanes and then tackle the downtown area and its local bike paths another day.

I had a few unexpected adventures over the course of the day. I discovered a class 2 bike lane in Bel Marin Keys that wasn’t on the MCBC map. That was far more exciting than I’d like to admit. It was a thrill to ride on Highway 37 and across a “narrow bridge” that made me cringe as cars zoomed past. And I’ll never forget riding down Marin’s most dubious bike path complete with cracked pavement,¬†defaced signs, and railroad tracks just to top it off. Although, for the most part, my day was spent riding very deliberately and slowly while stopping every few miles to take a snapshot of an intersection or jot down notes.

Day 1 was a little shaky. Honestly, I didn’t realize how long it would take to do a thorough inventory of the area’s bike lanes. It’s far more time consuming than I had anticipated because I hadn’t factored in the time it would take to document my progress during the ride. Slight oversight… I’ll do better on Day 2!

It’s been one week since you looked at me…

11 Oct

Such a great song, such a great band…¬†But really, a week has blazed by since the ink was set and I’ve continued to roll on despite numerous setbacks from every possible direction. So let’s go back in time for a moment and relive a bit of last week just for kicks.

Sunday, I rode 100K on my bicycle to raise funds for the Santa Cruz AIDS Project through their annual Surf City AIDS Ride. By midday I had completed the beautiful route and enjoyed the afternoon festivities for as long as I could. There was more than enough to keep even the most attention¬†deficit¬†prone individual entranced for hours, and besides one could always ride his or her bike around town… again. But, I was set on delivering a tattoo design to the CD of the WD (CD) ¬†that day- and he was another 4-5 hours away by car. So I left the post-ride events somewhat prematurely and did my best to let my legs “stretch out” during the drive southward.

See, the idea was that the CD and myself were going to have a tattoo fiesta on Monday or Tuesday. I had been musing over the idea of another piece for almost 2 years, but hadn’t reached the tipping point until the CD caught me with a late night phone call asking about his tattoo design we’ve been “working on” for years. Call it coincidence, call it chance, or just plain crazy, but I figured that since I’d be driving an hour in the CD’s direction for the Surf City AIDS Ride on Sunday, I might as well go the distance and drive the rest of the way with his design.

It had to have been around 9 when I arrived at the SoCal WD Headquarters and I was completely exhausted from the drive… I suppose the morning ride had something to do with my lack of energy as well. But my hopes to see the sketch I made come to life on someone so uber awesome kept me amped. I delivered the design right quick, getting down to business as soon as I stepped in the door.


Original Chameleon Design

Original Chameleon Sketch


The CD reviewed the design and suggested a few changes to better convey the idea and symbolism behind each element. Tattoo placement was scrutinized in the redesign since  his work disallows any visible tattoos, which meant that the original forearm idea had to be thrown out and reconsidered. In the end, a shoulder/quarter sleeve was decided upon as the best place to put the tattoo and I made a few slight adjustments before calling it a night.

Monday rolled around and I hadn’t quite finished the redesign, so the CD and I headed out with the original sketch and a little graphic generously sent to me from Twin Six. We had reviewed a number of shops around town and settled on The Tattoo Lounge as our first stop since it was both inexpensive and well received by customers.


Chameleon Redesign

Chameleon Redesign


Owen was at the front of the shop and he gave us a price for both designs- the CD’s was a bit steep for what we were planning on, but the Twin Six line art was right on the money… so I went for it. And it hurt. More than I thought it would- apparently there are four needles in the device used for shading, which would explain why the last half hour or so was incredibly fun. It was like reliving some of the extraordinary summer days when I was crippled with pain. Though this time, the pain was more of a release, relaxing- like when you take a big breath in and heave a huge sigh out. It was a good pain- and out of it, something beautiful was made. A little analogy for the summer, a little bird to sing to me when I’m in pain and remind me of ¬†the awesomeness SUS 2010… all in all, I couldn’t be more happy with Owen’s work!

So, a week ago, I commemorated an amazing summer in ink and finalized a design that will soon come to life on the CD. Considering how a little line art came to life on my shoulder-blade, I look forward to seeing how my sketch evolves. Hopefully I’ll be there when it happens, but if not c’est la vie- only time will tell.

