Despite the horrors of part-time grad school plus full-time work, I managed to get some sewing done.

This is a free pattern from Hunter’s Design Studio. It is super awesome! And fairly easy. I embraced the “perfect is the enemy of good” style of project making, and let some of my corners be not matched up perfectly, and this is a decision I have decided that I can live with. The only way to get better is to practice. Or, as my old rugby coach used to say in his outgoing voicemail message “If you want to be good at something, you have to be bad at it first.”

 

Relevant notes:

1.I bought a pair of machingers gloves about a third of the way through the free-motion quilting process, and IT CHANGED THE ENTIRE EXPERIENCE. I don’t know why I didn’t know about these before, but they are totally worth the $8.

2. The lettering on the back was to practice the technique from Gwen Marston’s book Wordplay Quilts for my longterm dream of someday making a flying geese quilt with the Mary Oliver poem Wild Geese patchworked on the back. Obviously my kerning needs work.

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For my final qualifying coffeeneuring ride of 2015 I went to VAM Asian Fusion in Palo Alto. I had made plans to meet a friend who works on the Stanford campus there for lunch, but she stayed home sick today so I waited until later in the afternoon and went by myself.  I had a papaya milk tea with boba and vegetarian tacos, which were both exciting in theory and underwhelming in execution.  On the positive side, the bubble tea cost about half as much as it does everywhere else in silicon valley.

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No bike racks to be found, but the staff invited me to bring my my bike inside and were very friendly.  There was something called a “Smorerito” on the menu, which was listed as having marshmallows, vanilla ice cream, cinnamon graham crackers, nutella, and rice krispies wrapped up in a flour tortilla.  I resisted until the teenagers at the table next to me ordered one, at which point I decided that a $10 dessert burrito was actually a very good idea.  Sadly, it too could use some work, as the marshmallows were not at all melted.

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16 miles total, including an unnecessary detour through Stanford due to poor navigational skills.

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Here I am on the Bol Park Bike Path.  The weather turned this week and it is actually starting to feel like fall.

In celebration of finishing my seven rides, I put together a map of my routes using http://www.madewithsisu.com  While this is less specific than showing the maps uploaded straight from my garmin, I do understand that someone could, if they wanted to, figure out my home address from these shapes.  This is less of a privacy issue for me now that my home address is very easily discoverable via google, so I’m posting it anyway.

Coffeeneuring maps

I rode to Bambu in San Mateo this morning for a Che Trai Cay. I realize I am playing fast and loose with what qualifies as a coffeeneuring type beverage, but this shop sells coffee and bubble tea, and although I ordered neither, my drink/dessert did contain both liquid and tapioca, so I’m going to count it.  Also, it may well qualify as the most delicious thing I’ve ever had through a straw.  AS GOOD AS A MILKSHAKE.

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Yelp told me that this location had bike parking, and although it is true that there are bike racks to be found in downtown San Mateo, there wasn’t one anywhere to be seen within a block of the cafe in either direction, so I brought my bike in to order and rode to San Mateo Central Park to indulge in the glory of my drink. I forgot to take a photo until after I had sucked up all the coconut milk/shaved ice, but above you can see lychee, pandan jelly, red tapioca, jackfruit and longan. Next time I will grab a spoon as well as a straw.

There was construction around Bay Meadows, so I had to adjust my planned route, and ran into this cute tiny play area/park. Here I am gloating about how it is still sunny and warm in California in November.

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I was surprised at how nice a ride it turned out to be.  I took Old County Road for most of the trip, and although it’s a urban route and therefore not as gorgeous as, say, the Bay Trail, it’s flat, there’s lots of distance between lights, and drivers were courteous in the sections that didn’t have a dedicated bike lane.

25 miles, WOULD RIDE/DRINK AGAIN.

I added today’s coffeeneuring stop into my commute, as I had to work.  The silver lining to working weekends is that traffic is less terrifying, and I can cut over to the bay trail at the Whipple freeway entrance, whereas on weekdays it’s easier to take streets up to the Ralston Bike Bridge and avoid dealing with traffic entering and exiting 101.

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Also, there is bird watching on this route.

imageWhat’s that you say?  You thought California was in a catastrophic drought?  Well, yes, but this lovely body of water is part of the tidal marshes of Bair Island which are connected to the San Francisco Bay.

