Friday, September 16, 2011

Commuter Buddy

I have been using my bike as a mode of transportation on and off for the last 10 years. At this point, it does not seem extraordinary to ride to the store to get a sixer of Fat Tire, take the boys to get donuts on a Saturday morning, or to ride to work.  Maybe I am getting old, or maybe it wasn’t that significant, but I don’t remember that first time I rode my bike to work.  I wanted to try and remember what that felt like, so in my post a couple of weeks ago, I put out a request offering myself to be a ride along commuter buddy.  I hoped that having somebody to ride along with them, would persuade somebody to give commuting by bike a shot, and one brave soul came to my rescue for the story.  Enter Future Commuter Girl, she had been looking to make that leap and start riding to work.  
Surly McClain reporting for duty.
To read the rest of the story head over to Austin On Two Wheels......

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Is it worth a coin?

The Boy recently has taken to the idea that he would like certain items. Well this is not actually a new idea, but he is old enough to understand that there is value associated with something and it does not actually just fall from the sky. Previously he just assumed that Mrs. B and I were a bottomless pit of money. We would say things like you can’t swing your hockey stick in the house because you could break the TV and it wouldn’t work anymore. His typical response to this statement was something like this “That’s okay mama, we just go to Wal-Mart and get a new one”. 

No to the TV. 
No to the Wal-Mart. 
No to swinging the stick in the house. 

Recently at church, he indicated that he would like a juice box as his snack. To dissuade this, I just asked him if he had the money to pay for the juice box, which was $.50. He indicated he didn’t have any money. Although he did remind me that he swallowed a dime one time, and it came out in his poop. I asked him if he had that dime on him. He didn’t. Problem solved. On the way home from church, the Boy asked if he could have some money…..obviously the problem wasn’t solved. Mrs. B informed the Boy that he would need to earn money if he wanted it. The whole earning thing is a bit of a stretch for his little 3 year old brain, so we started brainstorming ways he could make money. Below is a sample of that conversation. 

Mrs. B: What could you do to earn money? What job could you do? 
The Boy: I could play. 
Mrs. B: Well I was thinking about something that would help around the house. 
The Boy: I could play with my brothers. 
Mrs. B: Sometime a job is something you don’t want to do. 
The Boy: I could not hit my brothers, when we are playing. (Now we were getting somewhere) 
Mrs. B: You know how mama and dada pick up dog poop, we don’t really want to do that but it has to be done. 
The Boy: I don’t want to pick up dog poop (I don’t blame you partner). I could ride my bike. 

It went on like this for the rest of the ride home (20 minutes), and the closest we got to an actual chore was picking up toys at the end of each night. Now that we have at least entered the world of chores, he as quickly realized the potential of negotiation. Now when we ask him to do something, he quickly responds with….do I get a coin. Although this is a marginally effective way to get him motivated to do things, I don’t know how comfortable I am with him associating every single task he does as a way to get money…..I would much rather he do it just because it is good for the family. Holy Crap….now I sound like Mrs. B.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

CX in the ATX

I have developed a bit of an obsession over the last year. Many of you reading may already share this passion. I am not afraid to admit that I love cyclocross. I am well aware that in the northern corners of the US this is a particularly powerful draw. People of all ages, get on their bikes to race as fast as they can...only to jump right back off to run through sand, mud, over barriers, up steep hills, or even up stairs, then throwing themselves back on their steed mid run to keep riding. I know it sounds a little crazy reading it here, but when it is done well it is AWESOME.

To read the rest of the story head over to Austin on Two Wheels.......

Monday, August 15, 2011

What is the opposite of a winter Viking?

I began commuting by bike just out of college, I can honestly say I am not sure why I started but a couple times a week I would get up a little earlier than normal and head off to work on my bike. At that time, I was living in the Twin Cities. Those of us who commuted during the winter months considered ourselves Winter Vikings, because regardless of how far below freezing the temperatures got we still rode. In Austin, we do not not have that chance often; but, a couple times a year I get to call myself a Winter Viking. Friday was the opposite of Winter Viking.

Drought = returning to my redneck roots

We have had the worst single year drought this year in Austin. Aside from the lakes being ridiculously low, which really doesn't effect us since we don't own a boat, we haven't noticed much of difference from a normal Texas summer. It is HOT....lots, in reality is there really that much difference between 98 everyday and 106 everyday, as somebody who is living through The lack of rain has drastically cut back on my mowing rain = no grass (translation - green weeds) growing. Some of my kinfolk are from the Ozarks of Missouri (translation-civilized rednecks), as opposed to the Ozarks of Arkansas (translation - uncivilized rednecks), and I looked out at my yard yesterday while having my morning cup of coffee - I started to think that maybe I was returning to my roots.

Pretty much checking every box of the "you might be a Redneck if..." --plastic cups around the yard - check, broken toys everywhere - check, dogs - check and check, deflated pool we used once - check, lots of dead grass - CHECK

I refused to water because after one summer of paying hundreds of dollars a month to keep the weeds green, I decided there were better ways to spend my time and money. My parents have such a lush and lovely yard, which they work very hard to maintain...I apparently didn't inherit those genes....or as my dad would ethic.

View of the front yard....No I didn't apply the Scorched Earth filter, it is just naturally that beautiful.

Try as I might, I haven't been able to keep the two Live Oaks my dad planted 18 months ago. Between vacations and a complete lack of rain they haven't survived the heat...I did water them when I was here I promise.

Dad, I promise I gave them water...I really really did.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Eating on the road

Quite possibly the worst part of traveling, especially by car, especially through Oklahoma, is that there is nothing but crap to eat. Apparently Twinkie #1 didn't mind the food choices, because he was snarfing it down so quickly he forgot to take the wrapper off his hash brown.

Although the hash browns are obviously delightful, the boys seem just as content eating sandwiches Mrs. B had prepared at home. It is amazing how a boring ol' sandwich tastes so much better when you are in the middle of an adventure.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Lets Get Social

I have to admit that I was under-prepared for my first ever Thursday Night Social Ride, but in the end that did not diminish the experience in the least. A college friend, Andrew, was in town for diversity training with a national outdoor retailer. Upon discovering this fact, we made plans to squeeze in a true Austin experience. Within the Baker house there was some debate about what that experience would be, with consideration given to Alamo Drafthouse, catching a live music show, or waiting in traffic. Considering that Andrew was going to sit on his butt for 8+ hours getting more diverse by the minute, we finally decided on an evening bike ride. I have been meaning to get out and ride one of the Thursday Night Social Rides sponsored by Social Cycling Austin, so this seemed like an opportune time. (Read the rest of the story at Austin on Two Wheels)