UC Santa Barbara: My Second Home

The four years I attended college at UC Santa Barbara were the best of my life.

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I can’t tell you on how many different occasions I sat on the patio at the dining commons with friends, or walked the 5 minutes it took to get to the beach, or biked through Isla Vista, looked around, and said, “I can’t believe we live here.Continue reading

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Cyclists and Drivers: Rules for Sharing the Road

Most of you know by now that my primary mode of transportation around town is via bicycle.

I actually don’t own a car! I wrecked my first car back when I was a senior in high school and, since it was determined I wouldn’t need one in college (UCSB has been identified as a Gold Level Bike Friendly campus)…I never got another one.

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sigh…college

Since moving to Midtown and getting a job less than a mile away from where I live, I decided it would probably be more of a hassle than it’s worth to deal with the expense of owning a car when I wouldn’t even be using it daily. Midtown, Sacramento is — for the most part — a very bike friendly neighborhood. There are bike paths on most streets, and most concerts and Farmer’s Markets even have Bike Valet Parking, provided by the Sacramento Area Bicycle Advocates:

How convenient is that?

Now, don’t get me wrong…I love biking. I love knowing that I’m not contributing to the pollution of my city (at least not in this way), and between biking and running, I often joke that I’ve pretty much got two tree trunks of steel for legs.

However, at least once a week I get serious bike road rage. I am definitely one to yell at people when I’m driving (“HURRY UP SLOWPOKE! WHAT ARE YOU DOOOOING?”), but somehow it feels different when a car cuts you off and you’ve got nothing to protect you but the frame of your beach cruiser. It almost feels personal when I get screwed over while biking, as drivers often make eye contact with me before endangering my life.

I know bicyclists aren’t completely blameless victims in this. So I have compiled a list of Rules of the Road for both us cyclists, as well as you steel-monster-wielding car owners. Why can’t we all just get along?

RULES OF THE ROADfor cyclists

1. Follow traffic signs

For the love of God, stop running red lights and expecting cars to stop for you. You are not as big as them. You are not immune to the rules. You will get hurt someday.

I recently read a post that claimed one of the reasons cyclists shouldn’t have to stop at red lights is because it’s hard to stop and start again. “The more [momentum] I lose when approaching a light or a stop sign, the more effort I’m going to need to get going again.” (via ThoughtCatalog) Homie, you have already decided to commit yourself to an active lifestyle by biking everywhere. Since when is it cool to only commit to a certain level of activity? Also, last time I checked, it takes a fair amount of effort for motorcyclists to stop at stoplights, but they do it, right?

Others justify their tendency to ignore traffic laws because cars do it too. Since cars exceed the speed limit, bikes should get to run red lights and not stop at stop signs? Great logic, bro.

The general consensus among bikers seems to be that in the absence of traffic, it is okay to ignore traffic signs. One instance in which I agree with this exception being okay is in the case of traffic lights that can’t detect a biker waiting to cross. There’s actually a light between my work and home where I often experience this problem, and a lot of the time I just swing over into the crosswalk and press the crossing button till it lets me go.

2. Let people know when you’re coming up behind them

If you have to bike on the sidewalk, don’t do a sneak attack move on the poor pedestrians who actually have a right to walk in that space. Use a bell, let them know you’re coming up by saying “behind you!” or “on your left!”

3. Look both ways

I was recently talking to a friend who said the thing about bikers that throws him off is the fact that they sometimes come shooting out of nowhere. Approach intersections with caution, and look both ways before entering. In California, cars can make right turns on red, and they aren’t always looking out for approaching bikes when they do. Don’t assume drivers are looking for or expecting you to be in their way.

4. Use the bike lane — when possible

If you are lucky enough to live in a town with lots of bike lanes, USE THEM! I, however, am guilty of riding on the sidewalk at least once daily. This is because there are several busy streets in Midtown, without a bike lane, in which I would not feel safe riding. Alternatively, there are also many one-way streets in Midtown and I don’t feel comfortable riding in the bike lane against traffic. So I ride in the sidewalk. And I always try to remember rule #2 when I do!

5. Buy your own damn tires.

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Nuff said. Don’t be an ass hat.

(update on the bike sitch: I had to buy a completely NEW BIKE when this happened to me. It was more expensive to replace 2 rims and 2 tires than it was to just buy a new bike completely.)

RULES OF THE ROAD — for non-cyclists

1. Don’t park in the bike lane

I remembered watching this video a while back about why it’s ridiculous to expect cyclists to always ride in the bike lane. It is too funny. Don’t obstruct the bike lane!

