30 November 2009

Riding to Work

I'm sure most of you are sick of my shaky videos so I made a video slideshow instead. :) Now you can view the hazards, crowded streets, and lack of bike lanes, all without experiencing the streets that are riddled with potholes! The best part of the ride to work is that it takes just as long to get there on a bike as it does in a car, mostly because it's downhill. The ride home, well, that's a different story...I'm not going to lie, I sometimes wish for gears on my ride home.

Riding to Work in West LA from starla hashimoto on Vimeo.

27 November 2009

Justifying my Thanksgiving Meal

Happy belated Thanksgiving, everyone! I lumped around on the couch right after gorging myself with turkey, brussels sprouts, mashed potatoes, and pecan pie but this year, it was a little different from every other year. This past year, every since my rediscovery of bicycles, I decided to make it a goal to maintain my health and fitness. There was a conglomeration of events that left me determined to make better life choices--eating better foods and exercising being at the top of my list. I started off on a program that had me doing something active six days a week, and biking at least four of those days. In the beginning, it was a difficult adjustment to wake up early in the AM or ride after work when I just wanted to enjoy a margarita at happy hour but over time, I enjoyed it. I sought hills to climb then eventually canyon roads. A little masochistic, I know, but I'm sure every cyclist addict knows what I'm talking about. Exercise was my new addiction.

Somewhere between all my cycling, I decided that I would be fit enough to run a half marathon without much training. Needless to say, I was a fool to think that it'd be "easy" but somehow I finished. Despite all the pain I felt after 13.1 miles of run/walking, I wanted more. Running was a new challenge. I started a new 1/2 marathon training plan and found my next event, a 10k Turkey Trot in beautiful Dana Point, CA.

My T-day morning started at 4:00 am. At that early hour, I couldn't understand why I had ever thought it'd be a great idea to run and leave my warm bed. I have never been so nervous for an event either but I think it's because I actually set a goal for myself AND it's been over a month since I did a run more than two miles. Here's a summary of my thoughts during the run:

Mile 1: So glad it's no longer 47 degrees. It's a perfect 70 degrees and sunny, shoulda worn sunglasses--it's Southern California, what was I thinking?
Mile 1.5:
Elite runners already turned around, wow.
Mile 2: I'm intimidated, everyone has shapely legs like my marathoner friends.
Mile 2.5: I hurt...I'll allow myself to walk for a little bit on mile 3
Mile 3: Urgh, too many spectators, I can't walk and lose face now! ELITE RUNNERS DONE.
Mile 4: Dang it, I CAN'T WALK NOW! I'm already more than halfway done!
Mile 5: My marathoner friends must be
Finish: Wow, I jogged the whole thing and beat my time goal by a minute and a half! WOO!!

I think my turkey dinner was well deserved. :)

OH, and rest assured two-wheelers, I haven't given up on the bike thing. It's my first love and nothing will change that. I'm going for a long ride on Sunday through Malibu! And a night ride on my Roll 2 on Wednesday! YAY!

23 November 2009

Timé Weeps, So We Ride!

I have a tendency to name inanimate objects and bikes are no exception. Timé, my second road bike, is a "middle child" bicycle and has been neglected for the past few weeks when I played with my Roll 2 (which has yet to be named). The story behind Timé's name? There's not much of story like everything else I've appointed a name to--I lack creativity in that regard. Example: I had a stuffed animal whale and his name was Mr. Blue Whale. It's a Time bike so.........I don't think this needs any further explanation of why but here's a video of how you'd pronounce his name:

This Sunday, like many other Sundays for the past year, I rode with a mostly women's group through the wonderfully packed streets of LA along the beach. Katie, as you will in this video, is the person I blame for pushing me over the edge into my obsession for bikes in general. I also blame her for my itch to own a mountain bike NOW. (I'd love to blog about your mountain bikes, Specialized--oh, and don't worry about Timé, I have two other bikes besides the Roll with your name on it...hehe. Talk about brand loyalty. :P )

Here's a short video (err, maybe not so short, sorry) of my ride through the beach cities. How could you NOT fall in love with riding when the sun is shining and the weather is a perfect 68 degrees?

(Ok, again, sorry for bad video quality/lack of video taping skills.)

20 November 2009

Bicycle and Coffee

I'm not the biggest coffee drinker by all means but I always seem to find my way to a coffee shop. Part of the reason might be because I get a fifty dollar allowance from work every month at Starbucks. The other part is probably because there is almost always outdoor seating where I can sit, relax, and enjoy the Southern California weather with some friends in between riding. Having the Roll 2 has made it that much easier to just commute to a casual drink because I don't have to put on the whole cycling getup like when I ride my roadie. This past weekend, my every waking moment was either spent on the Roll 2 or sipping a cup of non-joe with my pinky up in the air.

Here are just a few pictures from my pedaling adventures to various beverage shops:

My sister and best friend, Sherry, and her fancy roadie in the back.

Wearing my road jersey...I'm a hybrid.

Cider on a chilly night w/Kenji and Eric.

"Green" bike racks. Bikes locked up to bolted down old bikes!

16 November 2009

Chibi Sits, I Stay (Track Standing!)

Meet Chibi, my lovable lump of a dog niece dog. I visited her this weekend in the OC. (Yup, the same OC as that canceled television show. For those of you who don't know, OC stands for Orange County and if you've never heard of the TV show, thank your lucky stars.) Instead of taking her on a walk, we hung out in the front yard, sun bathed under the autumn sky, and she ran around the cul-de-sac as I practiced some things out on my bike. My friend Eric had taught me how to track stand the night before and here is video proof of me showing off my new trick and Chibi showing off her old tricks:

I had crossed one task off my long to-do list of things to learn on my bike so by the end of the night, I moved onto my next big thing. Track standing with no hands. I rolled up to the top of a parking structure so I could practice my moves on a level surface. You can see that I'm still a little shaky given that my arms look like they're flapping in this photo.

