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So sad. So inspired.

April 16, 2013
Assam Alwash, Goldman Prize winner from Iraq.

Assam Alwash, Goldman Prize winner from Iraq.

Yesterday was some day, huh?  I had been planning to write about my last training ride but other stuff seemed more pressing.

Around noon, I got the news about the Boston Marathon explosions and went through an emotional process that has become far too routine of late.

  1. Check Facebook and Twitter for breaking news to get a sense of what’s up.  See photos I wish I hadn’t seen.
  2. Think of all the people I know who might be there, or have family there.  Ping them to ask whether they/their families are okay.
  3. While waiting for confirmation of folks’ safety, freak out with my coworkers.
  4. Go back on Facebook and Twitter until another photo-I-wish-I-hadn’t-seen makes me stop.
  5. Try, distractedly, to resume work, but fail.

Read more…


50 miles, uncaffeinated, before 10am

April 7, 2013
The TransForm Carbon Crushers in action.

The TransForm Carbon Crushers in action.

Okay, almost.  I was at about 47 miles at 10:20am when I arrived at Wheels of Justice Cyclery for a team fundraiser – bike-powered smoothies for sale at the Farmers Market – but by the end of the day, I made it to 60 miles.  Wow!

Today’s training started before dawn because of the fundraiser.  Sundays are my training day, so I had to figure out how to fit in a 50-mile ride around our 10am-2pm event…not so easy!  I was on the bike at 6:05 a.m., five minutes later than planned, but for a Sunday morning I think that’s pretty darn good.  I got a little caught up in the New York Times over breakfast but that gave me something to think about as I rolled solo for 4+ hours.  No time for coffee, though – eesh.

Read more…

Rain, schmain.

April 2, 2013
Pre-bike Easter pancakes.

Pre-bike Easter pancakes.

Easter Sunday’s forecast was 70% chance of showers with thunderstorms.  Thunderstorms!  One of the things I miss most about my east coast roots is thunder.  Normally, this would be a happy weather report for me.

But Sundays are my training day.  Biking in the rain is kinda cold.  Going over hills during thunderstorms is not always safe.  I told Peter I’d try to leave by 9 or 10am because I knew it was going to be hard to get out the door in the rain.

Of course, when your child wakes you up by 6:30am each morning, that leaves lots of time to motivate.  By 8am, we had completed our celebratory egg hunt and pancake breakfast.  And…I saw blue skies!  So by 8:30am I was out the door to ride Three Bears.
Read more…

Lost, sunburned, and in need of a chai latte

March 25, 2013

arlington el cerritoSo, yesterday I went on my first group training ride with the excellent folks from the East Bay Bicycle Coalition.  35 miles seemed like a realistic next step up from 25 miles, even if it was three weeks ago.  The ride description seemed very comprehensive, and promised that if I got to the top of Grizzly Peak, I’d be ready for the biggest hill on Climate Ride.  Peter gave me the go-ahead for a few hours off and I projected that I might be home by 1pm.

At 9am, I met about 20 riders (whoa!) at Rockridge BART, signed a liability waiver, got a cue sheet, and off we went.  Up up up on Tunnel Road like my normal little ride, but this one would continue much farther.  I relaxed my normal pace – since I usually have about an hour to bust out the 11 miles of Tunnel-Claremont before resuming parent duties – and chatted with a few different people on the way up.  It was gorgeous and I even put sunscreen on…my legs. Read more…


March 16, 2013

We’re almost at the end of our Alaska adventure, and I think it’s been an almost complete success.  A few highlights:

Who says you can't bike commute in the snow?

Who says you can’t bike commute in the snow?

1. Winter training, Alaska style.  Our friends in Anchorage tracked down a fat bike for Peter’s long legs and on our first full day in the far north we all enjoyed riding through fresh, falling snow.  Probably about 5 inches came down over the course of the day, making the conditions especially forgiving for us outsiders.  How’s that for keeping up with my training routine while on the go?

Fat biking was just becoming a thing 5 years ago when we last visited and now it’s become a critical component of winter happiness.  We can’t imagine getting sick of skiing, but I guess if you live in Alaska, it can happen.  (Arctic first world torture??) Read more…

The Daily Ride: Base Training

March 7, 2013
Daily Bike Commute

Point A: Home. Point B: Childcare. Point C: Work. The point: we’re crazy!

