Tag Archives: bikes

The Art (and exercise) of Bicycles

Think of bicycles as rideable art that can just about save the world. ~ Grant Petersen

I like bicycles (part 2). The theme of my household this weekend is bicycles. I have written about my love for bike riding in a previous post complete with an itinerary specifically for San Diego. I also shared a fun experience in Austin at a bicycle festival called Tour de Fat. After riding our bike along the river to this quirky, colorful extravaganza, we were amused with fun bands, extreme costumes, silly shows, old school lawn games and humorous attempts at riding odd bikes (as seen in the picture). I even remarked to my boyfriend, “This would be perfect for San Diego.” Then, as if on cue, we walked past a booth selling t-shirts with the tour schedule on the back. The festival had been in San Diego earlier that month. I have excitedly waited 11 months for the Tour to come back around to San Diego, and that time is now!

The San Diego Tour de Fat festival kicks off with a bike parade this morning at 11:00. Anyone can register and join the procession, and costumes are encouraged. After the parade, which rides along 30th Street in South Park, the majority of the action will take place in Golden Hill Park. Check out the map on their website for more detailed information. The festival is free, but there are booths set up by local biking organizations that sell (or allow you to make) creative goods for a small fee. And, of course, because it is sponsored by New Belgium Brewing Company (Fat Tire), there will be beer for sale. These profits are also donated to local biking organizations. Despite the festival being created by a brewery, the Austin event last year was quite kid-friendly.

The bicycle is a curious vehicle. Its passenger is its engine. ~ John Howard

I am embarrassed to admit that my boyfriend and I will be driving a car to the festival. However, on the way we are heading to the Mission Bay Triathlon expo so my boyfriend can check in for his first triathlon sprint, which is tomorrow and will include close to 10 miles of biking. Even our dog will be getting in on the biking action this weekend, and no he is not a small dog that fits in one of those doggy strollers. Tucker is a strong, fast German Short-Hair Pointer that requires extensive exercise. He doesn’t actually ride a bike, but rather alongside it. We get a lot of curious looks when we go out for a bike run, but it is great exercise for him. For those of you who aren’t in San Diego, here is the remaining Tour schedule for 2011.

  • 10/8 – Los Angeles, California
  • 10/15 – Tempe, Arizona
  • 10/22 – Austin, Texas

Other cities on the tour include Durham, Nashville, Chicago, Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Boise, Ft. Collins, Denver and San Francisco. Mark your calendars for next year!

For those of you in Dallas, they had their own bike parade today as a kick off to their Art in October celebration. The event called Art in Motion included bicycle decorating (and a contest) with a parade to the free museums, food trucks and other festivities.

If you need a little adult time, check out the Museum of Photographic Art’s POP Thursday event on Thursday, October 20, which is themed Greatest Hits of the Bicycle Film Festival.

Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of riding a bike. ~ John F. Kennedy

UPDATE: Sunday, October 2
I attended the Tour de Fat festival in Golden Hill Park and found it to be less family-friendly than Austin’s event last year. Due to strict alcohol laws, the festival had to be divided to accommodate a beer garden, rather than simply giving bracelets to those 21 and over. This meant that the stages and some festivities were contained inside the beer garden but alongside the fence to allow families outside the beer garden to enjoy the shows. The games, food, crafty booths and bike-riding corral were accessible to those outside of the beer garden. Next year, I would recommend families join the bike parade or dine on 30th along the route to enjoy the show.

Just one of the many wacky bikes you can ride at a Tour de Fat festival, and yes, all those tires rotate.


Trains Big & Small

Northwest Railway Museum

I like trains. Who knew? On a drive from Snoqualmie Falls to Seattle, I found myself driving alongside the longest, most colorful museum I had ever seen – the Northwest Railway Museum. There was simply no driving by this museum; I had to make the stop! A couple hours of climbing trains and a few dozen photos later, I had to admit that I like trains. After a visit to the San Diego Model Railroad Museum, I am now quite fond of model railroads too. See the train itineraries below for San Diego and Snoqualmie, Washington.

On a trip to Mesa Verde in 2010, I spent the night in Durango, Colorado. The next morning included a bike ride (free rentals included with the hotel) to the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad & Museum. This is an old line (operating for over 125 years) that connects Durango to the old mining town of Silverton on a scenic trip through the San Juan National Forest. You can even race the train on bicycle as part of the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic. While racing the train may not be in my future, another visit to Durango with a train ride to Silverado has made the list.


San Diego

  • Start your day in Balboa Park at the San Diego Model Railroad Museum with a game of “I Spy” as you explore the models.
    • Here are a few to get you started: I spy…a truck, chickens, a train crash.
  • Walk a short distance to the Balboa Park Miniature Railroad for a half-mile, 3-minute train ride.
  • Head downtown to visit the historic Santa Fe Depot. Check out this old photograph. Note: observe parking signs.
  • Cross the street to the America Plaza station and take a 40-minute trolley ride to the San Diego Railroad Museum (La Mesa Depot Museum) via the orange line to La Mesa Boulevard. This is approximately 12 miles by car.
  • Option: Take the Coaster for a scenic train ride up the coast.

Snoqualmie, Washington (45 minutes from Seattle)

  • Start your day at the Northwest Railway Museum where you can explore the Depot Museum and see countless locomotives and cars.
  • Enjoy a 75-minute train ride to Snoqualmie Falls.
  • Don’t forget to visit the bookstore before you leave the museum.
Try This:
Use the train vocabulary below to:
(1) write a story – think about what the train is carrying and where it is going
(2) label a drawing or photograph
(3) as a scavenger hunt at a railway museum

Train Vocabulary
  • “All aboard”
  • caboose
  • conductor
  • depot
  • engineer
  • locomotive
  • platform
  • railroad
  • ticket
  • timetable
  • Two Little Trains by Margaret Wise Brown
    This picture book follows the parallel journey of an actual train and a model train. Compare their journeys to the sights on your itinerary.
  • Freight Train by Donald Crews
    This picture book compares different types of train cars. Can you find the different types of cars at your museum?
There are close to 300 rail museums in North America! Visit www.railmuseums.com.