May is National Bike Month! It’s time to celebrate for both avid and casual bikers alike. The Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition shares an interesting statistic with us on their website, "Almost 40 percent of Bay Area commuters live within just five miles of their workplace, a bike-able distance for even inexperienced cyclists." May is the perfect time to give bike commuting a try, starting with Bike to Work Day on Thursday, May 9. The San José Public Library is encouraging participation by offering "Energizer Stations" at three locations from 6:00 – 9:00 AM (6:30 - 9:30 AM at King). The Energizer Stations will offer free refreshments, including coffee and water, as well as snacks. Bike commuters will also receive Bike to Work Day bags full of tips on safety and useful bicycling information, while supplies last. And finally, we will also have helpers ready to handle light bike repair if needed. Stop by King Library, Alum Rock Branch, or Bascom Branch to take a break and get some encouragement on your way to work!
But it doesn’t stop there! Get some healthy competition going at your workplace by joining the Company Bike Challenge. Sign up with co-workers to log miles and compete throughout the month of May. Or if you’re looking for a more social experience, try San José Bike Party. They have frequent bike riding events, often with a fun theme, and everyone is invited. Or if you want to learn more about bike maintenance and repair, check out the San José Bike Clinic, San José’s "community pop-up bicycle workshop". If you or someone you know wants to bike but can’t afford to, check out Good Karma Bikes. They provide homeless and low income working people with safe, reliable bicycle transportation, as well as bicycle mechanic skills.
Take advantage of the beautiful May weather in San José and start a healthy habit that will have you beating the traffic, helping the environment, and getting fit.
Supergrandpa, sixty-six-year-old Gustaf Hakansson, loves to ride his bicycle. Over his regular breakfast of sour milk and lingonberries, he reads about an upcoming bicycle race, the Tour of Sweden. It is over 1,000 miles long and will take several days to complete. His family tells him that he is too old to ride and that he will "keel over." Even the bicycle race's judges think Gustaf is too old and will not let him enter the race. But Gustaf is determined.
Author, David Schwartz, and illustrator, Bert Dodson, bring the true story of Gustaf Hakansson to life. Schwartz takes some liberties with the story’s details, but he includes Swedish phrases and words to enhance the setting. Dodson impeccably portrays the Swedish landscape and style of clothing worn by spectators and cyclists.
Gustaf’s adventure will inspire cyclists and non-cyclists to look beyond stereotypes and to follow one’s dreams.
Mont Ventoux, l’Alpe d’Huez, Col d’Aubisque, Col d'Izoard, Col du Tourmalet are just a few of the most infamous Tour de France climbs. The Tour de France favorites rise to the occasion hammering the uphills, measuring each other’s fitness and occasionally attempting to breakaway for a stage win. While the overall general classification Tour winner is most often determined in the alpine landscape, there are additional competitions within the Tour de France.
The San Jose Public Library has a collection of Tour de France media including books and DVDs. Inside the Tour de France : The Pictures, the Legends, and the Untold Stories of the World's Most Beloved Bicycle Race is a compendium of stories and photographs of the legends of the Tour de France. It was published in 2006 and includes Lance Armstrong’s historic seventh win.
The Official Tour de France Centennial, 1903-2003 celebrates 100 years of the world’s most famous bike race. It contains photographs and anecdotes from the Tour de France archives and was produced in connection with L’Equipe, France’s daily sports newspaper and originator of the Tour.
Another title in the Library’s collection is Tour de France/Tour de Force: A Visual History of the World’s Greatest Bicycle Race. This book features hundreds of photographs and tells the tale of the Tour dating back to its beginnings. There are illustrations of the evolution of the Tour de France bicycle, chapters on race strategies, race results dating back to 1903 and a section on the Tour’s unfortunate link to the use of performance enhancing drugs.
Check out more Tour de France titles at the San Jose Public Library.
There are some doom-sayers who are claiming that the world is coming to an end on December 21, 2012. Whether or not they are right, there are some other people who are taking it to heart in a joking way and creating a "bucket list" for 2012. There's a facebook group if you'd like to join and I thought I'd share my own "bucket list" for 2012.
1. Go to Alcatraz. I've lived in the Bay area for 10 years now and I still haven't done the boat ride and tour of Alcatraz. And before I go I need to read: Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko. It is the story of a boy whose family moves to Alcatraz Island when his father gets a job as a guard there in 1935.
2. Go to Disneyland. I went when I was 2 years old and I hear I had a good time, but I frankly don't recall! I have a lot of friends who still love to go to Disneyland as adults. And before I go, I need to read: Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom by Cory Doctorow. This one is a free ebook download so I can use my ereader...
3. Eat Cioppino. This is apparently the most famous San Francisco Fish Dish. I don't know what they're talking about because I've never tried it. Bobby Flay did a Throwdown against Phil DiGirolamo from Phil's in Moss Landing for this dish and includes a recipe in his book: Bobby Flay's Throwdown. There are a lot of restaurants who carry this dish so I don't think I'll have a problem here!
4. Bike the Coyote Creek Trail. This trail is 18.7 miles in total so I might take it easy and do it in a couple of sessions. But I'd be able to get a scenic view of a lot of San Jose! But first, I need to fix my bike up - I think I'll need to check out the Complete Bike Book by Chris Sidwells.
5. Wow! I'm running out of good ideas for my bucket list! Time to check out Newcomer's Handbook for Moving to and Living in the San Francisco Bay Area by Scott Van Velsor!
Maybe you'd like to join me in creating a "bucket list" this year instead of a resolution. Come up with some fun activities and give yourself a reading list too! Let me know how it goes and Happy New Year!
If you are considering bicycle touring…do it!
If you are considering bicycle touring in France…do it!
Check out some of these titles to whet your appetite.
Graham Watson’s Tour de France Travel Guide draws from his more than 30 years experience photographing the Tour and highlights the culinary delights of the various regions the Tour passes through. Whether traveling by bicycle or automobile, Watson’s book conveys the experience of following the Tour and acts as a guidebook to the best foods, wines and lodging. It is a quick read and full of Watson’s gorgeous photography.
Another book to help organize your bicycle tour in France is Lonely Planet’s Cycling France. It contains over 6000 kilometers of suggested routes and information relevant to cyclists. France is full of back roads, back back roads and back back back roads and they are all wonderful to cycle. Lonely Planet highlights breathtaking scenery while including information about campgrounds, food stores, tourist information and more.
British author, Tim Moore’s French Revolutions comically details his three week escapade cycling the 2000 Tour de France route several weeks prior to the beginning of the race. Moore morphs from being a near couch potato to donning a cycling kit and eventually cycling up the most challenging climbs the Tour de France has to offer (i.e. Mt Ventoux). His witty writing style has been compared to authors Calvin Trillin, Tony Hawks and Bill Bryson.