I live 3 miles from my office, but my commute is about 14 miles round-trip.  Say what?

You see, back when we were seeking childcare for little A, I had a ridiculous dream.  What if, instead of a big institutional day care like we were considering, we could find a nanny-share with someone who spoke German?  We didn’t think we could actually afford a nanny-share, much less with someone from the global north, but I decided to put it out there and see if the universe would prove me wrong. Read more…

The Ride Is On! Climate Ride 2013

March 3, 2013

I just signed up for the California Climate Ride, a 5-day, 320-mile bike ride from Humboldt County to San Francisco this May 19-23.

Oh. My. God.

My biking baby

My biking baby on our fat ride

I am super excited – and also super amped about the challenge.  Let’s start with the challenge part.

So I already ride about 80 miles a week, averaging between 14 and 20 miles per day – slowly, through city traffic, largely on the flat.  Lots of this riding is our ridiculous commute to day care (which I will describe in another post) which involves riding a super heavy cargo bike while repeatedly singing the Itsy Bitsy Spider.  Sort of good training for 60 miles per day on California’s coast range, but…really not.  Today I did my first official training ride (since I signed up yesterday), and 25 miles all at once kind of kicked my butt.  So working up to more than twice that distance, 5 days straight, is going to take significant amounts of time.  And with an almost two-year-old, time is not plentiful.  (Especially since the father of said almost two-year-old is training for his own cycling event at the beginning of May.) Read more…

Transit Baby Photo Contest

June 15, 2012
Anneliese's first S-Bahn ride, Berlin 2012

Anneliese’s first S-Bahn ride, Berlin 2012

UPDATE: Okay, so I posted this right before Congress started going crazy with the transportation bill, which was at the time my job to follow/influence, and got one great submission that I may post at some point but clearly didn’t continue publicizing enough to make this happen.  But I’m filing this idea away for the future…

I just shared some of my geeky transportation-themed vacation photos with work, and suddenly felt inspired to have a photo contest of babies on transit. Who else out there takes their peanut on the bus, train, ferry, or subway and has photographic evidence? And more importantly, whose transit baby photos are the cutest?

Well, it’s time to find out!  You and your baby are invited to submit a photo by June 30th for consideration in the first ever Transit Baby Photo Contest.  I will enlist the help of my expert judges (TBD, I just thought of this five minutes ago) and evaluate all submissions based on the following categories and contest rules (after the break). Read more…

Against White Supremacy

June 17, 2011

A few weeks before Anneliese was born, I finally started reading my copy of “Race Course Against White Supremacy” by Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dorhn.  (Like so many books I buy – I got it signed by them at the 2009 Green Festival and then put it in the large “to-read” pile in my bedroom, for later.)

The book begins with the story of how the authors named their children.  As Peter and I struggled with the responsibility of finding a proper name for our unborn Fruitbat, I learned of Ayers’ and Dorhn’s deliberate effort to address a question posed by Malcolm X:

…Malcolm X famously noted that while Black people had an abundance of Washingtons and Jeffersons and Lincolns in their families, white people didn’t seem inclined to call their kids Nat Turner or Cinque or Frederick Douglass or Harriet Tubman.  Why?

Read more…

Birth Story Part One: Batgirl

June 6, 2011

The baby formerly known as the fruitbat has arrived! The vital statistics:

Anneliese Napping

Click photo to go to more pics of Anneliese

Anneliese Mary Jarausch
Born at home in Oakland, CA
Tuesday, May 24 at 3:14am

7 lbs 1 oz, 19.5 inches

Here’s the story of how it happened.

Sunday, May 22

Daytime: Very pregnant (39 weeks + 1 day).  Organized a few files, hung out at home, in the evening Peter and I bicycled a few blocks to purchase a used balance bike that will just take up space for a while but makes us happy to have.

9:00 p.m.: Peter and I prepare for bed.  I am a bit restless, tidying up random stuff, and finally lay down for sleeping around 10:00 p.m.  Alarm clock is set for swim practice (5:00 a.m).

11:30 p.m.: I wake up and feel crampy.  I wonder if I’m going to make it to swimming in the morning.  Visit the bathroom and fall back asleep. Read more…