Ms MUT Manners says: look where you want to go

I'm no downhill racer but my bike handling skills are pretty good. If yours are too ignore this post. If you're new or newer to riding listen up.

Obstacles on the bike can ruin your whole day. Tracks, potholes, gravel, unleashed dogs and loose children, squirrels and so on. Yesterday whilst pedaling to downtown I spied a new rider in the distance. How could I tell? She's tense, shoulders up, arms at an angle I did not think humanly possible, hands clenched and so on. As we approached a squirrel dashed across the trail. Her eyes followed it both with interest, it's nice to see wildlife on a ride but perhaps nervous that the squirrel would get caught in her spokes.

She sees the squirrel, eyes follow the squirrel, her bike wavers that direction, she's kind of leaning left and all this is taking her right smack dab into me. I voiced a reasonably gentle call out and prepared to exit to the right off the path. When she saw me her eyes flew wide open, a sudden look of shock and horror.

Do I look that bad? No, I think I was stylin' in my new purple ankle-high socks from Hub and Bespoke which I'll write about later. It's just that she got squirrel tunnel vision.

See the squirrel, follow the squirrel.
Follow the squirrel, hit the ..... yikes!!

It's the same for any obstacle:
See the pothole you will hit the pothole.
See the broken glass you will be fixing a flat.
See the tracks wipe out on the tracks (word about that next perhaps).

Folks whether you're cruising to the coffee shop or racing always look where you want to go. The descent may be technical, there will be obstacles, keep your eyes on the clear path forward.

You can sight-see and let your eyes wander and we need to do that and appreciate the outdoors. But always have awareness of the clear path you want to take.


When you're wet, you're wet.

"Wow, it's so green here!" I said on my first visits to Seattle. "Wow, it's beautiful with so many trails through the trees and thick forests" I continued to say. Well, guess why? It rains. It rains a lot and when it's not raining it's drizzling and when it's not drizzling it's grey and moist.

What to wear riding? In nice weather for errands and such I'll normally just wear jeans or whatever is on my legs at the time. The secret to happiness and joy in Seattle is wool and/or long winter underwear.

I wrote about the long johns here:

I just got a pair of Ibex wool cycling capris:


I love them. The chamois is minimal, I happen to like that. The fit is tight but still of course not restrictive. The length is perfect for me which is hard to find because I'm vertically challenged. Because it's wool if I wear these on an errand or such it does not quite look like I came in out of a spin class. The  fabric looks like a quality wool because it is. Just enough stretchy fabric to give a nice fit.

You can search Ibex catalog for Made in USA and they give a cheery little flag on the page of each item that is.


Framing my art.

On my most recent trip back home to Sonoma county we got to stay with Candy and Paul on their farm. We feel Paul's Produce is one of the best organic farms in Sonoma county. His wife, Candy is an amazing artist whose water color paintings capture the feeling of the valley I love.

Her paintings are astounding. I've watched her art grow over the years from when I first saw her work on display when she worked at another local organic grower till now. You can see and purchase her art here http://candieded.wordpress.com/

One of the things that impressed me is the framing. She seems to find and use repurposed frames that go with the art. Some paintings were in window frames, other frames had the weathered look of a twice loved frame. Each one seemed made for and complimented the art.

So I thought to myself; self? You have a lot of drawings and art. It's time to get it on walls. Framing is hugely expensive. So I've got errands to run tomorrow that will take be by consignment and thrift stores. Stay tuned and we'll see if something there strikes me as perfect for some work.


Made in USA bicycles.

We have enough bikes. If you're looking for a bike and want one US made perhaps you, my gentle reader remember this post http://madeinusareviews.blogspot.com/2012/07/one-day-in-lbs-local-bike-shop.html

Here's a partial list of where bikes are made, with the caveat that this is the info I could gather for CURRENT bicycles (many of the locations have changed especially in this decade), but the accuracy can only be confirmed thru the honesty of the companies. You will find many of them have deceptive or elliptical explanations on their websites.

Made in USA:
Georgena Terry Custom (built by Waterford)
Ira Ryan
Independent Fabrication

When we say bikes made in USA I am speaking of the frame. There are many parts that go into your bike. The same disclosures apply but look for components & parts from...
Chris King
Enve forks
LH Thomson
White Industries

Thank you to the women and men of the forum on teamestrogen.com for researching this lis. 


Miss MUT manners

Maybe you ride a lot already, if so you may wish to skip this. Maybe you want to start. Good. I hope my musings help.

There are unwritten rules on a MUT (multi use trail). They are not hard and fast rules. MUT manners are a combination of behavior based on traffic law and good ol' common sense.

Let's start with a few I feel are based on traffic law.

Most trails are not divided by a center line. If yours isn't imagine the line and stay to the right of  it. Within that is another imaginary lane. If you're slower stay to the right. Slower than what? Slower than anyone at any time at any place on the trail. Slower than traffic ahead or even those bringing up the rear (use a mirror for that).

Just like cars we pass on the left.

Ahead of you is a kid with or without doting parents, or me jogging the elderly dog. You're faster than us so you call out and pass on the left.

The traditional cyclist call out is "on your left". I rarely use that. If I'm passing a new or newer rider or a child when I say "on your left" they will move to the left and run right smack dab into me.

Variations we use:

* a cheerful "passing on your left"
* hello! also said cheerfully
* good morning/afternoon/evening ... also cheerful

We prefer to use bells. The bright sound of a bicycle bell is understood by all. It's more fun for you than constantly calling out and it makes people feel good. It's lighthearted and fun.

We often encounter the tri or time trial training cyclist with or without peloton on the MUT. Their call-outs sound like this from afar:

passing ON.YOUR.LEFT!!!

Dude (it's mostly dudes) the M in MUT is mixed use. Meaning kids, trikkes, roller blades, hybrid bikes, new and newer cyclists. if you're so much faster than everyone else get some sleep and ride very early or late when the traffic is light or get out on the road. Or instead of yelling at us get a cheerful bicycle bell! It will look so Euro racer on your Cervello TT bike.

If you want to ride with us MUT's great!! Slow down, call out or ring your pretty bell, pass and accelerate out. Interval training after all is how you get faster. Insisting on coasting at your same speed to the detriment of the rest of us is not how to train.