Sabretooth: the Legendary Journeys

Owning a car can be a real pain in the butt. Just ask the previous owner of not one but TWO Geo Metros. Of course there were definitely times when I thanked the heavens for that cute little hunk of metal, but after several breakdowns (of both myself and the car) I was adequately prepared to let it go to Geo heaven.

A few months later I bought my bike. I got it from a friend for 40 bones and I called it “Sabretooth.” After a few well-spent dollars getting it tuned up, this li’l bike was a force to be reckoned with. Electric blue body, mismatched tires, and a little ringy bell that alerted pedestrians and other bikers of my speedy approach. Is it coincidental that my cars were both electric blue as well? Not according to my horiscope. But I digress.

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This was my first earnest attempt at biking in the city. I grew up in a small town, where my dad weened me off training wheels in the parking lot of the school bus garage. In the years following, my sister and I would ride our bikes (on the sidewalk, mind you) to our school, and then wheel our way down the steep driveway and back up the other side. The one who could get back up to the road without stopping was a champion, although we never competed. Biking was a childhood delight, and it felt like a little piece of freedom in an otherwise constrained existence.

Bicycling in the city as an adult on her way to work feels kind of different. I’ll admit that at first, I was completely terrified. “Bike on the road, you say? In amongst cars even? Who can live at that speed?!” Well, even the inexperienced and lazy, apparently! Of course, it took me a while to get my “biking legs,” but eventually I found my rhythm. While it’s not without its problems, biking in the city is pretty sweet, and it’s something I plan to do more of (and write more about) in the coming months.

In the meantime, check out the Halifax Cycling Coalition website!

15 thoughts on “Sabretooth: the Legendary Journeys

  1. Janice you are entertaining, I enjoy your posts 🙂
    I am also terrified of city biking and have been spoiled the with the numerous amount of trails in Frederiction to bike (and hide from real traffic) on. I am beginning to bike to school while the bridge is closed in Fredericton for the summer and I am glad to see it gets less scary!

    • Fredericton bike trails magical. There is nothing like being able to bike around town and hardly ever having to share a route with a car.
      However, biking hungover to work at the top of the hill in the Fredericton summer is a special kind of torture. Trade offs.

  2. Right on, Jan! Biking in Halifax is pretty sweet. I’ve found most drivers are happy to share the road, although perhaps less so during rush hour. I do have some complaints though; downtown is in serious need of bike racks. When asked to the twitterverse it seems there’s been a problem with bike-rack theft in the past, which shocks me. Who would take the trouble? What a useless thing to steal.

    And while we’re on the subject, I’m also not a fan of the steepness of the hills by the waterfront. Exhausting! Oh well, I guess like anything else, biking in Halifax has its ups and downs. *ba-dum-cha*

  3. Hahahaha. Cycling puns! Here’s the best one I could find: “Yesterday I rode my bike twice. I guess that makes me a recycler.”

    Thanks for reading, Cindy! I’m glad you enjoy, and also glad to hear that I’m not the only one who was totally freaked out when I started biking in the city. Other bikers always look so confident, like they totally know what they’re doing. That is *not* the feeling I generally have. But it’s getting better over time.

    Also, I miss the trails in Fredericton SO MUCH! I guess there are some trails in and around Halifax, but they are a ways out of the city, as I understand it. But it is definitely on my summer To Do list to check them out. Stay tuned!

    And Krista, I didn’t even noticed your “tweets” until after I posted. *Serendipity* And it’s so true, there’s a serious lack of bike racks around town. Apparently you can apply to get them set up or something? Information about that is on the Halifax Cycling Coalition website, I just haven’t had enough time to peruse it in detail. Might be a worthwhile way to spend one’s time. Between that and coming up with (i.e. searching the internet for) sweet bicycle puns.

  4. I completely agree. It’s kind of fun to see people’s reactions to the ringing sound as I approach. I can’t quite put my finger on the usual emotion elicited. Amusement? Surprise? Arousal? Maybe all of the above. It’s certainly nothing like a car horn, although the Geo did have the friendliest horn I’ve ever heard. Sigh. Bittersweet.

    Also: I should clarify that the above comment is from Andrew S as opposed to Andrew B. I can tell, because I have magical powers.

  5. Of course you have magical powers; you’re a halitrax witch. We ride bicycles instead of broomsticks and have a blog instead of a spellbook. On most days I drink lattes instead of potion. Accio blog readers!

  6. Jan, I’m heartened by your success with city biking. I can relate to feeling too inexperienced to develop those skills. That’s a common refrain, eh?

    In addition: The Geo’s not all bad. There are health benefits to owning a car without power steering.

  7. Can I say again what a timely slog this is?

    Jan, cyclists and pedestrians alike are pretty well aware of the dangers of city travel when you don’t have your 1000 lb steel skin on (except for you on Sabretooth in a full set of plate armour). Even when my two wheels had a motor, relegation to the shoulder because I couldn’t quite hit 80km/hr was like running a gauntlet of blown tires and sharp rocks. How do we get away from a cars-only road system? I think the HCC has the right idea: it all comes back to advocacy and a good example. If enough people see you cruising around on electric blue awesome, Nova Scotia could be the next Denmark:
    http://www.denmark.dk/en/menu/Lifestyle/Green-Life/DanishBicycleCulture/
    http://www.copenhagenize.com/

    Which reminds me! I’ve heard of bike sharing programs over there, and tuned into a conversation on the BBC about something called Collaborative Consumption:
    http://collaborativeconsumption.com/
    [audio src="http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/worldservice/oneplanet/oneplanet_20110506-1830a.mp3" /]
    A very interesting podcast, if you’re interested in interesting things!