And here's me, trying way too hard to look urban. Since I'm not a blur with the slower shutter speed here, you might assume that I've got this whole track stand with hands, down. But don't let this picture or video above fool you, I cave under pressure at a stop light...I'm working on it...

13 November 2009

Midweek Decompression Ride

The last week has been a rough one. Over the weekend, there was a family emergency and I slept maybe two hours over a 35+ hour period. Not a lot got accomplished and I didn't go on my regular Sunday ride which left me in a funk. It's a good thing I now have a regular Wednesday ride thanks to Will! It's called the "EHNHDUUURR" ride because by midweek, our brains are fried and we need a little mindless fun.

On this week's ride, we decided to stop by the Kogi BBQ truck to grab some grub--we couldn't find it. But let me rewind for a second, you're probably thinking, "Korean BBQ TRUCK?" Well, around LA, food trucks a.k.a. "roach coaches" or "taco trucks" have been around f o r e v e r and are known to have the best tacos in the Southern California area. The problem is, you had to know where these trucks were and not all of them are good. Kogi BBQ revamped the food truck craze and gave it a whole new twist. They started serving Korean BBQ tacos, quesadillas with kimchee (spicy pickled cabbage) in it, and all these other "fusion" dishes. When they first launched, the lines for this gem was hours long like a Disneyland ride. People caught on to this fad and now there are SO MANY food trucks--the one we found was called Nom Nom. If you live in West LA, you can follow West_LA on twitter for what trucks are around during lunch and dinner.

Anyway, after seeing the MASSIVE crowds, we just continued to ride on through the Marina and Culver City. Night riding is such a great stress reliever. There are less cars on the road, less people, and there is nothing else like pedaling through the fog that rolls in and riding next to the water.

Here's a little clip from our journey on Wednesday night--thanks for everyone that put up with me videotaping. And for those that do choose to view the video, I'm SO SORRY that it's shaky. Riding and recording is not the easiest thing in the world....

If I were a professional, riding through LA would look like this (Jared Leto with some Midnight Ridazz):

08 November 2009

Fixie+Starla=Le Tired!

It all started out with a tweet from my favorite bike shop, Cynergy Cycles at 1:46 PM as I looked over some spreadsheet full of performance numbers:

@starlah OMG come get you bike girl it's here!!!

I just about screamed, flipped, and danced in the cubicle I’m confined to between the hours of 9 to 5 but contained myself when I realized I needed my job and my health insurance if I was going to ride a fixie.

For the past year, I mostly rode a road bike that allows me to brake, coast, change gears and averaged up to 45 miles per ride, the longest being 80 miles. I knew riding a fixed would be different from the few times I toted around the block on a friend’s bike but I didn’t think it’d be so hard! After a 7 mile trip to the beach and back, I was a little beat an in pain. I think my face says it all:

It literally kicked my behind but I'm super excited for the challenge that lays ahead.

06 November 2009

Livestrong, Robert

As many of you already know, Globe Bikes, the urban bike division of Specialized, has selected a few of us to write about our experiences with the bikes they’ve provided us. I was one of the very few lucky ones chosen to write about my Globe experience. We’ve all pooled together from different parts of the “globe” (haha, like you didn’t see THAT one coming) to share our day to day journey but I wanted to bring to your attention one Glober in particular that deserves some special attention.

Meet Robert, here: http://robertfuel.com/fight

He’s fighting the fight—the same fight that Lance won and then trampled all over it fivefold AND some. He has kept normalcy and humor in his life despite the chemo and numerous surgeries. Anyway, I just wanted to get the word out. Please send him your well wishes, support, money if you feel so inclined here:


Robert, I’m hoping you’ll get well soon so your mad social media skills can be used to blog about your adventures on your rad new bike!

01 November 2009

The Simple Things...

On Christmas morning 1987, I woke up to the sound of metal tools hitting each other. I rolled out of my bed, rubbed my groggy eyes, and to my delight, I found my dad putting the last training wheel on my very first bike! I was so excited that it didn't even cross my mind that Santa didn't build it for me and took it out for a spin as soon as my mom let me. I rode around the house and down the sidewalk a couple house lengths and thought life couldn't get any better.

As time went on, school and life got in the way, I outgrew my bikes and never looked back--until recently. Somehow, the stars aligned, I inherited a vintage Specialized Sirrus and a friend of mine convinced me to go on a night bike ride last October. It was the monthly Midnight Ridazz ride and it was a “wear-whatever-costume-you-want” kind of party. That night, as I rode around the streets of Downtown LA as Harry Potter’s alter ego, I fell in love. It took me back to those days when I rode around my neighborhood as a kid and never felt so free, so cleared from the thoughts that were bogging me down for so many months. The wind blew through my cape and Hedwig hopped a ride in my backpack to join me o n my journey to escape the real world. It was like magic, not any ol’ pull-a-rabbit-out-of-a-hat magic, but the kind that rids of Voldemort.

When I'm on my bike, I feel like it's 1987 all over again except that Santa is now known as Specialized/Globe Bikes. I've become slightly obsessed with the pleasure of riding my bike whether it be on my roadie, a borrowed mountain, or my long awaited fixie. What can I say, the simple things in life bring the biggest smile to my face. :)