2. Watch for bikes in the bike lane

Doesn’t this seem like a no-brainer?

Check out these ~road rage rants~ I unleashed on Facebook a few months back when I had a run-in with a giant truck while I was riding in the bike lane:

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If you don’t have the decency to wait for a girl on a bike to go around you while you block the bike lane trying to parallel park your ginormous truck on a busy one-way street in the middle of a weekday…then you, sir, are a DOUCHEBAG.

3. Follow traffic signs

That’s right, cars have to follow traffic signs too. If you’re in an area with a lot of bikes, don’t roll through the stop sign. Don’t make a right turn at a RED LIGHT without stopping. Unless you want my blood all over your bumper, or a nice beach cruiser-shaped dent in your passengers side door.

4. Pedestrians – pay attention

Be aware that you might be sharing the sidewalk. Just like in every other aspect of being a decent human being in public, stick to the right hand side if you’re moving slowly.

5. Be nice

Don’t be that guy who yells at a girl on a bike out of ‘roid rage. Just understand that cyclists aren’t out to get you, and we aren’t all evil. For every red-light-running cyclist, there are probably 5 others who follow all the rules and have never gotten in your way.

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When all is said and done, just remember: share the road!

lindsey & i taking a bike riding selfie…before selfies were even COOL!

Do you ride a bike? Any pet peeves of your fellow cyclists, or of drivers?

Fitness Friday

After getting caught up on Wednesday with all my blogs, my Google Reader (yesss I will continue using it until I reallyhaveto switch. It’s just so easy!) has been getting backlogged eeeeven more. Want a hint as to why?

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i love that my real work is being overshadowed by my current obsession..

Need another hint?

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YEAH. It’s March Madness time.

I wasn’t into March Madness until my sophomore year of college, when my dorm had a TV and my hallmate Kate and I got ob-sessed with watching the games. In the last 5 years, UCSB has actually made it into the tournament twice! They were ranked #15 both times and played #2 seeds. They had a worthy attempt against Ohio State when I was still in college (so close!) but in 2011, they got destroyed by Florida. We’re talkin’ a 30 point blowout.

We didn’t make it into the tournament this year (University of the Pacific won our conference’s championship), but I still have a stake in the tournament: the law firm I work for offers a $600 prize for the first place finisher in our pool! If Kansas had beaten Kentucky last year, I actually would have won 1st place in our 100+ person pool. They didn’t, so I got more like 15th place, but needless to say, I have done my homework and I’m in it to win it this time!

I guessed about 10/16 correctly yesterday and only had 1 upsetting loss (I’m lookin at you, New Mexico!), so I’m not doing too badly so far.

Aaaanyway. On to the Fitness.

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obligatory makeup-less workout clothes mirror shot pic!

I had a bad head/chest cold for a week at the end of February, so my workouts suffered. But then I got back into the swing of things and had 2 good weeks of workouts, eventually reaching the 3 mile mark during a run on Saturday! Proud moment right there.

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Do you all remember this song? I listened to it during my 3 mile run and I’d like to think it inspired me 🙂 Unfortunately, I tend to run as fast as the beat of whatever song I’m listening to, so my pace was preeeetty slow with this song taking up a majority of my run. {the picture on my background is my brother in front of my Papa’s favorite tree behind my grandparents’ house, by the way!}

After that awesome run on Saturday, I got sick again on Monday. Yeah. WTF? I sucked it up and had a mini gym workout on Wednesday. Would’ve gone for a run outside, except that it looked like this:

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I love how seemingly everyone in the US had a blustery/rainy/snowy first day of Spring. But with the wind that came with this storm came an onslaught of POLLEN everywhere. So I’m currently unsure whether I have a sinus infection, or just really bad allergies. Knowing my luck, I probably have both.

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I was really hoping that with last week’s successful runs I’d get back into a 3x per week routine, but that was just not in the cards this week. My gym workout was a little less intense than usual, but I really didn’t want to push myself. It’s looking like we’re back into the 70’s today, so I’m hoping to go for a run. Don’t worry, I have my nasal decongestants ready to go! I also have my sunscreen:

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So important for me. I need to find a way to protect my scalp too (I had a cancerous mole removed there earlier this year) but the thought of wearing a hat while I run is not my favorite.

I’ve also got some leftovers to look forward to for lunch! From a protein-packed veggie burger I made this week. Looks like you all have a Meatless Monday post comin’ your way soon 🙂

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Happy weekend, and best of luck with your brackets!

Do you follow March Madness?

How do you stay active when you’re sick?