Monday, May 30, 2016

Hat from ‘cycle-hacked’ garments

'Newsboy' style hat with crown assembled from varigated panels of sunflowers-on-green-check, pale green lace over pale green backing fabric and dark green-on-green embroidered fabric. The hat band is bias-cut sunflower-and-check. The visible upper bill is pale green lace over backing fabric. The hat sits atop a folded sleeveless dress of the sunflower-and-green-check print and a dark-green embroidered tunic with a yellow-gold embroidered and appliqued neckline border

Talk about a win-win situation: I chop the hemline of a dress or long tunic so that I can wear it, paired with pants or leggings, while I ride on my bicycle. This saves garments that, while loved, might otherwise never be worn because they weren’t biking-compatible. Here, leftover fabric from recent alterations found purpose of their own when assembled into a “newsboy” hat. The crown, band and brim of the hat were assembled out of fabric from a sunflower-print dress, an embroidered long tunic and a long lace skirt. Shown with it are “cycle-hacked” garments that contributed its fabric.

Who needs a car when we’ve got a wagon?

Man in orange jacket and wide-brimmed off-white hat pulling red wagon with flower pot up residential street bordered by bushes with red flowers and, behind him, trees

I don’t mind in the least if we become known as those people who walk around town pulling a “little red wagon.” Sometimes hauling gear is inevitable — as in this instance of walking home with gardening supplies. The cloth-over-steel-frame wagon is lightweight and collapsible; it takes up next to no space when it’s being stored but when set up, it can carry up to 150 pounds. During this weekend alone, we brought donated books down to the Ashland public library and, on on the return trip, brought home a gardening pot. Who knows how many wagon sales we are responsible for; seems whenever we go out, someone who is on-foot like us, comments that (s)he needs one too.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

‘Ride and Roam’ in downtown Ashland, Ore.

Man and woman stand side-by-side and smiling in front of a door Cynthia M. Parkhill, wearing short-sleeved navy blue dress with colorful bicycle screen-printed vertically up one side of the skirt

During a walk in downtown Ashland yesterday, we discovered “Ride and Roam,” a shop specializing in apparel for bicyclists, motorcyclists and outdoors. Owned by Adam and Marina Borowy, the store is celebrating its first weekend open at 72 N. Pioneer St. The business also accepts orders online at As of our visit, in-store merchandise was still arriving and being stocked, but one item present was this “cycling fish” dress, created by Clockwork Gears. Jonathan and I look forward to return visits and wish this local business much success.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

RVTD: Saturday bus service resumes July 9

Saturday service returns July 9, 2016 aboard Rogue Valley Transportation District buses. Unofficial results for the May 17 election in Jackson County, Ore. show 61.44 percent in favor of a levy to support RVTD. Speaking as someone who commutes full time by either walking, bicycle or bus, I look forward to being able once again to ride the bus on Saturdays between Ashland and Medford. It’s certainly proven doable to hop on our bicycles to make this round-trip, and the ride is especially enjoyable along the Bear Creek Greenway. But to make what essentially becomes a several-hours’ trip, we have to budget effort and time. It will be nice to have the option again of being able to travel by bus, with or without our bicycles.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Exercise bikes in library

Row of three stationary bikes with laptop workstations arranged against a wall in an office-building setting
Photo courtesy of Troy University Libraries
Highlighted in the May 2016 issue of American Libraries: Troy University Libraries in Troy, Ala. equipped exercise bikes with stations for laptop computers so students can work out while studying. “I want students to view our libraries as places where they want to be,” writes Christopher Shaffer, dean of library services, in his essay for American Libraries. “I like the idea of them coming in, checking out a video for pleasure, and watching it on their computer while they exercise for an hour. If they enjoy being at the library for reasons other than academics, maybe they will be more comfortable visiting the library — and approaching librarians — in the future.”

Also posted to Cynthia Parkhill: Library Assistant, Volunteer and Advocate

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Pockets, lots of ’em, essential for bicyclists’ clothing

Woman and man standing next to each other, wearing vests over their clothing. The woman has a green vest on over a brown shirt and is wearing a green and brown 'newsboy' styled hat. The man has a black vest on over a green shirt
If essential bicyclists’ clothing could be summed up with one word, that one word would be, “pockets.” And lots of ’em.

Tossing assorted belongings into the trunk of a car is not an option for us, so we have to think about storing and transporting what we need for the day.

Here are Jonathan and me wearing “RFID Travel Vests for Men,” manufactured by SCOTTeVEST. We purchased our vests from Travel Essentials, a travel store in downtown Ashland.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Rogue Valley Transit measure on May 17 ballot

Photo by rickie22 on Flickr. Reused under terms of Creative Commons
Now that ballots have been mailed out to Jackson County, Oregon residents, I hope that locals will consider voting for 15-141, a “Local Option Tax” to support operation of Rogue Valley Transportation District. It’s the only item on the reverse side of my nonpartisan ballot, so be sure to check both sides.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Cargo shorts redeem cargo skirt’s cycling ‘fail’

Retailer's image of olive green cargo shorts with drawstring waist, front pockets and button front-side pockets
My transition into a full-time cyclist came with a learning curve, specifically concerning which clothes work, which clothes don’t work but can be made better and which clothes will NEVER work.

In the case of clothing that will NEVER work, I have to simply start over.

A cargo skirt from an online retailer fell into the NEVER-work category. The skirt was great! It had plenty of pockets, which were definite pluses to a person who does not want to be encumbered by carrying a bag. But the skirt also offered too little room to move in, for me to safely ride my bicycle.

If it was simply a matter of length, I could have worked with the skirt by wearing it with leggings or such. But being difficult to move in, sealed the skirt’s fate.

I sent the skirt back to the online retailer and opted instead for shorts that came with all the same wonderful features: My favorite color! Plenty of pockets! But in contrast to the skirt, the shorts provide an advantage of being easy to move in on a bicycle. And that makes all the difference.