Thursday, October 18, 2012

Blog news - changes

I have news... I am moving back to the U.S. in 2013. This means changes for this blog (as well as my life!!).

I'm asking myself tough questions such as: Can I keep the title of my blog?

Will I still cycle without a helmet?

I really don't know.  

I guess it will depend on the daily situations that I encounter once I am there- which is Santa Barbara, California, by the way.

Helmets are not mandatory, so it's my choice and that is as it should be. They have seen a solid increase in bicycle commuting (by pitiful U.S. standards), which is great, yes! But I'm certain I'll be riding on streets with bicycle lanes but no physical separation from cars going over 65kph (40mph- crap, I have to use the stupid imperial system again). Also, I expect dooring to be a problem because many of the drivers will not have any cycling experience (unlike dutch drivers) and bicycle lanes are usually laid out next to parked cars- at least they were in NYC... AND- there are mountains! It might take forever to get up, but going back down is going to be fast and likely on badly maintained roads. Bumpy!

I've been very spoiled these past few years.

I'm very sad to leave the Netherlands and Leiden and dutch cycling paradise, but more on that in the coming months. (And my last frantic bicycle trips to visit places that must be seen! Suggestions, anyone? I'm going to visit a monumental tree in Middelburg soon.)

For this post, I'm concentrating on the next year and seeing what may happen.

Luckily, I'm prepared for a few scenarios- see photo.
Getting ready for a California adventure
Hi-visibility layer (lighweight), helmet and 50spf sunscreen.

And I've been doing research (googling) to find out what the local bicycle "scene" is like.

So far: 
Commuters! Yay!
Mountains! (Yikes, really?? Can I do this?)
Beer! (Thank god it's not all wine out there.)
Scary mountain trails. (Freaking crazy!)
Personal injury/ bike lawyers. (Enough said.)
defunct facebook page for Cycle Chic movement.
Spandex clubs. (I should just give in and join.)
Custom bikes. (Bendy!)
A bicycle union. (Yes! I can't wait to sit in town hall meetings I can understand again.)
Local rides. (Looking for friends...)
Pro-Transit groups!  (Car-free and proud.)
Monthly bicycle rides (Similar to critical mass - a completely redundant idea for the Netherlands.)
Used bicycles.  (All cruisers and mountain bikes, yuck.)
Pacific Coast Bicycle Route (HELL YES!)

It's going to be okay. 


  1. Oh, I'm sorry to read that you are moving. I so enjoyed the NL posts. I do look forward to your Santa Barbara posts as far as the local scene is concerned. (I live in LA.)

    If you need to get a Dutch food fix when in CA, then you'll have to come south to this place: HOLLAND AMERICAN MARKET. I go there every now and then. Down the street from the market is Little India.

    1. Yum, Thanks!! I don't think I can live without speculaas. :)

  2. that scary mounatin trail does not look like fun at all

  3. Hey Alicia,
    so Sta Barbara it is. Exotic - from my point of view. From West Coast to West Coast.
    Good question about the blog name, but by now it may be a brand rather than a description. And if you keep it we won't need anonther bookmark.
    I don't use a helmet in the city (where I ride carefully), but I wear one in the forest and on hiking trails. I've never had a collision, but the helmet has kept twigs and thorns away from my head.
    The Muse Mezzaluna Mixte looks nice - and it has a well designed name, too. I like how the prolonged Mixte tubes both hold the rear fender and keep bags away from spokes.
    That mountain bike trail looks extreme (-ly uncomfy). But if you keep looking you may find some smoother paths that are too boring for mountain bikers.
    If you wish to ride along the coast you could try it this way:
    So you're going to Middelburg? Good choice =) I'm looking forward to some photos of that tree.
    So then, enjoy the rainy moderate climate while you can.

  4. I don't really know the situation in Santa Barbara any more than you do, but I'm pretty sure we'll still like to hear from you whether you wear a helmet or not (or wear one sometimes, or whatever happens).

    I will be very curious how riding in U.S. traffic makes you feel after living in the Netherlands for years.

    Best of luck with the last bits of your life in Leiden, and I hope the move goes well!

    1. Thanks Dave! I imagine it will be fine, i'm just nervous about leaving here- there are many cyclists there... plus, what helmet will help protect me from bees, or mountain lions, or hurting my knee anyways?

    2. There are many cyclists in Portland, too - but it feels categorically different than Amsterdam. Get ready to be completely perplexed by the 'infrastructure' and wonder who thought it was a good idea :D

      By the way, an acquaintance of mine the other day bashed her head against the little handle above the door of her car, and got a minor concussion. Best argument for driving helmets yet :)

      Above all, thanks for not only being intelligent, but putting your voice out in the world. That doesn't change, no matter where you live or what you feel reasonably suits your situation.

  5. Before you go to the States, you are invited to have a Sundaymorning Fatbike Tour in The Hague!
    Contact me at

    Greetings Tommy

  6. Please, do keep writing! I can't wait to hear about Santa Barbara and see how your Brompton (and other bicycles) work out there.

    Once you move, remember that Portland is a short jaunt on Amtrak from LA & Santa Barbara. It's no Liden or Amsterdam, but we've got better breweries to balance things out.

  7. Good luck on your move back to the states. You might complain a lot the first few months, but then the bicycling gets easier. After 6 months back in the states, I bought a helmet. I love the sunny weather and I have to stop and smile each day the sky is bright, blue, and sunny. I just started reading your lovely blog, and look forward to more posts!