Wheels For Meals Ride 2010

10 Oct

Saturday morning, I woke before the sun and drove across the bay to the¬†Shadow Cliffs Regional Park for the¬†2nd Annual Wheels For Meals Ride. I discovered this gem of a ride through the Cycle California! Magazine, and was glad to have found a good cause relatively close by, promising a great day of riding. Despite being a relatively new event, the Wheels for Meals Ride was extraordinarily well organized and supported- I was thoroughly impressed with the ride, its cause and the people that helped to make this day happen. After 70 miles and 3000′ of climbing, I’d happily ride again next year in support of homebound seniors.

The sun had just peaked over the horizon when I began the route’s first major ascent up Tesla Road. The effect of the climb and the gorgeous views could be compared to a cup of coffee. The climb woke up every limb and early morning chills were quickly remedied as I made my way up the winding road while huge wind turbines seemed to sprout from the hilltops¬†surrounding¬†the area. I did my best to take a snapshot as I descended… but it was a little tricky considering I hit 40mph on a road that coiled itself around the hillsides. Luckily, there was a short straightaway where I managed to take a picture.

The 70 mile route brushed the edges of Tracy before looping back towards the hills and up Patterson Pass. The climb tested my physical limits more so than previous rides; the little blue bird on my shoulder blade was singing loud and clear. I could definitely feel my back, but thankfully I made it to the top and descended down to the vineyards below without any incident.

Once back in the valley, all three routes criss-crossed and united for the last leg. The ride ended back at the Lakeside Picnic area in the Shadow Cliffs Regional Park, where riders were provided with a¬†scrumptious¬†BBQ lunch. Families, avid cyclists, young and old all celebrated the day’s ride and a successful event for Alameda County’s Meals on Wheels.

And I Quote… Week #8

10 Oct

The more fully we give our energy, the more it returns to us. -Jack Kornfield

The more fully we give our energy, the more it returns to us. -Jack Kornfield

2010 Surf City AIDS Ride

8 Oct

A brisk breeze greeted me at 5 AM Sunday morning as I loaded Tank into the car for the 2 hour drive down to Santa Cruz where the annual Surf City AIDS Ride was held. I drove south, through the East Bay to avoid paying a toll on the Golden Gate Bridge and eventually found myself cruising on Highway 17 which takes you straight into the heart of downtown Santa Cruz. The drive slalomed down the coastal mountains, where I dodged road kill and intrepid deer seemingly every turn. By the time I reached my destination, adrenaline had all but replaced the blood in my veins.

A thick fog blanketed the coast obscuring the sunrise and stubbornly sustained itself throughout the entire ride. The first leg of the route hugged the coastline, where riders rode along the beach and coastal roads serenaded by surf. Then the route looped through northern Monterey’s rolling hills and farmland where the sun was just starting to shine through the fog.

This was one of the best supported rides I’ve participated in to date. The Surf City AIDS Ride boasted a number of well stocked and musically charged rest stops and SAG (Support and Gear) vehicles were out and about ready to help riders in a jam. I’m used to yo-yoing with other cyclists between rest stops, but this is the first time I’ve played tag with SAG. Even in the age of smart phones and GPS, it was mentally reassuring to know that help was nearby and that I was still on the right route!

The 60 mile route threw in a few surprise miles. At the end of the day I logged 64.3 and I had stayed true to the route, following the yellow arrows faithfully. The arrows led me back to San Lorenzo Park where the starting point had been transformed into a finish line festival. Vendor booths dotted the path and a stage had been set up where a band was just beginning to play as I rolled in to the park.

I slipped into some basketball shorts and traded my shoes for flip-flops before finding a spot on the grass to relax and enjoy the post ride events. Cyclists and locals alike lounged on a hill opposite of the stage, listening to the music and cheering riders as they crossed the finish line. I could have happily spent the rest of the afternoon in Santa Cruz; but I had a friend to visit, a tattoo design to deliver, and a few hundred miles to drive before the day was out. So I listened to a few songs, congratulated a few people at the finish line, and then scrambled to the car to continue my journey southward.