Sunday, March 27, 2011

Miss Jean Brodie hits the road

My pétard is working well. I’ve hoisted myself onto it fairly regularly since I announced my intention to ride the 100-km route of today’s Populaire. The weather’s been good and rolling beneath flowering plum trees has done wonders for my state of mind. Best of all, I managed the hills – even the 12% grade – without embarrassing myself by grinding to a standstill and falling off while still clipped into my pedals.

Not that this has ever happened to me.


A couple of days ago, I did my final training ride and I wanted it to be as close to the length of the Populaire as I could get without actually totting up the mileage (those of you who read Calorie Neutral know my dislike of numbers that need pandering. Er, calculating).

I aimed for about five hours on the road but since I don’t wear a watch…well, I’ll be getting a watch soon.

From my place I headed south to the waterfront, then basically did a big loop and had a glorious ride, hills and all. I stopped once for a red light, then once more to pick up ten pounds of apples and eat one of my handy nutritious energy-boosting bars, and was home in four and three-quarter hours.

So today I’m out doing the ride for real. With a bunch of people who wear Spandex and whose bikes are probably not named Miss Jean Brodie.

Wish me luck.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Green maps. Who knew?

“Victoria is the epicenter of green mapping in North America,” said Wendy Brawer, the New York-based founder of the Green Map System, at the University of Victoria last week.

She cited the dozen or so green maps of our region, which range from a teacher’s artistic rendering of the land, food and people of Vic West to the Shelbourne Corridor’s community-planning chart.

Along with a unique style, each map has its own theme or target users. Children, perhaps, or tourists. In one city, a group of binners created a map of local sources.

One of the beauties of the Green Map System is its use of universal symbols. Anyone can find a farmer’s market, for example, whether she’s shopping in Singapore, Stockholm or Santa Monica. The system is flexible, though, so mappers can customize or add symbols that express their communities’ special attributes. Like Victoria’s two dozen contributions to the icon collection include skateboards and osprey.

How cool is that?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Building my own pétard

As I preached over on Calorie Neutral a while ago, one of the best ways to help oneself reach one’s goals is to make them public. Share them with a friend or two.

So, friends, here I am:
In two weeks, I’m going to ride the 100-km route of the Victoria Populaire as set out by the BC Randonneur cycling group.

To be honest, with a couple of days’ notice both my butt and my quads can cope (albeit slowly) for a hundred km. The thing that’s going to make this ride a challenge is that there are hills. Oh, I can walk up the 12.5% grade, no problem. It’s the 27.5% one that has me sweating before I even put clip to pedal.

I guess we’re going to find out a little more about me in two weeks. Can I train for and ride those hills? Or did I, she asks hopefully, read the map wrong?

Sunday, March 6, 2011

And now for something completely different…

A very flattering email landed in my computer on Friday morning: an invitation to apply for a teaching position at a local college.

“…we need to increase our staff of talented Instructors,” the note said. “Do you like to see others succeed?”

I sure do!

“Do you have great communication skills?”

My clients think so.

“Are you honest with a great work ethic?”


This was looking better and better. I was stoked – a possible new gig, and apparently there were medical and dental benefits involved. For a longtime freelancer, those words were magnetic. Avidly, I read on.

“Are you passionate about cosmetology?”

Sadly, the extent of my knowledge of the beauty world is that there’s more to it than choosing blue-black mascara or none.

The registrar doesn’t know how I got on her email list but to be honest I don’t really care. It was fun to imagine what I might do with a captive audience and a wand of blue-black waterproof.