On my ride home this evening I stopped at the bridge-to-nowhere over Redwood Creek for another bridges-on-bridges photo op, then headed into downtown Redwood City to fulfill the beverage portion of the ride at Comebuy Drinks.

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I ordered milk with taro and boba.  I am officially sick of both taro and milk, and am going to have to find a different order for the remaining two coffeeneuring rides. This is by far the most milk I have drank in a month since I became old enough to make autonomous food choices.

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I wanted to take a photo of myself next to the seven foot beverage outside Comebuy, but I am shy about talking selfies in public and I used up all my courage by locking my bike up across the street in front of a gym and letting it out of my sight for five minutes while I ordered and waited for my drink. By the time I worked up the nerve the sun would have gone down.

This is literally the first time I have locked my bike up since I bought it nine months ago.  When I ride to work I take it inside the building, the rest of the time it lives in my apartment, and I don’t normally stop for coffee when I go joy-riding. Granted, I’ve left it unattended in the transition area for a few triathlons, but that feels less risky as there are much more expensive bikes than mine should someone want to steal one. Still, she’s the first bike I’ve ever bought for myself (I rode a hand-me-down from my mother in college,) I spent what was, at the time, two months rent on her, and I am very very nervous.  We have bonded!  She told me her name!  I even painted it on the chain stay with nail polish!FullSizeRender (9)

We both survived the separation.  Hopefully next time will be easier.

Total miles: 17

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I actually forgot that I had put in a vacation request for today and showed up to work this morning.  What a glorious surprise when I got to leave immediately!

After yesterday’s bubble tea failure, I decided it was time to cook up the tapioca balls that I impulse bought last year and have been languishing in my pantry ever since.  I prepared myself a bottle of ginger turmeric pearl milk tea, then set off for Sharon Hills Park in Menlo Park.

Here are the tapioca balls and frozen grated ginger and turmeric (I clean and run through the food processor about a lb of each at a time, mix them up and freeze on a cookie sheet, and then break into chunks for storage.  Usually I just throw a chunk in a thermos with boiling water and black pepper, but for this excursion I cooked the tapioca, and brewed the tea and let it cool, and then added honey, milk, and ice.)

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And here’s the tea safely tucked into my water bottle cage:

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4.5 mile ride. There’s a short and steep hill to get up to the top of the park, but the view is totally worth it.

The plan for this weekend was to buckle down and do homework, and double up on another weekend to get my coffeeneuring rides in.  Having spent much of Sunday baking bread and watching Netflix, though, I rationalized that a quick bike ride wouldn’t impact my productivity much, and set out at 5PM for Donut King.

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My Theme-Within-A-Theme is bubble tea.  I lead a sad, unfortunate, coffee-deprived life because caffeine makes me anxious.  Even decaf coffee makes me anxious.  So, bubbleteaneuring it is.  Or bobaneuring.  Or maybe pearlmilkteaneuring? So many words for the same drink.

Yelp told me that my local donut shop served bubble tea.  The big menu with many many choices of bubble tea furthered that assumption.  But when I went to order, the worker told me he was out of tapioca.  So I tried to order milk tea without the tapioca balls.  He told me he couldn’t make that either.  He offered me a smoothie, but I declined and bought a maple old fashioned and no drink.

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Here’s a photo of me sitting at the outside tables with my donut, and also with my U-lock, which is not being used as there was no bike parking in the shopping center.

Round trip distance: 4.3 miles

Coffeeneuring type drinks consumed: 0

Even though I did not have off work today, I decided to take advantage of the Tara Rule allowing qualifying coffeeneuring rides on October 12th.  My normal worksite was closed, but we had an all staff training a mile away, and when that got out two hours earlier than my normal shift ends, I rode north on the San Francisco Bay Trail to Tpumps in Foster City.

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I deviated from my normal drink and ordered a rose milk tea with honey boba.  Tasty, but subtle.

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There was absolutely no bike parking to be seen, so I brought my bike inside the shop to order and pick up my drink before enjoying it in the courtyard behind the shopping center.  On my way out, I found some racks by the apartment/office complex behind the shops.

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12 miles spent coffeeneuring, plus 19 miles of commute brings me to a total of 31 for the day.

