Sunday, November 23, 2014

Annual Member and Volunteer Appreciation and Potluck

Yesterday evening my husband and I attended the Reno Bike Project's Annual Member and Volunteer Appreciation and Potluck. The event was held at Under the Rose Brewing Company on East 4th Street near the community bicycle shop near downtown Reno.

Since the Reno Bike Project is a non-profit community bike shop, it relies heavily on volunteers to help with the success of the community outreach, educational programs and events. People give hours and hours of their personal time to repair bicycles donated from the community to give to kids in need during the holiday season. Others, like Rachel (who received one of the Volunteers of the Year Award) are at Ladies' (bike repair) night every Tuesday evening to offer a helping hand.
Each guest brought something to share. There was a large buffet table full of delicious food -- homemade quiche, cookies and breads, Brussels sprouts salads, chips and dips! Meanwhile, vegetarian burger patties and bratwurst were cooked on a grill. The brewery provided free beer on tap. The Saison and Pumpkin beer were my favorites.

Members and volunteers chatted with each other, our voices and laughter filled the cavernous warehouse of the brewery. We played games like Jenga and fooseball. I didn't say harmless games because, believe it or not, I actually sprained my hand playing team fooseball!! It's going to hurt to squeeze the brake levers during my bike commute to work this week.

Near the end of the night, the Executive Director and co-founder of Reno Bike Project stood on a table to  recognize the selected Volunteers of the Year and Members of the Year. One by one they walked up to receive their award while everyone in the room clapped and cheered, myself included with great joy because I appreciate so much all that they do!
I was completely surprised when he called my name to receive an award as one of the Board Members of the Year. It caught me off guard as I bashfully walked up to the front. Public recognition is just not something I have yet to learn to accept with grace. Because I was flustered, all I could hear the Director say was something about "not only does she talk the talk but she walks the walk commuting by bicycle from Sparks to Reno every day".

I am humbled to receive such recognition, as undeserving as I felt, among these volunteers who have done so much throughout the year! All I know is that I just LOVE to do what I do and help others get in to bicycling. Because I believe so much in what bicycling can do for our physical and mental well-being, and for us as an individual--and for our community.

Bicycling brought all of these people together. People who have their own life--their family, jobs, and personal commitments and obligations to give their precious time and put forth their best effort to make Reno and Sparks a better community for bicycling. At the end of the day, all we want is MORE BUTTS, ON MORE BIKES, MORE OFTEN!!
The wool cap I will wear proudly and motto I keep close to my heart.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Baby, It's Cold Outside!

Two weeks ago it was t-shirt weather...well summer dresses for me. Then this weekend we had a cold snap where the overnight temperatures dipped down to 18 degrees or so. We live in a town of four distinct seasons with dozens of ski resorts nearby on Mt. Rose and Lake Tahoe. But even teen-digits is unusually cold for Reno and Sparks, NV.

Monday morning when I rode to work, I was well-layered to stay warm. I wore tights and leg warmers with boots, a long-sleeve base layer underneath my one piece knit dress, a down vest...and of course, a chunky scarf! With the ear flaps of my RockiNoggins' helmet cover buttoned underneath my chin, I rolled down the street towards the office. Not too far into my ride I felt the burn of the wind chill licking at the tips of fingers - even through the winter cycling gloves I was wearing. Eeeek!!  It was clear and sunny yet dry ice cold.
Stylishly layering pieces of clothing for winter cycling
Warm but stylish via Po Campo
I made it to work indeed and warmed up once I pried my stiff fingers off the handlebars of my bike. I know there are bar mitts that can help keep my hands warm by blocking the wind but, man they are oh-so not cute. Unless you have a lobster fetish because they kind of look like giant lobster claws at the end of your bike's handlebars. Bar mitts may look ridiculous but I've heard that they work. And it's probably better to be comfortable than miserable. Fortunately I don't think I need something like that...yet. 

Now, if only the bar mitts were more of a furry muff handwarmer similar to this, I'd probably wear it!