    This really got my wheels turning, so to speak. I mean we have bikes we could share, and this lady seems to think maybe we have a whole lot else. I always enjoyed the idea of second hand, but what about just passing things around instead? We’re all pretty famous for lending, but social networking affords us a very unique opportunity, spread out as we are, to make it easier. What if we catalogue (on a site or Fb group) items we have specifically for sharing? This could be a fun exercise in community building, and it might save us all from buying lawn mowers.

    Also, in case anyone hasn’t noticed, I am a cab driver with few possessions, save my Xbox and a few broken tools and books: I stand to benefit from this enterprise enormously. I guess I could always volunteer some of my very valuable time… that I use… to play Assassin’s Creed… and nap.

    ps – Jan, if your delightful ring-y bell doesn’t quite do the trick, I suggest disguising yourself as a car until you’re more comfortable in traffic:

    I thought he was driving an orange Geo for a second there…

  8. Things move fast on the ol’ interwebs, all those tubes and whatnot, but I hope I’m not too late to comment on the entry! I will ramble on about more than cycling here, but a lot is changing for the good and I want to jibber jabber about it!

    Geoff and I currently live in Panorama which is 18km of high mountain road away from the main town, Invermere, where I work. I am quite excited to move down to Invermere in 2 weeks. My van will mostly sit parked in the driveway because I’ll be biking to and from work. (This will also build up my quads for roller derby since I’ll be riding some hills.) It makes me happy that I’ll be consuming far less fuel, and since my van won’t be piling on the mileage, it will require less oil changes and maintenance.

    At our new place, we’re also getting a garden, so some real local produce! We’re getting our composter going again, as well as a dog poop composter. We’ll also get a deep freeze so we can buy local beef and chickens. We’ve got a rifle now so we can hunt our own game come fall, and we’re about to get some fishing rods to fish all the great little lakes around us.

    And on a much more personal note, I had an IUD put in today (next to no pain!) So in terms of birth control, other than some packaging and doctor’s gloves for the insertion, I won’t be creating any more waste or using resources! And I already use a diva cup and homemade re-usable pads, so I’m happy that my tubes are having as little impact as possible.

    However, there are always ways to reduce even further and clean up my act, so I will work harder on things like forgetting to turn down the heat, buying eco-friendly dog stuff, personal hygiene products (although it’s completely unregulated so it’s difficult to tell what’s actually organic and what’s not).

  9. The internet does move fast, Jess… almost as fast as the mighty Sabretooth! But it’s never too late to comment on a post. You bring up so many things that I’m interested in… It’s almost like we’re really good friends or something! 🙂

    I’m so glad you’ll be able to bike to work too. At first when I read your comment, I thought you meant that you’d bike 36km round trip every day, and I was humbled. My trip is at max 3km one-way, and even that leaves me a little winded by the time I get to work. It’s a great and fun way to commute and to get some exercise.

    It’s also fantastic that you and Geoff are getting your gardening up and going. We intend to write some posts about gardening over the summer, as some of our good friends are really into it. So I look forward to talking more about that.

    I’ve been interested at looking into the IUD myself, but I heard somewhere that its effectiveness can be compromised by the use of the menstrual cup – something to do with the suction of the cup potentially dislodging the copper? Here’s what I just read:

    “The KEEPER menstrual cup would pose the same risk to an Intra-Uterine Device user as that of a tampon. The Moon Cup / The KEEPER’s manufacturer’s OB/GYN consultants suggest it may be “used with caution”…”there should be no problem”. The risk would occur if The Moon Cup / The KEEPER Cup would travel up, which generally does not happen. We always recommend that women speak with their own personal OB/GYN or health care provider when concerned about using The Moon Cup or The KEEPER menstrual cups.”
    http://www.mooncupsandkeepers.com/questions.html

    ALSO:

    “There should be no problem with an I.U.D as long as you remember to place the Mooncup low down in the vagina and take care to release the seal properly when removing the Mooncup. When an I.U.D is first placed, please wait one whole period before using the Mooncup. This will help the I.U.D settle in. Also, it’s a good idea to ask your GP/clinic if they can trim the IUD strings to keep them short. You should continue to check your IUD strings periodically to make sure it hasn’t been dislodged.”
    http://www.mooncup.co.uk/advice-centre/faqs.html

    There is a lot of systemic bullcrap we have to put up with that makes it hard to live the way we might want to, but it sounds like you’re doing good things, man.

  10. Yeah I am bit concerned about the cup. My doctor did research and asked fellow doctors and couldn’t get a definitive answer. What it really boils down to is checking the strings, which you are supposed to do after every period anyway. I did hear the Luna cup is supposed to work fine with an IUD.

    I think I’ll just do my best to release the suction before I do any sort of removal, and be really gentle. And again, always check the strings.

    True fact: my uterus hangs low.

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