Thursday, July 29, 2010

The journey home - July 29th

Riding home today was just beautiful.   It must have been around 73 degrees, sky was turquoise blue and the birds twittered happily as I  joined them in the California sunshine. This is why I love California.

 Perfect way to end the day. Time for the hot tub, Good Night.
- Commuter Girl
Copyright 2009-2010 All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Commute and Calories

So here is my commute based on Gmaps Pedometer. 

If you want to calculate your own commute, go here: and send me the link to your commute in a comment.  You can calculate it with the calorie counter on or off but I love to see how I'm doing on a ride, and if you don't have something on your bike to tell you, then this may provide a little motivation for you.  Little trick, if you don't want to show your weight, you can calculate it with the calorie counter on, then delete the weight field without hitting enter, and do a screen shot (like I did above).  It will show calories burned without showing your weight although if someone was really lame and had the time and inclination, they could do the math to figure it out.  I would love to hide the weight on mine and truth be told, the weight I plugged in is not exactly accurate and that's kind of the point isn't it? - to face it and see if I can get it to change.  Hopefully I will get better about owning it as I go along.   My b.i.l. (brother in law) also has a nifty bike computer that shows us speed as we go along so we can push ourselves a little bit from time to time.  (see here:  I will have to get one for myself very soon (along with mace for when I ride by myself although my son, S1 of the S-twins, seems to think I am delusional to think I would need it, but hey, it makes me feel better).  I think I would like this one in addition as is shows the calories burned as you ride/run although not sure if it can show speed based on wheel revolutions:    Whatever techno toys we use to spur our intermittent motivation, I know that on the days when I don't feel like riding and muscles are still sore from the day before, knowing how many calories are going to be burned helps me get out the door, and I have never regretted it.  On the plus side, It feels great to bicycle down the hill for lunch and cruise in to get an amazing chicken sandwich from The Habit or a freakishly addicting burger from The Stand and not have to feel quite as guilty about it.  I do order a whole wheat bun at both places as a nod to making healthier choices, and believe me, I have learned to eat a good lunch on the days I am making that commute along with a snack right before I leave.   If I don't, then watch out fellow Valley bike commuters because at some point during the  ride home from Encino to Burbank around 7:00-7:30 something happens.  A ravenous beast seems to take over my psyche and I start to think that I will do anything to get some FOOD.  Seriously, I start to have the cravings of a crack addict and I start texting the family asking them to meet me at various food places along the route.   Not to say I don't like having the family meet me for some amazing chicken nachos or a shrimp scampi burrito at Poquito Mos on the way home, but I always hate myself in the morning.  Not to mention the fact that if I eat late after my ride, it feels like it sits in my gut for  2 or 3 days as a brutal reminder that I shouldn't have done it.  I have also had to get over the lie that the beast continuously tries to tell me; the "you just burned 4000 plus calories today, you can eat whatever you want"- lie.  I have really tried to re-commit to the fact that I can't just ride the bike and not pay attention to what and how much is going into my body.  I have to do both . . sigh.  :(    I guess what really matters at the end of the day is that I feel like I weigh 145 pounds when I am on the bike and in one not-too-distant day in the future, I really will.

- Commuter Girl

Monday, July 26, 2010

Tire Pressure: Mucho Importante!

My tip of the day for a new bicycle commuter would be to check your tire pressure before every ride without fail. The reason is that you can change the way you feel about commuting in a huge way based on the pressure of your bike tires. Changing the pressure from 75 to 80 lbs of pressure is akin to going from struggling to peddle sluggishly through sand to riding effortlessly on a smooth sheet of glass and that's just 5 lbs. of pressure producing that kind of variance!
Make sure you carry a tire gauge that fits both schrader and presta valves. (You never know when a fellow rider will need to borrow it or in my case, I have a schrader valve up front and a presta on the rear.)
I really like this one:

My b.i.l (brother-in-law and person I commute with every day) picked this up for around $8, I think he said. Will have to find out where he was able to get that price. In the meantime, I think its worth it even at $19 or $20.