Faux Fur Muff Handwarmers
Faux Fur Muff Handwarmers via Etsy
The temperature digits have warmed up since then and I'm loving it! Just cool enough where I can dress wintery and not be too cold or be too hot during my ride. The trick is in layering:

  • A base layer made of natural fiber like wool (or synthetic  material is also okay) to wick away moisture and keep your skin dry is the key to not shivering when you've stopped pedaling .
  • A vest can block the wind from cooling down your core and is easy to take off without needing to pull it over the helmet. A vest works better for me than a jacket because my forearms tend to get too warm mid-ride and I like having ventilation through the arm holes :-D 
  • Sometimes I'll wear arm warmers for when I start cold that I can pull off as I get warmer. The sportier ones are worn under my sleeves while the cuter knit ones are worn over my sleeves.
  • I can easily take off my scarf mid-ride. There are many ways to tie a scarf so that it is secure and stays out of the way, yet is easy to undo and pull off.
  • Depending on how warm it is before I start my ride home, I may take off my leg warmers and/or tights. I learned from a fellow Cuter Commuter that upcycling the arms from old sweaters also works for leg warmers or arm warmers (and finish with a stretchy lace at the top, or not)! I'll have to try it.

Do what works for you and it may take trial and error. But don't be afraid to explore combinations of clothing pieces you already have in your wardrobe -- and have fun!! Stay warm out there!

Truckee River and bike trail during winter
Happy on my bike, in the moment watching ducks swim by on the Truckee River.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

RockiNoggins Blake Helmet Cover Review

These days, the autumn mornings have been downright chilly on my poor little ears! I used to keep 'em toasty during my bike commutes to work by wearing ear muffs but they fit terribly under a helmet. "Like trying to put socks on a rooster" as my father-in-law would say! It's also one more thing to carry and it takes up room in my bag on the way home when I don't need it. Alas, RockiNoggins came to my rescue! Designed in Seattle, WA, they not only offer helmet covers for women, but also for men and children.
RockiNoggins "Blake" Helmet Cover, Stylish Helmet Cover
RockiNoggins "Blake" Helmet Cover
Is it a hat or is it a helmet? Well, the tweed fabric atop my head looks like a hat, but it is actually a stylish helmet cover. This RockiNoggins "Blake" helmet cover also has some nice functional features built-in.
  1.  RockiNoggins' helmet covers are designed to fit most helmets so there is no need to buy a proprietary helmet for the cover. The covers should fit whatever helmet you already have. Covers are available in Small/Medium and Large/Extra Large  in lightweight, heavyweight and water resistant materials. I'm wearing the small/medium size "Blake" Helmet Cover over a small size Giro Reverb helmet.
  1. Fleece-lined ear flaps unsnap at the top of the head and the straps snap under the chin to keep your ears warm! There are several points to secure them for adjustment. When the extra warmth is not needed, just snap the ear flaps back up at the top.

    I have used the ear flaps when it was 28 degrees in the mornings and they kept my ears protected from the wind chill while descending for a mile! So not only are the ear flaps cute but they're actually functional. They stayed snug to my ears instead of flopping around and letting the wind pass through.
  2. Light loop in the back to hang a rear taillight and help increase visibility through the dwindling daylight.
  1. Button snap to attach accessories such as a matching tweed bow with rhinestone-detail or a cute knit flower. In my opinion, this is a necessary functional feature, don't you agree?!? ;-)
The cover attaches to the helmet with removal Velcro strips which are included with each helmet cover. I was initially concerned with how secure the attachment system would be.

RockiNoggins stylish herringbone tweed "Blake" helmet cover
Stylish herringbone tweed "Blake" helmet cover by RockiNoggins
After flying downhill at over 35 m.p.h. and traveling over 20 miles during my commute, the cover stayed put! It did not rotate or lift and it will surely stay in place during future bicycle trips. As for ME, I can't say I won't fall apart after climbing the hill towards home.
Cuter Commuter wearing RockiNoggins Stylish Helmet Cover
My 'bikeyface' after coming up the mile long hill to our driveway.
I definitely recommend the RockiNoggins helmet cover for your chilly bicycle commutes. With a prices starting from $24.95 it is a great deal for my budget!

RockiNoggins Stylish Helmet Covers for Men, Women and Children
RockiNoggins Helmet Covers for men, women and children.
If you like this RockiNoggins "Blake" helmet cover,  you might also like their other selections of helmet covers to suit the seasons and your personality on the RockiNoggins website. Check out their video on YouTube!

Thank you RockiNoggins for making my commute more comfortable yet still stylish. With RockiNoggins on my head, there's no more ugly commutes!

Disclaimer: Helmet cover provided by RockiNoggins. Review is entirely from my findings and personal opinion.