I had company for coffeeneuring outing #2!  I used birthday privileges to get my girlfriend to rent a bike and come riding with me. I think she still prefers spin class to the road, so I did not succeed in converting her, but it was a successful ride in that there were no flats, no falls, and no one suggested quitting and taking Uber home.

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We took a standard scenic route through Woodside, Portola Valley, and Palo Alto to get to Teaspoon in Los Altos, where I ordered the “Taro Lover” with honey boba, and she had lychee black tea with lychee jelly.

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The drinks were delicious, but there was obnoxious music being pumped loudly onto the patio, so I would not recommend it as a relaxing spot.  No bike racks, but you potentially lock a bike to the metal fences around the seating area.

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I slightly overestimated how many miles I could get cheerful company out of, so we adjusted the planned route and took a straight shot home instead of continuing to meander. 24 miles total, and I got to stop at the pedestrian/bike bridge between Los Altos and Palo Alto for a “bridges on bridges” photo op.

For my inaugural coffeeneuring ride, I took a roundabout route to Chatime Redwood City where I drank a taro milk tea with pearl boba. This is a very bike-friendly location, as it is a kiosk in the courtyard square, you order at a window, and all seating is outdoors.

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Total ride was 19 miles, including a jaunt up the newly reconfigured Farm Hill Boulevard to spite my neighbors. There is a pilot program going on right now in which a previously four lane road (two lanes in each direction) has been repainted into a three lane road (one lane in each direction, plus a center turn lane, plus bike lanes on each side). There have been some very strong opinions expressed on my local social media site NextDoor about this pilot, so I decided to ride up it as one of the complaints is that the city has no business adding bike lanes to a corridor that does not have heavy bike traffic. As I was riding uphill into the wind with eucalyptus bark and leaves blowing in my face, I was reminded that “to spite my neighbors” is a foolish reason to do anything.

I also went up Cañada road and down Edgewood. The top of Edgewood is my favorite place in Redwood City. If you’re driving up 280 and take the Edgewood Road exit and turn left, you go under an overpass as you come out the sky opens up into a majestic view of the San Francisco Watershed.  It was hazy today, so the effect wasn’t as dramatic, but I took a photo anyway.

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The logical thing to do with a knitting blog that hasn’t been updated in six years would be to abandon it.  But, I want to post about adding silicone grippers to your running shorts and rather than creating a running blog for that purpose I’m just going to do it here.  Also, I am planning on coffeeneuring soon and need a place to document it.

ADDING SILICONE GRIPPERS TO YOUR RUNNING SHORTS:

Some shorts come with grippers!  These shorts are great because they are less likely to ride up your legs.  Almost all cycling shorts have them, and my rugby shorts have a version at the waistband (to keep your jersey tucked in?) but they are few and far between on run shorts, even the ones with liners. The no-longer-in-production brooks glycerin 2-in-1 3.5 inch short have them, which was one of the factors making them my #1 go-to short for awhile.

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If you google “how to add silicone grippers to your shorts” there are two suggestions:  First, buy silicone backed elastic online and sew it in, and second, experiment with automotive silicone.  The person who suggested automotive silicone was mocked on the cycling forum it was posted on.  Originally I thought maybe that was because it was a bad idea, but after further research it turns out it was just because cycling forums are full of jerks.

I started by buying silicone backed elastic online and sewing it into my shorts.  This was a pain. I used a free-motion quilting foot because the silicone was sticking to the other foot.  Putting masking tape over the silicone while sewing and removing it afterwards might have helped this.  My stitching is VERY wonky.  IMG_0859

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Then I bought Permatex high temp silicone RTV gasket from amazon.  For my first try I inflated balloon-like-objects to put in the legs as I applied it.  This was unnecessary and I had better results on the second pair of shorts, which I just applied flat. I did this out on my patio both to protect my carpet from spills, and because the instructions call for using in well ventilated areas.IMG_0927

It’s been almost two years since this experiment, and I wear the shorts that I sewed the elastic into only occasionally and the automotive silicone shorts very often. They ride up SIGNIFICANTLY LESS than before, though I do have to tug them down occasionally. I machine wash cold and hang to dry, and they are holding up great.

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You can download the Safety Data Sheet here if you are concerned about chemicals.  I am not a scientist, but I browsed it and it looked okay to me.