Obviously you would also need a bike pump on your bike at all times as well as a a few tire levers, couple of spare tubes and a patch kit. I would also recommend that the bike pump be one that is easy to use for the typical Commuter Girl who may not have the insane Popeye forearms required to handle the typical bike mounted tire pump.
Having the right pump also keeps us from having to bat our lashes and act like ridiculous idiots when we need to maintain our own bicycle. Also if your commute buddy is a guy, I am sure he will be much appreciative of you "man-ing up" so to speak and taking care of your bike yourself. Plus it feels good right? If a man can do it, then I know I can: that's the Commuter Girl attitude; unless of course it involves snakes or weird noises in the middle of the night.

I will upload a video of me trying to use two different bike pumps later and why I like one more that the other taking into account my feeble forearms. It should be especially helpful for a new commuter to see how best to work with a presta valve.

Have a great day, I plan to.

- Commuter Girl

Saturday, July 24, 2010

My hood: Beautiful Downtown Burbank

So my hood may not exactly be "Downtown Burbank" but I think it's beautiful just the same. This is what I see when I take the bike out for a spin on a beautiful Saturday morning

Porto's: one of my favorite breakfast places, they have the most incredible fresh squeezed orange juice. You get to watch them make it right in front of you. Note how cute my bike looks in its parking place, and it didn't cost a thing.

Part of the quandary I continuously seem to find myself in: Bike & Bakery Products - Do they go together? Well the French seem to partake in both . . so I think yes!

What in the name of all deliciousness are these things? Looks like something they would have in Narnia. Cuban delight anyone?

Indoor seating is taken, maybe outside? Guess not. Time to ride on and see what kind of trouble I can get myself into. Fortunately, there is no one here to remind me that I am supposed to be a grown up, I love it.

Awesome Vintage Shops along Magnolia Boulevard.

Great Place for last minute costumes.

You might recognize the this building as the flower shop in the movie "Valentines Day".
The S-twins love this store.

Great Vintage shop that gets majority of it's clothes from television shows and movies. - Notice convenient bike parking.

Awww, my sentiments exactly, not about the banking part, just the living in Burbank part.

Great little theatre where the talented Mr. Stephen Tobolowsky teaches improv on Sunday Mornings and some Friday nights for any and all aspiring actors/voice over artists.

Check out link below for class info:
(One of the best classes I have ever had the privilege to take.)

Neighborhood Watering Hole. - Not something you would expect to see in Burbank, California, but it fits the vibe of Magnolia Park. You can tie up the old two wheeled iron horse right out front.

Tin Horn Flats: View from the front.

Authentic saloon doors - Impressive.

Western Mural painted on the inside of the metal door.

Ironic how a girl who perhaps wanted to leave her Texas memories behind finds herself in a place with a permanent glimpse of her past. This drinking establishment offers some sort of escape to the inhabitants thereof and maybe a taste of an earlier, simpler time whereas I needed to escape the trappings of that supposed simple life and it will probably take years before I can completely wipe away the sting of what it meant to live, love and leave that life. Interesting.

Amazing Bar-B-Q every Saturday at the local Handy Market. Be prepared to stand in line. Totally worth it especially if you have some liquid gold known as Rudy's Bar-b-Q sauce to poor over it when you get home. If you have had Rudy's, you know what I'm talking about. If you haven't, well I feel bad for you.
**If you saw the movie "He's not that into You", the Handy Market, had a starring role.
***Movies and Television shows film in our neighborhood so much that we barely notice. We don't even blink when we see Jay Leno at either Auto Books-Aero books or Bob's Big Boy or Steve Carell at 7-11 or Gwen Stefani at the Arc Light Theater. Guess that means we are well on the way to being jaded L.A. people now.

A beautiful ride home on the Chandler bike path. Doesn't get much better than this.

Til next week-end . . .
-Commuter Girl