Friday, October 24, 2014

30 Ways to Wear a Scarf in 5 minutes

Brrr...it is DEFINITELY fall season out there! And for me, it means the scarves come out.

I love scarves and the many different ways I can wear them. Below, you'll find 25 ways to wear them in a cool 4 1/2 minute video (no pun intended). And 5 more wears to wear them in photos.


I often wear my scarves these ways. How fun!!

How to tie a scarf in a boho tie

How to tie a scarf in a euro knot

How to tie a scarf in a pretzel knot

How to tie a scarf - the Uptight way

How to tie a scarf in a wrapped neck knot

Monday, October 20, 2014

Beating the Post-Travel Blues

My husband, John and I just returned from vacationing in The Keys. While in Key West we rode the bikes we rented EVERY DAY and went every where across the island! To Duval Street, Fort Zachary Taylor State Park, the Southermost Point, Smathers Beach and even to the Key West International Airport to hop on a seaplane to Fort Jefferson and the Dry Tortugas!!

Girl on bike in Key West
Bicycling in Key West
Bikes were everywhere and people on bikes were EVERYWHERE! Can you imagine? I was TRULY IN PARADISE!!
Bicycling in Key West, Bikes in Key West
In front of Kelly's Caribbean Bar Grill and Brewery in Key West.

I cannot wait to share more with you so please check back for the Cuter Commuter's Guide to a Bike-Friendly Vacation in Key West.

Bicycling in Key West
Bicycling in Key West
When we returned home I realized I had the post-travel blues. That's to be expected, right? But it wasn't because I was returning the office. We had a GREAT trip and I was happy to be home! I was eager to see our kitties and get back to work!

So why did I have the case of the doldrums? I realized that it was because the last part of our trip was spent in Fort Lauderdale and Miami, FL. But unlike in Key West, we did not ride bikes. Instead we drove from place to place on miles and miles of freeway and toll roads. And when I am off the bike, for even just ONE day, it makes me a very sad bicycle commuter. o_O Watch out!!

Fortunately, since we've been back in town our life once again started to revolve around bicycles. This past Friday evening, John's cycling team had a social gathering with food and drinks so the team can try on cycling kits. I met his teammates and it's always fun to chat with others about our shared interest in cycling.

Saturday was the Cuter Commuter Women's Bicycling Bar Crawl that I had organized on Meetup.com. It didn't take long for that big goofy smile to return to my face after riding bikes all over town with girlfriends. Be sure to join us for the next one http://www.meetup.com/CuterCommuter/ this Sunday, October 26th!




Then Sunday afternoon, we rode from home to my colleague's house for dinner. It was a wonderful evening filled with great company and the most amazing food!
Bike to Dinner
All I have to do is ride my bike to lift me up when I am down. How do you get out of the post-travel doldrums?

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

A Conference Call in Real Life

I have to attend a conference call to attend this morning afternoon since it will be Eastern Standard Time. I hope it goes off without a hitch so I can get back to sipping mojitos on the beach! Well...more smoothly than in this video.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Women's Bicycling Meetup Group

I started a Women's Bicycling Group on Meetup.com to unite all women in Reno and Sparks who like to ride in the city. We ride whatever bike we want and wear whatever makes us feel comfortable. Our pace is determined by the group and we ride in town. I think it is good for our city to see every day women ride together.

Today was the maiden ride and the fall weather could not have been more perfect! We met at Java Jungle in downtown Reno and rode down Arlington Avenue.

I often feel like all I could talk about is bicycling and commuting and bikes and, and, and bike stuff!! Well, that and cats. So it was really nice to meetup and chat with other women who are just as passionate about casual city rides and who like cute bicycling apparel and accessories.
Others in the Meetup group had to work so we rolled out soon after 9AM.

Along the way we talked about anything that came to mind. And we got to know each other better.
I can't help the big smile on my face. Being on my bike and riding with friends in the gorgeous weather we are having has to be one of the best things!!

We rode Arlington Avenue to Plumas Street, cutting over on Urban Road. Plumas has bike lanes south of Plumb Lane to Lakeridge Drive.

We looped back on Lakeside Drive to Mount Rose Street to Holcomb Avenue.

Then we rode on the Truckee River Trail all the way to Greg Street and Sparks Boulevard. It was a long way for my friends who rode from Reno so it was time for them to turn back around.
I rode on the bike/ped path between the north and southbound lanes of Sparks Boulevard.


I had a BLAST and cannot wait until we ride together again!!
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