Thursday, June 16, 2011

Profile of Ana Reinert-Kansas City, Mo

Tell me a little bit about you ?

My name is Ana Reinert and I work as a product designer at Hallmark. In my spare time, I write a blog called The Well-Appointed Desk. I'm married to a lovely, Park Tools-trained bike noodler/letterpress printer. I live in the "dodgy end" of Brookside, a suburban neighborhood in Kansas City and I am doing my best to live a carlite life. I don't have any children but I do cater to four very needy cats.

When did you start using a bicycle for transportation and what other
forms of transportation do you use?

When I was living in Chicago, I rode my trusty bike to and from work everyday unless it was snowing or bitterly cold. It was not a particularly bike-friendly town most of the time I lived there but somehow, since moving to KC, it feels even less bike-friendly. The first few years here in KC we lived downtown and I relied largely on a vintage Vespa as my main mode of transportation. Since relocating to a more suburban area, I spent more and more time driving and less time being carlite but that has been changing. I am trying to increase my radius incrementally.

What is a day in your bicycling life like?

A few years ago, I read about the 2-mile challenge( so I sat down and mapped out the 2-miles around my house and realized that a lot of my errands fell within that range so I started riding to the store, library and other short-distance errands. Then I just got to where I enjoyed riding my bike so much I just started riding everyday. In the winter, I even put my bike up on a trainer and ride just to keep pedaling.

Do you recommend cycling to friends/family members/others? Have any
taken you up on it?

I often recommend riding for low-impact fitness and the sheer joy of pedaling with the wind in your face. I joke that riding my bike is my favorite stress-reliever and it "keeps me from killing people" at work.

What kind of bike are you currently riding?

Right now, I'm riding a 2008 Giant Transend which has been nicknamed "The Pigeon". I am in the process of restoring a couple vintage bikes-- an 80s-era Raleigh Mixte and a late 50/early 60s era Fleet Wing which is a fixed-gear cruiser. Oddly, all my bikes are blue.

In your opinion, what's the best part about cycling for transportation?

Getting there is half the fun when cycle for transportation. It also gives me time to think. If I'm in my car or on the bus, I feel like I have to do something else while traveling -- listen to music, the radio, etc -- but on a bike, I only pedal. I think and I look around and really see the neighborhood.

What's the worst?

Cold weather. I have asthma and riding in the cold is absolute misery for me. I am trying to find ways to lessen the risk of an attack while riding in the fall and winter because I so miss riding outside during those cold months.

Do you have a favorite carfree/carlite story?

I love being able to skirt all parking issues when using a bike for transport. I used to park my bike on Michigan Avenue in Chicago in front of whatever shop I needed to visit. Even in Brookside, I don't have to loop the block to get a spot near the Roasterie or the drugstore, I just sidle up to the nearest post, pole or bike rack and I'm done.

What are three pieces of advice you would give to someone starting/
considering commuting by bike?

1) Find a good bike that is comfortable for you. It might not be the fixie, road bike, or beach cruiser you had your heart set on but if its comfortable and you feel like you can control it, you are going to ride it a lot more and enjoy doing it.

2) if you're going to commute, you'll need fenders, handlebar cupholder (so you can stop at the coffee shop on the way) and a messenger bag. Lights come in handy too.

Ana and her husband
 3) Start small. Ride to the post office, drug store or other nearby errand and work up to a full commute.

Anything else you would like to add?

My next plan is to get a folding bike to keep at the office for running lunchtime errands and just to have an excuse to get outside during the day.

Thanks for the interview Ana.  If you too would like to be featured on Carfree American, just reach out to me or, maybe, I will bump into you on the road like I did Ana.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Pedaler's Jamboree carfree weekend!

Last weekend I had a blast at the Pedaler's Jamboree.

This event was a carfree music festival on the Katy Trail from Columbia, Missouri to Boonville, Missouri and back.

There were over 1000 bicyclists who participated in the event. Here are some videos I took and pictures from my good friend David Rainey.

I rolled with Mark Rainey, David Rainey, Nancy MacDonald, and Tim Oberle.

Thanks to Mike Denehy and the staff of the Pedaler's Jamboree for putting on a great event!
Special thanks to Stephanie and Melissa for being so gracious.

The MKT trail was gorgeous
 I hope to see you all there next year!

Mark Rainey...i am not sure what he is doing

Our tents

lots of bicycles and no cars!
great music as we rolled

Christopher and Mandy's honeymoon transportation!

cliffs and ancient native American writings

strongest bicyclist award goes to Mellon Head
Pedaler's Jamboree founder Mike Denehy

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Bike Commuter Profile-Mark Fisher

Mark Fisher is a Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Kansas Medical Center and a full time bike commuter! I was rolling this morning and bumped into Mark and got a quick video interview, so enjoy! Bill P.